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China's Hainan beach resort expands COVID-19 lockdowns

The capital of China's Hainan province has locked down its residents for 13 hours on Monday as a COVID-19 outbreak grows on the tropical island during the summer school holidays.

The temporary lockdown of Haikou city from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. follows an ongoing and indefinite lockdown of the beach resort of Sanya since Saturday that is confining vacationers to their hotels for a week. Four other cities and four counties in Hainan also started lockdowns of two days or more on Sunday and Monday.

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Pfizer to acquire sickle cell drugmaker GBT for $5 bn

American drugmaker Pfizer announced a deal on Monday to acquire Global Blood Therapeutics, makers of a recently approved treatment for sickle cell disease, for $5.4 billion.

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Saliba, Khalaf ask govt. about plans to douse 'dangerous' silos fire

MPs Najat Aoun Saliba and Melhem Khalaf on Monday held a press conference in parliament to tackle the issue of the long-running blaze at the blast-hit grain silos of Beirut’s port, which has been burning for around a month.

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Unvaccinated Novak Djokovic pulls out of Montreal tournament

Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the upcoming hard-court tournament in Montreal because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19 and is therefore not allowed to enter Canada.

By the same reason, as things stand now, he also will not be able to compete in the U.S. Open later this month.

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EU signs contract for new Spanish Covid vaccine

The European Commission has signed a contract to allow EU member states to buy up to 250 million doses of a new Covid-19 vaccine developed in Spain, it said Tuesday.

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China backs away from growth goal, sticks to virus controls

China's leaders effectively acknowledged the struggling economy won't hit its official 5.5% growth target this year and said Thursday they will try to prop up sagging consumer demand but will stick to strict anti-COVID-19 tactics that disrupted manufacturing and trade.

The announcement after a Communist Party planning meeting reflected the high cost President Xi Jinping's government has been willing to incur to stop the virus in a politically sensitive year when Xi is widely expected to try to extend his term in power.

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Study finds head impact-brain injury link

New research by a team of international experts has found that people playing contact sports such as American football, rugby and soccer face a dramatically elevated risk of developing degenerative brain diseases, a statement said Tuesday.

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First monkeypox case reported in Japan

Japan on Monday confirmed its first case of monkeypox, detected in a man in his 30s who had travelled overseas, Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike announced.

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UN health agency chief declares monkeypox a global emergency

The expanding monkeypox outbreak in more than 70 countries is an "extraordinary" situation that qualifies as a global emergency, the World Health Organization chief said, a declaration that could spur further investment in treating the once-rare disease and worsen the scramble for scarce vaccines.

A global emergency is WHO's highest level of alert but the designation does not necessarily mean a disease is particularly transmissible or lethal. Similar declarations were made for the Zika virus in 2016 in Latin America and the ongoing effort to eradicate polio, in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

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WHO again considers declaring monkeypox a global emergency

As the World Health Organization's emergency committee convenes Thursday to consider for the second time within weeks whether to declare monkeypox a global crisis, some scientists say the striking differences between the outbreaks in Africa and in developed countries will complicate any coordinated response.

African officials say they are already treating the continent's epidemic as an emergency. But experts elsewhere say the mild version of monkeypox in Europe, North America and beyond makes an emergency declaration unnecessary even if the virus can't be stopped. British officials recently downgraded their assessment of the disease, given its lack of severity.

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