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On the coronavirus, further lockdown measures were announced this week across a number of European countries to deal with the continued rise in cases.

Starting with Germany, lockdowns have been extended until January 31 as a result of  Chancellor Merkel and state premiers meeting yesterday.

Meanwhile, both Italy and Ireland extended a number of their own restrictions and residents of Denmark saw the limit on public gatherings reduced from 10 to 5.

As for Spain, on of the worst-hit nation son the continent, it is to set up a register of people who refuse to be vaccinated against coronavirus and share it with other European Union nations, the health minister has said.

Salvador Illa said the way to defeat the virus was “to vaccinate all of us – the more the better”.

Across the Channel, the UK, Chancellor Sunak announced a fresh £4.6bn package of measures to help businesses through the new lockdown announced on Monday.

However, news also circulated that it was leaked that London’s hospitals are less than two weeks from being overwhelmed, even under the “best” case scenario, according to a paper from the UK’s National Health Service.

NHS England London medical director Vin Diwakar set out the stark analysis to the medical directors of London’s hospital trusts on a Zoom call.

About one in 50 people in England now have coronavirus, England’s chief medical officer said. England entered another national lockdown on Tuesday.

Across the pond, hospitalizations in the US continue to rise following the holidays and the case surge has also limited the vaccine rollout, officials say.

The world, especially countries like the United States, is playing a “very dangerous game” with the novel coronavirus, giving it more chances to mutate as the virus spreads, a World Health Organization official said.

“We’re playing a very dangerous game with this virus right now,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead for the coronavirus response, told CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen. “What worries us is that the longer this spreads the more opportunities it has to change.”

Market implications

Markets are concentrated on US politics following the siege of the Capitol on Wednesday, however, and an undertone of optimism pertaining to the vaccine has enabled investors to look through the threats of the mutating virus. 

Meanwhile, the US dollar could find a safe haven bid on a determination of the situation which would tally with the prospects of a technical correction to the upside.