World News in Brief: January 4

Monday, 2021-01-04 16:43:23
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Passengers walk past ticket counters at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, on Dec. 22, 2020. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian airports see drastically diminished traffic over holidays. (Photo: Xinhua)
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Singapore marked its worst-ever recession in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although contraction moderated in the fourth quarter as the city-state lifted more curbs.

* Mainland China reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on Jan. 3, up from 24 cases a day earlier, the National Health Commission said on Monday. In a statement, it said 20 of the new cases were imported infections originating overseas. The commission also reported 13 new locally transmitted cases: six in Liaoning province, four in Hebei province, two in Beijing and one in Heilongjiang province.

* India's COVID-19 tally rose to 10,340,469 on Monday as 16,504 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 149,649 as 214 COVID-19 patients died since Sunday morning.

* Thailand confirmed Monday a new high of coronavirus infection at 745 cases, mostly domestic ones, official data showed.

* Asian factory activity expanded moderately in December thanks to robust demand in regional giant China, business surveys showed on Monday.

* Japan's factory activity ended a record 19-month run of declines in December as output stabilised for the first time in two years.

* Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi of California was reelected on Sunday as speaker of the US House of Representatives, where her party has a narrow majority. Pelosi received support from 216 Democrats, with two of her colleagues voting for someone else and three others voting present.

* Scotland will on Monday enter another effective national lockdown, likely to last until spring, The Times newspaper reported.

* Norway will impose fresh restrictions, including a nationwide ban on serving alcohol in restaurants and bars and not inviting guests home.

* Greece has detected four cases of the new coronavirus variant in people who recently travelled from Britain, according to a Health Ministry official.

* The US government is considering giving some people half the dose of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine to speed up vaccinations.

* Medical companies and shippers in Canada are racing to transport time-sensitive radiochemical materials used to treat cancer, as a pandemic-induced drop in passenger flights has narrowed transportation options and created cargo delays.

* Colombia's capital Bogota will implement strict two-week quarantines in three neighbourhoods beginning Tuesday to try and control a second wave of coronavirus.

* Republic of Korea expanded a ban on private gatherings larger than four people to the whole country, and extended unprecedented social distancing rules in greater Seoul.

* Argentina registered 5,884 new cases of COVID-19 in the past day, taking the national count to 1,640,718, the health ministry said on Sunday. The ministry also reported 107 more deaths from the disease, bringing the nationwide death toll to 43,482.

* Colombia registered 9,412 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 1,675,820, health authorities said Sunday. Meanwhile, the country reported 200 more deaths, raising the national death toll to 43,965, said the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, adding that 1,542,353 patients have so far recovered.

* Vaccination against COVID-19 for care home residents in the northeastern autonomous community of Catalonia is slower than expected due to delivery problems with Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the region's health department said Sunday.

* Canada's COVID-19 cases surpassed 600,000 as of Sunday afternoon, with the total hitting 601,653, including 15,865 deaths, according to CTV. Ontario, the most populous province in Canada, reported 2,964 new cases and 25 additional deaths.

* South Africa aims to get COVID-19 vaccines by next month but is still in talks with pharmaceutical companies and no deals have been signed yet.

* Jordan has struck a deal with Pfizer and partner BioNTech to buy 1 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine and another 2 million doses from the World Health Organization's s COVAX programme.

* Saudi Arabia said that entry to the kingdom by sea, land and air will be resumed after a ban that lasted two weeks amid fears of a new coronavirus variant, the state news agency reported on Sunday.

* Turkish forces and allied rebels on Sunday renewed shelling on a Kurdish-controlled town in northern Syria in a bid to advance in that strategic area, a war monitor reported.

Xinhua, Reuters