World News in Brief: April 8

Thursday, 2021-04-08 19:38:28
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A man receives the COVID-19 vaccine in Ankara, Turkey, April 7, 2021. Turkey on Wednesday reported its largest single-day increase in infections with 54,740 new COVID-19 cases, according to its health ministry. (Photo: Xinhua)
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United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday called for concerted efforts to defeat hate-driven movements to prevent history from repeating itself as the world was marking the anniversary of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

* Finance Minister and central bank governors from the world's largest economies on Wednesday agreed on continued financial backing for countries struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic "as long as required," said the co-chair of a virtual summit of the Group of Twenty (G20).

* The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday urged policymakers to provide flexible support tailored to varied needs across sectors and economies to foster a fair and inclusive recovery of the global economy.

* The Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday called on Kiev and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to stop military preparations and other actions that could escalate tensions in eastern Ukraine.

* More than 149 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered across China as of Wednesday, the National Health Commission said Thursday.

* Occupancy levels at Brazil's intensive care units (ICU) have surpassed 90 percent in 21 of the country's 26 regional capitals, the highest rates since the country's first COVID-19 case was announced. Brazil has the world's second-largest COVID-19 outbreak after the United States, with 340,776 deaths and 13,193,205 infections.

* India, the Republic of Korea and Thailand faced mounting infections, undermining cautious hopes that Asia might be emerging from the worst of the pandemic as safety worries threatened to delay vaccination drives.

* Japan's government said it was currently not looking to prioritise vaccines for Olympic athletes, dismissing a media report that said it was weighing the option.

* Indonesia is in talks with China on getting as many as 100 million vaccine doses to plug a gap after AstraZeneca delays, its health minister said on Wednesday.

* The Philippines suspended use of AstraZeneca's vaccine for people below 60 years of age to investigate reports of blood clots from overseas.

* Britons should be confident that the system to monitor COVID-19 vaccines is working following a change in advice on giving young people the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab, Britain's health secretary said.

* Poland's daily coronavirus-related deaths hit a new record of 954 on Thursday, though a health ministry spokesman said the figure included deaths from over the Easter weekend and did not represent a 24-hour period.

* Hungary expects to have more than 4 million people vaccinated by the end of April and to further ease restrictions in five or six days.

* Travellers to Ireland from more European Union countries will be subjected to mandatory hotel quarantine in the coming days, Ireland's foreign minister said.

* This year's French Open tennis tournament has been postponed by a week to May 30.

* Mexican and Brazilian health regulators said on Wednesday they would not limit use of AstraZeneca's shot after Britain's vaccine advisory committee recommended not using it for people under 30.

* Argentina tightened movement restrictions on Wednesday including curtailing the leisure industry and blocking non-essential workers from using public transport after the country hit record infections.

* The US government will allot nearly 85% less Johnson & Johnson vaccines to states next week, data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed.

* Moderna's chief medical officer said the company should be able to provide a booster shot for protection against variants by the end of this year.

* The US National Institutes of Health has begun a mid-stage study to determine the risk of allergic reactions to the Moderna and Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccines.

* Asian share markets lagged behind on Thursday as US stock futures hit new peaks after the Federal Reserve underlined its commitment to keeping policy super loose even as the economy enjoys a rapid recovery.

* Pfizer coronavirus vaccine is preferred over AstraZeneca for adults under 50, said Australian chief medical officer Paul Kelly on Thursday evening.

* The visit of the Speaker of Pakistan's National Assembly Asad Qaiser to Afghanistan was postponed due to security threat, Special Representative of Pakistan for Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq said on Thursday.

* Greece will invest more than EUR1.5 billion (US$1.8 billion) over the next six years to further strengthen health services in the post-pandemic era, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Wednesday on the occasion of the World Health Day.

* Forty-five percent of Italy's small-sized firms are at a structural risk because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country's National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) said on Wednesday.

* Algeria will start producing Russia's Sputnik V vaccine in September in partnership with Moscow, and part of the production will be intended for African countries.

* The US forces have moved 50 Islamic State (IS) militants from its base in northeastern Syria to the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, state news agency SANA reported on Thursday.