World News in Brief: December 12

Saturday, 2020-12-12 18:13:51
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The WHO expects to decide whether to give emergency use approval to vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca in the coming weeks, its chief scientist said.

* India will deploy its vast election machinery to deliver 600 million doses of vaccines to the most vulnerable people in the next six to eight months through conventional cold chain systems, the expert leading the initiative said.

* The ability of developing countries in Asia to fight the pandemic got a boost after the Asian Development Bank said it has launched a US$9 billion facility to help nations access and deliver vaccines.

* Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline delayed the launch of their COVID-19 vaccine, while AstraZeneca said it would investigate combining its experimental COVID-19 vaccine with the Russian shot.

* Global stock indexes eased and the dollar rose on Friday amid continued concerns over the timing of more US economic stimulus.

* The Bank of Japan is likely to decide next week to extend a range of steps aimed at easing corporate funding strains as a resurgence of infections cloud the economic outlook.

* Daily coronavirus deaths hit a record high in Portugal and Turkey, while US officials prepared for the most ambitious vaccination campaign in decades as regulators rapidly advanced toward approving the first COVID-19 vaccine.

* Germany will have to shut down more parts of society before Christmas.

* United Kingdom will cut the self-isolation period for COVID-19 to 10 days from 14.

* Greece will allow hair salons and bookstores to reopen during the Christmas season but keep most other retail shops shut.

* Switzerland has ordered restaurants, bars and shops to close down from 7 p.m. across much of the nation.

* Some Spanish ski stations are set to open next week while observing nationwide restrictions. France will also let ski resorts reopen lifts on Jan. 7 if the COVID-19 situation allows, a minister said.

* Longer-range forecasts project the second wave of the coronavirus spreading rapidly through Canada, and all the major provinces need to impose more restrictions.

* US land borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least Jan. 21.

* Five key genes are linked with the most severe form of COVID-19, scientists said.

* Nigeria's economy is likely to contract by 3.25% this year before rebounding to growth of 1.5% in 2021, the International Monetary Fund said.

Reuters