Coronavirus latest news: Oxford vaccine regulator must be 'time to carry out its important work'

The government is stepping up its vaccination program - REUTERS / Dado Ruvic
Millions will receive an Oxford coronavirus vaccine as of Jan 4th
The Europeans are now mutually infecting each other with the British mutant strain
Williamson warns of an "enormous fight" to keep schools from closing
Divorce Attorney Confessions: "Lockdown Wasn't Good For Marriage"
The UK Ministry of Health said Sunday that time must be given to the Medicines Agency to review the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine data.
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The Telegraph announced on Sunday that the Oxford vaccine would be rolled out nationwide from Jan. 4 after ministers worked out plans.
The government aims to have two million people receive their first dose of the Oxford vaccine or Pfizer vaccine within 14 days in order to speed up the vaccination program significantly.
The Telegraph also announced that mass vaccination centers in sports stadiums and conference rooms are prepared for launch in the second week of January, provided regulators approve the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine within a few days.
Commenting on the Telegraph report, a Health Department spokeswoman said: "We must give the MHRA (Medicines and Health Products Regulators) the time now to do their vital work and we must wait for their advice."
Follow the latest updates below.
05:06 am
Canada confirms the first cases of the British variant of Covid
Health officials in Ontario said Saturday that two confirmed cases of the new variant of coronavirus, first discovered in the UK, have occurred in the Canadian province.
The Canadian cases identified in a married couple in southern Ontario with no known travel history, exposure, or high risk contact came when the province was locked down on Saturday.
"This adds to the need for Ontarians to stay home as much as possible and continue to follow all public health advice, including the statewide shutdown beginning today," said Dr. Barbara Yaffe, deputy chief medical officer of Ontario.
Ontario had more than 2,000 cases per day for 12 consecutive days.
Last week Canada extended a ban on passenger flights from the UK to January 6 and expanded control and surveillance measures to include travelers from South Africa, citing the rise of the more contagious variant.
RELATED: The Mutated Virus has cut the UK off from the world. But is that all that matters?
05:00 am
Coronavirus cases exceed 80 million
The number of Covid cases worldwide has exceeded 80 million.
Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University reported the brand on Saturday morning after registering 472,000 cases on Christmas Day.
The number of deaths related to the pandemic worldwide is 1.75 million.
The U.S. is by far the leader among nations in coronavirus diseases, reporting nearly 18.8 million as of Saturday. India follows with 10.2 million; Brazil counted 7.45 million. There were more than 330,000 deaths in the US, 190,000 in Brazil and 147,000 in India.
04:46 am
The British mutated virus strain is spreading to Japan
The Japanese government will temporarily ban all non-resident foreigners from entering the country as a precaution against a new and potentially more contagious variant of the coronavirus that has spread across the UK.
The entry ban will begin on Monday and will initially last until January 31, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
Japan last week banned the entry of non-resident foreigners from the UK and South Africa, but continues to step up border controls after confirming the new variant on seven people in the past two days - five returnees from the UK who have tested at airports and two more in Tokyo.
Japan is also suspending exemptions to a 14-day quarantine for Japanese nationals and resident foreigners as part of a short-haul program that began in November. Participants will now have to prove a negative test 72 hours before leaving for Japan and self-isolate two weeks after arriving, the ministry said.
The Japanese Ministry of Health confirmed two cases of the new variant on Saturday - a man in his thirties who returned to Japan from the UK on December 16 and his relative, a woman in her twenties who had not visited that country in the past. Both patients are hospitalized in Tokyo.
On Friday, the ministry announced that the new variant was discovered in samples from five returnees from the UK between December 18 and 21, which tested positive at the airport inspection. All but one who complained of fatigue had no symptoms.
Japan had 217,312 cases and 3,213 deaths on Saturday.
03:33 am
"We will get our freedom back, we will be able to hug again."
Italy, Spain and France have started their vaccination campaigns together with Great Britain, China, Russia, Canada, the USA, Switzerland, Serbia, Singapore and Saudi Arabia.
"We will get our freedom back, we will be able to hug again," said Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio when he asked his compatriots to get the shot.
However, polls show that only 57 percent of Italians intend to get the sting, while scientists estimate that herd immunity can only be achieved when 75 to 80 percent have it.
Italian Army officers unload doses of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in a hangar at the Pratica di Mare military airport in Rome, Italy on Saturday - Antonio Masiello / Getty Images
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The virus flare-up continues to force nations to tighten restrictions, and Austria begins a third national lockdown on Saturday.
French Health Minister Olivier Veran would not rule out a third lockdown if authorities decide to contain infections.
03:24 am
The 101 year old Edith receives her vaccination
Doctor Bernhard Ellendt, right, injected the Covid-19 vaccine on Saturday to the 101-year-old nursing home resident Edith Kwoizalla in Halberstadt - Matthias Bein / dpa Via AP
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Vaccinations in all 27 countries in the European Union should begin on Sunday after regulators approved the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine on December 21.
However, some countries started on Saturday: a 101-year-old woman in a nursing home was the first person to be vaccinated in Germany, and the first shocks were also distributed in Hungary and Slovakia.
3:20 a.m.
Vaccinations start in EU countries
EU countries started vaccinating their most vulnerable groups on Sunday as a more contagious variant of coronavirus spread internationally, and the World Health Organization warned that the current pandemic would not be the last.
The first doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine arrived in EU countries including Italy, Spain and France on Saturday and were ready for distribution to retirement homes and caregivers.
Sculptures of the three wise men who bring gifts as well as a Covid-19 vaccine in an exhibition in Pozzo della Cava in Orvieto, Italy - Gianluigi Basilietti / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock
The approval and launch of vaccines has raised hopes that 2021 could take a break from the pandemic that has killed more than 1.7 million people since it hit China late last year.
In a video message ahead of the first International Epidemic Preparation Day on Sunday, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was time to learn the lessons of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"History tells us this won't be the last pandemic and epidemics are a fact of life," he said.
"All efforts to improve human health are doomed to failure unless they address the critical human-animal interface and the existential threat of climate change that is making our earth less habitable."
02:09 am
Confessions from a divorce lawyer during the pandemic
Divorce attorney Vanessa Lloyd Platt, who runs a family law law firm, has hired additional staff thanks to the lockdown to meet growing demand ...
Since the lockdown began in late March, the number of divorce petitions filed through my company has increased 40 percent.
And because social distancing has ended face-to-face consultations - and couples are closed at home together - a lot of my conferences on Zoom take place in people's cars. I call it "divorce on wheels".
Bans and the restrictions that came with them weren't good for marriages.
People get stuck together for inordinately long periods of time without the usual break for work, socializing, and hobbies.
Hatred has reached a new level.
READ MORE: Divorce Attorney Confessions: "Lockdown Wasn't Good For The Marriage - We Had An Absolute Excitement"
01:54 am
Buyers ignore warnings to flock to the Boxing Day sale
Boxing Day's bargain hunters defied prompts to act like they had the virus when queues formed outside stores as early as 4 a.m.
Thousands of shoppers came to retail stores across England to make the most of post-Christmas sales.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson had urged people to "think carefully" about avoiding Boxing Day crowds of 24 million, 43 percent of the UK population, who are now Tier 4 restrictions.
Read the whole story here.
1:50 am
Today's top stories
The government aims to have two million people receive their first dose of the Oxford vaccine or the Pfizer vaccine within 14 days as part of a comprehensive ramp-up of the vaccination program.
Gavin Williamson has warned allies that he is facing an "enormous battle" to keep secondary schools open in January, The Telegraph can show.
The British variant of the coronavirus is now being spread across Europe by non-British people. French health authorities confirm that it was discovered in a first patient who had no symptoms and has now entered self-isolation.
Coronavirus hospital admissions are on track to beat the peak seen in April next week.
Ministers are opposing calls by some of the UK's largest employers to keep a coronavirus loan program open beyond the end of 2020.
Boxing Day's bargain hunters defied prompts to act like they had the virus when queues formed outside stores as early as 4 a.m.
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