World News in Brief: June 21

Mainland China reported on Sunday (June 21) 26 new confirmed coronavirus cases for June 20, down from 27 a day earlier, driven largely by the latest outbreak of COVID-19 in the Chinese capital. Of the new infections, 22 were in Beijing, the National Health Commission said in a statement, the same as a day earlier. To date, China has 83,378 confirmed cases. No new deaths were reported in mainland China for June 20.

Mainland China reports 26 new Covid-19 cases including 22 in Beijing. (Photo: Reuters)
Mainland China reports 26 new Covid-19 cases including 22 in Beijing. (Photo: Reuters)

* Nearly 50,000 people have died from the coronavirus in Brazil, the world No. 2 hotspot, with 1,022 fatalities in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Saturday (June 20). A total of 49,976 people have officially died from COVID-19 in Brazil, according to the ministry, with a total of 1,067,579 confirmed cases. Only the United States has recorded more deaths and cases.

* Italy reported 49 deaths from COVID-19 on Saturday, compared with 47 a day earlier, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the daily tally of new cases rose to 262 from 251 on Friday. The country's death toll since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21 now stands at 34,610, the agency said, the world's fourth-highest after the United States, Brazil and Britain. The number of confirmed cases amounts to 238,275, the eighth-highest global tally.

* The number of deaths in France from COVID-19 has risen by 19 from Friday to stand at 29,633, the health ministry said on Saturday. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose by 641 to 160,093. France's coronavirus death toll is the fifth-highest in the world.

* The death toll from confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom has risen by 128 to 42,589, health officials said on Saturday.

* Mexico on Saturday reported 4,717 new infections and 387 additional deaths from the coronavirus, the health ministry said, bringing the total number in the country to 175,202 cases and 20,781 deaths.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 687 to 189,822, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Sunday. The Institute also reported a death toll of 8,882. On Saturday, the figure stood at 8,883.

* Australia's second most populous state, Victoria, on Sunday extended its state of emergency for four more weeks to July 19, as it battles a spike in coronavirus infections with a pick-up in community transmission. Victoria reported 19 new infections on Sunday, the fifth day of double digit-rises. The state has now had 1,836 total confirmed cases, or a quarter of the cases in Australia, since the COVID-19 pandemic erupted.

* US President Donald Trump said on Saturday he would announce new restrictions on visas within a couple of days to block the entry of certain foreign workers and protect Americans struggling with a job market devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

* Serbians go to polls on Sunday to elect a new parliament in Europe's first national election since coronavirus lockdowns took effect some three months ago, with the ruling conservatives seen winning a comfortable majority. Polling stations will be equipped with face masks and hand sanitisers for the use of the country's 5.5 million voters, many of whom are expected to skip voting - partly due to fears of becoming infected. Serbia, which has a population of 7.2 million, has so far reported 12,803 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 260 deaths.

* Chile on Saturday increased its estimate of cases and deaths caused by the coronavirus while a labor union at state-owned Codelco, the world's largest copper producer, confirmed that a second company employee had died in the pandemic. Amid an effort re-organize its much-criticized reporting of virus-related deaths, the government increased its estimated number of fatal cases to more than 7,000 from a previously-confirmed 4,265. Official data show there have been 236,748 infections in Chile so far.

* Ivory Coast's octogenarian former President Henri Konan Bedie will run for office again in presidential elections in October, he said in a statement on Saturday. Bedie's candidacy is the latest twist in a turbulent build-up to a vote that is wide open after current President Alassane Ouattara said he would not run again after ten years in power.

* Spanish foreign minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said on Saturday that Spain would open its doors to British tourists from Sunday without the need for them to spend two weeks in quarantine because of the coronavirus. She said Spain is still discussing with UK authorities whether they will offer the same conditions for Spanish visitors to the UK.

* West African regional bloc ECOWAS on Saturday called on Mali to re-run some of its contested local elections and convene a government of national unity after anti-government protests swept the capital Bamako. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets on Friday for the second time in a month to demand President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita step down.

* Kyrgyzstan will shut down public transport in the capital Bishkek and the routes between all of its provinces every weekend, Prime Minister Kubatbek Boronov said on Saturday. The move came as the number of new coronavirus cases in the Central Asian nation rose by 192 and senior officials including the capital's mayor and a member of parliament tested positive.

* Saudi Arabia will end a nationwide curfew and lift restrictions on businesses from Sunday morning after three months of lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, state news agency SPA quoted a source in the interior ministry as saying on Saturday. The curfew will be lifted as of 6 AM local time on Sunday. Restrictions will remain, however, for religious pilgrimages, international travel and social gatherings of more than 50 people. The kingdom has recorded 154,223 cases of COVID-19 and a total of 1,230 deaths, the highest in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council.

* Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Saturday ordered his army to be ready to carry out any mission inside or outside the country to protect its national security amid tensions over Turkey's intervention in neighbouring Libya.