Sat, 27 Feb 2021

BEIJING, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- The following are the updates on the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

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ADDIS ABABA -- COVID-19 cases on the African continent amounted to 3,142,781 as of Thursday, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

According to the continental disease control and prevention agency's Africa COVID-19 dashboard, the death toll related to the pandemic stood at 75,709 as of Thursday with 2,562,961 recoveries.

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BEIJING -- China's top economic planner said Friday that the prevention and control of COVID-19 will be the top priority in the upcoming Spring Festival travel rush.

"As the COVID-19 pandemic rages globally, China faces sporadic and cluster cases, meaning that the epidemic prevention and control situation remains very severe and complicated," said Lian Weiliang, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, at a teleconference on the travel rush that spans from Jan. 28 to March 8.

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ULAN BATOR -- Mongolia reported 12 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing its national tally to 1,491, said the country's National Center for Communicable Diseases (NCCD) on Friday.

"A total of 16,854 tests for COVID-19 were conducted across Mongolia yesterday and 12 of them were positive," said Amarjargal Ambaselmaa, head of the NCCD's Surveillance Department, at a press conference.

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WELLINGTON -- Passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from Jan. 21, enabling access to essential services such as health, according to an official announcement on Friday.

"Following confirmation of the Cook Islands' COVID free status, and the implementation of strict health and border protocols we are now in the position to resume quarantine-free travel for passengers from the Cook Islands into New Zealand," New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement.

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MANILA -- The Philippines has extended the travel restriction for foreign travelers from or transiting through 33 countries and regions with reported cases of the new coronavirus variants until Jan. 31, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on Friday.

The government announced the extension barely two days after the Philippines confirmed its first case of the more contagious strain first found in Britain -- a Filipino man with travel history to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

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WASHINGTON -- U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday highlighted a growing economic divide between those few people "at the very top" and the rest of America, calling on further relief to provide financial assistance to those who need it the most.

"Just as we are in the midst of a dark winter of this pandemic as cases, hospitalizations, and deaths spike at record levels, there is real pain overwhelming the real economy," Biden said in a speech to the nation Thursday night from Wilmington, Delaware.

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