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.


GCC urges UN to extend Iran arms embargo 

The GCC — flag pictured — i comprised of six Arab Gulf nations: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar. (File/AP)
Updated 25 min 17 sec ago

GCC urges UN to extend Iran arms embargo 

  • Letter from head of GCC says an extension is imperative to “ensure and preserve peace” in the Middle East.

RIYADH: The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has asked the UN to extend an international arms embargo on Iran.

A letter sent by the GCC’s secretary general, Nayef Al-Hajraf, to the Security Council cites Tehran’s support for terrorism and its hostile actions against neighbouring countries as reasons to back an extension.

The embargo prevents the movement of conventional weaponry in and out of Iran, and is set to expire on Oct. 18 as part of the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal.

The agreement with international powers, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), provided sanctions relief to Iran in exchange for the regime curtailing its nuclear program.

In the letter, Al-Hajraf, points out that, in violation of the deal, Iran has “continued to proliferate conventional weapons and armed terrorist and sectarian organizations and movements throughout the region.”

It also said Tehran “has not desisted from armed interventions in neighboring countries, directly and through organizations and movements armed and trained by Iran.”

The embargo’s restrictions, the letter states, are “imperative to ensure and preserve peace and stability in this region.”

The US has also been pushing heavily for an extension to the arms embargo, warning that lifting it could have dire consequences.

In June, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cautioned that, if the embargo is terminated, “Iran will be able to purchase advanced weapons systems” and would “become an arms dealer of choice for terrorists and rogue regimes all throughout the world.”

Pompeo added: “This is unacceptable.”

Russia and China, two of the permanent five members of the UN’s Security Council with veto power, want the arms embargo to lift as scheduled on Oct. 18.

Should that happen, the US has warned that it could introduce “snap back” sanctions built into the original 2015 deal, unilaterally restoring all UN sanctions on Tehran.