* The Philippines will expand tighter COVID-19 rules to include four provinces surrounding the capital Manila, and restrict travel to and from these areas for two weeks beginning on Monday, as the country battles a renewed surge in infections.
* Russia’s ambassador to the United States arrived in Moscow on Sunday for discussions on how to address sliding US-Russia relations after US President Joe Biden said he thought Vladimir Putin was a killer, the TASS news agency reported.
* Russia’s ambassador to Britain has accused the UK government of breaking its international treaty commitments with a plan to increase the country’s nuclear arsenal and said the political relationship between Moscow and London is “nearly dead”.
* United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in an unnanounced visit to Kabul on Sunday, as Washington reviews the peace process there and its planned troop withdrawal.
* Britain administered 873,784 COVID-19 vaccines on Saturday, a second daily record in as many days, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday.
* Russia on Sunday reported 9,299 new COVID-19 cases, including 1,511 in Moscow, pushing the national tally of cases to 4,456,869 since the pandemic began. The government coronavirus taskforce said that 371 people had died in the last 24 hours, taking the overall death toll to 95,030.
* Germany is considering making all people returning from abroad face quarantine and compulsory COVID-19 tests after infection rates jumped above the level at which authorities say hospitals will be overstretched.
* A group of Swiss business leaders and lawmakers have demanded the government speed up vaccinations and develop a plan for its nationwide testing drive to tackle the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
* Northern Ireland is in a difficult situation as it deals with the consequences of Brexit, and Britain and the European Union need to reduce tensions and find solutions as equal partners, EU Commissioner Mairead McGuinness said on Sunday.
* The United Arab Emirates urged all citizens and residents aged 16 and above to register for COVID-19 vaccinations from Sunday as the Gulf state widens its immunisation drive after inoculating about 56% of the eligible population.
* The number of coronavirus patients in Bulgarian hospitals has risen to 8,545, the highest level since the start of the pandemic last March, official health data showed on Sunday.
* South Africa has concluded the sale of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines it had acquired but did not use to other African Union member states, the health ministry said on Sunday.
* Philippine troops have killed a leader of the Abu Sayyaf kidnap-for-ransom group and rescued four Indonesian hostages held since last year, the military said on Sunday.
* Seven civilians were killed and at least 14 medics were injured when artillery shelling from a Syrian army outpost hit a hospital in a rebel-held town in northwestern Syria on Sunday, medics and rescuers said.
* The federal cabinet of the United Arab Emirates approved a new system allowing professionals to reside in the Gulf state while working remotely for employers abroad, a scheme that the emirate of Dubai launched by itself in October.