Sara Sidner chokes up after reporting from hospital
CNN's Sara Sidner talks to a grieving California family forced to have a funeral service for their loved one who died of coronavirus in a parking lot, as funeral homes and local hospitals continue to be overwhelmed with the Covid-19 surge.
Germany has introduced new tougher restrictions for travelers arriving from countries designated as high-risk due to COVID 19. Border police stepped up controls at German airports for passengers from around 30 countries designated as high-risk or with high numbers of virus variants. All travelers now need to show a negative coronavirus test taken not more than 48 hours before arriving in Germany.
Germany's neighbor the Czech Republic is on the high-risk list. The new rules will affect thousands of people who cross the border every day to work in Germany. Big queues built up once the new regulations came into force.
Another country on Germany's high-risk list is Portugal. Voters there are going to the polls to elect a new president today, despite a deepening coronavirus crisis in the country. Incumbent Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa is regarded as the clear front runner -- for the post, which is largely ceremonial. Election organizers have increased the number of polling stations and allowed for early voting to avoid overcrowding at the ballot box. Portugal is battling the worst coronavirus infection rate in the world. The seven-day incidence rate is 785. That's means Portugal has a rate more than double that of the UK and US - and seven times that of Germany.
Israel has expanded its COVID-19 vaccination drive to include 16 to 18 year olds, with parental permission. The government says it will allow them to return to school and take exams. Israel has the world's highest vaccination rate and hopes to re-open its economy next month.
EU Council chief Charles Michel has warned Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers of possible legal consequences after they announced delays in delivering doses. Vaccine partners BioNTech and Pfizer blamed supply chain issues, while AstraZeneca said a production glitch would hamper supplies to Europe.
German health authorities have imposed a quarantine on a Berlin hospital after after six employees and 14 patients tested positive for a highly infectious variant of the coronavirus. A spokeswoman said the Humboldt Hospital will no longer be allowed to admit new patients and expects the number infected to rise.
New Zealand has reported its first coronavirus case, outside of a quarantine facility, in more than two months. The case was a 56-year-old woman who recently returned from Europe and tested negative twice while in quarantine. Health officials are investigating how she caught the virus and which variant it was. Major Wooten was released from the hospital on his 104th birthday after he survived his battle with COVID-19. Following criticism in Germany of the pace of the coronavirus vaccination roll-out, a health ministry official has revealed that Berlin has struck preliminary deals for an extra 50-million vaccine doses in the summer - outside what's been negotiated by the EU. December was the deadliest month of the pandemic so far in Germany - and the number of daily deaths remains high, reaching a new record on Friday. Pressure is high to protect vulnerable groups by quickly rolling out vaccines - but some predictions in German media say if the pace of inoculation continues as it is now, herd immunity would not be reached until 2027.
An outbreak of COVID-19 has prompted Chinese officials to tell people in two cities south of Beijing to stay at home for seven days. The cities in Hebei province have tightened lockdown measures - including a ban on public transportation. Nearly 350 people have tested positive so far. Around three-thousand medical staff have been mobilized to support mass testing of more than 11 million people. China says it will provide coronavirus vaccines free of charge.
The UK has recorded its highest number of daily deaths from the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. With a new variant that appears to be more transmissible surging across the country - authorities are particularly alarmed by the situation in London. Mayor Sadiq Kahn says the virus is 'out of control' in the capital - and hospitals face breaking point.
The coronavirus pandemic is also hitting some African nations hard, especially South Africa, where case numbers have been surging since the start of this year. It's the worst affected of all the African countries, with more than one million cases already reported. DW's Adrian Kriesch has more.
In India, a particularly cold winter has hit the residents of Delhi, with temperatures falling to almost zero degrees centigrade. Usually, at this time, many of the city's homeless stay in shelters but this season will be complicated by COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, as DW's Manira Chaudhary reports.
A year ago, thousands of believers came to the Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Sava in Düsseldorf to worship and celebrate Christmas Eve. One year later, due to the COVID pandemic, a lot has changed. The church had to adapt services to the circumstances to avoid the risks.
The United States has set another daily record for new infections, with almost 300-thousand new cases - and more than 3,600 deaths reported on Friday.
Australia's third-largest city of Brisbane has entered a 3-day lockdown after the emergence of a variant first detected in Britain. Officials say it was contracted by a cleaner at a quarantine facility. No community transmissions have been reported.
A new study published in the 'Lancet' medical journal says most people hospitalized with coronavirus still have symptoms after six months. The most common ones are fatigue and muscle weakness, but also sleeping difficulties. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole says he plans to expel eastern Ontario MP Derek Sloan from the Conservative caucus after news emerged that Sloan received a donation from a self-described white nationalist.