World News in Brief: July 22

Thursday, 2021-07-22 15:39:58
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Firefighters pump rainwater out of a road in Zhengzhou, capital of central China's Henan Province, July 21, 2021. Extremely heavy rainfall hit Henan on Tuesday, with precipitation in Zhengzhou, exceeding the highest level on local weather records. Torrential rain has affected about 3 million people in Henan, with 33 reported dead and eight still missing as of 4 a.m. Thursday, local authorities said. (Photo: Xinhua)
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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday called for efforts to ramp up flood control and disaster relief in affected regions and promote opening-up in the financial sectors.

* Japan's prime minister, Suga Yoshihide, is preparing to negotiate directly with the chief executive of Pfizer as soon as this week for early delivery of 20 million vaccine doses, domestic media reported.

* Laos reported a new record high of 256 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, its highest daily caseload ever recorded since the first case was reported in the country.

* India reported 41,383 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, while daily deaths rose by 507, health ministry data showed.

* Russia reported 24,471 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, including 4,287 in Moscow, taking the official national tally since the pandemic began to 6,054,711.

* Coronavirus cases in Australia spiked again, despite a weeks-long lockdown, with authorities warning that infections would rise more and take a toll on the economy as the country battles to contain the highly contagious Delta variant.

* Republic of Korea on Thursday reported another daily record of 1,842 coronavirus cases, as it struggles to tame its worst-ever wave of outbreaks amid rising infections nationwide fuelled by the more contagious Delta variant.

* Hundreds of people protested in Paris against the introduction of a health pass for some activities and against compulsory vaccinations for health workers as the government seeks to curb a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections in France.

* Staff in England's National Health Service, who have been on the frontlines of the battle against the pandemic, will receive a 3% pay rise, the British government said.

* The Americas are facing a pandemic of the unvaccinated, the Pan American Health Organization said, as it warned that countries with low inoculation rates are seeing increases in COVID-19 and repeated a call for vaccine donations.

* US President Joe Biden said that children under 12 may be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination by the end of August or the beginning of September.

* Ireland's daily cases of COVID-19 surged to a record high since Feburary of this year, according to official figures released in Dublin on Wednesday.

* South Africa aims to have given at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine to 35 million of its 60 million people by Christmas, a senior health official said.

* Tunisian President Kais Saied said the military health department will take over management of the health crisis in the country amid a COVID-19 outbreak, an escalation of a battle over powers with the prime minister.

* Police fired tear gas and water canon to disperse crowds protesting against coronavirus vaccinations in Athens.

* Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said on Thursday that coronavirus lockdowns around the country were costing the economy around AUD300 million (US$220.4 million) a day.

* The Russian multifunctional Nauka (Science) module was successfully launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station (ISS), Russia's state space corporation Roscosmos said Wednesday.

* Pfizer and BioNTech have struck a deal for South Africa's Biovac Institute to help manufacture around 100 million doses a year of their COVID-19 vaccine for the African Union, the firms said.

* More than 200 migrants crossed into Spain's North African enclave of Melilla early on Thursday, climbing the high fence that separates it from Morocco, local authorities said.

* A fresh Israeli missile strike targeted positions in Syria's central province of Homs after midnight, state news agency SANA said. The attack targeted the Qusair area in the countryside of Homs, it said, adding that the Syrian air defenses intercepted several missiles.