World News in Brief: December 15

Tuesday, 2020-12-15 15:33:31
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Pedestrians wearing face masks wait for bus in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Dec. 14, 2020. Kyrgyzstan's COVID-19 cases reached 77,674 on Monday as 318 new cases were registered across the country over the past 24 hours. (Photo: Xinhua)
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Russian developers published fresh trial results for their Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine based on new data, and said the shot had again been found to be 91.4% effective in providing protection from COVID-19.

* Pfizer Inc and partners delivered the first vaccines to 141 of 145 locations targeted by the US government for the first day of a nationwide rollout on Monday.

* Moderna Inc said it was informed by the European Medicines Agency certain documents related to pre-submission talks of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate were unlawfully accessed in a cyberattack on the medicines regulator.

* Drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc has removed children from a mid-to-late stage trial of its COVID-19 vaccine in Britain.

* Canada kicked off its inoculation campaign against COVID-19 by injecting frontline healthcare workers and elderly nursing home residents.

* Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday hailed the role of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in international economic cooperation while delivering a speech via video link at an event to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the OECD Convention.

* Asian stocks drifted lower as worries about increasing COVID-19 deaths and lockdowns overshadowed optimism about the roll-out of coronavirus vaccinations.

* Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday that any attempt to change the US-brokered Dayton peace agreement that ended Bosnia's war 25 years ago may have "grave consequences".

* French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday promised to hold a referendum on revising the constitution to include references to the environment and fighting climate change.

* Mexico, the president pro tempore of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), on Monday called for cooperation between the region and the European Union (EU) to mitigate economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

* Around 1.8 billion people are at heightened risk of COVID-19 and other diseases because they use or work in health care facilities without basic water services, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said Monday in a report.

* China's National Health Commission said Tuesday that it received reports of 17 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland Monday, including three domestically transmitted cases and 14 imported ones. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the mainland reached 86,758 by Monday, including 312 patients still receiving treatment and 4,634 had died of the virus.

* The United States reached the grim milestone of 300,000 coronavirus deaths on Monday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. With the national case count topping 16.3 million, the death toll across the United States rose to 300,267 as of 3:26 p.m. local time (2026 GMT), according to the CSSE data.

* Brazil has registered 433 additional COVID-19 deaths and 25,193 new confirmed cases over the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Monday. The South American country has now registered a total of 181,835 COVID-19 deaths and 6,927,145 total confirmed cases of the new coronavirus.

* Russia on Tuesday reported 26,689 new coronavirus cases over the last 24 hours, including 5,418 in Moscow, pushing the national tally to 2,707,945. Authorities said 577 people had died overnight, taking the official death toll to 47,968.

* Argentina on Monday reported 5,062 new COVID-19 cases, bringing its national tally to 1,503,222, said the country's Ministry of Health. The ministry also said that 275 more patients have died of the disease, raising the nationwide death toll to 41,041. A total of 1,340,120 patients have recovered, while 122,061 cases remain active, it added.

* The United Kingdom reported 20,263 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, taking the total figure over the past seven days to 131,708, up 21.6% compared with the previous seven-day number, official data showed. The country reported 232 new deaths from the disease, with the seven-day total rising to 2,984, almost unchanged from the previous seven days.

* Italy is considering more stringent nationwide restrictions during the Christmas holidays.

* The Netherlands will go into a tough second lockdown, with the closure of all schools and shops for at least five weeks.

* Czech restaurants, hotels and indoor sports venues, which reopened from a lockdown only two weeks ago, must shut again from Friday in response to a new rise in infections.

* Sweden, known for its soft-touch response to the pandemic, was close to an all-time high for the number of patients being treated in hospital, according to official figures.

* Twin efforts were underway in the US Congress to reach a massive government spending deal that would avert a government shutdown, as Republicans and Democrats insisted that they want to include a fresh round of aid.

* Argentina's total tally of coronavirus infections touched 1.5 million, making it the ninth country in the world to reach the milestone.

* President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey will impose a five-day full lockdown beginning on Dec. 31.

* South Africa imposed further restrictions as it looks to slow a sharp rise in infections.

* Israel said it was beginning a second-phase trial with 1,000 people for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate which, if successful, could be ready for the general public by the end of next summer.

* Turkey condemned as a "grave mistake" US sanctions over its purchase of Russian S-400 missile defences, and said on Monday it will retaliate as necessary after it repeatedly called on Washington to solve the issue through dialogue. Earlier on Monday the United States acted on its long-threatened move and imposed sanctions on the top Turkish defense development body, its president and three employees.

* An attack blamed on Boko Haram killed 28 people and burned 800 homes in an attack in Niger's Diffa region on Saturday, Nigerien authorities and the United Nations said.

* Hurricanes Eta and Iota have caused about US$10 billion in damages in Honduras, the Central American country's foreign minister Lisandro Rosales said on Monday. The storms hit within two weeks of one another last month, bringing disastrous flooding to much of Central America.

Xinhua, Reuters