FACTBOX: Latest on worldwide spread of the coronavirus

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Several countries welcomed 2021 amid stringent coronavirus restrictions as the world looked to move on from a tumultuous 2020 that saw the pandemic infect and kill millions and companies rush to make vaccines and get emergency approvals.

* The World Health Organization listed Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, in a move seeking to speed access in the developing world.
* British doctors have said a government decision to delay giving a coronavirus vaccine booster shot to vulnerable patients who have already had the first dose will be distressing and disruptive, their trade union said.
* About 4 000 additional positive tests for COVID-19 in the last two to three days have yet to be formally confirmed in Ireland, meaning the situation is worse than recent record daily figures suggest, a senior health official.
* All travellers entering Norway will have to take a COVID-19 test within 24 hours of arrival from January 2, the country’s Justice Ministry said.

* A more infectious variant of COVID-19 that has swept through the United Kingdom has been identified in Florida, marking the third known US state to identify such a case.
* David Perdue, one of two Republican US senators facing a runoff election in Georgia next week that will determine control of the Senate, is quarantining after coming in close contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.
* Canada will require air travelers aged 5 and up to test negative for COVID-19 before arrival, starting January 7.
* Brazil reported more than 1 000 deaths from coronavirus for the third day in a row.

* Large crowds took to the streets at midnight in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, celebrating the arrival of 2021 after a year marred by a deadly pandemic that killed thousands there and required the city to be locked down between the end of January and early April.
* Australia welcomed 2021 with subdued celebrations as fresh coronavirus restrictions and border closures at its two most populous states forced families to ditch New Year plans.

* Chad has locked down its capital N’djamena for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic and has declared a dusk to dawn curfew due to a rise in infections.

* A vaccine developed by a unit of China National BiotecGroup (CNBG) is 79.34% effective at protecting people from COVID-19 and the company has filed an application for regulatory approval in China for its general public use.
* A new variant of the novel coronavirus does not appear to cause more severe illness than other variants, according to a matched study by Public Health England.

* Wall Street advanced on Thursday and the dollar gained ground as investors closed the book on a turbulent year of pandemic, recession, and recovery.