World News in Brief: October 22

Friday, 2021-10-22 15:53:53
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Australia’s Melbourne residents flocked to the city's pubs, restaurants and hair salons in the early hours of Friday after the world's most locked-down city emerged from its latest spate of restrictions designed to combat the spread of COVID-19. (Photo: AFP/Getty Image)
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Finance ministers from Asia-Pacific trade group APEC met on Friday and agreed to step up efforts to expand COVID-19 vaccine manufacture and supply, and support global vaccine sharing, host nation New Zealand said in a statement.

* China reported 43 new confirmed coronavirus cases for Oct. 21 compared with 21 a day earlier, the country's health authority said on Friday. As of Oct. 21, mainland China had 96,665 confirmed coronavirus cases. There were no new deaths, leaving the death toll unchanged at 4,636.

* Russia’s Moscow will reintroduce COVID-19 lockdown measures from Oct. 28, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said, with supermarkets and pharmacies the only shops allowed to stay open in an effort to cut soaring infections and deaths.

* India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi said economic growth was getting a boost from rising vaccinations across the country and urged citizens to purchase locally manufactured products over the upcoming festive season.

* The COVID-19 pandemic has unexpectedly helped Japan's nursing homes and information technology companies overcome years of labour shortages, as job cuts at restaurants and hotels have prompted workers to look for new careers.

* President Joe Biden said on Thursday he expects gasoline prices to fall in 2022 and that any further price reduction depends on factors such as the actions of Saudi Arabia.

* The Serum Institute of India, the world's biggest vaccine maker, has nearly quadrupled its monthly capacity of AstraZeneca shots to as many as 240 million doses and is prepared to export "large volumes" from January, its CEO told Reuters.

* A booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech SE was 95.6% effective against the coronavirus when compared to a vaccinated group that did not get the third shot, data from a large study released by the companies showed.

* The European Union's drug regulator expects to announce the results of its review of Moderna's COVID-19 booster vaccine next week and also to start a rolling review of Merck's antiviral oral pill.

* People in Ukraine's capital Kyiv queued in their hundreds for COVID-19 vaccinations after a surge in daily cases and related deaths past previous highs led authorities to tighten pandemic restrictions.

* The White House called on all World Trade Organization members to support an intellectual property waiver for COVID-19 vaccines.

* New Zealand will end its strict coronavirus lockdown measures and restore more freedoms only when 90% of its eligible population is fully vaccinated, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

* Kuwait has lifted all restrictions for vaccinated people, the Gulf country's prime minister told a news conference.

* Sixteen people were killed in an explosion and fire at a gunpowder and chemicals plant in Russia's western Ryazan province, TASS news agency reported on Friday, citing a source.