World News in Brief: September 17

Friday, 2021-09-17 18:42:50
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Singapore, which has one of the world's highest COVID-19 vaccination rates, is seeing encouraging signs that the number of severe cases is not rising at the same pace as new infections, a senior health official said on Friday.
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Foreign tourists from certain countries may be able to enter the popular resort island of Bali and other parts of Indonesia next month, senior minister Luhut Pandjaitan said on Friday.

* Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis conceded defeat in an election on the Atlantic island chain reeling from a surge in COVID-19 cases and slump in the tourism-dependent economy due to the pandemic.

* The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will have tight COVID-19 countermeasures in place to ensure the safety of all participants, the International Olympic Committee said.

* International air traffic to Greece picked up strongly in August at the peak of the summer tourism season, civil aviation authority data showed on Friday.

* Spain will give a third vaccine dose to nursing home residents and other vulnerable groups, while data showed the infection rate fell to its lowest level since June.

* The United Nations COVID-19 vaccination honour system will remain in place for presidents, prime ministers and diplomats who enter the General Assembly Hall next week and they are not required to show proof of immunization.

* The debate over whether Americans should receive a booster dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine moves to a panel of independent expert advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration on Friday.

* The Italian government approved some of the strictest anti-COVID measures in the world, making it obligatory for all workers either to show proof of vaccination, a negative test or recent recovery from infection.

* Australian officials will trial a home quarantine system for fully vaccinated international travellers arriving in Sydney, as the country moves to reopen its borders despite persistent cases.

* New Zealand suspended quarantine-free travel with Australia for a further 8 weeks.

* A British study will look into the immune responses of children to mixed schedules of different COVID-19 vaccines as officials try to determine the best approach to second doses in adolescents given a small risk of heart inflammation.

* Republic of Korea approved drugmaker Celltrion Inc's antibody COVID-19 treatment for infected adults in high-risk groups or those with severe symptoms.

* European companies playing key supporting roles in vaccine manufacturing are working to move production and supply chains closer to their customers to guard against trade restrictions that have interrupted supplies during the pandemic.

* Lebanon's Finance Ministry said on Friday it had been informed by the Central Bank that US$1.139 billion in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) from the International Monetary Fund had been deposited in its account.