World News in Brief: May 25

Monday, 2020-05-25 17:27:31
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Workers use measuring tape to check social distancing as they set up a terrace which will be allowed to open from May 25, at Plaza Mayor Square in Madrid, Spain, May 24, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)
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Foreign tourists can book vacations in Spain from July as the two-week self-quarantine for overseas travellers is likely to be suspended by then, the tourism minister said on Monday (May 25). One of the worst-hit nations in the world from the coronavirus, tourism-dependent Spain is gradually easing a strict lockdown though it has kept a quarantine for visitors so as to prevent a second wave of infections.

* China warned on Monday that it will take countermeasures if the United States insists on undermining its interests regarding Hong Kong, following the latest comments from Washington about possible sanctions over new national security legislation for the city.

* The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday (May 24) reported 1,622,114 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 26,229 cases from its previous count, and said the number of deaths had risen by 1,047 to 97,049.

* Brazil, the world's No. 2 coronavirus hotspot behind the United States, registered 653 new coronavirus deaths on Sunday, taking the total number of fatalities to 22,666, the Health Ministry said. Brazil has 363,211 confirmed cases, up 15,813 from Saturday, the ministry said.

* Mexican health officials on Sunday reported 2,764 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 215 deaths, bringing the totals to 68,620 and 7,394, respectively.

* Cases of the coronavirus in Russia climbed to 353,427 on Monday, having risen by 8,946 in the past 24 hours, the country's coronavirus crisis response centre said. It said the number of fatalities had risen by 92 overnight, taking the overall nationwide death toll from the virus to 3,633.

* India on Monday posted its biggest single-day jump in cases of COVID-19, overtaking Iran to become one of the 10 worst-hit nations, even as the government allowed domestic air travel to restart. India reported another 6,977 cases, taking its total ot 138,845, according to government data, despite the world's longest lockdown imposed in March by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Total deaths have passed 4,000.

* Thailand confirmed two new coronavirus cases and one additional death on Monday, a health ministry spokesman said. The new numbers brought the total number of cases in the Southeast Asian country to 3,042 and deaths to 57 since the outbreak began in January, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the COVID-19 Administration Centre. More than 96% of the patients, or 2,928 people, have recovered, he said.

* Malaysia reported 172 new coronavirus cases on Monday, most of them foreigners held at immigration depots, and taking the total number of infections in the country to 7,417. The Ministry of Health said the number of deaths remained unchanged at 115.

* Indonesia reported 479 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, taking the total in the Southeast Asian nation to 22,750, Health Ministry official Achmad Yurianto said. Yurianto reported 19 more coronavirus deaths, taking the total to 1,391.

* The Philippines' health ministry on Monday reported five additional novel coronavirus deaths and 284 more infections, the largest daily increase of cases in two weeks. In a bulletin, the ministry said total deaths have increased to 873, while confirmed cases have risen to 14,319. But 74 more patients have recovered, bringing total recoveries to 3,323.

*Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo said on Monday that the state of emergency will be lifted for all of Japan, and that the country managed to get the spread of the virus under control in under two months. The world's third-largest economy has escaped an explosive outbreak with more than 16,600 infections and 839 deaths so far, according to NHK public broadcaster.

* Finland said on Monday it plans to place between June and August orders for protective equipment and respirators worth EUR100 million (US$109 million) to fight the coronavirus and prepare for a possible upsurge in demand for the equipment. Finland has recorded 6,579 infections of the new coronavirus and 307 deaths, according to state health statistics.

* The German federal government is recommending that states ease some social distancing regulations from June 6, Bild newspaper reported, but continues to urge that limits be placed on size of social gatherings.

* Iran's oil minister said on Monday it was difficult to forecast crude prices amid uncertainties over prospects for demand, Iranian state radio reported.

* Belgium will not return to the strict measures imposed for nearly two months to combat the coronavirus outbreak even if there is a second wave of COVID-19 cases, the country's interior minister has said. The country of 11.5 million people effectively closed down in mid-March, with only shops selling food and pharmacies operating, although other activities have steadily resumed in May, including the reopening of non-food stores.

* French government measures to prop up the economy through the coronavirus crisis have cost EUR450 billion (US$490 billion), the equivalent of 20% of gross domestic product, the finance minister said on Monday. Since mid March, the government has implemented a package of measures, including state-subsidised furloughs, state-guaranteed loans, tax deferrals and handouts to small businesses.

* Hungary opened its southern border for citizens of Serbia and Hungary from Monday morning, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told a news conference. Hungary has recorded 3,756 cases of COVID-19, the pulmonary disease caused by the novel coronavirus, with 491 deaths.

* Singapore's health ministry on Monday confirmed 344 more coronavirus cases, taking its tally of infections to 31,960. The lower number of cases on Monday is partly due to fewer tests being conducted, the ministry said in a statement.

* Australia's most populous state on Monday urged locals to continue working from home despite schools reopening as the number of coronavirus cases slows. Australia has reported just over 7,100 COVID-19 infections, including 102 deaths, well below figures reported by other developed countries.

* The White House on Sunday said it was restricting travel from Brazil to the United States, two days after the South American nation became the world's No. 2 hotspot for coronavirus cases.

* A magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck near New Zealand's capital Wellington on Monday, government seismic monitor Geonet said. The earthquake was 46 kms deep and 25km northwest of Levin, according to Geonet.

* South Africa will further ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions from June 1, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday, allowing large swathes of the economy to return to full capacity.