World News in Brief: March 29

Sunday, 2020-03-29 11:55:22
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City workers disinfect a community in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, March 28, 2020. A total of 27 people have died of the COVID-19 in Malaysia as of Saturday with 159 newly confirmed cases, bringing the total to 2,320, said the Health Ministry. (Photo: Xinhua)
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Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies must put an end to trade-restrictive policies to help fight COVID-19, the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) said on Saturday (March 28). Such practices would hamper and delay recovery efforts if the engines of trade and investment could not be restarted quickly, Chair of ABAC Rohana Mahmood said in a statement released on Saturday.

* China reported 45 new coronavirus cases in the mainland on March 28, down from 54 on the previous day, with all but one involving travellers from overseas, the health authority said on Sunday (March 29). A total of 3,300 people have now died in mainland China from COVID-19, with a reported 81,439 infections.

* Cambodia's Ministry of Health (MoH) announced in a statement on Sunday that one more person was tested positive for COVID-19, raising the total number of the confirmed cases in the country to 103.

* Myanmar's Foreign Affairs Ministry announced temporary suspension of all types of visas for foreign nationals from all countries with effect from March 29 till April 30 as part of measures to control the risks of COVID-19 spread on Sunday. At present, Myanmar reported eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country so far.

* The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines has exceeded 1,000, with 272 new cases reported on Saturday, the biggest rise in a single day.

* A total of 27 people have died of COVID-19 in Malaysia as of Saturday with 159 newly confirmed cases, bringing the total to 2,320, said the Health Ministry.

* Japan's health ministry and local governments said Saturday that more than 60 new COVID-19 infections were confirmed in Tokyo, logging the highest rise per day. The total number of infections in Japan has now risen to 1,585 cases, according to the latest figures.

* The Republic of Korea had confirmed 105 new coronavirus cases as of midnight Saturday, bringing the country's total now to 9,583, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Sunday.

* US Vice President Mike Pence, heading the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus outbreak, said on Saturday that he would deliver a recommendation to the president on whether to re-open the US economy in the coming week. Pence told the Fox News Channel that the taskforce he heads would base its decision on data and scientific advice.

* The rate of spread of the novel coronavirus in Australia has halved in recent days, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday as he announced an additional AUD1.1 billion (US$680 million) to expand telemedicine care and other health services. The daily increase in cases in recent days was at about 13%-15%, down from 25%-30% seen a week ago, showing social distancing measures were working, Morrison said.

* The coronavirus pandemic has claimed 10,023 lives in locked-down Italy as of Saturday, with the cumulative total infections reaching 92,472, according to new data released by the Civil Protection Department.

* Russia's COVID-19 cases increased by 228 in the last 24 hours, a daily record, to 1,264 in 62 regions of the country, official data showed Saturday. Of the new cases, 114 were confirmed in Moscow city and 36 in the Moscow region, Russia's coronavirus response center said.

* Canada will not allow anyone displaying symptoms of the COVID-19 respiratory illness to board domestic flights or inter-city passenger trains, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Saturday, the latest travel restriction aimed at curbing the coronavirus outbreak. Canada has confirmed 5,153 cases of coronavirus, and 55 deaths, health officials said.

* The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said Saturday that 750,000 workers, or 15 percent of the Swiss working population, have applied for partial unemployment, a mean to obtain economic assistance from the government amid the coronavirus pandemic. Switzerland reported 1,052 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, raising the total in the country to 13,213. The death toll now rose to 235.

* Mexico's deputy health minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell called on Saturday on all residents in Mexico to stay at home for a month, saying it was the only way to reduce the transmission rate of the coronavirus. Mexican health authorities said there was a total of 848 confirmed cases in Mexico as of Saturday, 131 more than the previous day, and 16 deaths.

* New Zealand recorded its first death related to the new coronavirus, and the number of people infected with the virus rose by 63 cases to a total of 514, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said on Sunday.

* Malaysia’s Top Glove Corporation Bhd, which makes one in every five gloves globally, expects a product shortage as demand from Europe and the United States spikes because of the widening coronavirus outbreak is exceeding its capacity. The company has extended shipping times to cope with the demand surge, Executive Chairman Lim Wee Chai told Reuters by phone on Friday.

* The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said early on Sunday that the kingdom's air defences intercepted two ballistic missiles on Saturday night launched by Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi group towards Riyadh and the city of Jizan, Saudi state news agency (SPA) said citing the coalition's spokesman.

* Panama's health ministry said on Saturday that it has confirmed 115 new coronavirus cases and three new deaths, bringing the total in the Central American nation to 901 cases and 17 deaths.

* The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) fired two short-range unidentified projectiles into the eastern waters on Sunday, according to the Republic of Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). The JCS said in a statement that the projectiles, believed to be short-range ballistic missiles, were launched near the DPRK's eastern coastal town of Wonsan toward the East Sea at about 6:10 a.m. local time.

* The Peruvian government on Saturday raised the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country to 671 and the number of fatalities to 16.

* In the past 24 hours in Turkey, 16 more people lost their lives due to COVID-19, raising the death toll to 108, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Saturday night. The total number of novel coronavirus cases rose to 7,402 in Turkey, the minister tweeted.

* Egyptian President Adel-Fattah al-Sisi and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan discussed on Saturday efforts exerted to combat the novel coronavirus.

* Israel reported 584 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 3,619, Israeli Ministry of Health said. Of the 493 patients being treated in hospitals across Israel, 54 are in serious condition, the ministry said.

* Iran has allocated US$23.9 billion to support the economy amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Saturday. Iran, the worst-hit country in the Middle East, has confirmed a total of 35,408 COVID-19 cases, of whom 2,517 have died.

* South Africa has seen a growing number of health workers infected with COVID-19, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Saturday. As of Saturday night, the country has reported 1,187 cases, an increase of 17 in the last 24 hours, the minister said, adding 13 of the new patients are 13 health workers.