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

The death toll from COVID-19 in Turkey has reached 17,364 with 243 additional fatalities, the highest daily count since the start of the pandemic, according to Health Ministry data released Thursday.

Turkey’s health minister gave an evaluation of the process and effectiveness of a domestic vaccine for COVID-19 after meeting with the Coronavirus Scientific Committee early Thursday via video link.

Turkey has stepped up its vaccine production ability, with three Turkish firms boasting the capacity to produce 160 million doses of vaccines, the country’s industry and technology minister said Thursday.

Turkish authorities rescued dozens of migrants in the Aegean Sea on Thursday after they were pushed back into Turkish territorial waters by Greek elements.

Turkey’s strong historical, cultural and humanitarian ties make the country an integral part of the Balkans, said Turkey’s deputy foreign minister.

A total of 23 people were arrested in Turkey for their alleged links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup, a security source said Thursday.

Turkey and Iraq agreed to continue fighting terrorists trying to disrupt peace and stability in their common region, the Turkish president announced Thursday.

A total of 175 irregular migrants planning to cross into Europe were held in Turkey’s Izmir province, the provincial coastal guard reported Thursday.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday praised UNESCO for adding the traditional strategic game Mangala to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Upper Karabakh

Russian President Vladimir Putin explained Russia’s position on the Nagorno-Karabakh cease-fire Thursday.

COVID-19 updates worldwide

Jordan and Gaza announced more coronavirus fatalities Wednesday as they continued efforts to contain the disease.

Colombian President Ivan Duque has said a nationwide coronavirus vaccination drive will begin in February.

New Zealand on Thursday announced that the country has secured two more COVID-19 vaccines, which are now enough for the country’s 5.36 million people.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has announced that when the novel coronavirus vaccine reaches the country, he will be the first volunteer to receive it.

With daily virus cases hitting a record high, Japan’s capital has raised its alert for the strain on the medical system to the highest of four levels, local media reported Thursday.

Saudi Arabia on Thursday began a coronavirus vaccination campaign for citizens who wish to be vaccinated, local media reported.

Europe is embracing restricted Christmas celebrations this year, with many countries taking precautions to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Twitter has announced that it will begin removing misleading information about COVID-19 vaccines from next week.

French President Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, his office said Thursday morning.

As countries begin COVID-19 vaccinations and continue to procure doses, China is preparing for mass production of its vaccine candidates undergoing final stage clinical trials, an official at the National Health Commission said Thursday.

Several heads of state and leaders met French President Emmanuel Macron in the last 10 days leading up to his positive COVID-19 test results announced Thursday.

Pakistani health experts accuse both the government and the opposition of “politicizing” the COVID-19 pandemic, which has created “widespread confusion” among the general public about the disease.

The EU will start mass COVID-19 vaccination across the continent as of Dec. 27, the head of the European Commission announced Thursday.

Despite lax coronavirus rules and a poor health system, Haiti has recorded only five fatalities from COVID-19 since October, bringing the country’s death total to 234.

Italy on Thursday reported 683 more coronavirus-related deaths — largely stable from the day before — as the country continues to register one of Europe’s highest death tolls.

Iran said Thursday that around 60,000 nurses have contracted the coronavirus across the country, including 100 of them who lost their lives.

Other developments

Fiji imposed a night-long curfew Thursday as a heavy cyclone is expected to make landfall on the archipelagic nation in the southern Pacific.

Crude oil prices hit nine-month highs Thursday, fueled by a drop in US crude stocks and renewed hopes of a US coronavirus relief package.

The US and Greece on Thursday agreed to enhance energy investments and regional cooperation.

Bangladesh and India signed seven agreements on cooperation Thursday in a range of areas including trade, energy and agriculture.

More than 435,000 refugees in Kenya face “imminent food shortages unless new funds are swiftly received,” the UN’s World Food Programme said Thursday.

The German chancellor on Thursday thanked German-Turkish scientists Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci for their efforts to develop a vaccine against the novel coronavirus.

A top US general met with Taliban negotiators in Doha, Qatar this week to discuss the reduction of violence in Afghanistan, according to a Joint Chiefs of Staff statement released Thursday.​​​​​​​

The civil society across South Asia is “increasingly constrained,” according to a recent report.

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