World News in Brief: January 9

Saturday, 2021-01-09 16:43:35
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An Indian health worker mocks the vaccination process during a dry run of COVID-19 vaccination inside a COVID-19 vaccination center at a Hospital in Mumbai, India, Jan. 8, 2021. Indian Health Minister Harsh Vardhan Friday said COVID-19 vaccines will be provided in the next few days. (Source: Xinhua)
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The Lao Ministry of Health on Saturday urged people countrywide to remain vigilant and adapt to the new normal to avoid a second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak. The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 recorded in Laos remains at 41, with 40 of them having recovered and one patient being under observation in hospital.

* The Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines on Saturday reported 1,952 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total in the country to 485,797. The death toll climbed to 9,398 after 34 more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH said. It added 291 more patients recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 449,615.

* The cost of COVID-19 vaccination, including both vaccines' expenses and inoculation fees, will be covered by medical insurance fund and government fiscal, rather than individuals, said a Chinese official Saturday.

* President-elect Joe Biden wants to release more available doses of vaccines when he takes office, a spokesman said, as the United States capped the first week of the new year with grim pandemic numbers.

* India's COVID-19 tally rose to 10,431,639 on Saturday as 18,222 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours, said the latest data from the federal health ministry. According to the data, the death toll mounted to 150,798 with 228 new deaths.

* Russia on Saturday reported 23,309 new coronavirus cases over the previous 24 hours, including 4,900 in Moscow, taking the national tally to 3,379,103. Authorities said 470 people had died, taking Russia's official death toll to 61,381.

* The European Union (EU) has secured a deal to double the supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, bringing its total to 600 million doses, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday.

* France's health authorities on Friday registered another 19,814 COVID-19 cases, down from Thursday's 21,703 but well above the government's target of 5,000 daily cases to ease restrictions. In its daily update, Public Health Agency also counted 281 new deaths from COVID-19, taking the total fatalities to 67,431.

* Germany has secured 50 million vaccine doses from German biotech firms BioNTech and CureVac on top of EU supplies, a document showed, amid record daily deaths and concerns about a new variant.

* Mexico's Health Ministry on Friday reported 14,362 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the country and 1,038 more fatalities, bringing its total to 1,507,931 infections and 132,069 deaths. It was one of the highest numbers for daily new cases.

* All Danes will have received a second shot of a vaccine by late June and Denmark will restrict travel from all countries from Jan. 9.

* Greece extended some lockdown curbs until Jan. 18, Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said in a televised briefing.

* Argentina issued a decree empowering provinces to restrict nighttime activities, with authorities concerned about a new wave of cases being caused by Southern Hemisphere summer vacationers.

* The US drugs regulator said genetic variants of COVID-19, including the one found in the UK, could lead to false negative results from some molecular COVID-19 tests, but the risk of the mutations affecting overall testing accuracy is low.

* Europe's medicines regulator expects drugmaker AstraZeneca to apply for approval of its vaccine next week.

* The US economy shed jobs for the first time in eight months in December as the country buckled under an onslaught of COVID-19 infections.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 24,694 to 1,891,581, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Saturday. The reported death toll rose by 1,083 to 39,878, the tally showed.

* Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday the mass vaccination process against the COVID-19 pandemic would soon start.

* The Sri Lankan government has been in discussions with China, Russia and India to purchase COVID-19 vaccines while obtaining vaccines through the WHO's COVAX, local media quoted Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi as saying on Friday.

* Iran's Supreme Leader banned the government from importing vaccines from the US and Britain, as COVID-19 spread further in the Middle East's hardest-hit country.

* Saudi Arabia will lift a ban on international flights from March 31, the state news agency SPA said.