Covid news live: Bolsonaro criticises plans to vaccinate young children as Brazil cases soar

LIVE – Updated at 01:14

President says he will not vaccinate his 11-year-old daughter as country records highest daily number of infections since September.


James Corden, host of the Late Late Show, has tested positive for Covid. In a post on his Instagram account the British comedian said he was “fully vaccinated, boosted and because of this am fortunate enough to say I feel completely fine.”

He also said the show would be “off the air for the next few days”.

His diagnosis comes a day after fellow TV host Seth Meyers was forced to cancel his Late Night show after also catching the virus.


00:53 Cait Kelly

The scene at the Park Hotel in Melbourne where tennis star Novak Djokovic is staying is very quiet this morning.

There are a small number of refugee activists setting up for today’s protest, including representatives from Amnesty International and Tamil Refugee Council.

The two groups crossed over yesterday, with some Djokovic supporters calling on more help for the refugees, and refugee advocates calling on the tennis star to help them raise awareness of the 33 men detained indefinitely inside.

“We are here to stand vigil, to make sure the men detained know that we are here,” national campaign manager for Amnesty International Australia Shankar Kasynathan told Guardian Australia:

We’re hoping that Novak, who is inside there today as well, knows the world is watching him, that he has the opportunity today to bring an end to this madness.

To shine a light on the cruelty in this country. The game that is being played with lives must end. It’s game over.

Serbian Australians came out in force yesterday, mixing their protest of Djokovic’s detainment with celebrations of their Christmas Eve.

They lit candles, sung and danced into the evening, yelling “Free Novak” up at the hotel.

There was a small skirmish between police and refugee activists as they arrested two women who had been protesting on the awning above the old hotel entrance.

Today’s protests are expected to be bigger for the refugee activists, but many of Australia’s Serbian community will be enjoying Christmas Day.

Djokovic is expected to stay inside the hotel until the court hearing on Monday, when he will fight the deportation.

Bolsonaro criticises health regulator over plans to vaccinate children

President Jair Bolsonaro has criticised Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa for authorising the vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 years against Covid-19, Reuters reports, one day after his health minister unveiled plans to inoculate that age group.

Vaccine skeptic Bolsonaro said in a radio interview on Thursday that he had not heard of children dying of Covid-19 and repeated that his daughter Laura, 11, would not be vaccinated. Bolsonaro said vaccines could have side effects on children, but gave no evidence.

Anvisa and health regulators around the world have found that Covid-19 vaccines are safe from age 5 and up.

“Are you going to vaccinate your child when the possibility of dying is almost zero? What is behind this? What are the interests of vaccine maniacs?” Bolsonaro stated.

© Provided by The Guardian
Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro (right), has criticised plans to vaccinate young children against Covid-19 just as cases spike once again. Photograph: Amanda Perobelli/Reuters

The Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday that it had bought 20 million pediatric vaccines developed by Pfizer Inc and voluntary vaccination of children 5 to 11 years old will begin by the end of the month.

Bolsonaro’s comments came as the Health Ministry reported 35,826 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the highest daily number of infections since September, and 128 deaths from Covid.

In a social media broadcast later on Thursday, Bolsonaro stressed that the vaccination was not obligatory. “No town mayor or state governor can prevent a child from going to school for not being vaccinated,” he said.

Bolsonaro warned that Pfizer has not assumed responsibility for any side effects the vaccine could have in children, and said parents should immediately seek a doctor if their child developed chest pains or shortage of breath.

Anvisa approved the Pfizer vaccine for children on 16 December, drawing heated criticism from people opposed to vaccines and the president, who suggested that children only be vaccinated with a doctor’s prescription.

The ministry dropped the idea as impractical. Requiring a written prescription would discourage vaccination at a time when the more transmissible coronavirus variant Omicron is starting to spread in Brazil, health experts said at a public hearing.

According to the national council of state health secretaries at least 300 children aged 5 to 11 had died in Brazil from Covid-19 by the start of December.

Brazil’s army differed from the president this week on how to deal with Covid-19. It ordered soldiers to get vaccinated, wear masks and maintain social distance, and warned them against spreading false news about the pandemic.


Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s rolling coverage of the Covid pandemic with me, Helen Livingstone.

Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro has criticised the country’s health regulator Anvisa for authorising the vaccination of children aged five to 11 years against Covid. His comments came as the country reported reported 35,826 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the highest daily number of infections since September.

Novak Djokovic’s family have said he is the victim of “a political agenda” aimed at “stomping on Serbia” as protesters in Belgrade called for his release and Serbia’s president insisted “the whole country” was behind him.

The more infectious Omicron variant appears to produce less severe disease than the globally dominant Delta, but should not be categorised as “mild”, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

  • Britain’s first wave of coronavirus raised the risk of death by more than 40% for most adults regardless of their underlying health and other factors, research suggests.
  • Johnson & Johnson has confirmed a real-world study shows that its single shot Covid vaccine produced long-lasting protection for up to six months against breakthrough infections and hospitalisations.
  • Mexico is likely to surpass 300,000 deaths from Covid this week – the fifth highest death toll worldwide – as infections rise after the holiday season, fuelled by the Omicron variant and largely unrestricted tourism.
  • Peru raised its pandemic alert level in numerous cities and tightened some restrictions amid a third wave of infections caused by the spread of the Omicron variant.
  • Nigeria is working to develop a Covid vaccine, President Muhammadu Buhari said in a televised interview on Thursday, as the country battles growing cases of the virus.
  • Chile will begin offering a fourth shot of the Covid vaccine next week to immunocompromised people, making it the first country in Latin America and one of the first in the world to offer the extra dose.
  • The Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, has ordered the arrest of unvaccinated people who violate stay-at-home orders aimed at curbing “galloping” infections driven by the Omicron variant.

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