Tue, 13 Apr 2021

HONG KONG -- Improving the electoral system in Hong Kong is a critical and urgent task to provide institutional safeguards for "patriots administering Hong Kong," the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) said Friday.

The statement came as Wang Chen, vice chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, delivered an explanatory speech about a draft decision on improving the electoral system of the HKSAR at the opening meeting of the fourth annual session of the 13th NPC. (Hong Kong-Liaison office)

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MANILA -- The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) reported on Friday 3,045 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the highest daily tally in more than four months, bringing the total number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the Southeast Asian country to 587,704.

The DOH reported 3,139 daily cases on Oct. 16 last year.

The death toll climbed to 12,423 after 19 more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH said. It added that 178 more patients recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 535,207. (Philippines-COVID-19-Cases)

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WELLINGTON -- New Zealand's major city Auckland will lower its COVID-19 restriction level to Alert Level 2 from 6:00 a.m. local time on Sunday after a week of citywide lockdown, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Friday.

Auckland moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 from Level 2 on Feb. 28, with the rest of the country moved into Alert Level 2 from Level 1, after two community cases were found. One of the cases visited several locations while being infectious, Ardern told a press conference. (New Zealand-COVID-19-Alert level)

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ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan on Friday approved the emergency use of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for people over 60 years of age, a statement by the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) said.

The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan allowed all registered healthcare workers with the national institute of medical sciences who are above 60 years old to get themselves vaccinated from designated vaccine centers, an NCOC statement read. (Pakistan-Sinopharm-Emergency use)

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