Portugal’s president tests positive; Lebanon tightens restrictions as infections skyrocket; ‘Reckless’ Christmas rule relaxation blamed for Ireland surge

2.25am GMT

Nearly 9 million Americans had been given their first Covid-19 vaccination dose as of Monday morning, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, as states scrambled to step up inoculations that have yet to slow the roaring pandemic.The 8,987,322 people who have been given the first of two shots, according to the CDC, represent less than one-third of the total doses distributed to states by the US government.Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Monday sought permission from the Trump administration to directly purchase 100,000 doses of the vaccine manufactured by Pfizer Inc, partner BioNTech SE, which was cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use.The FDA has also approved a vaccine made by Moderna.“We remain ready to accelerate distribution to get doses into arms,” Whitmer, a first-term Democrat, said in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

2.00am GMT

In Australia, the state premier of New South Wales, home to Sydney, is “pleading” with people to come forward for testing after five cases of community transmission of coronavirus were identified in the state overnight, while in the state of Queensland a man was in the community with an infectious UK strain of the virus for two days before going into isolation.

“As we see, the disease is still bumbling along in the community and we need to be vigilant about that,” Gladys Berejiklian said on Tuesday. “And that’s why I’m pleading for people to come forward and get tested. We know that it takes some time to completely get to the target of zero community transmission after there has been an outbreak, but it’s so critical that we raise those testing levels.”

Related: Gladys Berejiklian 'pleading' for more Covid testing after five community cases in NSW

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Monday, January 11, 2021 - 9:25pm