World News in Brief: September 15

Tuesday, 2020-09-15 15:58:09
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Scientists work inside the CSL Biotech facility after CSL announced it had agreed to develop the COVID-19 vaccine that could be available in Australia by early 2021, in Melbourne, Australia, September 7, 2020. (Source: AAP Image via Reuters)
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More than 29.27 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 926,716 have died, according to a Reuters tally. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

* The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on September 14 reported 6,503,030 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 35,549 cases from its previous count, and said the number of deaths had risen by 510 to 193,705.

* India reported 83,809 new coronavirus infections for its lowest daily jump in a week, the health ministry said on Tuesday (September 15). The world's second-most populous nation appeared to be on course to cross the milestone of 5 million cases on Wednesday (September 16), as its tally of 4.93 million is just 70,000 short. India, where cases have been rising faster than any other nation, lags only the United States in terms of its number of total infections. The death toll crossed 80,000 on Tuesday, swelled by 1, 054 in the last 24 hours, the ministry added.

* Brazil registered 15,115 new cases of coronavirus on September 14, totalling 4,345,610, the health ministry said. Deaths rose by 381 to 131,625.

* Russia reported 5,529 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, pushing its national tally to 1,073,849, the fourth largest in the world. Authorities said 150 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 18,785.

* Mainland China reported eight new COVID-19 cases on Sept. 14, down from 10 cases a day earlier, the country's national health authority said in a statement on Tuesday. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases now stands at 85,202. The death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.

* Indonesia reported on Tuesday 3,507 new coronavirus infections, taking the country's total tally to 225,030, Health Ministry data showed. The number of deaths rose by 124 to 8,965, the highest number of fatalities in Southeast Asia.

* The Philippines' health ministry on Tuesday confirmed 3,544 additional novel coronavirus infections and 34 more deaths. In a bulletin, the ministry said total infections had increased to 269,407, the highest in Southeast Asia, while confirmed deaths have reached 4,663.

* Confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany rose by 1,407 to 261,762, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Tuesday. The death toll rose by 12 to 9,362, the tally showed.

* The reproduction 'R' number of COVID-19 infections in the Czech Republic has risen to 1.59, the Institute of Health Information and Statistics (UZIS) said on Tuesday, showing the spread of the virus amid a spike in cases in the country. The Czech Republic has seen one of Europe's largest surges in new coronavirus cases in recent weeks, when adjusted for population size, just behind Spain and France. The R number represents the average number of people to whom one infected person will pass the virus. An R number above 1 can lead to exponential growth.

* Australia on Tuesday recorded its first day without a COVID-19 death in two months, as states began to lift restrictions amid growing confidence that a second wave of infections has been contained. While officials said there were 50 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, a small increase from a day earlier, Australia reported no fresh fatalities for the first time since July 13. Most of the new cases were in Victoria, Australia's second most populous state, which has accounted for about 75% of the country's COVID-19 infections.

* China's finance ministry said on Tuesday it will extend existing tariff exemptions for 16 products from the United States including lubricants, whey and fish meal by an additional year. The products received exemptions from retaliatory tariffs imposed by China on US goods as counter measures to US Section 301 action in 2019. The extension will last through Sept. 16, 2021, the ministry said.

* Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Chairman Kim Jong Un praised his military for its prompt efforts to rebuild towns hit hard by typhoons and summer floods, state news media KCNA reported on Tuesday. Kim visited the province of North Hwanghae, south of Pyongyang, which had removed all traces of the natural disaster and been successfully re-built as a "socialist fairyland", said KCNA. The visit was the latest by Kim to typhoon-hit areas of the country, issuing alerts ahead of the storms to prevent crop damage and casualties, then dispatching military and party members to help communities recover.

* The US State Department on Monday eased a travel advisory for Americans considering travel to China or Hong Kong (China) from "Do Not Travel" to "Reconsider Travel," citing "improved conditions." The new "Level 3" warning reflects the "arbitrary enforcement" of local laws, said the department, which had issued its highest "Do Not Travel" Level 4 warning in June. China and the United States said in August they would each allow air carriers to double flights between the world's two largest economies to eight per week.

* Britain's unemployment rate rose for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown began in March, official data showed on Tuesday. The unemployment rate increased to 4.1% in the three months to July from 3.9% in the April-June period, the Office for National Statistics said.

* German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer are planning to take in around 1,500 refugees from the Greek islands, German news agency dpa reported on Tuesday. Dpa cited politicians focussed on domestic policy as saying that these would be families with children.

* Afghanistan and Taliban peace talk negotiators will hold their first direct session on Tuesday in Doha, officials said, as the warring sides try to work out an agenda and schedule for how to negotiate a peace deal as the United States withdraws troops. A small group of negotiators from both sides had met in previous days to try to discuss how the substantive negotiations would take place.

* An earthquake of magnitude 6.2 struck Russia's Kamchatka peninsula on Tuesday at a depth of 320 km (199 miles), the German Research Center for Geosciences said.

* Hurricane Paulette knocked out power lines in much of Bermuda on Monday but eventually appeared to have caused only limited damage even as swells reached as far as the east coast of the United States. The storm lingered over the British territory longer than initially forecast by the Bermuda Weather Service.

* Britain's government won a vote on Monday for legislation it acknowledges could breach parts of a divorce agreement with the European Union, meaning the Internal Market bill now faces four days of parliamentary debate. The government won by 340 to 263 votes. The bill now goes to the committee stage, with the most contentious day due in just over a week when lawmakers will debate on whether parliament should approve the implementation of the most disputed parts of the bill.

* At least three people drowned when a boat carrying migrants sank off the island of Crete late on Monday while 56 aboard were rescued, the coast guard said. The coast guard said it recovered three bodies, and the victims were believed to be a woman and two children. Four coast guard and military vessels and two helicopters were still searching the area off the eastern coast of Crete amid high winds. It was unclear where the boat originated.

* Nigerian health workers demanding the payment of a hazard allowance for treating coronavirus patients have gone on strike only a week after doctors in Africa's most populous country staged a walk out. The Joint Health Service Unions (JOHESU) - representing medical staff such as nurses, midwives and radiologists - said the strike, which began on Monday, would last for seven days. Doctors across the country however will continue to work. Nigeria has a total of 56,388 confirmed coronavirus infections and 1,083 deaths.