Xinhua Asia-Pacific news summary at 0600 GMT, Aug. 27


HONG KONG — The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Thursday confirmed that some social distancing measures will be eased from Friday in response to a retreat in new COVID-19 cases.

For the next seven days starting Friday, dine-in services will be allowed at restaurants till 9:00 p.m. local time every day, relaxed from current 6:00 p.m., and cinemas, beauty parlors and some outdoor sports venues will reopen. (China’s Hong Kong-Measures-COVID-19)

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WELLINGTON — Wearing a face covering on public transport is the right thing to do and will help keep New Zealanders safe from COVID-19, New Zealand’s Health Minister Chris Hipkins said on Thursday.

From Monday, it will be compulsory for everyone aged 12 and over to wear a face covering on public transport and planes under Alert Level 2 and above, with certain exemptions for health, disability and practicality reasons, Hipkins told a daily COVID-19 briefing. (New Zealand-COVID-19)

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KABUL — At least 122 people were killed, 147 others wounded and several others went missing in torrential floods in Afghanistan’s 12 eastern provinces, the office of state minister for disaster management and humanitarian affairs said Thursday.

“The initial information indicated 122 people have been killed and 147 wounded in floods since Tuesday night in eastern Afghan region,” the ministry said in a statement. (Afghanistan-Flooding)

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NEW DELHI — India’s COVID-19 tally crossed 3.3 million, reaching 3,310,234, and deaths surpassed 60,000, reaching 60,472, on Thursday, showed the latest data released by the country’s health ministry.

As many as 75,760 new COVID-19 cases and 1,023 deaths were recorded in the past 24 hours.

Still there are 725,991 active cases in the country, while 2,523,771 have been successfully cured and discharged from various hospitals, added the ministry data. (India-COVID-19)

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WELLINGTON — The New Zealand government has allocated significant extra funding, “in the order of hundreds of millions of dollars,” to access a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available.

The specifics of the funding from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund cannot be disclosed due to commercial sensitivity as it could prevent the best possible deal for New Zealanders, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a press conference on Thursday. (New Zealand-COVID-19 Funding)

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WELLINGTON — The gunman of last year’s terrorist attack on two Christchurch mosques in New Zealand was sentenced to life imprisonment, the High Court announced on Thursday.

The sentence came after three days of the final hearing of the case.

The 29-year-old Australian gunman, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, killed 51 people and injured 40 others on March 15, 2019. He is being sentenced on 51 murder charges, 40 attempted murder charges and one terrorism charge. (New Zealand-Christchurch Sentence)

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