World News in Brief: December 31

Thursday, 2020-12-31 15:43:18
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A medical worker prepares a vaccine against the COVID-19 in a healthcare services center in Jerusalem, Dec. 30, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)
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More than 82.19 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,796,307 have died, according to a Reuters tally. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

* China announced on Thursday that it had granted conditional marketing authorization for a self-developed COVID-19 vaccine.

* Cambodia on Thursday allowed the resumption of all sports activities after the community outbreak of the COVID-19 had been brought under control.

* Indonesia received its second batch of coronavirus vaccines from Sinovac on Thursday, the country's foreign and health ministers said, as the world's fourth most populous country prepares a mass inoculation programme. The government took delivery of 1.8 million doses of the Chinese vaccine, adding to the 1.2 million it received on Dec. 6, and aims to vaccinate its 267 million population for free, starting with frontline health workers.

* Thailand confirmed 194 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the majority of which were locally transmitted, the government's COVID-19 task-force said. The new infections include 13 imported cases. Thailand has confirmed a total of 6,884 coronavirus cases and 61 deaths since first detecting the virus in late January.

* Myanmar's Ministry of Transport and Communications has further extended the temporary suspension period of international commercial flights until the end of January. The ministry on Thursday issued an announcement to extend the effective period for temporary measures to prevent importation of COVID-19 to the country through air travel which will end on Thursday night.

* Pakistan will purchase 1.2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from China's Sinopharm.

* US COVID-19 deaths surpassed 340,000 on Wednesday afternoon, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. With the national case count topping 19.6 million, the death toll across the United States rose to 340,586 as of 2:22 p.m. local time (1922 GMT), according to the CSSE data.

* India's COVID-19 tally rose to 10,266,674 on Thursday, as 21,822 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours, said the latest data from the federal health ministry. According to the data, the death toll mounted to 148,738 as 299 COVID-19 patients died since Wednesday morning.

* Russia reported 27,747 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, including 6,566 in Moscow, taking the national tally to 3,159,297 since the pandemic began. Authorities reported 593 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the official death toll to 57,019.

* The number of new daily COVID-19 cases in Tokyo surpassed the 1,000-mark for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic, Governor Yuriko Koike said Thursday, warning that the third wave hitting the capital is of "unprecedented size."

* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered millions more people to live under the strictest COVID-19 restrictions from Thursday to counter a new variant of the virus that is spreading at a "sheer pace" across the country.

* A new strain of COVID-19 that reached Ireland from the United Kingdom is spreading faster than the country's most pessimistic forecasts, Prime Minister Micheal Martin said.

* The coronavirus variant originally discovered in Britain has been detected in California, a day after the first known US case was documented in Colorado.

* The leading US infectious disease specialist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said he foresees America achieving enough collective COVID-19 immunity through vaccinations to regain "some semblance of normality" by autumn 2021.

* The European Union didn't punish the United Kingdom with the Brexit trade deal and managed to defend its interests, French European Affairs junior minister Clement Beaune said on Thursday.

* Mexico registered 12,406 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,052 additional fatalities on Wednesday, bringing the total in the country to 1,413,935 infections and 124,897 deaths, according to the health ministry's official count.

* Republic of Korea reported 967 more cases of COVID-19 as of midnight Wednesday compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 60,740. The daily caseload fell below 1,000 in three days, but it hovered above 100 for 54 days since Nov. 8 due to small cluster infections in Seoul and its surrounding Gyeonggi province as well as imported cases.

* Norwegian rescuers deployed drones and dogs to negotiate unstable clay soil in a search for 10 people still missing on Thursday after a landslide in southern Norway swept away more than a dozen buildings the previous day. Ten people were injured, one critically, after the landslide in the residential area in the Gjerdrum region, about 30 km (19 miles) north of the capital, Oslo.

* The Czech Republic reported a record high 16,939 daily cases of COVID-19 for the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Thursday. The central European country of 10.7 million people has been one of the hardest hit in the region, with its total number of detected cases reaching 718,661, and 11,580 deaths.

* The COVID-19 vaccine developed jointly by AstraZeneca and Oxford University was approved for use in El Salvador.

Xinhua,Reuters