World News in Brief: February 22

Monday, 2021-02-22 15:39:37
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Medical workers unload COVID-19 vaccines from a truck at Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, on Feb. 21, 2021. A total of 20,000 doses of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines, funded by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), arrived in the Gaza Strip on Sunday through the Rafah border crossing. (Photo: Xinhua)
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Asian shares turned mixed as expectations for faster economic growth and inflation globally battered bonds and boosted commodities, while rising real yields made equity valuations look more stretched in comparison.

* Republic of Korea's exports during the first 20 days of February expanded 16.7% from a year earlier, faster than a 10.5% rise during the Jan. 1-20 period, underpinning the trade-led recovery.

* Japan will only receive limited doses of vaccines for the first months of the rollout and shots for the elderly will be distributed gradually, the country's inoculation chief said.

* The Chinese mainland reported no new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases on Sunday, the National Health Commission said Monday. The commission received reports of 11 new imported COVID-19 cases on Sunday. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the mainland reached 89,842 by Sunday, including 401 patients still receiving treatment, two of whom were in severe conditions.

* The Philippines has approved Sinovac Biotech's vaccine for emergency use, while Malaysia moved up its inoculation drive by two days.

* The United States faces a dark milestone this week despite a recent decline in COVID-19 cases as it prepares to mark a staggering half-million deaths, with President Joe Biden planning to memorialize the lives lost.

* Russia on Monday reported 12,604 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, including 1,723 in Moscow, taking the national tally to 4,177,330. The country also reported another 337 deaths, raising the official toll to 83,630.

* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will plot a path out of lockdown on Monday in an effort to gradually reopen the battered US$3 trillion economy, aided by one of the fastest vaccine rollouts in the world.

* OPEC and US oil companies see a limited rebound in shale oil supply this year as top US producers freeze output despite rising prices, a decision that would help OPEC and its allies.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 4,369 to 2,390,928, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Monday. The reported death toll rose by 62 to 67,903, the tally showed.

* Thailand on Monday confirmed 89 new COVID-19 cases, mostly domestic, according to the Center for the COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) spokeswoman Apisamai Srirangsan. Thailand has so far confirmed 25,504 cases, 22,792 of which were reported as domestic while 2,712 others referred to those who had returned from abroad.

* The Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines reported on Monday 2,288 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 563,456. The death toll climbed to 12,094 after six more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH said. It added 33 more patients recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 522,874.

* Ukraine has agreed to increase the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses with US maker Novavax to 15 million, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said on Monday.

* The mayor of Nice in southern France called for a weekend lockdown in the area to reduce the flow of tourists as it battles a sharp spike in infections.

* Another 9,834 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 4,115,509, according to official figures released Sunday.

* Israel reopened swathes of its economy including malls and leisure facilities, saying the start of a return to routine was enabled by vaccines administered to almost half the population.

* The head of the World Health Organization urged Tanzania to share information on its measures to combat the pandemic, saying the authorities there had repeatedly ignored his requests.

* A shipment of 150,000 vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University arrived at Belgrade airport, making Serbia the first country in the Western Balkan region to receive supplies of the shot.

* Argentina's drug regulator has authorized the emergency use of Sinopharm's vaccine ahead of an expected delivery of 1 million doses of the Chinese-made jab.

Reuters, Xinhua