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Coronavirus: Latest global developments

PARIS (AFP) — Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

Iran closes non-essential business

Iran shuts non-essential businesses in over half its cities and towns for up to two weeks and introduces movement restrictions to rein in its novel coronavirus outbreak.

The Islamic republic has avoided imposing a full lockdown since it was hit by Covid-19 in February, with President Hassan Rouhani arguing the country’s sanctions-battered economy cannot afford to be shut down for an extended period.

Italy plans vaccine campaign

Italy, one of the countries hit worst by the coronavirus pandemic, plans to launch a massive vaccination campaign in January.

The vaccine drive “will get underway towards the end of January when we hope to have the first doses,” Health Minister Roberto Speranza says.

Danish breeders protest mink cull

Hundreds of Danish farmers and mink breeders demonstrate with their tractors against a government decision to cull their minks to halt the spread of a coronavirus variant.

G20 urged to plug virus funding gap

G20 nations emphasise the need for global access to coronavirus vaccines at a Saudi-hosted virtual summit dominated by efforts to tackle the pandemic and the worst global recession in decades.

The leaders are huddling online for the two-day gathering as international efforts intensify for a large-scale rollout of coronavirus vaccines after a breakthrough in trials, and as calls grow for G20 nations to plug a $4.5-billion funding shortfall

Russia cases, deaths hit new highs

Russia registers record numbers for daily infections and deaths from the coronavirus, two days after having passed two million cases.

Health officials reported 24,822 new infections and 476 deaths, bringing the national total to 2,064,748 million cases and 35,778 fatalities since the beginning of the year.

Those figures suggest a lower death rate than elsewhere in the world, but the official Russian death toll only includes those in which Covid has been established as the primary cause of death after an autopsy.

Poland urges no travel over Christmas

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki warns Poles against any travel over the Christmas period, and says most coronavirus restrictions will be extended but shops will re-open.

Theatres, bars and restaurants will remain closed until after Christmas, and schools will maintain distance learning.

But shopping centres will be allowed to re-open fully from November 28.

More than 1.3 million deaths

The coronavirus has killed at least 1,373,381 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT Saturday.

At least 57,583,290 cases of coronavirus have been registered, of which at least 36,725,500 are now considered recovered.

The United States is the worst-affected country with 254,424 deaths from 11,913,945 cases. It is followed by Brazil with 168,613 deaths; India with 132,726 deaths; Mexico with 100,823 deaths; and the United Kingdom with 54,286 deaths.

France poised to reopen stores

France is preparing to reopen stores for the crucial Christmas shopping season, encouraged by new data suggesting the country is past the worst of its second wave of infections.

Thanks to curfews and partial lockdowns, confirmed new infections dropped by 40 percent last week, admissions to hospital fell by 13 percent, and the number of new intensive care patients was down by nine percent, according to the national health agency.