Live COVID-19 updates: UK to fund study on 3rd dose of COVID-19 vaccine

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BEIJING, March 4 (Xinhua) -- The following are the updates on the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

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LONDON -- The British government will fund what it believes to be the world's first study assessing the effectiveness of a third dose of vaccine to combat COVID-19, the UK Budget revealed on Wednesday.

The government is committing 22 million pounds (30.70 million U.S. dollars) to studies that test the effectiveness of a combination of different COVID-19 vaccines. This will also fund the world's first study assessing the effectiveness of a third dose of vaccine to improve the response against current and future variants of COVID-19, according to the Budget.

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ULAN BATOR -- Mongolia reported 44 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking its nationwide tally to 3,076, the country's National Center for Communicable Diseases (NCCD) said Thursday.

Forty-two of the latest confirmed cases were detected in the country's capital city Ulan Bator, and the remaining two were reported in the western province of Zavkhan, the NCCD said in a statement.

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KIGALI -- Rwanda has budgeted 50 billion Rwandan francs (about 51.2 million U.S. dollars) to buy COVID-19 vaccines for over 7.8 million people by 2022, Health Minister Daniel Ngamije said Wednesday.

The government will spend at least two-thirds of the total budget, as some vaccines are expected to come in as donations or via COVAX, a mechanism led by the United Nations which aims to provide equitable access to COVID-19 jabs for poorer countries, Ngamije told national broadcaster Rwanda Television during a news program.

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SEOUL -- Nine more U.S. soldiers and four civilians in South Korea tested positive for COVID-19, the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) said Thursday.

The USFK said in a statement that 13 USFK-affiliated individuals were confirmed with the COVID-19 after they arrived in South Korea between Feb. 12 and March 1.

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MANILA -- The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) reported on Thursday 2,452 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 584,667.

The death toll climbed to 12,404 after 15 more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH said. It added 266 more patients recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 535,037.

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BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN -- Brunei reported one new imported case of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the national tally to 188.

According to Brunei's Ministry of Health, Case 188 is a 35-year-old man who arrived in the country from India via Kuala Lumpur on Feb. 19.

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ADDIS ABABA -- Ethiopia registered 1,161 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 161,974 as of Wednesday evening, the country's Ministry of Health said.

The ministry said five new deaths from the coronavirus were reported across the country during the same period, bringing the national death toll to 2,391. Enditem

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