World News in Brief: August 25

Tuesday, 2020-08-25 19:00:12
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More than 23.65 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus globally and 811,895 have died, according to a Reuters tally on Tuesday.
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The COVID-19 pandemic is still expanding, but the rise in cases and deaths has slowed globally, except for southeast Asia and the eastern Mediterranean regions, the World Health Organization (WHO) said. In its latest epidemiological update, issued on Monday (August 24) night, it said that the Americas remains the hardest-hit region, accounting for half of newly reported cases and 62% of the 39,240 deaths worldwide in the past week.

* Indonesia reported 2,447 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday (August 25), taking the total number of cases to 157,859, data from the country's COVID-19 taskforce showed. The data recorded an additional 99 deaths, taking the total to 6,858, the highest COVID-19 death toll in Southeast Asia.

* The Philippine health ministry on Tuesday reported 2,965 additional novel coronavirus infections and 34 more deaths. In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed cases have risen to 197,164, a fifth of which were reported in the past 10 days, while deaths have reached 3,038. The Philippines has reported more than 1,000 new infections for 42 successive days and has the largest number of cases in Southeast Asia.

* Singapore reported 31 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, its lowest daily count in more than five months. The city-state, which saw its COVID-19 cases jump sharply after mass outbreaks in migrant worker dormitories earlier in the year, has recently seen steady declines as those dormitories have been cleared of the coronavirus.

* Trial data for the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca's possible vaccine could be given to regulators this year but corners cannot be cut to speed up approval for emergency use, a scientist leading the trials said.

* Some 172 countries are engaging with the WHO-led COVAX plan designed to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, the World Health Organization said, but added more funding was urgently needed.

* European shares opened higher on Tuesday, with market sentiment propped up by the United States and China saying they are still committed to their Phase One trade deal and some increased optimism around COVID-19 vaccine development.

* Italy kicked off human trials of a potential vaccine on Monday.

* British drugmaker AstraZeneca has begun testing an antibody-based cocktail for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19, adding to recent signs of progress on possible medical solutions to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The London-listed firm, already among the leading players in the global race to develop a successful vaccine, said the study would evaluate if AZD7442, a combination of two monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), was safe and tolerable in up to 48 healthy participants between the ages of 18 and 55 years.

* China reported its ninth consecutive day with no new locally transmitted cases, as a major university in the city of Wuhan opened for face-to-face classes for the first time in eight months.

* Brazil registered 17,078 additional cases of COVID-19 over the last 24 hours and 565 deaths, the nation's health ministry said on Monday. The country has now recorded 115,309 coronavirus deaths and 3,622,861 confirmed cases.

* Russia reported 4,696 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, pushing its national total to 966,189, the fourth largest in the world. Authorities said 120 people had died in the last 24 hours, pushing the death toll to 16,568.

* Rescue workers pulled more than 60 people alive from the rubble of a collapsed building in an industrial town near India's financial capital Mumbai, a senior official said on Tuesday, as rescue efforts continued. The five storey building near a slum district in Mahad, which housed roughly 200 residents, caved in on Monday evening. The cause of the accident was not clear.

* Republic of Korea ordered most schools in Seoul and surrounding areas to close and move classes back online.

* India reported more than 60,000 new cases for a seventh straight day, taking the total to 3.17 million. Deaths rose by 848 to 58,390.

* Australia surpassed 25,000 cases after a recent outbreak in Victoria.

* Poland insisted it would reopen schools next week for the first time since mid-March despite reaching a record high number of daily registered infections late last week.

* French authorities will in coming days reciprocate Britain's decision to impose a 14-day quarantine on all arrivals from France.

* Mexico registered 3,541 new infections and 320 additional fatalities, and health authorities will begin this week to use a broader definition to identify possible cases.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,278 to 234,853, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Tuesday. The reported death toll rose by five to 9,277, the tally showed.

* Argentina confirmed a record 8,713 new cases on Monday and 381 resulting deaths.

* China has suspended Etihad Airways' route from Abu Dhabi to Shanghai for one more week starting on Aug. 24 due to COVID-19 infections on an Aug. 15 flight, the Shanghai city government said on Tuesday. China had previously suspended the company's Abu Dhabi-Shanghai route for one week from Aug. 17.

* Talks with the U.N. nuclear watchdog's chief were constructive, Iran's top nuclear official Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted as saying on Tuesday, after meeting Rafael Grossi during a visit to seek access for inspectors to two suspected former atomic sites.

* Greece is ready for a dialogue to help dissolve tensions with Turkey over energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean but the country will also defend its sovereign rights, its foreign minister said on Tuesday.

* Germany urged Greece and Turkey to solve their dispute over overlapping resource claims in the eastern Mediterranean Sea through direct talks, its foreign minister said on Tuesday, warning of the risk of a military confrontation.

* Gaza went into lockdown after confirmation of the first cases in the general population of the Palestinian enclave, whose restricted borders have spared it from wide infection.

* Americans who regularly cross the border from Mexico reported long wait times to re-enter the United States on Monday after US officials imposed new COVID-19-related restrictions on cross-border travel by US citizens and permanent residents. According to CBP data, wait times at some border crossings have doubled or tripled. Many crossing points now have only one or two lanes of traffic open. On Monday, border-crossers reported wait times of up to 5-6 hours.

* Syrian President Bashar al-Assad designated Hussein Arnous to form a new government, the Syrian presidency said on Tuesday, following a parliamentary election in July. Hussein Arnous was prime minister in the outgoing government, appointed by Assad in June to replace Imad Khamis as Syria grappled with a major economic crisis and plunging currency.

* Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said he held "direct and transparent" talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Khartoum on Tuesday, including over removing Sudan from a US state sponsors of terrorism list. Pompeo landed in Sudan after flying non-stop from Israel on what he said was the first official non-stop flight between the two countries, as the United States promotes stronger Sudan-Israel ties.