World News in Brief: Janury 22

Friday, 2021-01-22 22:24:42
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The Pfizer and BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is the only shot so far to have WHO emergency use listing approval.
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Pfizer and BioNTech have agreed to supply their COVID-19 vaccine to the World Health Organization co-led COVAX vaccine access scheme, two sources familiar with the deal said.

* Beijing launched mass COVID-19 testing in some areas and Shanghai was testing all hospital staff as China battles its worst outbreak of the disease since March, with families fretting over Lunar New Year reunion plans amid new curbs.

* Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India was completely self-reliant on coronavirus vaccine supplies as the world's second-most populous country inoculated more than one million people within a week of starting a massive campaign.

* Japan stood firm on its commitment to host the Tokyo Olympics this year and denied a report of a possible cancellation but the pledge looks unlikely to ease public concern about holding the event during a pandemic.

* US President Joe Biden on Friday will sign two executive orders aimed at speeding pandemic stimulus checks to families who need it most and increasing food aid for children who normally rely on school meals as a main source for nutrition.

* Mexico's health ministry confirmed 1,803 new coronavirus deaths on Thursday, a daily record since the pandemic began last year in the country with the fourth-highest death toll.

* The White House's new national security chief on Thursday held introductory calls with officials from France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Japan, according to a National Security Council spokeswoman's statement released on Friday.

* The number of people fleeing violence in West Africa's Sahel region has quadrupled in the past two years, with 2 million now displaced in their own countries, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said on Friday.

* The number of new COVID-19 infections in Britain is estimated to be shrinking by as much as 4% a day, the government said on Friday, a sharp reversal in the trajectory of the pandemic suggesting national lockdowns were beginning to take effect.

* BioNTech is to supply 50 million specialty needles at no profit to countries struggling to extract a sixth dose from vials of its COVID-19 vaccine, while Europe's immunisation campaign is hampered by a temporary supply shortfall.

* Portugal's daily death toll from the coronavirus reached a record high of 234 on Thursday, up from 221 reported a day before, bringing the total to 9,920 fatalities since the start of the pandemic, health authority DGS said. The country of 10 million people, where hospitals are struggling to cope with a surge in infections that forced authorities to introduce tougher lockdown measures, also reported 13,987 new infections over the last 24 hours.

* Around 1,000 people in Sweden have been given doses of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine that were kept at the wrong temperature during transportation, the pharmacy company delivering the shots said on Friday.

* Denmark has halted all flights arriving from the United Arab Emirates for five days due to potentially unreliable coronavirus tests in Dubai.

* Hungary has signed a deal to buy Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, the first European Union country to do so.

* Poland could take legal action against Pfizer next month if the US drugmaker does not deliver all scheduled doses of its COVID-19 vaccine.

* The British government has taken no decision on whether to pay GBP500 (US$683) to everyone in England who tests positive for COVID-19, environment minister George Eustice said.

* Amazon Inc said on Thursday it will open a pop-up clinic in its Seattle headquarters on Jan. 24 with an aim to vaccinate 2,000 eligible members of the public against COVID-19 on the first day.

* Global shares slipped off record highs on Friday as gloomy data reminded investors of the struggles facing the economic recovery, curbing a rally fuelled by hopes of US stimulus by newly inaugurated President Joe Biden.

* British retailers struggled to recover in December from a partial lockdown the previous month, marking a weak end to their worst year on record, while public debt has climbed to its highest since 1962, official data showed.

* Paraguay signed agreements with two pharmaceutical companies to buy 3 million doses of coronavirus vaccines and plans to start vaccinations in the second half of February, Public Health Minister Julio Mazzoleni said on Friday.

* Morocco received 2 million doses of Astrazeneca's COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, becoming the first African country to get a large enough shipment to roll out a nationwide immunisation programme.

* Israel's military said on Friday it downed a drone that crossed from Lebanon and would continue to protect its sovereignty.

* Mali plans to buy over 8.4 million doses of coronavirus vaccine and expects to start a vaccination campaign in April, the council of ministers said in a statement on Thursday.

Reuters