World News in Brief: August 6

Thursday, 2020-08-06 15:52:19
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People wearing face masks take a tourist cruise in central Strasbourg, eastern France, on Aug. 5, 2020. The French authorities have ordered people to wear face masks in outdoor public places in many major cities as the COVID-19 spread faster and the admission to intensive care units increased again after month-long decline. (Photo: Xinhua)
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The Philippines' health ministry on Thursday reported 3,561 new coronavirus infections and 28 additional deaths. In a bulletin, the ministry said total deaths had increased to 2,150, while confirmed cases had reached 119,460, topping Indonesia for the most infections in East Asia. Strict lockdown in and around the capital brought the economy to its knees in the first half. The government placed the capital under lockdown until mid-August to stem surging infections.

* Human trials on a potential coronavirus vaccine are due to start in Indonesia next week as part of a collaboration between state-owned pharmaceutical company Bio Farma and China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd, a senior researcher said. The launch of the vaccine trial comes as Indonesia has struggled to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, with a consistently escalating number of cases. As of Thursday, Indonesia had recorded 118,753 coronavirus infections and 5,521 deaths.

* China reported 37 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for August 5, up from 27 a day earlier, the country's health commission said on Thursday. Seven of the new infections were imported cases, versus five a day earlier, according to a statement by the National Health Commission. As of August 5, mainland China had 84,528 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 Wednesday reported 4,748,806 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 49,988 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 1,107 to 156,311.

* Mexico's health ministry on Wednesday reported 6,139 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 829 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 456,100 cases and 49,698 deaths. The new numbers put Mexico on track to surpass 50,000 deaths this week. Mexico currently has the world's third-highest coronavirus death toll, after the United States and Brazil.

* Russian authorities reported 5,267 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Thursday, pushing its national tally to 871,894, the fourth largest in the world. The official death toll rose to 14,606 after officials said 116 people had died across the country in the last 24 hours.

* Australia's second-biggest city Melbourne began the first day of a six-week total lockdown on Thursday with the closure of most shops and businesses raising new fears of food shortages, as authorities battle a second wave of coronavirus infections. Shops were shut and streets were deserted in the city of about 5 million people, the capital of Victoria state, which reported 471 new COVID-19 cases and eight deaths in the past 24 hours. Australia has now recorded about 20,000 COVID-19 cases and 255 fatalities, still far fewer than many other developed nations.

* Seven rescue workers were missing in Republic of Korea after their boats overturned in floodwaters on Thursday, the Yonhap news agency reported, as heavy rain across the Korean peninsula threatened to bring new floods and landslides. Parts of the ROK have seen 44 consecutive days of rain, the longest monsoon since 2013.

* The British government will slap a quarantine on arrivals from Belgium after a rise in coronavirus cases, the Daily Mail newspaper reported. The Mail said ministers are expected to approve the quarantine at a meeting shortly. The transport ministry declined to comment on the report. The United Kingdom has already imposed a 14-day quarantine on travellers from Spain and Luxembourg.

* Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike is expected to urge residents of the Japanese capital to stay home as much as possible over an upcoming major holiday amid a surge in coronavirus cases, local media reported Thursday. Japan has reported an average of around 1,300 new COVID-19 cases each day over the past week, taking total cases to around 43,500. It has recorded just over 1,000 deaths.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,045 to 213,067, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Thursday. The reported death toll rose by seven to 9,175, the tally showed.

* Ministers from a trans-Pacific trade bloc have agreed to cooperate to fight protectionism and maintain supply chains amid the coronavirus pandemic, they said in a joint statement published on Wednesday. The 11-member Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), comprises Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. In the statement, the members pledged to limit restrictive trade measures and to facilitate the flow of essential goods and services during the pandemic.

* Australia will spend AUD1.66 billion (US$1.19 billion) over the next 10 years to strengthen the cyber defences of private companies and households following a rise in cyber attacks, Prime Minister Scott Morrison will announce on Thursday. The package is the latest cyber spending commitment from Australia, coming just weeks after Canberra said it will spend AUD1.35 billion over the next decade to bolster the capabilities of the country's chief cyber intelligence agency.

* Slovakia, which has one of Europe's lowest COVID-19 death tolls, reported its biggest daily rise in new cases in more than three months, saying it had recorded 63 on Wednesday. The central European country of 5.5 million people has fared better than most in containing the spread of the coronavirus, although daily cases have risen since June as Slovakia opened up from lockdowns, mirroring a European trend of rising infections. Latest data released on Thursday showed the total number of cases identified so far in Slovakia had reached 2,480, of which 1,824 people have already recovered.

* Poland reported 726 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, according to the health ministry's Twitter account, the fifth time a new record has been set since last week. Poland has reported a total of 49,515 coronavirus cases and 1,774 deaths, according to the ministry.

* The United Nations Security Council will vote next week on a US bid to extend an international arms embargo on Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday, despite the warnings of some diplomats that the measure lacks support. The arms embargo on Iran is currently set to end on Oct. 18 under Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which US President Donald Trump's administration quit in 2018.

* World food prices rose in July, led by vegetable oil and dairy products, to extend a rebound from the previous month following sharp falls triggered by the pandemic, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday. The Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) food price index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, averaged 94.2 points in July versus 93.1 points in June. The June figure was revised from an initial estimate of 93.2.