World News in Brief: September 19

Saturday, 2020-09-19 15:42:40
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Moderna had enrolled 25,296 participants out of a planned 30,000 in its late-stage study as of Wednesday (September 16).
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Moderna Inc said it was on track to produce 20 million doses of its experimental coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year, while maintaining its goal of readying 500 million to 1 billion doses in 2021.

* India ordered its states not to hoard oxygen supplies and allow free movement amid reports of shortages, as coronavirus infections hit 5.2 million.

* Morocco signed a deal with Russia's R-Pharm to buy a COVID-19 vaccine produced under a licence from Britain’s AstraZeneca, the health ministry said, as its total number of cases approached 100,000.

* The Trump administration reversed guidance on COVID-19 testing for a second time, urging those exposed to people with the virus to get tested even if they are not displaying symptoms.

* European countries from Denmark to Greece announced new restrictions on Friday to curb surging coronavirus infections in some of their largest cities, while Britain was reported to be considering a new national lockdown.

* Mainland China reported 14 new COVID-19 cases on Sept. 18, down from 32 cases reported a day earlier, the Chinese national health authority said on Saturday (September 19). The total number of COVID-19 cases for mainland China now stands at 85,269, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.

* Russia reported 6,065 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, the first time the daily tally has been higher than 6,000 in two months. The national tally of infections rose to 1,097,251. The coronavirus crisis centre said 144 people had died of the disease in the last 24 hours, bringing the Russian death toll to 19,339.

* Mexico's health ministry on Friday reported 4,841 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the country, bringing the total to 688,954 cases, and 624 new deaths, for a cumulative death toll of 72,803. Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell has said the real number of cases in the country is significantly higher.

* Indonesia reported its biggest daily rise in coronavirus infections, with 4,168 new cases on Saturday, taking the total to 240,687, data from the country's health ministry showed. The data added 112 new deaths, taking the total to 9,448, the biggest death toll in Southeast Asia.

* The Philippines' health ministry on Saturday reported 3,962 new coronavirus infections and 100 additional deaths, with both numbers the highest in five days. In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed cases have risen to 283,460, the highest in Southeast Asia, while deaths have reached 4,930.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 2,297 to 270,070, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Saturday. The reported death toll rose by six to 9,384, the tally showed.

* Britain, France and Germany told the U.N. Security Council on Friday that U.N. sanctions relief for Iran - agreed under a 2015 nuclear deal - would continue beyond Sept. 20, when the United States asserts that all the measures should be reimposed. In a letter to the 15-member body, seen by Reuters, the three European parties to the nuclear deal and long-time US allies said any decision or action taken to reimpose U.N. sanctions "would be incapable of legal effect." The United States quit the nuclear deal in 2018.

* US President Donald Trump said on Friday he thought the US-Canada border would open before the end of the year. The restrictions on non-essential travel at land borders between the two countries were first imposed in March and do not cover trade or travel by air. They have been extended several times, including on Friday to Oct. 21, as the United States has struggled to contain its coronavirus outbreak.

* Peru's Congress voted against removing President Martín Vizcarra in an impeachment trial on Friday, quelling political tensions in the copper giant in the midst of an economic recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The opposition-dominated Congress cast 32 votes in favor of ousting Vizcarra, short of the 87 out of 130 required to remove him from office on the grounds of "moral incapacity" over alleged links to a case of irregular government contracts with a little-known singer. There were 78 votes against the measure and 15 abstentions.

* France's foreign ministry said on Friday that Lebanon's political forces need to assume their responsibilities and immediately form a government under the auspices of Prime Minister Mustapha Adib. President Emmanuel Macron set a Sept. 15 deadline to form a government. The French government has been leaning on Lebanon's sectarian politicians to name a cabinet swiftly and embark on reforms to get the country out of the worst crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.

* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he did not want another national lockdown but that new restrictions may be needed because the country was facing an "inevitable" second wave of COVID-19.

* France reported 13,215 new confirmed coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, a new record since the start of the epidemic, while the daily death toll jumped to a four-month high.

* The Canadian province of Quebec said police would target more than 1,000 bars and restaurants to enforce rules curbing the spread of coronavirus, as authorities raised the alarm over a possible second wave.

* Germany plans to take on net new debt of nearly EUR96.2 billion (US$113.90 billion) next year to fight the coronavirus pandemic, finance ministry sources said.

* The Australian state at the centre of the country's coronavirus outbreak on Saturday reported its lowest daily increase of infections in three months, putting it on course to relax a hard lockdown in the capital city by the end of the month. Victoria, Australia's second-most populous state and home to a quarter of its 25 million people, recorded 21 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19 in the prior 24 hours, less than half the previous day's number and its lowest since June 24. Victoria reported seven new COVID-19 deaths, taking the national total to 844, according to government figures. The state has had 90% of Australia's coronavirus-related deaths.

* The Czech Republic's daily count of new coronavirus cases slowed to 2,111 on Friday after four days of growth, data from the health ministry showed. The overall number of confirmed cases reached 46,262 in the country of 10.7 million, the ministry said on Saturday. The Czechs have seen the illness spreading at a record pace. Adjusted for population, only Spain and France within the European Union have seen a bigger jump in the last two weeks, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

* The Irish government announced strict new COVID-19 restrictions for the capital Dublin, banning indoor restaurant dining and advising against all non-essential travel, after a surge in cases in recent days.

* The regional government of the Spanish capital Madrid ordered a lockdown from Monday in some of the poorer areas of the city and its outskirts that are home to about 850,000 people, after a surge in coronavirus infections there.

* Israel entered a second nationwide lockdown at the onset of the Jewish high-holiday season, forcing residents to stay mostly at home amid a resurgence in new coronavirus cases.

Reuters