World News in Brief: June 2

Tuesday, 2020-06-02 15:59:45
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Vials of the drug Remdesivir lie during a press conference about the start of a study with the Ebola drug Remdesivir in particularly severely ill patients at the University Hospital Eppendorf (UKE) in Hamburg, northern Germany on April 8, 2020, amidst the new coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. India's government said on Tuesday it has approved Gilead Sciences Inc's antiviral drug remdesivir for emergency use in treating COVID-19 patients. (Photo: AFP)
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India's government said on Tuesday (June 2) it has approved Gilead Sciences Inc's antiviral drug remdesivir for emergency use in treating COVID-19 patients. Remdesivir is the first drug to show improvement in COVID-19 patients in formal clinical trials. It was granted emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration last month and has received approval by Japanese health regulators. As of Tuesday, India has 198,706 cases of coronavirus and has recorded 5,598 deaths, health ministry data showed.

* The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus outbreak first emerged, found no new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and 300 asymptomatic cases in city-wide testing that began in mid-May, officials said on Tuesday. The city launched its ambitious campaign on May 14, testing 9.9 million people, after a cluster of new cases in the city raised fears of a second wave of infections. It was the hardest hit of any Chinese city and accounts for the majority of the 4,634 deaths and total of 83,022 infections reported in mainland China.

* Russia reported 8,863 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, pushing its nationwide tally to 423,741, the world's third highest reported total. The death toll rose to 5,037 after authorities said 182 people had died in the last 24 hours.

* Mexico's death toll from the novel coronavirus on Monday (June 1) surpassed 10,000 after the health ministry reported an additional 237 deaths in the country. Total deaths reached 10,167, while an additional 2,771 cases brought total known infections to 93,435, although health officials have said the real number is higher.

* Brazil registered 11,598 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 623 additional deaths in the last 24 hours, the nation's Health Ministry said on Monday evening. Brazil now has registered 526,447 confirmed cases and 29,937 deaths attributed to the virus.

* Indonesia reported 609 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, taking the total number in the Southeast Asian country to 27,549, said health ministry official Achmad Yurianto. Yurianto announced 22 new deaths related to COVID-19, bringing the total to 1,663, while 7,935 have recovered.

* Thailand plans a stimulus package to boost domestic travel to support the economy as the coronavirus pandemic cuts foreign visitor numbers, a finance ministry official said on Tuesday. The ministry will discuss the package with the Tourism Authority of Thailand later this week, Lavaron Sangsnit, head of the Fiscal Policy Office, told reporters.

* Malaysian health authorities on Tuesday reported 20 new coronavirus cases, bringing the cumulative total to 7,877 cases. The health ministry also reported no new deaths, keeping total fatalities at 115.

* The United Kingdom's COVID-19 death toll neared 50,000 on Tuesday, confirming its place as one of the worst hit countries in the world just as Prime Minister Boris Johnson tries to ease the stringent novel coronavirus outbreak. The toll now stands at 49,646, including death certificate data for England and Wales released on Tuesday up to May 22, previously published figures for Scotland and Northern Ireland, and recent hospital deaths in England.

* Japan's top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga on Tuesday called Republic of Korea's decision to restart proceedings against Japan at the World Trade Organization (WTO) "extremely regrettable". Suga was speaking with reporters after the ROK said it would proceed with complaints against Japan over export controls on some high-tech materials.

* President Donald Trump said on Monday he was deploying thousands of heavily armed soldiers and law enforcement to stop violence in the US capital and vowed to do the same in other cities if mayors and governors fail to regain control of the streets.

* The European Union is "shocked and appalled" by the death of black American George Floyd in police custody, the bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Tuesday, calling it "an abuse of power" and warning against further excessive use of force.

* Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday said he would visit Iran shortly to sign cooperation agreements in energy and other sectors, after Iran sent five fuel tankers to the gasoline-starved South American country.

* Demand for German government debt increased on Tuesday and yields fell across the euro zone as a whole, as Monday's global risk-on mood started to fade and investor attention focused on the European Central Bank's meeting on Thursday. The ECB is expected to increase its EUR750 billion bond-buying programme, Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme, or PEPP, on Thursday, probably by around EUR500 billion.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 213 to 182,028, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Tuesday. The reported death toll rose by 11 to 8,522, the tally showed.

* The French economy is set to contract 11% this year due to the coronavirus crisis and more hard days lie ahead until things bounce back next year, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Tuesday. France imposed one of the Europe's strictest lockdowns in mid-March and only began removing restrictions on May 11. Cafes, bars and restaurants were only allowed to reopen for regular business on Tuesday.

* New Zealand's Prime Minister said on Tuesday that all remaining restrictions to limit the spread of the coronavirus may be lifted next week, after the country all but eliminated the virus domestically. Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand could move to alert level 1 next week, which means all social distancing measures and curbs on mass gatherings will be lifted. Borders will remain closed, she said.
* Australia will accept an invitation to attend a Group of Seven (G7) nations meeting, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told US President Donald Trump on Tuesday. Trump said last week he will postpone a G7 summit he had hoped to hold next month until September or later and expand the list of invitees to include Australia, Russia, Republic of Korea and India.

* More than 30 new coronavirus infections were reported in Tokyo on Tuesday, Japan's NHK public broadcaster said, marking the first time the number of daily cases has topped 30 in 19 days.

* Eight states and the District of Columbia hold primary elections on Tuesday, the biggest test yet of officials' readiness to manage a surge of mail ballots and the safety risks of in-person voting during the coronavirus outbreak. The largest day of balloting since the pandemic began will serve as a dry run for the Nov. 3 general election in the United States, offering a glimpse of the challenges ahead on a national scale if that vote is conducted under a lingering threat from COVID-19.

* Turkey issued detention warrants for 118 people, mostly members of the military and security forces, suspected of links to the network that Ankara says was behind a 2016 coup attempt, the Istanbul prosecutor's office said on Tuesday.

* Libya's warring parties have agreed to restart ceasefire talks, the United Nations mission to the country said late on Monday after weeks of intense fighting near the capital Tripoli fuelled by foreign arms. In a statement posted online, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said it welcomed their plan to resume talks based on earlier so-called 5+5 meetings, involving five senior officers appointed by each side.