World News in Brief: May 5

Wednesday, 2021-05-05 16:33:29
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Madrid regional government leader Isabel Díaz Ayuso celebrates the regional results on the balcony of the Popular party’s headquarters. She won a landslide re-election on Tuesday, propelled to victory by her refusal to close down bars and shops during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Reuters)
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Thailand's cabinet on Wednesday approved additional economic relief measures worth THAB93 billion (US$2.9 billion) to help people affected by COVID-19, a spokeswoman said.

* India's coronavirus deaths rose by a record 3,780 during the last 24 hours, a day after the country crossed the grim milestone of 20 million infections,.

* China has administered 284.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Tuesday, the National Health Commission said on Wednesday.

* The Japanese government is considering an extension of the state of emergency for Tokyo and other major urban areas that was scheduled to end on May 11, the Yomiuri Newspaper said on Wednesday.

* Indonesia's economy shrank for the fourth straight quarter in January-March, but at a much more modest pace as the government boosted spending and higher commodity prices helped exports, statistics bureau data showed.

* Asian shares were trying to avoid a fourth straight session of losses on Wednesday, as US stock futures steadied in the wake of a pullback in large-cap tech darlings.

* Russia reported 7,975 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, including 2,432 in Moscow, taking the official national tally since the pandemic began to 4,847,489. The government coronavirus task force said 360 people had died of coronavirus-linked causes in the past 24 hours, pushing the national death toll to 111,895.

* US President Joe Biden announced a goal to vaccinate 70% of adults with at least one COVID-19 shot by the July 4 Independence Day holiday and said the government would innoculate 12- to 15-year-olds as soon as allowed.

* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken agreed on the need for a global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to end the pandemic, Downing Street said on Tuesday after the pair met in London.

* Britain deeply regrets that Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar will be unable to attend G7 meetings on Wednesday in person, a senior diplomat said on Wednesday, after the country's delegation self-isolated after two positive COVID-19 cases.

* Bulgaria will hold a parliamentary election on July 11, after a third and final attempt to form a government following April 4 polls that led to a fragmented parliament failed, President Rumen Radev said Wednesday.

* Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's deadline to form a new government expired on Wednesday and Israel's president was poised to ask another candidate to try, inviting two of the long-serving leader's top opponents for talks.

* Germany, France and Spain have reached a general agreement over the next steps in the development of a joint fighter jet, a German defence source said, with details to be hammered out by mid-May.

* Nearly 20 million more people faced food crises last year amid armed conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic and weather extremes, and the outlook for this year is again grim, according to a report by the Global Network Against Food Crises (GNAFC).

* Taliban insurgents captured a district in northern Afghanistan, forcing government troops to retreat to the provincial capital amid a recent surge in violence, officials said on Wednesday.

* Everyone aged over 50 in Britain will be offered a third COVID-19 vaccination jab in the autumn in an attempt to eradicate the threat from the infection entirely by Christmas, the Times newspaper reported.

* Portugal said it will protect the rights of migrant fruit and vegetable pickers, and keep them safe after a wave of infections in the sector revived concerns over the conditions they live in.

* The Canadian province of Alberta reported its first death of a patient from a rare blood clot condition after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, its chief medical officer confirmed late Tuesday.

* Australia's most populous state on Wednesday reported its first locally acquired COVID-19 case in more than a month and health authorities are working to trace the source of the infection.

* CureVac said US export restrictions on key materials are making it impossible to predict its short-term supply ramp-up in Europe.

* Europe's medicines regulator said it has started a real-time review of Sinovac's vaccine, based on preliminary results from animal and human trials.

* The United States recorded a 4% drop in birth rate in 2020, its sixth consecutive annual decline in the number of births and the lowest since 1979, data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics showed.

* Nepal urgently needs at least 1.6 million AstraZeneca doses to administer second shots as it records a surge in new cases.

* The United Arab Emirates has extended a ban on entry for travellers coming from India, the foreign ministry said.