New Zealand for the first time in more than five weeks has reported no new confirmed cases of the coronavirus amid efforts to stamp out an outbreak discovered in Auckland last month ending a spell of 102 days free of community transmission.
The South Pacific nation with its population of five million has reported more than 1,800 cases of COVID-19 and 25 fatalities.
The report on Friday also marked the fourth consecutive day without any cases of community transmission. All recent cases have been found among quarantined travellers returning from abroad.
Following strict measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic which were widely praised, New Zealand is in its deepest recession in decades after the country’s GDP shrank by 12.2% between April and June as the lockdown and border closures hit.
Auckland lockdown began on 12 August after four cases were detected in the city of 1.5 million.
21 Killed, Dozens Missing After Typhoon Molave Lashes Vietnam
Typhoon Molave, the fourth storm to hit Vietnam in a month, has damaged some fifty-six thousand homes and left millions without electricity. Molave is one of the strongest typhoons to hit the region in decades.
Twenty-one persons have been confirmed killed and dozens more missing on Thursday after the typhoon tore through central Vietnam on Tuesday, triggering landslides in the central province of Quang Nam and causing some of the worst devastation seen in years.
International federation of the red cross says since early October, Vietnam has been batterred by storms, heavy rains and floods which have left at least one hundred thirty persons dead.
France Imposes Four-Week National Lockdown To Combat Coronavirus
French president, Emmanuel Macron has announced a second national lockdown to last till the end of next month. The new measures would allow residents to only leave home for essential work or for medical reasons.
Non-essential businesses, such as restaurants and bars, will close, but schools and factories will remain open. Thirty-three thousand new cases of the virus were confirmed on Tuesday.
Macron says the country risks a resurgence of the virus that may hit harder this time.
Meanwhile, Germany is also ready to impose a less severe emergency lockdown. Restaurants, gyms and theaters will be closed.
US Opposes Okonjo-Iweala’s WTO Appointment
The United States is trying to throw a monkey-wrench in the appointment of Nigeria’s former two-time finance minister as the first African director-general of the World Trade Organization.
The U.S. has been at odds with the WTO on how it handles global trade. It had thrown its support behind South Korea’s trade minister, Yoo Myung-Hee whom the U.S. believes could bring reforms to the organization. The U.S. says it wants the WTO led by someone with real hand-on experience in the field.
This does not mean Okonjo-Iweala would not become the organization’s boss. WTO’s spokesman, Keith Rockwell said on Wednesday just one country, the U.S., did not support Okonjo-Iweala, but she has the backing of all 27 European Union countries.
Unlike the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, appointments like this for the WTO require the votes of each of the one hundred sixty-four member countries. A majority of those votes would get her through.
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