Covid-19 wrap: Spain deaths pass 22 000, China pledges $30m more to WHO and Vietnam loosens curbs

Keeping you up to date on the latest novel coronavirus (Covid-19) news from around the world.

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Spain's virus death toll tops 22 000

Madrid – Spain said on Thursday 440 people died in the past 24 hours from the new coronavirus, a slight increase for the third day running, bringing the overall death toll to 22 157.

The country has suffered the third-highest number of deaths in the world from the pandemic after the United States and Italy, with infections now at more than 213 000 cases, health ministry figures showed.

 - AFP

China to give WHO $30 million more after US freezes funds

Beijing – China announced on Thursday it will donate another $30 million to the World Health Organisation (WHO) to help in the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic, days after Washington said it would freeze funding.

"China has decided to donate another $30 million in cash to the WHO, in addition to the previous donation of $20 million, to support the global fight against Covid-19 and strengthen developing countries' health systems," foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told a regular press briefing.

He added that China's contribution to the UN agency "reflects the support and trust of the Chinese government and people for the WHO".

The US, which is the WHO's biggest contributor, accused the WHO last week of "mismanaging" the Covid-19 crisis, drawing ire from Beijing as both countries spar over the deadly virus.

In announcing the funding freeze last week, US President Donald Trump accused the WHO of covering up the seriousness of the Covid-19 outbreak in China before it spread.

 - AFP

Singapore and Hong Kong jail quarantine dodgers

Singapore has handed down its first prison sentence for a virus-related offence, jailing a man for six weeks after he breached quarantine orders to go out for some food.

Alan Tham Xiang Sheng was ordered to stay home for 14 days after returning to Singapore from overseas in March, as part of measures aimed at halting the spread of the virus. But he went out to a food court to enjoy a pork rib soup dish, according to local media, and also visited several other places.

Hong Kong has also jailed a number of people for breaching the city's strict quarantine guidelines.

On Monday, a court sentenced an Indian businessman to four weeks behind bars, the first foreigner to receive a jail sentence, after he was caught breaking quarantine orders.

 - AFP

China reports no new deaths

For the eighth straight day, China's National Health Commission reported no new deaths from Covid-19 in its daily figures.

It said China confirmed 10 new cases, six of them imported.

The country where the virus emerged last year has brought its domestic outbreak under control, but is now trying to stop infections coming in from overseas.

 - AFP

Vietnam loosens curbs

Vietnam eased some social distancing measures on Thursday, with experts pointing to a decisive response involving mass quarantines and expansive contact tracing for the apparent success in containing the coronavirus.

The southeast Asian nation has recorded just 268 virus cases and zero deaths, according to official tallies.

 - AFP

Peru to release 3 000 prisoners under virus amnesty

Lima – Peru will release under amnesty about 3 000 prisoners, including those who are particularly at risk from the coronavirus pandemic, the justice minister has said.

The disease has killed at least seven inmates and infected more than 40 in Peru's overcrowded prisons, along with 26 wardens.

"We are going to amnesty approximately 3 000 detainees who fall into the groups vulnerable to the coronavirus," Minister Fernando Castaneda said on Wednesday on the ATV channel. He said the government would issue a decree on Thursday formalising the measure.

Among the prisoners who will benefit from the decision are pregnant women, inmates with children under the age of three, those serving sentences of less than four years, and those over the age of 70 who have not committed serious crimes.

 - AFP

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