World News in Brief: May 17

Sunday, 2020-05-17 11:55:01
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Students talk while practicing social distancing at the courtyard of a secondary school during its reopening in Brussels, Belgium, May 15. (Photo: Reuters)
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China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) have consulted Japan about easing border controls on business travellers to help revive business activities, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Sunday (May 17) without citing sources. The idea, already implemented between ROK and China, would allow a fast-track entry of business people if they test negative for the new coronavirus before departure and after arrival, the newspaper said.

* Mainland China reported five new confirmed COVID-19 cases for May 16, down from eight the previous day, the National Health Commission (NHC) said in a statement on Sunday. Two of the five confirmed cases are so-called imported infections, while three are locally transmitted in northeastern Jilin Province. The number of confirmed cases in the mainland stands at 82,947 and the death toll at 4,634.

* The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Saturday (May 16) reported a total of 1,435,098 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 22,977 cases from its previous count, and said the number of deaths had risen by 1,325 to 87,315.

* French health authorities reported 96 new coronavirus deaths on Saturday, as the country eases from a two month lockdown. In a statement, the health monistry said the figure had fallen slightly from 104 fatalities on Friday. This brings France's total to 27,625, the fourth-highest tally in the world, after the United States, Britain, and Italy, and just ahead of Spain.

* Singapore registered 465 new coronavirus infections, its health ministry said on Saturday, taking the city-state's total to 27,356 cases. Singapore also reported one more death, bringing the virus-related death toll in the island nation to 22 .

* Spain's government will seek to extend its coronavirus state of emergency one last time until late June, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Saturday as anti-government protests broke out around the hard-hit country. The country's COVID-19 death toll rose by 102 to 27,563 on Saturday, the lowest 24-hour increase since March 18. Confirmed coronavirus cases climbed to 230,698 from 230,183, the health ministry said.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 583 to 174,355, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Sunday. The reported death toll rose by 33 to 7,914, the tally showed.

* Mexico registered 47,144 cases of coronavirus on Saturday, with the country's death toll rising to 5,045, health authorities said. Mexico has seen a slightly higher death rate from coronavirus than the global average so far due to the widespread presence of pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity, experts say.

* New York's new confirmed COVID-19 cases are predominantly coming from people who left their homes to shop, exercise or socialize, rather than from essential workers, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday. State data showed the number of new cases statewide has fluctuated between 2,100 and 2,500 per day. On Saturday, the number of new cases decreased to 2,419, from 2,762 on Friday.

* Pakistan resumed domestic flights between major cities for the first time in nearly two months on Saturday with the requirement that face masks be worn and vacant seats left between passengers, officials said. International flights will remain suspended till May 31. Pakistan has reported over 38,000 cases of infection from the new coronavirus, and 834 deaths.

* Hungary will start lifting coronavirus restrictions in Budapest from Monday (May 18), though residents returning to shops or travelling on public transport will have to wear face masks, officials said on Saturday. Two weeks after easing the lockdown in other parts of the country, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said authorities had succeeded in controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the capital too. As of Saturday, Hungary had reported 448 deaths among a total of 3,473 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

* Shelling killed two people on Saturday, the emergency services said, at a displaced people's shelter in a part of the Libyan capital Tripoli that has been under bombardment by eastern forces seeking to capture the city.

* Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have agreed to halt oil production from the joint Al-Khafji field for one month, starting from June 1, Kuwait's Al Rai newspaper reported on Saturday. There was no immediate comment from Kuwaiti officials.

* Iraq’s grain board said on Saturday it has procured more than 1.09 million tonnes of local wheat since the start of the harvest season last month. The agriculture ministry has said it expects local production to reach 6 million tonnes in the April-May harvest season.

Reuters