International

Russia trying to steal Covid-19 vaccine data, claim UK, US and Canada

Russia

MNA International Desk: Hackers backed by the Russian state are trying to steal Covid-19 vaccine and treatment research from academic and pharmaceutical institutions around the world, Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said on Thursday. A co-ordinated statement from Britain, the US, and Canada attributed the attacks to group APT29, also known as Cozy Bear, which they said was almost certainly operating as part of Russian intelligence services. “We condemn these despicable attacks against those doing vital work to combat the coronavirus pandemic,” said NCSC Director of Operations, Paul Chichester. Russian news agency RIA cited spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying ...

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Health experts put Tokyo on the highest alert for Covid-19

Tokyo

MNA International Desk: Health experts put Tokyo on the highest alert for coronavirus infections on Wednesday, alarmed by a recent spike in cases to record levels, while the governor of the Japanese capital said the situation was “rather severe”. The resurgence of the virus in Tokyo could add to the growing pressure on policymakers to shore up the world’s third economy, which analysts say is set to shrink at its fastest pace in decades this fiscal year due to the pandemic. “It is a fact that the number of patients is going up quite a bit and exceeding peaks,” said ...

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UK raises pandemic donations for refugees

donations

MNA International Desk: The United Kingdom (UK) has taken initiatives to double the impact of British people’s donations and ensure that UK charities working on the ground can reach even more people in need specially the global displaced population including Rohingyas. The UK government will be matching the first £5 million of public donations to the Disaster Emergency Committee’s (a coalition of 14 UK charities) coronavirus appeal to help the more vulnerable countries and communities affected by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a message sent by British High Commission here today. Funds raised by this appeal will initially focus on ...

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Saudi eases curfew, keeps 24-hour lockdown in Mecca

Saudi Arabia

MNA International Desk: Saudi Arabia eased curfews on Sunday across the country but kept 24-hour lockdown in place in the city of Mecca and neighbourhoods previously put in isolation to curb the spread of the new coronavirus. It also signed a deal with China to conduct 9 million tests for the virus. Saudi has so far recorded 17,522 cases of infection and 139 deaths, reports Reuters quoting state news agency SPA. These are the highest numbers in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which together have recorded almost 46,000 cases and 258 deaths. Outside Mecca and lockdown areas, curfews will ...

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US not to join WHO initiative for COVID-19 vaccine

COVID

MNA International Desk: The United States will not take part in the launching of a global initiative on Friday to speed the development, production and distribution of drugs and vaccines against COVID-19, a spokesman for the US mission in Geneva says. “There will be no US official participation”, he said in an email reply to a query, reports Reuters. “We look forward to learning more about this initiative in support of international cooperation to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 as soon as possible,” the spokesman added. US President Donald Trump has announced a suspension of funding to the World Health ...

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Pakistani doctors urge govt to reimpose mosque restrictions

Pakistani

MNA International Desk: Leading Pakistani doctors on Wednesday urged the government and clerics to reverse a decision to allow prayer congregations at mosques during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, warning that the spread of coronavirus could spiral out of control. Pakistan on Saturday lifted precautionary restrictions on congregational prayers. The decision came three days after clerics said such limitations were not acceptable and after several incidents of clashes between police and worshippers. Congregations increase in size during Ramadan, which is expected to begin on Friday in Pakistan. “Unfortunately, our rulers have made a wrong decision; our clerics have shown ...

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Trump to sign order to suspend immigration into US

immigration

MNA International Desk: US President Donald Trump said on Monday he will be signing an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. “In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States,” Trump said in a tweet late on Monday. The development comes as the US death toll from the virus topped 42,000 on Monday, according to a Reuters tally. The United States has ...

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Gunman kills 16 in rural Canada, country’s deadliest mass shooting

gunman

MNA International Desk: A gunman who dressed as a policeman killed at least 16 people, including a female police officer, in the province of Nova Scotia, Canadian police say. The 12-hour rampage ended in a car chase. The attacker is also dead. Residents in the rural town of Portapique had been advised to lock themselves indoors after the attack began on Saturday. Police earlier said the suspect was driving what appeared to be a police car, reports BBC. The gunman shot people in several locations across Nova Scotia which meant authorities were still trying to establish the final death toll, ...

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Europe COVID-19 cases almost at 1m, coming weeks ‘critical’: WHO

COVID-19

MNA International Desk: Europe is in eye of the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the number of cases nearing a million, and should move with extreme caution when considering easing lockdowns, the World Health Organisation’s regional director said on Thursday, reports Reuters. “Case numbers across the region continue to climb. In the past 10 days, the number of cases reported in Europe has nearly doubled to close to 1 million,” the WHO’s European director, Hans Kluge, told reporters in an online briefing. This meant that about 50 per cent of the global burden of COVID-19 was in Europe, Kluge ...

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UN chief urges religious leaders to unite in fight for COVID-19

COVID-19

MNA International Desk: United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres has called on the religious leaders of all faiths to join forces to work for peace around the world and focus on the common battle to defeat the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). He came up with the call in a “special message” at a time on the spiritual calendar when Christians are celebrating Easter, Jews are marking Passover and Muslims will soon begin the holy month of Ramadan. Extending his warmest wishes to all those observing these important moments, he said, “We have always known these occasions to be moments of community.” ...

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Covid-19: New York using mass graves

coronavirus

MNA International Desk: Images have emerged of coffins being buried in a mass grave in New York City, as the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak continues to rise. Workers in hazmat outfits were seen using a ladder to descend into a huge pit where the coffins were stacked, reports BBC. The location is Hart Island, used for New Yorkers with no next of kin or who could not afford a funeral. New York state now has more coronavirus cases than any single country, according to latest figures. The state’s confirmed caseload of Covid-19 jumped by 10,000 on Thursday to ...

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Italy announces guarantees for bank loans worth over €400b

Italy

MNA International Desk: Italy’s government has approved new emergency decree that will offer more than 400 billion euros (352 billion pounds) worth of liquidity and bank loans to companies hit by the coronavirus crisis. The legislation, combined with a previous stimulus package unveiled in March, would allow banks to offer credit totaling more than 750 billion euros to try to stave off the collapse of the euro zone’s third largest economy. “This is real firepower. I cannot remember such powerful measures being introduced in the history of our republic to help with the financing of our businesses,” Prime Minister Giuseppe ...

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Mainland China sees rise in new coronavirus cases

coronavirus

MNA International Desk: Mainland China reported 30 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, up from 19 a day earlier as the number of cases involving travellers from abroad as well as local transmissions increased, highlighting the difficulty in stamping out the outbreak. The National Health Commission said in a statement on Sunday that 25 of the latest cases involved people who had entered from abroad, compared with 18 such cases a day earlier. Five new locally transmitted infections were also reported on Saturday, all in the southern coastal province of Guangdong, up from a day earlier. The mainland has now reported ...

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Global COVID-19 virus cases near a million

coronavirus

MNA International Desk: Confirmed coronavirus cases approached one million around the world on Thursday as Europe reeled from the pandemic and the US prepared for what President Donald Trump warned would be “horrific” days ahead. The virus claimed thousands more lives in its relentless march across the globe, including nearly 1,000 new deaths in Spain, despite more than half of the planet subjected to some form of lockdown. And it continued to wreak havoc on the global economy, with Spain reporting its biggest monthly increase in jobless claims on record and the US expected to reveal more massive job losses. ...

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Virus prevention measures turn violent in some African countries

coronavirus

MNA International Desk: Police fired tear gas at a crowd of Kenyan ferry commuters as the country’s first day of a coronavirus curfew slid into chaos. Elsewhere, officers were captured in mobile phone footage whacking people with batons. Virus prevention measures have taken a violent turn in parts of Africa as countries impose lockdowns and curfews or seal off major cities. Health experts say the virus’ spread, though still at an early stage on the continent, resembles that of Europe, adding to widespread anxiety. Cases across Africa were set to jump above 4,000 on Saturday, reports AP. Abuses of the ...

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Putin announces paid leave for all Russians next week

Russia

MNA International Desk: Russian President Vladimir Putin declared on Wednesday that all Russians would receive paid leave next week as part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All necessary institutions and establishments, including hospitals, pharmacies, shops, banks, transport and government bodies at all levels, will continue their work, Putin said in a televised address to the nation. He proposed to postpone the referendum on constitutional amendments on April 22 and the new date will be set after consulting experts, reports AP. “Now it is extremely important to prevent the threat of the rapid spread of the disease,” the ...

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Indians scramble for supplies as three-week coronavirus lockdown begins

Indians

MNA International Desk: Indians crowded grocery stores and chemists on Wednesday in a struggle for essential items after prime minister Narendra Modi ordered a total lockdown for three weeks to fight a coronavirus pandemic, one of the toughest such measures worldwide. India’s tally of 536 cases and 10 deaths is dwarfed by China, Italy and Spain, but Modi and health experts have warned that the nation of 1.3 billion people faces a tidal wave of infections if harsh steps are not taken. People in the key cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru rushed to stock up after Modi decreed the ...

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Myanmar reports first cases of coronavirus

Myanmar

MNA International Desk: Myanmar reported its first confirmed cases of coronavirus in two men who had recently travelled to the United States and the United Kingdom. The Southeast Asian nation had been the most populous country in the world to say it had no cases, despite sharing a long and porous border with China, where the virus originated in the city of Wuhan. The health ministry said a 36-year-old travelling from the United States and 26-year-old returning from Britain, both Myanmar nationals, had tested positive. “Investigation is ongoing on history of people who have been in contact with these two ...

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UN plans global fund to support treatment of coronavirus patients

coronavirus

MNA International Desk: The United Nations will create a fund to support the treatment of coronavirus patients worldwide, Norway’s foreign ministry said on Monday. “A multi-donor fund under UN auspices will provide predictability for our partners and help to make the efforts more effective,” Norway’s Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said in a statement, reports Reuters. The purpose of the fund is to assist developing countries with weak health systems in addressing the crisis as well as to tackle the long-term consequences, the ministry added. A formal announcement could be made later this week, it said. Almost 340,000 people have ...

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Spain warns the ‘worst is yet to come’

coronavirus

MNA International Desk: The Spanish government said on Saturday it would do whatever was needed to combat the coronavirus pandemic and warned that “the worst is yet to come” after the national toll surpassed 1,300 deaths and reached close to 25,000 cases. The second-worst outbreak in Europe showed no sign of slowing as the death toll jumped by more than 300 from the previous day. Intensive care units are filling up in some hospitals. “We have yet to receive the impact of the strongest, most damaging wave, which will test our material and moral capacities to the limit, as well ...

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Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia suspends prayers at mosques

Saudi Arabia

MNA International Desk: Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday that mosques would no longer be open for the customary five daily prayers or Friday congregations, an exceptional move to limit the spread of the coronavirus which has infected 171 people in the kingdom. Saudi Arabia, which chairs the Group of 20 major economies, announced an extraordinary virtual leaders summit next week “to put forward a coordinated set of policies to protect people and safeguard the global economy.” The US-allied Gulf Arab states have registered more than 1,000 infections, many linked to travel to neighbouring Iran, which is an epicentre for the ...

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US, China continue ‘war of words’ over coronavirus outbreak

China

MNA International Desk: A war of words between China and the United States showed no signs of let up on Monday, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a phone call with a top Chinese diplomat expressing ‘strong US objections’ over what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to shift blame for the spread of the coronavirus. Ties between the world’s top two economies, already complicated due to issues including trade, intellectual property rights as well as press freedoms, have further been tested by the outbreak of coronavirus, which causes the sometimes fatal, highly contagious respiratory illness COVID-19, reports Reuters. ...

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COVID-19: EU states record highest one-day death toll

coronavirus

MNA International Desk: The three states bearing the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe have all recorded their highest death tolls for a single day. Italy saw 368 deaths bring its total to 1,809, Spain recorded 97 more deaths for a total of 288, and France reported 29 deaths, giving a total of 120. The UK also saw a single-day record, with 14 new deaths and a total of 35, according to a BBC report Monday. Governments across Europe have responded by curbing the movements of citizens and tightening borders. Germany is to impose controls on its borders with ...

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Coronavirus: Spanish cases up by 1,500 in one day

Coronavirus

MNA International Desk: Coronavirus cases in Spain have risen by 1,500 to more than 5,700, public health officials say, reports The BBC. Spain is the worst affected country in Europe after Italy, which has more than 15,000 cases. The news comes as the Spanish government meets to declare a national state of emergency, for only the second time in its recent history. On Friday the World Health Organization (WHO) said Europe was now the “epicentre” of the pandemic. Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to use aggressive measures, community mobilisation and social distancing to save lives. Several European ...

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US summons Chinese envoy over Beijing’s coronavirus comments

Chinese

MNA International Desk: The US State Department summoned the Chinese ambassador to the United States on Friday to protest against comments by Beijing suggesting the US military might have brought the coronavirus to Wuhan, as tensions between the two global powers over the outbreak intensified. David Stillwell, the top US diplomat for East Asia, delivered a very “stern representation” to China’s ambassador Cui Tiankai, a State Department official said, adding that Beijing’s envoy was “very defensive.” The State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said China was seeking to deflect criticism of its role in “starting a global ...

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Greece reports first coronavirus death

Greece

MNA International Desk: Greece reported its first fatality from a coronavirus infection on Thursday, a 66-year-old man who had returned from a religious pilgrimage to Israel and Egypt at the end of February. The deceased had underlying health issues, the health ministry said in a statement. There were 99 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Greece by late Wednesday, reports Reuters. Separately, passengers on board a ferry boat were quarantined as a precaution after a crew member said he felt unwell, a health ministry spokesman said. The crew member disembarked for further health checks. The Athens News Agency reported there were ...

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Putin to stay in power until 2036

Vladimir Putin

MNA International Desk: The Russian parliament approved a constitutional reform to allow the country’s President Vladimir Putin to stay in power until 2036. The parliament gave the approval in the third and final reading Wednesday, a move that will allow Putin to remain in office for another 12 years after his current term ends in 2024, reports AP. The Kremlin-controlled lower house, the State Duma, endorsed a set of amendments to the constitution and a provision resetting the term count for Putin after the revised constitution goes into force. It passed by a 383-0 vote with 43 abstentions. A nationwide ...

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