Qatar is planning for a completely normal men’s soccer World Cup in 2022 in the wake of the swift progress in coronavirus vaccines.
Sports events across the globe have been culled or postponed due to the pandemic, including Euro 2020, the Tokyo Olympics, and Wimbledon, and Qatar officials were initially concerned their event may be impacted, despite it being two years away.
Qatar 2022 will be the first World Cup to be staged in the Middle East. The tournament’s chief executive Nasser Al-Khater told news agency the Associated Press: “The introduction of the vaccine and the roll-out of the vaccine, it’s definitely good news for everybody.”
“We’re very hopeful and very looking forward that, by 2022, hopefully things will really be back to complete normal, and looking forward to hosting the fans and having a successful World Cup.”
Watch video 01:10
World Cup workers in Qatar living dangerously
The Australian city of Melbourne has received its first international flight since the end of June, when the coronavirus spread from quarantine hotels to people working in them, which went on to spark the state of Victoria’s deadly second wave.
Monday’s flight from Colombo, Sri Lanka, is the first of five international flights due to land in Australia’s second-most populous city on Monday.
Passengers arriving from overseas will go straight into Victoria's revamped hotel quarantine system. Regular temperature checks are now mandatory and travelers will be confined to their hotels for 14 days.
The model is similar to the one deployed in Sydney, which has accommodated thousands of returning travelers, without any clusters emerging.
US President-elect Joe Biden is hoping to install California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as secretary of health and human services, meaning the former congressman will hold a critical position in the fight against the pandemic.
The choice of Becerra, a 62-year-old Latino, came as Biden faced more lobbying to add diversity to his Cabinet appointments.
Meanwhile, more than 23 million citizens in Southern California are being subjected to new, strict lockdown measures.
The restrictions, ordered by Governor Gavin Newsom, will take effect on a region-by-region basis, as hospital intensive care units are filled almost to capacity. The curbs include the closures of bars, hair and nail salons and tattoo shops.
Brazil has added another 26,363 infections to its tally, taking the country over the 6.6 million mark in the total number of cases, while its official death toll has risen to 176,941, according to ministry data. South America’s largest country has the world’s third worst outbreak after the US and India.
In Düsseldorf, Germany , several hundred people have taken to the streets to protest against coronavirus restrictions, though they also came across hundreds of counter-protesters, according to police.
Supporters of the Querdenken movement, or Lateral Thinking, wanted to demonstrate against what they say is a “mask lie.”
Meanwhile, Bavaria is planning coronavirus curfews in some hotspots — even at New Year — in the face of persistently high case numbers, starting Wednesday. The state of Thuringia is also pondering tougher rules.
The number of confirmed cases in Germany increased by 12,3332 to 1,183,655, while deaths rose by 147 to 18,919, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases. According to estimates, over 863,000 people have recovered since the start of the pandemic. On Sunday, the seven-day R-value, or reproduction rate, was at 1.10, meaning that 100 people could infect 110 more people.
Watch video 02:11
Germany’s new virus law sparks massive protests
South Korea’s health minister has described the Seoul metropolitan area as a “COVID-19 war zone,” as the country’s president, Moon Jae-in, ordered an expansion of testing. South Korea has mobilized its military and more people from the public service, as the country continued to register triple-digit daily new infections.
Authorities in the South Korean capital have moved to tighten restrictions on public life, at least for the next three weeks. The provinces of Incheon and Gyeonggi will also be affected, the Yonhap news agency reported.
Gatherings of 50 or more people will now be prohibited, while gyms, karaoke bars, concert and dance venues, will all shut. Restaurants can serve guests only until 9 p.m., at which point cinemas, beauty salons and large stores must also close. Public transport will continue, though with a reduction in its operation.
Watch video 02:03
South Korean students brave virus and grueling exam
Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, has sought emergency use authorization in the country for AstraZeneca’s vaccine, according to reports in Indian media, citing PTI.
Serum applied to the Drugs Controller General of India, citing unmet medical needs due to the pandemic and in the interest of the public at large.
jsi/shs (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)
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