World News in Brief: November 20

Friday, 2020-11-20 19:16:55
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Members of the Presidential Guard wearing face masks perform the change of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens, Greece, on Nov. 19, 2020. As of Nov. 3, the use of protective face masks is mandatory indoors and outdoors across Greece. (Photo: Xinhua)
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Indonesia's central bank Bank Indonesia, has bought state securities issued by the government worth about US$24.2 billion through a direct market mechanism in support of the state budget for financing the national economic recovery program.

* The head of an Indian company contracted to make AstraZeneca Plc's COVID-19 vaccine said India could get access to it by January, as the country's total infections crossed nine million. Mass production of Russia's second vaccine could begin in 2021.

* AstraZeneca and Oxford University's potential vaccine produced a strong immune response in older adults, data published on Thursday showed.

* Turkey will sign a contract within days to buy at least 20 million doses of a COVID-19 candidate vaccine from China's Sinovac Biotech.

* Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi will visit Seoul on Nov. 25-27 for talks with her counterpart Kang Kyung-wha, Republic of Korea's foreign ministry said on Friday (November 20). They will discuss bilateral and regional issues, including Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the coronavirus pandemic, the ministry said in a statement.

* The World Trade Organization said global goods trade had rebounded sharply in the third quarter from lockdowns, but forecast a slowdown at the end of 2020.

* Nepal and India has agreed to extend cooperation in the railway sector, including in the capacity building and training of Nepali railway personnel as the Himalayan country prepares to resume passenger railway services, Indian embassy in Nepal said Friday. The Nepali government is preparing to resume the passenger railway services on a cross-border railway line that connects the bordering Kurtha area of Nepal and the bordering Indian town Jogbani after a hiatus of seven years.

* Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Friday that the Afghan peace process has moved to a final phase. Qureshi made the remarks in a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan, amid reports that the Taliban group and an Afghan government negotiation team have agreed to principles for the intra-Afghan negotiations.

* Ukraine said it hoped to receive 8 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in the first half of next year as it reported another daily record of 14,575 new cases.

* India crossed the grim milestone of 9 million coronavirus cases, with 45,882 new infections recorded in the last 24 hours, the health ministry said on Friday. India is only the second country to cross 9 million coronavirus infections, after the United States, but cases have slowed down in the country after hitting a peak in September. Deaths rose by 584, with the total now at 132,162, the health ministry said.

* California and Ohio ordered nightly curfews on social gatherings as the number of patients hospitalized in the United States jumped nearly 50% in two weeks.

* The coronavirus has spread rapidly through Brazil's largest indigenous reservation and more than a third of its 27,000 people could have been exposed.

* Japan on Friday reported 2,414 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, renewing the daily infection record for a third consecutive day. According to the latest figures from the health ministry and local authorities, Japan's total tally rose to 128,344, not including those connected to the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined near Tokyo earlier in the year.

* The number of confirmed cases in Indonesia rose by 4,792 in the past 24 hours to 488,310, with the death toll increasing by 78 to 15,678, the health ministry said.

* The Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines reported 1,639 new confirmed cases, bringing the total tally to 415,067. The death toll rose to 8,025 after 27 more patients died from the coronavirus epidemic.

* Malaysia reported 958 new infections, the health ministry said, bringing the national total to 52,638. Three more deaths have been reported, bringing the death toll to 329.

* Republic of Korea's prime minister on Friday pleaded with the public to avoid social gatherings and warned that tougher measures may be needed if a new wave of coronavirus infections is not quickly contained. The ROK reported 363 more cases, raising the total number of infections to 30,017. Three more deaths were confirmed, leaving the death toll at 501.

* The Premier of South Australia (SA) Steven Marshall has announced that the Australian state's hard coronavirus lockdown will end on Saturday night, three days earlier than first planned. Marshall made the announcement on Friday while reporting that SA had recorded three new confirmed cases of COVID-19, all of which were already in isolation after being linked to a new outbreak that was identified on Sunday.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 23,648 to 879,564, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Friday. The reported death toll rose by 260 to 13,630, the tally showed.

* Mexico, the most populous country in the Spanish-speaking world, has registered 100,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths within days of passing the grim milestone of one million infections, official data showed on Thursday. The health ministry reported 576 new deaths on Thursday, bringing the toll to 100,104. The average age of the COVID-19 fatalities is 64.

* Britain could ease its stringent lockdown to allow families to gather for Christmas because there are signs that cases are starting to flatten.

* African countries face another debt crisis and will need more long-term help than the latest G20 debt plan offers them to ward off trouble ahead and keep much-needed investments coming in.

* Public meetings of more than 20 people will be banned in the Helsinki region, Finnish authorities said.

* Jordan is racing to increase hospital bed capacity as its healthcare system struggles to cope with a surge in new coronavirus cases.