World News in Brief: July 29

Wednesday, 2020-07-29 15:25:57
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Britain has signed a deal for up to 60 million doses of a possible COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline, it said on Wednesday (July 29), its fourth such arrangement as the race to tame the pandemic heats up. No vaccine has yet been approved for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus that has killed more than 659,000 people and unleashed economic havoc worldwide.

* The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is threatening access to food by some of the world's most vulnerable -- children, according to a new white paper written by the heads of four United Nations agencies, including the Rome-based UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The white paper, published in the scientific journal The Lancet and released by FAO on Tuesday (July 28), called on countries to take action to protect children from food supply problems sparked by the pandemic.

* China reported 101 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for July 28, the highest in over three and a half months, the health commission said on Wednesday. As of Tuesday, mainland China had 84,060 confirmed coronavirus cases, the health authority said. The COVID-19 death toll remained at 4,634.

* The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday reported 4,280,135 cases of coronavirus, an increase of 54,448 cases from its previous count, and said the number of deaths had risen by 1,126 to 147,672.

* Russia on Wednesday reported 5,475 new cases of the novel coronavirus, pushing its national tally to 828,990, the fourth largest in the world. In the daily readout, officials said 169 people had died in the last 24 hours, pushing the national death toll to 13,673.

* Mexico has 7,208 new known coronavirus cases and 854 additional deaths, bringing the nation's total to 402,697 cases and 44,876 fatalities, the health ministry reported on Tuesday. The figures were reported earlier in the day by Johns Hopkins University. Mexico has the fourth highest death tally worldwide.

* India's COVID-19 tally crossed the 1.5 million-mark on Wednesday, reaching 1,531,669, the federal health ministry said. The ministry said 768 new deaths from COVID-19 and 48,513 positive cases were reported during the past 24 hours across the country, taking the number of deaths to 34,193 and total cases to 1,531,669. According to officials, 988,029 people have so far been discharged from hospitals after showing improvement.

* Britain's first round of trade talks with New Zealand were positive and productive, trade minister Liz Truss said on Wednesday. The next round of talks is planned for October.

* France's health minister urged the country on Wednesday not to drop its guard against COVID-19, saying it faced a long battle and that observing social distancing rules was vital to avoiding a new national lockdown. France reported 14 new deaths from the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, a figure twice as high as the daily average increase of seven seen over the previous week. A total of 30,223 have now died of COVID-19 in France, health authorities said.

* Britain does not yet have a viable alternative to imposing a 14-day quarantine on travelers returning from countries deemed to have a high risk of coronavirus, culture minister Oliver Dowden said on Wednesday. Britain slapped a quarantine order on travelers from Spain at the weekend, sparking chaos for airlines and travel companies at the height of the summer holiday season.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 684 to 206,926, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday. The reported death toll rose by six to 9,128, the tally showed.

* Thailand's Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday that it will begin to train farmers and entrepreneurs on how to tap into the benefits of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) this year. The RCEP involves 16 countries, including the 10 ASEAN members, plus 6 countries where ASEAN has free trade agreements with, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, and New Zealand. Auramon confirmed however that India will not be signing the RCEP agreement as of now.

* The Philippines said on Wednesday it had slaughtered nearly 39,000 chickens in a poultry farm north of the capital Manila to curb a bird flu outbreak, more than four months after detecting infections in a nearby province.

* Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Arancha Gonzalez Laya expressed Spain's support for Greece in stability in the Mediterranean region during her visit to Athens on Tuesday when meeting with the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and her Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias. According to government sources, Turkey's recent conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque was also discussed.

* Kazakhstan has extended its lockdown over the novel coronavirus for two more weeks until mid-August and the restrictions will then be eased gradually, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said on Wednesday.

* Colombia's national lockdown to curb infections of the new coronavirus will be extended by one month until the end of August, President Ivan Duque said on Tuesday. The Andean country has reported more than 267,300 coronavirus cases and 9,074 deaths.

Xinhua, Reuters