World News in Brief: January 14

Thursday, 2021-01-14 16:08:31
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A woman receives a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in earthquake-affected Petrinja, Croatia, Jan. 13, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua)
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An international expert team of the World Health Organization (WHO) arrived in China's Wuhan on Thursday. The team for the origin-tracing of the novel coronavirus will conduct joint research with Chinese scientists.

* Local government in Havana, Cuba, announced new restrictive measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as 550 new cases were logged nationwide on Wednesday, setting a new daily record for the sixth day in a row.

* Indonesia launched its massive COVID-19 vaccination program on Thursday with health workers as the main priority group, a day after President Joko Widodo received the first shot developed by China's biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech.

* The Philippines' Food and Drug Administration has authorized the emergency use of Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE's COVID-19 vaccine.

* Thailand on Thursday confirmed 271 new COVID-19 cases, mostly domestic, and two fatalities, said the Center for the COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) spokesman Taweesin Visanuyothin.

* As the United States recorded its highest single-day death toll, New York's mayor said the city would fall short of its inoculation goals unless it gets more vaccines.

* India's COVID-19 tally rose to 10,512,093 on Thursday, as 16,946 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours, the latest data from the federal health ministry showed. According to the data, the death toll mounted to 151,727 as 198 COVID-19 patients died since Wednesday morning.

* Brazil's COVID-19 death toll reached 205,964 on Wednesday, after 1,274 more people died of the novel coronavirus disease in the previous 24 hours. According to the Ministry of Health, in the same period, tests detected 60,899 new cases of infection, bringing the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country to 8,256,536.

* Britain has started allowing hospitals to discharge COVID-19 patients who have completed 14 days in isolation without showing symptoms into care homes without re-testing.

* Switzerland tightened measures to tackle new variants of the virus, while Denmark extended hard lockdown measures by at least three weeks.

* The state premier of Australia's Queensland said she was considering using remote mining camps to quarantine international arrivals.

* Brazil said it would start vaccinating its population using shots imported from China and India as soon as the health regulator approves their use.

* Colombia will extend a so-called selective quarantine until the end of February.

* The African Union has secured a provisional 270 million vaccine doses from manufacturers for member states to supplement the COVAX programme.

* Johnson & Johnson is on track to roll out its single-shot vaccine in March, and expects to have clear data on how effective it is by the end of this month or early February.

* Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa announced on Wednesday a new period of general confinement as a measure to stem the exponential growth in COVID-19 infections in recent days.

* Spain's Health Minister Salvador Illa said on Wednesday that the country is currently vaccinating around 67,000 people a day against coronavirus.

* Iraq on Wednesday adopted several COVID-19 restrictive measures including a ban on travel to 20 countries where the new strain of coronavirus has spread. The 20 countries are Britain, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Spain, Brazil, the United States, India, Australia, Japan, South Africa and Zambia, according to a statement by the media office of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

* Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran's ambassador and permanent representative to the Vienna-based international organizations, said that the Islamic Republic has started research and development to upgrade fuel for its Tehran Research Reactor, Iranian Tasnim News Agency reported on Thursday.

Xinhua, Reuters