World News in Brief: July 30

Global COVID-19 cases have surpassed 17 million on Thursday (July 30), the most recent statistics of the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University showed. The global count reached 17,029,155 with a total of 667,011 deaths, according to the latest data. The United States suffered the most from the pandemic, with 4,423,917 cases and 150,713 fatalities, followed by Brazil with 2,552,265 cases and 90,134 deaths, the tally showed.

Medical workers collect swab samples from people in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, on July 29, 2020. The COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 2,381 within one day to 104,432, with the death toll adding by 74 to 4,975, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday. (Photo: Xinhua)
Medical workers collect swab samples from people in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, on July 29, 2020. The COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 2,381 within one day to 104,432, with the death toll adding by 74 to 4,975, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday. (Photo: Xinhua)

* China reported 105 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for July 29, up from 101 cases a day earlier, the health commission said on Thursday. China also reported 21 new asymptomatic patients, down from 27 a day earlier. As of Wednesday (July 29), mainland China had 84,165 confirmed coronavirus cases, the health authority said. The COVID-19 death toll remained at 4,634.

* Mexico has 5,752 new known coronavirus cases and 485 additional deaths, bringing the nation's total to 408,449 cases and 45,361 fatalities, the health ministry reported on Wednesday. Mexico has the fourth highest death tally worldwide.

* India's health ministry Thursday morning said 775 new deaths due to COVID-19, besides fresh 52,123 positive cases, were reported during the past 24 hours across the country, taking the number of deaths to 34,968 and the total cases to 1,583,792. This is the highest single day spike in terms of fresh COVID-19 cases in the country so far.

* Russia should take proactive measures to prevent new surges in COVID-19 cases in autumn and winter, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday. It is time for Russia to prepare for possible new risks as the season of colds and flu is approaching, Putin said during an online meeting with government officials on the COVID-19 pandemic situation in the country.

* Australia recorded its deadliest day in the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday with at least 13 deaths and more than 700 new infections mainly in Victoria state, where the government ordered all residents to wear face-coverings outside. The toll takes the country's total fatalities from the novel coronavirus to 189, more than half of which have occurred in the second-most popular state of Victoria and its capital Melbourne, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

* Ukraine reported a record daily high of 1,197 new coronavirus cases on July 29, the country's council of security and defence said on Thursday. The number of new daily infections has increased sharply in the past two months following the gradual lifting of restrictions that began in late-May. The total number of cases rose to 68,794, including 1,673 deaths and 38,154 recovered as of July 30.

* UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday encouraged Southeast Asia to recover better from COVID-19 by addressing inequality and greening the economy. He said that the United Nations is strongly committed to partnering with the countries of Southeast Asia and will continue to support efforts to get the region on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and build a peaceful future for all.

* Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Thursday he was worried about a second wave of coronavirus infections in Europe and that the government would not hesitate to act to bring back quarantine measures if necessary to keep Britain safe.

* Europe's Airbus announced a new cut in production of its marquee A350 jet on Thursday as it swung to a larger-than-expected second-quarter loss in the face of global pandemic. The planemaker also said it hoped to avoid consuming cash in the second half of the year after a second-quarter outflow of EUR4.4 billion as deliveries tumbled because of the collapse in air travel caused by the coronavirus.

* The Austrian economy shrank by 10.7% in the second quarter, marking its biggest contraction since World War Two, as the coronavirus pandemic hit both domestic and foreign demand, think tank Wifo said on Thursday. Wifo, which compiles data for the government, said the most heavily affected sectors included retail, hotels, restaurants, sports and entertainment.

* Poland may reinstate quarantine for people coming back from some countries (particular countries from the European Union and from outside of the European Union) amid continuing worries about the coronavirus pandemic, government spokesman Piotr Muller said on Thursday.

* The European Union's (EU) institutions have started talks on the implementation of a massive recovery package linked to the EU's next seven-year budget that was agreed upon by EU leaders at their summit meeting in July. Their aim is also to conclude an agreement with the European Parliament, which demands significant improvements to the plans. In a telephone call on Wednesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen discussed the matter with European Parliament (EP) President David Sassoli and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who chairs the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

* Representatives of the Youth 20 (Y20), the official youth engagement group of the Group of 20 (G20), affirmed in a meeting the need for global citizenship to address pressing global challenges, the Y20 said in a statement on Wednesday. Delegates from G20 countries, guest countries and international organizations took part in the third and final virtual Y20 working group meeting on Tuesday to discuss multiculturalism and sustainable development with a focus on global citizenship as solutions to major problems facing the world.

* Tropical Storm Isaias has formed over the North Atlantic, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Wednesday. Isaias, the ninth named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, was located about 155 miles (250 km) south of Ponce, Puerto Rico, with maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour (85 kph), the NHC added.

* The China-Central Asia Gas Pipeline has delivered over 19 billion cubic meters of natural gas to China in the first half of this year, the PetroChina West Pipeline Company said Thursday. The pipeline runs from the border between Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, passes through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and links up with China's West-to-East Gas Pipeline in Khorgos of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

* Nepal has opened Mt. Qomolangma and other Himalayan peaks from Thursday after a shutdown that had lasted for four and a half months, according to a Tourism Department official.

* Chilean President Sebastian Pinera reshuffled his cabinet on July 28, replacing interior, foreign, defense and several other ministers following the defeat of a pension reform bill. The reshuffle came after the congress passed a controversial pension reform bill last week, allowing Chileans to withdraw 10 percent of their pensions to help overcome the difficulties brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. The government had opposed the bill.

* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Wednesday that Ukraine will do everything to comply with the ceasefire in East Ukraine, the Interfax-Ukraine News Agency reported. Earlier, Zelensky discussed the conflict resolution in East Ukraine during a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

* Italy on Wednesday declared a heatwave alert for 10 cities going into effect on Thursday, when temperatures in many parts of the country are expected to surpass 40 degrees Celsius. It is the first major set of heatwave alerts this summer in Italy. That compares to the summer of 2019, when the country declared three large-scale hot weather alerts.

* Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the visiting Russia's special envoy to Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, discussed on Wednesday the upcoming meeting of the Syrian constitutional committee, according to the state news agency SANA. Assad and Lavrentiev agreed that the committee, which will hold its meeting next month, should carry out its work without any external pressures.

* Jordan will hold parliamentary elections on November 10, the state-run Petra news agency reported on Wednesday. The date was set hours after King Abdullah issued a royal decree ordering the parliamentary elections to be held.

* Israel will conduct a drill to prepare for potential spill from the largest gas rig in Israeli waters, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said Wednesday. According to a ministry statement, the exercise will take place in September on northern Israeli shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

Xinhua, Reuters