World News in Brief: January 20

Wednesday, 2021-01-20 17:18:36
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Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin (2nd R) visits a COVID-19 treatment and quarantine center at Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) in Serdang, Malaysia, Jan. 19, 2021. (Source: Malaysia's Department of Information/Handout via Xinhua)
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China's capital Beijing said it will investigate all individuals who entered the city from abroad from Dec. 10 and shut down a subway station after reporting the biggest daily jump in new COVID-19 cases in more than three weeks.

* Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte won a confidence vote on Tuesday at the upper house of parliament. He won in the 321-seat Senate by 156 to 140, with 16 abstentions, falling short of the 161 votes needed for an absolute majority.

* Outgoing US President Donald Trump on Wednesday granted pardon to 73 people, including his former White House adviser Steve Bannon, in his last day in office, the White House said. President-elect Joe Biden, who beat Trump in an election last year, was due to be sworn in as the nation's next president later Wednesday.

* The timeline has closed for Venezuela to join the COVAX facility for COVID-19 vaccines, an official with the Pan American Health Organization said, though the country was still negotiating for doses through other means.

* Malaysia will expand tighter movement restriction measures by including most of the country to contain the spread of COVID-19, Defense Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Tuesday.

* Thailand on Wednesday reported 59 cases of COVID-19 and one more death, according to the Center for the COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA). Thailand has confirmed 12,653 infections, including 9,621 recoveries and 71 deaths, while 2,961 others are currently hospitalized.

* Most of Indonesia's territories have entered the peak of the rainy season, the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency said on Wednesday.

* EU competition regulators plan to extend looser state aid rules until the end of 2021 to help European companies hit by the pandemic.

* Spain will extend a support scheme for hundreds of thousands of workers furloughed due to COVID-19 until May 31.

* Brazil registered 1,192 deaths from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, raising the nationwide tally to 211,491, the Ministry of Health said Tuesday. Tests detected 62,094 new cases, bringing the national caseload to 8,573,864, it said.

* The number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the United States surpassed the grim milestone of 400,000 on Tuesday, the last full day of Donald Trump's presidency.

* Britain said it would give COVID-19 shots to up to 2,000 people working in vaccine supply chains, after AstraZeneca requested protection for its workers trying to deliver an ambitious vaccine rollout programme.

* German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Germany may need to consider border crossing curbs if other European countries do not act to halt the spread of the coronavirus, particularly its new, more transmissible variants.

* Portugal is living "one of the saddest moments", the prime minister said, as the daily death toll reached a new record high.

* Abbott Laboratories' rapid COVID-19 antigen test is highly likely to correctly detect if people have ever contracted the virus and could help with earlier isolation, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

* Mexico aims to administer 7.4 million doses of Sputnik V, a Russian-developed COVID-19 vaccine, to its people by the end of March, part of the country's scramble to secure as much supply as quickly as possible.

* Pfizer Inc told Canada on Tuesday it will receive no coronavirus vaccines next week, officials said, an unexpected development that promises more pain for provinces already complaining about a shortage of supplies.

* Moderna said it had received a report from California's health department that several people at a centre in San Diego were treated for possible allergic reactions to its COVID-19 vaccine from a particular batch.

* Kuwait has registered its first cases of a more contagious coronavirus variant in two Kuwaiti women who had been in Britain.

* Nigeria will seek to procure vaccines that are less dependent on cooling facilities, as more than 2,600 Nigerian physicians have contracted COVID-19 and dozens have died.

Reuters, Xinhua