World News in Brief: May 29

Friday, 2020-05-29 15:11:13
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The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in France jumped by 3,325 to 149,071, though the increase was not due to a rise in daily infections but was a result of the inclusion of data from a new tracking system, the health ministry said in a statement.
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The number of coronavirus infections in France jumped on the same day the government announced an easing of lockdown rules, but the increase reflected the inclusion of new data rather than a rise in daily infections, the Health Ministry said. The inclusion of data from a new tracking system boosted the number of confirmed coronavirus cases by 3,325 to 149,071, the biggest increase since a 4,183 increase on May 6, when data from a new laboratory were included.

* The Group of 20 major economies on Thursday (May 28) said 36 of 77 eligible countries had applied for suspension of official bilateral debt payments to help them combat the novel coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout. In a statement, the Saudi G20 secretariat said the debt relief initiative approved in April could provide immediate liquidity of US$14 billion as more countries participated.

* The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) said on Friday (May 29) it had approved a US$750 million loan to the Philippines to help the country cope with the coronavirus pandemic. The project, which will be co-financed by the Asian Development Bank, is intended to increase testing capacity, support vulnerable sectors like agriculture, and provide emergency assistance to poor households, according to a statement.

* Britain has agreed to hold a United Nations' climate summit in November 2021, after the event originally planned for later this year had to be postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Business minister Alok Sharma said on Twitter that the dates of the Nov. 1 -12 2021 conference had been agreed with event partners Italy and the UN.

* Brazil reported a daily record of 26,417 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, according to the Health Ministry, bringing its total tally to 438,238, second only to the United States in confirmed cases. Brazil's death toll rose 1,156 from a day earlier to 26,754 confirmed fatalities from the COVID-19 respiratory disease, just shy of a record 1,188 deaths registered on May 21.

* China reported no new confirmed coronavirus cases in the mainland as of the end of May 28, down from two a day earlier, the country's health authority said on Friday. The National Health Commission also confirmed five new asymptomatic coronavirus cases on May 28, down from 23 a day earlier.

* Singapore's health ministry said on Friday it had confirmed 611 new coronavirus cases, taking the city state's tally for infections to 33,860.

* Thailand will next week shorten curfew hours and ease restrictions on more businesses, the government said on Friday, in response to its low numbers of locally transmitted cases of the coronavirus. The coronavirus has infected 3,076 in Thailand since January and killed 57.

* Curbs in Japan's capital of Tokyo to contain the coronavirus are to be eased further from Monday, Governor Yuriko Koike said, citing the recommendation of an advisory panel. Japan lifted its state of emergency for Tokyo this week, following a drop in daily infections. The country has recorded about 17,000 infections and some 900 deaths from the virus.

* Some sectors of Australia's economy will require additional stimulus, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday. To prevent a prolonged economic depression triggered by COVID-19, Australia's government and central bank has pledged to spend AUD250 billion (US$166.1 billion). Much of Australia's stimulus is expected to expire in September, but Morrison said some additional support may be needed.

* As India's health system grapples with the coronavirus, doctors are increasingly going online to consult with patients suffering less critical or chronic diseases, while the south Asian economy prepares to emerge from a nationwide lockdown. Despite one of the world's strictest lockdowns since late March, India's tally of virus infections stands at more than 165,000, with 4,706 deaths.

* US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed in a phone call on Thursday that the G7 meeting should be held in person and in the near future, the White House said. Trump in March canceled the Group of Seven leaders meeting scheduled for June 10 in the United States as the coronavirus outbreak was spreading around the world and international travel was curtailed.

* Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar raised the prospect on Friday of halving social distancing rules from two metres to one if the rate of coronavirus infections comes down further in a potential boost to still shuttered restaurants and pubs. Facing one of the longest shutdowns in Europe, Ireland's hospitality sector has called for the guidelines to be eased in line with a number of other European countries, saying it could be the difference between some operators reopening or not.

* Bulgaria plans to lift an obligatory 14-day quarantine from June 1 for travellers from most European Union countries, but not those states with the biggest coronavirus outbreaks, a senior health official said on Friday. The quarantine will remain obligatory for travellers from Sweden, Belgium, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Malta, the official said, as well as the UK, which is in a transition period after leaving the EU.

* Chinese civil aviation authorities plan to extend until June 30 their curbs on international flights imposed to restrain the spread of the coronavirus, the US embassy in Beijing said in a travel advisory on Friday.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 741 to 180,458, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Friday. The reported death toll rose by 39 to 8,450, the tally showed.

* Dubai announced it will reopen 4 beaches and major parks as well the Dubai Frame architectural landmark for the general public starting on Friday, the Dubai media office announced in a statement. The beaches are JBR beach, Al Mamzar, Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim

* Kuwait will ease its full-time curfew, to be a 12-hour one during night, the interior minister said in a press conference after the cabinet meeting on Thursday. The minister added that the curfew will be from 6 PM to 6 AM, starting Sunday. The health minister said easing the curfew will be among the first phase in a 5-phases plan, each to last at least 3 weeks, to go back to normal life.

* Egypt registered 1,127 new coronavirus cases and 29 deaths, the health ministry said on Thursday, the highest daily increase. That brings the total number of confirmed cases to 20,793, of which 5,359 have recovered, the ministry said in a statement.

* The family of a Libyan people trafficker killed 30 migrants in revenge for his death, Libya's internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) said on Thursday. The GNA interior ministry said in a statement that 26 Bangladeshi and four African migrants had been killed in the town of Mizda and that 11 injured survivors were taken to a hospital in Zintan.

Reuters