Anadolu Agency's Morning Briefing – Jan. 16, 2021

Alaturka Amerika ABD Haberleri

By Burak Dag

ANKARA (AA) – Anadolu Agency is here with a rundown of the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic and other news in Turkey and around the world.

– Coronavirus and other developments in Turkey

Turkey reported 8,314 new cases of the novel coronavirus, continuing a downward trend from 8,962 that was reported the previous day, according to Health Ministry data.

Among the new cases were 921 symptomatic patients that were confirmed across the country, data showed.

The overall case tally is nearing 2.4 million. The nationwide death toll hit 23,664, with 169 fatalities.

Another 9,109 patients recovered for a total of more than 2.2 million.

More than 500,000 health care workers received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Health Ministry.

No serious side effects have been reported by 8,000 health care workers who were vaccinated in Ankara, according to a head physician.

The Turkish president and Italian prime minister discussed bilateral relations in a telephone call, Turkish authorities said.

– COVID-19 updates worldwide

More than 2 million people have died from COVID-19 since it was first detected a little more than one year ago, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Spain shattered its previous record for daily cases, with the authorities reporting a staggering 40,197 new infections.

Italy topped 1 million people vaccinated, becoming the country with the highest number of first doses administered in the European Union.

Cases in Germany officially passed the 2 million mark as the second wave continues to surge across the country.

A travel ban to the UK from South American countries and Portugal took effect. The ban, which was ordered by the government because of concerns about a new variant originating in Brazil, went into force at 4 a.m.

At least 23 people who received the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 shots have died in Norway, with 13 possibly linked to the vaccine’s side effects, authorities said.

Setting an example for the public, the president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) was the first person in the country to get the vaccine.

– Other developments

The YPG is a "sub-affiliate of" the PKK, the US Justice Department said in announcing a military veteran who went to fight with the YPG was taken into custody.

The US imposed sanctions on Cuba's Interior Ministry and Minister Alberto Alvarez Casas for "serious human rights abuse."

Additionally, Washington decreased its troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to 2,500, accomplishing a key goal of President Donald Trump as he prepares to leave office next week, the Pentagon announced.

The US furthered its pressure on Tehran as Washington imposed new sanctions on Iranian entities and individuals in the final days of Trump's presidency.

The Dutch government resigned, rocked by a childcare benefit scandal.

The European Union added Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad to its sanctions list.

Palestinians are set to have parliamentary, presidential and National Council polls elections this spring and summer — ending 14 years without voting — under a decree signed Friday by the Palestinian president.

Russia said it began procedures to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty following the US’ withdrawal last year.

Pakistan urged the UN Security Council to designate "violent nationalist groups," including India's hardline Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), as proscribed outfits like other militant groups.

Another popular Muslim prayer smartphone application is tracking the location of users and selling data that ends up in the hands of the US government, according to a media report.

WhatsApp postponed its new privacy policy update from Feb. 8 to May 15, the company announced Friday.