Covid-19 surges in China, Hong Kong fears mass spread
China reported 101 new Covid-19 cases over the past 24 hours, the highest since April, according to the national health commission (NHC) on Wednesday, as Beijing is expanding nucleic acid testing and contact tracing for new clusters mushrooming in various cities.
Fear also gripped Hong Kong, which is in the spotlight of a US-China tussle these days, whose leader Carrie Lam warned that the city is on the brink of a large-scale outbreak of the coronavirus and urged people to stay indoors as much as possible.
Lam said, “We are on the verge of a large-scale community outbreak, which may lead to a collapse of our hospital system and cost lives. I appeal to you to strictly follow social distancing measures and stay at home.”
In China, 89 cases were reported from Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, in a record single-day spike. It took the total number of infections in the province to more than 320.
Also on Wednesday, the BBC reported that US attorney general William Barr will undergo a Covid-19 test since he had recently come into contact with Texan Republican congressman Louie Gohmert, who has tested positive. Barr had reportedly met Gohmert while testifying before the House judiciary panel on Tuesday.
Coronavirus deaths in the US rose by more than 1,200 on Tuesday, the biggest one-day increase since May. California and Florida reported a one-day record spike in deaths on Tuesday, together accounting for 362 of the 1,227 new fatalities.
US President Donald Trump issued a stout defence of the antimalarial drug HCQ as treatment for Covid-19, hours after social media companies took down videos promoting its use as misinformation.
In Saudi Arabia, Muslims began the hajj on Wednesday, circling Islam’s holiest site along socially-distanced paths in this year’s downsized pilgrimage.
Health officials in South Korea on Wednesday approved the country's first domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine for people 18 years or older, adding another public health tool in the fight against a prolonged pandemic.
Sri Lankan doctors and other medical staff as well as teachers will take to the streets on Wednesday to demand that the government solve a severe fuel shortage at the heart of the South Asian country's worst economic crisis in decades. The government, left with only enough fuel to last about a week, on Tuesday restricted supplies to essential services, like trains, buses and the health sector, for two weeks.
The chief of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has said there won't be a dissolution of or surrender by the group even if the peace talks with the Pakistan government succeeds. In a video released by TTP, its chief, Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud, who has been leading the peace talks for the group, revealed that former Director-General of ISI and Core Commander Peshawar (Gen) Faiz Hameed has been representing the Pakistan government.
As international officials and journalists waited for the world leaders at the NATO summit venue on Tuesday, what baffled them was to find 'Russian Salad' on the in-house restaurant menu -- especially as at the summit, Russia was expected to be labelled as a 'security threat' due to its invasion of Ukraine. The dish was also sold out within hours.
Two days after at least 18 people were killed after Russian missiles struck a shopping mall containing more than 1,000 people in the central city of Kremenchuk in Ukraine, president Volodymyr Zelensky accused the Russian president of becoming a “terrorist”. The war between Russia and Ukraine has been going on for over four months now. He further urged Russia's expulsion from the United Nations.