* The Chinese mainland on Friday reported eight new COVID-19 cases, all imported, the National Health Commission said Saturday. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the mainland reached 89,756 by Friday, including 763 patients still receiving treatment, 12 of whom were in severe conditions.
* India’s COVID-19 tally rose to 10,892,746 on Saturday as 12,143 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours, said the latest data from the federal health ministry. According to the official data, the death toll mounted to 155,550 as 103 COVID-19 patients died since Friday morning.
* New US President Joe Biden’s administration told allies it was re-engaging with them to help steer the global economy out of its worst slump since the Great Depression.
* The pandemic in Britain is retreating and the reproduction “R” number, which measures transmission rates, has dropped below 1 for the first time since July.
* The Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines reported on Saturday 1,960 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 547,255. The death toll climbed to 11,507 after 12 more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH said.
* Thailand on Saturday confirmed 126 new cases of COVID-19, mostly domestic, the Center for the COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said. Thailand has so far confirmed 24,405 cases of COVID-19 infection, of which 21,797 were officially reported as domestic while 2,608 others referred to those who returned from abroad.
* Former president of the European Central Bank (ECB) Mario Draghi officially accepted the mandate to lead the new Italian government as Prime Minister on Friday.
* US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Friday urged finance ministers of Group of Seven (G7) industrialized nations to provide more fiscal support to boost the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
* Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday that mandatory hotel quarantine measures for air travelers into Canada will come into effect on Feb. 22. The new measures are meant to curb the spread of the new, more transmissible COVID-19 variants.
* Another 15,144 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 4,013,799, according to official figures released Friday.
* US President Joe Biden will meet with a bipartisan group of mayors and governors as he continues to push for approval of a US$1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan to bolster economic growth and help millions of unemployed workers.
* Britain’s coronavirus-ravaged economy slumped 9.9% in 2020, the biggest annual crash in output in more than 300 years, but it avoided heading back towards recession at the end of last year.
* Republic of Korea decided Saturday to ease social-distancing rules from next week, though it will maintain a ban on the gatherings of five or more people. In the latest tally, the country reported 362 more cases of COVID-19 for the past 24 hours, raising the total number of infections to 83,199.
* Greece extended the full lockdown imposed on metropolitan Athens earlier this week to more regions of the country.
* Spanish supermarkets, department stores and other food and distribution companies offered to help overloaded health authorities with coronavirus vaccinations.
* The US Centers for Disease Control released new guidance for school reopenings, saying schools in areas of low COVID-19 transmission can fully reopen if they employ universal mask-wearing and other mitigation strategies.
* The Mexican capital lowered its official COVID-19 threat level after almost two months of strict lockdown measures.
* Pakistan approved China’s CanSino Biologics Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, the fourth candidate authorized in the South Asian nation of 220 million.
* Vaccine makers are shoring up their supply of a critical raw material in “messenger RNA” vaccines: the lipid molecules that help deliver the genetic RNA material into cells.
* South Africa has secured millions of doses of Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines to fight the highly infectious variant that is dominant in the country.
* An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4 hit parts of Pakistan on Friday night, an official of Pakistan Meteorological Department told Xinhua. Strong tremors were felt in most parts of the country, the official, Muhammad Riaz said, adding that the epicenter of the quake was located at Afghanistan-Tajikistan border area, with a depth of 80 km.