April, 13 2020 - 10:10 PM
Singapore confirms 386 more cases of coronavirus in biggest daily jump
Singapore’s health ministry confirmed 386 more cases of coronavirus infection on Monday in the city-state’s biggest daily jump, taking its total to 2,918.
The Southeast Asian island nation, which is under partial lockdown to try to curb a recent surge in infections, also reported its ninth death from the disease.
A large number of the new cases are linked to outbreaks in migrant workers’ dormitories. Singapore has quarantined thousands of workers in dormitories after they were connected to several cases of the COVID-19 respiratory disease.
To date, a total of 586 people have fully recovered from the infection, the health ministry said.
April, 13 2020 - 10:05 PM
Volkswagen offers cars for relief efforts in US virus-hit regions
Germany's Volkswagen AG said on Monday its US dealers would provide cars for free delivery of essential supplies to people in need during the coronavirus crisis.
The automaker said it had asked the dealers to use their loaner fleet - cars typically offered to customers to drive while their vehicles are in a shop for repairs - to pickup and deliver supplies in coronavirus-affected communities.
April, 13 2020 - 09:52 PM
Canada coronavirus deaths rise by almost 9% to 734 - public health agency
The number of people killed by the coronavirus in Canada rose by almost 9 percent to 734 in a day, official data posted by the public health agency showed on Monday.
By 11 am eastern time (1500 GMT), the total number of those diagnosed with the coronavirus had risen to 24,804. The respective figures at the same time on Sunday were 674 deaths and 23,719 positive diagnoses.
April, 13 2020 - 09:41 PM
US coronavirus outbreak may peak this week, as more hopeful signs emerge
The coronavirus outbreak could reach its peak in the United States this week, a top US health official said on Monday as more signs of stabilization emerged, but political leaders said a reopening of the economy may hinge on more widespread testing.
The United States, with the world's third-largest population, has recorded more fatalities from Covid-19 than any other country, more than 22,000 as of Monday morning according to a Reuters tally.
April, 13 2020 - 09:21 PM
Trump: It's my decision when to reopen US economy
US President Donald Trump said on Monday it was his decision when to reopen the country's economy, not that of state governors.
"It is the decision of the President, and for many good reasons. With that being said, the Administration and I are working closely with the Governors, and this will continue. A decision by me, in conjunction with the Governors and input from others, will be made shortly!" Trump said on Twitter.
April, 13 2020 - 08:45 PM
Amazon to add 75,000 more jobs amid coronavirus pandemic
Amazon.com Inc said on Monday it plans to hire 75,000 more people for jobs ranging from warehouse staff to delivery drivers as coronavirus epidemic kept Americans locked in their homes
April, 13 2020 - 08:16 PM
UK coronavirus death toll rises to 11,329, up by 717
A total of 11,329 people have died in hospitals across the United Kingdom after testing positive for coronavirus, up by 717 in a day, the health ministry said on Monday.
The number of confirmed cases has risen by 4,342 to a national tally of 88,621.
The deaths numbers are as of 5 pm (1600 GMT) on Sunday, while the confirmed cases numbers are as of 9 am (0800 GMT) on Monday.
April, 13 2020 - 07:55 PM
Russian border becomes China's frontline in fight against second virus wave
China's northeastern border with Russia has become a frontline in the fight against a resurgence of the coronavirus epidemic as new daily cases rose to the highest in nearly six weeks - with more than 90% involving people coming from abroad.
Having largely stamped out domestic transmission of the disease, China has been slowly easing curbs on movement as it tries to get its economy back on track, but there are fears that a rise in imported cases could spark a second wave of COVID-19.
April, 13 2020 - 07:39 PM
US sailor from coronavirus-hit ship dies after contracting virus
A US Navy sailor died on Monday after contracting the coronavirus, marking the first death of a sailor assigned to the coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt.
The sailor, who had been admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) in Guam last week, died from coronavirus related complications, the Navy said in a statement.
April, 13 2020 - 07:30 PM
Indonesia study warns Ramadan exodus would fuel coronavirus
Indonesian researchers have warned the government that plans to allow millions of people to leave for their home villages at the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan next month could send coronavirus infections soaring.
Meanwhile, a separate study showed the health system in the world's fourth most populous country was likely to be overwhelmed by demand for intensive care units even with strong efforts to suppress the outbreak.
President Joko Widodo has resisted pressure for a total ban on the Ramadan exodus, known in Indonesia as "mudik", citing tradition and economic factors, instead seeking to persuade people to stay put and using only limited curbs on transport.
April, 13 2020 - 07:20 PM
Japan minister: Paris accord under threat if coronavirus trumps climate change
Japanese Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi warned on Monday that the Paris climate accord could face death if steps to fight global warming were put on the backburner to facilitate the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Many economists and policymakers are forecasting a steep global recession this year as countries are forced into lockdowns to contain the spread of the coronavirus, curtailing business activity in a major blow to jobs and incomes.
April, 13 2020 - 07:12 PM
China in the driver's seat amid calls for Africa debt relief
Support is growing for debt relief to help the world's poorest, indebted nations - most of them in Africa - confront the economic havoc wreaked by COVID-19. But there is one big question mark: China.
A two-decade lending spree has propelled China to the top of Africa's creditor list and any comprehensive debt deal, including write-offs, would require Beijing to take a leading role and swallow losses, analysts say.
"China is in the driver's seat," said Scott Morris, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD), a Washington think-tank. "But this is going to require real pain for creditors, and I'm not sure they've come to terms with that."
April, 13 2020 - 07:03 PM
UK has conducted 18,000 coronavirus tests in 24 hours - PM's spokesman
A total of 18,000 tests for coronavirus were conducted in the United Kingdom in 24 hours and the country was making good progress towards its target of 100,000 daily tests, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday.
The spokesman said the 18,000 figure applied to the 24 hours up to 0800 GMT on Sunday and excluded Northern Ireland.
April, 13 2020 - 06:51 PM
Indonesia president says to rapidly expand coronavirus testing
President Joko Widodo said Indonesian will be able to conduct more than 10,000 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests a day for the new coronavirus after criticism of its testing rates.
Widodo told foreign media on Monday that Indonesia had sourced new PCR kits from Switzerland and its extra testing capability would be on stream by next week, with plans to expand testing to 78 labs.
The world's fourth most populous nation has one of the lowest testing rates for the coronavirus, drawing criticism from the World Health Organisation and public health experts.
April, 13 2020 - 06:40 PM
Great-grandmother, 97, becomes Brazil's oldest coronavirus survivor
When 97-year-old Brazilian Gina Dal Colleto was hospitalized on April 1 with coronavirus symptoms, few could have thought she would survive the deadly virus.
On Sunday, however, Dal Colleto was pushed in a wheelchair out of Sao Paulo's Vila Nova Star hospital to applause from doctors and nurses, becoming the oldest known survivor of COVID-19 in Brazil, the Latin American country worst-hit by the outbreak.
Her unexpected recovery was a ray of hope in Brazil, where the coronavirus has laid bare a stretched public health system and exposed fierce political debate over how to best tackle the virus' spread and prop up the country's economy.
April, 13 2020 - 06:29 PM
Johnson will follow medical advice on when to return to work
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will follow medical advice on when he should return to work, his spokesman said on Monday, declining to speculate on how long his full recovery from the coronavirus might take.
"He was only released from hospital yesterday and any decisions which he makes in relation to when he returns to government work will be following the advice of his medical team," the spokesman said.
April, 13 2020 - 05:55 PM
Moscow blames hackers for coronavirus permit problems as cases rise
Authorities in Moscow on Monday blamed hackers for bringing down a new website meant to issue travel permits to the city's residents to use during the coronavirus lockdown after cases of the new virus rose by a record daily amount.
Russia reported 2,558 new cases on Monday, bringing the overall nationwide tally to 18,328. Eighteen people diagnosed with the virus died overnight, pushing the death toll to 148.
April, 13 2020 - 05:47 PM
China will step up coronavirus testing for people leaving Wuhan
China will step up coronavirus testing and health management for people leaving Wuhan, state television reported Monday, quoting a meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.
The government will expand nucleic acid test coverage, especially for people who leave Wuhan and who will work in teaching, the medical sectors and public services, it said.
Wuhan, the Chinese city where the new coronavirus emerged, ended a more-than two-month lockdown last week.
April, 13 2020 - 05:29 PM
Vietnam's total coronavirus cases climb to 265, no deaths
Vietnam’s health ministry reported five more confirmed coronavirus cases on Monday, taking the country’s tally to 265, with no deaths.
Nearly 122,000 coronavirus tests have been carried out in Vietnam, it said, and 72,500 people have been under quarantine.
April, 13 2020 - 05:07 PM
Gaza resumes coronavirus testing amid shortages
Coronavirus testing has resumed in the Gaza Strip after Israel allowed five testing kits purchased by the World Health Organization (WHO) into the enclave, a Gaza health ministry spokesman said on Monday.
But the spokesman, Ashraf al-Qidra, said the kits would be of "limited immediate help" because they could be used to test only about 500 people in a densely populated territory of two million.
April, 13 2020 - 04:47 PM
'God is with us': Many Muslims in Pakistan flout the coronavirus ban in mosques
Sabir Durrani says he offers prayers almost every day at a mosque in the central Pakistani city of Multan. He says that often a dozen or more men are in attendance - none of them wearing protective face masks.
Durrani, 52, is among thousands of devout Muslims flouting Pakistan government orders issued late last month banning religious congregations of five or more people to stem the spread of the coronavirus. The disease has so far infected more than 5,300 people and killed 93 in the world's second-most populous Muslim country.
April, 13 2020 - 04:36 PM
Iran records 4,585 coronavirus deaths as restrictions eased
Iran's death toll from the coronavirus outbreak has risen to 4,585, with 111 more overnight, a health ministry official said on Monday, adding the total number of infected cases had reached 73,303 in the most-affected Middle Eastern country
On Sunday, the government lifted a ban on travel between cities within Iranian provinces, while restrictions on trips between provinces will end on April 20, state media reported.
April, 13 2020 - 04:28 PM
China denies city discriminating against 'African brothers'
China dismissed on Monday allegations leveled by African and US diplomats that foreigners of African appearance in the city of Guangzhou were being subjected to forceful testing for coronavirus, quarantine and ill treatment.
"We do not have discrimination in China against African brothers," Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a daily news briefing, accusing the United States of trying to exploit the issue to harm Beijing's relations with African nations.
April, 13 2020 - 04:20 PM
Nigerians shake off coronavirus lockdown boredom with group exercise
The bored and the brave have taken over the six-lane highways of Nigeria’s capital, now on coronavirus lockdown.
Vehicles in Abuja are mostly gone. In their place: hundreds of people doing group workouts with little concern for a disease that has so far killed 10 and infected 300 in Nigeria.
“Since the lockdown, we are just at home doing nothing, no work, no food, nothing, nothing, so we decided to come and exercise our body instead of us sitting at home and just getting fat,” said Akinyemi Busayo, a trader, who was doing aerobics and other exercises in a group.
April, 13 2020 - 04:15 PM
World's biggest water fight cancelled as Thailand combats coronavirus
Thais will have to find another way to cool off this year after the government called off the annual water festival that celebrates the Buddhist New Year to curb the outbreak of the new coronavirus.
Thailand usually celebrates its traditional new year or Songkran from April 13 to 15, when crowds pack the streets in a boisterous festival, spraying water guns and hurling water off pick-up trucks in a free-for-all water fight.
April, 13 2020 - 04:10 PM
To Belgrade and beyond: Beijing exports China model of virus management
Last month, six Chinese medical professionals stepped off an Air Serbia jet in Belgrade to a red-carpet welcome from President Aleksandar Vucic and an array of cabinet ministers. After elbow-bump greetings, Vucic kissed Serbia's flag, then China's.
In Serbia, one of Beijing's closest European allies, and a handful of other friendly countries, China is providing on-the-ground guidance to help battle the coronavirus that has swept around the world.
April, 13 2020 - 04:05 PM
Spain's overnight coronavirus death toll falls to 517, total at 17,489
Spain’s overnight death toll from the coronavirus fell to 517 on Monday from Sunday’s 619, bringing the total death toll to 17,489, the Health Ministry said, adding that it was the smallest proportional daily increase since tracking began.
The ministry said in a statement that overall cases rose to 169,496 from 166,019.
April, 13 2020 - 04:00 PM
Displaced Syrians wary of coronavirus risk return to war-torn Idlib
Thousands of displaced Syrians have begun moving back to their homes in war-torn Idlib province despite the risk of renewed conflict, some driven by fear that the new coronavirus could wreak havoc on crowded camps near the Turkish border.
About one million Syrians fled Idlib and its surrounding countryside in northwest Syria this past year after Russian-backed government forces stepped up a campaign to retake the last rebel stronghold after nine years of war.
April, 13 2020 - 03:50 PM
Thailand job losses may hit 10 million if virus outbreak drags on
Thailand's job losses may reach 10 million if the coronavirus outbreak continues for a few months, a business advisory council said on Monday.
Southeast Asia's second-largest economy is being hit hard by the virus outbreak and is heading into a recession.
April, 13 2020 - 03:45 PM
Indonesia reports 316 new coronavirus cases, 26 deaths
Indonesia on Monday announced 316 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 4,557, according to data provided by a health ministry official, Achmad Yurianto.
Yurianto said there were also 26 new coronavirus-related deaths, taking the total number of fatalities to 399.
April, 13 2020 - 03:42 PM
India, Pakistan plan to restart some economic activity during coronavirus lockdown
India and Pakistan are planning to partially open up some parts of the economy, officials in the two countries said on Monday, as the costs of harsh lockdowns to limit the outbreak of the coronavirus mount across the region.
Indian officials said the number of coronavirus cases in the country increased to 9,152 on Monday, including 308 deaths, a swift rise from fewer than 1,000 two weeks ago, even though the country of 1.3 billion people is under a sweeping 21-day lockdown.
But the shutdown has left millions of people without work and the World Bank forecast India's economic growth could drop to 1.5 percent to 2.8 percent in the fiscal year that started on April 1, the weakest pace in three decades.
April, 13 2020 - 03:37 PM
South Korea to ship 600,000 coronavirus testing kits to US on Tuesday
South Korea plans to send 600,000 coronavirus testing kits to the United States on Tuesday in the first such shipment following a request from US President Donald Trump, a Seoul official told Reuters on Monday.
Trump made the request for testing kits in a telephone call on March 25 with President Moon Jae-in, as the United States was grappling with fast-growing outbreaks in many states.
April, 13 2020 - 03:30 PM
As death toll soars, UK finance minister warns economy could shrink by 30%
Britain's finance minister has told colleagues the economy could shrink by up to 30 percent this quarter because of the coronavirus lockdown, a newspaper reported, as the soaring death toll gave little hope restrictions would soon be lifted.
The number of Covid-19 deaths in hospitals across the United Kingdom has passed 10,000 and a senior scientific adviser to the government has said the country risked becoming the worst-hit in Europe.
April, 13 2020 - 03:21 PM
Some Spaniards head back to work in face masks as country loosens lockdown
Spaniards at the country's main transport hubs were handed face masks on a rainy Monday morning as the government relaxed some of the tough lockdown measures designed to rein in the coronavirus health crisis which has claimed nearly 17,000 lives.
As Spain enters its second month of lockdown, some businesses that cannot operate remotely, including construction and manufacturing, were allowed to reopen on Monday, sparking criticism from some regional leaders who fear a resurgence of the outbreak.
April, 13 2020 - 03:16 PM
South Korea reports more recovered coronavirus patients testing positive again
South Korea reported todat that at least 116 people initially cleared of the new coronavirus had tested positive again, although officials suggested they would soon look at easing strict recommendations aimed at preventing new outbreaks.
South Korea reported only 25 new cases overall today, but the rise in "reactivated" patients has raised concerns as the country seeks to stamp out infections, Reuters reported.
April, 13 2020 - 02:57 PM
Philippines records 18 new coronavirus deaths, 284 more cases
The Philippine health ministry on Monday reported 18 new coronavirus deaths and 284 additional infections.
In a bulletin, the health ministry said total deaths have reached 315, while confirmed cases have increased to 4,932, adding 45 patients have recovered, bringing the total to 242, Reuters reported.
April, 13 2020 - 02:41 PM
Tokyo sees 91 new cases of coronavirus infections
Tokyo saw 91 new cases of coronavirus infections on Monday, Japan's media reported, as the tally of infections in the country's capital continues to rise.
Monday's figure showed a decrease in the rate of daily infections from Sunday, when the Tokyo Metropolitan Government reported 166 new cases. Last week the city announced a state of emergency, requesting residents to stay indoors as much as possible, Reuters reported.
April, 13 2020 - 02:31 PM
Number of people crossing China borders cut 90% as part of virus efforts
China has reduced the number of people crossing its borders by 90% as part of its efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus, an immigration official said today.
Speaking at a briefing, Liu Haitao, an official with the National Immigration Administration, said the number of cases was still on the rise in the countries along China's borders, Reuters reported.
China was working to limit all non-essential crossings, but it remained a huge challenge to control the large number of mountain passes, ferries and roads along the country's long border, he added.
April, 13 2020 - 02:19 PM
Russia reports new record daily rise of coronavirus cases
Russia on Monday reported 2,558 new cases of the novel coronavirus, a record daily rise, bringing its overall nationwide tally to 18,328.
Russia's coronavirus crisis response centre said that 148 people diagnosed with the virus have died so far, an overnight rise of 18, Reuters reported.
April, 13 2020 - 02:01 PM
'Ghosts' scare Indonesians indoors and away from coronavirus
Kepuh village in Indonesia has been haunted by ghosts recently – mysterious white figures jumping out at unsuspecting passersby, then gliding off under a full-moon sky.
The village on Java island has deployed a cast of "ghosts" to patrol the streets, hoping that age-old superstition will keep people indoors and safely away from the coronavirus, Reuters reported.
"We wanted to be different and create a deterrent effect because 'pocong' are spooky and scary," said Anjar Pancaningtyas, head of a village youth group that coordinated with the police on the unconventional initiative to promote social distancing as the coronavirus spreads.
April, 13 2020 - 01:15 PM
China tightens grip over coronavirus research, amid US-China row on virus origin
China has imposed restrictions on publication of academic research on the origin of the novel coronavirus amid ongoing spar over the issue with the US.
Under the new policy, all academic papers on Covid-19 will be subject to extra vetting before being submitted for publication, according to a central government directive and online notices published by two Chinese universities, that later have been removed from the web, CNN reported.
April, 13 2020 - 12:41 PM
Thailand reports 28 new coronavirus cases, 2 new deaths
Thailand reported 28 new coronavirus cases and 2 new deaths on Monday.
Of the new cases, 18 are linked to previous cases, 7 without connection to old cases, and 3 are Thai nationals who had traveled to South Sulawesi province, Indonesia for a religious gathering last month, Reuters reported.
Majority of the new cases are in the capital Bangkok, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman of the government's Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration.
Since the outbreak escalated in January, Thailand has reported a total of 2,579 cases and 40 fatalities, while 1,288 patients have recovered and gone home.
April, 13 2020 - 12:13 PM
US records 1,514 virus deaths in past 24 hours
The United States recorded 1,514 deaths related to the coronavirus pandemic over the past 24 hours, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University as of 8:30pm Sunday (0030 GMT Monday).
The number of fatalities was lower than the previous day’s toll of 1,920, AFP reported.
The outbreak has now claimed the lives of at least 22,020 people in the US, the most of any country.
The US also leads the world by far in the number of confirmed infections, with 555,313 by the Baltimore-based university’s count.
April, 13 2020 - 11:33 AM
Germany's coronavirus cases rise by 2,537, deaths by 126
Germany's number of confirmed coronavirus infections has risen by 2,537 to 123,016, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Monday.
That was lower than a 2,821 increase reported on Sunday, and marked the third decline after four days of increases, Reuters reported.
The reported death toll has risen by 126 to 2,799.
April, 13 2020 - 11:19 AM
Liberia coronavirus lockdown off to chaotic start
A coronavirus lockdown in Liberia's capital Monrovia got off to a chaotic start at the weekend, as some police officers used truncheons against residents who had ventured outside in search of provisions.
Confusion reigned across much of Monrovia, a city of more than 1 million people, with many having heard, erroneously, via social media that the government had ordered a 3pm to 6am curfew rather than a full lockdown, Reuters reported.
Many residents had voiced anger in the run-up to the lockdown ordered by President George Weah, which they said would do more harm than good in a country where more than half the population lives in poverty.
"Corona is not going to kill many people. It is hunger that will kill many Liberians," said Jettroy Kolleh, a student, as he stood on Thursday outside a bank in Monrovia, where dozens of people had queued in close proximity to withdraw money.
The lockdown is a test of the Liberian authorities' vows to improve on their handling of a quarantine of a Monrovia slum during the Ebola outbreak in 2014, which sparked riots by residents lacking food and water.
Liberia has so far confirmed at least 48 cases of the coronavirus, including five deaths.
Reuters TV footage from Saturday showed police patrolling in riot gear and pursuing people with truncheons. At the Red Light market, one of the city's busiest, an excavator truck destroyed informal market stalls, where people had earlier congregated.
"We must understand the plight of our citizens and work with them constructively in ensuring that they can obey the stay-home order," said Moses Carter, a police spokesman.
April, 13 2020 - 10:41 AM
Virus airborne up to 4 metres, health staff at high risk
The virus that causes Covid-19 can be airborne for up to four metres, according to a study of patients in hospital wards and intensive care units (ICUs) in China's Wuhan, where it was first detected by the end of last year.
Infection rates are high among health care workers despite the use of personal protection equipment (PPE) such as gloves, masks and coveralls, Hindustan Times reported.
April, 13 2020 - 10:33 AM
French sees effects of lockdown even as coronavirus death toll rises to 14,393
The death toll in France from the coronavirus outbreak rose at a slightly slower pace on Sunday than a day earlier, the French public health authority said, adding that the lockdown was producing its first effects.
"This data confirms that the epidemic keeps going on in our country in a dynamic way and it continues to hit us hard," the health authority said in a statement, Reuters reported.
April, 13 2020 - 10:02 AM
Great-grandmother, 97, becomes Brazil's oldest coronavirus survivor
When 97-year-old Brazilian Gina Dal Colleto was hospitalised on April 1 with coronavirus symptoms, few could have thought she would survive the deadly virus.
On Sunday, however, Dal Colleto was pushed in a wheelchair out of Sao Paulo's Vila Nova Star hospital to applause from doctors and nurses, becoming the oldest known survivor of COVID-19 in Brazil, the Latin American country worst-hit by the outbreak, Reuters reported.
Her unexpected recovery was a ray of hope in Brazil, where the coronavirus has laid bare a stretched public health system and exposed fierce political debate over how to best tackle the virus' spread and prop up the country's economy.
April, 13 2020 - 09:31 AM
Former Israeli chief rabbi dies after contracting coronavirus
A former Israeli chief rabbi has died after contracting the coronavirus, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today, in what is the country's highest-profile death from the pandemic.
Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron, who served from 1993 to 2003 as the state's top chaplain for Sephardim, or Jews of Middle Eastern and North African descent, succumbed late on Sunday to complications from the respiratory virus in a Jerusalem hospital, aged 79, Israeli media said, Reuters reported.
"Tragically, Rabbi Bakshi-Doron contracted the coronavirus and doctors' efforts to save him did not succeed," Netanyahu said in a statement.
As of Sunday, Israel had reported 11,145 cases of the coronavirus and 103 deaths.
April, 13 2020 - 09:13 AM
China's new coronavirus cases rise to near six-week high
China reported the highest number of new daily coronavirus cases in nearly six weeks, driven by a rise in infected travellers arriving from overseas and underscoring challenges Beijing faces in preventing a second wave of COVID-19.
A total of 108 new coronavirus cases were reported on Sunday, up from 99 a day earlier and marking the highest number of cases since 143 cases were reported on March 5, Reuters reported.
April, 13 2020 - 08:47 AM
Virus mutes Easter celebrations as Europe’s death toll tops 75,000
Billions around the world celebrated Easter Sunday from lockdown at home as the pope urged solidarity to fight the coronavirus pandemic and the European death toll from the virus topped 75,000.
Unprecedented scenes of empty churches emerged from Italy to Panama and the Philippines, as religious leaders found creative ways to address parishioners marking the holiday weekend from the confines of their homes, AFP reported.
More than half the world — over four billion people — are in lockdown worldwide as governments scramble to halt the pandemic’s deadly march across the globe.
The death toll from the virus soared past 109,000 this weekend, with more than 1.7 million reported infections globally.
Europe is by far the hardest-hit continent and on Sunday marked a grave milestone with more than 75,000 dead, according to an AFP tally.
Speaking from a near-empty Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Pope Francis’ Easter Sunday message was largely focused on the pandemic, offering prayers for the ill and urging a united European front to fight the pandemic.
“For many, this is an Easter of solitude lived amid the sorrow and hardship that the pandemic is causing, from physical suffering to economic difficulties,” he said, in a livestreamed message beamed around the world.
He called for European “solidarity” in the face of the virus, adding: “After the Second World War, this beloved continent was able to rise again.”
April, 13 2020 - 08:39 AM
Sri Lanka makes cremations compulsory for virus deaths, angering Muslims
Sri Lanka made cremations compulsory for coronavirus victims on Sunday, ignoring protests from the country’s minority Muslims who say it goes against Islamic tradition.
Of the seven deaths from the infectious disease so far in the island nation, three were Muslims. The bodies were cremated by authorities despite protests from relatives, AFP reported.
“The corpse of a person who has died or is suspected to have died, of… COVID-19 shall be cremated,” Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said Sunday.
The World Health Organisation has said victims “can be buried or cremated”.
More than 200 people have tested positive for coronavirus so far in Sri Lanka, where an indefinite, nationwide curfew has been imposed.
The cremations have been criticised by rights groups. The country’s main political party that represents Muslims, which make up 10 percent of the 21 million-strong national population, has accused the government of “callous disregard” for religious rituals and the families’ wishes.
April, 13 2020 - 08:32 AM
Italy reports lowest virus death toll in over three weeks
Italy on Sunday reported its lowest coronavirus death toll in more than three weeks, confirming trends showing that the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe’s worst-hit nation had peaked.
The 431 new deaths reported by the civil protection service were the lowest since March 19. Italy’s death total now tands at 19,899, officially second behind the United States, AFP reported.
The number of people currently showing COVID-19 symptoms is still growing, officially rising to 102,253, but the number of people receiving emergency care is dropping, the data showed.
The number of people in non-critical hospital care is also down.
April, 13 2020 - 08:21 AM
Kuwait reports 80 new COVID-19 cases
Kuwait reported80 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 1,234, the Health Ministry said in a statement.
Among the new cases is one Kuwaiti citizen who returned from Britain, the statement said, adding that 71 cases have a history of contact with infected patients. The cause of the infection for the other eight cases is still under investigation, it noted, Xinhua reported.
So far, 1,091 patients are receiving treatment, including 29 in ICU, the statement added.
On April 4, Kuwait reported the first death case of COVID-19.
The Kuwaiti government has decided to impose a nationwide curfew to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
On March 13, Kuwait suspended all commercial flights. The government also decided to close stores, malls and barbershops.