World News in Brief: August 9

Sunday, 2020-08-09 15:39:14
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Firefighters wearing protective suits spray disinfectant in the Indonesian Parliament amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Jakarta, Indonesia, August 9, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)
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Indonesia reported 1,893 more novel coronavirus infections on Sunday (August 9), taking the total tally to 125,396 infections, the country's COVID-19 taskforce website showed. The number of death rose 65 on Sunday, bringing the total number of deaths to 5,723.

* China reported 23 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for Aug 8, down from 31 a day earlier, the country’s health authority said on Sunday. Among the new cases, 15 were locally transmitted and eight were imported infections, the National Health Commission said in a statement published on its website. The total number of infections in mainland China now stands at 84,619, with the death toll unchanged at 4,634.

* Brazil's death toll from COVID-19 passed 100,000 on Saturday (August 8) and continue to climb as most Brazilian cities reopen shops and dining even though the pandemic has yet to peak. Confronting its most lethal outbreak since the Spanish flu a century ago, Brazil reported its first cases of the novel coronavirus at the end of February. The virus took three months to kill 50,000 people, and just 50 days to kill the next 50,000.

* Mexico's health ministry on Saturday reported 6,495 new confirmed coronavirus infections and 695 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 475,902 cases and 52,006 deaths. Officials have said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases. Mexico has the third highest coronavirus death tally globally, behind the United States and Brazil.

* Russia reported 5,189 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Sunday, bringing its nationwide tally to 887,536, the fourth largest caseload in the world. Russia's coronavirus taskforce said 77 people had died over the last 24 hours, pushing its official death toll to 14,931.

* Indian investigators on Sunday began examining the black box of a Boeing-737 that overshot a runway on its second attempt, killing 18 people in the country's worst aviation accident in a decade. The Air India Express plane, which was repatriating Indians stranded in Dubai due to the coronavirus pandemic, overshot the runway of the Calicut International Airport in heavy rain near the southern city of Kozhikode on Friday. The aircraft fell into a valley and broke in half.

* New Zealand marked 100 days without a domestic transmission of the coronavirus on Sunday, but warned against complacency as some countries which once had the virus under control now battle a resurgence in infections. New Zealand's successful fight against COVID-19 has made the Pacific island nation of 5 million one of the safest places in the world right now.

* Australia’s second-most populous state, Victoria, reported its deadliest day of the COVID-19 outbreak on Sunday, with 17 people dying, as police thwarted a planned anti-mask rally in the capital of Melbourne. Victoria, at the centre of a second wave of infections in Australia, reported 394 cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, compared with a daily average of 400-500 over the past week. The new deaths bring the state's total to 210.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 555 to 215,891, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Sunday. The reported death toll rose by one to 9,196, the tally showed.

* Paris authorities on Saturday said it would be mandatory to wear a face mask outdoors in busy areas of the French capital from Monday as the number of coronavirus infections there rose. The order applies to people aged 11 and over, the Paris prefecture said in a statement. The zones where masks must be worn will be detailed separately, and evaluated on a regular basis, the prefecture said.

* Afghanistan agreed on Sunday to release 400 "hard-core" Taliban prisoners, paving the way for the beginning of peace talks aimed at ending more than 19 years of war. With the release, the Afghan government will fulfil its pledge to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners.

* Japan and Britain agreed to lift auto tariffs for a post-Brexit trade agreement in 2026 despite Japan's push to lift the tariffs earlier, the Nikkei Asian Review reported on Sunday. Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi is currently in negotiations with British Trade Minister Liz Truss in London.

* French President Emmanuel Macron will host US President Donald Trump and other political leaders on Sunday for a U.N.-endorsed donors' conference by video to raise emergency relief for Lebanon following this week's massive explosion in Beirut. Lebanon was already mired in deep political and economic crisis when the blast ripped through its main port on Tuesday, killing 158 people, injuring more than 6,000 and destroying a swathe of the city.

* The United States plans to cut its troop levels in Afghanistan to "a number less than 5,000" by the end of November, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in an interview broadcast on Saturday, adding detail to drawdown plans US President Donald Trump announced earlier this week. The United States currently has about 8,600 troops in Afghanistan. Trump said in an interview released Monday by Axios that the United States planned to lower that number to about 4,000.

* Argentina will start talks with the International Monetary Fund in the coming weeks aimed at clinching a new program to replace a defunct US$57 billion standby lending deal from two years ago, a top IMF official told Reuters on Saturday. In 2018, Argentina received the biggest lending package in IMF history in an ill-fated bid to halt a slide in the local peso currency. About US$44 billion of the allotted cash has been paid out so far.

* Germany has declared certain regions in Romania and Bulgaria as risk areas after an increase in COVID-19 infections there, as Europe struggles to control an uptick in cases during the summer season. Germany has designated about 130 countries as high-risk, including Turkey, Egypt and the United States.