World News in Brief: March 7

Sunday, 2021-03-07 16:23:45
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Photo taken on March 6, 2021 shows sealed-off tables and chairs outside a restaurant in Vienna, Austria. For the year 2020, Austria's GDP recorded the most striking decline since 1945 with a minus of 6.6%. (Photo: Xinhua)
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An estimated 14.7 million Thais and more than 1.5 million grocery stores, food stalls, restaurants and service shops throughout Thailand have benefited from the government's economic stimulus campaigns since last year, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said Saturday.

* China hopes that renewed China-US cooperation on climate change will bring positive "climate change" to the bilateral relations, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Sunday.

* The Republic of Korea and the United States will conduct its springtime military exercise this week, but the joint drill will be smaller than usual because of the coronavirus pandemic, Seoul said on Sunday. The allies will begin a nine day "computer-simulated command post exercise" on Monday, the ROK’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

* Moderna Inc said on Saturday it has agreed to supply the Philippines government 13 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, with deliveries set to begin in mid-2021. The company will work with regulators to pursue necessary approvals prior to the distribution, it said in a press release.

* Brazil has registered 1,555 new deaths from COVID-19, bringing the nationwide death toll to 264,325, the Ministry of Health reported on Saturday. It also reported 69,609 new cases of the novel coronavirus disease, raising the caseload to 10,938,836.

* Russia on Sunday reported 10,595 new COVID-19 cases, including 1,534 in Moscow, taking the national case tally to 4,322,776 since the pandemic began. The government's coronavirus taskforce said that 368 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the Russian death toll to 89,094.

* Local government in the northern Indian state of Punjab Saturday decided to impose night curfew in four districts to tackle a recent spike in COVID-19 cases, officials said. India's federal government Saturday rushed high-level teams to Maharashtra and Punjab to assist in COVID-19 control and containment measures in view of the recent spike in cases in these states.

* The US Senate on Saturday passed President Joe Biden's US$1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan in a party-line vote after an all-night session that was delayed repeatedly as the Republican minority tried but failed to push through around three dozen amendments.

* The reopening of England's schools to all pupils on Monday will mark the first step back towards normality, and is only possible because of the efforts of the public to bring COVID-19 infection rates down, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

* The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) reported on Sunday 3,276 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 594,412. It is the third day in a row that the Philippines has been reporting over 3,000 daily confirmed cases.

* Thailand on Sunday confirmed 65 new cases of coronavirus infection, mostly domestic, according to a report of the Center for the COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA). Thailand has so far confirmed 26,370 cases of infection, 23,532 of which were reported as domestic while 2,838 others referred to those who had returned from abroad.

* The Republic of Korea reported 416 more cases of COVID-19 as of midnight Saturday compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 92,471. The daily caseload stayed above 400 for two straight days, remaining above 300 since mid-February. Two more deaths were confirmed, leaving the death toll at 1,634. The total fatality rate stood at 1.77 percent.

* Cuban health authorities registered on Saturday 750 new cases and three more deaths from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The new cases bring the total caseload to 54,835 and the death toll to 344, according to the national director of hygiene and epidemiology for the Ministry of Public Health, Francisco Duran.

* Mandating masks was associated with a decrease in daily COVID-19 case and death growth rates within 20 days of implementation, according to a new study of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

* Opinions are divided among Portuguese people when it comes to the creation of a European vaccine passport for COVID-19, a document that would guarantee free transit between the countries of the European Union (EU).

* Mexico's health ministry on Saturday reported 6,561 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country and 779 fatalities, bringing its total to 2,125,866 infections and 190,357 deaths.

* France registered 23,306 new coronavirus infection cases and 170 related deaths in the past 24 hours, official data showed on Saturday. The cumulative number of coronavirus cases in France now stands at 3,882,408, and the total number of fatalities at 88,444 since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country, according to data posted on the government's website.

* The Hungarian government Saturday reported a record number of 7,269 new COVID-19 cases in a 24-hour span, raising the national total to 459,816. As of Saturday, 949,497 people had received at least one shot of a vaccine, while 304,880 had two jabs.

* Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin on Saturday announced that half a million doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in the country, which roughly accounts for one-tenth of Ireland's total population.

* Another 6,040 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 4,213,343, according to official figures released Saturday. The country also reported another 158 coronavirus-related deaths.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 8,103 to 2,500,182, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Monday. The reported death toll rose by 96 to 71,900, the tally showed.

* Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city, emerged on Sunday from a strict weeklong lockdown imposed after a community cluster of the more contagious British coronavirus variant. There were no new local COVID-19 cases recorded on Sunday, health officials said, marking a full week of no community transmissions across the country.

* The US special envoy to Afghanistan proposed a shakeup of the stalled peace process this week, including an interim government and a conference of key players, according to diplomatic and political sources, but his plan faced immediate objections by the warring sides.

* The Saudi-led coalition engaged in Yemen said on Sunday that it destroyed 10 armed drones launched by the Iran-aligned Houthi movement, including at least five fired towards Saudi Arabia, state television channels reported.