World News in Brief: February 6

Indonesia's economy suffered its first full-year contraction in over two decades in 2020.

A medical worker wearing protective shield prepares the swab sample of COVID-19 rapid test in Nicosia, Cyprus, Feb. 5, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua)
A medical worker wearing protective shield prepares the swab sample of COVID-19 rapid test in Nicosia, Cyprus, Feb. 5, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua)

* China's National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) on Friday granted conditional market approval to CoronaVac, an inactivated COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sinovac Biotech, the company said on Saturday.

* Britain wants to have offered all adults over the age of 50, its most vulnerable people and health workers a vaccination against COVID-19 by May.

* Thailand on Saturday confirmed 490 new COVID-19 cases, bringing its total caseload to 23,134 with no new death, according to Center for the COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

* The Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines reported on Saturday 1,941 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 535,521.

* The COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 12,156 within one day to 1,147,010, with the death toll adding by 191 to 31,393, the Health Ministry said on Saturday.

* US President Joe Biden and his Democratic allies in Congress forged ahead with their US$1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package as lawmakers neared passage of a budget plan that would allow them to muscle it through in the coming weeks without Republican support.

* British Prime Minister has said that it is still too early to talk about ending coronavirus restrictions as the infection levels in the country are still "very high", local media reported Saturday.

* Greece tightened lockdown restrictions in parts of the country including capitol Athens.

* Spain approved AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine for use in people aged 18 to 55, while Madrid health authorities confirmed the region's first case of the Brazilian COVID-19 variant.

* Hotels, cinemas and theatres will reopen in Poland from mid-February at maximum half capacity.

* The Czech Republic may consider using vaccines not yet registered in the EU to speed up inoculations, Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Friday, on a trip to Hungary which has given emergency approval to Russian and Chinese vaccines.

* Ukraine has secured from the Serum Institute of India 12 million coronavirus vaccine doses developed by AstraZeneca and Novavax.

* The Pentagon had approved the deployment of 1,100 active-duty troops to assist with COVID-19 vaccination efforts in the United States, a number likely to rise in the coming weeks and months.

* South Africa has secured enough COVID-19 vaccines for at least 26 million people and knows where it will get the remaining does it needs, the health minister said.

* Recent data from Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands has shown that the analysed coronavirus mutations are more infectious, the head of Germany's Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases said.

* Global equity markets scaled a new record on investor expectations of further stimulus from Washington and economic revival hopes.

* Bahrain security services foiled "terrorist plots" to bomb two ATMs belonging to a national bank, the interior ministry said on Saturday.

* Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban stressed the utmost importance of acquiring COVID-19 vaccines as quickly as possible after his talks with visiting Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis in Budapest on Friday.

* At least 38 Taliban militants and three security forces members were killed during attacks and clashes in Afghanistan since mid-day Friday as fighting rages in the country, authorities confirmed on Saturday.

* Gulf state Bahrain will reintroduce restrictions on Sunday for two weeks.

* Yemen expects a first batch of 2.3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by March through the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility, and Saudi Arabia could separately finance shots for around 50% of the population.

* Lebanon will gradually ease strict coronavirus lockdown in force since Jan. 11 in four two-week stages starting from Monday.