World News in Brief: October 17

Saturday, 2020-10-17 15:36:32
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More than 39.29 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,102,707 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
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The World Health Organization said it would assess monoclonal antibodies and other antiviral drugs in its trial of potential COVID-19 treatments, after the trial found Gilead Science's remdesivir had no impact on survival rates.

* Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's Labour Party held a commanding lead in New Zealand's general election on Saturday (October 17), very early tallies showed. Labour had 50% of the votes, to 26% for the opposition National Party led by conservative leader Judith Collins, with 1.5% of ballots tallied, according to the Electoral Commission. Of Labour's current coalition partners, the nationalist New Zealand First Party had 2.2% and the Green Party 8.8%.

* US President Donald Trump will take his re-election push to Michigan and Wisconsin on Saturday before launching a tour of western states to shore up political support as he trails Democratic rival Joe Biden in national polls.

* Azerbaijan said on Saturday 12 civilians were killed and more than 40 were wounded in the city of Ganja due to shelling by Armenia. The Azeri Prosecutor General's office said that two shells hit apartment buildings in the country's second largest city. There has been no official reaction from Armenia as yet.

* Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that Canada's suspension of the export of some drone technology was not in line with the spirit of alliance, Erdogan's office said late on Friday. Canada suspended the export of some drone technology to Turkey earlier this month as it probes allegations the equipment was used by Azeri forces involved in fighting with Armenia.

* Indonesia reported 4,301 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, taking its total number of cases to 357,762, data from the country's COVID-19 task force showed. There were 84 new deaths for a total of 12,431. Both case numbers and deaths are the most for a Southeast Asian country.

* Thailand has recorded its first two locally transmitted cases of the coronavirus in more than one month, the COVID-19 administration center said on Saturday. It said in its daily report that the cases were among two Myanmar nationals living near the border with Myanmar, where infections have been surging recently.

* China reported 13 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for Oct. 16, compared with 24 cases a day earlier, the health commission said on Saturday. All of the new infections were imported, according to a statement by the National Health Commission. As of Friday, mainland China had 85,659 confirmed coronavirus cases, the health authority said. The COVID-19 death toll stands at 4,634.

* President Donald Trump called for a big economic stimulus as US infections surpassed eight million, with record spikes in several states.

* India’s infections rose by another 62,212 cases over the previous day and a local media report said on Saturday the government had begun identifying about 300 million people who would be given a vaccine first when it is ready.

* Brazil has registered 754 additional coronavirus deaths over the last 24 hours and 30,914 new confirmed cases, the nation's health ministry said on Friday. The South American country has now registered 153,214 total coronavirus deaths and 5.2 million total confirmed cases.

* Russia on Saturday recorded 14,922 new coronavirus cases, pushing the national tally to 1,384,235. Officials also said 279 people had died in the previous 24 hours, taking the official death toll to 24,002.

* Mexico's health ministry on Friday reported 6,751 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 419 additional fatalities, bringing the country's total to 841,661 cases and 85,704 deaths.

* Australia's coronavirus hotspot of Victoria recorded a single case on Saturday - the lowest daily number since early June - and no deaths, with the state's top health official calling the figures "one-der-ful".

* The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Dr Reddy's Laboratories Ltd have received renewed approval to conduct late-stage clinical trials in India of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine, the sovereign wealth fund said on Saturday.

* Pfizer Inc said it could file in late November for US authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing, suggesting that a vaccine could potentially be available in the country by the end of the year.

* Malaysia Airlines' parent company is still holding negotiations with lessors and creditors over a restructuring plan to keep the carrier alive, but the talks are taking longer than planned, according to a staff memo seen by Reuters. The airline is seeking to restructure after the pandemic forced it to slash operations.

* France will react with the greatest firmness after a school teacher was beheaded on the street of a Paris suburb on Friday after he had shown his pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Saturday.

* Poland reported a record 9,622 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, according to health ministry data published on Twitter, as the country reimposed some restrictions to fight the pandemic. Poland has now recorded 167,230 confirmed coronavirus cases and 3,524 deaths.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 7,830 to 348,557, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Saturday. The reported death toll rose by 33 to 9,767, the tally showed.

* Mexico's health ministry on Friday reported 6,751 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 419 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 841,661 cases and 85,704 deaths. The government says the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

*Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will lead a US delegation traveling to Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates on Oct. 17-20, the Treasury Department said in a statement on Friday. The visit comes one month after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed agreements to establish formal ties with Israel, becoming the first Arab states to do so in a quarter-century, in deals that were denounced by Palestinian leaders.

* Ukraine registered a record 6,410 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, the national security council said on Saturday, up from a previous record of 5,992 reported on Friday. The council said 109 patients had died in the past 24 hours, the highest daily toll since the start of the pandemic.

* The Czech Republic, facing Europe's biggest surge in new coronavirus infections per capita, reported 11,105 COVID-19 cases on Friday, its largest single-day tally so far of the pandemic, Health Ministry data showed on Saturday. The total number of cases the country has detected since March has risen to 160,112, double the number seen on Oct. 2 and more than six times the amount overall before September.

Reuters