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Friday, May 29, 2020, 21:14
Houthis announce spread of COVID-19 in northern Yemen
By Agencies
Friday, May 29, 2020, 21:14 By Agencies

Medical staffs wearing protective suits gather samples of people during the COVID-19 testing at a hospital in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, May 29, 2020. (AHN YOUNG-JOON / AP)

DUBAI / CAIRO / ANKARA / SEOUL / NEW DELHI / SANAA Health authorities in the Houthi rebel-held Yemeni capital Sanaa on Friday announced the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in several provinces in northern Yemen.

"We confirm the disease is rife ... there are so many COVID-19 cases in several provinces including the capital Sanaa," the health authorities said in a statement.

The authorities complained about inadequate testing capacity, ventilators and protective gears, blaming the UN aid agencies for not providing what they said "the required assistance to combat the coronavirus in Yemen."

They added they would not order full lockdown in the cities under their control due to the stop of salary payment to thousands of state employees and millions of residents reliant on daily wage since the war erupted five years ago.

Meanwhile, the internationally-recognized government calls on donors and relevant international humanitarian organizations to provide support to help contain the pandemic in the country.

Yemen has been mired in civil war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi group seized much of the country's north and forced the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of Sanaa.

South Korean health authorities said on Friday they would request imports of Gilead Sciences Inc's anti-viral drug remdesivir to treat COVID-19, as new outbreaks of the disease flare. 

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety must approve the import of the drug but a government panel concluded remdesivir showed positive results, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) Director Jeong Eun-kyeong said.

Preliminary results from a trial led by the U.S. Institutes of Health showed remdesivir cut hospital stays by 31% compared with a placebo treatment, although it did not significantly improve survival.

South Korea reported 58 more coronavirus cases in 24 hours, as health officials seek to control a new outbreak at a distribution center for Softbank-backed Coupang Corp., an e-commerce company.

In the wake of the new cluster, which added the total number of COVID-19 cases to 11,402, the government said it was temporarily closing public museums, parks and galleries in the Seoul metropolitan area and may consider stronger social distancing measures if the situation worsens.

Australia

Australia remains "on track" in the fight against COVID-19, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Friday. Following a meeting of the National Cabinet, Morrison told reporters that Australia is in a better position than he hoped for when the coronavirus pandemic hit the country in January.

However, he warned that there was still a high risk of further outbreaks that could undo all of Australia's progress on preventing the spread of the virus as the number of cases on board the live animal export ship, Al Kuwait, jumped to 20 on Friday, with eight new positive tests.

As of Friday there have been over 7,100 confirmed cases in Australia with 103 deaths and less than 500 active cases.

Australians in the State of Victoria could face fines if they return to their workplaces from June 1 under the new COVID-19 rules announced on Friday.

Bangladesh

Bangladesh confirmed 2,523 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the highest daily rise since the start of the pandemic in the country on March 8, bringing the total to 42,844.

Professor Nasima Sultana, a senior health ministry official, told an online media briefing in Dhaka that "the total number of positive cases is now 42,844 and the death toll stands currently at 582."

She said that 23 more people including 19 men and four women died in the last 24 hours.

Passengers go through a contactless boarding pass scanner at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) after domestic flights resumed, in Mumbai on May 28, 2020. (INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP)

India

India is the latest country whose coronavirus death toll has topped the number of lives lost in China, as hot spots shift to developing countries ill-equipped to contain its spread.

The South Asian nation’s death toll hit 4,706 on Friday, climbing past the 4,638 fatalities from COVID-19 in China. The nation of 1.3 billion people now has the highest number of fatalities in Asia, excluding Iran, despite the largest lockdown in the world.

The country’s death toll quadrupled in less than a month, accelerating by more than 1,000 over the past week, while infections have been soaring at a similar pace. Government experts have begun to acknowledge the outbreak won’t peak until June or July.

The total number of cases in India is already about twice the level in China, and also surpasses those in Iran. Infections rose to 165,799 on Friday, after the biggest daily spike of 7,466 new infections were reported by the country's health ministry.  

Indonesia

The COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 678 within one day to 25,216, with the death toll adding by 24 to 1,520, Achmad Yurianto, a Health Ministry official, said at a press conference on Friday.

According to him, 252 more people had been discharged from hospitals, as the total number of recovered patients stood at 6,492.

The pandemic has spread to all the 34 provinces in the archipelagic country. Authorities conducted coronavirus tests in the affected areas and ordered the public to always wear masks to curb the spread.

Iraq

Iraq registered the highest single-day rise in COVID-19 cases with 322 infections confirmed, raising the total cases to 5,457. The death toll increased to 179, after four more deaths were reported.  

Israel

Israel's Ministry of Health reported 79 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, the highest daily rise since May 2.   

The total number of coronavirus cases in Israel reached 16,872, while the number of recoveries increased by 109 to 14,679.

The death toll from the virus rose to 284, with three new deaths reported, while the number of patients in serious condition dropped from 41 to 37, out of 106 patients currently hospitalized.

The ministry said that it considered new steps to deal with the unusual increase in new infections with the deadly respiratory disease.

Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr holiday by rafting down the Hasbani river, a major tributary of the Jordan River, near the northern Israeli Kibbutz of Kfar Blum on May 27, 2020, as coronavirus restrictions are eased amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (JALAA MAREY / AFP)

Japan

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is planning to ease business restrictions to “step 2” of its reopening plan from Monday, allowing shopping malls, gyms and movie theaters to reopen, Nikkei reported, without attribution. The government will continue to ask karaoke outlets and internet cafes to stay closed, the report said.

Japan's unemployment rate increased 2.6 percent in April, marking a more-than-two-year high, while the availability of jobs sank to a four-year low, as the coronavirus pandemic caused numerous businesses to shutter their operations, the government said in a report on Friday.

 According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the 2.6-percent increase in the recording period, the worst level since December 2017, came on the heel of a 2.5-percent increase logged a month earlier.

Jordan

Jordan said Thursday that mosques and churches in the kingdom would reopen next Friday and Sunday, respectively, as part of its efforts to resume normal life disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jordan's Minister of State for Media Affairs Amjad Adaileh said the government is also considering extension of the time for the public to go shopping during the day and reopening more sectors soon, while urging the public to adhere to public health measures and instructions.

Jordan's Health Minister Saad Jaber said eight new COVID-19 cases were reported in Jordan on Thursday, increasing the overall number of the cases to 728.

Kuwait

Kuwait will ease its full-time curfew, to be a 12-hour one during night, the interior minister said in a press conference after the cabinet meeting on Thursday. The minister added that the curfew will be from 6 PM to 6 AM, starting Sunday. 

The health minister said easing the curfew will be among the first phase in a 5-phases plan, each to last at least 3 weeks, to go back to normal life.

Kuwait reported 845 new COVID-19 cases and 10 more deaths, raising the tally of infections to 24,112 and the death toll to 185.

Kyrgyzstan 

Kyrgyzstan on Friday registered 68 new COVID-19 cases, raising its total number to 1,662.

Nurbolot Usenbaev, the country's Deputy Health Minister, said at his daily online news briefing that most new cases are imported.

Lebanon

The Lebanese parliament passed on Thursday a bill that allocates 1.2 trillion Lebanese pounds (US$800 million) for social support in the country amid deteriorating living conditions caused by over two months of COVID-19 lockdown, the National News Agency reported. 

READ MORE: Japan doubles down on stimulus with extra US$1.1 trillion in aid

Malaysia

Malaysia reported 103 cases of new coronavirus infections on Friday, mostly involving foreigners, the health ministry said, raising the country's cumulative total to 7,732 cases. The health ministry reported no new deaths, leaving the total number of fatalities at 115.

Mongolia

Mongolia reported 18 new cases of COVID-19 over the last 24 hours, bringing the national count to 179, the country's National Center for Communicable Disease (NCCD) said Friday.

Myanmar 

Myanmar government on Thursday announced the extension of preventive measures until June 15.

On the same day, the Health and Sports Ministry lifted the restriction of gathering of five or more persons under certain conditions, state media quoted the ministry's order as saying.

The ministry also announced removing the restriction on four out of 10 townships in Yangon which have been put under the government's stay-at-home orders.

According to the ministry's figures, Myanmar has reported 206 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with six deaths as of late Thursday. 

Health workers recieve visitors to a temporary COVID-19 novel coronavirus testing centre in Bucheon, south of Seoul, on May 27, 2020. (ED JONES/ AFP)

Oman

Omani announced on Thursday 636 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 9,009.

All the new cases, including 345 Omanis, are related to community contact, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

One new death was reported, bringing the death toll to 40. The total number of recovered cases stood at 2,177.

Pakistan

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan has risen to 64,028 with 1,317 deaths, according to the data updated by the country's health ministry Friday morning.

A total of 2,636 new cases and 57 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, the statistics revealed.

Palestine

Palestine on Thursday declared that 12 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the West Bank, bringing the total number of infections to 625.

Palestinian Health Ministry said in a statement that 11 of the new cases were found in the northern West Bank district of Qalqilya after a poultry vendor was diagnosed with the deadly virus, and the rest one in the southern West Bank district of Hebron.

Qatar

Qatar's Health Ministry announced 1,967 new cases of coronavirus infection, as the tally of the confirmed cases in the Gulf state soared to 50,914. The death toll rose to 33 after three more deaths were added.

ALSO READ: Small clusters emerge in Japan days after lifting emergency

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia registered on Thursday 1,644 new COVID-19 cases, increasing the total infections to 80,185.

The kingdom registered in the last 24 hours 3,531 recoveries, raising the total recovered cases to 54,553.

Sixteen deaths were reported on Thursday, increasing the fatalities to 441.

Singapore

Singapore's health ministry said on Friday it had confirmed 611 new coronavirus cases, taking the city state's tally for infections to 33,860.

Thailand

Pattaya beaches in Thailand will reopen to all visitors and local villagers under social distancing rules on June 1.

Thailand confirmed 11 new coronavirus cases on Friday and no new deaths, taking the number of infections to 3,076. 

The new cases were all patients who had arrived from Kuwait and were in quarantine, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the government's Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration. 

The coronavirus has killed 57 people in Thailand since it was first detected in January.

Cinema-goers watch a movie from their cars at a drive-in theater on the car park of a supermarket in Istanbul, on May 28, 2020, amid the ongoing pandemic of the COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. (YASIN AKGUL / AFP)

Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday announced that a series of bans, which were previously imposed to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, would be lifted on June 1.

Turkey will lift restrictions on domestic travel and allow restaurants, cafes, parks, beaches, and sports facilities to reopen as of June 1, Erdogan said at a televised speech in Istanbul after attending a cabinet meeting via teleconference.

Daycare centers and kindergartens, libraries, as well as museums, will also be reopened from June 1, the Turkish leader said, adding that public personnel would also return to their jobs on the same date.

Turkey's total novel coronavirus cases climbed to 160,979, after 1,182 new cases were registered on Thursday, as the death toll climbed to 4,461 after 30 more fatalities were recorded in the past 24 hours, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca. 

The daily rise in COVID-19 cases in Turkey is now within the predictable margins, Koca added.

UAE

Dubai announced it will reopen 4 beaches and major parks as well the Dubai Frame architectural landmark for the general public starting on Friday, the Dubai media office announced in a statement.

The United Arab Emirates announced 563 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total confirmed cases to 32,532. The death toll rose to 258, after three more deaths were reported.

Uzbekistan 

Uzbekistan will resume domestic tourism in the country's regions less affected by the COVID-19 pandemic from June 1, the Uzbek justice ministry said Friday, citing a presidential decree.

The country will also gradually reopen its borders for tourists from coronavirus-free countries.

Uzbekistan has registered 3,444 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 14 deaths and 2,694 recoveries so far. 

Vietnam

Vietnam is considering accepting foreign tourists only from countries that have not seen new infections of the novel coronavirus, the government said in a website post. The government plans to initially allow these foreign visitors to only visit some of its islands, according to the post. No time frame was provided for the plan.

Vietnam reported no new cases of COVID-19 infection for the third consecutive day on Friday, with its total confirmed cases remaining at 327 and zero deaths so far, according to its Ministry of Health.

Yemen

Yemen's health ministry on Thursday confirmed 22 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total tally of infections to 278 in the country's provinces controlled by the government.

Meanwhile, the death toll from the virus climbed to 57 after four new deaths were recorded in the areas controlled by the Yemeni government.

Iran


The Iranian health ministry on Friday reported 2,819 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number in the country to 146,668, state TV reported.

Kianush Jahanpur, head of Public Relations and Information Center of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, said 50 patients died over the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 7,677.

Jahanpur updated the number of recoveries to 114,931, adding that 2,547 others are still under intense care in hospitals.

The number of lab tests administered across the country stands at 896,571 as of Friday.

Brunei 

Brunei reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Friday with the national tally of cases standing at 141, entering the fourth week without new cases since May 7.

According to Brunei's Ministry of Health, no more recoveries were recorded on Friday, maintaining the total number of recovered cases at 138.


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