Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2021
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This article documents the chronology of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2021, which originated in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Some developments may become known or fully understood only in retrospect. Reporting on this pandemic began in December 2019.
Reactions and measures in Africa
- South African Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize announced that the country would be receiving one million doses of the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and biotech firm AstraZeneca in January 2021 and another 500,000 in February 2021.
Reactions and measures in the Americas
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Reactions and measures in the Eastern Mediterranean
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Reactions and measures in Europe
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that England will enter into a seven-week lockdown with schools closing until February 2021 half-term in response to a spike in cases. All non-essential shops will close from the night of 4 January. The UK's Joint Biosecurity Centre has also raised the national alert level to five.
- Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that mainland Scotland will enter into a full lockdown from midnight 4 January for the duration of January 2021.
- Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams has announced that all schools and colleges in Wales will move into online learning until 18 January 2021.
- The Northern Ireland Executive has announced an extended period of remote learning for all schools in Northern Ireland.
Reactions and measures in South, Southeast and East Asia
- Malaysian Senior Minister Dato Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the country's Recovery Movement Control Order had been extended to 31 March 2021 as cases are still high.
- India's Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar announced the approval of AstraZeneca-Oxford's vaccine, which had been done the previous day. This makes the vaccine the first allowed for emergency use in India. In addition, three vaccine brands are being readied for approval in preparation for immunisation exercises.
- India's Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation gives final approval of both AstraZeneca-Oxford's vaccine and Bharat Biotech's vaccine for emergency use.
- The Malaysian Ministry of Health has ordered an additional 12.2 million doses of the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in response to rising cases and the tightening of lockdown measures.
- Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has reimposed movement control order restrictions on mobility, economic activities, and public gatherings in the states of Malacca, Johor, Penang, Selangor, Sabah and the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, and Labuan between 13 and 26 January 2021.
- The Malaysian King Abdullah of Pahang declared a nationwide state of emergency until at least 1 August in response to the ongoing spread of COVID-19 and a political crisis. Under this state of emergency, parliament and elections will be suspended while the Malaysian Government will be empowered to introduce laws without parliamentary approval.
- Malaysian Senior Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the Government would be allowing restaurants, food stalls and other food delivery services in states under the Malaysian movement control order to operate until 10pm starting 22 January .
- The Malaysian Government has extended the country's movement control order restrictions over the states of Selangor, Penang, Johor, Malacca, Sabah and the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan until 4 February.
- Singapore has suspends its "travel bubble" arrangements with Malaysia, Germany, and South Korea in response to a global spike of cases and the emergence of new variants.
Reactions and measures in the Western Pacific
- New Zealand COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has announced that travellers entering the country from the United Kingdom and United States will be required to take pre-departure tests before entering New Zealand from 15 January 2020.
- New Zealand national carrier Air New Zealand announced that its first quarantine-free flight to Brisbane would depart from Auckland on 7 January 2021. Passengers traveling from New Zealand to Brisbane will not need to enter into quarantine if they fill out an Australian Travel Declaration saying they have been in New Zealand for 14 days.
- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared a state of emergency in the greater Tokyo area after Tokyo reported a record number of new COVID-19 infections.
- Premier of Queensland Annastacia Palaszczuk has imposed a three-day lockdown on Greater Brisbane after the city reported its first community transmission in 113 days, which was linked to the highly infectious British strain.
- New Zealand's COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has announced that the Government will introduce new border protection changes requiring most international travelers with the exception of those from Australia, Antarctica and some Pacific Island states to produce a negative COVID-19 test before traveling to New Zealand.
- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the establishment of a one-way travel bubble for Cook Islanders traveling to New Zealand. However, these arrangements do not apply to New Zealanders seeking to travel to the Cook Islands, who will have to go into quarantine.
- New Zealand COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed that most travelers with the exception of those coming from Australia, Antarctica, and most Pacific Island states including Fiji, Samoa, Tokelau, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu will need a pre-departure test from 26 January 2021.
- Japan's former environment minister Nobuteru Ishihara was swiftly admitted to hospital after he tested positive for COVID-19 without showing symptoms. Meanwhile, at least 35,000 people were waiting for admission to hospital beds as hospitals were overwhelmed, and at least 25 people died while at home.
- Australian Minister for Health Greg Hunt suspended the country's travel bubble with New Zealand for a period of 72 hours after New Zealand authorities confirmed a community transmission in the country's Northland Region.
- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that New Zealand's borders would remain close to most non-citizens and non-residents until New Zealand citizens have been vaccinated, a process that will not start until mid-2021.
- Western Australia has entered into five day lockdown until 5 February after a quarantine hotel security guard at the Four Points by Sheraton in Perth tested positive for COVID-19. The reopening of schools will be delayed for another week.
- "South Africa to receive first COVID vaccines in January". Al Jazeera. 7 January 2021. Archived from the original on 10 January 2021. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
- Elgot, Jessica; Walker, Peter (4 January 2021). "England to enter toughest Covid lockdown since March". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 4 January 2021. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
- "Covid: Schools in Wales to stay shut until 18 January". BBC News. 4 January 2021. Archived from the original on 4 January 2021. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
- McCormack, Jayne (4 January 2021). "Coronavirus: Extended period of remote learning for NI schools". BBC News. Archived from the original on 4 January 2021. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
- "COVID-19: Malaysia's recovery movement control order extended again to Mar 31". Channel News Asia. 1 January 2021. Archived from the original on 1 January 2021. Retrieved 2 January 2021.
- "India approves Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine". The Guardian. 2 January 2021. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
- "India approves AstraZeneca and local COVID-19 vaccines, rollout in weeks". CNA. 3 January 2021. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
- Kumar, P. Prem (11 January 2021). "Malaysia doubles Pfizer COVID vaccine order as it locks down anew". Nikkei Asia. Archived from the original on 11 January 2021. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
- Rodzi, Nadirah (11 January 2021). "Malaysia to reimpose MCO in some states: What do the Covid-19 restrictions entail". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 11 January 2021. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
- Ratcliffe, Rebecca (12 January 2021). "Malaysia declares Covid state of emergency amid political turmoil". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 12 January 2021. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
- "Malaysia's king declares state of emergency to curb spread of Covid-19". CNN. 12 January 2021. Archived from the original on 12 January 2021. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
- Lim, Ida (21 January 2021). "MCO 2.0: Restaurants, food delivery can open until 10pm from tomorrow, Ismail Sabri says". Malay Mail. Archived from the original on 21 January 2021. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
- Anand, Ram (21 January 2021). "Malaysia extends Covid-19 movement curbs for several areas, including KL, by a week to Feb 4". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 21 January 2021. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
- "Singapore suspends 'travel bubble' with Malaysia, South Korea". Al Jazeera. 30 January 2021. Archived from the original on 30 January 2021. Retrieved 30 January 2021.
- "Covid-19: UK and US travellers to need pre-departure tests before departing to NZ". Radio New Zealand. 3 January 2021. Archived from the original on 3 January 2021. Retrieved 3 January 2021.
- "Air New Zealand's first quarantine-free flight to Brisbane takes off tomorrow". Radio New Zealand. 6 January 2021. Archived from the original on 6 January 2021. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
- Kageyama, Yuri (7 January 2021). "Japan declares emergency for Tokyo area as cases spike". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 29 January 2021. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
- "Covid 19 coronavirus: Brisbane suburbs go into a three-day lockdown". The New Zealand Herald. 8 January 2021. Archived from the original on 10 January 2021. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
- Walls, Jason (12 January 2021). "Covid 19 coronavirus: Government announces new Covid testing rules". The New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on 12 January 2021. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
- "Welcome to the bubble: Cook Islanders able to enter NZ without quarantine from January 21". 1 News. 15 January 2021. Archived from the original on 15 January 2021. Retrieved 15 January 2021.
- "Covid-19: Pre-departure test extended to all passengers from next week". Stuff. 19 January 2021. Archived from the original on 19 January 2021. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
- "Japan PM apologises after lawmakers' night club outings". Reuters. 27 January 2021. Archived from the original on 4 February 2021. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
- "Australia shuts down travel bubble with New Zealand after new Covid-19 case". 1 News. 25 January 2021. Archived from the original on 25 January 2021. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
- Hunt, Greg (25 January 2021). "UPDATE - New Zealand Travel Arrangements". Department of Health and Ageing. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
- de Jong, Eleanor (26 January 2021). "New Zealand borders to stay closed until citizens are 'vaccinated and protected'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 27 January 2021. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
- Laschon, Eliza (31 January 2021). "COVID quarantine hotel worker tests positive in WA, sending state into lockdown". www.abc.net.au. ABC News. Retrieved 31 January 2021.