17:01 GMT05 August 2020
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    The second wave of the COVID-19 could do additional damage throughout the world, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Wednesday, warning specifically of more job losses and bankruptcies.

    In the United States, some 3.5 million people have been infected with COVID-19 and almost 140,000 have been killed by the virus, with new record highs being set in some US states for daily caseloads.

    Several Asian countries that have eased restrictions and resumed some level of economic activity, including Australia, Japan and South Korea, have in the last month reported new outbreaks, with each witnessing as many as several dozen new cases.

    The IMF downgraded its global economic outlook for 2020 last month, projecting negative 4.9 percent growth versus the negative 3 percent forecast in April.

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    • 03:12

      India World's Third Nation to Top One Million COVID-19 Cases, Second Wave Hits Several States

      India has become the third nation — after the United States and Brazil — to hit a million COVID-19 infections, with 36,247 new cases today, taking the country’s tally to 1,004,652, alongside a grim statistic of 690 new fatalities, putting the disease death toll in the four-and-a-half months of the outbreak to 25,594.

    • 03:01

      Germany Registers 583 New COVID-19 Cases, Total Reaches 200,843 – Robert Koch Institute

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Germany has confirmed 583 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, with the total count reaching 200,843, the Robert Koch Institute said on Friday.

      The death toll has grown by four to 9,082 people within the same period of time. Some 186,900 people have recovered since the start of the outbreak.

      A day earlier, the country confirmed 534 new cases and seven fatalities.

      The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on 11 March. To date, more than 13.7 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 589,000 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.

    • 02:01

      Death Toll From COVID-19 in Mexico Rises by 668 to 37,574 People

      MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) – The number of people, who have died of COVID-19 in Mexico, has risen by 668 to 37,574 within the past 24 hours, Jose Luis Alomia, the director of epidemiology at the Health Ministry, said.

      He also said on late Thursday that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases had increased by 6,406 to 324,041 within the same period of time.

      A day earlier, the Latin American nation recorded 6,149 new cases of the coronavirus, with 579 fatalities.

      The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on 11 March. To date, more than 13.7 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 588,000 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.

    • 01:06

      Number of COVID-19 Cases in Argentina Rises by 3,624 to 114,783

      BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) – Argentina has confirmed 3,624 new cases of the coronavirus across the country within the past 24 hours, with the total number of people infected with COVID-19 having reached 114,783, the national Ministry of Health said.

      "Today, 3,624 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, bringing the total number of [COVID-19] positive tests in the country to 114,783," the ministry said in a daily bulletin on late Thursday.

      The death toll has increased by 40 to 2,112 people within the same period of time.

      The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on 11 March. To date, more than 13.7 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 588,000 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.

    • 00:18

      US COVID-19 Cases Increase By 70,727 Over Past 24 Hours, Highest Daily Increase Since Pandemic Began, Reuters Tally Shows

      The US COVID-19 tally increased by at least 70,727 new cases on Thursday, the highest daily increase since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Reuters US COVID-19 tally.

      Thursday’s increase in COVID-19 cases is considered the seventh highest posting this month. 30 out of 50 US states have registered a record surge in COVID-19 cases this month.

      According to Reuters, almost every state is witnessing an increase in infection cases compared to the past two weeks.

    • 23:57

      Georgia Governor Sues City of Atlanta to Block Face Mask Mandate

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US state of Georgia Governor Brian Kemp in a statement said that he has filed a lawsuit against the city of Atlanta to block a COVID-19 face mask mandate.

      "This lawsuit is on behalf of the Atlanta business owners and their hardworking employees who are struggling to survive during these difficult times," Kemp said via Twitter on Thursday. "I refuse to sit back and watch as disastrous policies threaten the lives and livelihoods of our citizens."

      Kemp described the face mask mandate as a "reckless" action that puts pandemic politics over people.

      Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who is a potential candidate to be Joe Biden's running mate, in response said a better use of tax payer money would be to expand testing and contact tracing. Bottoms pointed out that she and her family have contracted COVID-19 along with more than 106,000 other residents of Georgia. More than 3,104 residents have also died due to the disease, Bottoms said.

      Bottoms also said her actions are in accordance with the recommended reopening guidelines from the federal government.

      As of Thursday evening, the United States has more than 3.5 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 138,000 deaths caused by the disease, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

    • 22:22

      US Keeps Cruise Ships Shuttered Until October Unless COVID-19 Crisis Ends Earlier

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States extended a “No Sail Order” for cruise ships until October at the earliest, unless the novel coronavirus pandemic winds down enough to ensure passenger safety, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a notice.

      “CDC supports the decision by the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) and its members to voluntarily extend the suspension of operations for passenger cruise ship travel. However, because not all cruise ship operators subject to the No Sail Order are members of the CLIA or have made similar commitments, CDC is extending its No Sail Order to ensure that passenger operations do not resume prematurely,” the agency said in a 20-page announcement on Thursday.

      The order will remain in effect until the United States either ends or modifies the nation’s “public health emergency,” the notice said.

      From 1 March to 10 July, the CDC documented 2,973 cases of COVID-19 or similar illnesses on cruise ships from 99 outbreaks on 123 different vessels affecting 80 percent of ships under US jurisdiction, the notice added.

      Multiple countries, including Canada, Australia and Norway, have imposed similar restrictions, according to the CDC.

    • 22:15

      Number of COVID-19 Cases in Turkey Rises by 933, Minimum Since 10 June, Health Minister Says

      ANKARA (Sputnik) – The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Turkey has risen by 933 to 216,873 within the past 24 hours marking the minimum daily increase since 10 June, Turkish Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca said.

      "Today, 933 new cases have been discovered, the total number of those infected has reached 216,873. [Today] 21 patients have died, the death toll amounts to 5,440 people," the minister wrote on his Twitter page on late Thursday.

      The number of recoveries has increased by 1,087 to 198,820 within the same period of time.

      A day earlier, Turkey registered 947 new coronavirus cases and 17 fatalities.

      The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on 11 March. To date, more than 13.6 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 586,000 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.

    • 22:04

      Nearly 60% of Canadians Fear Contracting COVID-19, Up 13% From June - Poll

      TORONTO (Sputnik) - A large majority of Canadians for the first time in months are experiencing increasing concern about contracting COVID-19, an Angus Reid Institute poll revealed.

      “A new study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds concerns about personally contracting the virus rebounding after declining in each of the last three months. Three-in-five Canadians (59%) say they are worried about getting sick, up 13 points from June,” the poll found on Thursday.

      The poll found that 40 percent of Canadians were moderately concerned about contracting the deadly virus and an additional 19 percent very concerned at the prospect. The highest percentage of those very concerned about catching COVID-19 were among the 55 and older group – 27 percent.

      The poll also found that Canadians are divided about masking: 55 percent said that they either wore masks all the time or most of the time, while 45 percent said that they rarely or never wear facing coverings. More than one out of every eight respondents - 13 percent – said that they never wear a mask.

      The findings are consistent with British polling firm YouGov’s study, which found that Canadians were among the least likely, in comparison with other global citizens, to wear in mask in public with only 58 percent reporting as doing so regularly.

      Nevertheless, the poll found strong support for mandatory masking in public places, with 76 percent of respondents saying they would support such a measure.

      As of Thursday, Canada has reported more than 109,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 8,800 COVID-19-related fatalities.

    • 21:47

      Brazilian Health Ministry Says Number of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Tops 2 Million

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Brazil has increased within the past 24 hours by 45,403 to 2,012,151, the national Ministry of Health said on late Thursday.

      The death toll has increased by 1,322 to 76,688 people within the same period of time.

      Brazil comes second on a global tally of coronavirus cases after the United States, which has recorded over 3.5 million COVID-19 patients.

      The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on 11 March. To date, more than 13.6 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 586,000 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.

    • 21:12

      Wall Street’s Dow Jones Ends 4-Day Win as COVID-19 Cases Hit Record High in California

      NEW YORK (Sputnik) - Wall Street’s Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped a four-day winning streak on Thursday as US stocks fell broadly amid a record high of novel coronavirus infections in California, the technology hub of the United States.

      The Dow, the broadest indicator on the New York Stock Exchange, closed down 135 points, or 0.5 percent, at 26,734. It was the index’s first decline since the close of 9 July.

      The S&P 500, a barometer for the top 500 US stocks, settled down 0.3 percent at 3,215. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite closed down 0.7 percent at 10,474.

      California recorded its highest number of new novel coronavirus cases on Thursday, exceeding 10,000 new cases in one day for the first time. California Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday rolled back the reopening of the state amid the increasing number of new cases .

      The Nasdaq’s top three stocks - Apple, Microsoft and Google’s Alphabet - which together account for about 40 percent of the index, all fell in Thursday’s session, reacting to the news from California.

    • 20:30

      US House Speaker Slams Trump for Ignoring Scientists as COVID-19 Cases Surge

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US President Donald Trump refuses to ask for directions from scientists to address the COVID-19 crisis which is a dereliction of duty, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Thursday.

      "The president continues to go down the wrong path and refuses to ask for directions from scientists who know better than any of us," she said. "This is such a massive dereliction of duty - people are dying."

      Pelosi said she yearned for a Republican president who shared the same conviction to defend the country.

      "You have to believe in science and you have to believe in governance. I yearn for other Republican presidents. We at least shared a commitment to the governance of our country," she said.

      The United States still lacked the needed organization and resources to carry out full testing across the country for COVID-19 and still lacked sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) for the population and health care workers, Pelosi added.

      The US COVID-19 case count surpassed the 3.5 million mark on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

    • 20:15

      Spain Registers Highest Daily Coronavirus Toll Since 10 May

      MADRID (Sputnik) - The Spanish Health Ministry said on Thursday that it had recorded 580 new coronavirus cases nationwide in the past day, the highest daily increase since 10 May.

      Another 8,313 people tested positive for the virus in Spain in the past two weeks, more than a half of them in the northeastern region of Catalonia and 1,076 in neighboring Aragon. Nine patients died in the past seven days.

      But regional statistics paint a different picture. Catalan authorities recorded 1,300 new cases in the past day, 884 of them in Barcelona and the suburbs. That figure includes positive PCR antigen and antibody tests, while the ministry only counts people who had a positive PCR test.

      Aragon authorities confirmed 272 new cases in the past 24 hours, including 115 asymptomatic patients. The region's main city of Zaragoza accounted for 175 of those cases.

      Fernando Simon, the chief epidemiologist leading the central government's response to the pandemic, described the situation in Catalonia and Aragon as "concerning." He estimated there were 158 clusters of infection across the country, with a rise in infections in fruit pickers.

      Spain is one of Europe's worst-hit countries. It has so far confirmed 258,855 cases and 28,416 virus-related deaths. An official study conducted by the Health Ministry shows that some 2.3 million people in the country had antibodies to COVID-19, or 5.2 percent of the population.

    • 19:42

      COVID-19 Pushes America to ‘Reshore’ Electronics, Drugs From China to US, Pentagon Says

      The flags of China, U.S. and the Chinese Communist Party are displayed in a flag stall at the Yiwu Wholesale Market in Yiwu, Zhejiang province, China, May 10, 2019.

      COVID-19 Pushes America to ‘Reshore’ Electronics, Drugs From China to US, Pentagon Says

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - A stepped up push to move microelectronics and drug manufacturing from China back to the United States represents a silver lining to the coronavirus crisis, with the Defence Department able to use the Defence Production Act to help finance the effort, Undersecretary of Defence for Acquisition Ellen Lord said on Thursday.
      Read more
    • 18:41

      UN Thanks Russia for Being First to Agree to Airlift COVID-19 Patients

      UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - The United Nations expressed gratitude to Russia for being first air carrier to agree to transfer COVID-19 patients on UN medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) flights, a joint statement by Russia and the organization said on Thursday.

      The United Nations, represented by Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support Atul Khare, and the Russian delegation led by First Deputy Minister of Transport Alexander Neradko, held their sixth annual aviation talks on Wednesday.

      "Khare expressed his gratitude to the Russian Federation for their contributions in the global efforts aimed at controlling the COVID-19 pandemic and more specifically for being the first UN air carrier to agree to carry COVID-19 patients on MEDEVAC flights," the statement said. "Their willingness to support the United Nations by allowing their operators to provide life-saving services in Mali, Afghanistan and Sudan is highly appreciated."

      The two sides addressed aviation services provided by Russia to UN peace operations, including measures taken in response to the pandemic, aircraft equipment, aircrew requirements and accommodation, the statement said.

      Khare also informed the Russian delegation that his department had made significant progress toward ensuring that the United Nations’ payment obligations to air operators had been met.

      The statement added that Khare accepted the invitation extended by Neradko to attend the next meeting of the annual aviation talks in 2021 in Moscow during the International Aviation and Space Show MAKS-2021.

    • 18:35

      France Confirms 534 New COVID-19 Cases

      France has reported 534 new cases of COVID-19 and 18 new deaths from the virus on Thursday, according to health ministry data.

      This comes shortly after ministers called on people to start wearing masks in enclosed public places to prevent a new wave of the epidemic.

      France's total death toll since the start of the outbreak has reached 30,138, with the number of confirmed cases currently estimated at 173,838.

    • 18:16

      US Tops 3.5 Million COVID-19 Cases, Johns Hopkins University Says

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States now documented more than 3.5 million COVID-19 cases, data compiled by Johns Hopkins University revealed on Thursday.

      The data showed that there are now 3,533,317 COVID-19 cases in the country.

      The US is leading the world in the number of reported cases as well as COVID-19-related deaths. To date, 137,846 people in the country have died after contracting the disease.

    • 17:46

      WHO Europe Urges Responsibility as COVID-19 May Collide With Flu, Other Diseases in Fall

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The WHO regional director for Europe on Thursday urged everyone to stay responsible and stick to coronavirus precautionary measures until the humanity secures effective treatment or a vaccine, warning that the virus can collide with influenza and other diseases in the fall.

      "So the behavior of the people and the actions by the government will ultimately determine what will happen in the fall, but, definitely, COVID-19 may well meet influenza but also all the diseases like pneumonia. So in that sense we have to continue to take over all the responsibility," Hans Kluge told a B20 conference on preparing for a second wave of COVID-19.

      The UN health agency's regional director has also called for broader international solidarity in the face of the remaining threat.

      "What needs to be done is enlightened leadership, is accountability and continued risk communication to engage the people. We have to remember no one is safe until everyone is safe. So for those countries where international solidarity does not come from the heart, I tell them it should come from the brain because no one is living on an island. No one is safe until everyone is safe," Kluge stressed.

      The official reiterated that without strong health systems there would be no economy and called on the private sector to help efforts aimed at not "leaving anyone behind" in the fight against the pandemic. While admitting that no one knows when the world would get a vaccine, Kluge urged people to follow public measures that are known to be effective.

      "Let's implement what we know works. Every one of us, every individual is responsible that suspected cases can be found and traced. Every individual can wash your hands and have cough hygiene, can stay at home, when we are sick, and have a physical distancing of one or two meters and ... at least wear a mask in public," he went on.

      Kluge warned that "whether it's COVID or something else, we are living in a planet of viruses." The world therefore should abide by this new normal until "pharmaceutical interventions" are ready to curb the new virus.

    • 15:54

      US Extends Restrictions on Non-Essential Travel at Land Borders With Canada, Mexico

      WASHINGTON, July 16 (Sputnik) - The United States has reached an agreement with Canada and Mexico to extend border restrictions that limit non-essential travel until August 20 amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement on Thursday.

      “Based on the success of the existing restrictions and close collaboration with Mexico and Canada, [the Department of Homeland Security] will continue to limit non-essential travel at our land ports of entry with Canada and Mexico until Aug 20,” Wolf said via Twitter.

      Before the announcement, the restrictions at US land border crossings with Canada and Mexico were set to expire on Tuesday. All non-essential travel between the United States and Canada has been halted since March 20.

    • 15:51

      Miami Hospitals at 95% Capacity Due to COVID Surge, Mayor Says

      WASHINGTON, July 16 (Sputnik) - Hospitals in Florida's Miami have reached 95 percent capacity due to the COVID-19 surge and are projected to be completely full in a month, Mayor Francis Suarez said during a news conference Thursday.

      "A little report on our hospitals: they are at 95 percent capacity. They are converting non-COVID beds to COVID beds," Suarez said.

      He also said the hospitals will reach full capacity in about four weeks assuming the same growth rate.

      Suarez said Miami has seen a decline in daily COVID-19 cases, from a high of125 cases per day down to about 60, while positive tests have also flattened out.

      The mayor said the highest category of people getting infected are people aged 18 to 34.

      He also announced that on Friday he will meet with the business community to discuss the possibility of a future lockdown.

      Cases have surged in Florida in recent weeks and some local officials are considering additional shutdowns to try to stem the spread of the virus.

    • 14:31

      Sri Lanka May Open Borders for Tourists After August 15, Ambassador to Russia Says

      MOSCOW, July 16 (Sputnik) - Sri Lanka may open borders for foreign tourists after August 15 and the government is doing everything possible to accelerate this process, Sri Lankan Ambassador to Moscow Mikhalgalande Durage Lamawansa said on Thursday.

      Sri Lanka had previously planned to resume international tourism in mid-July, but in light of the coronavirus pandemic, opening the borders to foreigners was postponed until August 1. According to the ambassador, the Sri Lankan government is likely to decide to postpone opening the borders for another two weeks.

      "Initially, we planned to open the country on July 15, but then we moved the deadline to August 1. Moreover, a new COVID-19 outbreak was registered a few days ago in a rehabilitation center for drug addicts. We immediately took appropriate precautions, so the opening of the country for tourists will be most likely postponed for another two weeks, perhaps, until August 15," the ambassador said, as aired by the Rossiya 24 broadcaster.

      According to Lamawansa, the government of Sri Lanka is deciding to make tourist visas free for a number of countries and Russia will be on the list.

      "Now we are discussing how to provide the necessary services to all tourists, including from Russia. The fact is that during their stay in Sri Lanka they will need to do a test for coronavirus three or four times. The hotels, where they stay, will have to comply with all sanitary measures. Health authorities will closely monitor this. Passenger transport capacity will be reduced by half," the diplomat added.

      Sri Lanka has confirmed over 2,600 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic and 11 fatalities.

    • 13:42

      Jordan to Resume Flights to, From Several European Countries Starting in August, Minister Says

      Jordan will resume direct commercial flights to and from some European countries where the COVID-19 infection rate is relatively low starting in August, Information Minister Amjad Adaileh said on Thursday.

      "Flights to foreign destinations will start in the first or second week of next month … the airports [of Jordan] will receive flights from green countries, where the threat of virus spread is low," Adaileh told the Al-Mamlaka state broadcaster.

      The minister added that air traffic with Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Greece and Cyprus were likely to resume first.

      Moreover, Adaileh also said that flights to Thailand and Hong Kong may be allowed as well.

      According to the minister, the main goal of the government is to bring Jordanian citizens back home. In addition, a 14-day quarantine would not be mandatory for those arriving from so-called green countries, but travelers would have to be tested for COVID-19 three days before their arrival to the Middle Eastern country.

    • 13:42

      Spain's Aragon Region Will Kill Over 90,000 Mink Due to Coronavirus

      Spain's autonomous region of Aragon has decided to eliminate more than 90,000 mink due to the coronavirus infection, the authorities said on Thursday.

      The elimination will take place at a farm in La Puebla de Valverde municipality, where 87 percent of the animals have been diagnosed with the disease, despite showing no symptoms.

      "We have ordered that all of the animals be put to death," Joaquin Olona, an agriculture adviser to the Aragonian government, said.

      The farm in question was temporarily shut down in late May after seven of its employees had tested positive for COVID-19.

      Spain has confirmed a total of 257,494 cases, 7,111 of them in Aragon, along with a death toll of 28,413.

    • 13:41

      European Commission Urges Member States to Protect Seasonal Workers Amid Pandemic

      The EU’s executive branch, the European Commission, released a series of guidelines to member states and interstate agencies to mandate and protect seasonal workers in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.

      According to a report released on Thursday, the pandemic has shown how dependent the European agricultural economy is on seasonal workers and just how vulnerable they are to workplace exploitation, decreased social guarantees and sanitary protections.

      “Each year, hundreds of thousands of seasonal workers help to underpin hugely important sectors of the EU's economy, such as food and agriculture. The coronavirus pandemic has shone a light on the challenging living and working conditions they face. This has to be addressed. Our guidelines are a wake-up call to Member States and companies to ensure they are fulfilling their duties to protect indispensable, yet vulnerable, workers,” Nicolas Schmit, the Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, was quoted as saying in the report.

      The commission called on member states to take measures to improve living and working conditions, raise awareness of the EU occupational standards, increase field inspections and provide guidance to smaller companies that hire seasonal workers.

      The guideline the EU recommended for itself was to conduct a study on the scale of migrant workers in the bloc, survey high-risk occupations for safety standards and coordinate action between member states.

      The commission reiterated the fact that seasonal worker protection rules applied to workers both from within and outside the EU.

      European nations, including the United Kingdom, have long relied on migrant workers to harvest crops for key industries. Many EU nations set up special rules for migrant workers to enter even when borders were largely closed.

    • 13:31

      Oil Tanker Quarantined Near Spain's Shores Over COVID-19 Infection, Reports Say

      An oil tanker sailing from Nigeria has been quarantined near the Spanish port of Castellon after COVID-19 was detected aboard, the Efe news agency reported on Thursday.

      According to the agency, the Eko Beverly Hills tanker, with 25 people aboard, was supposed to unload the oil at the refinery of the UK's BP energy company. However, eight crew members tested positive for COVID-19.

      The quarantine will remain in place until further notice from Spain's health authorities.

    • 12:32

      Italy Prohibits Entry, Transit From Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo - Health Minister

      Italy has expanded its list of countries with a high spread of COVID-19, banning entry from Serbia, Montenegro and the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo, Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Thursday.

      "We have added Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo to the list of countries at risk. Those who stayed in those countries for the last 14 days are denied entry or transit through Italy. The global pandemic is at the most severe phase," Speranza tweeted.

      Italy has confirmed a total of 243,506 cases, with a death toll of 34,997.

      Last week, Speranza signed a temporary ban on entry from 13 countries that are struggling with the epidemic.

       

    • 11:43

      Spain Pays Tribute to COVID-19 Victims in Solemn Ceremony in Madrid

      Madrid hosted a solemn ceremony on Thursday to pay tribute to over 28,000 people who have died of COVID-19 in the country.

      About 400 guests attended the ceremony, which was led by King Felipe VI.

      "We will keep this day in our memory, it will remain in our hearts. With all respect and state honors, we pay tribute to the citizens who lost their lives as a result of the pandemic," King Felipe said at the ceremony.

      Apart from all Spanish high-ranking officials and regional leaders, the ceremony was attended by a number of prominent figures of international scale, including European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Parliament President David Sassoli, European Council President Charles Michel, the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

      The ceremony was also a tribute to all those who have contributed to the fight against the pandemic, primarily medical personnel, transport workers and police officers.

      "We will never forget the victims of #COVID19 and all who heroically fought the pandemic. Europe will always stand with Spain," the EU Council president said on Twitter.

      Spain, one of the worst-hit European countries, has confirmed over 256,000 coronavirus cases and more than 28,000 related deaths since the start of the outbreak. At the same time, according to a study by the health ministry, more than 5 percent of the population has COVID-19 antibodies.

    • 11:42

      'Weak Signals' of COVID-19 Resurgence Detected in Paris Hospitals, French Health Minister Says

      There are "weak signals" of the resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic in some hospitals in Paris, French Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Thursday.

      "In some Paris hospitals, we see weak signals that the pandemic will resume, therefore, I ask the French to remain especially cautious," Veran said live on the France Inter broadcaster.

      According to the minister, this is not about alarm signals, but about those that should be paid special attention to, such as the number of ambulance calls and the number of patients admitted to hospitals.

      Veran also highlighted the problematic epidemiological situation in the country's northwestern department of Mayenne, where the percentage of COVID-19 cases in relation to the population is higher than the national average. The department's authorities announced the immediate introduction of the requirement to wear masks in all closed public places.

      Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jean Castex said during his address at the Senate that at the national level, wearing masks in closed public places would become mandatory starting next week, and not from August 1 as previously planned.

      France has confirmed so far more than 173,000 cases of the coronavirus infection, including over 30,000 fatalities.

      Earlier this week, French President Emmanuel Macron spoke of some signals of the pandemic's return. At the same time, the leader noted that the country would be ready if the second wave started.

    • 11:15

      Ankara Says Turkish Plane With Medical Aid to Help Fight COVID-19 Took Off for Venezuela

      A plane carrying medical supplies has departed from Ankara to Venezuela to help combat the coronavirus pandemic per Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's directives, the Turkish Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

      "A Turkish Armed Forces aircraft carrying medical supplies arranged by the Health Ministry upon the directives of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for protection against the coronavirus outbreak took off from the Ankara Etimesgut Airbase for Venezuela," the ministry wrote on Twitter, as quoted by the Anadolu news agency.

      The boxes with medical supplies also have an inscription — a message for the Venezuelan people — saying "after hopelessness, there is so much hope, and after darkness, there is the much brighter sun," quoting the words of 13th-century Sufi poet Jalaluddin Rumi.

      In total, Ankara has sent medical supplies to nearly 140 countries amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    • 10:54

      Record 317 COVID-19 Cases Reportedly Registered in Australia's Victoria Over Past 24 Hours

      The Australian state of Victoria has registered a record 317 new cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, media reported on Thursday, citing the Health Ministry.

      According to the ABC broadcaster, two patients have died of the disease over the given period.

      Since the start of July, a total of 2,794 cases of coronavirus were recorded in Victoria, compared to some 2,200 cases recorded in the region between on January 25, when the pandemic started, and June 30, the broadcaster noted.

      The Victorian authorities have previously reintroduced quarantine-related restrictions amid a surge in new cases of the infection. According to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, it will take some time to achieve stability in the new numbers.

      Australia has so far recorded 10,495 cases of COVID-19 and 11 fatalities. The state of Victoria is the leader in terms of number of infections.

    • 10:52

      India Announces Resumption of Regulated Flight Operations With France, United States

      The Indian government has announced that negotiations are at an advanced stage with 3 countries, namely the United States and France and Germany.

      Air France will start operating 28 flights from 18 July between Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Paris.

      The US will be operating 18 flights starting 17 Juky.

      India has also received a flight request from Germany.

    • 08:19

      France Makes Indoor Public Mask-Wearing Compulsory Starting Next Week

      France will make wearing masks compulsory in all enclosed public spaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19 starting next week instead of early August, Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday.

      "We were considering the possibility of introduction of these measures starting August 1. But I heard that the date seemed too late ... So, the order will enter force starting the beginning of next week," Castex said during a speech in France's upper house.

      France has a total of 210,568 coronavirus cases, with a death toll of 30,123, according to the Johns Hopkins University's database.

      Earlier in the week, President Emmanuel Macron said he would like to implement this measure starting August 1. Currently, the French authorities require that masks be worn in public transport.

    • 07:41

      Russia Records 6,428 COVID-19 Cases in Past 24 Hours, Response Centre Says

      Russia has registered 6,428 COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours (6,422 yesterday), bringing the cumulative total to 752,797, the country's coronavirus response center said on Thursday.

      "Over the past 24 hours, Russia has confirmed 6,428 COVID-19 cases in 85 regions, of which 1,549 (24.1 percent) have been detected actively, with people showing no clinical symptoms," the response center said in a statement, adding that the total count has grown to 752,797 cases in 85 regions, with the daily increase standing at 0.9 percent.

      Moscow has registered 531 cases in a 24-hour period, which is more than any other region in Russia, followed by the Sverdlovsk Region with 349 new cases and St. Petersburg with 256 new cases (compared to 628, 263 and 264 yesterday, respectively).

      As many as 167 COVID-19 patients died in Russia over the past 24 hours (156 yesterday). The total death toll has reached 11,937.

      A total of 8,443 coronavirus patients have been discharged (compared to 10,424 yesterday), bringing the total number of recoveries to 531,692.

      According to the Russian public health watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, over 24 million tests to detect COVID-19 have been conducted in the country since the beginning of the outbreak, and over 273,000 suspected virus carriers remain under medical monitoring.

    • 05:54

      American Airlines Reportedly Warns 25,000 Employees of Possible Job Cuts Amid Pandemic

      American Airlines has warned about 25,000 its frontline employees about possible job cuts this fall due to a slowdown in air travel demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic, CNBC reported, citing the company's note to the staff.

      According to the media, 25,000 airlines' employees account for roughly 29 percent of its US mainline workforce.

      The company urged the staff to take new extended leaves of up to two years or early retirement packages to get as many people off the payroll as possible before actual job cuts. 

      "And with infection rates increasing and several states reestablishing quarantine restrictions, demand for air travel is slowing again," CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom said in the letter to staff, as quoted by CNBC.

      American Airlines' revenue decreased by 80 percent year-on-year in June, the media stated.  

    • 05:10

      Top Chinese, Central Asian State Diplomats to Discuss COVID-19 at Video Meeting

      Foreign ministers of China and five Central Asian countries — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan — will hold their first meeting in a video conference format on Thursday to discuss cooperation amid the coronavirus pandemic.

      The meeting will be chaired by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The event will also be attended by Kazakh Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tleuberdi, Kyrgyzstan's Chingiz Aidarbekov, Tajikistan's Foreign Minister Sirodjiddin Muhriddin, Turkmenistan's Rashid Meredov and Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov.

      Apart from the situation over the coronavirus, the participants are set to discuss the development of regional safety, as well as mechanisms for economic growth.

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