World News in Brief: August 1

Saturday, 2020-08-01 15:26:22
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A barber wearing personal protective equipment serves a customer in Doha, capital of Qatar, July 30, 2020. As of Friday, the overall confirmed cases in Qatar has reached 110,695 and 174 had died of the disease. (Photo: Xinhua)
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Russia is preparing to start a mass vaccination campaign against the novel coronavirus in October, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Saturday (August 1), RIA news agency reported. The minister, who did not give details about the vaccine to be used, said doctors and teachers would be the first to be vaccinated.

* Cambodia on Saturday confirmed five new imported COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 239, said a health ministry's statement. Cambodia has so far recorded a total of 239 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 166 patients cured and 73 remained in hospital.

* Indonesia reported 1,560 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, bringing the total in the Southeast Asian country to 109,936, data from the country's COVID-19 task force showed. It also reported 62 COVID-19 related deaths, taking the death toll to 5,193.

* The Thai central bank on Friday (July 31) released a report indicating that the Thai economy has slightly improved in June due to gradual relaxation of lockdown measures allowing resumption of economic activities.

* Chinese health authority said Saturday that it received reports of 45 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland Friday, 39 of which were domestically transmitted. Of the domestically transmitted cases, 31 were reported in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and eight were in Liaoning Province, the National Health Commission said in its daily report. No deaths related to the disease or new suspected COVID-19 cases were reported Friday, the commission said.

* Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield reiterated his stance on Friday that schools in the United States should reopen this fall in "public health best interest." The US COVID-19 cases reached 4.54 million with over 152,900 fatalities as of Friday afternoon, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

* Brazil on Friday reported a daily increase of 1,212 COVID-19 deaths, taking the national death toll to 92,475. Health authorities also detected 52,383 new cases in the past 24 hours, raising the total caseload to 2,662,485. Brazil is one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, second only to the United States, both in terms of caseload and death toll.

* Mexico surpassed Britain as the country with the third-highest coronavirus death toll on Friday, as the pandemic reaches new milestones in Latin America and threatens to disrupt efforts to reopen the region's reeling economies. The record places Mexico behind Brazil, Latin America's largest and most populous nation, and the United States. More than 91,000 people have died in Brazil, and the US death toll has topped 152,000. Mexico on Friday recorded 688 fatalities to bring its death toll to 46,688, with 424,637 confirmed cases.

* Russia reported 95 new deaths from the novel coronavirus on Saturday, pushing its national tally to 14,058. Officials also reported 5,462 new cases of the novel coronavirus over the past 24 hours, pushing the country's tally to 845,443.

* India recorded the highest ever single-day spike of 57,118 of fresh COVID-19 cases on Saturday, taking the total tally to 1,695,988, according to the federal health ministry's latest data. This is the third consecutive day when fresh COVID-19 cases have increased by more than 50,000. According to the ministry, as many as 764 people died from COVID-19 during the past 24 hours, taking the total deaths to 36,511. There are 565,103 active cases in the country and 1,094,374 people have been cured and discharged from hospitals.

* The number of new coronavirus cases confirmed in Tokyo was around 472 on Saturday, a new record, NHK public television quoted Tokyo officials as saying. It was the second day in a row that the number of cases in the capital rose by more than 400. Though Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has said the city could declare its own state of emergency, the central government says there is still no need to do so nationally despite a record spike in several cities around the nation.

* New Zealand reported two new cases of COVID-19 in managed isolation facilities on Saturday, said the Ministry of Health in a statement. The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand was now 1,212, which was the number the country reported to the World Health Organization.

* Spain's Ministry of Health reported on Friday 1,525 new coronavirus cases, the biggest spike since the lockdown was lifted in June. It was the first day since the end of the State of Alarm, which ended on June 21, when the total number of cases surpassed 1,500. It was also the third day in a row that Spain diagnosed over 1,000 infections, resembling figures from the beginning of the lockdown. As of Friday, the number of coronavirus cases totaled 288,522 since the beginning of the pandemic.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 955 to 209,653, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Friday. The reported death toll rose by 7 to 9148, the tally showed.

* Greece introduced on Friday stricter measures to slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus, as it recorded 78 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours, the biggest daily rise since the end of the lockdown on May 4. The COVID-19 infections have totaled 4,477 with 206 fatalities since the start of the outbreak in Greece on Feb. 26, the National Public Health Organization said. Currently, nine people were being treated in intensive care units.

* Egypt reported 321 new COVID-19 infections on Friday, the health ministry said, the lowest figure since May 3. In total, 94,078 COVID-19 cases have been reported in Egypt, of which 39,638 have recovered and 4,188 have died, including 31 on Friday, the ministry said in a statement late on Friday. Egypt reopened resorts to foreign tourists on July 1 after tourism came to a halt in March under measures to curb the coronavirus outbreak.

* Colombia registered 295 new COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking its total to 10,105, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection said on Friday. The country has so far reported a total of 295,508 cases, up 9,488 from the previous day, including 3,717 in the capital Bogota, 2,073 in Antioquia Department and 668 in the city of Barranquilla. According to the ministry, 154,387 people have recovered so far.

* Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has called for relentless efforts in enhancing safety in production and flood control to ensure the safety of people's lives and property. All localities and departments must strengthen the overhaul of key industries for loopholes to prevent major and extremely serious accidents, Li said in an instruction to a national teleconference on production safety Friday.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed Friday during an online meeting with the country's Security Council the detention of Russian citizens in Belarus, the Kremlin said in a statement. Currently, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the embassy in Minsk are working on it, with the necessary contacts being made, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding that Moscow is concerned that consular access to the detainees has not yet been granted and hoped it will happen soon.

* US President Donald Trump visited the state of Florida on Friday as Hurricane Isaias is approaching its southeast coast. Florida, Trump's home state, is widely considered a key battleground state for this year's presidential election. In 2016, Trump won Florida with a 1.2-percent margin, but most polls have shown him trailing former US Vice President and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

* British Airways is expected to resume flights to Russia on Aug. 2, Russia's Federal Air Transport Agency said on Friday, as Russia plans to restart some regular international flights on Saturday. International flights were grounded on March 30 after the imposition of lockdown measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected nearly 840,000 people in Russia.

* Fitch Ratings, a US credit rating agency, said Friday that it has lowered the country's economic outlook to "negative" from "stable" due to high budget deficits, but kept its overall rating at the highest "AAA" level. The downgrade is due to the ongoing deterioration in the US public finances and the absence of a credible fiscal consolidation plan amid the COVID-19 pandemic, said Fitch Ratings in a statement.

* The British government and the European Union (EU) confirmed Friday a new timetable of meetings aimed at reaching a post-Brexit deal on a future relationship before the end of 2020. A series of meetings between negotiating teams from both sides will meet in London and Brussels during August and September, with a final round taking place in Brussels in the week ending Oct. 2.

* The Czech Republic's gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 8.4 percent quarter on quarter and 10.7 percent year on year for the second quarter, according to the preliminary estimate by the Czech Statistical Office (CSU) published on Friday. This is the worst second quarter in the domestic economy's recorded history, said the office.

* The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) welcomed on Friday Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi's announcement of setting June 6, 2021, a date for early elections. It said that the United Nations is ready to provide support and technical advice as requested by Iraq to ensure "free, fair, and credible elections that win the public's trust."

* Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said regional security can be attained through regional cooperation, semi-official Fars news agency reported Friday. The Iranian president also called for development of relations with Qatar without any limits.

* As part of the precautionary measures against coronavirus, Palestine imposed a full lockdown on the West Bank districts during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha that started on Friday in Palestine. The lockdown began on Friday upon an earlier government's decision and will be valid until Sunday morning. The measures include banning transportation between towns and villages all over the West Bank.

* Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday that Egypt supports political solution to Libya crisis away from external interventions seeking to control Libya. During a phone conversation, Shoukry reviewed with Guterres Egypt's stance in supporting a Libyan-Libyan political solution, the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement.

* At least 16 persons, mostly children, were killed as flash flood washed away several houses in Kozkunar district of Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province late Friday night, provincial government spokesman Attaullah Khogiani said Saturday. Rescue operations are underway to find the missing persons and provide humanitarian assistance to the affected families, Khogiani said.

Reuters, Xinhua