World News in Brief: May 31

Sunday, 2020-05-31 12:24:43
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New and accelerated cases emerging are a cause for concern as countries begin tentatively lifting lockdown. (Source: Reuters)
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Global coronavirus cases surpassed 6 million on Saturday (May 30), according to a Reuters tally, as Latin America reported a grim milestone of 50,000 deaths from the disease. Countries such as Brazil, Chile and Mexico are struggling to stem the spread of the virus, which initially peaked in China in February before large-scale outbreaks followed in Europe and the United States.

* The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Saturday reported a total 1,737,950 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 18,123 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 1,074 to 102,785.

* Russian scientists plan to start clinical trials within two weeks on a vaccine to combat the novel coronavirus, the health minister was quoted as saying on Saturday as authorities approved the country's first anti-COVID-19 drug. Russia on Saturday reported 181 deaths from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours - down from the record 232 deaths the previous day - bringing the nationwide death toll to 4,555. Officials said 8,952 new infections had been confirmed, bringing the national tally to 396,575 cases.

* China recorded two new confirmed cases of coronavirus on May 30, down from four the day before, data from the country's health authority showed on Sunday (May 31). With no new deaths reported, the death toll remained at 4,634. The total number of confirmed cases in the mainland as of May 30 stood at 83,001, data form NHC showed.

* France's coronavirus case numbers are continuing to decline, health officials said on Saturday, with 14,380 patients currently in hospital, down from 14,695 a day earlier. The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care also fell to 1,325 from 1,361, the health directorate said in a statement. The hospital death toll from the virus rose by 57 to 18,444 - the 10th consecutive daily increase below 100.

* Spain's coronavirus death toll rose by four on Saturday to 27,125, the Health Ministry said, reflecting a dramatic decline in daily fatalities in recent weeks as the country brings the outbreak under control. The number of COVID-19 infections increased by 271 to 239,228. Spain was at one point one of the worst affected countries by the pandemic but it has now has started to ease lockdown restrictions.

* India extended its coronavirus lockdown until June 30 in high-risk zones but permitted restaurants, malls and religious buildings to reopen elsewhere from June 8 despite a record high number of cases detected nationwide on Saturday. India reported a record daily jump of 7,964 new COVID-19 infections on Saturday and has so far recorded 173,763 positive cases and 4,971 deaths, making the world's second-most populous country ninth on the list of most infections, Reuters data showed.

* Greece said on Saturday it will conduct coronavirus tests on visitors arriving from airports deemed high-risk by the European Union's aviation safety agency EASA when it opens its airports to tourism traffic on June 15.

* Brazil registered a record 33,274 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Saturday, its health ministry said, raising the total to 498,440 in a country with one of the world's worst outbreaks. The death toll in Brazil from COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, increased to 28,834, with 956 new deaths in the last 24 hours, the ministry said.

* Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy climbed by 111 on Saturday, against 87 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the daily tally of new cases fell to 416 from 516 on Friday. The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21 now stands at 33,340 the agency said, the third highest in the world after those of the United States and Britain. The number of confirmed cases amounts to 232,664, the sixth highest global tally behind those of the United States, Russia, Spain, Britain and Brazil.

* Britain is at a very dangerous moment as it starts to ease some of its lockdown measures, England's deputy chief medical officer said on Saturday, warning that people would need to follow the guidelines and not "tear the pants out of it". The United Kingdom death toll from people who have tested positive for COVID-19 rose by 215 to 38,376, the government said on Saturday.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 286 to 181,482, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Friday. The reported death toll rose by 11 to 8,500, the data showed.

* Thailand reported four new coronavirus cases on Sunday and no new deaths, taking the total number of infections to 3,081 with 57 deaths since January. Local infections have slowed and over the last two weeks, around 80% of new cases were Thais who had returned from abroad, Panprapa added.Thailand will on Monday begin reopening more businesses classified as medium to high risks, including cinemas and gyms.

* Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro on Saturday announced a price hike for gasoline after two decades of frozen values at the pump, as part of a system to fill vehicles and motorcycles with subsidized fuel up to monthly quotas and pay internationally indexed prices over those levels. The plan, which comes as the United States threatens to cut off gasoline supply by Iran due to sanctions, is set to start on Monday, Maduro said in a broadcast announcement.

* Colombia issued new measures to control the spread of the novel coronavirus in three of its most affected cities on Saturday, including the capital Bogota, as the rest of the country prepares for quarantine rules to start lifting. The Andean country has reported more than 28,200 cases of the coronavirus and 890 deaths. Latin America's fourth-largest economy has been battered by the double shock of measures to slow the virus and a slump in oil prices.

* SpaceX, the private rocket company of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, launched two Americans into orbit from Florida on Saturday in a landmark mission marking the first spaceflight of NASA astronauts from US soil in nine years. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center at 3:22 p.m. EDT (1922 GMT), launching Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on a 19-hour ride aboard the company's newly designed Crew Dragon capsule bound for the International Space Station.

* Mexico on Saturday registered 2,885 new cases of coronavirus and 364 more deaths, bringing the total numbers to 87,512 cases and 9,779 fatalities, according to data from health authorities.

* US President Donald Trump said on Saturday that states and cities must get "much tougher" on anti-police protests or the federal government will step in, including by using the military and making arrests.

* OPEC President Algeria has proposed bringing forward the next meeting of the oil producing group and its allies, known as OPEC+, to June 4 from an earlier plan to hold it on June 9-10, according to a letter from Algeria to OPEC+ members seen by Reuters. Algeria's energy minister, Mohamed Arkab, said in the letter that he had held discussions with "some ministers" about bringing forward the dates, which would help "facilitate nominations".

* The number of coronavirus cases in South Africa rose past 30,000 on Saturday, Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize said. South Africa reported 1,727 new cases, taking the cumulative total to 30,967. The death toll increased by 32 to 643.

* Israeli schools will remain open despite a COVID-19 outbreak at a high school, the health ministry said on Saturday, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that coronavirus curbs would be reimposed if infection rates increase. Israel has reported a total of some 17,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 284 deaths.

* Colombia issued new measures to control the spread of the novel coronavirus in three of its most affected cities on Saturday, including the capital Bogota, as the rest of the country prepares for quarantine rules to start lifting. The Andean country has reported more than 26,600 cases of the coronavirus and 853 deaths.

Reuters