Sun, 18 Apr 2021

BEIJING, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- The following are the updates on the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

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HONG KONG -- Hong Kong's Center for Health Protection reported 17 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, taking its total tally to 10,913.

The new cases included 16 local infections, of which six had an unknown origin. The only imported case was from Dubai. There were also more than 10 cases testing positive for COVID-19 preliminarily, according to a CHP press briefing.

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BANGKOK -- The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines that Thailand ordered from China's Sinovac Biotech arrived in the capital Bangkok Wednesday, putting the country on track to kickstart its national inoculation program.

The 200,000 doses, the first shipment among 2 million doses Thailand ordered from the Chinese biopharmaceutical firm, were delivered by a Thai Airways International cargo flight from Beijing to Bangkok.

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MOSCOW -- Russia registered 11,749 COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, the lowest daily increase since Oct. 8, the country's COVID-19 response center said Wednesday.

The national tally has thus increased to 4,200,902, with 84,430 deaths and 3,751,562 recoveries, the center said.

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VIENTIANE -- Local authorities across Laos continue to implement preventive measures and closely monitor people entering the country to prevent a second wave of COVID-19 outbreak.

People entering Laos especially returning workers will be sent to quarantine centers for 14 days, and the temperature of each person entering the country must be checked, Deputy Director General of the Department of Communicable Disease Control under the Lao Ministry of Health Latsamy Vongkhamsao told a press conference in Lao capital Vientiane on Wednesday.

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WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday held a virtual meeting to discuss joint efforts in addressing COVID-19 and climate change, vowing to renew bilateral relations.

"For both our nations, getting COVID-19 under control at home and around the world is the immediate priority," said Biden after the meeting, noting "the United States has no closer friend than Canada."

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HONG KONG -- China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government has earmarked over 8.4 billion Hong Kong dollars (1.08 billion U.S. dollars) for the procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines, aiming to have the majority of the population vaccinated for free this year, a senior government official said Wednesday.

"It is the government's top priority to contain the epidemic so that businesses and the public can be back to their daily routines," said Financial Secretary of the HKSAR government Paul Chan when delivering the annual budget.

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ADDIS ABABA -- The Ethiopian Ministry of Health on Tuesday evening reported 716 new COVID-19 cases over the last 24 hours, taking the national count to 154,257.

Meanwhile, 12 new fatalities and 1,338 more recoveries were recorded over the same period, raising the COVID-19 death toll to 2,305 and the total recoveries to 133,051.

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SEOUL -- Sentiment among South Korean businesses over economic situations slightly worsened this month on the back of the continued COVID-19 pandemic, central bank data showed Wednesday.

The business sentiment index (BSI) came in at 76 in February, down 1 point from the previous month, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

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BRASILIA -- Brazil has confirmed 204 cases of infection with variants of the coronavirus, including the variants first detected in Brazil and the United Kingdom, the Health Ministry's Health Surveillance Secretariat (SVS) reported on Tuesday.

Of these cases, 184 correspond to the P.1 variant first detected in Brazil, and 20 to the variant first reported in the United Kingdom, the SVS said.

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PARIS -- French health authorities on Tuesday reported 20,064 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, up from 4,646 on Monday and from 19,590 last Tuesday.

Since the outbreak, 3,629,891 people were diagnosed with COVID-19, the world's sixth highest tally after the United States, India, Brazil, Russia and Britain.

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