Xinhua Asia-Pacific news summary at 1100 GMT, Dec. 31

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Thursday in his New Year Message 2021 that the city state looks forward to an economic rebound in 2021.

“After our most severe downturn since independence, we look forward to a rebound in 2021, although the recovery will be uneven, and activity is likely to remain below pre-COVID-19 levels for some time,” he said. (Singapore-PM-New year message)

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NEW DELHI — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday said preparations for administering the COVID-19 vaccine in the country were in the last stages.

“Preparations are in the last stages for the vaccination programme against COVID-19. People will get vaccine manufactured in India,” Modi said while addressing virtually on the occasion of laying the foundation stone for an All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Gujarat’s Rajkot. (India-COVID-19-Vaccine)

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HONG KONG — The Court of Final Appeal of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Thursday overturned the bail granted to Next Digital founder Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, and remanded him in custody again until his next court appearance on Feb. 1.

The panel of three Court of Final Appeal judges, chief justice Geoffrey Ma, permanent judges Andrew Cheung and Roberto Ribeiro, who were all designated judges in handling cases concerning the national security law in Hong Kong, heard the case on Thursday. (Hong Kong-Jimmy Lai)

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ISLAMABAD — Pakistan has decided to pre-book COVID-19 vaccine from Chinese state-owned company Sinopharm for emergency use for healthcare workers, Pakistan’s Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination has said in a statement.

In a meeting of a Special Cabinet Committee constituted as an oversight body for procurement of the COVID-19 vaccine, it was decided that Pakistan will follow the practice of most of the countries to pre-book COVID-19 vaccine based on preliminary results in order to ensure the timely availability of the vaccines, a hand-out by the ministry said on Wednesday. (Pakistan-Sinopharm-Vaccine)

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TOKYO — The number of new daily COVID-19 cases in Tokyo surpassed the 1,000-mark for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic, Governor Yuriko Koike said Thursday, warning that the third wave hitting the capital is of “unprecedented size.”

Tokyo metropolitan government sources reportedly said that new cases have topped 1,300, far eclipsing the previous record of 949 cases logged last Saturday, as the city continues to grapple with consistently rising infections. (Japan-Tokyo-COVID-19) Enditem


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