World News in Brief: April 13

Tuesday, 2021-04-13 17:11:04
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People chat outdoors in Dublin, Ireland, April 12, 2021. Ireland on Monday started to ease some of its COVID-19 restrictions as scheduled. People are allowed to travel freely within the county where they live or within 20 kilometers from their home, with outdoor gatherings permitted for no more than two households, in-classroom education for all primary and secondary school students resumed, and all residential construction projects reopened. (Photo: Xinhua)
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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called for six measures to help countries recover from COVID-19 and keep them on track toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

* Japan plans to release into the sea more than 1 million tonnes of contaminated water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear station, the government said on Tuesday. The work to release the water will begin in about two years, the government said.

* The European Union (EU) on Monday strongly rejected any attempts to derail diplomatic efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal currently under way in Vienna, the capital of Austria.

* NATO foreign and defence ministers will hold a video meeting on Wednesday on Ukraine and Afghanistan, chaired by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and with US defence and foreign ministers present at the military alliance's headquarters, two diplomats said.

* World Bank President David Malpass and José Manuel Barroso, chair of the Gavi vaccine alliance, on Monday discussed the importance of countries with excess COVID-19 vaccine supplies releasing them as soon as possible.

* Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday called on the Taliban outfit to halt fighting and observe ceasefire during the month of Ramadan, the religious fasting month, to bolster peace process.

* Turkey and Libya's new unity government were committed to a maritime demarcation agreement in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.

* The Chinese mainland on Monday reported one new locally transmitted COVID-19 case in Yunnan Province, the National Health Commission said Tuesday. The same day also saw 8 new imported cases on the mainland, the commission said in its daily report. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the mainland reached 90,435 by Monday, including 293 patients still receiving treatment, four of whom were in severe condition.

* The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared racism a "serious public health threat," after a new wave of COVID-19 cases was witnessed in the country, reported USA Today recently. The United States of America recorded more than 31 million COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, with more than 560,000 deaths, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

* A highly contagious variant of COVID-19 first identified in Britain does not cause more severe disease in hospitalised patients, according to a new study published in the medical journal Lancet.

* Brazil registered 1,480 deaths from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the national death toll to 354,617, the country's ministry of health reported on Monday. The ministry also said that another 35,785 cases of COVID-19 were reported in the last 24 hours, bringing the nationwide count to 13,517,808.

* Chile's Health Ministry on Monday reported another 137 COVID-19 deaths, marking the fifth consecutive day of over 100 deaths, for a death toll of 24,483. The ministry also reported 6,372 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 1,082,920.

* Britain on Monday said it had offered all over-50s a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, hitting a target to offer injections to all people in its nine highest priority groups by April 15.

* Russia will restrict flights to and from Turkey from April 15 to June 1 due to a rise in cases in Turkey.

* Spain will initially prioritise people between the ages of 70 and 79 for inoculation with Johnson & Johnson's vaccine.

* Ontario, Canada's most populous province, is closing in-person schools due to rising cases, and doctors may soon have to decide who can and cannot receive treatment in intensive care.

* Australia has no current plans to add Johnson & Johnson's one-dose coronavirus vaccine to its immunisation drive, authorities said, as it moves away from procuring vaccines under review over blood clots.

* Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said the coronavirus science council will recommend a tighter set of measures as the outbreak reached what the minister called "a third peak".

* Italy is preparing a new stimulus package worth around EUR40 billion to support its coronavirus-battered economy, a source close to the matter said.

* Airlines could check new European Union COVID certificates before allowing onboard passengers going on summer holidays, a senior official said on Tuesday as the bloc seeks to restart a travel sector ravaged by the pandemic.

* Monthly tourism arrivals have been on the rise in the Maldives, with over 330,000 tourists visiting the country between January and March, local media citing the Ministry of Tourism reported here Tuesday. Maldives briefly closed its borders to tourism last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and re-opened on July 15, 2020.

* A one-day "stress test" of 100,000 vaccinations against COVID-19, the largest of its kind in Denmark, is being conducted in vaccination sites throughout the country on Monday, according to the Danish Health Authority. Monday's massive vaccination rollout is in line with the Danish Health Authority's ultimate plan to be able to vaccinate up to 400,000 a day by this June.

* The unemployment rate in the 37-nation Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) stood at 6.7 percent in February, 0.1 percent point lower from January, said the Paris-based organization on Monday.

* At least 20 people were killed and 14 others injured in Peru after an interprovincial bus skidded and overturned in Sihuas province in the northern Ancash region, authorities said on Monday.

Reuters, Xinhua