Live COVID-19 updates: Cuba's infections surpass 40,000

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BEIJING, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- The following are the updates on the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

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HAVANA -- Cuba reported 824 new COVID-19 cases over the last 24 hours, raising its total caseload to 40,765, the country's Ministry of Public Health said Wednesday.

Havana, the epicenter of the sanitary emergency in Cuba, reported 472 new cases on Wednesday, whereas the eastern provinces of Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo also registered high infections, said the ministry.

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ADDIS ABABA -- Ethiopia registered 818 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 149,308, the country's Ministry of Health said Wednesday evening.

The death toll from COVID-19 in the country has so far risen to 2,237, after 14 new deaths were reported, the ministry said.

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GABORONE -- Botswana plans to start COVID-19 vaccination before the end of March and expects to complete the process by the end of December 2021, said Health Minister Edwin Dikoloti on Wednesday.

In his address aired on national television, Dikoloti said Botswana has already paid 10 million U.S. dollars to secure vaccines through different channels.

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BEIJING -- The Chinese mainland reported 11 new imported COVID-19 cases Wednesday, bringing the total number of imported cases to 4,903.

Four imported cases were newly reported in Shanghai, three in Guangdong, two in Sichuan, and one each in Heilongjiang and Hubei, the National Health Commission said in its daily report Thursday.

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SAO PAULO -- Brazil was approaching 10 million COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, after 56,766 new cases were registered in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 9,978,747, according to the Health Ministry.

In its daily report, the ministry also reported 1,150 deaths in the same period for a death toll of 242,090.

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WASHINGTON -- Modeling data suggest that B.1.1.7 could become the predominant variant in the United States in March, according to a study released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday.

The first U.S. infection case of the B.1.1.7 variant was detected in Colorado in late December. As of Feb. 16, a total of 1,277 COVID-19 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant had been identified in 42 U.S. states. Enditem

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