World News in Brief: June 15

Beijing reported its second consecutive day of record new numbers of COVID-19 cases on Monday (June 15), adding urgency to efforts to rein in a sudden resurgence of the coronavirus in the Chinese capital. Beijing officials on Monday confirmed 36 new COVID-19 cases for June 14, the same as a day earlier, which was the city's highest daily infection count since late March. Officials have now reported 79 cases over just four days, the biggest concentration of infections since February.

People wearing face masks commute inside a subway station during morning rush hour, following new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections in Beijing, China June 15, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)
People wearing face masks commute inside a subway station during morning rush hour, following new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections in Beijing, China June 15, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)

* The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday (June 14) reported 2,063,812 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 25,468 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 646 to 115,271.

* The Philippine health ministry on Monday confirmed 10 more novel coronavirus deaths and 490 additional infections. In a bulletin, the ministry said total deaths have increased to 1,098 while confirmed cases have reached 26,420.

* Indonesia reported on Monday 1,017 new coronavirus infections and 64 more deaths, the highest COVID-19 death toll in a single day in the Southeast Asian nation to date. Health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said the total number of cases in Indonesia had now reached 39,294, while fatalities had increased to 2,198. The total number of people who have recovered from the coronavirus is 15,123.

* Spain reopened to a select group of German tourists on Monday in a pilot project which will bring 10,000 holidaymakers to the Balearic Islands to find out how mass tourism can work in a time of coronavirus. Dozens of mask-wearing sunseekers queued at Duesseldorf airport on Monday morning to board tour operator TUI's flight to Palma de Mallorca, eager to test arrangements for socially distanced holidaymaking two weeks before Spain fully reopens.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 192 to 186,461, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Monday. The reported death toll rose by four to 8,791, the tally showed.

* Republic of Korea (ROK) will face another wave of coronavirus infections, with as many as 800 new cases a day by July, if the government does not introduce stricter social distancing guidelines, a prominent infectious disease specialist has warned. The warning comes after the health authorities on Friday extended prevention and sanitation guidelines to protect against the coronavirus until daily new infections drop to single digits.

* Brazil has registered 867,624 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, with 17,110 new cases since yesterday, the Health Ministry said on Sunday. The total COVID-19 death toll rose to 43,332, with 612 new deaths since yesterday.

* The worst part of the coronavirus epidemic is behind France, but people must remain vigilant as the virus continues to circulate, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Monday. France reported on Sunday nine new coronavirus deaths over the previous 24 hours, taking the total to 29,407. It was the fifth day in which the number of fatalities remained below 30.

* Russia on Monday reported 8,246 new cases of the coronavirus, taking the nationwide tally of infections to 537,210, the country's coronavirus crisis response centre said. It said 143 people had died from the virus in the past 24 hours, taking Russia's overall death toll to 7,091.

* ROK President Moon Jae-in urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on Monday to refrain from raising tension and return to dialogue, after threats trumpeted by state media in Pyongyang to cut ties and take military action. Moon's remarks came as the ROK marked the 20th anniversary on Monday of the first summit between the two nations, which had pledged to step up dialogue and cooperation.

* Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said on Monday it was not true the government had decided to ease an entry ban, which was implemented to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, for people from certain countries. The Yomiuri daily reported last week that Japan may restart business trips to and from Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and Thailand in the next few months.

* Russia's Foreign Ministry summoned the Czech ambassador on Monday amid diplomatic tensions between Moscow and Prague, Russian news agencies reported. The Czech government declared two staff at the Russian Embassy in Prague persona non grata earlier this month and ordered them to leave.

* Greece reopened its main airports to more international flights on Monday, hoping to kick-start its vital tourism sector after three months in lockdown. Tourism employs about 700,000 people and accounts for some 20% of Greece's economic output, so how the sector fares is significant for the country's recovery. Greece emerged from a decade-long debt crisis two years ago.

* Denmark will hand out cash to Danes in a bid to stimulate the economy, the finance ministry said on Monday, while announcing plans to phase out generous aid packages introduced at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis.

* The number of coronavirus cases rose to more than 10,000 in the Czech Republic, Health Ministry data showed on Monday. The country of 10.7 million has 10,024 confirmed cases as of the end of Sunday, with 329 deaths and 7,226 recovered. The daily rise in case numbers has been in the range of 31-74 over the past two weeks.

* Confirmed coronavirus cases in Colombia have risen to over 50,000, the country's Health Ministry said on Sunday, while neighboring Ecuador approached the same milestone. Colombia has reported 50,939 cases of the coronavirus and 1,667 deaths. In Ecuador, cases have surpassed 46,700 and deaths stand at 3,896.

* Tunisian Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh said on Sunday he had decided against the use of more external debt and that all new expenses that arise for the country would be funded only through internal loans. He said that he will freeze increases in the wages of public employees because of the critical state of public finances which was worsened by the coronavirus crisis.

* Irish political parties Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Green Party will sign a deal on the formation of a new coalition government on Monday, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said on Sunday.

* Afghanistan's government and the Islamist Taliban group have agreed that Doha will be the venue for the first meeting in their peace talks, both sides said on Sunday. The talks, known as the intra-Afghan dialogue, will be the first high-level meeting between the two sides after years of fighting.

* The number of daily deaths from the new coronavirus pandemic topped 100 in Iran for the first time in two months on Sunday, health ministry data showed. Iran recorded 107 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 8,837. The total number of cases in the country has reached 187,427.