Coronavirus continues to plague the world

Taxi drivers wait before getting tested for COVID-19 coronavirus disease in Morocco's capital Rabat on May 27, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 29 May 2020

Coronavirus continues to plague the world

DUBAI: Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development said private sector employees will be able to return to their offices soon as the Kingdom starts easing COVID-19 regulations.

Dubai’s government said that 50 percent of government workers will return to their office on Sunday, and aims for a 100 percent resumption starting June 14.

Oman has also asked government entities to ensure that at least 50 percent of their workforce is back to offices as of Sunday.

May 28, 2020, Thursday (All times in GMT)

19:55 - Dubai is reopening four beaches and major parks to the public starting Friday, Dubai Media Office reported. 

19:10 - Kuwait has extended the suspension of work across all government agencies until further notice.

17:50 - Kuwait eases full-time coronavirus curfew to 12-hour ones from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

17:30 - President Erdogan said on Thursday Turkey will lift intercity travel restrictions on June 1, will keep stay-at-home restrictions in place for over 65s and restaurants and cafes to reopen June 1 also.

16:30 - Groups of up to 6 people will be able to meet outside in England from Monday if they maintain social distancing, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday as he confirmed that tests had been met to ease the coronavirus lockdown further.





14:23 - Iraq announced three new deaths from COVID-19 bringing the death toll in the country to 179. 

14:00 - New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday the first phase of reopenings in the city will include construction, manufactuing, wholesale suppliers and non-essential retail. He expects 200,000-400,000 people to return to work during the first phase.

13:40 - Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday approved a recommendation to ease the lockdown in the capital Manila from June 1, resuming much-needed activity in an economy on the brink of recession.

Strict restrictions on commerce and movement since mid-March have ravaged the economy, which is facing its deepest contraction in 34 years.

13:16 - Qatar announced 1,967 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. 

12:37 - Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health announced 16 more deaths from COVD-19, 1,644 new cases of the disease and 3,531 new cases of recovery from it on Thursday. 

11:25 – Two Fulham players have tested positive for coronavirus in the latest round of testing, the Championship club announced.

10:54 – A partial reopening of Danish schools did not lead to an increase in coronavirus infections among young students, a doctor of infectious disease epidemiology and prevention at the Danish Serum Institute said on Thursday, citing new data.

10:28 – International tourism is set to fall by 70 percent this year, marking the sector’s biggest slump since records began in the 1950s, United Nations World Tourism Organization Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili told newspaper Handelsblatt.

10:18 – Kuwait has confirmed 845 new coronavirus cases, increasing total caseload to 24,112. There were also 752 new recoveries, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 8,698.

10:14 – UAE has detected 563 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of infected people to 32,532.

08:53 – Indonesia reported 687 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of infections in the Southeast Asian country to 24,538, a health ministry official said. Indonesia also confirmed 23 new deaths from the virus, bringing the total fatalities to 1,496, the official, Achmad Yurianto, told reporters. As of Thursday, Indonesia has tested 201,311 people and 6,240 patients have recovered.

08:41 – Russia said its death toll from the coronavirus has risen above 4,000 as the daily toll equalled a record set earlier this week.

08:21 – Finland has seen no evidence of the coronavirus spreading faster since schools started to reopen in the middle of May, the top health official said. “The time has been short, but so far we have seen no evidence,” Mika Salminen, director of health security at the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare, told a news conference. Finland started to reopen schools and daycare centres from May 14 following an almost two-month shutdown.

08:16 – The Philippines’ health ministry reported 17 more novel coronavirus deaths and 539 new infections, the largest number of cases reported in a single day since the virus was first detected in the country.

06:51GlaxoSmithKline will expand production of vaccine efficacy boosters, or adjuvants, to produce 1 billion doses in 2021 for use in shots for COVID-19.

06:36Singapore jailed a taxi driver for four months on Wednesday over a Facebook post in which he falsely claimed food outlets would close and urged people to stock up due to impending COVID-19 restrictions.

06:26 – Moderna has extended a deal to secure large volumes of the lipids used to produce its experimental COVID-19 vaccine in a bid to meet increasing demand for the medicine, the US biotech company said on Thursday.

04:51 – Thailand reported 11 new coronavirus cases and no new deaths, bringing its total to 3,065 confirmed cases and 57 fatalities since the outbreak started in January.
The cases were Thai nationals in quarantine who recently returned from overseas, including four from Kuwait, six from Qatar, and one from India, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the government’s coronavirus task force.
04:08 – As the coronavirus spreads into indigenous lands in Brazil, killing at least 40 people so far by the government’s count, the first two COVID-19 deaths were registered this week in the Xingu area, one of the biggest reserves in the world.

03:29 – South Korea reported its biggest spike in coronavirus cases in nearly two months, as officials scramble to tackle fresh clusters that have raised concerns of a possible second wave of infections.

Initial investigations point to negligence as cause of Beirut blast

Updated 46 min 25 sec ago

Initial investigations point to negligence as cause of Beirut blast

  • 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, used in fertilisers and bombs, had been stored for six years at the port without safety measures
  • A source said a fire had started at warehouse 9 of the port and spread to warehouse 12, where the ammonium nitrate was stored

BEIRUT: Initial investigations indicate years of inaction and negligence over the storage of highly explosive material in Beirut port caused the blast that killed over 100 people on Tuesday, an official source familiar with the findings said.
The prime minister and presidency said on Tuesday that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, used in fertilisers and bombs, had been stored for six years at the port without safety measures.
"It is negligence," the official source told Reuters, adding that the storage safety issue had been before several committees and judges and "nothing was done" to issue an order to remove or dispose of the highly combustible material.
The source said a fire had started at warehouse 9 of the port and spread to warehouse 12, where the ammonium nitrate was stored.
Tuesday's explosion was the most powerful ever suffered by Beirut, a city is still scarred by civil war three decades ago and reeling from a deep financial crisis rooted in decades of corruption and economic mismanagement.
Badri Daher, Director General of Lebanese Customs, told broadcaster LBCI on Wednesday that customs had sent six documents to the judiciary warning that the material posed a danger.
"We requested that it be re-exported but that did not happen. We leave it to the experts and those concerned to determine why," Daher said.
Another source close to a port employee said a team that inspected the ammonium nitrate six months ago warned that if it was not moved it would "blow up all of Beirut".
According to two documents seen by Reuters, Lebanese Customs had asked the judiciary in 2016 and 2017 to ask the "concerned maritime agency" to re-export or approve the sale of the ammonium nitrate, removed from the a cargo vessel, Rhosus, and deposited in warehouse 12, to ensure port safety.
One of the documents cited similar requests in 2014 and 2015.
"A local and international investigation needs to be conducted into the incident, given the scale and the circumstances under which these goods were brought into the ports," said Ghassan Hasbani, former deputy prime minister and a member of the Lebanese Forces party., an industry network dealing with legal cases, had said in a 2015 report that the Rhosus, sailing under a Moldovan flag, docked in Beirut in September 2013 when it had technical problems while sailing from Georgia to Mozambique with 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate.
It said that, upon inspection, the vessel was forbidden from sailing and shortly afterwards it was abandoned by its owners, leading to various creditors coming forward with legal claims.
"Owing to the risks associated with retaining the ammonium nitrate on board the vessel, the port authorities discharged the cargo onto the port's warehouses," it added.