A health care worker prepares a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Etterbeek-Ixelles site of the Iris Sud Hospitals in Brussels, on January 18, 2021. (Photo by Stephanie LECOCQ / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEPHANIE LECOCQ/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Vaccinations for some first responders to stop due to low supply
02:18 - Source: CNN

What you need to know

  • On his first full day in office Thursday, US President Joe Biden signed a slew of executive orders to tackle the coronavirus, ramping up vaccinations, expanding testing and reopening schools.
  • Biden also wants the US to deliver 100 million vaccine doses in his first 100 days.
  • The US could reach half a million Covid-19 deaths by mid-February, according to the CDC, but the agency’s new leader said that “healthier days lie ahead.”
  • China announced domestic travel restrictions to curb the spread of the virus ahead of Lunar New Year as one Beijing district went into lockdown.

Our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic has moved here.

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"No Time to Die," the new James Bond film, is delayed once again

Shoppers wearing protective masks walk past a James Bond "No Time To Die" billboard in Singapore, on March 29, 2020.

No Time to Die,” the latest film in the James Bond series and one of the most anticipated movies of 2021, has been delayed again.

The film, which stars Daniel Craig as the stylish spy, was set to open on April 2. But MGM announced on Thursday that it would push the action film to October 8.

This is the third time the film has been delayed since the coronavirus pandemic started. It was originally set to open in North American theaters on April 10, 2020.

The shifting schedule of “No Time to Die” is a symbol of the pandemic’s impact on Hollywood. The 25th film in the Bond series was the first major movie to be delayed because of the pandemic, but it was far from the last.

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James Bond (Daniel Craig) prepares to shoot in 
an EON Productions and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios film
Credit: Nicola Dove

'No Time to Die,' the new James Bond film, is delayed once again

Japan denies report of Tokyo Olympics cancellation

A man walks past Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games advertising in Tokyo's Shinjuku district on January 20.

A Japanese government spokesman on Friday denied reports that the Tokyo Olympics has been cancelled.

Speaking at a news conference, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Manabu Sakai said: “I would like to clearly deny there is no such fact” over the report of the possible cancellation of the Games.

On Friday, the Times of London, citing an unnamed senior member of the ruling coalition, reported that Japanese authorities had privately concluded that the Olympics could not proceed due to the ongoing pandemic. CNN has not independently verified this report, which officials in Tokyo were quick to refute.

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Olympic Rings are seen near the National Stadium, the main venue for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, in Tokyo on January 8, 2021, as Tokyo Olympics organisers insisted that the coronavirus-postponed Games will still go ahead despite Japan declaring a state of emergency less than 200 days before the opening ceremony. (Photo by Behrouz MEHRI / AFP) (Photo by BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Images)

Japan determined to hold Tokyo Olympics despite cancellation rumors

Japan determined to hold Tokyo Olympics, say organizers, despite cancellation rumors

The Japanese government is determined that the Tokyo Olympics will go ahead, organizers said Friday, following an unconfirmed report that a cancellation of the Games might be imminent.

On Friday, the Times of London, citing an unnamed senior member of the ruling coalition, reported that Japanese authorities had privately concluded that the Olympics could not proceed due to the ongoing pandemic. CNN has not independently verified this report, which officials in Tokyo were quick to refute.

In a statement, the Tokyo 2020 organizers said that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga had expressed to them his determination to hold the Games, and that meetings were ongoing to ensure that they could go ahead while implementing thorough infection countermeasures and other precautions due to the pandemic.

“All our delivery partners including the national government, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the IOC and the IPC are fully focused on hosting the Games this summer,” the statement said. “We hope that daily life can return to normal as soon as possible, and we will continue to make every effort to prepare for a safe and secure Games.”

Suga has yet not publicly spoken about the issue and his office declined to comment when approached by CNN on Friday morning.

Biden aims to exceed 100 million vaccines target, US surgeon general says

US President Joe Biden aims to surpass his target of delivering 100 million Covid-19 vaccine doses in his first 100 days in office, according to new US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.

He added that Biden is taking an “even-keeled” approach, taking into account areas where things could go wrong, including the supply of vaccine, channels for distribution and vaccine hesitancy.

Murthy said the US needs to do more to help speed the administration of vaccines.

“We cannot take a year in order to get to the critical levels of vaccination that we need in this country,” Murthy said. “We’ve got to get there sooner.”

Murthy said the Biden administration is working to address the vaccine rollout issues that jurisdictions have been grappling with. He said the plan includes setting up more vaccination sites, leaning on partnerships with pharmacies and finding people who can help administer vaccines.

New York City has Covid-19 vaccines sitting in reserve waiting weeks until they can be used, mayor says

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says he is asking the federal government to allow the city to use second doses of Covid-19 vaccines now as first doses because the city is set to run out of vaccines soon.

“We have second doses sitting in reserve waiting weeks until they can be used. Those should be freed up right now to go into the arms of senior citizens who are living in fear. Let’s turn those second doses into first doses right now and then backfill with more supply in the coming weeks,” de Blasio told CNN’s Erin Burnett Thursday.

According to de Blasio, New York City is now vaccinating at a higher rate, with 45,000 people vaccinated on Monday alone. He says the city needs more vaccines to meet the demand. 

“We’re running out of vaccine and we’re not getting any assurance of major new shipments. I could be opening a 24/7 vaccine site at Citi Field where the Mets play, the Yankee stadium. I want to be in all five boroughs, but I can’t open them because I’m not getting a major new supply,” de Blasio said.

When asked why he thinks New York is running out when the city’s website is showing 1 million doses delivered to New York City, but only 539,000 administered, de Blasio said the remaining vaccines have already been allocated.

“Yeah, we’ve got a lot of appointments that are scheduled this week, and next week, that are going to use up everything we have. There are separate programs under those numbers for nursing homes run by the federal government. The bottom line is supply is not even close to keeping up with demand,” said de Blasio.

American Medical Association applauds Biden administration for "desperately needed" Covid-19 strategy

The American Medical Association (AMA) commends the Biden administration on quickly implementing a “desperately needed” national strategy to combat Covid-19, AMA president Dr. Susan Bailey said in a statement Thursday.

“With COVID-19 continuing to spread rampantly throughout the U.S., we applaud the Biden Administration for taking immediate action today to activate the Defense Production Act (DPA) to ramp up the production of personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as testing and vaccine supplies desperately needed to stem the spread of illness and deaths,” Bailey said.

After supply chain issues that have left health care workers, their families and patients without adequate testing or protection, Bailey noted that the action against Covid-19 has been a long awaited.

“Since March, the AMA has called on the federal government to implement a coordinated national strategy and pull every lever to ramp up PPE production for N95 masks, gowns, gloves, as well as testing supplies—and coordinate distribution,” she said.

Bailey also applauded the Biden administration for addressing health inequities exacerbated by the pandemic. 

It may be OK to mix and match Covid-19 vaccines in "exceptional situations," CDC says

While the two authorized Covid-19 vaccines are “not interchangeable,” it may be acceptable to get one dose of each in order to complete both doses, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in guidance updated Thursday.

The guidance, which comes amid concerns surrounding vaccine supply and distribution, applies to Pfizer/BioNTech’s and Moderna’s vaccines. Both use genetic material called mRNA as the basis for their vaccines.

“In exceptional situations in which the first-dose vaccine product cannot be determined or is no longer available, any available mRNA COVID-19 vaccine may be administered at a minimum interval of 28 days between doses,” the CDC says.
“If two doses of different mRNA COVID-19 vaccine products are administered in these situations (or inadvertently), no additional doses of either product are recommended at this time.”

CDC says the safety and efficacy of switching vaccines hasn’t been evaluated. “Every effort should be made” to keep track of which vaccine people received and ensure they get the same one for their second dose several weeks later, the recommendations say.

The agency says its guidance may be updated as new information and new types of Covid-19 vaccines become available.

Portugal bans UK flights due to Covid-19 variant

Portugal will suspend flights with the UK starting Saturday, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said in a series of tweets late on Thursday.

The decision was made in order to “reduce the risk of contagion” based on the new coronavirus variant originally found in the UK.

Costa said all 27 EU member states expressed concern about the variant at the EU Council on Thursday.

Fauci forecasts "a degree of normality" this fall if enough Americans get vaccinated

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The United States can look forward to getting back to some semblance of normality by fall if enough of the population gets vaccinated this summer, top infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday.

It was Fauci’s first appearance at a news briefing held by the new Biden administration, held on its first full day.

It won’t be perfectly normal by then, he said, but it will take the pressure off if three-quarters or more of the population gets vaccinated.

“The concern I have, something we’re working on, is getting people who have vaccine hesitancy who don’t want to get vaccinated because many people are skeptical about that,” Fauci added.

UK bans travelers from Tanzania and DRC over coronavirus variant concerns

The British Government is banning all arrivals from Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo as of 4 am local time on Friday, in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa.  

“To help to stop the spread of the COVID-19 variant identified in South Africa, we are banning all arrivals from Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo from 4 am tomorrow,” UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted Thursday. 

“All passengers from these countries except British & Irish Nationals and third-country nationals with residents rights will be denied entry,” he added. 

The move comes just days after the government announced its decision to close all travel corridors as of Monday 18 January. 

Speaking during a press briefing last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said passengers wishing to travel to the UK “must have proof of a negative Covid test” no more than 72 hours before travel.

“You must then quarantine for 10 days, not leaving your home for any reason at all,” he added, stressing that the government will be “stepping up” enforcement of border controls.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a virtual press conference on the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, at 10 Downing Street in central London on January 15, 2021. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday urged the public to obey the national lockdown as coronavirus deaths continued to rise steeply but new case numbers fell this week. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski / POOL / AFP) (Photo by DOMINIC LIPINSKI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

UK announces closure of all travel corridors starting Monday

Don't get a flu shot and coronavirus shot together, CDC tells Americans

People should not get a flu shot and a coronavirus vaccine at the same time, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reminded Americans Thursday.

“Because of a lack of data on getting COVID-19 & other vaccines together, CDC recommends a 14-day interval before or after getting any other vaccines, including a flu vaccine,” the CDC tweeted.

 “As more information becomes available, this recommendation may change. Your healthcare provider can help you decide the best vaccination schedule for you and your family,” the CDC added on its website.