World News in Brief: July 4

Saturday, 2020-07-04 16:29:02
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Indonesia remains the country with the highest COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia.
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Indonesia reported 1,447 new coronavirus infections on Saturday (July 4), Health Ministry official Achmad Yurianto said, taking the southeast Asian nation's tally to 62,142, while 53 more deaths took its toll to 3,089.

* Brazil registered 42,223 additional coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Friday (July 3), bringing the total tally to 1,539,081, the second-worst outbreak in the world behind the United States. The number of coronavirus deaths rose by 1,290 to 63,174, according to the ministry.

* Alabama and six other US states reported record increases in coronavirus cases on Friday as Florida's most populous county imposed a curfew ahead of the Independence Day weekend and Arkansas joined a push toward mandating mask-wearing in public. Texas hit a new peak for hospitalizations, with one doctor calling for a "complete lockdown" in the state to get the virus under control. The daily US tally of cases stood at 53,483 late on Friday, below the previous day's record 55,405.

* Mexico's health ministry on Friday reported 6,740 new confirmed coronavirus infections and 654 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 245,251 cases and 29,843 deaths.

* India recorded its highest singe-day spike of coronavirus cases on Saturday, with over 22,000 new cases and 442 deaths, as infections rose in the western and southern parts of the country amid heavy monsoon rains. India has the third-most confirmed cases in the world, exceeding 640,000 on Saturday, according to health ministry data. It follows the United States, Brazil and Russia.

* The number of deaths in France from the new coronavirus has risen by 18 over the last day to 29,893, the country's health department said on Friday. The number of people in intensive care units fell by 13 to 560, continuing a weeks-long downtrend.

* Russia on Saturday reported 6,632 new cases of the novel coronavirus, raising the nationwide tally of infections to 674,515. The authorities said that 168 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 10,027.

* Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike urged residents of the Japanese capital not to travel beyond its borders on Saturday as new coronavirus infections topped 100 for a third day, public broadcaster NHK reported. Tokyo confirmed 131 new cases of infections of the coronavirus on Saturday, NHK said. Cases in Tokyo have risen to a two-month high, driven by the spread of the virus in the capital's night spots.

* England takes its biggest steps yet towards resumption of normal life on Saturday as people are finally allowed to drink in a pub, get a haircut or have a meal in a restaurant for the first time in over three months. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said everybody had to behave responsibly and maintain social distancing to support businesses and not risk a second wave of the coronavirus.

* French President Emmanuel Macron named Jean Castex, a senior civil servant, as his new prime minister on Friday as he acted to recast his presidency and take back control of policy ahead of elections in 2022. Macron wants to start afresh after the coronavirus crisis reversed some of the hard-fought gains earned from moves to liberalise the economy, and is aware he needs to win back disillusioned voters.

* Dozens more jade miners killed in a landslide in northern Myanmar will be buried on Saturday, a local official said, after 77 others were interred in a mass grave on Friday following one of the worst mining accidents in the country’s history. More than 170 people, many of them migrants seeking their fortune in the jade-rich Hpakant area of Kachin state, died on Thursday after mining waste collapsed into a lake, triggering a surge of mud and water. The government announced the formation of a committee to investigate the disaster.

* Japan is sending thousands of troops to join rescue operations on the southern island of Kyushu, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Saturday, as three people were reported badly injured and eight missing in unprecedented torrential rains. More than 200,000 people in 92,200 households in Kumamoto and Kagoshima prefectures have been instructed to evacuate, Kyodo news agency said.

* Thousands of protesters gathered on Saturday in cities across Australia, shouting slogans in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and aiming to raise awareness of the mistreatment of indigenous people. Rallies in the cities of Brisbane, Darwin and Perth drew a smaller turnout than a month ago, however, amid calls for a halt from authorities concerned about the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 422 to 196,096, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Saturday. The reported death toll rose by 7 to 9,010, the tally showed.

* Brazilian health regulator Anvisa on Friday approved clinical trials of a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by China's Sinovac, according to an official gazette publication. The study - first announced on June 11 - is led by Instituto Butantan, a research center funded by the state of Sao Paulo. The agreement with Sinovac includes not only trials but also the transference of technology to produce the potential vaccine locally.

* Iran will retaliate against any country that carries out cyber attacks on its nuclear sites, the head of civilian defence said, after a fire at its Natanz plant which some Iranian officials said may have been caused by cyber sabotage. The Natanz uranium-enrichment site, much of which is underground, is one of several Iranian facilities monitored by inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

* Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday he was still unsure whether he would go to Washington D.C. next week to celebrate a new North American trade treaty, citing concern about possible US tariffs on aluminum. Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who is due to meet US President Donald Trump next week, has said he would like Trudeau to attend. Mexican sources had previously said Lopez Obrador's visit was planned for Wednesday and Thursday, with the possibility of a trilateral meeting on Thursday.
* Russia's safety watchdog on Friday ordered NTEK, a power unit of mining giant Norilsk Nickel , to suspend operations at six facilities for 90 days for violating safety rules, following a fuel spill in the Arctic. A fuel tank lost pressure on May 29 and released 21,000 tonnes of diesel into rivers and subsoil near the city of Norilsk, an incident that Greenpeace has compared to the devastating 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska. The watchdog's decision will not affect the power supply of the region, it added, meaning production should not be affected.
* Portugal's foreign ministry said in a tweet on Friday it was "absurd" that Britain imposed quarantine on travellers coming from Portugal despite having 28 times more deaths from the coronavirus.
* The United Arab Emirates will allow both citizens and residents to travel abroad, the state news agency reported on Friday. In March, the UAE suspended all inbound and outbound passenger flights and the transit of airline passengers in the UAE, allowing only cargo and emergency evacuation flights.