World News in Brief: May 14

Thursday, 2020-05-14 16:32:52
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Security men wearing protective masks stand on a street during a 24-hour curfew amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, in Sanaa, Yemen, May 6,2020. (Photo: Reuters)
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Philippine authorities started moving 200,000 people away from their homes in coastal and mountainous areas because of fears of flooding and landslides as a typhoon made landfall on Thursday (May 14), disaster officials said. Typhoon Vongfong, the first to hit the country this year, slammed into the eastern Philippines packing winds of 155 kph and gusts of up to 190 kph, the state weather bureau said.

* A vaccine for the new coronavirus could be approved in about a year's time in an "optimistic" scenario, the European Medicines Agency said on Thursday. The EMA's head of vaccines, Marco Cavaleri, said he was sceptical of claims it could be ready by September.

* More than 4.37 million people have been reported to have been infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 295,923 have died, according to a Reuters tally. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

* China said on Thursday it will step up COVID-19 testing and screening to prevent a rebound of the coronavirus epidemic that has killed more than 4,600 in its mainland territories. National Health Commission spokeswoman Song Shuli made the remarks during a daily press briefing.

* Russia on Thursday reported 9,974 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, its lowest daily rise since May 2, bringing its nationwide tally to 252,245. Russia's coronavirus response centre said 93 people died overnight, bringing the official death toll to 2,305.

* Philippine authorities started moving 200,000 people away from their homes in coastal and mountainous areas because of fears of flooding and landslides as a typhoon made landfall on Thursday, disaster officials said. Typhoon Vongfong, the first to hit the country this year, slammed into the eastern Philippines packing winds of 155 kph and gusts of up to 190 kph, the state weather bureau said.

* Malaysia on Thursday reported 40 new coronavirus cases with one additional death, the health ministry said. The country has so far recorded a total of 6,819 infections, with 112 fatalities.

* Indonesia reported 568 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, taking the total in the Southeast Asian country to 16,006, health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said. Yurianto reported 15 new deaths related to COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, taking the total to 1,043, while 3,518 have recovered. More than 127,800 people have been tested, he added.

* Spain's daily coronavirus death toll rose on Thursday above 200 for the first time since May 8, the health ministry reported. The overall death toll from the disease rose to 27,321 on Thursday from 27,104 as 217 people reportedly died overnight, the ministry said. The overall number of diagnosed cases rose to 229,540 on Thursday.

* Germany will have to stabilise its social security system with cash injections to cushion the effect of coronavirus on health, the labour market and pensions, officials said on Thursday, an effort experts estimate could cost many billions of euros.

* Temperature screening and face masks will become common sights at airports to mitigate the spread of the new coronavirus but physical distancing could make flying more expensive, the head of Dubai airport said. Around the world, governments, airports and airlines are considering temporary safety measures to restart air travel, including mandatory temperature checks, wearing face masks and keeping passengers apart.

* Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned citizens to brace for more bad news as data released on Thursday showed the country's monthly job losses rose to a record high because of coronavirus lockdown measures. Australia has recorded about 7,000 COVID-19 cases, including 98 deaths, significantly below the levels reported in North America and Europe.

* Italy has approved the latest in a series of spending measures aimed at helping families and companies hit by the new coronavirus. The package will raise Italy's budget deficit by EUR55 billion (US$59.6 billion). It also includes many measures worth billions of euros that will not impact the bottom-line deficit.

* The Republic of Korean health authorities said on Thursday they would revise their practice of publicising the travel routes of coronavirus patients due to fears of a backlash against people who attended nightclubs at the centre of a new outbreak. ROK reported 29 new cases as of midnight Wednesday, bringing the country's total to 10,991 with 260 deaths.

* Hungary's government is considering some easing of restrictions to contain the spread of coronavirus in Budapest from next week due to a decline in the number of infections, Prime Minister Viktor Orban's chief of staff said on Thursday.

* Armenia on Thursday extended a state of emergency in the country over the coronavirus outbreak until June 13, the government said, after the number of new daily infections began rising at the end of April. The South Caucasus country of three million people has registered 3,860 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus and 49 deaths as of Thursday.

* Oil demand is still set for a record fall in 2020, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday, but it trimmed its forecast for the drop citing easing lockdown measures. Demand is expected to fall by 8.6 million barrels per day (bpd), the IEA said in its monthly report, trimming its estimate by 690,000 bpd.

* A truck packed with explosives blew up near a court in the eastern Afghan city of Gardez on Thursday, killing at least five people in an attack claimed by Taliban insurgents.

Reuters