World News in Brief: May 18

India began evacuating thousands of villagers and halted port operations ahead of a cyclone expected to hit its east coast this week, officials said on Monday (May 18), piling pressure on emergency services grappling with the coronavirus pandemic. The cyclone, expected to make landfall on May 20, comes as India eases the world's longest lockdown, imposed in April against the virus, which has infected more than 96,169 people and killed 3,029.

India has recorded its biggest single-day surge with 5,242 new cases of coronavirus and 157 deaths due to Covid-19 during the past 24 hours, taking the country’s infection tally to more than 96,000, the most in Asia.
India has recorded its biggest single-day surge with 5,242 new cases of coronavirus and 157 deaths due to Covid-19 during the past 24 hours, taking the country’s infection tally to more than 96,000, the most in Asia.

* Malaysia's king on Monday said the appointment of Muhyiddin Yassin as prime minister during turmoil this year was proper and constitutional, days after parliament put off a vote on an opposition challenge to his leadership. Malaysia, which imposed curbs on movement and business since mid-March, has reported 6,894 cases of the virus and 113 deaths.

* China reported seven new coronavirus cases for May 17, up from five a day earlier, the country's health authority said on Monday. Of the new cases, four were imported from the Inner Mongolia province. The country also reported 18 new asymptomatic cases on May 17, versus 12 the day before.

* The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday (May 17) reported 1,467,065 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 31,967 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 1,394 to 88,709.

* Russia on Monday reported 8,926 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours, pushing its nationwide case tally to 290,678. The daily rise in cases was for the third day in a row below 10,000, a threshold that it has been above for much of May. Russia's coronavirus taskforce said 91 people had died overnight, bringing the death toll to 2,722.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 342 to 174,697, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Monday. The tally showed deaths rose by 21 to 7,935.

* French President Emmanuel Macron will hold a video conference later on Monday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said a statement from Macron's office. The statement added that the two leaders would present a new Franco-German initiative at the end of the meeting, around 1500 GMT.

* The Spanish cabinet is due to approve next week a programme to grant a basic income to the poorest to help them weather the economic fallout from the coronavirus epidemic, Social Security Minister Jose Luis Escriva said on Monday. The minister said in an interview with RNE radio station the cabinet would approve the programme, probably during the weekly cabinet meeting scheduled on May 26.

* Britain is still in talks with France over whether French travellers should be exempt from a requirement for a 14-day quarantine when they arrive in the United Kingdom, culture minister Oliver Dowden said on Monday. The two countries had said earlier this month that Britain would not impose quarantine to travellers coming from France at this stage but Britain has still not set out the full details.

* Australians in the country's most populated state began their first full week of loosened coronavirus lockdown measures on Monday, with officials urging commuters returning to offices to avoid catching peak hour trains and buses. NSW, which includes Australia's most populous city Sydney, reported just one new infection in the previous 24 hours. The state also reported one additional death, the first nationally in almost a week, taking the nationwide toll to 99 from 7,060 infections.

* Hungary's government will submit a proposal to parliament on May 26 to end its special coronavirus emergency powers, quoted Prime Minister Viktor Orban's chief of staff as saying late on Sunday. Gergely Gulyas put a date on a similar statement by Orban on Friday. Gulyas said Parliament would take a few days to pass the bill, which will end the much-criticised emergency powers by early June.

* El Salvador's attorney general on Sunday challenged a decree by President Nayib Bukele, who declared a state of emergency the previous evening to extend coronavirus measures without approval by congress. Congress approved an emergency declaration in March to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, but after an extension in April, the measure was due to expire Sunday. Lawmakers had planned to discuss an extension when they reconvened on Monday.