* China’s CanSino Biologics Inc has proposed providing “tens of million of doses” of its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine to global vaccine sharing scheme COVAX, Reuters quoted a senior executive of the company as saying.
* The Pakistani and Indian military officers held a meeting Friday along the Line of Control (LoC) in the disputed Kashmir region weeks after both countries announced ceasefire along the LoC, the Pakistani army said.
* Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) won last week’s parliamentary elections in the Netherlands, according to official results published by the Dutch Electoral Council on Friday.
* As part of efforts to highlight “National Day of Action and Healing” on Friday, 26 US governors released a joint statement condemning violence against Asian Americans which has been on the rise since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic a year ago.
* Three nuclear-powered missile submarines broke thick ice and surfaced in the Arctic Ocean simultaneously for the first time in the history of the Russian Navy, Navy Commander-in-Chief Nikolai Yevmenov said Friday.
* Spain’s gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 10.8 percent in 2020, the worst since 1970, according to data published by the Spanish Statistical Office (INE) on Friday.
* The European Union (EU) launched a EUR5.1-billion (US$6.01-billion) program on Friday to improve the health situation in the bloc. The EU4Health program aimed at helping EU member states to “strengthen the resilience of their health systems and promote innovation in the health sector” with a vision of a “European Health Union,” the European Commission said in a press release.
* The Chinese and Iranian foreign ministers on Saturday signed a 25-year cooperation agreement between the two allies in a ceremony carried live on state television.
* Britain is close to striking a vaccine deal with the European Union as soon as this weekend that will remove the threat of the bloc cutting off supplies, The Times reported on Saturday. Under the agreement the EU will remove its threat to ban the export of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to Britain, it added.
* Brazil on Friday again broke its record of single-day COVID-19 deaths, after 3,650 people died of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Health said. It was the second time Brazil exceeded 3,000 COVID-19 deaths in one day, after registering 3,251 deaths on Tuesday.
* India’s COVID-19 tally reached 11,908,910 on Saturday as 62,258 new cases were reported from across the country, according to the latest figures released by the federal health ministry. Besides, 291 deaths since Friday morning took the death toll to 161,240. Both the number of new cases and deaths recorded in past 24 hours is the highest this year so far.
* Russia has registered 8,885 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 4,510,744, the country’s COVID-19 response center said Saturday. Meanwhile, as Russia reported 387 more deaths and 10,337 new recoveries, the respective total stood at 97,404 and 4,130,498, the center said.
* The Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH) reported on Saturday 9,595 new COVID-19 infections, raising the nationwide count in the Southeast Asian country to 712,442. The active cases in the country increased to 118,122 and the death toll to 13,159 after 10 more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH said.
* Thailand on Saturday confirmed 80 new cases of coronavirus infection, mostly in Bangkok, and one more death, according to a report of the Center for the COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA). Thailand has so far confirmed a total of 28,657 cases of infection, of which 27,136 patients have fully recovered and been released from hospitals while 1,428 others are currently hospitalized.
* The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has condemned US President Joe Biden for “provocation” after he criticized its recent missile launches, saying the military tests were an exercise of its self-defense right, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Saturday.
* Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye on Friday welcomed the resumption of US financial aid to the Palestinian Authority, describing the move as “an important step in the right direction.”
* Australia’s Treasurer has declared that the government will continue to support jobs when the coronavirus wage subsidy scheme ends. The JobKeeper scheme, which was introduced in March 2020 to stimulate the economy amid widespread coronavirus restrictions, will end on Sunday.
* A giant container ship grounded in the Suez Canal could be freed by the start of next week if heavier tugboats, dredging and a high tide succeed in dislodging it, a Dutch firm working to free the vessel said.
* Australia’s state of Queensland urged the federal government to halve international arrivals to the state as locally acquired coronavirus cases in its capital city of Brisbane continued to grow.
* Republic of Korea reported 505 more cases of COVID-19 as of midnight Friday compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 101,275. The daily caseload was up from 494 in the previous day, rising above 500 in 36 days since Feb. 19. Five more deaths were confirmed, leaving the death toll at 1,721. The total fatality rate stood at 1.70 percent.
* Canada is expected to see a cumulative total of almost one million COVID-19 cases next week as the country’s coronavirus variants continue spreading, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said Friday.
* Spain is to require people arriving by land from France to present a negative COVID-19 test, the Health Ministry said on Saturday, amid rising numbers of French arrivals and an uptick in Spain’s coronavirus rate.
* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 20,472 to 2,755,225, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Saturday. The reported death toll rose by 157 to 75,780, the tally showed.
* The Czech Republic’s Chamber of Deputies on Friday approved the extension of the country’s state of emergency till April 11. The government had submitted a request to the lower house to extend it till April 27, but a compromise was struck. Without the prolongation, the current state of national emergency would have expired on March 28.