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Thursday, September 17, 2020, 22:19
Thai PM warns protesters against heightening virus risks
By Agencies
Thursday, September 17, 2020, 22:19 By Agencies

Anti-government protesters march from a police station in Bangkok on Aug 28, 2020. (PHOTO / AFP)

ANKARA / RAMALLAH / DUBAI / BEIRUT / BANGKOK - Thailand’s military-backed prime minister warned protesters on Thursday against heightening COVID-19 risks as they planned large anti-government demonstrations for the weekend.

Demonstrators have held rallies to demand changes to a constitution they say were designed to extend military dominance after an election last year.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former army chief, said in a televised speech that he understood the grievances but urged demonstrators to put “COVID first” for now.

Thailand's Center for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) Thursday unveiled details of a new stimulus package estimated at 51 billion baht (US$1.63 million) to assist low-income earners impacted by the pandemic.

The three-month consumption stimulus package will cover 24 million mainly low-income people via two schemes, said the newly established CESA aimed at rebooting the pandemic-hit Thai economy.

Meanwhile, Thailand's state economic planner announced on Thursday that it is working on a two-year national strategic plan, aimed at dealing with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thailand has not seen a local coronavirus transmission for 14 days since Sept 3, when a prison inmate tested positive after over 100 days of no new local cases.


India discovered nearly 98,000 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, a new daily record that further added to what’s already the world’s second largest tally of confirmed cases. Among the new cases is Nitin Gadkari, India’s transport minister, the second top aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to get infected.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India Thursday morning rose to 5,118,253, India's federal health ministry said.

During the past 24 hours, a record 97,894 new cases were reported from across the country, and 1,132 new deaths were recorded, bringing the death toll to 83,198, according to the ministry.

According to ministry officials, 4,025,079 people have been discharged from hospitals after showing improvement.

"The number of active cases in the country right now is 1,009,976," the information released by the ministry reads.

A vendor wearing a face mask holds an umbrella as she stands before a food stall at a market in Seoul on Sept 11, 2020. (PHOTO / AFP)


COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 3,635 within one day to 232,628, with the death toll adding by 122 to 9,222, the health ministry said on Thursday.

According to the ministry, 2,585 more people were discharged from hospitals, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 166,686.


Bangladesh reported 1,593 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, taking the total to 344,264, with more than half of the patients having recovered.

According to the official data from Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), fatalities stood at 4,859 including 36 fresh deaths during the last 24 hours.


Kuwait on Thursday reported 825 new COVID-19 cases and four more deaths, raising the tally of infections to 97,824 and the death toll to 575, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

Currently, 9,338 patients are receiving treatment, including 94 in ICU, according to the statement.

The ministry also announced the recovery of 724 more patients, raising the total recoveries in the country to 87,911.


Australia has recorded its fewest new coronavirus cases in almost three months.

As of Thursday afternoon there had been 26,813 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia. A total of 35 new cases were reported in last 24 hours.

It is the fewest new cases of the virus confirmed in Australia since June 24. According to the Department of Health of the Australian government, as of June 24, more than 7,500 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Australia.

However, the death toll has increased from 824 to 832 with all eight deaths between Wednesday and Thursday occurring in Victoria.

Victoria confirmed 28 new cases on Thursday. It marks a 75 percent decrease in new cases in two weeks from 112 on Sept. 3.


The number of COVID-19 infections in Myanmar reached 4,043 on Thursday night, according to a release from the Health and Sports Ministry.

The release said 149 new infections were reported while 14 more COVID-19 patients died, bringing the number of deaths to 60 on Thursday night.


Iran reported 2,815 new COVID-19 patients overnight on Thursday, raising the total number of the infections in the country to 413,149, said Iran's health ministry.

During the past 24 hours, 1,628 Iranians were hospitalized for complications from the novel coronavirus, said Sima Sadat Lari, spokeswoman for Iran's Ministry of Health and Medical Education, during her daily briefing.

The pandemic has so far claimed 23,808 lives in Iran, up by 176 in the past 24 hours, she added.

Besides, 353,848 people have recovered and been discharged from hospitals while 3,848 remain in intensive care units.

A vendor wearing a facemask with printed the National flag to attract customers for the upcoming Indian Independence Day sells facemasks on a street, in Hyderabad on Aug 4, 2020. (PHOTO / AFP)

South Korea

South Korea added 153 more coronavirus cases in 24 hours versus 113 a day earlier, according to data from Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. The number of confirmed cases remained below 200 for a 15th day and the total number of confirmed cases rose to 22,657, it said.


Turkey reported 1,771 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, raising the total diagnosed patients to 296,391, the Turkish Health Ministry announced.

Meanwhile, 63 people died in the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 7,249, according to the data shared by the ministry.

A total of 1,342 patients recovered in the last 24 hours, raising the total recoveries to 262,602 in Turkey since the outbreak.

The rate of pneumonia in COVID-19 patients is 7.1 percent and the number of seriously ill patients is 1,351.

Turkish health professionals conducted 112,645 tests in the past 24 hours, bringing the overall number of tests to 8,855,180.

ALSO READ: Iran's daily coronavirus cases surge to three-month high


Palestine recorded on Wednesday 963 new COVID-19 cases, 15 new deaths and 552 more recoveries in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, a senior Palestinian official said.

Mai al-Kaila, the Palestinian health minister, said in a press statement that "since the coronavirus outbreak started in the Palestinian territories in March, the health ministry has recorded 42,379 cases, including 276 deaths and 29,583 recoveries."

The recovery rate from the virus in the Palestinian territories reached 69.8 percent and the death rate remained 0.7 percent, the minister noted, adding that there are 30 cases in critical conditions.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye said that he instructed the security authorities to tighten procedures and toughen penalties for individuals and institutions that violate the precautionary measures.

Ishtaye made the instructions during a meeting that he chaired for the National Emergency Committee and the leaders of the security services, the WAFA news agency reported.

The meeting discussed measures to reduce the area of the virus spread in light of the steady rise in infections all over the Palestinian territories. 

The United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Wednesday announced 842 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 81,782.

And 821 more patients have recovered from the virus, taking the tally of recoveries in the UAE to 71,456, UAE's Ministry of Health and Prevention said.

It also confirmed one more death, pushing the country's death toll to 402.


Lebanon's number of COVID-19 infections increased on Wednesday by 634 to 26,083 while death toll went up by seven to 259, the Health Ministry reported.

The ministry continues conducting PCR tests for people all over the country in an attempt to restrict the further spread of the virus.

Moreover, the spread of the virus in the largest prison in Lebanon prompted some officials and parents of prisoners to urge the government to approve general amnesty.

Families of the prisoners complained against the absence of proper follow-up on COVID-19 patients inside the prison, noting that each room contains tens of prisoners which accelerated the increase in infections.

READ MORE: Pandemic 'hero' Filipino nurses struggle to leave home


The total number of COVID-19 infections in Iraq on Wednesday reached 303,059, as health ministry's officials warned that the upcoming two months will be crucial to the spread of the pandemic.

Abdul Ghani al-Saadi, head of the ministry's al-Risafa Health Department in eastern Baghdad, told the official al-Sabah newspaper that "the epidemiological situation is still unstable in Iraq and the danger lies within the next two months."

Al-Saadi highlighted the importance of "preparing for a new wave of the pandemic due to climate fluctuations that are likely to lead to an increase in infections."

For his part, the ministry's spokesman Sayf al-Badr said in a press release that most the COVID-19 death cases were those who were too late to be hospitalized.


Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 27 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 57,514.

Of the new cases, two are imported cases, two are community cases and the rest are linked with the dormitories of foreign workers.

On Wednesday, 71 more cases of COVID-19 infection have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. In all, 56,955 have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospitals or community care facilities, the ministry said.

There are currently 42 confirmed cases who are still in hospital. Of these, most are stable or improving, and none is in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

Furthermore, 490 are isolated and cared for at community facilities. These are those who have mild symptoms, or are clinically well but still test positive for COVID-19.


The Qatari health ministry on Thursday announced 244 new COVID-19 infections, raising the total number of confirmed cases in the Gulf state to 122,693, the official Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.

Meanwhile, 213 more recovered from the virus, bringing the total recoveries to 119,613, while the fatalities remained 208 for the third day running as no new deaths were reported, according to a ministry statement quoted by QNA.

The ministry reiterated the need to take preventive measures, including staying home and observing social distancing.


The Omani health ministry on Thursday announced 557 new COVID-19 infections, raising the total number of confirmed cases in the Sultanate to 91,753, the official Oman News Agency (ONA) reported.

Meanwhile, 285 people recovered during the past 24 hours, taking the overall number of recoveries to 84,648, while 13 deaths were reported, raising the tally to 818, according to a ministry statement quoted by ONA.

New Zealand

New Zealand suffered its worst economic slump since the Great Depression in the second quarter as a strict nationwide lockdown to combat the coronavirus brought the country to a standstill.

Gross domestic product plunged 12.2 percent from the first quarter, Statistics New Zealand said Thursday in Wellington. That’s the biggest three-month contraction since quarterly records began in 1977. Economists forecast a 12.5 percent decline. From a year earlier, the economy shrank 12.4 percent, the most recorded in comparable official data dating back to 1955.

New Zealand is going through a sharper but shorter economic shock than it experienced during the depression, when GDP fell 5.3 percent in 1931 and a further 7.1 percent in 1932, according to academic research. Nor is the Covid slump as bad as initially feared. The South Pacific nation succeeded in eliminatingcommunity spread of the virus, allowing it to emerge early from lockdown, and indicators suggest growth surged in the third quarter as consumers went on a spending spree.


Israel's Ministry of Health reported 6,063 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the total to 170,465.

It is the highest daily rise since the outbreak of the pandemic in Israel in late February, as the previous record was 4,764 registered on Sept. 14.

The number of death cases reached 1,165, with 18 new deaths, while the number of patients in serious condition rose from 534 to 549, out of 1,163 patients currently hospitalized.

The ministry also reported a total of 123,219 recoveries, with 2,492 new one, while active cases increased to 46,081.

Earlier on Wednesday, the ministry said that Israel has launched an operation to transfer COVID-19 patients between hospitals due to overloads.

According to the ministry, it is no longer possible to admit new COVID-19 patients in hospitals in northern Israel, while hospitals in Jerusalem area also deal with high loads.

Accordingly, the ministry decided to transfer dozens of patients to hospitals in central and southern Israel.

New Zealand 

New Zealand confirmed seven new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, all detected in recent returnees in a managed isolation facility.

With the exception of one arrival from Uzbekistan, all new cases were detected as a result of day 3 testing and are now in quarantine, said the Ministry of Health.

There are no new community cases.

There are four people hospitalized with COVID-19, with no cases in ICU, said a ministry statement.

With Thursday's new cases and nine additional recovered cases, the total number of active cases in New Zealand is 77. Of those, 33 are imported cases in managed isolation facilities, and 44 are community cases, it said.

The Philippines

The number of confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the Philippines surged to 276,289 after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 3,375 new daily cases on Thursday.

The DOH said that the number of recoveries also rose to 208,096 after it reported 317 more patients have survived the disease.

The DOH added that 53 more patients have succumbed to the viral disease, bringing the death toll to 4,785.

The Philippines' capital Metro Manila reported on Thursday 963 new confirmed cases, which topped the country's regions with the highest number of daily confirmed cases.

The DOH said the country's 126 COVID-19 laboratories have tested over 3 million people so far.

The Philippines is considering allowing more nurses and other medical professionals to leave for jobs abroad after banning them from travel so they can fight coronavirus at home, President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman said on Thursday.


Malaysia reported 21 new COVID-19 infections, the health ministry said on Thursday, bringing the national total to 10,052.

Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a press statement that five of the new cases are imported and 16 are local transmissions.

Health authorities detected one new case cluster in the northern Borneo state of Sabah, traced to a woman who had been screened for COVID-19 prior to being admitted to a hospital, with two testing positive so far.

Another 15 patients have been released after recovery, bringing the total cured and discharged to 9,250, or 92 percent of all cases.

Of the remaining 674 active cases, 13 are being held in intensive care units and two of those are in need of assisted breathing.

No new deaths have been reported, leaving the total deaths at 128. 

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