China approved its first homegrown coronavirus vaccine for general public use on Thursday, with officials promising to provide the general public with free inoculations. The approval comes a day after its manufacturer, state-owned pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm, said the vaccine is 79.34% effective, citing interim analysis of Phase 3 clinical trials. China is aiming to inoculate 50 million people with domestic Covid-19 vaccines ahead of February’s Lunar New Year celebrations.
Restrictions are being placed on New Year festivities around the world as many countries struggle to curb new spikes in coronavirus cases. Fireworks displays and other public gatherings have been canceled from Sydney to New York. Festivities are being particularly muted in Europe, amid fears over a new more contagious strain of the disease. France has mobilised 100,000 police to break up New Year’s Eve parties and enforce a night-time curfew.
A convicted murderer, considered by the FBI to be the most prolific serial killer in US history, has died at a hospital in California. Samuel Little, who had been serving three consecutive life sentences for the killing of three women in Los Angeles County during the 1980s, ultimately confessed to killing 93 people. Little was convicted of the three murders in September 2014.
President Trump’s demand for $2,000 relief checks to Americans struggling financially with the pandemic was all but dead after Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday that a proposal from Democrats had “no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate”. Declaring that he would not be “bullied” by Democrats into quickly approving the measure, McConnell effectively denied a final request for legislative action by the president.
Saudi-led coalition warplanes struck targets in Yemen’s Houthi-held capital Sanaa on Thursday in retaliation for attacks in the southern port city of Aden the previous day that took place as officials in a government backed by Riyadh arrived there. The coalition accused the Houthi movement, which it has been fighting for six years, of staging the attack on Aden’s airport and a second one on the presidential palace.