January 15 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Adam Renton, Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:57 a.m. ET, January 16, 2021
5 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
1:09 a.m. ET, January 15, 2021

Brazil's health minister says healthcare collapsing in Amazonian city, hospitals full

From CNN's Taylor Barnes

Brazil's Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello speaks during the launching ceremony of the National Vaccination Operationalization Plan against Covid-19 at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, on December 16, 2020.
Brazil's Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello speaks during the launching ceremony of the National Vaccination Operationalization Plan against Covid-19 at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, on December 16, 2020. Andre Borges/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Brazilian Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello said that the healthcare system in the hard-hit Amazonian city of Manaus is in “collapse” during a Facebook live broadcast with President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday.

“I would say, yes, there is a collapse in healthcare in Manaus. The line to get a hospital bed has grown a lot, today we have about 480 people waiting in line. And the reality is that there is a lower supply of oxygen -- not an interruption, but a lower supply of oxygen,” he said.

Pazuello also said Brazil -- which has yet to commence a vaccination campaign even though its Covid-19 death toll is the second highest in the world, behind only the United States -- will begin to vaccinate people in January, though he did not specify a date.

“In January we will start vaccinating. In the beginning with 2, 6, or 8 million doses. … And in February, we will have mass production, and our National Vaccination Program, which we’ve been doing for 45 years, will get ahead of everyone in the whole world, including the United States.”

The Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA) will meet on Sunday, Jan. 17 to decide whether to give emergency approvals to the Oxford/AstraZeneca and the Sinovac vaccine, according to state-run news agency Agencia Brasil.

Venezuela offers to send oxygen: Venezuela has offered to send oxygen tanks to Amazonas state, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said Thursday. Arreaza said on Twitter that he made the offer during a call with Amazonas Gov. Wilson Lima, and added: “Latin American solidarity above all!”

1:10 a.m. ET, January 15, 2021

Biden proposes $1.9 trillion vaccination and economic rescue legislative package

From CNN's Kate Sullivan and Eric Bradner

President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday evening outlined a $1.9 trillion emergency legislative package to fund a nationwide vaccination effort and provide direct economic relief to Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic, telling Americans that "the health of our nation is at stake."

"There is real pain overwhelming the real economy -- one where people rely on paychecks, not their investments, to pay for their bills and their meals and their children's needs," Biden said in a speech in Wilmington, Delaware, in which he took aim at the nation's searing income inequality.

He did not detail how he plans to move his massive proposal through a Congress where Democrats will have narrow House and Senate majorities, though both congressional Democratic leaders pledged to shepherd Biden's vision into law.

Instead, Biden spoke about the economic and health threat of the pandemic, calling them "once-in-several-generations" crises, and cast delivering economic relief and rapidly vaccinating Americans as urgent challenges.

"In this pandemic in America, we cannot let people go hungry. We cannot let people get evicted. We cannot let nurses, educators and others lose their jobs when we so badly need them. We must act now and act decisively," Biden said.

The American Rescue Plan will include allocating more than $400 billion toward addressing the Covid-19 pandemic, including $160 billion in funding to execute a national vaccination program, expand testing and mobilize a public health jobs program, among other measures.

His proposal includes $1,400 stimulus checks for Americans and extending and expanding unemployment benefits, including a $400 weekly unemployment insurance supplement, through September.

Read more about the package:

7:50 p.m. ET, January 14, 2021

UK bans arrivals from several Latin American countries due to Brazilian virus variant

From CNN's Schams Elwazer in London

The UK has decided to ban arrivals from multiple Latin American countries “following evidence of a new variant in Brazil,” British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Thursday on Twitter. 

Starting Friday at 4 a.m. local time, arrivals to the UK will be banned from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. 

“Travel from Portugal to the UK will also be suspended given its strong travel links with Brazil -- acting as another way to reduce the risk of importing infections,” Shapps said, adding that hauliers transporting essential goods were exempt. 

He added that these measures would not apply to British and Irish citizens and other nationals who have UK residence rights, but arriving passengers would have to quarantine for 10 days.

All parts of the UK are currently under strict lockdown with international travel only allowed for a limited number of reasons. The country is in the midst of its worst wave of Covid-19 infections with record daily deaths reported on Wednesday.

7:49 p.m. ET, January 14, 2021

More than 20,000 Chinese villagers moved to quarantine sites as a preventative measure

From CNN's Carly Walsh in Hong Kong and CNN's Beijing bureau

More than 20,000 citizens from 12 villages in the Gaocheng District of the Chinese city of Shijiazhuang have been relocated to quarantine sites as a preventative measure against Covid-19, according to Chinese state media.

State broadcaster CGTN cited China's National Health Commission (NHC) official Tong Zhaohui saying the new quarantine sites aim to avoid new infections emerging from contact between people with and without the virus.

Hebei Province, of which Shijiazhuang is the capital, has been at the center of China’s most recent outbreak of the pandemic.

The NHC reported 138 new Covid-19 infections on Wednesday, including 14 imported cases. Of the 124 locally transmitted cases, 81 cases are from Hebei province.

Hebei’s vice governor Xu Jianpei announced on Tuesday that a second round of mass testing programs would begin in the cities of Shijiazhuang, Xingtai and Langfang. The province’s first round of testing of 17 million people ended on Sunday.

Construction has also started on a centralized medical center in Shijiazhuang. It’s set to cover 33 hectares and will have 3,000 makeshift wards, CGTN reported.

On Wednesday one person was reported to have died from the virus in Hebei province, the first fatality in China for 242 days.

7:44 p.m. ET, January 14, 2021

Covid-19 infection grants immunity for five months, UK study suggests

From CNN's Zamira Rahim

People who have been infected with Covid-19 are likely to be protected against catching it again for at least five months, according to a new study led by Public Health England (PHE).

The study -- which has not yet been peer reviewed -- found that past infection was linked to an 83% lower risk of reinfection, compared to people who have not been infected before.

But researchers warned that the protection was not absolute, meaning some people do catch the virus again, and that it was unclear how long any immunity lasts. It is also possible that those who have a degree of immunity against the virus may still be able to carry the virus in their nose or throat and therefore transmit it to others.

"We now know that most of those who have had the virus, and developed antibodies, are protected from reinfection, but this is not total and we do not yet know how long protection lasts," Susan Hopkins, senior medical adviser at PHE and co-leader of the study, said in a statement.
"Even if you believe you already had the disease and are protected, you can be reassured it is highly unlikely you will develop severe infections. But there is still a risk you could acquire an infection and transmit (it) to others," Hopkins said.

Read more: