Trump requests virus test kits from South Korea: Seoul

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — US President Donald Trump has requested novel coronavirus test kits from South Korea, his counterpart Moon Jae-in said Wednesday, as Washington pushes for a quick reopening of the world’s biggest economy. The South was once the hardest-hit country outside China, where the virus first emerged, but appears to have brought its outbreak under control thanks to a huge testing and contact-tracing effort. By midnight on Tuesday more than 367,000 people […]

UPDATED: Quake hits off Russia’s Kuril Islands, prompts tsunami alert

MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — A 7.2-magnitude quake hit off Russia’s Kuril Islands on Wednesday, prompting local residents to seek higher ground due to a brief tsunami threat, authorities said. The Russian emergencies ministry said the quake’s epicenter was 210 kilometers (130 miles) southeast of Severo-Kurilsk, a town of around 2,500 people on the Kuril island of Paramushir. Officials reported no casualties or damage but said 400 residents of Severo-Kurilsk were taken to higher ground. The […]

Saudi reports first coronavirus death as infections spike

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) — Saudi Arabia on Tuesday reported its first death from the new coronavirus as the total number of infections spiked to 767, according to the health ministry. An Afghan resident in the western city of Medina died from the virus, the ministry said, while reporting 205 new infections — the biggest jump in the kingdom in a single day. Saudi Arabia, which has reported the highest number of infections in the […]

India to go under total virus lockdown, says PM Modi

by Bhuvan Bagga with Aishwarya Kumar and Vishal Manve in Mumbai NEW DELHI, India (AFP) — India’s 1.3 billion people will go under “total lockdown” for 21 days to combat the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Tuesday, sparking panic buying. “From 12 midnight today (1830 GMT Tuesday), the entire country will be in lockdown, total lockdown,” Modi said in a national television address to the world’s second-most-populous nation. “To save India, […]

Jordan arrests over 1,600 for breaking virus curfew

AMMAN, Jordan (AFP) — More than 1,600 people have been arrested in Jordan in three days for violating a curfew aimed at stemming the spread of coronavirus, a security official said Tuesday. The source said the 1,657 people arrested across Jordan since the curfew came into effect on Saturday had been placed in quarantine centers run by the army. The government has warned that people caught breaking the rules would be quarantined for 14 days […]

Iran coronavirus death toll rises to 1,934

TEHRAN, Iran (AFP) — Iran on Tuesday announced 122 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, raising the official toll to 1,934 in one of the world’s worst-hit countries. Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said a record 1,762 new cases have been confirmed in Iran over the past 24 hours and 24,811 people are now known to have been infected. © Agence France-Presse

China to lift travel curbs on Hubei province, including Wuhan

BEIJING, China (AFP) — China announced Tuesday that a lockdown would be lifted on more than 50 million people in central Hubei province where the coronavirus first emerged late last year. But fears rose over a second wave of infections fuelled by people arriving from overseas. After two months living with draconian curbs on daily life, residents will be allowed to leave Hubei from midnight Tuesday if healthy, while Wuhan city — the initial epicentre […]

China’s imported virus cases spike as fears grow of second wave

BEIJING, China (AFP) — China reported 78 new cases of the deadly coronavirus on Tuesday, with the vast majority brought in from overseas as fears rise of a second wave of infections. The first new case in nearly a week was also reported in Wuhan — the epicenter where the virus emerged last year — along with three other local infections elsewhere in the country. Seven more people died, the National Health Commission said, all […]

Turkey using drug from China for coronavirus

ANKARA, Turkey (AFP) — Turkey’s health minister said Monday that the country is using a drug sent from China on patients suffering from the novel coronavirus. “From this morning we have brought a special drug used in China which is claimed to have resulted in improvements in intensive care patients, cutting their time in care from 11-12 days to four days,” Fahrettin Koca told reporters. He did not give more information on the drug but […]

Iran reports 127 new coronavirus deaths, raising toll to 1,812

TEHRAN, Iran (AFP) — Iran on Monday announced 127 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, raising the official toll to 1,812 in one of the worst hit countries along with Italy, Spain and China. Health ministry spokesman Kianouche Jahanpour said 1,411 new cases had been recorded in Iran over the past 24 hours, bringing the total of those infected to 23,049. Jahanpour, who was speaking during his daily news conference devoted to the pandemic, said […]

Hong Kong bars non-residents, limits alcohol over virus

by Su Xinqi HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Hong Kong will ban all non-residents from entering the city from midnight on Tuesday evening in a bid to halt the coronavirus, its leader said, as she unveiled plans to stop restaurants and bars serving alcohol. Despite its proximity to the Chinese mainland, the financial hub has managed to stave off a runaway outbreak of the deadly virus — partly thanks to the public overwhelmingly embracing masks, […]

Back to work in China virus epicenter as restrictions eased

BEIJING, China (AFP) — People in central China where the coronavirus was first detected are allowed to go back to work and public transport is restarting, as some normality slowly returns after a two-month lockdown. The easing of restrictions in Wuhan city comes as Chinese health officials reported Monday no new local cases of the deadly virus, but confirmed another 39 infections brought from overseas. Wuhan residents considered healthy can move around the city and […]