Live COVID-19 updates: UK funds another coronavirus vaccine program

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BEIJING, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- The following are the updates on the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

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LONDON -- The University of Cambridge announced on Wednesday that a newly developed vaccine candidate against the COVID-19 has received funding support from the British government and could start clinical trials in late autumn or early next year.

The program is a collaboration between the University of Cambridge, Cambridge spin-out company DIOSynVax, and the University Hospital Southampton NHS (National Health Service) Foundation Trust.

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PARIS -- French Prime Minister Jean Castex on Wednesday announced a two-billion-euro (2.36 billion U.S. dollars) rescue plan to support the country's pandemic-hit culture sector as part of the government's economic recovery package.

French arts and culture, still shackled by restrictive sanitary rules, would get "an exceptional fund" to compensate losses and kickstart activities despite the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Castex told France Inter radio.

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GENEVA -- The next World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, originally scheduled for January, will be postponed until early next summer, its managing director of public engagement Adrian Monck said Wednesday in a statement.

"The decision was not taken easily, since the need for global leaders to come together to design a common recovery path and shape the 'Great Reset' in the post-COVID-19 era is so urgent. However, the advice from experts is that we cannot do so safely in January," Monck said.

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NUR-SULTAN -- Kazakhstan and Russia have signed an agreement on the procurement of a Russian-made vaccine against COVID-19, the office of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan said in a statement Wednesday.

The deal, signed between Kazakh state pharmaceutical distributor SK-Pharmacy and the Russian Direct Investment Fund, guarantees that Russia's Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology will produce a certain volume of the "Sputnik V" vaccine specifically for the Central Asian nation.

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ROME -- Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here on Tuesday that his Europe trip has four main purposes, namely to continue the fight against COVID-19 with Europe, support Europe's unity and development, promote China-Europe relations and boost world peace and development.

Addressing a press conference together with his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio, Wang said that this visit aims to enhance the China-Europe joint fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

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GAZA -- Hamas-run Health Ministry on Wednesday recorded the first local fatality related to the novel coronavirus.

The ministry said in a press statement that "61-year-old Rabah Lubbad died as a result of his infection with the virus," adding that his condition was critical and "he was under artificial respiration."

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MOSCOW -- Russia registered 4,676 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking its total to 970,865, the country's COVID-19 response center said in a statement Wednesday.

Meanwhile, 115 new deaths were reported, taking the death toll to 16,683.

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JAKARTA -- The Jakarta administration has decided to allow businesses to reopen movie theaters under strict health protocols soon, governor of the Indonesian capital city said here on Wednesday.

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan told a press conference that he will revoke permits of business owners if they are found to violate the health protocols in cinemas.

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KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysia reported six new COVID-19 infections, bringing the national total to 9,291, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement that one of the new cases is imported and five more are local transmissions.

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CANBERRA -- Australia's Victoria state confirmed 24 new deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday, 21 of which linked to aged care outbreaks, making it Australia's second-deadliest day of the pandemic.

It took the country's death toll to 549 and Victoria's to 462.

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SUVA -- The South Pacific island nation of Tonga confirmed on Wednesday its intention to join COVAX to access COVID-19 vaccines.

According to Matangi Tonga Online, Tonga's news website, Tonga's Ministry of Health Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Siale'Akau'ola said on Wednesday that the island nation has provided an Expression of Interest to join COVAX to access COVID-19 vaccines. Enditem

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