World News in Brief: June 12

Friday, 2020-06-12 14:50:12
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A member of a non-governmental organization puts a face mask on a man as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus, at a traffic junction in Ahmedabad, India. (Photo: Reuters)
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India on Friday (June 12) reported a total of 297,535 coronavirus infections, surpassing the United Kingdom to become the fourth worst affected country in the world. The number of infections increased by 10,956 on Friday from the previous day, and the death toll reached 8,498, India's ministry of health and family welfare said.

* Mainland China reported seven new confirmed COVID-19 cases and one asymptomatic case as of end-June 11, the country's national health authority said. The National Health Commission said in a statement on Friday that six of the new confirmed patients reported were so-called imported cases involving travellers from overseas. The total number of COVID-19 cases in mainland China now stands at 83,064, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.

* The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday (June 11) reported 1,994,283 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 20,486 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 834 to 112,967.

* Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy climbed by 53 on Thursday against 71 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, but the daily tally of new cases rose to 379 from 202 on Wednesday. The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21 now stands at 34,167, the agency said, the fourth highest in the world after those of the United States, Britain and Brazil.

* Britain's economy shrank by a record 20.4% in April from March as the country spent the month in a tight coronavirus lockdown, official data showed on Friday in what is likely to be the bottom of the crash before a long and slow recovery. In a slump that dwarfed previous downturns in Britain's recent history, the Office for National Statistics also said the economy shrank by 24.5% compared with April last year.

* Brazil reported a cumulative total of 802,828 confirmed cases of coronavirus on Thursday, with 30,412 new infections in the last 24 hours in the world's second worst outbreak after the United States. With another 1,239 fatalities, the death toll in Brazil has reached 40,919, the health ministry said, the world's third highest after the United States and Britain. Of the total cases of COVID-19, 345,595 have recovered, the ministry said.

* Mexico's health ministry reported 4,790 new confirmed coronavirus infections along with 587 additional fatalities on Thursday, bringing the total in the country to 133,974 cases and 15,944 deaths.

* Britain said it had agreed an intensified timetable for free trade negotiations with the European Union in July as both sides try to strike an agreement by the end of the year.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 258 to 185,674, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Friday. The reported death toll rose by eight to 8,763, the tally showed.

* Thailand will lift a nationwide curfew and ease more restrictions next week, a spokesman for its coronavirus task force said on Friday, after the country has reported no local transmissions of the virus for 18 days. Thailand is also planning to reopen to foreign visitors by creating so-called travel bubbles with countries that have also managed to contain the virus, though no target date was set, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration.

* The Republic of Korea (ROK) will extend prevention and sanitation guidelines against the coronavirus until daily new infections drop to single digits, the health minister said on Friday, failing which he warned of a return to tough social distancing measures. The announcement came as such cases persist in the mid-double digits following a series of new clusters in the area around Seoul, the capital, with 56 new cases on Thursday taking the national tally to 12,003, and 277 deaths.

* France's coronavirus death toll rose by 27 on Thursday, versus an average daily increase of 50 over the last 15 days, to 29,346, the fifth-highest total in the world. On Wednesday, 23 COVID-19 deaths were reported.

* Sweden announced its highest daily tally of novel coronavirus infections on Thursday, a record 1,474 new cases that authorities said was due to a long-delayed surge in testing. The country's tactics to contain the epidemic have come under close scrutiny since it eschewed a lockdown in favour of mainly voluntary measures and its chief epidemiologist acknowledged last week it could have done more. Thursday's figure took the total number of infections to 48,300 - though the Public Health Agency said the number of deaths was slowing.

* The coronavirus pandemic is accelerating in Africa, spreading to rural areas after international travellers brought it to capital cities, the World Health Organization said on Thursday. But the WHO said there was no indication that large numbers of severe cases and deaths were being missed, nor has the virus caused significant infections in refugee camps across the continent.

* Denmark proposes to create a fund for the state, possibly together with private investors, to inject DKK10 billion (US$1.52 billion) into large companies struggling during the coronavirus crisis, newspaper Borsen said.

* Turkish Airlines will resume some international flights this month to China, the ROK and the United States among other destinations, the airline said on Friday, a day after it began restarting such services.

* President Donald Trump and his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, headed to must-win election battlegrounds on Thursday, slowly resuming campaign activities in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Trump hosted a campaign-style roundtable at a church in Dallas focused on aiding minority communities amid ongoing national protests over racism and police brutality. Biden unveiled an economic reopening proposal in Pennsylvania.

* The coronavirus pandemic has put millions of children at risk of being pushed into underage labor, reversing two decades of work to combat the practice and potentially marking the first rise in child labor since 2000, the United Nations warned on Friday. As the pandemic pummels the global economy, pushing millions of people into poverty, families may be under pressure to put their children to work for survival, the U.N. said, marking the World Day Against Child Labor.

* Chile on Thursday exceeded 154,000 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus and 2,600 deaths, one hundred days after the outbreak began and with the health service straining under massive admissions numbers. Health authorities reported 154,092 cases and 2,648 deaths so far.

* Egypt will open up its main seaside resorts for international flights and foreign tourists from July 1, the cabinet said. Egypt suspended regular international flights in March and shut down restaurants, hotels and cafes. Apart from the resorts, other international flights will remain suspended until further notice. Hotels were allowed to reopen for domestic tourists last month at reduced capacity if they met health protocols.