Tue, 11 Aug 2020

BEIJING, July 31 (Xinhua) -- The following are the updates on the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

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BRASILIA -- Michelle Bolsonaro, wife of Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, and Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Marcos Pontes are the latest high-profile Brazilians to have tested positive for COVID-19, it was announced on Thursday.

The first lady, 38, "is in good health and will follow all of the established protocols," the president's office said.

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WASHINGTON -- The number of initial jobless claims in the United States rose to 1.43 million last week amid a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, following an increase in previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

In the week ending July 25, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits increased by 12,000 from a revised 1,422,000 in the prior week, the department said.

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YEREVAN -- Armenia on Thursday reported 259 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing its total to 38,196, according to the National Center for Disease Control.

Data from the center showed that 542 more patients have recovered in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of recoveries to 28,366.

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DOHA -- The Qatari health ministry on Thursday announced 307 new COVID-19 infections, raising the total number of confirmed cases in the Gulf state to 110,460, official Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.

Meanwhile, 286 more recovered from the virus, bringing the total recoveries to 107,135, while the death toll increased by two to 171, according to a ministry statement quoted by QNA.

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COLOMBO -- The China-Sri Lanka Cooperation Studies Center of the Pathfinder Foundation together with the Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka launched on Thursday the Sinhalese translation of the Chinese book "Prevention and Control of COVID-19" which outlines health and preventive measures against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The translated book was launched at the Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka with copies handed over to Sri Lanka's Education Ministry and Health Ministry.

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GENEVA -- The World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Thursday highlighted the role of young people in curbing the COVID-19 outbreak.

"Although older people are at a higher risk of severe disease, younger people are at risk too. One of the challenges we face is convincing younger people of this risk," the WHO chief said at a virtual press conference.

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ROME -- Italy has lost 600,000 jobs in June compared to February -- before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the country into a national lockdown that drove its economy to a halt, according to provisional estimates released by the National Statistics Institute (ISTAT) on Thursday.

Italy's unemployment rate rose to 8.8 percent, marking an increase by 0.6 percentage points, in June, and youth unemployment jumped to 27.6 percent, increasing by 1.9 percentage points, compared to the previous month, ISTAT said.

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ANKARA -- Turkey confirmed 967 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, raising the total infections to 229,891, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

Meanwhile, 15 people died from the deadly respiratory virus in the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 5,674, Koca tweeted.

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JERUSALEM -- Israel's Ministry of Health on Thursday reported 1,737 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total infections to 70,036.

The death toll from the coronavirus in Israel soared to 500, with the addition of nine deaths, the ministry said.

ADDIS ABABA -- The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the African continent reached 891,199 on Thursday, the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.

The Africa CDC, a specialized healthcare agency of the 55-member African Union (AU) Commission in its latest situation update issued on Thursday, said that the number of deaths related to the COVID-19 pandemic rose to 18, 884 as of Thursday, up from 18,507 on Wednesday.

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ADDIS ABABA -- Ethiopia's confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 16,615 after 805 new COVID-19 positive cases were confirmed on Thursday, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health said.

This is so far the highest daily increase in the Horn of Africa country.

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JERUSALEM -- Israeli researchers have found that a viral infection in a pregnant woman's body can harm the fetal brain cells, even if the fetus is not infected with the virus, Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS) said Thursday.

This may be caused by the mother's immune system response to a virus, affecting the fetal brain cells, according to a WIS research, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

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COPENHAGEN -- Denmark can expect to be hit by a second COVID-19 wave this September, according to findings presented in a press release by the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) on Thursday.

Based on simulations using a scientific method of calculation rooted in the methods of particle physics and developed in association with colleagues from the University of Lyons in France, the SDU projected that around the 35th to 37th weeks of this year, Denmark risks being hit by a new wave of COVID-19 infections as strong as the first that hit the country in the spring.

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LONDON -- British car production plunged by 42.8 percent in the first half (H1) of 2020 year on year, recording the weakest six months since 1954, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said Thursday.

Data revealed that British car production was 381,357 units in H1 amid the hard hit caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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VIENTIANE -- Lao Prime Minister's Office on Wednesday has released a notice urging everyone to continue to take precautions against the COVID-19 pandemic, even as many lockdown measures were lifted.

Under the notice, which will be in effect from Saturday to August 31, authorities and people countrywide must remain vigilant and continue to abide by measures determined by the National Taskforce Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

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NEW DELHI -- Federal health ministry Thursday said India cannot count on herd immunity to stop the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic given its demography and scale, instead, it will have to rely on a vaccine.

"In a country with the size of the population like India, herd immunity cannot be a strategic choice or option. It can only be an outcome, and that too at a very high cost as it means millions of people would have to be infected, get hospitalised and many would die in the process," said Rajesh Bhushan, secretary in the ministry of health at a press briefing.

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BEIJING -- Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday called on China and Indonesia to focus on cooperation in fighting the COVID-19 epidemic and promoting development.

During a video meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Wang said currently COVID-19 was spreading globally, which endangered human health, impacted the world economy and threatened global stability.

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KUWAIT CITY -- Kuwait on Thursday reported 626 new COVID-19 cases and one more death, raising the tally of infections to 66,529 and the death toll to 445, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

Currently, 8,754 patients are receiving treatment, including 134 in ICU, the statement added.

The ministry also announced the recovery of 863 more patients, raising the total recoveries in the country to 57,330.

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