World News in Brief: January 6

Wednesday, 2021-01-06 16:35:06
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Photo taken on Jan. 5, 2021 shows a general view of the Tower Bridge in London, Britain, on Jan. 5, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua)
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There is no indication that the coronavirus variant identified in South Africa is more transmissible than the one spreading fast in Britain, the World Health Organization's technical chief on COVID-19 said.

* Scientists at the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc may take about two months to determine whether doses of the company's COVID-19 vaccine can be halved to double the supply of the shots in the United States, according to the agency.

* Brazil's syringe manufacturers said they will supply 30 million syringes and needles for the country's vaccination program after the government said it would requisition surplus supplies.

* Colombia has authorized emergency use of Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE's COVID-19 vaccine.

* Australian health authorities are bringing forward the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines by two weeks to early March.

* Nigeria hopes to get 42 million COVID-19 vaccines to cover one-fifth of its population through the global COVAX scheme.

* China's National Health Commission said Wednesday that it received reports of 32 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland Tuesday, of which 23 were locally transmitted and nine were imported. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the mainland reached 87,215 by Tuesday, including 443 patients still receiving treatment and 4,634 had died of the virus.

* Thailand on Wednesday recorded 365 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing its total tally to 9,331, official data showed. Of the new infections, 99 were detected through proactive testing among migrant workers, 250 were local transmission cases, and 16 others were quarantined arrivals, according to the Center for the COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

* Indonesia recorded its biggest daily rise in COVID-19 infections on Wednesday with 8,854 new cases, bringing the total number to 788,402, according to data from the country's COVID-19 task force. It also reported 187 new deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 23,296. Indonesia has reported the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths in Southeast Asia.

* The Philippines is negotiating with seven vaccine manufacturers to procure at least 148 million COVID-19 shots as it seeks to inoculate close to two-thirds of its population this year, a senior official said on Wednesday. The Philippines has recorded 480,737 infections and 9,347 deaths due to the coronavirus.

* Deaths due to COVID-19 pandemic crossed the 150,000-mark in India on Wednesday, reaching 150,114, said the data released by the federal health ministry. As many as 264 deaths took place during the past 24 hours, according to the data. According to it, the total number of COVID-19 cases rose to 10,374,932, even as 18,088 new cases were registered since Tuesday.

* Japan will declare a month-long emergency in Tokyo and surrounding areas to tackle a surge in coronavirus cases from Saturday until Feb. 7, broadcaster Asahi TV reported. Japan's capital recorded a record number of daily coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with at least 1,591 new infections.

* Brazil again saw 1,171 more deaths from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in 24 hours, raising the total death toll to 197,732, the Ministry of Health said on Tuesday. According to the ministry, tests detected 56,648 new cases of infection in the same period, bringing the accumulated caseload to 7,810,400 since the onset of the pandemic here at the end of February.

* Russia reported 24,217 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours on Wednesday, including 5,142 in Moscow, taking the national tally to 3,308,601. Authorities said 445 people had died, taking Russia's official death toll to 59,951.

* The number of new daily confirmed cases of coronavirus in Britain topped 60,000 for the first time on Tuesday since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, official figures showed. The official figures showed Tuesday that Britain has recorded 60,916 new coronavirus cases and a further 830 deaths in the latest 24-hour period.

* Argentina registered 13,790 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, taking the national count to 1,662,730, the health ministry said. The ministry also reported 151 more deaths from the disease, bringing the nationwide death toll to 43,785.

* French ministers told hospitality industry representatives that restaurants and cafes will not re-open on the anticipated Jan. 20 date.

* Spain increased the pace of its campaign to inoculate people, with close to 140,000 people vaccinated.

* Germany is extending its nationwide lockdown until the end of the month and introducing tougher restrictions.

* Los Angeles health officials have told first responders to stop bringing adult patients who cannot be resuscitated to hospitals, citing a shortage of beds and staff.

* Republic of Korea's weather agency said Wednesday that it will issue the first cold wave warning in capital Seoul in about three years, according to local media reports. The cold wave warning is scheduled to take effect in the entire Seoul as of 9:00 p.m. local time, local media reported citing the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA). The last such warning was issued in Seoul on Jan. 23, 2018.

* Israel's cabinet voted on Tuesday in favor of imposing a full nationwide lockdown, shuttering schools and most businesses. The tightened lockdown is planned to be imposed for 14 days, starting overnight between Thursday and Friday, a government spokesman told Xinhua.

* A state epidemiologist in Sweden warned on Tuesday of a spike in COVID-19 infection rates as the winter break comes to an end. According to statistics from the Public Health Agency, Sweden has now confirmed nearly 470,000 COVID-19 cases, with nearly 9,000 dead.

* Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said on Tuesday that only hundreds of US troops would remain in Iraq after the withdrawal of half of them from the country.

* The Czech Republic reported 17,278 new cases of coronavirus over the past 24 hours, its highest daily tally on record, Health Ministry data showed on Wednesday. The country of 10.7 million also had a record number of active cases - 126,348 as of Wednesday morning, the figures showed.

* Senegal President Macky Sall announced a new state of emergency.

* Iran and Oman have registered their first two cases of a highly contagious coronavirus variant that emerged in Britain.

Xinhua, Reuters