World News in Brief: January 21

Thursday, 2021-01-21 17:01:07
 Font Size:     |        Print

People wearing masks walk on the street in Paris, France, Jan. 21, 2021. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in France hit a two-month high at 26,784, health authorities said on Wednesday. (Photo: Xinhua)
 Font Size:     |  

Turkey is paying more attention to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and seeking to enhance its relations with Southeast Asia amid the economic challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, experts said.

* The COVAX vaccine sharing platform said it aimed to deliver 1.8 billion doses to poorer countries in 2021 and hoped to fulfil supply deals for wealthier ones in the second half of the year.

* China has ramped up epidemic prevention and control efforts in its rural areas to cope with the heightened transmission risk that comes with the mass migration during the upcoming Spring Festival holiday season.

* Barring another wave of infections, the worst is over for India's economy and policymakers may soon have more room to support a recovery, the central bank said.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko discussed topical issues on the bilateral agenda during a phone call Wednesday.

* UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres looks forward to working with US President Joe Biden and his team as the United States "has a key leadership role to play," Guterres' spokesman said on Wednesday.

* Hours after being sworn in as the 46th US president on Wednesday, Joe Biden signed a series of executive actions that reversed some of his predecessor Donald Trump's signature policies. The 17 executive orders, memorandums and proclamations mainly fell within the four categories of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic fallout, immigration and diversity issues, and the environment and climate change.

* World stocks racked up record highs and the dollar fell, as investors bet major stimulus from new US President Joe Biden and unswerving global central bank support would cushion the coronavirus's economic damage.

* Russia registered 21,887 more COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, roughly the same as the number reported in the previous day, the country's COVID-19 response center said Thursday. The national tally has thus increased to 3,655,839 with 67,832 deaths and 3,054,218 recoveries, the center said.

* Another 1,820 people in Britain have died within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test, the highest number of deaths reported on a single day since the outbreak began in the country, according to official figures released Wednesday. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 93,290, the data showed.

* The United States intends to join the COVAX vaccine facility, President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci told the World Health Organization.

* Oxford scientists are preparing to rapidly produce new versions of their vaccine to combat emerging more contagious COVID-19 variants discovered in the UK, South Africa and Brazil.

* Moscow will relax some restrictions from Friday, including fully reopening colleges and specialist education institutions, the mayor of the Russian capital said.

* Chancellor Angela Merkel defended a decision to extend a hard lockdown in Germany by two weeks until mid-February, saying it was necessary to slow a new, more aggressive variant of the virus.

* Britain has prosecuted 6,500 people for coronavirus-related offences in the first six months following the nationwide lockdown last March, with most relating to assaults on emergency workers.

* Spain is pushing the European Union and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development for the creation of a COVID-19 vaccine certification that would ease travel.

* Indonesia reported a new daily record of 346 new coronavirus deaths on Thursday, taking its total to 27,203 since the virus was first detected last year. Indonesia's COVID-19 task force also reported 11,703 new coronavirus cases, raising total infections to 951,651, among the highest totals in Asia.

* Republic of Korea expects its first batch of vaccines from the COVAX scheme within weeks and has begun setting up vaccination centres.

* Chile's health regulator approved the emergency roll-out of the CoronaVac vaccine manufactured by China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd.

* Africa's coronavirus case fatality rate stands at 2.5%, higher than the global level of 2.2%, a trend that is alarming experts, the head of the continent's disease control body said.

* The French state is ready to help Eurostar - whose business has been hit hard by COVID-19 travel restrictions - and is in talks with the British government over the matter, French junior transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari told a parliamentary hearing on Thursday.

* California on Wednesday became the first state in the United States to register more than 3 million COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, showed data released by the state health authorities.

* South Africa has a three-month plan to import, store and distribute vaccines for frontline healthcare workers through a contract with pharmaceutical company Biovac Institute, a letter from the National Treasury shows.

* Lebanon said a 24-hour lockdown imposed earlier this month would be extended by two weeks.

* A migrant boat capsized in rough seas off the coast of Libya on Tuesday claiming the lives of at least 43 people, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Wednesday. This was the first shipwreck in 2021 in the central Mediterranean. The two agencies said that ten survivors have been rescued and brought to shore.