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Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam

* Volkan Bozkir, president of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), said Wednesday that the goal of the upcoming special session on COVID-19 is to galvanize action by the international community to defeat COVID-19.

* AstraZeneca could start profiting from its COVID-19 vaccine as soon as July next year, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing a memo showing the British drugmaker can declare when it considers the pandemic to have ended.

* Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the economy was starting to pick up and was likely to continue recovering thanks in part to the boost from fiscal and monetary stimulus measures.

* No new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases were reported Wednesday across the Chinese mainland, the National Health Commission said Thursday (October 8). A total of 11 confirmed cases arriving from outside the mainland were reported, the commission said in its daily report. As of Wednesday, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the mainland had reached 85,500, including the 200 patients still being treated. Altogether 80,666 patients had been discharged after recovery, and 4,634 had died of the disease on the mainland.

* India’s COVID-19 tally reached 6,835,655 and the death toll rose to 105,526 on Thursday as 78,524 new cases were detected and 971 patients died during the past 24 hours, according to the latest data released by the federal health ministry. There are 902,425 active COVID-19 cases in the country, while 5,827,704 people have been cured and discharged from hospitals.

* Brazil on Wednesday said 31,553 COVID-19 cases were reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide total to 5,000,694. And 734 more patients died of the disease, raising the national death toll to 148,228.

* US President Donald Trump tweeted to urge Congress to pass piecemeal aid packages, a day after halting negotiations, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the tweets were an effort to rebound from “a terrible mistake.”

* Mexico reported 4,580 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, pushing its national tally to almost 800,000.

* French President Emmanuel Macron is mulling more restrictions to contain the coronavirus epidemic as the country recorded nearly 19,000 new infections on Wednesday, an all-time high for new daily cases. Health Minister Olivier Veran would unveil the new package of measures on Thursday, he added.

* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will order pubs and restaurants to shut across much of northern England, including in Manchester and Liverpool, the Sun reported.

* Top scenic sites in central China’s Hubei Province received over 2.07 million visitors in the first seven days of the National Day holiday, according to local authorities. Statistics from the provincial cultural and tourism department showed that 30 key scenic sites raked in CNY205 million (US$30.19 million) from Oct. 1 to Oct. 7.

* Indonesia will replant 600,000 hectares of mangrove areas in the next three years, said the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime and Investment Affairs on Wednesday. Indonesia has 75-80 percent of the world’s carbon credits, from forests, mangroves, peat, seaweed and coral reefs.

* US Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris took the stage in their sole debate for the 2020 race in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Wednesday night.

* Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on Wednesday by phone on regional security issues, Netanyahu’s office said. The talk focused on “the Iranian aggression and the situation in Syria,” said a statement issued by the prime minister’s office.

* US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that remaining US troops in Afghanistan should return home by Christmas. Trump’s National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, however, suggested that the US military would still keep 2,500 troops in Afghanistan by early 2021.

* Eli Lilly and Co said it applied for US emergency use authorization for its experimental COVID-19 antibody treatment.

* King Abdullah II of Jordan on Wednesday appointed Bisher Khasawneh as the new prime minister and designated him to form a new cabinet, according to a Royal Court statement. The new appointment came after King Abdullah on Saturday accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Omar Razzaz. Khasawneh worked previously as an advisor for policies and media for the king.

* Argentina should improve testing and contact tracing to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the World Health Organization’s regional office for the Americas suggested on Wednesday. As of Wednesday, Argentina has reported 840,915 cases with 22,226 deaths from COVID-19.

* The World Bank said the pandemic could push as many as 150 million people into extreme poverty by the end of 2021, wiping out more than three years of progress in poverty reduction.

* The spread of COVID-19 in Ireland has reached an exponential growth phase and a coming surge in hospitalisations will create a “very significant challenge” for Irish society, a leading public health official said.

* The Czech Republic reported 5,335 new cases on Wednesday, its highest one-day tally since the pandemic started.

* The COVID-19 situation in Nepal is worsening as the government reported Wednesday a record single day spike of 3,439 cases. It is the first time that COVID-19 cases in Nepal surpassed 3,000 in a single day. On Wednesday, the number of COVID-19 cases in Nepal reached 25,007, according to the health ministry.

* Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye announced on Wednesday that the government is to tighten the measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the Palestinian territories.

* Tunisia was expected to announce a curfew in the capital after the governors of four provinces that make up greater Tunis called for action to halt a surge in infections.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News