06:54 GMT04 July 2020
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    Nations Restart Economies as Search for COVID-19 Vaccine Continues (109)
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    The number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) worldwide has risen by nearly 130,000 over the past 24 hours to top 6.4 million, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

    On Wednesday, the WHO reported 93,000 new cases and 3,621 related deaths.

    The fresh daily situation report estimates the number of infections confirmed in the past 24 hours at 129,281. Further 4,842 virus-related deaths were reported over the same period, taking the toll to 382,867.

    Americas continue to lead in the number of overall coronavirus cases, with 3 million infections. The region accounts for 168,553 related deaths.

    Europe has the world's highest death toll of 182,308, with 2.2 million cases confirmed. Africa brings up the rear with 115,639 cases and 2,858 virus-related deaths.

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    • 02:53

      Brazil COVID-19 Death Toll Tops Italy's Numbers

      The Brazilian Health Ministry on Thursday reported 1,437 deaths from the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in the last 24 hours and 30,925 new coronavirus infections.

      The country's total death toll from the virus now stands at 34,021, over 500 fatalities higher than that of Italy.

    • 02:45

      Death Toll From COVID-19 in Mexico Rises by 816 to 12,545 People, Health Official Says

      MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) – The number of people, who have died of COVID-19 in Mexico, has risen by 816 to 12,545 within the past 24 hours, Jose Luis Alomia, the director of epidemiology at the Health Ministry, said.

      "During the outbreak, 12,545 people have died of complications of COVID-19," Alomia said at a press conference on late Thursday.

      He also said that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases had increased by 4,442 to 105,680 within the same period of time.

      A day earlier, the Latin American nation has recorded 3,912 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with 1,092 fatalities.

      The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on 11 March. To date, more than 6.6 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 389,000 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.

    • 00:27

      Argentina Prolongs COVID-19 Quarantine in Most Affected Areas Until June 28, President Says

      BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) – Argentina decided to prolong the quarantine linked to the COVID-19 pandemic until 28 June in the areas most affected by the coronavirus, President Alberto Fernandez said.

      The Latin American country introduced restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic on 20 March and several times prolonged them.

      "We are going to maintain the mandatory preventive social isolation in the areas where the virus is circulating," the president said on late Thursday.

      The list of the territories with maintained restrictions includes the capital of Buenos Aires.

      The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on 11 March. To date, more than 6.5 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 388,000 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.

      Argentina has confirmed 20,197 COVID-19 cases so far, with 608 fatalities.

    • 21:46

      Moscow's Death Toll From COVID-19 Rises by 57 to 2,806 Over Past Day

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Moscow has registered 57 deaths of patients infected with COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, bringing the Russian capital's death toll to 2,806, the city's coronavirus response center said in a statement on Thursday.

      "Another 57 patients, who were diagnosed with pneumonia and tested positive for the coronavirus infection, died in Moscow," the center said.

      In the previous day, 64 people infected with the coronavirus died in Moscow.

      The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on 11 March. To date, more than 6.5 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 388,000 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.

      Russia has the second biggest number of coronavirus cases – 441,108 ones – with 204,623 recoveries and 5,384 fatalities. The worst-hit nation is the United States with more than 1.8 million confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease. Brazil comes second with 584,016 infected people.

    • 21:37

      US to Provide Additional $194Mln for International COVID-19 Response, Pompeo Says

      *WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States is providing an additional $194 million to help the international community fight the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), bringing the overall total to $11 billion, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a press release.

      "In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have truly mobilized as a nation to combat the virus, both at home and abroad, committing more than $11 billion for the international COVID-19 response," Pompeo said in the release on Thursday. "Today, the United States is announcing more than $194 million in new assistance."

    • 19:29

      COVID-19 Global Tally Tops 6.4Mln, Death Toll Surpasses 380,000 - WHO

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide has risen by nearly 130,000 in the past 24 hours to 6.4 million, and the death toll has topped 380,000, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

      On Wednesday, the WHO reported 93,000 new cases and 3,621 related deaths.

      The fresh daily situation report estimates the number of infections confirmed in the past 24 hours at 129,281. Further 4,842 virus-related deaths were reported over the same period, taking the toll to 382,867.

      Americas continue to lead in the number of overall coronavirus cases, with 3 million infections. The region accounts for 168,553 related deaths.

      Europe has the world's highest death toll of 182,308, with 2.2 million cases confirmed.

      Africa brings up the rear with 115,639 cases and 2,858 virus-related deaths.

    • 17:17

      UK Business Minister Says He Has Tested Negative For COVID-19

    • 16:42

      UK Business Minister 'Fine' After Being Taken Ill in Parliament

      British business minister Alok Sharma is "doing fine" after being taken ill in parliament earlier this week and subsequently tested for the COVID-19 infection, transport minister Grant Shapps said, as quoted by Reuters.

      "I've spoken to Alok in the last hour - he's doing fine, actually he's working today from home as usual. He's awaiting his test results," Shapps told a news conference.

    • 16:08

      UK Says Its COVID-19 Death Toll Rises to 39,904 From 39,728 the Day Before

      The death toll from COVID-19 in the United Kingdom has risen to 39,904 from 39,728 the day before, the government said.

      Meanwhile, UK Transport Minister said that people who do not wear face coverings on public transport will be refused travel and could be fined by police.

    • 16:04

      Czech Republic May Open Borders for Citizens of Austria, Germany, Hungary on Friday - Babis

      MOSCOW, June 4 (Sputnik) - The Czech government may decide, at an extraordinary meeting on Friday, to relax border restrictions and allow citizens of Austria, Germany and Hungary to enter the country, Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Thursday.

      The Czech Republic restricted entry for foreigners in mid-March amid the coronavirus pandemic.

      "An extraordinary meeting of the government will start on Friday at 07:00 [05:00 GMT], at the session we want to decide on the removal of all restrictions on movement across the borders with Germany and Austria, and the same applies to Hungary," Babis told reporters.

      The border with Slovakia has been open since Wednesday. Prague plans to allow travel from most European Union member states starting June 15.

      Other European countries are also planning to relax border controls for EU members on June 15, including Germany. Moreover, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas made his first official visit abroad on Thursday as he traveled to the Netherlands to meet his Dutch counterpart, Stef Blok. Maas and Blok talked about reopening borders and ensuring safety for tourists amid the pandemic.

    • 16:02

      Spain May Keep Land Borders Shut Even After State of Alert Ends on 21 June - Ministry

      MADRID, June 4 (Sputnik) - Spain’s land borders may stay closed even after the national state of alert over COVID-19 ends on June 21, the tourism ministry said on Thursday, reversing an earlier statement by its minister.

      Earlier in the day, minister Reyes Maroto said that the country would reopen land borders with Portugal and France from June 22 under bilateral agreements. Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said that he was "surprised" by Maroto’s declaration.

      Spain's tourism ministry then clarified that free movement within the country will resume once the state of alert is lifted, but borders with neighboring countries may stay shut.

      "In accordance with the principle of incrementalism and taking into account the stated obligations to resume international tourism, safe international movement will begin on July 1," the ministry stated.

      It added that Spain is in contact with the European Commission and EU countries to coordinate the gradual removal of border restrictions.

      Entry from abroad is currently allowed only to Spanish nationals and permanent residents, border workers, medical personnel, diplomats, those providing care to elderly persons, air and sea crews, and those traveling for business or emergency reasons. All of them are required to spend two weeks in quarantine upon arrival.

      Earlier, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said that the country would reopen to foreign tourists in July.

    • 15:56

      Donors Secure $8.8bln in Contributions to Gavi for Next 5 Years - UK's Johnson

      MOSCOW, June 4 (Sputnik) - Donors have secured $8.8 billion in contribution to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance through 2025, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Thursday.

      The initial goal was $7.4 billion.

      "As we bring this summit to a conclusion, let me thank you for your fantastic generosity and your contributions. Today together we have replenished this alliance and here comes the number that you've been waiting for ... We have secured a fantastic $8.8 billion for Gavi's work over the next five years," Johnson told a virtual summit.

      Bill and Melinda Gates foundation alone pledged $1.6 billion, as Bill Gates said earlier during the summit.

    • 15:43

      Gavi Says Launching New Financing Instrument for Access to COVID-19 Vaccines

      MOSCOW, June 4 (Sputnik) - Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, launched a new financing option to help vaccine manufacturers produce enough of COVID-19 vaccines once they have been developed and to ensure that developing countries have access to them, Gavi said Thursday in a press release.

      "Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance today launched the Gavi Advance Market Commitment for COVID-19 Vaccines (Gavi Covax AMC), a new financing instrument aimed at incentivising vaccine manufacturers to produce sufficient quantities of eventual COVID-19 vaccines, and to ensure access for developing countries," the press release read.

      Gavi has held a virtual pledging summit earlier in the day, with various countries committing funds to the vaccine alliance.

      "I am pleased to announce today the Gavi Covax AMC with the current PCV AMC donors - Italy, Canada, UK, Norway, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, who will be among the first sponsors of the New Covers AMC. We are calling for an initial seed money of $2 billion to start with today and will come back with detailed cost if vaccine development and production late-time June," Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Board Chair of the Gavi Vaccines Alliance, told a virtual vaccine summit.

      The Gavi Covax AMC 's initial goal of $2 billion would help immunise health care workers and people who are particularly vulnerable to the disease.

    • 15:23

      COVID-19 and Flu Activity May Place Huge Burden on US Healthcare System – Official

      Substantial activity from the new coronavirus combined with a major flu season in the autumn could place a tremendous burden on the US healthcare system, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said on Thursday, as quoted by Reuters.

      He added that his agency has been seeking emergency use authorization for a test to detect and differentiate flu from COVID-19. The agency was working with manufacturers to make the influenza vaccine available to the maximum number of people, Redfield added.

    • 15:06

      Virgin Atlantic Announces Flights Resumption Next Month

      Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330

      UK's Virgin Atlantic Airline to Resume Flights to US, China on 20 July

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - UK carrier Virgin Atlantic announced on Thursday that it would resume flights from London to the United States and China, which were previously suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak, starting 20 July.
      Read more
    • 14:32

      COVID-19 Case Count in Malaysia Rises by 277 in Past Day, Total Exceeds 8,000- Ministry

      MOSCOW, June 4 (Sputnik) - The number of COVID-19 cases in Malaysia has risen by 277 over the past 24 hours to a total of 8,247, the country's Health Ministry reported on Thursday.

      According to the Health Ministry, no deaths were recorded over the past day and the overall death toll stands at 115. A total of 6,559 people have fully recovered from the disease.

      In early May, various businesses began to return to work in Malaysia amid a downward trend in new infections. Schools have remained closed and religious gatherings are still banned. On May 10, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the conditional movement control order, limiting citizens’ movement between regions, would be effective until June 9.

    • 14:31

      French Government to Present Recovery Plan For Economy in Few Weeks – Economy Minister

      MOSCOW, June 4 (Sputnik) – The French authorities will present a stimulus plan to accelerate the economy’s recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday.

      "[The recovery plan] should be announced in a few weeks and be effective at the beginning of September," Le Maire said during the joint press conference with German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier.

      Earlier this week, Le Maire had announced that the French economy was expected to contract by 11 percent in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which has put the country in a two-month lockdown since mid-March.

      Meanwhile, the French government has already announced separate support plans for the car and tourism industries, while rescue measures for the aviation sector, construction industry and start-ups are due to be unveiled in the coming weeks.

      France began gradually lifting its lockdown restrictions on May 11. The second stage began on June 2 by the further reopening of non-essential stores, various facilities and public places in less infected, or green, regions of the country. Red regions, where the virus is still active, remain under strict monitoring.

      As of Thursday, France reported nearly 189,000 COVID-19 infections, the world’s ninth-highest total, and over 29,000 related fatalities.

    • 14:09

      Switzerland Confirms 20 New COVID-19 Cases as Country Plans to Further Ease Lockdown

      GENEVA, June 4 (Sputnik) - Switzerland’s coronavirus case count has risen by 20 to 30,913 over the past 24 hours, days before the country plans to further relax its restrictions, the Federal Office for Public Health said on Thursday.

      At the same time, no COVID-19 carrier died over the given period and the death toll remained at 1,660.

      Switzerland has been gradually easing its coronavirus-related lockdown since late April — beauty salons, barbershops, non-essential shops, bars and restaurants have been allowed to resume operations.

      Starting Saturday, Switzerland plans to reopen nightclubs, public swimming pools and allow public gatherings of up to 300 people as part of the next step of lifting restrictions. Moreover, the football season in Switzerland will be resumed starting next week.

    • 14:07

      Russia Pledges $522,000 to Red Cross for COVID-19 Response - Foreign Ministry

      MOSCOW, June 4 (Sputnik) - Russia will make a voluntary contribution worth 500,000 Swiss francs ($522,000) to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to fund the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, the Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman said Thursday.

      "As part of the promotion of constructive interaction with the International Committee of the Red Cross, our country, in accordance with the directive of the government of the Russian Federation from May 28 ... will make a voluntary contribution of half a million Swiss francs to its budget to finance this year's expenditures related to the coronavirus response," Maria Zakharova said at a briefing.

      The diplomat added that Moscow highly appreciated the IRCC’s contribution to tackling the pandemic, especially in countries where health systems are weak and not ready for an influx of patients.

    • 14:00

      Germany Initiates COVID-19 Vaccine Development Alliance of 4 EU Countries

      Germany is set to launch an alliance of four European Union member states to secure access to COVID-19 vaccines for the EU after they will become available amid worries that China and the United States might secure large amounts of such vaccines first, the German Handelsblatt newspaper reported on Thursday.

      According to the newspaper, Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands decided to join forces to ensure the availability of coronavirus vaccines for Europeans. Handelsblatt reported that German Health Minister Jens Spahn, together with his counterparts in three other countries, wrote to the European Commission and said that the development of the vaccine was one of the most pressing issues for the bloc.

      Berlin is worried that Washington and Beijing may try to control the purchases of potential coronavirus vaccines, according to Handelsblatt.

      Germany is in talks with international pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which is working on the experimental vaccine. However, the US has already secured nearly a third of the first one billion doses planned by AstraZeneca, after pledging $1.2 billion for the company’s research.

      Four EU members might be negotiating with other countries regarding the issue, including Japan, Singapore and the United Kingdom, the newspaper reported.

    • 13:52

      Sweden Starts Free COVID-19 Testing of All People Having Typical Symptoms

      Swedish Minister for Financial Markets Per Bolund said on Thursday that the authorities have decided to start testing for COVID-19 all citizens showing symptoms typical for the disease.

      "From now on, all people with symptoms will be able to take the COVID-19 test for free. In case of a positive result, work will begin to track contacts of an infected person. All expenses will be covered by the state regardless of whether a person is included in the priority group or not," Bolund said at a press conference.

      The minister added that the Swedish government had allocated an extra 1 billion kronor ($107.7 million) to implement the campaign.

      Previously, free tests for COVID-19 were available only for health workers and patients in serious condition. Later, police and firefighters were also added to the priority list.

      Later in the day, the Swedish government announced that seasonal workers employed in agriculture, forestry and gardening will be allowed to enter the country starting June 8.

    • 13:42

      EU Commission Pledging 300 Mln Euros to Gavi for 2021-2025 - Von Der Leyen

      The European Commission has pledged 300 million euros ($337 million) to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, President of the commission Ursula von der Leyen said Thursday.

      "Today, the European Commission is pledging 300 million euros for Gavi for the 2021-2025 period in the framework of the new European budget," von der Leyen said at a Gavi summit.

      Australia pledged 300 million Australian dollars ($207 million).

    • 13:37

      India Commits $15 Million to Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation

    • 13:15

      International Atomic Energy Agency Sends COVID-19 Testing Equipment to 80 Countries

      The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has delivered over 250 consignments with COVID-19 testing equipment to 80 countries and expects to send out more in the coming days and weeks, the organization said in a press release on Thursday.

      "One hundred and twenty countries turned to us for help. We mounted the biggest operation of assistance in the history of the IAEA. This is emergency assistance and the effort is going to continue. I am encouraging countries and entities in a position to do so to contribute in this endeavour," the press release quoted IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi as saying.

      Of those who requested assistance, 80 countries have already received COVID-19 testing supplies, such as laboratory consumables, key reagents and biosafety equipment, the press service specified.

      The agency has also been offering online guidance for health workers.

    • 13:13

      US Trade Deficit up $7.1 Billion in April Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

      The US trade deficit grew by $7.1 billion in April, or 17 percent from the previous month, as the coronavirus pandemic severely disrupted exports from the United States, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) said on Thursday.

      “The goods and services deficit was $49.4 billion in April, up $7.1 billion from $42.3 billion in March, revised,” the BEA said in a news release. “Due to recent events surrounding COVID‐19, many businesses are operating on a limited capacity or have ceased operations completely.”

    • 13:08

      Abe Confirms 'Full-Fledged' Olympic Games to Be Held in 2021 in Japan

    • 12:44

      US Job Losses From COVID-19 Near 43 Million

      Some 1.9 million more Americans filed for first-time unemployment claims last week, the Labor Department said on Thursday, bringing the total number of US job losses from the coronavirus pandemic to nearly 43 million.

      “In the week ending May 30, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 1,877,000,” the department said in a news release, showing, however, that the figure had declined from the previous week's 2.1 million filings.

    • 12:38

      UN Chief Urges to Continue Vaccination Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

      United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Thursday for continuing vaccination even amid the coronavirus pandemic, and for using the vaccine delivery network for other health services.

      The UN chief made this statement at the UK-hosted Gavi's online donor-pledging summit, designed to mobilize at least $7.4 billion for 2021-2025.

      "As we meet today, let us make three key commitments. First, let's find safe ways to continue delivering vaccinations even as COVID-19 spreads. Second, let's use the networks of vaccine delivery to deliver a range of other primary health services. And third, when a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, let's make sure it reaches everyone," Guterres said.

      Diseases know no borders, the UN secretary-general stressed, noting that a "fully-funded" Gavi will be critical to ensure that progress toward sustainable development goals continues.

    • 12:38

      Norway Pledges $1Bln During Vaccine Summit

      Norway is pledging $1 billion during a Gavi vaccine summit, the country's prime minister, Erna Solberg, said Thursday.

      "Norway will continue to be a committed long-term partner for Gavi. I am pleased to announce Norway's contribution of $1 billion... for the strategic period 2021-2025," Solberg said.

      The summit's stated aim is to mobilize at least $7.4 billion.

    • 12:34

      UK to Contribute to Gavi Vaccine Alliance $2Bln Over Next 5 Years

      The United Kingdom will contribute to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi) 1.65 billion pounds ($2.07 billion) over the next five years, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday.

      Every year, Gavi helps to immunize around one-half of all newborn children and saves over 30 million lives, the prime minister said at Gavi's virtual summit on vaccines.

      "To defeat coronavirus, we must focus our collective ingenuity on the search of the vaccine and ensure that countries, pharmaceutical companies and international partners, like the Word Health Organization, cooperate on a scale beyond anything we have seen before. We mush use the collective purchasing power of the Gavi to make that future vaccine affordable and available to all who need it ... We must also replenish the funding for the vaccines we already have, strengthening routine immunization against preventable diseases in the poorest countries ... For the next five years, we now need at least $7.4 billion ... Just as the UK is the single biggest donor to the international effort to find a coronavirus vaccine, we will remain the world's leading donor to Gavi, contributing 1.65 billion pounds over the next five years," Johnson said.

      The prime minister expressed hope that the summit would become "a moment when the world comes together, uniting humanity against the disease."

    • 11:54

      All Israeli Schools With At Least 1 Confirmed COVID-19 Case to Be Quarantined

      Any educational institutions in Israel where at least one case of coronavirus has been detected will be quarantined, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's press service said on Thursday amid the surge in infections in schools.

      Israel saw at the end of May an increase in the number of new coronavirus cases, mainly in schools. A total of 42 schools were locked down for quarantine. Due to the increase in the incidence rate, on 30 May, mobile checkpoints for COVID-19 tests reopened.

      "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a consultation today on the education system with Education Minister Yoav Galant and National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat. It was determined that any educational institution in which a case of morbidity is found – will be closed," the press service wrote on Twitter.

      A week ago the country lifted the last serious restrictions associated with the coronavirus. Cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and swimming pools reopened.

    • 11:53

      WHO Warns Second Wave of COVID-19 May Be Worsened by Seasonal Flu

      The second wave of COVID-19 could be worsened by seasonal flu in the fall, as immunization has been interrupted in many countries, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge said on Thursday.

      "We see in most of European countries an improvement in the coronavirus situation, but we should be ready for a second wave, which will be coming in September, when we will have the second wave of coronavirus together with the seasonal flu — because we do see in quite a number of countries an interruption of routine immunization. What we are telling the countries — if the situation is improving now, no time for celebration, but time for preparation, that we should really take the time now to prepare ourselves for the fall," Kluge said at a press conference of the Valdai discussion club.

      The WHO has repeatedly warned against lifting coronavirus restrictions too early, pointing to the high risks of resurgence. Just on Wednesday, Kluge called for cautiousness amid fears of a "devastating" second wave of the coronavirus disease, which has already claimed over 380,000 lives worldwide.

    • 11:52

      Iran Records Highest COVID-19 Daily Increase Since Outbreak's Start, Tally Passes 164,200

      The Iranian health authorities have recorded almost 3,600 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, which is the highest daily increment since the start of the outbreak, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said on Thursday.

      The previous record in new infections was set on 30 March, when 3,186 cases were reported. On Wednesday, the tally rose by 3,134.

      "As many as 3,574 COVID-19 cases were recorded over the past day. Overall, there are 164,270 cases of infection, and 127,485 people have recovered," Jahanpur said on the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network channel.

      The spokesman added that 59 people have died from coronavirus over the past 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 8,071.

    • 10:40

      French Transport Company Sees Over $4.4Bln Losses Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

      French transport company SNCF has recorded over four billion euros ($4.4 Bln) of "major losses" in recent months amid the COVID-19 pandemic, French Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said on Thursday.

      "In total, it [the SNCF’s losses] is a little over 4 billion euros," Djebbari told the Franceinfo broadcaster.

      The consequences of the coronavirus crisis on the fall in the company’s revenues follow pension reform strikes that continued throughout the beginning of 2020 in France, the minister added.

      The pension reform protests began in December 2019 in response to controversial changes in the French pension system suggested by the country’s president, Emmanuel Macron. His primary bid was to merge 42 existing retirement plans into one universal points-based system that would remove many early retirement privileges. The proposal caused a series of rolling transport protests and the longest strike in France's modern history.

      Djebarri also said that the French government intended to "financially improve the SNCF group" by providing necessary support measures.

      As of Thursday, France has confirmed nearly 189,000 COVID-19 infections, which is the world’s ninth-highest total. The death toll stands at 29,024.

    • 10:39

      Trust in Ability of Gov't to Manage COVID-19 Outbreak Goes Down in Sweden - Poll

      The level of trust in the Swedish government and the agencies responsible for handling the COVID-19 epidemic has fallen in the Scandinavian country in late May, according to a survey conducted by the country's SVT channel and Novus polling agency.

      Unlike other European countries, the Swedish authorities have embraced a less rigid approach to dealing with the disease, refraining from imposing a full-scale lockdown. Sweden has confirmed a total of 40,804 coronavirus cases so far, with a death toll of 4,542, which is markedly higher compared to neighboring countries. To make things worse, over half of Sweden's COVID-19 deaths have taken place in nursing homes, prompting an apology from state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, the chief architect of the country's no-lockdown strategy.

      The study, published by SVT on Thursday, shows that the percentage of those evaluating the government's ability to handle the crisis as high or somewhat high has decreased to 45 percent, in comparison to 63 percent in April. At the same time, the trust in the Public Health Agency has dwindled to 65 percent from April's 73 percent, and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency has seen its support go from 57 percent to 48 percent.

    • 08:41

      Restrictions on Movement at Land Borders With Portugal and France Will Be Lifted From 22 June - Spain's Minister for Tourism

    • 07:38

      Russia Registers 8,831 COVID-19 Cases Over Past 24 Hours

      Russia has registered 8,831 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours (8,536 yesterday), bringing the total to 441,108, the national coronavirus response center said on Thursday.

      "Over the past 24 hours, Russia has confirmed 8,831 COVID-19 cases in 85 regions, of which 3,374 (38.2 percent) have been detected actively, with people showing no clinical symptoms," the response center said in a statement.

      Russia has so far recorded 441,108 COVID-19 cases in 85 regions (+2 percent), the center added.

      Of all the new cases, 1,998 have been registered in Moscow, 767 in the Moscow region and 375 in St. Petersburg (compared to yesterday's 1,842, 736 and 380, respectively).

      The country's COVID-19 death toll has grown by 169 (178 yesterday) to 5,384.

      Russia's number of cured COVID-19 patients has topped 200,000. It currently amounts to 204,623, as 8,666 patients have recovered over the past 24 hours (8,972 yesterday).

      Over 11.7 million tests to detect COVID-19 have been conducted in the country since the beginning of the outbreak, and 313,000 suspected virus carriers across Russia remain under medical monitoring, Russian public health watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, said.

    • 07:29

      Number of New Daily COVID-19 Infections in Sudan Up by Over 50 Cases

      A further 189 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Sudan over the past 24 hours, up from to the 137 positive tests reported the previous day, the country’s Health Ministry said on Thursday.

      As of now, the total count of those infected in Sudan stands at 5,499.

      The death toll has increased by seven to 314, and the tally of recoveries rose to 1,711 after another 86 patients have been discharged, the ministry said in a press release.

    • 06:39

      Japan to Pour $300Mln in COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution for Underserved Countries

      Japan will allocate $300 million to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (better known as Gavi), which focuses on supplying vaccines to world's poorest countries, media reported.

      The alliance, which will hold a virtual summit later on Thursday, is calling on global countries to contribute to the effort to tackle COVID-19. Gavi expects to mobilize at least $7.4 billion in additional funding for 2021-2025 to ensure equal access to vaccines. Japan initially pledged $100 million.

      According to the NHK broadcaster, Japanese Prime Minister Shizo Abbe will officially announce the decision to allocate an additional $200 million later in the day, in a video address for Gavi.

      The broadcaster has suggested that the Japanese government is likely to support vaccine development and use to ensure that the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will take place in 2021.

    • 05:54

      Thailand Registers 17 Imported COVID-19 Cases

      Thailand, where daily increases in new COVID-19 cases have been on the low since mid-May, recorded 17 new cases on Thursday, and all of them are imported, Taweesin Visanuyothin, the spokesman of the country's coronavirus response center, said.

      "Seventeen cases were registered today, all the new patients were admitted to hospitals following quarantines after coming back from abroad through outcoming flights," Visanuyothin said at a briefing.

      Of them, 13 people have returned from Kuwait, two people have returned from Qatar and two others from Saudi Arabia, the spokesman specified.

      "Some say: people do not get infected inside the country, but we admit Thai nationals from abroad, and many of them are infected. They say we should stop admitting them inside the country. But we cannot do this, as every Thai national has an indisputable right to return home," Visanuyothin added.

      The spokesman also revealed some statistics: Thailand has recorded 3,101 COVID-19 cases since the onset of the pandemic, the death toll stands at 58, and the number of cured patients has reached 2,986.

    • 05:53

      India’s COVID-19 Cases Tally Rises by Record 9,304

      India’s COVID-19 statistics have seen a record single-day daily growth of 9,304 cases, with the total count reaching 216,919, the data of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare showed on Thursday.

      The death toll has risen by 260 to 6,076 in the past 24 hours. Recoveries have gone up by 3,804 to 104,106. The number of active cases stands at 106,737, according to the ministry.

      India's central state of Maharashtra with confirmed 74,860 COVID-19 cases remains the most affected region. It is followed by the southern state of Tamil Nadu, with 25,872 cases, and the National Capital Territory of Delhi, with 23,645 cases.

    • 05:36

      Mosques, Churches to Open 5 June in Uzbekistan Due to Partial Lifting of COVID Restrictions

      Mosques, churches and other religious organizations will open in Uzbekistan on 5 June due to the partial lifting of quarantine measures against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Uzbek cabinet's coronavirus response center told Sputnik.

      Uzbekistan recorded the first COVID-19 case on 15 March. On Wednesday, the number of registered cases rose to 3,843. The country's coronavirus death toll stands at 16. More than 3,000 have recovered.

      "From 5 June, religious organizations in Uzbekistan are resuming their activities," a spokesman for the response center said.

      He specified that the decision had been made by the special commission to combat the spread of coronavirus in the country.

    • 05:01

      Germany Records 394 New COVID-19 Cases, Total Reaches 182,764

      Germany has confirmed 394 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, with the total count reaching 182,764, the Robert Koch Institute said on Thursday.

      The death toll has grown by 30 to 8,581 people within the same period of time.

      A day earlier, the country confirmed 342 new cases and 29 fatalities.

      More than 167,000 COVID-19 patients have recovered in Germany since the beginning of the outbreak.

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