World News in Brief: April 2

Friday, 2021-04-02 20:14:47
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Yemeni students are seen at a school in Sanaa, Yemen, on March 31, 2021. The education authority in Sanaa decided to end the semester nearly one month earlier amid fears over the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Xinhua)
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More than 25 leaders from "the G20, G7 and from every region" have united in urgent call for an international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response, chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday. The pandemic treaty would be a generational commitment to keeping the world safe from new pathogens with pandemic potential in the future, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

* Chinese vaccine makers Sinopharm and Sinovac have presented data on their COVID-19 vaccines demonstrating safety and good efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 disease, a vaccine expert from the World Health Organization (WHO) has said recently.

* The Japanese government said Friday that Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide's summit with US President Joe Biden will be held in Washington on April 16. The new date for the summit, a week later than originally scheduled, is reportedly to allow for the US side to focus its attention on dealing with the novel coronavirus pandemic, with the Japanese side saying the delay will allow for a more successful meeting.

* Russia-China relations have been qualitatively strengthened and continue to be further cemented, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday. Bilateral ties are built on a clear-cut and objective foundation of overlapping interests, Lavrov told the Great Game talk show on Russian TV.

* The European Union (EU) has agreed to mediate in Cuba-US relations, the Cuban News Agency (ACN) reported Thursday.

* India recorded the highest-ever single-day COVID-19 vaccinations with over 3.67 million doses administered to beneficiaries during the last 24 hours, officials said Friday. On Thursday India started the third phase of the ongoing vaccination drive covering all persons above 45 years of age.

* Cambodia's famed Angkor Archeological Park received 4,482 foreign visitors in the first quarter of 2021, down 98.8 percent from 383,663 over the same period last year, said a statement on Thursday.

* The US gross domestic product (GDP) is on track to grow by more than 6 percent this year, owing in part to its fiscal policy, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE)'s semiannual Global Economic Prospects released Thursday.

* The parties to the Iran nuclear deal will convene in Vienna on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of lifting sanctions on Iran and the country's responsibility for further implementing the agreement, said the European Union (EU) on Friday.

* Russia has agreements with 20 manufacturers in 10 countries worldwide to produce its Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund that markets the shot internationally, said.

* More than 70 British lawmakers have signalled their opposition to the introduction of so-called vaccine passports that the government is considering introducing in to help open the economy as it starts lifting restrictions.

* Travel bans are to be introduced for visitors from the Philippines, Pakistan, Kenya and Bangladesh, the British Department of Transport (DfT) said Friday. The four countries have been added to England's so-called "red list" amid concerns about new COVID-19 variants, such as those first identified in South Africa and Brazil.

* New restrictions in France will impact economic growth in 2021 but it is too early to say by how much, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said, as the country heads into its third lockdown.

* Bulgaria will receive more than 1.2 million additional doses from Pfizer and BioNTech in the second quarter, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said.

* Brazil's Sao Paulo sped up efforts to empty old graves and make room for a soaring number of COVID-19 deaths as the city hall registered record daily burials this week.

* The Philippines reported a daily record 15,310 new coronavirus infections, one of the highest reported in the region since the pandemic started, bringing the country's total to 771,497 cases.

* Japan will also receive bigger shipments of Pfizer's vaccines to immunise the elderly faster, the government said after negotiating the increase in supplies.

* The US drug regulator gave Moderna clearance to speed up output of its vaccine by letting it fill a single vial with up to 15 doses, with the United States banking on rapid immunisation to stem the spread of the virus.

* Austria will provide the Czech Republic with 30,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's office said on Friday in what it called a display of solidarity after it felt the European Union did not do enough to help its neighbour.

* COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in the United States in 2020, according to provisional mortality data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

* South Africa's health regulator approved on Thursday Johnson & Johnson's vaccine, paving the way for large-scale deliveries of the shot the government has put at the heart of its immunisation plans.

* Turkey began administering Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 shots, introducing a second vaccine in its campaign that began in mid-January, as new cases reached record highs.