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Following is a summary of current world news briefs. Severe or fatal COVID-19 very rare in children, study finds

Children and young people are far less likely than adults to get severe cases of COVID-19 infection, and death from the pandemic disease among children is exceptionally rare, according to UK research published on Thursday. A study of COVID-19 patients admitted to 138 hospitals in Britain found that less than 1% were children, and of those fewer than 1% – or six in total – died, all of whom were already suffering serious illness or underlying health disorders. U.S., China trade jibes as military tensions worsen

The United States and China traded jibes as military tensions grow between the world’s two largest economies, with the U.S. defense chief vowing not to “cede an inch” in the Pacific and China saying Washington was risking soldiers’ lives. Both are at loggerheads over issues from technology and human rights to Chinese military activities in the disputed South China Sea, with each accusing the other of deliberately provocative behavior. Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi casts doubt on coronavirus originating in China

The Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said on Thursday it was unclear whether the corona virus had first originated in China, casting doubt on the views of health experts and foreign governments. Speaking during a visit to Norway, Wang said that, while China was the first country to report the existence of the virus to the World Health Organisation, “it does not mean that the virus originated in China”. Russian prosecutors say no need for criminal investigation in Navalny affair

Russian prosecutors said on Thursday they saw no need for a criminal investigation into the sudden illness of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who his supporters suspect was poisoned, as they had found no sign that any crime had been committed. The Interior Ministry said it had started a preliminary investigation into the case, but this was routine. Two dead in clashes south of Lebanese capital

Two people were killed and at least three wounded in clashes in a town south of Beirut, the Lebanese capital, on Thursday evening, the state news agency and a security source said, as several political parties urged calm. The Lebanese army said on its Twitter account that it had deployed units to Khaldeh town to “control the situation” and restore calm. North Korea’s Kim says Typhoon Bavi caused little damage: KCNA

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Typhoon Bavi had caused only minimal damage to the country after making landfall early on Thursday, state news media KCNA reported on Friday. Kim, who visited South Hwanghae province southwest of Pyongyang, had issued an alert to prevent crop damage and casualties from the typhoon, which made landfall near the capital, dumping heavy rains and uprooting trees. Putin says Russia has set up force to aid Belarus leader if needed

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday the Kremlin had set up a police force to support Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko at his request, although it would not be deployed unless unrest there spun out of control. The remarks were the strongest signal yet that Russia is prepared to use force if needed in Belarus, where mass demonstrations have taken place since an Aug. 9 election that the opposition says was rigged to prolong Lukashenko’s 26-year rule. UK PM Johnson to launch drive to get Britain back to the office: Telegraph

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will launch a public campaign next week to get Britain back to the workplace, as ministers warn working from home will make people more vulnerable to being sacked, The Telegraph newspaper reported on Thursday. The campaign will extol the virtues of returning to the office and provide reassurance that it is a safe place, while a new online tool will help people avoid the most-crowded trains and buses, the report said. Coronavirus cases in Latin America pass 7 million: Reuters tally

Coronavirus cases passed the 7 million mark in Latin America on Thursday even as some countries begin to show a slight decline in infections in a region with the world’s highest level of contagion, according to a Reuters tally. The daily average of cases fell to about 77,800 in the last seven days through Wednesday, against almost 85,000 the previous week, the tally based on government figures showed. Britain backs COVID-19 immunity studies with 8.4 million pounds

Britain said on Friday it will back three nationwide COVID-19 studies with 8.4 million pounds ($11 million) to fund research into understanding human immune responses to the pandemic coronavirus. The funds, from UK Research and Innovation and the National Institute for Health Research, will help scientists develop better immunity tests, study the body’s immune response to SARS-CoV-2 and understand why some people suffer life-threatening COVID-19 while others have mild or asymptomatic infections.

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