World News in Brief: October 26

China's Vice Premier Liu He spoke with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Oct. 26 via video call and talked about the macroeconomic situation and bilateral relations, according to a statement from China's commerce ministry.

Bulgaria reported record numbers of daily coronavirus deaths and infections on Tuesday as a fourth wave of the disease is stretching the health system in the European Union's least vaccinated member state.
Bulgaria reported record numbers of daily coronavirus deaths and infections on Tuesday as a fourth wave of the disease is stretching the health system in the European Union's least vaccinated member state.

* The United States and Indonesia on Tuesday called for the launch of a forum to prepare for future pandemics, urging members of the Group of 20 leading economies to seize an opportunity this month to plan for an international response system.

* Divisions deepened among European Union countries ahead of an emergency meeting of ministers on Tuesday on the bloc's response to a spike in energy prices, with some countries seeking a regulatory overhaul and others firmly opposed.

* Efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal are at a "critical phase" and Tehran's reasons for avoiding talks are wearing thin, a US official said on Monday while raising the possibility of further diplomacy even if the deal cannot be resuscitated.

* Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati said on Tuesday he hoped cabinet meetings would resume after a two-week hiatus since a row over the Beirut blast probe led some ministers to ask for his removal.

* China is demanding faster and more accessible COVID-19 testing services in its latest effort to reinforce a zero-tolerance policy against the virus, even when cities have already scrambled to test millions in just a few days amid outbreaks.

* India's health minister said on Tuesday that a government panel of experts was looking into a Delta coronavirus subvariant, AY.4.2, that has been detected in the United Kingdom.

* Mexico added 1,121 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 150 more fatalities on Monday, health ministry data showed, bringing the country's overall death toll from the pandemic to 286,496 and the total number of cases to 3,784,448.

* The European Union's drug regulator said it has concluded in its review that Moderna's COVID-19 booster vaccine may be given to people aged 18 years and above, at least six months after the second dose.

* Indonesia is "finalising" a deal with Merck & Co to procure its experimental antiviral pills to treat COVID-19 ailments.

* Republic of Korea granted emergency use approval for Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine produced by the ROK drugmaker Samsung BioLogics.

* Spain reached the grim milestone of 5 million COVID-19 cases during the pandemic.

* The Dutch government may impose new coronavirus restrictions to reduce pressure on hospitals struggling to deal with a swelling number of COVID-19 patients.

* Venezuela reopened public schools and universities which serve more than 11 million students, though some schools remained closed for repairs or because of lack of staff.

* The African Union (AU) intends to buy up to 110 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna in an arrangement brokered in part by the White House, which will defer delivery of some doses intended for the United States to facilitate the deal, officials told Reuters.

* US drugmaker Merck & Co Inc said the European Union's drug regulator has initiated a real-time review of its experimental COVID-19 antiviral drug for adults.

* Ukraine registered a record daily high of 734 coronavirus-related deaths over the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Tuesday.

* Nearly 8,000 Nicaraguans received COVID-19 vaccines at two customs border crossings with neighboring Honduras in recent days, Honduran health authorities said on Monday, as supplies of the inoculations in Nicaragua have run low.

* Sudan's military seized power from a transitional government on Monday and a health ministry official said seven people were killed by gunfire and 140 injured in clashes between soldiers and street protesters.

* Armed men on motorbikes killed at least 18 people at a mosque in Niger state in northern Nigeria, two residents told Reuters on Monday.