Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Timeline: China and World Health Organization during COVID-19 crisis
A team from the World Health Organization (WHO) will arrive in the central Chinese city of Wuhan on Thursday to begin investigating the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following is a timeline looking at key events in the relationship between China and the WHO since the outbreak began.
U.S. Supreme Court revives bar on abortion pill mail delivery in pandemic
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated a requirement that women visit a hospital or clinic to obtain a drug used for medication-induced abortions, lifting an order by a lower court allowing the drug to be mailed or delivered as a safety measure during the coronavirus pandemic. The justices granted a request by President Donald Trump's administration to lift a federal judge's July order that had suspended the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) rule requiring in-person visits for the duration of the pandemic.
U.S. widens vaccination eligibility as COVID-19 deaths mount
U.S. federal officials on Tuesday agreed to send states additional coronavirus vaccine doses requested by several governors, as the country tries to ramp up the pace of inoculations with the daily COVID-19 death toll hovering at 3,200. Officials also recommended that states broaden vaccination eligibility to people as young as 65 or who have other chronic health conditions that make them vulnerable to severe COVID-19, drawing a mixed reaction from states that have tailored their inoculation priorities differently.
Mexico aims to fast track Russian Sputnik vaccine authorization after seeing data
Mexican health authorities will make a decision this week on whether to authorize Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine after getting access to data on it, Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said on Tuesday. Lopez-Gatell said President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had instructed authorities to "proceed speedily" with the process.
Japan set to expand state of emergency, public cools to Olympics
The Japanese government plans to expand a state of emergency it declared for the Tokyo area last week to seven additional prefectures on Wednesday in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19, public broadcaster NHK reported. The move comes after the governors of Osaka, Hyogo, Aichi and other hard-hit prefectures requested the government issue the emergency state, which gives local authorities the legal basis to place restrictions on residents' movements and businesses.
U.S. to require negative COVID-19 tests for arriving international air passengers
Nearly all air travelers will need to present a negative coronavirus test to enter the United States under expanded test testing requirements announced on Tuesday. Under the rules taking effect Jan. 26, nearly all travelers including U.S. citizens must show a negative test within three days of departure or documentation of recovery from COVID-19, under an order signed by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield.
What you need to know about the coronavirus right now
Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now: India prepares for 'world's biggest vaccination drive'
Indonesia president launches COVID-19 inoculation drive with Chinese vaccine
Indonesian President Joko Widodo received the country's first COVID-19 vaccine shot on Wednesday, as the government launched an ambitious programme to inoculate 181.5 million people in the world's fourth most populous country. Jokowi, as the president is popularly known, was given an injection with the CoronaVac vaccine made by China's Sinovac Biotech in the presidential palace in Jakarta.
California COVID surge shows signs of easing with hospitals strained to brink
California's COVID-19 surge is showing signs of leveling off after besieging hospitals, emergency services and morgues for weeks, the state's top health official said on Tuesday, as medical staffing continued to buckle under the strain. The number of newly hospitalized coronavirus patients statewide has declined to 2,500 admissions every 24 hours over the past two days, down from 3,500 in previous days, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr Mark Ghaly said in an online briefing with reporters.
China sees growing COVID-19 threat as more cities locked down
China has recorded the biggest daily jump in COVID cases in more than five months, despite four cities in lockdown, increased testing and other measures aimed at preventing another wave of infections in the world's second biggest economy. Most of the new patients were reported near the capital Beijing, but a province in northeast China also saw a rise in new cases, official data showed on Wednesday, amid a resurgence that has seen more than 28 million people under home quarantine.