* Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng has said that China-US relations should be put back on track.
* India reported on Thursday 314,835 new cases of the coronavirus over the previous 24 hours, the highest daily increase recorded anywhere, while Japan is expected to issue a third state of emergency on Tokyo and three western prefectures that could last for about two weeks.
* Russia will issue electronic visas with a streamlined application procedure to attract more foreign tourists, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.
* More than 200 million shots of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the United States as of Wednesday, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). US President Joe Biden announced the country has hit 200 million COVID-19 shots, a target he had set out to meet by the end of April.
* European countries prepared to start using Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine and speed up their vaccination campaigns after Europe’s drug regulator backed the shot and deliveries started trickling in after a week-long pause.
* New Zealand and Australian foreign ministers on Thursday discussed ways to continue and deepen bilateral cooperation to “meet the shared challenges facing our region.”
* At least 78 Taliban militants were killed in various operations conducted by Afghan government forces in the past 24 hours, according to Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense on Thursday.
* A senior US State Department official said on Wednesday that the second round Vienna talks over the Iran nuclear deal “made some progress,” but important disagreements still existed between the United States and Iran.
* Police clashed with protesters in Berlin as they tried to disperse a rally against the lockdown, as parliament approved a law to give Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government more powers to fight a third wave.
* Malaysia’s government enacted a new emergency law allowing it to use funds derived from oil and gas contributions to pay for vaccine procurement, as it looks to ramp up its COVID-19 vaccination programme.
* Two Australian states urged staff and guests in COVID-19 quarantine hotels to get tested immediately and fully self-isolate, launching investigations into three suspected cases of travellers contracting the virus from other residents.
* Argentina is going through its “worst moment” of the COVID-19 pandemic, the health minister said, as deaths from the virus hit 60,000 amid a sharp second wave that has forced the country to re-impose some lockdown measures.
* Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Wednesday that his government will strengthen surveillance actions on the country’s southern border in order to offer more protection to migrants, especially minors.
* Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis presented on Wednesday a “roadmap” for the further reopening of his country’s economy and social life in May. Greece has been in a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown since Nov. 7, 2020, which is now being gradually eased.
* South African researchers hope to next week resume a study using JNJ’s vaccine to immunize healthcare workers, one of the scientists leading the programme said.
* Ecuador implemented a nighttime curfew and other mobility restrictions as a spike in coronavirus cases again overwhelms hospitals in the Andean country, which in 2020 experienced one of the region’s worst COVID-19 outbreaks.