Top headlines: 1m Covid-19 cases in 100 hours; New launch date for Hope; Grace period for visit visa holders

Dubai - Here are some of the stories that made the headlines over the last 24 hours.

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By Web Report

Published: Sat 18 Jul 2020, 6:09 PM

Last updated: Sat 18 Jul 2020, 8:15 PM

For first time, world records 1 million coronavirus cases in 100 hours

Global coronavirus infections passed 14 million on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, marking the first time there has been a surge of 1 million cases in under 100 hours.

The first case was reported in China in early January and it took three months to reach 1 million cases. It has taken just four days to climb to 14 million cases from 13 million recorded on July 13.

The United States, with more than 3.6 million confirmed cases, is still seeing huge daily jumps in its first wave of Covid-19 infections. The United States reported a daily global record of more than 77,000 new infections on Thursday, while Sweden has reported 77,281 total cases since the pandemic began.

New UAE Hope Probe launch date set for July 20

The UAE's mission to Mars is set to launch on July 20, 2020, at 1:58 am UAE time, the UAE government announced on Friday.

The Dubai Media office tweeted: The Emirates Space Agency and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center announced that it has been decided that the launch of the Emirates Mars mission will be on July 20, 2020, at exactly 1:58 am after midnight Emirates time."

Dubai issues precautionary measures for reopening of smoking, shisha serving areas on July 18

With enhanced precautionary measures, such as constant sanitisation and mandatory masks, establishments that serve shisha in Dubai are all set to re-open on July 18, announced Dubai Municipality (DM).

The authority made the announcement on its social media platforms on Friday stating, "Dubai Municipality has issued precautionary measures to re-open smoking areas and shisha serving centres starting July 18 until further notice, as per highest international preventive measures. Regular inspections will be conducted to ensure the compliance."

Video: UAE police patrols celebrate Hope with Mars mission logo

Police patrols decked up with the iconic Hope probe logo have hit the streets in Abu Dhabi. A video shared by the police shows the first fleet of field patrols featuring the red logo patrolling the roads in Abu Dhabi.

Featuring an image of the Red Planet with a round border of the UAE flag, the logo says 'Hope Mars Mission 2020' in both English and Arabic. It's supported by a tag line that reads 'Arabs to Mars', reflecting the fact that the UAE's Hope probe is the Arab world's first inter-planetary mission.

Coronavirus: Abu Dhabi lists guidelines for reopening of hotel swimming pools

The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi has issued a circular detailing coronavirus precautionary measures that must be taken to reopen swimming pools in hotels in Abu Dhabi from Friday (July 17).

The guidelines include ensuring that employees are coronavirus-free through testing and that swimming pools don't exceed a maximum capacity of 50 per cent.

UAE grants 30-day grace period to expired visit visa holders who don't exit by August 11

Visitors or tourists in the UAE whose visit visas expired after March 1 have until August 11 to leave the country, after which they will be given another 30-day grace period to either change their status or exit the country.

This was announced by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) on Twitter on Thursday.

Previously, the ICA stated that those with expired visit visas have one month to leave after July 12, however, in a revised statement on Thursday it said they will have another one month as grace period after August 11.

Studying Mars climate will help humans understand Earth better: UAE scientist

Studying dust storms on Mars will help scientists analyse and understand how dust storms behave on the Earth, a scientist has said.

Responding to a question posed by Khaleej Times during a virtual talk recently, Noora Al Saeed, Mars scientist and a PhD candidate at the University of Colorado Boulder, explained: "Sure, the environment of the two planets are different. But Mars provides a more controlled environment to study dust storms since there are no large plants on its surface. So it's like taking dust storms here on the Earth and putting them in a more controlled environment that has less variables on Mars and seeing their effects."

Arson probe launched as fire damages French cathedral

Fire erupted in the gothic cathedral of Nantes in the western France on Saturday before being brought under control, sparking an arson investigation and leaving Catholic officials lamenting the loss of priceless historical artefacts.

The cathedral's 17th century organ was destroyed and its platform was in danger of collapsing, said regional fire chief Laurent Ferlay, but added the damage was not comparable to last year's devastating blaze at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.

15 more Pakistan pilots suspended for dubious licences

Pakistan's Aviation Division has suspended 15 more pilots for having dubious licences, raising the overall tally to 93, as verification continued, it was reported on Saturday.

The 15 are among the 262 pilots possessing suspicious licences, reports Dawn News.

On Friday, Abdul Sattar Khokhar, spokesman for the Aviation Division, said a total of 262 pilots were identified as possessing suspicious licences by a Board of Inquiry and grounded immediately after identification on the instructions of the government.

Air India says leave without pay scheme win-win for airline, staff

Air India on Friday said its financial situation is very challenging due to the coronavirus pandemic and its leave-without-pay (LWP) scheme for employees is a "win-win" situation for them as well as the management.

The national carrier, in a press statement, said the scheme primarily enables employees to proceed on LWP "on voluntary basis".

The airline had issued an internal order on Tuesday asking its departmental heads and regional directors to identify employees, based on various factors like efficiency, health and redundancy, who will be sent on compulsory LWP for up to five years.

New UN report shows hunger to soar as coronavirus obliterates lives, livelihoods

A new report published today shows that people in some 25 countries are set to face devastating levels of hunger in coming months due to the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. While the greatest concentration of need is in Africa, countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, and in the Middle East and Asia - including middle-income countries - are also being ravaged by crippling levels of food insecurity, according to the Early Warning Analysis of Acute Food Security Hotspots, compiled by the World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.

Brazil reports 34,000 new coronavirus cases, 1,163 deaths

Brazil registered 34,177 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 1,163 new deaths on Friday, the health ministry said.

Total cases in Brazil, the world's second-most affected country after the United States, have now risen to 2,046,328 while deaths totalled 76,688.

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