World News in Brief: February 9

Health officials around the world gave their backing to the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19, after a study showing it had little effect against mild disease caused by the variant now spreading quickly in South Africa rang global alarm.

Students wearing face masks attend a class at a school in Amman, Jordan, on Feb. 8, 2021. Jordanian Ministry of Education gradually resumed in-class education. (Photo: Xinhua)
Students wearing face masks attend a class at a school in Amman, Jordan, on Feb. 8, 2021. Jordanian Ministry of Education gradually resumed in-class education. (Photo: Xinhua)

* Two more dead bodies have been retrieved in glacier-hit India's northern hilly state of Uttarakhand since Tuesday morning, an official at the local disaster management office said. The total number of dead bodies recovered so far has risen to 28, as 178 people are still missing.

* No new locally-transmitted confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported Monday across the Chinese mainland, the National Health Commission said Tuesday. A total of 14 new confirmed cases arriving from outside the mainland were reported on the same day.

* South Africa will start its immunisation campaign with Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine after data showed AstraZeneca's shot offered minimal protection against mild-to-moderate illness from the dominant local virus variant.

* More than 2.93 million children in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic, according to the latest data of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children's Hospital Association.

* The European Union has approved the first shipment of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to Japan, the minister overseeing Japan's vaccination programme said, as the country aims to start vaccination by mid-February.

* The French Health Ministry said 1.92 million people had received a first injection of the COVID-19 vaccine since the start of the vaccination campaign, while 296,265 second injections had been administered to date.

* India's COVID-19 tally rose to 10,847,304 on Tuesday as 9,110 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours, said the latest data from the federal health ministry. According to the official data, the death toll mounted to 155,158 as 78 COVID-19 patients died since Monday morning.

* Mexico's economy could grow as much as 5 percent in 2021 as it recovers from the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday.

* Australia has fewer than 50 active cases of COVID-19, official data released on Tuesday showed, the lowest number in nearly two months.

* Italy should be able to vaccinate at least 10 million people per month from Easter, Medicines Agency AIFA director general Nicola Magrini told daily Corriere della Sera in an interview published on Tuesday.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 3,379 to 2,291,924, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Tuesday. The reported death toll rose by 481 to 62,156, the tally showed.

* Anyone entering the United Kingdom from Tuesday will need to be tested for COVID-19 on the second and eighth day after their arrival, an ITV reporter said.

* The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care in French hospitals reached 3,363 on Monday, the highest in more than two months, while hospitalisation figures as a whole rose for the second day running.

* Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador stressed he was working to ensure more vaccine shipments.

* The governing body of the Chicago Teachers Union agreed to allow its 28,000 rank-and-file members to vote on a tentative deal with the third-largest US school district to gradually reopen classrooms.

* Canada's most populous province of Ontario said on Monday it would extend a stay-at-home order in Toronto and nearby suburbs by two weeks, but residents of three largely rural public health regions can leave their homes starting on Wednesday.

* Brazilian biomedical institute Butantan plans to vaccinate a city's entire adult population of about 30,000 people against COVID-19 to test whether it lowers the infection rate.

* Nigeria has not yet found the South African variant of COVID-19 in its population and will continue with plans to distribute the AstraZeneca vaccine.

* Six militants including a Taliban key commander have been confirmed dead as government forces backed by fighting planes struck a Taliban hideout in Qaisar district of Afghanistan's northern Faryab province on Tuesday, a statement of the national army said.

Xinhua, Reuters