World News in Brief: January 11

Monday, 2021-01-11 16:07:07
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Medical workers prepare COVID-19 rapid tests for drivers in Glyfada, a southern suburb of Athens, Greece, on Jan. 10, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua)
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Mexico, France and Russia confirmed the presence of the new coronavirus variant, first detected in Britain, while infections in China rose to an over five-month high.

* The Democratic People's Republic of Korea has endorsed its top leader Kim Jong Un as the general secretary of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea at its eighth party congress, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Monday. The election took place at the sixth-day session of the ongoing party congress in Pyongyang on Sunday, it said.

* Indonesia's search and rescue (SAR) team has expanded the operation area to search for debris and victims of the Sriwijaya Air plane crash with more fleets on the third day of operations, the Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency said on Monday. So far, officers have found the wreckage of the ill-fated plane and body parts belongings to the victims, and have estimated the location of the black boxes.

* Malaysia signed a deal to buy an additional 12.2 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine, while the Philippine government will secure 30 million doses from Serum Institute of India.

* Thailand on Monday reported 249 new COVID-19 cases, including a nine-month-old infant, according to the Center for the COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

* Myanmar's total border trade using Individual Trading Cards (ITC) exceeded MMK8 billion (over US$6 million) in three months of present fiscal year (FY) 2020-2021 which started in October last year, said figures released by the Ministry of Commerce on Monday.

* The Indonesian government on Monday decided to extend its travel restrictions for foreign nationals for another two weeks amid COVID-19 concerns, a senior minister said.

* Japanese health officials have detected a new coronavirus variant, which differs from those found in Britain and South Africa, in four travellers from Brazil's Amazonas state.

* Cuba has suspended interprovincial transport, cultural activities and the use of public spaces during night hours.

* US President-elect Joe Biden may speed up distribution of vaccines to US states, and said he would deliver a plan costing "trillions" of dollars this week.

* Britain will open seven large-scale vaccination centres on Monday.

* Brazil reported another 469 deaths from COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the national count to 203,100, said the health ministry. Meanwhile, 29,792 more cases were registered in the last 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 8,105,790.

* Northern Ireland's health minister said COVID-19 was placing the healthcare system under pressure "like never before."

* The Spanish government will send convoys carrying the COVID-19 vaccine and food supplies to areas which saw the heaviest snowfall in decades.

* Europe's medicines regulator expects drugmaker AstraZeneca to apply for approval of its vaccine next week.

* Asian shares paused near historic highs on Monday, while Treasury yields were at a 10-month top as "trillions" in new US fiscal stimulus plans were set to be unveiled this week.

* Another 54,940 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 3,072,349, according to official figures released Sunday. Another 563 have died within 28 days of a positive test, bringing the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain to 81,431, the data showed.

* Algeria has become the first African country to register Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine for use.

* The Palestinian Authority said it expects to receive its first vaccine doses in March under a deal with drugmaker AstraZeneca.

* Israel's coronavirus vaccination campaign, the world's fastest per capita, shifted to booster shots on Sunday.

* Foreign companies will not be allowed to test vaccines on the Iranian people, President Hassan Rouhani has said.

Xinhua, Reuters