World News in Brief: May 13

Wednesday, 2020-05-13 14:44:16
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Passengers wearing protective masks carry their luggage at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, amid the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tangerang near Jakarta, Indonesia, May 12, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)
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Indonesia reported on Wednesday (May 13) its biggest daily rise in coronavirus infections with 689 new cases, taking the total in the Southeast Asian country to 15,438, said health ministry official Achmad Yurianto. Yurianto reported 21 new deaths related to COVID-19, taking the total to 1,028, while 3,287 have recovered.

* Singapore's health ministry said on Wednesday it has confirmed another 675 cases of coronavirus infections, taking the city-state's tally to 25,346.

* Thailand on Wednesday reported no new coronavirus cases for the first time since March 9. Thailand has a total of 3,017 cases and 56 deaths since the outbreak escalated in January. The Thai government continues to urge the public to wear masks, practice good hygiene and maintain social distancing measures, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the government's Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration.

* France's cumulative death toll from coronavirus infection rose by 348 or 1.3% to 26,991 on Tuesday (May 12), overtaking Spain's 26,920, making France the country with the world's fourth-highest death toll from the virus after the US, Britain and Italy. The health ministry said in a statement the number of people in hospital with coronavirus infection fell again to 21,595 from 22,284 on May 11, continuing an uninterrupted downward trend that has lasted four weeks.

* The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday reported 1,342,594 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 18,106 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 1,064 to 80,820. The CDC reported its tally of cases of the respiratory illness known as COVID-19, caused by the new coronavirus, as of 4 p.m. ET on May 11, compared with its count a day earlier.

* Russia on Wednesday reported 10,028 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, pushing its nationwide tally to 242,271. Russia's coronavirus response centre said 96 people died overnight, bringing the official death toll to 2,212.

* There is no perfect way to begin gradually easing the lockdown on the British economy and Britons should apply common sense to new guidance, transport minister Grant Shapps said on Wednesday as changes to coronavirus restrictions came into effect. Asked about why the government was allowing estate agents to restart house viewings when people could not have their own family to visit, Shapps said it was easy to pick holes in the guidance as it became more complicated.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 798 to 171,306, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday. The reported death toll rose by 101 to 7,634, the tally showed.

* Cuba began mass testing for the new coronavirus this week even as it appeared to have contained infections, and residents struggled to move around amid a partial shutdown in search of scarce basic goods. New cases have fallen to less than 20 per day from a peak of around 50 in April. Since the first COVID-19 illness was reported two months ago there have been 1,804 confirmed cases, of which 70.7% have recovered and 78 people have died.

* The Canadian coronavirus death toll passed the 5,000 mark on Tuesday and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said major reforms were needed for seniors' residences, where more than 80% of the victims lived. The public health agency said the number of deaths edged up by 2.9% to 5,049, from 4,906 on Monday, one of the smallest daily gains so far. Canada is the 11th nation to record more than 5,000 deaths.

* Tourism will recover to its pre-coronavirus levels by 2022 at the latest and European holidays will restart in July said Fritz Joussen, the chief executive of travel group TUI.

* The United Arab Emirates business and tourism hub Dubai has allowed public parks to reopen and hotel guests to access private beaches, state media said, as the emirate gradually lifts restrictions imposed to combat the coronavirus. The UAE has so far reported 19,661 infections and 203 deaths from the virus, the second highest death toll among six Gulf states.

* Border controls with Germany will be lifted from June 15, Austria's tourism minister, Elisabeth Koestinger, told broadcaster ORF on Wednesday. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz have agreed on a two-step plan to ease travel restrictions, Koestinger said.

* The Mexican government's health committee on Tuesday announced plans to put key industries such as the automotive, mining and construction sectors into the "essential activities" bracket, paving the way for a wider reopening of the economy. Mexico's health ministry confirmed 1,997 new cases of coronavirus infections on Tuesday, along with 353 additional deaths, the most deadly day since the pandemic began. The new infections brought confirmed coronavirus cases to 38,324 and 3,926 deaths in total, according to the official tally.

* The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday said its managing director would recommend approval of Chile's request for a two-year, US$23.8 billion flexible credit line, given the Latin American country's "very strong fundamentals" and track record. The IMF said its executive board discussed Chile's request during an informal session on Tuesday, and Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva would endorse the step when the board met to take a formal decision in coming weeks.

* Brazil has processed 337,595 tests for the novel coronavirus in official labs, a health ministry official said on Tuesday, up from around 181,000 tests on April 22, when the government previously reported testing numbers. Eduardo Macario, deputy secretary for health vigilance, told reporters that an additional 95,144 tests are currently being analyzed in official labs and 50,004 are waiting to enter the labs for processing.

* Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday called on the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban to cooperate to bring to justice the perpetrators of attacks on a hospital and a funeral that killed dozens of people, including two newborn babies.

* Lesotho's Prime Minister Thomas Thabane will resign by May 22nd, his spokesman said, adding he knew nothing of a report that the prime minister would hand in his resignation to the king on Wednesday.