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Russia's Daily COVID-19 Cases Hit New Record, U.S. Greenlights Jab For Kids Of 5-11 Years

A Russian Emergencies Ministry serviceman disinfects a railway station in Moscow (file photo)
A Russian Emergencies Ministry serviceman disinfects a railway station in Moscow (file photo)

Russia on October 30 reported 40,251 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, its highest single-day case tally since the start of the pandemic.

The government's coronavirus taskforce reported 1,160 deaths related to the virus, three short of the daily record of 1,163 set the day before.

Russia will go into a nationwide workplace shutdown in the first week of next month, while Moscow has reimposed a partial lockdown from October 28, with only essential shops like pharmacies and supermarkets allowed to remain open.

Authorities have blamed a spike in coronavirus infections in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe in large part on a slow vaccination rate.

In neighbring Belarus, health authorities on October 30 reported the highest number of daily COVID-19 deaths -- 18 -- since the start of the pandemic, bringing the total number of fatalities to 4,614 people.

In China, health authorities are testing the entire population of Lanzhou, a city of 3.7 million people, and the capital of the northwestern province of Gansu, for the coronavirus for the fifth time, after the they detected five new locally transmitted infections on October 29, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The government had imposed a strict curfew on Lanzhou at the beginning of the week, in response to a new outbreak of the virus.

China's national health commission has recently been reporting about 50 daily new COVID-19 infections -- a relatively small figure compared to the country's population of some 1.4 billion.

However, the central government is pursuing a strict "zero-COVID-19 strategy" with curfews, mass testing, contact tracing, quarantine and strict entry restrictions, as well as a vaccination drive.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on October 29 authorized the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 years, making it the first COVID-19 shot for young children in the country.

The FDA decision is expected to make the jab available to 28 million American children, many of whom are back in school for in-person learning.

The shot will not be immediately available to the age group. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still needs to advise on how the shot should be administered, which will be decided after a group of outside advisers discuss the plan next week.

Only a few other countries, including China, Cuba, and the United Arab Emirates, have so far cleared COVID-19 vaccines for children in this age group and younger.

The United States started administering the vaccine to teens between ages 12 and 17 in May.

In the United States, around 58 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, lagging other nations such as Britain and France.

With reporting by Reuters, dpa, and TASS
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