World News in Brief: December 11

Friday, 2020-12-11 17:00:24
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A medical worker gives the COVID-19 vaccine injection in Moscow, Russia, Dec. 8, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)
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New Zealand has confirmed its APEC host year priorities with a focus on responding to the economic impacts of COVID-19, as its first APEC 2021 virtual meeting was concluded from Wellington on Friday (December 11).

* Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel announced that his country will unify its two currencies, the Cuban peso and convertible peso, as of Jan. 1, the state-run TV reported on Thursday.

* Japan's cabinet on Friday approved an additional emergency spending package worth JPY385.62 billion (US$3.70 billion) in reserve funds to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

* Doses of a COVID-19 vaccine made by China's Sinovac Biotech are rolling off a Brazilian production line, drawing interest around the country and across Latin America from governments struggling to procure costlier vaccines.

* Russia has agreed with Argentina to supply 10 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine.

* United Parcel Service and FedEx Corp plan to deliver millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines before holiday gifts. Walmart is also readying to administer vaccines.

* The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Friday said it had launched a US$9-billion vaccine initiative called the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX), offering its members rapid and equitable support to procure and deliver COVID-19 vaccines.

* United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday warned against "vaccine nationalism," appealing for greater finance to secure inoculations for Africa.

* Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-in will send a special envoy to Russia next week to commemorate the 30th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations, the presidential Blue House said Friday.

* Asian shares bounced back as progress on COVID-19 vaccines boosted investor sentiment, but tricky Brexit negotiations and US stimulus talks capped gains in riskier assets.

* US COVID-19 deaths surpassed 290,000 on Thursday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. With the national case count topping 15.4 million, the death toll across the United States rose to 290,219 as of 12:26 p.m. local time (1726 GMT), according to the CSSE data.

* Russia recorded 28,585 more COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 2,597,711, the country's COVID-19 response center said Friday. Meanwhile, 613 new deaths were reported, taking the nationwide count to 45,893.

* Mexico reported on Thursday 11,897 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the national total to 1,217,126, according to its health ministry. Meanwhile, the country's death toll from the virus increased by 671 to 112,326.

* The European Commission on Thursday proposed a back-up plan which aims to ensure, among others, the basic reciprocal air and road connectivity between the European Union (EU) and the UK if the two sides fail to cut a post-Brexit trade deal.

* The Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines reported 1,504 new confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection on Friday, bringing the total number in the country to 447,039. The DOH said 273 more patients recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 409,329. The death toll climbed to 8,709 after eight more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH added.

* Sweden saw a record number of daily COVID-19 cases and France ruled out reopening cultural venues.

* Every secondary school student in several London boroughs will be tested as the government tries to tackle a rise in cases.

* Spain's death toll between March and May was almost 70% higher than the official count at the time, data showed.

* Berlin's mayor said the city wants to close shops and extend the school Christmas holidays as Germany reported a new record number of cases.

* Denmark will expand lockdown measures announced earlier this week to more cities.

* House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Congress could work on a COVID-19 relief package until Dec. 26, the day after Christmas, when a range of emergency aid programs are set to expire.

* The first 30,000 doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine are set to arrive in Canada soon, allowing authorities to kick off a campaign to crush a second wave.

* Egypt received its first shipment of vaccines developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) late on Thursday and will get more deliveries soon, health officials said.

* Australia abruptly halted the production of a home-made vaccine against COVID-19 after trials showed it could interfere with HIV diagnosis, with the government instead securing additional doses of rival vaccines.

* Pfizer said it planned to file for full US approval of its experimental coronavirus vaccine by April next year, even as the vaccine awaits emergency use authorization by the US FDA.

* Argentina reported 6,994 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, raising the national tally to 1,482,216, said the ministry of health on Thursday. The ministry said 211 patients died of the disease in the same period, and that two cases previously counted as COVID-19 deaths were excluded, bringing the nationwide death toll to 40,431.

* Nigeria may be on the verge of a second wave of COVID-19 infections, the health minister warned, as another official said the country expects to roll out a vaccine by April next year.

* Bahrain will provide the vaccine for free for all citizens and residents, state news agency BNA reported.

Xinhua,Reuters