World News in Brief: August 16

More than 21.52 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 765,038 have died, according to a Reuters tally. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

Journalists who will attend the Panglong Peace Conference queue up for COVID-19 test in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, Aug. 16, 2020. The fourth meeting of the 21st Century Panglong PeaConference which was firstly scheduled to be held in the first four months of this year will be held from Aug. 19 to Aug. 21, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)
Journalists who will attend the Panglong Peace Conference queue up for COVID-19 test in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, Aug. 16, 2020. The fourth meeting of the 21st Century Panglong PeaConference which was firstly scheduled to be held in the first four months of this year will be held from Aug. 19 to Aug. 21, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)

* China's new locally transmitted cases of the novel coronavirus fell to a one-month low as a cluster in the western region of Xinjiang receded, data released by the country's health authority showed on Sunday (August 16). The number of locally transmitted cases in China dropped to four on Aug. 15, all of which were in Xinjiang, the National Health Commission said in a statement. That compares with eight cases nationwide a day earlier and is the lowest since July 16. As of Aug. 15, mainland China had 84,827 confirmed coronavirus cases, with the death toll unchanged at 4,634.

* The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Saturday (August 15) reported 5,285,546 cases of new coronavirus, an increase of 56,729 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 1,229 to 167,546. The CDC figures do not necessarily reflect cases reported by individual states.

* Brazil on Saturday registered 41,576 cases and 709 deaths due to the novel coronavirus, the health ministry said. Overall, the country now has 107,232 deaths and 3,317,096 confirmed cases.

* Russia registered 4,969 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking its total to 922,853, the country's COVID-19 response center said in a statement Sunday. Meanwhile, 68 new deaths were reported, taking the nationwide count to 15,685. Moscow, the country's worst-hit region, reported 688 new cases, taking its tally of infections to 252,374, the response center said. According to the statement, 732,968 people have recovered so far, including 3,557 over the past day.

* India's COVID-19 tally reached 2,589,682 on Sunday as 49,980 deaths have taken place so far across the country, according to the latest health ministry data. There are still 677,444 active COVID-19 cases in India, while a total of 1,862,258 people have been successfully cured and discharged from hospitals across the country.

* Peruvians are expressing their support for the measures announced by President Martin Vizcarra to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, including a return to Sunday curfews and an adoption of social restrictions. According to the Ministry of Health, Peru has reported a total of 516,296 cases of COVID-19, which have overtaxed the public health system and caused a shortage of medical supplies.

* Malaysia reported 25 new COVID-19 infections, the Health Ministry said on Sunday, bringing the national total to 9,200. Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a press statement that among the new cases 16 are imported and nine are local transmissions. Another 28 cases have been released, bringing the total cured and discharged to 8,859 or 96.3 percent of all cases. No new deaths have been reported, leaving the total deaths at 125.

* COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 2,081 within one day to 139,549, with the death toll adding by 79 to 6,150, the Health Ministry said on Sunday. According to the ministry, 1,782 more people were discharged from hospitals, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 93,103. The virus has spread to all the country's 34 provinces.

* The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines surged to 161,253 as the Department of Health (DOH) reported 3,420 new daily cases on Sunday. The number of recoveries rose to 112,586 after 40,397 more patients recovered, the DOH said. The death toll also increased to 2,665 after 65 more patients died.

* The Republic of Korea (ROK) 's daily confirmed COVID-19 cases surged to 279 on Sunday owing to cluster infections linked to church services, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The total number of COVID-19 infections reached 15,318 as of 0:00 a.m. Sunday local time. The daily caseload logged the highest in about five months since March 8, after staying above 100 for the past two days. The ROK President Moon Jae-in ordered government officials to mobilize all available resources to contain the virus spread as the situation is "very grave," according to the presidential Blue House.

* New Zealand reported 13 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, said Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield from New Zealand Ministry of Health. Of these cases, 12 were from the community in Auckland and one was from a managed isolation facility. A total of 23,682 tests were conducted across the country in the past 24 hours, which brought the total test number in New Zealand to 571,942.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 625 to 223,453, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Sunday. The reported death toll remained unchanged at 9,231, the tally showed.

* Maldives has received over 3,000 foreign visitors since reopening its borders to foreign visitors last month, local media reported here Saturday. According to Maldives Immigration, 3,054 foreigners visited the Maldives between July 15 and August 13, the majority of whom came from Britain and the United States. The Maldives government hopes to attract a total of 850,000 tourists by the end of this year. State media reported that flights to the Maldives have increased since July.

* Mexico's economy recovered 52,455 jobs in August, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Twitter on Saturday, citing social security institute data. The Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) said last week that 3,907 jobs were lost in July among employees registered with the institute due to the coronavirus pandemic, adding to 1.1 million jobs lost between March and June.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko discussed the current situation in Belarus in the light of the presidential election and subsequent nationwide protests during a phone call Saturday.

* The ROK and the United States will start their annual joint military drills on Tuesday, in what local media said was a two-day delay after a ROKorean officer tested positive for the new coronavirus. The drills will start on Tuesday, "considering the COVID-19 situation," the ROK's Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Sunday. The training, which had been scheduled to begin on Sunday, was pushed back after the positive test on Friday of the Army officer, who was to have taken part, Yonhap News Agency said.

* France is to propose that masks be worn in shared workspaces as the country grapples with a rebound in coronavirus cases that rose again in the past 24 hours to over 3,000. The health ministry reported 3,310 new coronavirus infections, marking a post-lockdown high for the fourth day in a row. Employment Minister Elisabeth Borne said she would propose on Tuesday at talks with employer and union representatives that masks be compulsory in collective workspaces.

* Palestine on Saturday said that it will not allow the undermining of the Arab Peace Initiative and the resolutions of the United Nations, the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed an agreement with Israel, according to the official Palestinian news agency WAFA. Palestinians were outraged by the peace deal, considering it as "stab in the back."

* The chief of staff of the Iranian Armed Forces on Sunday urged the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to reconsider the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel, official IRNA news agency reported. In a meeting with the commanders of Iran's armed forces and media directors, Mohammad Hossein Baqeri expressed regret over a recent agreement between the UAE and Israel to normalize ties, saying it is "unacceptable" for the UAE to clinch political and economic deal with Israel.

* The European Union (EU) considered Israel's decision to suspend its plan to annex parts of occupied Palestinian territory as a positive step, the Council of the EU said in a statement on Saturday. The council also welcomed the normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), saying such a move will benefit both countries, and is "a fundamental step for the stabilization" of the region. Palestine on Thursday slammed the peace agreement reached between the UAE and Israel under US sponsorship.

* Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Saturday that there is no delay in investigations into the explosions that rocked Beirut on Aug. 4, the National News Agency reported. Two huge explosions rocked Port of Beirut on Aug. 4, shaking buildings all over Lebanon's capital, while killing at least 177 people and wounding 6,000. Primary information reveals that ammonium nitrate stored since 2014 in warehouse No. 12 at Port of Beirut may have caused the explosions.

* At least 21 Taliban militants were killed and seven others wounded in two Afghan provinces on Saturday, the command of the Afghan Special Forces confirmed on Sunday. The national security forces continued in cleanup operations across Afghanistan since early this year as daily violence and clashes have been continuing in the war-torn country. The Taliban group has yet to make comments on the report.

* The personnel from Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and Nepal Army along with local people continued on Sunday to search for missing people in a massive landslide that has killed at least 18 people in central Nepal.

Reuters, Xinhua