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New York Governor asks Pfizer to directly sell COVID-19 doses.

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JANUARY 19, 2021

Reuters News Now

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS TODAY

Cuomo asks Pfizer to directly sell COVID-19 vaccine doses
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo asked Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla if the state could buy COVID-19 vaccine doses directly from the U.S. drugmaker.

Pfizer, however, told Reuters that such a proposal would first require approval by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“With hospitalizations and deaths increasing across the country this winter, we are in a footrace with the virus, and we will lose unless we dramatically increase the number of doses getting to New Yorkers”, Cuomo said in a letter to Pfizer’s CEO.

Supermarket chain Aldi to pay U.S. workers who get COVID-19 vaccination
German supermarket chain Aldi became the latest firm in the grocery sector to offer incentives for U.S. employees getting a COVID-19 vaccine, saying it would give up to four hours of pay to those who choose to receive inoculations.

The retailer, which has more than 2,000 stores in 37 U.S. states, said it would cover costs associated with vaccine administration and implement on-site vaccination clinics at its warehouse and office locations.

Dollar General Corp last week offered frontline employees a similar incentive after they get the vaccine, while grocery delivery company Instacart said it would pay $25 to more than half-a-million gig workers if they chose to take time off to get vaccinated.

China's COVID outbreak worst since March 2020

China is battling the worst outbreak of COVID-19 since March 2020, with one province posting a record daily rise in cases, as an independent panel reviewing the global pandemic said China could have done more to curb the initial outbreak.

State-backed tabloid the Global Times on Tuesday defended China’s early handling of COVID-19, saying no country had any experience in dealing with the virus.

“Looking back, no country could perform perfectly in facing a novel virus... No country can guarantee they won’t make mistakes if a similar epidemic occurs again,” it said.

Germany to extend lockdown to mid-Feb
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to agree with regional leaders to extend a lockdown for most shops and schools until mid-February as part of a package of steps to try to rein in the coronavirus, sources said.

New infections have been decreasing in recent days and pressure on intensive care units has eased slightly, but virologists are worried about the possible spread of more infectious variants of the virus.

“It is likely that we will agree on a two-week extension,” said one person involved in the talks, confirming a report in Bild daily. The existing lockdown runs until Jan. 31.

EU to share surplus COVID-19 vaccines with poorer nations
The European Union wants to set up a mechanism that would allow the sharing of surplus COVID-19 vaccines with poorer neighboring states and Africa, the EU health chief said, in a move that may undercut a WHO-led global scheme.

The EU, with a population of 450 million, has already secured nearly 2.3 billion COVID-19 vaccines and candidates from six companies, although most of them still need regulatory approval.

Track the global spread with our live interactive graphic here.

Breakingviews - Corona Capital: Chinese M&A, Logitech, Lindt Outbound Chinese acquisitions in 2020 tumble to their lowest level since 2008 and Logitech benefits from hordes of home-workers. Catch up with the latest pandemic-related financial insights here.

Reuters reporters and editors around the world are investigating the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

We need your help to tell these stories. Our news organization wants to capture the full scope of what’s happening and how we got here by drawing on a wide variety of sources.

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TOP STORIES

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden plans to quickly extend travel restrictions barring travel by most people who have recently been in much of Europe and Brazil soon after President Donald Trump lifted those requirements effective Jan. 26, a spokeswoman for Biden said. Trump signed an order lifting the restrictions he imposed early last year in response to the pandemic.

The Kremlin said it would not take into account calls by some Western countries to impose additional sanctions on Russia over the detention of opposition politician Alexei Navalny, saying his case was purely a domestic matter. Navalny, who has urged Russians to take to the streets in protest, was detained on Sunday after he flew back to Russia for the first time since he was poisoned with a nerve agent last summer and taken into pre-trial detention for 30 days.

Parler, a social media website and app popular with the American far right, has partially returned online with the help of a Russian-owned technology company. Parler vanished from the internet when dropped by Amazon Inc’s hosting arm and other partners for poor moderation after its users called for violence and posted videos glorifying the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

A Thai court sentenced a 65-year-old woman to more than 43 years in jail for sharing online posts criticizing the royal family, her lawyer said, the country’s harshest ever sentence for insulting the monarchy. Her sentence comes at a time of unprecedented youth-led demonstrations in which protest leaders have openly criticized the monarchy, risking prosecution under Thailand’s strict law known as lese majeste, which carries a 15-year penalty for each violation.

The acting Pentagon chief said the FBI is assisting the U.S. military in vetting more than 25,000 National Guard troops being deployed to assist in protecting the U.S. Capitol around President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration for potential security concerns. After the Jan. 6 Capitol assault by supporters of President Donald Trump that resulted in five deaths and sent lawmakers into hiding, the U.S. government has imposed unprecedented security surrounding the Capitol.

BUSINESS

The Trump years: Tax cuts and trade wars overshadowed in the end by a virus

From trade wars to tax cuts, from ultra-low unemployment to record highs on stock markets and a high-volume feud with his own Federal Reserve chief, President Donald Trump took the U.S. economy on a wild ride even before the coronavirus drove it off a cliff.

6 MIN READ

Goldman Sachs profit surges on M&A, trading boost

Goldman Sachs Group reported a 153% jump in fourth-quarter profit, powered by another blowout performance at its core bond trading and underwriting business and an uptick in merger and acquisition activity.

1 MIN READ

Canada scrambles to salvage Keystone XL as Biden prepares to kill troubled pipeline project

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s expected move to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline prompted Canada’s main oil-producing province of Alberta to threaten to seek damages as Ottawa made efforts to save the troubled project.

4 MIN READ

Boeing 737 MAX to get EU flight clearance next week

Boeing’s 737 MAX airliner will receive final clearance to resume flying in Europe next week, the head of the EU’s air safety watchdog said. The EU Aviation Safety Agency is one of the last major regulators to approve changes to the MAX and its anti-stall software, blamed for two deadly crashes that grounded the jet in March 2019.

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