London, United Kingdom ●
Mon, July 19, 2021
Leaders of the Asia-Pacific trade group APEC, including US President Joe Biden, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and China’s Xi Jinping, pledged to work to expand sharing and manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines to fight the global pandemic.
* Tokyo 2020 Olympics sponsor Toyota will not run Games-related TV commercials because of lacklustre public support for the Olympics, with two-thirds of Japanese doubting a safe Games can be held during the COVID-19 pandemic, local media reported.
* Indonesia’s central bank will likely keep its key interest rate at a record low this week, a Reuters poll showed on Monday, as policymakers focus on supporting Southeast Asia’s biggest economy amid the nation’s most severe COVID-19 outbreak yet.
Read also: Nearly half of Jakartans may have had COVID-19, serosurvey suggests
* Australian authorities on Monday said Victoria state will extend a COVID-19 lockdown beyond Tuesday despite a slight drop in new infections as the country’s two biggest cities fight to stop the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant.
* Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s approval ratings fell to the lowest level in more than a year, according to a poll published on Monday, as a sluggish COVID-19 vaccine rollout dented voters’ confidence in his conservative government.
* South Korea will expand tougher COVID-19 restrictions on private gatherings to outside the Seoul metropolitan area, as the country struggles to contain its worst outbreak, its prime minister said on Sunday.
* A Nigerian Olympic delegate became the first visitor to the Tokyo Games admitted to hospital with COVID-19, broadcaster TV Asahi said on Friday, as Japan battles to stem rising local infections a week before the showpiece event starts.
* China has financed the setup of a fund under APEC to fight COVID-19 and fuel economic recovery, President Xi Jinping said during a virtual meeting of the Asia-Pacific trade group on Friday, according to Xinhua news agency.
* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and finance minister Rishi Sunak will both self-isolate in line with national guidance, abandoning heavily criticised plans to take part in a pilot scheme that would have allowed them to continue working.
* Prime Minister Boris Johnson ends more than a year of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in England on Monday, urging the public to remain cautious but putting his faith in vaccines to protect the country even as infections are surging.
Read also: Rush for vaccines as French govt tightens screws
* More than a hundred thousand people marched across France on Saturday to protest against President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to force vaccination of health workers and require a COVID-19 free certificate to enter places such as restaurants and cinemas.
* Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari said many US economic sectors faced rapidly rising prices and were struggling to adjust to reopening after the shutdown.
* Facebook on Saturday defended itself against US President Joe Biden’s assertion that the social media platform is “killing people” by allowing misinformation about coronavirus vaccines to proliferate, saying the facts tell a different story.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Nearly 50 African countries will receive 25 million COVID-19 vaccine doses donated by the United States, US officials and the Gavi vaccine alliance said.
* The US health regulator will review Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE’s application for full approval of their COVID-19 vaccine in people 16 years and older by January, the companies said.
Read also: US to help pandemic fight with vaccine donation
* Asian shares slipped to a one-week low on Monday and perceived safe haven assets, including the yen and gold, edged higher amid fears of rising inflation and a surge in coronavirus cases, while oil prices fell on oversupply worries.