World News in Brief: April 4

Sunday, 2021-04-04 18:57:45
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Volunteers prepare free Easter meals in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on April 3, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua)
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India's richest state, Maharashtra, said it would impose stringent COVID-19 restrictions from Monday as there has been a rapid rise in infections, a state minister said on Sunday.

* Bulgaria's parliamentary elections kicked off on Sunday, with more than 6.7 million voters eligible to elect 240 lawmakers from 22 political parties and eight coalitions.

* Brazil registered 1,987 new COVID-19 deaths on Saturday, the health ministry said. Tthe Latin American nation is reeling from the worst of the pandemic yet and has the highest daily death tolls in the world. Deaths now total 330,193. Cases rose by 43,515, the ministry said, and now total 12,953,597.

* The French economy will expand by 5% in 2021, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said in a newspaper interview, as a third lockdown to tackle the coronavirus pandemic has prompted a downward revision in the previous government forecast for 6% growth. The new forecast was prudent, Le Maire said in comments published on Sunday in Le Journal Du Dimanche (JDD).

* Germany's Robert Koch Institute said on Sunday it was designating the Netherlands an area of particularly high risk of coronavirus infection due to a high number of cases in the country. This means that from Tuesday people entering Germany from the Netherlands will need to provide documentation of a negative coronavirus test.

* Mexico on Saturday reported 1,838 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 157 more fatalities, bringing the country's total to 2,249,195 infections and 204,011 deaths, according to data from the health ministry.

* Malaysia reported 1,349 new COVID-19 infections, the Health Ministry said on Sunday, bringing the national total to 350,959. Two more deaths have been reported, bringing the death toll to 1,288.

* The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said Iran has produced 50 kg of 20-percent enriched uranium, Press TV reported Saturday. The 20-percent uranium enrichment process has been launched as part of Iran's Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions, which was approved by the Iranian parliament in December 2020.

* The Chilean Ministry of Health announced on Saturday that it will strengthen the search for new variants of COVID-19, with the genomic sequencing of 500 samples a week to investigate the cause of the new wave of infections that is affecting the country.

* Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said on Saturday that respecting restrictions during Easter and throughout April will be "crucial" so that "there is not a fourth wave of COVID-19 in the country."

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 12,196 to 2,885,386, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Sunday. The reported death toll rose by 68 to 76,963, the tally showed.

* France reported on Saturday that 5,273 people were in intensive care units (ICU) for COVID-19, a rise of 19 from the previous day, as the country entered its third national lockdown to help combat the pandemic.

* Greece said on Sunday it was extending restrictions on domestic flights until April 12 and on international flights until April 19 as the number of new COVID-19 infections continues to rise.

* Slovakia said on Sunday the death toll from COVID-19 has passed 10,000 in the central European country of 5.5 million. Slovakia has been hit hard by the latest wave of the pandemic although the infection rate and hospitalisations from the virus have eased somewhat in the past few weeks.

* Flash floods unleashed by torrential rains killed 41 people on the Indonesian island of Flores on Sunday, the disaster management agency BNPB said, and at least three more were reported killed in neighbouring East Timor.

* Two fishermen have died and 15 were still missing on Sunday after their boat capsized following a collision with a bulk carrier in the Java Sea, Indonesian authorities said.

Xinhua, Reuters