World News in Brief: January 8

Friday, 2021-01-08 16:48:10
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Passengers wearing face masks are seen as they walk out of the arrival hall at the Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, Jan. 6, 2021. Canada continues to see increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases as the country reported a total of 626,174 cases and 16,361 deaths as of Wednesday evening, according to CTV. (Photo: Xinhua)
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More than 87.42 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,888,982 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.

* Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong received the first shot of a vaccine against COVID-19 on Friday, the 68-year-old said in a Facebook post sharing a video of him being injected at a local hospital. Singapore has only approved vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech.

* The Philippines' Department of Health on Friday urged Filipinos to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available, saying the vaccines are safe. The Philippines aims to vaccinate between 50 million to 70 million Filipinos this year, starting with health care workers, the elderly, and the poor.

* Indonesia reported on Friday a record daily number of new COVID-19 cases for the third successive day with 10,617 infections, bringing the total to over 800,000, data from the country's COVID-19 tadk force showed. The Southeast Asia biggest country also reported 233 new COVID-19 deaths, taking that total to 23,753.

* Thailand reported 205 new coronavirus cases on Friday and no new deaths, taking the total number of infections to 9,841 and 67 fatalities. The tally included 16 cases imported from abroad, most of those found in state quarantine, according to the country's COVID-19 taskforce.

* Worsening floods in several Malaysian states have displaced some 46,000 people, with 12,487 families being sheltered in 426 flood relief centers, the Malaysian Department of Social Welfare said on Friday.

* The Chinese mainland on Thursday reported 53 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, of whom 37 were locally transmitted and the rest arrived from outside of the mainland, the National Health Commission said Friday.

* The United States witnessed another grim milestone on Wednesday amid the chaos at the Capitol, with the country's daily COVID-19 cases, deaths as well as total hospitalizations all set new world records over the course of the pandemic.

* Indian Health Minister Harsh Vardhan Friday said COVID-19 vaccines will be provided in the next few days. India plans to inoculate 300 million people by July this year.

* Brazil has signed a deal with Sao Paulo's Butantan Institute to buy the full output this year of a Chinese vaccine it is producing, as the country's COVID-19 death toll crossed 200,000.

* Russia on Friday reported 23,652 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, including 5,027 in Moscow, taking the national tally to 3,355,794. Authorities said 454 people had died, taking Russia's official death toll to 60,911.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 31,849 to 1,866,887, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Friday. The reported death toll rose by 1,188 to 38,795, the tally showed.

* The United Kingdom said it would extend a ban on travellers from southern African countries entering England, and passengers arriving in the region would have to show a negative COVID-19 test from next week.

* Italy's medicines regulator said it has approved the use of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine.

* Spain became the fourth Western European country to pass 2 million cumulative cases, health ministry data showed.

* Australia will require travellers to test negative for COVID-19 before they can board a plane to the country, as the nation's third-largest city headed into a three-day lockdown.

* Argentina said it would restrict the nighttime movement of people and Colombia's capital will impose strict quarantine measures until Tuesday.

* The Canadian province of Ontario will keep elementary schools in its southern regions closed for in-person learning until Jan. 25.

* Some of Israel's Arab citizens and Palestinians in annexed East Jerusalem are regarding the coronavirus vaccine with suspicion.

* South Africa's two biggest pharmacy chains said they plan to offer COVID-19 shots at their stores and provide storage and distribution facilities.

* France's Sanofi is considering how it can help produce COVID-19 vaccines devised by other drugmakers.

* Italy plans to spend more than EUR222 billion (US$272 billion) from various European Union funds to revive its coronavirus-battered economy.

* The tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan reported its first COVID-19 death some 10 months after initially detecting the virus and managing to keep the disease under control by largely sealing off the tourism-dependent country.

* Israel tightened a national lockdown on Friday in a bid to curb a sharp rise in new coronavirus cases, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promising that all Israeli adults could be vaccinated by the end of March.

* The United Arab Emirates will reopen all of its land, sea and air entry points with Qatar starting Saturday, state news agency (WAM) reported on Friday.

* Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards unveiled an underground missile base at an undisclosed Gulf location on Friday, Iranian state media reported, at a time of heightened tension between Tehran and the United States.

Xinhua, Reuters