World News in Brief: December 27

Sunday, 2020-12-27 17:49:05
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A medical worker receives an injection with a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at the Spallanzani Hospital in Rome, Italy, Dec. 27, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)
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Almost 10 months after the first Italian patient tested positive for the new coronavirus, Italy on Sunday vaccinated the first residents against COVID-19. Italy on Thursday became the eighth country in the world to exceed 2 million officially recorded cases. It has reported 70,909 deaths, the highest toll in Europe and the fifth highest in the world.

* The Chinese mainland on Saturday reported 22 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 12 locally transmitted cases and 10 arriving from outside the mainland, the National Health Commission said Sunday. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the mainland reached 86,955 by Saturday, including 334 patients still receiving treatment.

* India's COVID-19 tally rose to 10,187,850 on Sunday as 18,732 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours, said the latest data from the federal health ministry. This is the first time in six months when the number of new cases fell below the 20,000-mark. According to the data, the death toll mounted to 147,622 as 279 COVID-19 patients died since Saturday morning.

* Russia reported 28,284 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 3,050,248 after it crossed the 3 million mark on the previous day. Russia's coronavirus crisis center said 552 coronavirus patients had died in the last 24 hours and the overall national coronavirus death toll was at 54,778.

* Republic of Korea said on Sunday it will extend social distancing measures introduced to try to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic for another six days, to Jan. 3, even as it continues to report near-record numbers of new cases each day. The country reported 970 new coronavirus cases for Saturday, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said earlier on Sunday, bringing the national tally to 56,872 cases, with 808 deaths.

* Thailand on Sunday recorded 121 new cases of COVID-19 infection, according to the Center for the COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA). Thailand has confirmed 6,141 cases so far. A total of 4,161 have fully recovered and been discharged from hospitals while 1,920 others are currently being hospitalized and 60 fatalities have been reported so far.

* Israel will enter what officials hope will be its last coronavirus lockdown on Sunday as they ramp up vaccinations to a pace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said may allow an emergence from the pandemic by March.

* Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis became the first person in the country to be given a vaccine against the new coronavirus on Sunday, as European Union member states begin a pushback against the pandemic which is surging across the continent.

* Gulf Arab foreign ministers will hold a virtual meeting hosted by Bahrain on Sunday ahead of an annual summit to discuss steps towards ending a diplomatic row that has undermined regional stability and thwarted Washington's efforts to form a united front against Iran.

* Cyprus on Sunday started vaccinating its population against COVID-19 as part of a concerted drive across the European Union to curb the pandemic which has claimed the lives of more than 1.7 million people worldwide. Cyprus has reported 19,391 cases of the novel coronavirus, and 111 deaths.

* Polls opened on Sunday for Central African Republic's presidential and legislative elections being held under a cloud of threats and violence from armed rebel groups.

* Polls opened for Niger's presidential election in the capital Niamey on Sunday morning, a Reuters witness said.