World News in Brief: January 16

Sunday, 2022-01-16 20:32:46
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The COVAX global vaccine-sharing programme has delivered 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses, one of the organisations which manages it said on Saturday.
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Thailand has reported its first death from the highly contagious Omicron coronavirus variant, a health official said on Sunday.

* Chinese brokers said they expect the resumption of regular trade with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as soon as Monday, after a DPRK train pulled into a Chinese border town on Sunday in the first such crossing since anti-coronavirus border lockdowns began in 2020.

* President Vladimir Putin will host his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi for talks in Moscow next week as Russia tries to help salvage a nuclear deal between world powers and Tehran, state television channel Rossiya-1 reported on Sunday.

* The Philippines is buying 32 S-70i Black Hawk helicopters from Poland-based Sikorsky Aircraft subsidiary PZL Mielec to beef up its existing fleet of 12, the country's defence chief said on Sunday, as it seeks to boost its disaster response capabilities.

* Indonesia will introduce new tax breaks on property and automotive sales this year in a bid to accelerate its economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic as authorities prepare for the spread of the Omicron variant, top officials said on Sunday.

* New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Sunday that images of volcanic eruption near Tonga were "hugely concerning" and agencies were still trying to establish full communications with the country.

* China's state planner on Sunday urged local governments to minimise the impact from COVID-19 restrictions over the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday to help a rebound in consumption, as rising cases of the Omicron variant threaten economic growth.

* India reported 271,202 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours, its highest daily count in eight months, taking its total tally to 37.12 million, the federal health ministry said on Sunday. Deaths from COVID-19 rose by 314 to 486,066, the ministry said.

* Australia's daily coronavirus infections on Sunday fell below 100,000 for the first time in five days, amid expectations that the Omicron wave had neared its peak in New South Wales, the worst-hit state.

* Tennis superstar Novak Djokovic flew out of Australia on Sunday after a court upheld the government's decision to cancel his visa, capping days of drama over the country's COVID-19 entry rules and his unvaccinated status.

* Britain's vaccinated travellers will be able to go on half-term holidays next month without taking COVID-19 tests on their return, The Times reported.

* Mexico on Saturday posted a record 47,113 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing its total number of infections to 4,349,182, Health Ministry data showed.

* Brazil had 48,520 new cases of the novel coronavirus reported in the past 24 hours and 175 deaths from COVID-19, the Health Ministry said on Saturday.

* Iran's health ministry reported the country's first three deaths from the highly contagious Omicron coronavirus variant on Saturday.

* Peru's Health Minister Hernando Cevallos has called on COVID-19 vaccine companies to extend expiration dates past the current three months to reduce the risk of losing doses.

* Malta saw its biggest protest yet against COVID rules on Sunday, with hundreds of people marching in the capital Valletta against new measures requiring production of a COVID certificate for entry to most venues including restaurants, gyms and bars.

* Hundreds of Hondurans and Nicaraguans on Saturday reached the Guatemalan border but were prevented from crossing by Guatemalan security forces, the first such US-bound migrant caravan to be formed this year in Central America.

* Egypt's Suez Canal revenues are expected to hit 7 billion USD in 2022 versus 6.3 billion USD in 2021, the chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said in an interview with Saudi-owned Asharq television on Sunday.

* A Jordanian army officer was killed and three army personnel injured on Sunday when drug smugglers trying to enter the country from Syria fired at an army outpost along the border, a Jordanian army statement said.