World News in Brief: June 5

Indonesians in Jakarta returned to mosques on Friday (June 5) for prayers after the city relaxed rules on attending places of worship as part of a loosening of restrictions in place since late March to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Indonesia has been the hardest-hit country in east Asia outside China from the pandemic and Jakarta has been the epicentre of the outbreak, with 7,766 cases and 523 deaths.

Indonesia Muslims take part in Friday prayers at a mosque, amid the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Depok, Jakarta outskirts, Indonesia, June 5, 2020, in this photo taken by Antara Foto.
Indonesia Muslims take part in Friday prayers at a mosque, amid the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Depok, Jakarta outskirts, Indonesia, June 5, 2020, in this photo taken by Antara Foto.

* The Philippines' health ministry on Friday confirmed three new coronavirus deaths and 244 more infections, the lowest single-day increase in cases in two weeks. In a bulletin, the ministry said total deaths have reached 987 while confirmed cases have risen to 20,626. There are 4,330 patients who have recovered.

* Thailand on Friday reported one new coronavirus infection and no new deaths, taking its total confirmed cases to 3,102, of which 58 have been fatalities. There are 2,971 patients who have recovered.

* Malaysia reported 19 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, taking the cumulative total to 8,266 infections. The health ministry also reported its first death in two weeks, raising the number of fatalities to 116. Earlier on Friday, Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin unveiled an additional economic stimulus package worth around US$8.2 billion in a bid to revitalise industries badly hit by the pandemic.

* The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday (June 4) reported 1,842,101 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 14,676 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 827 to 107,029.

* India will throw open shopping malls, restaurants and places of worship that typically attract large crowds next week, officials said, even though coronavirus infections are rising at the fastest daily rate than at any time in the past three months. Anxious to jump-start an economy crippled by COVID-19 and put millions of people back to work, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government is dismantling its vast lockdown of the 1.3 billion population imposed in March. Strict guidelines will accompany the loosening of restrictions on Monday, however.

* The Philippines' unemployment rate surged to a record 17.7% in April, the statistics agency said on Friday, as millions lost their jobs due to a pandemic-induced lockdown that battered the economy. April's unemployment rate, which is 7.3 million people without jobs, compares with 5.3% in January and 5.1% in April last year.

* German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will hold a video conference on Thursday to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, economic policy and international issues, a German government spokesman said on Friday.

* The number of new novel coronavirus infections in Mexico reported on Thursday surpassed the record set just the previous day, and officials reported 816 more deaths as the pandemic engulfs Latin America's major nations. Thursday's additions bring Mexico's tally to a total of 105,680 cases and 12,545 deaths.

* Brazil's total COVID-19 death toll blew past that of Italy on Thursday, as the Health Ministry reported 1,437 deaths in the last 24 hours and 30,925 additional coronavirus cases. The Latin American nation has now reported 34,021 deaths from the coronavirus, trailing only the United States and the United Kingdom.

* Russia reported 8,726 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday, pushing the total number of infections to 449,834. Officials said 144 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official nationwide death toll to 5,528.

* Confirmed new coronavirus infections in France rose by 767 to 152,444 on the 25th day since lockdown ended on May 11, the health ministry said in a statement on Thursday. The health ministry said in a statement that the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 continued its decline of the past seven weeks and fell by 413 or 3.1% to 13,101. The number of people in intensive care also continued to fall, by 47 or 3.9% to 1,163. The country's coronavirus death toll rose by 44 to 29,065 on Wednesday after increasing by 81 and 107 the previous two days.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 394 to 183,271, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Friday. The reported death toll rose by 26 to 8,613, the tally showed.

* The United Kingdom's death toll from people who tested positive for COVID-19 has risen by 176 to 39,904, the government said on Thursday.

* Safe-haven German government bonds sold off for a second day on Friday, with yields reaching their highest levels in months, after the European Central Bank's support for the euro helped boost sentiment towards the euro zone. The ECB approved a bigger-than-expected expansion of its stimulus package on Thursday to prop up an economy plunged by the coronavirus pandemic into its worst recession since World War Two.

* Australians should not attend planned protests against the death of black American George Floyd in US police custody due to the risk of spreading coronavirus, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday. Protests against police brutality and in support of Indigenous Australia's are planned this weekend across the country's largest cities, and organisers expect thousands to attend. But Morrison said people should reconsider their planned action due to the threat of spreading coronavirus.

* Sweden will ease its travel restrictions from June 13 to allow those who do not have any symptoms of the new coronavirus to move around the country, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said on Thursday.

* Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday he decided to cancel a weekend lockdown announced late on Thursday after a public backlash, but he warned of a rise in the number of daily coronavirus cases. On Thursday, Turkey's interior ministry announced the stay-at-home order in 15 cities to prevent the spread of the virus, continuing the country's policy of weekend lockdowns.

* Forces loyal to Libya's internationally recognised government said on Friday they had entered Tarhouna, the last major stronghold of eastern commander Khalifa Haftar near Tripoli, capping the sudden collapse of his 14-month offensive. There was no immediate comment from Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) on whether its forces remained in the town, a day after they were pushed from their last positions in the capital.

* Qatar Airways said on Thursday it was gradually rebuilding its network and resuming flights to more than 40 designations, including Bangkok, Barcelona and several cities in Pakistan. The airline also announced in a statement the upcoming resumption of flights to other hubs including Berlin and New York.

* Jordan said on Thursday it would reopen hotels and cafes, allow sporting events without spectators and shorten a night curfew as of Saturday, further easing its coronavirus lockdown that has hit the aid-dependent economy. But Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz told reporters that while Jordan had now returned to near normality, it would now toughen enforcement of social distancing to ensure there was no risk of a resurgence of infections.