Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi said tackling the fifth wave of Covid-19 infections and accelerating vaccinations will be key for his government.
Speaking as parliament began debating his cabinet nominations, he also said they would be focused on improving the economy and securing livelihoods.
“The government’s first priority is controlling the coronavirus, improving the health situation and widespread vaccination,” Raisi said.
Iran has said it has struggled to import vaccines because of US sanctions that make it difficult to transfer money abroad.
Raisi has nominated 63-year-old optometrist Bahram Eynollahi as his health minister, describing him as “a figure who can rally forces in the fight against coronavirus”.
According to local media, Eynollahi had signed an open letter to former president Hassan Rouhani warning against importing vaccines made by the United States, Britain and France.
Malaysia’s new prime minister was sworn in on Saturday and how he handles the country’s worst surge in Covid-19 infections will be heavily scrutinised.
Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s handling of the pandemic as deputy to his predecessor, Muhyiddin Yassin, has already been a source of pressure, with 350,000 Malaysians signing a petition opposing his appointment.
The 23,564 cases reported on Friday marked the third consecutive day of record numbers in Malaysia.
Strict lockdowns have put many in a precarious precision and last month many Malaysians began flying white flags from their homes as a signal that they needed help.
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Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters have clashed with Australian riot police in Sydney and Melbourne, where in the latter pepper spray was used to break up crowds, Reuters reports.
Riot police broke up congregations in Sydney, which has been under strict lockdown for two months.
Officials reported 894 cases on Saturday – Australia’s highest daily rise in infections – with most found in Sydney.
Police have not reported arrests but in Victoria said they would hand out fines of A$5,000 (£2,600) to protesters who took part.
Warning people away from the protest, Victoria police’s chief commissioner, Shane Patton, said it was “just ridiculous to think that people would be so selfish and come and do this”.