World News in Brief: March 2

Tuesday, 2021-03-02 17:03:57
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Patrick Achi (L), the secretary general of the presidency of Cote d'Ivoire, receives a jab of the COVID-19 vaccine in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, March 1, 2021. Cote d'Ivoire joined the first COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in the world on Monday with doses provided by COVAX, a global initiative for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. (Photo: Xinhua)
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Two new cases of the more contagious COVID-19 variant B117 were detected in Indonesia, the Ministry of Health said on Tuesday. Deputy Health Minister Dante Saksono said the findings were obtained from a study of 426 COVID-19 specimens in Indonesia.

* Johnson & Johnson's newly authorized vaccine has started shipping and its top executive said that Americans should be able to receive the single-dose shot within the next 24 to 48 hours, adding a third vaccine in the United States.

* Moderna Inc is set to apply for Japanese government approval of its coronavirus vaccine as early as Friday, Kyodo News reported on Tuesday. Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical Co is handling domestic approval and imports of the Moderna shot and local production of Novavax Inc's vaccine.

* China will donate 50,000 shots of its Sinopharm vaccine to Lebanon, its ambassador tweeted as the crisis-hit country fights a COVID-19 outbreak that has killed nearly 4,700 people.

* Chile's economic activity fell 3.1% in January from the same month a year ago, the central bank said, as a rebound in cases of the coronavirus dragged on the service and manufacturing sectors.

* A US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel voted unanimously to recommend Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 shot for widespread use.

* Russia reported 10,565 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, including 1,277 in Moscow, taking the national tally to 4,268,215. Authorities said 441 people had died in the last 24 hours, which pushed the official death toll to 86,896.

* Germany plans to extend its coronavirus lockdown until March 28 but some restrictions will be eased starting from March 8, Focus Online reported, citing a draft agreement for talks between Chancellor Angela Merkel and leader of the 16 federal states.

* The number of jobless people in Spain rose above 4 million for the first time in five years in February, official data showed on Tuesday, as COVID-19 restrictions ravage the ailing economy.

* Republic of Korean automakers' global car sale rose last month due to strong demand both at home and abroad, industry data showed Tuesday. The number of vehicles sold by five carmakers, including Hyundai, Kia, GM Korea, Renault Samsung and Ssangyong, was 571,079 in February, up 2.3 percent from a year earlier.

* President Joe Biden's administration will allow migrant families separated at the US-Mexico border under former President Donald Trump to reunite inside the United States, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on Monday.

* The current night curfew enforced in France since Dec. 15 and other restrictive measures, such as the closure of bars, restaurants and museums, to contain the COVID-19 pandemic will be a "minimum" for the next four to six weeks, French Health Minister Olivier Veran said.

* Turkish restaurants reopened and many children returned to school on Tuesday after the government announced steps to ease COVID-19 curbs even as cases edged higher, raising concerns in the top medical association.

* The Czech Republic, battling the world's worst surge in COVID-19 infections, deployed more police officers and soldiers on Monday to help enforce new lockdown measures that seek to confine people mostly to their home districts.

* A total of 20.3 million people in the UK have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, official data showed.

* The Biden administration downplayed the prospect of sharing coronavirus vaccines with Mexico, saying it is focused first on getting its own population protected against a pandemic that has killed more than 500,000 Americans.

* Israel is looking to buy 36 million more doses of COVID-19 vaccines, three times the number it has already bought, in case booster shots are needed later in the year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

* Uzbekistan's government has approved a COVID-19 vaccine developed by China's Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical for use in the Central Asian nation, the Uzbek ministry of innovation said.

Xinhua, Reuters