Countries in guarded transition to normalcy amid coronavirus pandemic

Shoppers walk through an open air market in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire on June 4, 2020, as coronavirus lockdown measures are eased. (AFP)
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Updated 05 June 2020

Countries in guarded transition to normalcy amid coronavirus pandemic

DUBAI: The global community continues its return to normalcy amid the coronavirus pandemic, with countries further opening up battered economies and resuming activities from business to sport.

In the UK, scientists are running a drugs trial to test if ibuprofen is an effective treatment for hospital patients with COVID-19. The trial, called Liberate, will treat half the patients with ibuprofen on top of their usual care.

Thursday, June 4, 2020 (all times in GMT)

19:10 - Egypt announced 1,152 new cases of COVID-19 and 38 more deaths from the disease on Thursday. 

14:55 - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Thursday warned that coronavirus could further weaken sub-Saharan Africa's ability to adapt to climate change, as measures to contain the pandemic stretch limited resources.

13:20 - Saudi Arabia confirmed on Thursday a $150 million donation to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to help international efforts to fight the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

12:45 - Spain's government says June 22 reopening of land borders is "under study," according to a source, and will be discussed with France and Portugal.

12:42Saudi Arabia announced 32 more deaths from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and 1,975 new cases of the disease on Thursday.

12:40 - Czech prome minister Babis says his government plans to cancel travel restrictions with Austria, Germany, Hungary on Friday.

12:20 - UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres backed the development Thursday of a "people's vaccine" for the new coronavirus that is available to everyone globally.

"A COVID-19 vaccine must be seen as a global public good -- a people's vaccine, which a growing number of world leaders are calling for," Guterres told a virtual vaccine fundraising summit, urging "global solidarity to ensure that every person, everywhere, has access".

11:53 Turkey plans to resume flights with around 40 countries in June and has reached preliminary agreements for reciprocal air travel with 15 countries

11:31 – Tunisians returned to mosques and cafes as the country ended most lockdown restrictions after largely containing the spread of the novel coronavirus for now. READ MORE

11:18 – Malaysia reported 277 coronavirus cases, its biggest daily increase, due to a growing outbreak at a migrant detention center, sparking accusations the government is failing to protect foreign workers.

11:14 – Jordan revised its coronavirus curfew to 12 a.m. until 6 a.m. and will now allow movement between governorates in private vehicles.

11:06 – Dubai-based carrier Emirates is resuming of flights to 29 cities and transits through Dubai.

10:55 Iran announced 3,574 new coronavirus infections, its highest daily count since the outbreak began in February.

10:48 – Kuwait confirmed 562 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of infected people to 29,921.

10:29 – The Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) season will resume on June 20, the CBA said, becoming the country’s first major sports league to return to action after the coronavirus.

10:12 – The governor of Indonesia’s capital said on Thursday that movement restrictions to stem the spread of the coronavirus would be extended in Jakarta, but June would be a transition period with some rules conditionally eased.

09:58 – Oman reported 778 new coronavirus cases, increasing its caseload 14,316.

09:50Pakistan reported a record single-day spike in coronavirus-related deaths with 82 new fatalities and 4,688 cases that it says resulted from increased testing in the past 24 hours. In India, COVID-19 fatalities have passed 6,000 after registering 260 deaths overnight.

09:02Israel’s parliament told employees to remain home and canceled lawmaker meetings, after a member of the Arab-led Joint List tested positive for coronavirus.

07:36 – Russia reported 8,831 new cases of the novel coronavirus, taking the total number of infections across the country to 441,108. The country’s coronavirus crisis response center said 169 people had died from the virus in the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide death toll to 5,384.


El-Sisi says Egypt will not stand idle to threat to Egyptian and Libyan security

Updated 5 min 55 sec ago

El-Sisi says Egypt will not stand idle to threat to Egyptian and Libyan security

  • Libyan tribal leaders flew on Wednesday to Cairo from the eastern city of Benghazi for a meeting with El-Sisi
  • El-Sisi said at the meeting Egypt’s main goal in Libya was to “activate the free will of the Libyan people”

CAIRO: Egypt will not stand idle in the face of any moves that pose a direct threat to Egyptian and Libyan national security, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Thursday, according to a presidency statement.
The statement also said tribal leaders meeting El-Sisi in Cairo had authorized the president and Egypt's army to intervene in their country "to protect Libyan sovereignty".
El-Sisi met mainly eastern Libyan tribesmen in a show of solidarity on Thursday, days after Libya’s eastern-based parliament urged Cairo to intervene in their country’s civil war.
The meeting reflects the growing regional stakes in Libya, divided since 2014 between areas held by the government in Tripoli, backed by Turkey, and a rival eastern administration, backed by the UAE, Russia and Egypt.
On Tuesday, the eastern-based parliament allied to commander Haftar Khalifa called for Egypt to help counter Turkish support for Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.
Turkey has helped the Tripoli administration force Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) to abandon an offensive on Tripoli.


Any major escalation could risk igniting a direct conflict in Libya among the foreign powers that have already poured in weapons and fighters in violation of an arms embargo.
In response to Turkish actions, El-Sisi last month warned that Egypt’s army might enter Libya if the Tripoli government and its Turkish allies renewed an assault on Sirte, a central coastal city seen as the gateway to Libya’s main oil export terminals.
Libyan tribal leaders flew on Wednesday to Cairo from the eastern city of Benghazi, the main LNA base, for a meeting with El-Sisi entitled “Egypt and Libya, one people, one fate.” Haftar enjoys the backing of tribes mainly from east but also former LNA strongholds like Tarhouna in western Libya.
On the flight some tribesmen were chanting “El-Sisi” and “Haftar,” a video posted online showed.
El-Sisi said at the meeting Egypt’s main goal in Libya was to “activate the free will of the Libyan people,” a presidency statement said. It also published pictures showing El-Sisi sitting next to tribal leaders, all wearing masks against coronavirus.
In June El-Sisi said Egypt could act militarily in Egypt either if the House of Representatives requested this, or simply based on the UN charter of a right of self-defense.
Eastern tribes and other factions allied to Haftar have also been involved in closure of oil ports since January. The LNA says the tribes act on their own but analysts say their activity in Haftar-controlled territory is coordinated with the LNA.
Sirte is held by the LNA and the last major western city before the historic dividing line with the east, now controlled by Haftar, two regions that were united with the south at Libya’s independence in 1951.