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Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam

* The coronavirus pandemic is expected to lead to the slowest growth in more than 50 years in East Asia and the Pacific as well as China, while up to 38 million people are set to be pushed back into poverty, the World Bank said in an economic update on Monday. The bank said the region this year is projected to grow by only 0.9%, the lowest rate since 1967.

* The GAVI vaccine alliance said on Tuesday it had agreed a new collaboration with Indian pharmaceutical company Serum Institute that will make an extra 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines available for low and middle income countries. The additional doses bring the total COVID-19 vaccines to be delivered by the Serum partnership to up to 200 million doses, GAVI said in a statement. They will be priced at a maximum of US$3 per dose.

* Russia’s sovereign wealth fund said on Tuesday it had agreed to supply 25 million doses of its potential COVID-19 vaccine to Nepal via Trinity Pharmaceuticals, which it described as a private healthcare firm and key distributor there. The Russian Direct Investment Fund has struck multiple Sputnik V vaccine supply deals abroad, including to supply 100 million doses to India, where it also expects to hold clinical trials.

* Fighting has continued overnight between Azerbaijan and its ethnic Armenian mountain enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Azeri defence ministry said on Tuesday, in the fiercest round of the decades-old conflict in more than a quarter of a century. The ministry said in a statement that the opposing forces attempted to recover lost ground by launching counterattacks in the directions of Fuzuli, Cebrayil, Agdere and Terter.

* G20 energy ministers reaffirmed a commitment to “ensure that the energy sector continues to make a full, effective contribution to overcoming COVID-19”.

* France said on Tuesday it would call for talks among the ‘Minsk Group’ – which is led by Russia, France and the United States and mediates between Armenia and Azerbaijan – to try to resolve an escalating conflict between the two South Caucasus countries.

* The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday reported 7,095,422 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 36,335 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 295 to 204,328.

* India reported its smallest daily rise in coronavirus deaths since Aug. 3 of 776, data from the health ministry showed on Tuesday, as global fatalities crossed 1 million and infections surged in several countries. The South Asian country’s coronavirus case tally rose to 6.15 million after it reported 70,589 new infections in the last 24 hours, according to health ministry data, while total deaths stood at 96,318.

* Mainland China had 12 new COVID-19 cases on Sept. 28, down from 21 a day earlier, the country’s national health authority said on Tuesday. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in mainland China now stands at 85,384, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.

* Russia on Tuesday reported 8,232 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, pushing the country’s nationwide tally to 1,167,805. Authorities said 160 people had died, bringing the official death toll to 20,545.

* Australian defence personnel are being deployed to Port Hedland, one of the world’s largest iron ore loading ports, to help contain a coronavirus outbreak on a bulk carrier that last changed crews in the major seafaring city of Manila. Seventeen of the 21 crew of the carrier have tested positive for the virus, ship owner Oldendorff Carriers said in a statement.

* Indonesia reported 4,002 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, taking the total in the Southeast Asian country to 282,724, data from its COVID-19 task force showed. There were 128 new deaths recorded, taking the total to 10,601 fatalities, among Asia’s highest number.

* The Philippines’ health ministry on Tuesday reported 2,025 novel coronavirus infections and 68 more deaths. In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed cases have increased to 309,303, the highest in Southeast Asia, while deaths have reached 5,448.

* Republic of Korea appealed on Tuesday for people to stick to social-distancing even as they prepared to celebrate a major holiday, with the novel coronavirus posing a once-in-a-century threat even though the number of new cases has been edging lower. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 38 new infections by midnight on Monday, for a fifth day of double-digit increases, taking the national tally to 23,699 cases, with 407 deaths.

* The Spanish government is due to approve on Tuesday an extension of the furlough scheme that supports hundreds of thousands of workers in the country until Jan 31, a labour ministry source told Reuters. The ministry has reached an agreement with the unions to extend the ERTE scheme, as the furlough scheme is known, but still lacks the support of representatives of businesses, the source said.

* Germany reported 2,089 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday and 11 more deaths, a tally from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed.

* The Czech Republic reported 1,287 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, its lowest daily tally since Sept. 20, Health Ministry data showed on Tuesday. The country has had one of Europe’s highest infection rates in September as its total tally of cases jumped by more than 40,000. As of the end of Monday, which was a state holiday, it had reported a total 65,883 cases, with 618 deaths.

* The US State Department said in a statement on Monday it was now advising Americans to reconsider travel to Guatemala and Nicaragua as well as Eswatini in southern Africa, after issuing an advisory to avoid all travel early in the coronavirus pandemic.

* British university students will be able to return home for Christmas despite local lockdowns that are already impacting them in large parts of the country, the education secretary said.

* Iran’s confirmed cases crossed 450,000 on Tuesday, as its death toll spiked to 25,986.

* South Africa’s car makers have asked the government to reduce taxes on new vehicle purchases as part of a proposed stimulus package for the coronavirus-hit sector.

* Nine in ten coronavirus patients reported side-effects such as fatigue, psychological after-effects and loss of smell and taste after they recovered, according to a preliminary study.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News