World News in Brief: June 11

Thursday, 2020-06-11 14:27:46
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Japan eyes easing ban on entry from Vietnam, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand. (Photo for illustration/ Source: AFP)
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Japan may restart business trips to and from Vietnam, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand in the next few months, easing an entry ban to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, the Yomiuri daily said on Thursday (June 11). Up to 250 business travellers a day will most likely be allowed into Japan from the four countries, which have seen their infection situations stabilise, the newspaper said, without citing sources.

* China said on Thursday its advisories warning students and traveller about risks they could face in Australia are based on facts and called on Canberra to take measures to safeguard Chinese citizens' safety in the country. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying made the remarks during a briefing when asked about Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's comments that he will not be intimidated or give into coercion from Beijing amid an escalating bilateral dispute between the two countries.

* UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres regrets that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has severed hotlines with the Republic of Korea (ROK), warning that such channels "are necessary to avoid misunderstandings or miscalculations," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Wednesday (June 10). "The Secretary-General hopes that all parties use the June anniversaries to redouble efforts to resume talks to achieve sustainable peace and the complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," Dujarric said.

* US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would hold a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, next week, after a three-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. In remarks at the White House, the Republican president, who is seeking a second term in the November election, said he would go to Tulsa next Friday.

* One rocket fell on Wednesday inside Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses government buildings and foreign missions, but caused no casualties, Iraqi military sources said. Sirens blared from the US Embassy, sources added. A loud blast followed by sirens was heard in Baghdad, Reuters witnesses said. A military statement confirmed the rocket attack. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

* ROK doctors have found certain underlying conditions that may make some COVID-19 patients more severely affected by the disease, a professor at Yeungnam University Medical Center said on Wednesday. The findings could help doctors identify and prioritise high-risk patients at an early stage of the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, Ahn June-hong, professor of internal medicine, told Reuters. As of midnight on Wednesday, ROK reported 45 new cases, bringing the country’s total to 11,947, with 276 deaths.

* The European Union must reach a deal on a proposed EUR750 billion economic recovery plan to cope with the impact of the coronavirus crisis by July, French Junior European Affairs Minister Amelie de Montchalin said on Thursday. The European Commission's recovery plan aims to help economically weaker countries hit hardest by the coronavirus. But fiscally conservative northern countries - the "frugal four" of the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark and Sweden - have resisted some proposals, notably taking on mutual debt.

* The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday reported 1,973,797 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 17,376 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 950 to 112,133.

* France's new death toll from COVID-19 on Wednesday was only one-third of the tally the day before but the total of new confirmed infections rose again, one month out of a strict lockdown. The health ministry said the death toll was up by only 23 - versus an average daily increase of 53 over the previous 15 days - to 29,319, the fifth-highest total in the world. On Tuesday, 87 COVID-19 deaths were reported.

* The World Health Organization hopes to work "side by side" with the United States to contain an outbreak of Ebola in Congo, its chief said on Wednesday, despite their differences over the new coronavirus. President Donald Trump said last month he was ending the US relationship with the WHO over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

* The United Nations support mission in Libya said in a tweet on Wednesday that both Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan National Army (LNA) are engaged in the third round of 5+5 joint military commission talks. The mission convened a meeting with the LNA delegation on June 3 and another meeting with the GNA delegation June 9, according to statement posted by the mission.

* The US Federal Reserve on Wednesday signaled it plans years of extraordinary support for an economy facing a torturous slog back from the coronavirus pandemic, with policymakers projecting the economy to shrink 6.5% in 2020 and the unemployment rate to be 9.3% at year's end.

* Mainland China reported 11 confirmed and four new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases by the end of June 10, the National Health Commission said on Thursday. All the new confirmed cases involved travellers from overseas, the commission said in a statement. The tally of mainland infections now stands at 83,057 with the death toll unchanged at 4,634.

* Thailand on Thursday reported no new coronavirus infections or deaths, maintaining the total of 3,125 confirmed cases and 58 fatalities. It was the first time in nearly three weeks that no cases were reported and the 17th day without a local transmission. All recent cases have been found in quarantine among Thais returning from abroad.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 555 to 185,416, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Thursday. The reported death toll rose by 26 to 8,755, the tally showed.

* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is planning to scrap the two metres distancing rule latest by September for schools to reopen fully for the start of the new school year, the Telegraph newspaper reported. Johnson has indicated to ministers that he is prepared to change the rule within weeks, the newspaper reported.

* The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a US$594 million emergency assistance package for Guatemala's response to the coronavirus crisis, the lender said on Wednesday. To date, Guatemala has confirmed nearly 8,000 coronavirus infections, as well as about 300 deaths attributed to the highly-contagious COVID-19 respiratory illness caused by the virus.