EU begins coronavirus vaccine rollout as new strain spreads
The European Union began a vaccine rollout Saturday, even as countries in the bloc were forced back into lockdown by a new strain of the virus, believed to be more infectious, that continues to spread from Britain, according to France 24.
Across the world, people are being urged to respect social distancing guidelines, as the World Health Organisation urged people not to "squander" the "great, heart-wrenching sacrifices" people had made to save lives.
The coronavirus pandemic has claimed more than 1.7 million lives and is still running rampant in much of the world, but the recent launching of inoculation campaigns has boosted hopes that 2021 could bring a respite.
Hours before the first vaccine doses arrived in France, Paris' health ministry confirmed late Friday that it had detected its first case of the new variant in a citizen returned from Britain.
Several countries have reported cases of the new strain, which has sent jitters through already overstretched health services.
The first French case of the new coronavirus variant was found in a citizen resident in Britain who arrived from London on December 19, the French health ministry said.
They are asymptomatic and self-isolating at home in Tours in central France, and contact-tracing has taken place for the health professionals who treated him.