World News in Brief: September 21

Monday, 2020-09-21 16:28:47
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The virus has spread to all 34 provinces of Indonesia.
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Indonesia reported on Monday (Serptember 21) 4,176 new coronavirus infections, its biggest daily rise, taking the country's total tally to 248,852, Health Ministry data showed. The number of deaths rose by 124 to 9,677, the highest number of fatalities in Southeast Asia.

* The Philippines' president has eased an overseas travel ban on Filipino nurses and other medical workers to allow more to take jobs abroad, his spokesman said on Monday, as his government believes it has its coronavirus outbreak under control. The Philippines' health ministry on Monday confirmed 3,475 new coronavirus infections and 15 more deaths, the lowest daily increase in fatalities in two weeks. In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed cases had increased to 290,190, still the most in Southeast Asia, while confirmed deaths had reached 4,999.

* Mainland China reported 12 new COVID-19 cases on September 20, up from 10 cases a day earlier, the country's national health authority said on Monday. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in mainland China now stands at 85,291, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.

* The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday (September 20) reported 6,748,935 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 42,561 cases from its previous count, and said the number of US deaths had risen by 655 to 198,754.

* India reopened the Taj Mahal after six months on Monday, with the first visitors trickling into the famous monument as authorities reported 86,961 new coronavirus infections across the country, with no signs of a peak yet. Visitors will have their temperatures taken and must adhere to advice to keep a safe distance from each other. India's coronavirus tally of 5.49 million infections is second only to the United States with 6.79 million, a figure the South Asian nation could overtake in the next few weeks at its current rate of increase. The death toll of 87,882 was up 1,130 from the previous day, health ministry figures showed.

* Brazil recorded 16,389 additional confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, and 363 deaths from the disease, the Health Ministry said on Sunday. Nearly 137,000 people have died of the disease in Brazil, which ranks second after the United States in coronavirus deaths.

* Russia on Monday reported 6,196 new coronavirus cases, the most recorded over 24 hours since July 18, pushing its national tally to 1,109,595, the fourth largest in the world. Authorities also reported 71 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 19,489.

* French health authorities reported 10,569 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Sunday, down from the previous day's record increase of 13,498.

* Australia's coronavirus hotspot of Victoria reported on Monday its lowest daily rise in infections in three months, although state Premier Daniel Andrews said there were no plans yet to ease restrictions sooner than expected.

* Schools in Seoul and nearby areas resumed in-person classes for the first time in almost a month after daily cases dropped to the lowest levels since mid-August.

* 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 cases.

* Russia is not ready to extend the New START treaty with the United States - the last major nuclear arms pact between the two countries - under the conditions set out by Washington, TASS news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying on Monday. His comments came after Marshall Billingslea, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control, said in an interview with a Russian newspaper that Moscow must agree to a joint memo with the United States on extending the treaty before the US presidential election in November.
* Japan's new Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has expressed hopes for improved relations in a letter to Republic of Korean President Moon Jae-in, Moon's office said on Monday, amid strained ties over history and trade.

* US President Donald Trump's re-election campaign spent US$61.2 million in August, ending the month with US$121.1 million in cash, according to a disclosure filed on Sunday with the Federal Election Commission.

* Around 1,000 Russian soldiers will take part in joint military drills in Belarus from Sept. 22-25, the Belarusian Defence Ministry said on Monday.

* Turkey's agreements and cooperation with Libya's internationally recognised government will continue despite Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj's desire to quit, Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin was quoted as saying on Monday. Turkish officials may travel to Tripoli "in the coming days" to discuss developments, he added.

* Britain could return to pre-lockdown normal by next summer if a vaccine succeeds and was rolled out in the early part of 2021, health minister Matt Hancock said on Monday, adding that the most vulnerable might be vaccinated at the end of this year.

* Lebanon's prime minister-designate on Monday called for cooperation from all sides in the formation of a new government and for efforts to secure the immediate success of a French initiative to lift the country from crisis.

* Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtech resigned on Monday following criticism of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic after a surge in cases. Before the start of the summer, the government lifted almost all restrictions imposed during the first wave of the pandemic. The number of infections has doubled this month and has grown at the second fastest rate in Europe in recent weeks, behind Spain. In the past 14 days, the Czech Republic has had 193 cases per 100,000 people, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

* Sweden's gross domestic product will shrink around 4.6% this year, the government said on Monday, outlining a budget bill that will pump around SEK105 billion (US$12.0 billion) into the economy to kick-start growth following the pandemic. Measures in the budget, including tax cuts for individuals and companies and more money for the welfare sector, were broadly known.

* The Abu Dhabi Film Commission, the Israel Film Fund and the Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film and Television School have signed a cooperation agreement for training and production, a joint statement said on Monday. The agreement includes plans for an annual regional film festival rotating between Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, and Israel.

* Police in Belarus detained 442 people at anti-government protests on Sunday, including 266 people in the capital Minsk, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.