World News in Brief: July 18

Saturday, 2020-07-18 15:23:40
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Search and rescue operations were still under way Saturday (July 18) as flash floods and landslides hit Indonesia's South Sulawesi province, leaving 67 people missing and more than 14,000 others displaced, officials said. After retrieving 36 bodies, the rescuers focused their efforts in the villages of Sabbang, Baebunta, Pontaden, Meli, and Masamba city, the areas hardest hit in Luwu Utara district, said Zaenal Asad, an official in charge at the Provincial Search and Rescue Office.

* The Organization Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has issued a circular to call on primary-level CPC organizations and members to fully play their roles in flood control and relief work. Noting that recent floods and waterlogging disasters in southern China have caused casualties and property losses, the circular described the situation in flood control as very severe. The circular urged officials in affected regions to put themselves on the frontline, and adopt effective measures to combat the floods to ensure the safety of people's lives and property.

* Thailand's National Rice Policy and Management Committee (NRPMC) chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, announced on Friday that Thai rice prices for the 2020-21 crop year will remain unchanged from those of the previous season. The price guarantee policy will cover five types of Thai rice.

* The government of India has agreed to allow US air carriers to resume passenger services in the US-India market starting July 23, the US Transportation Department said on Friday. The Indian government, citing the coronavirus, had banned all scheduled services, prompting the US Transportation Department in June to accuse India of engaging in "unfair and discriminatory practices" on charter air carriers serving India.

* Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Friday there was no consensus among EU leaders on a proposed EUR750-billion recovery fund to lift the bloc's economies from a recession triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. Morawiecki said the northern countries disagreed with their southern peers on rules for disbursement of the recovery aid, and with the east on the size of the core EU budget for 2021-27.

* Chinese health authority said Saturday that it received reports of 22 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland Friday, of which 16 were domestically transmitted. All domestically-transmitted cases were reported in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the National Health Commission said in its daily report. No deaths related to the disease were reported Friday, according to the commission.

* COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 1,752 within one day to 84,882, with the death toll adding by 59 to 4,016, Achmad Yurianto, a Health Ministry official, said at a press conference Saturday. According to him, 1,434 more people had been discharged from hospitals, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 43,268.

* The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines surged to 65,304 after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 2,357 new cases on Saturday. The DOH said that the number of recoveries further rose to 22,067 after 321 more patients have survived the disease. The death toll also increased to 1,773 after 113 more patients have succumbed to the viral disease, the DOH said.

* Brazil registered 34,177 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 1,163 new deaths on Friday, the health ministry said. Total cases in Brazil, the world's second most affected country after the United States, have now risen to 2,046,328 while deaths totaled 76,688.

* Mexico registered 7,257 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 736 new deaths, bringing the nationwide caseload to 331,298 and death toll to 38,310, the Mexican Health Ministry reported on Friday. As the testing capacity grows, the government estimates the real number of infections is likely higher than the current confirmed cases.

* India's health ministry Saturday morning said 671 new deaths due to COVID-19, besides fresh 34,884 positive cases, were reported during the past 24 hours across the country, taking the number of deaths to 26,273 and total cases to 1,038,716. On Friday morning the number of COVID-19 cases in the country was 1,003,832, and the death toll 25,602. According to ministry officials, so far 653,751 people have been discharged from hospitals after showing improvement.

* A new case of COVID-19 was reported in managed isolation in New Zealand, the Ministry of Health said on Saturday. There is no one in New Zealand receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19. It has been 78 days since the last case of COVID-19 was acquired locally from an unknown source, said the ministry. New Zealand laboratories completed 2,403 tests on Friday and the total number of tests completed in New Zealand to date is 441,123.

* Germany's COVID-19 cases rose by 529 within one day to 201,372, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said on Saturday. The death toll in the country rose by one to 9,083, it added.

* As of Friday morning, 293,239 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Britain, a daily increase of 687, the British Department of Health and Social Care announced. The figures for coronavirus-related deaths are unavailable Friday on the official website as Health Secretary Matt Hancock has ordered a review into the Public Health England's (PHE) data.

* Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Saturday delayed the opening of parliament for several weeks as the new coronavirus continued spreading through the country's two most populous states. Morrison asked the speaker of the parliament to cancel a two-week session due to start on Aug. 4, out of concern about the COVID-19 pandemic.

* The Argentine government announced on Friday that it has extended the national quarantine aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 to Aug. 2. Argentina reported its first case of COVID-19 on March 3 and as of Friday, the country has reported 114,783 cases, with 2,133 deaths.

* Egypt reported 703 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the health ministry said, the lowest figure since late May. In total, 86,474 COVID-19 cases have been reported and 4,188 deaths, including 68 on Friday, the ministry said in a statement.

* Indian farmers have planted 69.2 million hectares with summer crops, up 21.2% from this time a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers' Welfare, boosted by bountiful monsoon rains that spurred sowing in most parts of the country. Farmers typically start planting their summer-sown crops June 1, when monsoon rains usually reach India. Planting usually continues until the end of July or early August.

* At least 50 militants have been confirmed dead and more than 30 others injured in Dand-e-Ghori district of the northern Baghlan province, Abdul Razeq, a senior army officer of Afghanistan, said Saturday. According to the official, the government forces launched operations against Taliban bastion in Dand-e-Ghori district from ground and air on Thursday night and the operations lasted until Friday morning.