Live COVID-19 updates: Chile expects "herd immunity" against COVID-19 by midyear

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BEIJING, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- The following are the updates on the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

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SANTIAGO -- Chile expects to have 80 percent of its population vaccinated against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by midyear, achieving so-called "herd immunity," Health Minister Enrique Paris said Wednesday.

Health officials estimate the bulk of the target population, about 15 million Chileans, could be inoculated by June, Paris told local media.

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LISBON -- Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa proposed to the parliament on Wednesday to renew the "state of emergency" in the country until March 16, foreseeing a "reopening done in phases" based on the recommendations from experts as well as objective data.

"Unfortunately, the situation of public calamity caused by the pandemic COVID-19 continues," said the president in a note posted on the website of the Presidency of the Republic.

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WASHINGTON -- The United States has launched a major new initiative to study the long-term effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection, and the means of prevention and treatment of individuals who have been sickened by COVID-19, but do not recover fully over a long period of time.

The initiative, announced by the U.S. National Institutes of Health on Tuesday, aims to learn more about how SARS-CoV-2 may lead to such widespread and lasting symptoms, and to develop ways to treat or prevent these conditions.

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KIEV -- The first stage of mass vaccination against COVID-19 has started in Ukraine, Health Minister Maxym Stepanov said on Wednesday.

"The process of vaccination against COVID-19 starts today. The first vaccines were sent to the regions today at 7 am," Interfax-Ukraine quoted Stepanov as saying on Wednesday.

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SANTIAGO -- The Chilean Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported 2,554 cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in 24 hours, bringing total confirmed cases to 807,872, as well as 22 more deaths for an accumulation of 20,173.

The South American country has been facing a resurgence of COVID-19 infections since December, which has in turn increased the demand for hospitalizations amid the summer season in the Southern Hemisphere.

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PARIS -- France on Wednesday confirmed 31,519 new COVID-19 cases, the biggest one-day jump since mid-November lat year, as very worrying situation in some departments forced the authorities to impose partial lockdown to fight the virus resurgence.

A higher single-day tally, at 45,522, was registered on Nov. 17, according to official data.

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ALGIERS -- Algeria on Wednesday reported 182 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases in the North African country to 112,461.

The death toll from the virus rose to 2,970 after three new fatalities were added, said the Algerian Ministry of Health in a statement.

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TUNIS -- Tunisian Health Ministry on Wednesday reported 662 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number of infections in the country to 230,443.

The death toll from the virus rose by 26 to 7,869, the ministry said in a statement. Enditem

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