Sunday, 07 March, 2021

COVID-19: Nine latest global developments-


Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis.

OPEC members, led by Saudi Arabia, and other key oil producers agree to extend historic output cuts through July as oil prices tentatively recover and coronavirus lockdowns ease.

Algerian Oil Minister Mohamed Arkab, who holds OPEC’s rotating presidency, tells AFP the agreed cut for July was 9.6 million barrels per day, just slightly below the 9.7 mbpd cut for May and June.

Brazil threatens WHO exit –

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro threatens to follow in the footsteps of US President Donald Trump and pull out of the World Health Organization.

“I’m telling you right now, the United States left the WHO, and we’re studying that, in the future. Either the WHO works without ideological bias, or we leave, too,” he tells journalists outside the presidential palace.

397,179 deaths 

The pandemic has killed at least 397,179 people worldwide since it surfaced in China late last year, according to an AFP tally at 1900 GMT on Saturday, based on official sources.

The United States is the worst-hit country with 109,497 deaths, followed by Britain with 40,465, Brazil with 35,026, Italy with 33,846, and France with 29,111 fatalities.

Global rallies

Ignoring social distancing measures, protests are held against racism and police brutality in cities worldwide, from Sydney to London.

Tens of thousands of Australians defy Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s call to “find a better way” to protest, while thousands in Britain ignore the health minister’s warnings.

In Paris, protesters flout a police ban and rally outside the US embassy compound and near the Eiffel Tower.

Events are also scheduled in Washington and other US cities.

Iran warns of long road –

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tells Iranians to prepare to live with the virus “for a long time”, as the country that is battling the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak gradually eases restrictions but also sees a rising trajectory of infection figures.

France reboots tourism –

France’s Palace of Versailles reopens, but without the US and Chinese tourists that usually make up a third of its visitors.

And its overseas territory French Polynesia says it will reopen to international travel next month.

Sri Lanka And Liberia too

Sri Lanka’s tourism industry can reopen for foreign guests from August but visitors must carry a COVID-19 certificate and take a virus test upon arrival, and have further checks during their stay, officials say.

Liberia will open its international airport and hotels on June 21 and a state of emergency due to expire on June 9 will not be renewed, the government says.

Tokyo Olympics: 2021 or never –

High-ranking Olympic official Pierre-Olivier Beckers confirms that the delayed Tokyo Olympics “will be held in 2021 or not at all”, reiterating the stance put forward by Japan and the International Olympic Committee that next year is the last chance to hold postponed Games.

And… action! –

California will allow film, television and music production to resume from June 12 if conditions permit, the governor’s office says.

It is not yet clear if major Hollywood studios will also be able to resume operations from next week because Los Angeles county is one of the main epicentres in California, recording about half the infections and deaths in the state.

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