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Xinhua Asia-Pacific news summary at 0600 GMT, April 19

19 Apr 2021

VIENTIANE -- The COVID-19 vaccination program in Laos is underway and the majority of people in target areas have had their first dose of the vaccine.

The Lao government plans to vaccinate at least 150,000 people in the initial stages of the program. (Laos-Vaccination)

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NEW DELHI -- India's COVID-19 tally surpassed the 15-million mark, reaching 15,061,919 on Monday, showed the latest data by the federal health ministry.

There was an increase of 273,810 COVID-19 cases during the past 24 hours. This is the third consecutive day when the country witnessed a single day spike of over 250,000 new cases.(India-COVID-19)

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CANBERRA -- Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday welcomed the opening of free travel between his country and New Zealand, saying it is a "win-win" for both countries.

As of Monday, Australians can enter and return from New Zealand without having to quarantine on either side.(Australia-New Zealand-Travel bubble)

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HONG KONG -- The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government announced on Sunday evening that it will implement the place-specific flight suspension mechanism to India, Pakistan, and the Philippines, banning all incoming commercial passenger flights from them from landing in Hong Kong for 14 days from April 20.

Meanwhile, the HKSAR government will specify these areas as extremely high-risk over COVID-19 and restrict people who have stayed there from boarding planes to enter Hong Kong. The suspension will last 14 days.(Hong Kong-Travel ban)

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