World News in Brief: April 21

Wednesday, 2021-04-21 20:41:30
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A woman wearing a face mask is seen in Nicosia, Cyprus on April 21, 2021. Cyprus recorded an all-time high of 941 new coronavirus infections in one day since the outbreak of the pandemic in early March 2020, the Health Ministry announced on Tuesday. (Photo: Xinhua)
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An Indonesian submarine with 53 people aboard lost contact with the navy after a training drill near the sea in Bali, a navy spokesman told the media on Wednesday. The Indonesian military, quoted by the media, said it has sought help from Singapore and Australia in the search mission.

* The Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference concluded Wednesday in southern China's island province of Hainan, with consensus built on joining hands to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthening global governance.

* Lao Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh on Wednesday has ordered a 14-day lockdown for the capital of Vientiane in the wake of a surge of COVID-19 cases, while other provinces are urged to consider intensifying prevention measures.

* The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on Tuesday it had found a "possible link" between the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and cases of blood clots, but insisted that its benefits outweigh the risks.

* The Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday informed the US Embassy in Moscow that 10 of its staffers must leave the country by the end of May 21 in tit-for-tat retaliation.

* A Chinese health official Wednesday called for continuous efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 through imported cases as the number of patients around the globe keeps rising. China has seen over 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered nationwide.

* Russia is continuously strengthening its armed forces by modernizing weaponry, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday in his annual state-of-the-nation address to the Federal Assembly.

* Turkey, Qatar, and the United Nations will "resolutely continue their earnest efforts" to achieve peace in Afghanistan, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday. The trio had planned to co-convene a high-level conference in Istanbul, from April 24 to May 4, with the participation of the Afghan government and Taliban.

* Secretary-General of the Arab League (AL) Ahmed Aboul-Gheit chaired on Tuesday a meeting on Libya that included the AL, the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), and the African Union (AU).

* Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday applied to run for the Syrian presidential elections slated for May, according to the state news agency SANA.

* Iran and Pakistan on Wednesday opened the third cross-border point to enhance trade exchanges, the official IRNA news agency reported.

* India recorded nearly 300,000 daily COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, a fresh new high amid a new wave of infection, while New Zealand said will carry out reforms on its healthcare system in the latest development of coronavirus news in the Asia-Pacific.

* Cambodia on Wednesday logged 303 new local cases of COVID-19 and five more deaths in the last 24 hours, the country's Ministry of Health (MoH) said in a statement. Since the start of the pandemic, Cambodia has officially reported a total of 7,747 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 54 deaths, the MoH said, adding that there are currently 4,893 active cases in the kingdom.

* The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines surged to 962,307 after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 9,227 new infections. The DOH said 124 more patients have succumbed to the viral disease, bringing the death toll to 16,265.

* Malaysia reported 2,340 new COVID-19 infections, the Health Ministry said, bringing the national total to 381,813. Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a press statement that 12 of the new cases are imported and with 2,328 being local transmissions.

* The Bangladeshi government Wednesday decided to resume domestic flights in a reduced capacity after weeks of suspension amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

* People in the Australian state of Victoria have more access to the COVID-19 vaccine with the opening of three mass-vaccination hubs.

* Romanian Prime Minister Florin Citu said on Tuesday that his country's COVID-19 vaccination campaign should be accelerated to ensure the earliest possible return to normality. Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus-related deaths in the country hit a record daily high.

* Argentina reported more than 29,000 new daily cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, along with a record occupation of intensive care units in the capital Buenos Aires and the greater metropolitan area. Meanwhile, 316 more people died of the disease, raising the pandemic death toll to 59,792.

* Sri Lanka's health authorities issued a warning on the rise of COVID-19 patients being admitted to hospitals across the country, including those in intensive care units.