World News in Brief: January 7

Thursday, 2021-01-07 17:11:38
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People wearing face masks walk on a square in Nicosia, Cyprus, on Jan. 4, 2021. Cyprus has detected 12 cases of the new coronavirus variant in people who had arrived from the UK, the Health Ministry said on Jan. 3. (Photo: Xinhua)
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Moderna Inc is on track to deliver between 600 million and 1 billion doses of its COVID-19 vaccine this year, Chief Executive Stephane Bancel said on Thursday.

* China's National Health Commission said Thursday that it received reports of 63 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland Wednesday, of which 52 were locally transmitted and 11 were imported.

* Thailand on Thursday confirmed 305 new COVID-19 infections and one more fatality, according to its Center for the COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA). The latest data raised Thailand's total tally to 9,636, which included 7,551 domestic infections and 2,085 others in quarantine, Taweesin said.

* Indonesia on Thursday reported a daily record 9,321 new coronavirus infections, bringing its total cases to 797,723, data from its COVID-19 task force showed. It was the second consecutive day of reporting record infections. Thursday's data showed 224 people died due to the virus, bringing total fatalities to 23,520.

* The Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines on Thursday reported 1,353 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number in the country to 482,083. The death toll climbed to 9,356 after nine more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH said. Another 360 more patients recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 449,052.

* The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it had administered 5,306,797 first doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Wednesday morning and distributed 17,288,950 doses.

* Russia reported 23,541 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, which brought the total number of cases to 3,332,142. The number of coronavirus deaths rose by 506 in the past 24 hours, taking the national death toll to 60,457, the coronavirus crisis centre said.

* Brazil is ready to begin vaccinating its population this month, and the country has assured a total of 354 million vaccine doses for 2021.

* Britain is making preparations in case London is overwhelmed by COVID infections, health minister Matt Hancock said on Thursday, saying a so-called "Nightingale" field hospital will be ready to relieve pressure on the health service.

* Japan declared a one-month state of emergency in the capital, Tokyo, and three neighbouring prefectures on Thursday to stem the spread of coronavirus infections, as new daily cases surged to a record of more than 7,000, media reported.

* Hours after hundreds of President Donald Trump's supporters stormed the US Capitol in a harrowing assault on American democracy, a shaken Congress on Thursday formally certified Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.

* US President Donald Trump said on Thursday there will be an orderly transition when Joe Biden takes office as president in less than two weeks, after Congress certified the Democrat's victory in the Nov. 3 election.

* President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen called for a peaceful transition of power in the United States on Wednesday night, as violence erupted at the US Capitol during a massive protest against the results of the 2020 presidential election.

* Four people died as supporters of US President Donald Trump violently occupied the Capitol on Wednesday, according to police of Washington, D.C..

* EU chair Portugal said on Thursday it would try to conclude a free-trade treaty between the European Union and the South American bloc Mercosur that was agreed in 2019 after two decades of talks but has still not been finalised. Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said his country, which assumed the EU's six-month rotating presidency on Jan. 1, needed to make progress because failure would damage the reputation of the EU, the world's largest trading bloc.

* Some doctors' practices in England will be able to offer the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University from Thursday.

* Mexico saw one of the biggest daily rises in cases and deaths, while health authorities said a doctor who had a serious allergic reaction after receiving Pfizer Inc and BioNTech's vaccine remained hospitalised.

* Australia is on course to begin administering the first COVID-19 vaccines in February, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

* Canada's Quebec province will impose a curfew starting on Saturday and extend an existing lockdown through Feb. 8, while the country will start inoculating its federal prison inmates beginning Friday.

* German biotech firm CureVac has agreed to an alliance with drugmaker Bayer to get global support in seeking approval for its experimental COVID-19 vaccine and distribution, the daily Bild reported.

* The European drugs regulator could shortly approve an amendment to its approval of Pfizer's vaccine that would permit the extraction of six doses from a vial instead of five, an EU official said.

* Peruvian president Francisco Sagasti said his interim administration had negotiated vaccine supply deals with Sinopharm Group and AstraZeneca.

* Tunisia recorded 2,820 new confirmed coronavirus cases, a record since the start of the pandemic.

* Morocco's health ministry approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University for emergency use.

Xinhua, Reuters