Coronavirus live news: inoculation in EU begins as UK set to approve second Covid vaccine

Latest updates: millions of Europeans due to get inoculated today; Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is set for approval in the UK this week

9.33am GMT

A nurse has become the first person in Malta to get vaccinated, according to a tweet by prime minister Robert Abela.

Today the first person in #Malta – a nurse from the Infectious Disease Unit at @MaterDeiMalta – was vaccinated against Covid-19.

Our #frontliners will be among the first to receive the #vaccine.

For #Malta, for each other. – RA @chrisfearne

9.21am GMT

A German pilot has traced the image of a syringe on a flight path to celebrate the arrival of the vaccine in Germany, Flightradar24 reports.

Taking off from Bodensee Airport Friedrichshafen (FDH) at 10.04 local time on 24 December, the pilot proceeded to draw an intricate depiction of a syringe, complete with droplets from the needle. The flight-path pattern required rather sharp turns, but the nimble Diamond DA20 Katana aircraft with registration D-ENIG was well-suited to the task.

The pilot reached a height of 5,475ft and a top speed of 121 knots just as they were completing one side of the syringe’s barrel. The thin line of the needle was accomplished by backtracking the exact flight path they had taken to its tip.

8.57am GMT

A 96-year-old living in a care home in central Spain has become the first Spaniard to be vaccinated against Covid-19, in an event broadcast by national television, AFP reports.

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8.43am GMT

Russia reported 28,284 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 3,050,248 after it crossed the 3 million mark the previous day.

Russia’s coronavirus crisis centre said 552 coronavirus patients had died in the last 24 hours and the overall national coronavirus death toll was at 54,778.

Число заразившихся новой коронавирусной инфекцией в России выросло за последние сутки на 28 284 и сейчас составляет 3 050 248 человек, из них 786 204 в Москве: #коронавирус #ТАССтатистика_коронавирус

8.37am GMT

The Sunday Times says the jab developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca is expected to be approved for use in the UK by Thursday. In an interview, the AstraZeneca chief executive, Pascal Soriot, said: “We think we’ve figured out the winning formula to maximise the protection offered.” He believes the vaccine will work against mutations of the virus, but admits further tests will be required to prove this.

Sunday Times: Vaccine boost for millions as hospitals near breaking point #TomorrowsPapersToday #SundayTimes #Times

8.23am GMT

Cases of the new variant strain first detected in the UK have been confirmed across Europe including in France, Spain, Denmark, Italy, Iceland, Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands, as well as around the globe in Australia, Japan and Lebanon.

And Dr Barbara Yaffe, the associate chief medical officer of Canada’s Ontario province, said the first two confirmed cases were a couple from the country’s Durham region with no known travel history, exposure or high-risk contacts.

8.20am GMT

The Czech Republic started administering vaccinations against the new coronavirus on Sunday, part of a push against the pandemic across the European Union.

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8.13am GMT

Welcome to a Sunday edition of our Coronavirus live blog covering both the UK and global developments on the virus.

The official vaccination programme against coronavirus gets underway in several EU countries today. In some places inoculations began last night when health workers in Hungary, Slovakia and Germany got their first injections of the Pfizer/BioNtech jab. The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babis, was vaccinated this morning at a military hospital in Prague.

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