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Coronavirus: U.S.-based group makes case for persons with disabilities

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A U.S.-based advocacy group has made a case for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in Nigeria’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The group, Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities International, made the submission in a statement issued by its President, Mr Eric Ufom.

In the statement made available to the Nigeria News Agency in New York, Ufom said PWDs were among people at higher risk of contracting the virus.

He, therefore, urged government at all levels to not only protect them from the coronavirus but to also provide them with critical facilities such as Brailles and sign language interpreters, among others.

 

According to him, doing so will give them a sense of belonging as they will not be able to cater for themselves if left on their own.

Ufom also called for the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) which Nigeria and other member states agreed to

 on March 30, 2007.

According to him, section 4.3 of the CRPD provides for involvement of PWDs in the development and implementation of legislation and policies concerning them.

He said the convention required state parties to “closely consult with and actively involve persons with disabilities through their representative organisations.”

To this end, Ufom stressed the need for PWDs to be well-represented in government committees, measures, and other plans for the management of the coronavirus pandemic.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Emmanuel Yashim
(NAN)

Harrison Arubu: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Foreign

UK to reopen thousands of shops as eases coronavirus lockdown: Johnson

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Britain will reopen thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres next month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday.

Johnson also set out a timetable for businesses as part of moves to ease the coronavirus lockdown.

He told a news conference that from June 1, outdoor markets and care showrooms could be reopened as soon as they are able to meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines.

All other non-essential retail could reopen from June 15 if the government’s tests are met.

“There are careful but deliberate steps on the road to rebuilding our country,’’ Johnson said.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Foreign

Spain revises down coronavirus death toll

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The coronavirus death toll in Spain rose by 50 to 26,834, said the Spanish Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Welfare on Monday.

The death toll is nearly 2,000 fewer than that of 28,752 reported on Sunday after the ministry corrected the number, citing errors in calculation from some of Spain‘s Autonomous Communities.

Meanwhile, the ministry reported 132 new infections on Monday, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 235,400.

(XINHUA)

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Coronavirus cases in Albania top 1,000

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The number of confirmed coronavirus cases across Albania has exceeded 1,000, health authorities reported on Monday.

Speaking at a daily briefing, Eugena Tomini, an expert from Public Health Institute, said that six coronavirus cases were registered in Albania over the last 24 hours, raising the total to 1,004.

“Since the start of the epidemic, about 79 percent of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 have already recovered,” Tomini said.

The Ministry of Health and Social Protection reiterated its call on all citizens to be careful, respect physical distance and personal hygiene, especially when the government has decided to ease the majority of restrictive measures imposed to curb the spread of the virus.

As of Monday, Albania confirmed 32 deaths from coronavirus. Health authorities have tested a total of 14,659 people suspected of being positive with the coronavirus, according to Tomini.

(XINHUA)

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Former UK PM Tony Blair questions Trump’s leadership in coronavirus pandemic

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Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair questioned U.S. President Donald Trump’s leadership in facing “terrifying” novel coronavirus pandemic and expressed his worry about the lack of global coordination in tackling the crisis, the British newspaper Daily Mail has reported.

“The worry I have that an absence of global coordination and global leadership that’s necessary for it is a huge problem,” the Daily Mail quoted Blair as saying, citing his recent interview with NBC News.

Blair, who served from 1997 to 2007 as British prime minister, said it’s important to bring the world together when facing the pandemic.

With “global coordination”, Blair said leaders could find a vaccine together, accelerate the development of therapeutics and testing capability, and organize economic measures to keep the international economy afloat, Daily Mail reported.

“It’s that global coordination, the absence of which means that each individual country’s less effective at dealing with the disease. That’s the thing that worries me,” he said.

Blair said in Western countries people are well-informed about the disease but not sufficiently informed about the economic collapse it could trigger.

“The safest thing for any political leader to do is just keep the lockdown because the risk of COVID-19 spreading is going to be minimal, but on the other hand if you’re looking responsibly into how you get through this into the medium term without the economic wreckage being absolutely devastated,” he was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

“The countries that locked down fast and that are building, testing, tracing and tracking capability fast, that then enables you to be more bold on the economy,” he said in the interview with NBC.

(XINHUA)

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Coronavirus-hit Kremlin spokesman discharged from hospital: media reports

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday was discharged from the hospital where he was treated for the COVID-19 infection, local media reported.

Interfax news agency reported that Peskov would have to stay at home in isolation for another two weeks.

On May 12, Peskov was hospitalized for coronavirus infection and was diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia, according to Interfax.

TASS news agency quoted Peskov as saying that he will gradually start working from home.

Among Russian officials, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Culture Minister Olga Lyubimova, Science and Higher Education Minister Valery Falkov and Construction Minister Vladimir Yakushev had been confirmed to be infected with the novel coronavirus. All have recovered.

(XINHUA)

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Japan lifts state of emergency over coronavirus for entire country, ushers in era of “new normal”

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday lifted the COVID-19 state of emergency in the five remaining prefectures still under restrictions, including Tokyo, as the spread of the virus has largely been brought under control.

“Today the government will lift the state of emergency across the nation. We’ve set some of the most strict criteria in the world to lift the declaration, and we concluded that prefectures across the country have met that standard,” the Japanese leader told a press conference.

The five prefectures that had remained under restrictions were Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama and Hokkaido.

The lifting of the state of emergency came after the government’s coronavirus advisory panel showed support for the move earlier in the day.

The emergency measures were issued first for Tokyo, Osaka and five other urban areas on April 7, before being expanded nationwide in mid-April and with the deadline extended thereafter until the end of May.

The advisory panel had been focusing on criteria for the emergency period being lifted which was based around the number of newly reported cases over the past week, the availability of medical resources, and the capacity to provide virus tests and monitor the spread of the virus.

“The advisory panel has agreed that all prefectures no longer need to be under a state of emergency and that lifting the declaration is appropriate,” Economic Revitalization Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said, adding that the situation would be closely monitored and reviewed every three weeks.

Nishimura also said that social and economic activities, including large-scale events, would be phased back in, although people would still be asked not to travel across prefecture lines until the end of the month.

The government, while showing caution amid the coronavirus pandemic, has been keen to see the economy fully reopened as the five prefectures that had remained under emergency restrictions account for around one-third of the country’s gross domestic product.

Data released by the government showed that Japan’s economy shrank for a second straight quarter in the January-March period and entered a technical recession under the impact of the pandemic.

The Cabinet Office said the economy shrank by an annualized real 3.4 percent in the January-March period from the previous quarter.

The decrease in the quarter corresponds to a 0.9-percent decline on a seasonally adjusted quarterly basis, the Cabinet Office said.

The Japanese leader is now tasked with ushering in a “new normal” for the society, which balances the rejuvenation of the economy with guarding against an explosive second wave of COVID-19 infections.

Abe had said earlier that another state of emergency could be declared if the country is faced with a second wave of infections.

“Our businesses and daily routines will be completely disrupted if we continue with strict curbs on social and economic activity. From now on, it’s important to think about how we can conduct business and live our lives while still controlling the risk of infection,” Abe said.

He said wearing face masks in public should be kept up and social distancing measures maintained. Abe also said that teleworking does not need to be immediately halted as medical experts have warned that relaxing too many restrictions too soon could trigger another wave of infections.

As for the greater Tokyo area, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike offered her thanks to the people for their efforts to help contain the pneumonia-causing virus, but warned them to remain cautious and not to let their guards down.

“There could be a second or third wave of infections so I need to ask the citizens of Tokyo for their continued cooperation,” Koike said.

Under Koike’s stewardship, the Tokyo metropolitan government has set out a roadmap toward resuming economic and social activities in the nation’s capital. The roadmap has been divided into three phases.

Phase one, which could kick off as soon as Tuesday, will see restrictions begin to be eased on museums and libraries. Restaurants and bars in this phase will be allowed to stay open until 10:00 p.m., beyond the previous closing time of 8:00 p.m. under the prior emergency measures.

The second phase, possibly to begin at the end of the month, involves easing the restrictions for cinemas and theaters and cram schools, while the final phase will allow restaurants to stay open until midnight and amusement parks and pachinko parlors to reopen, although high-risk businesses like karaoke bars, gyms and hostess bars will be requested to stay closed.

Professional sports, including baseball and basketball leagues, will be allowed to resume without spectators from June 19, according to the government’s latest plans issued Monday.

High schools that fall under the auspices of the Tokyo metropolitan government will be phased back in, with students rotating between classes and online learning. The number of students attending regular classes will be gradually increased, with the situation being constantly monitored, Tokyo officials said.

For the city to move to the next phase, there must be fewer than 20 daily infections on average across a week, with the percentage of untraceable cases remaining below 50 percent. The number of total weekly infections must be lower than the previous week, while the number of seriously ill, testing capacity and medical facilities’ occupancy rates will also be factored in, the officials said,

“Recently, the number of new cases in Tokyo has been relatively low. If this welcome trend continues, we may progress along the roadmap more quickly than expected. We want to be flexible,” Koike has said.

According to the latest figures on Monday evening from the health ministry and local authorities, 17 new COVID-19 infections were confirmed nationwide, bringing the total to 16,628 cases.

The death toll in Japan from the pneumonia-causing virus, including those from a cruise ship that had been quarantined in Yokohama, totals 864 people.

(XINHUA)

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Japan lifts state of emergency over coronavirus for entire country

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday lifted the COVID-19 state of emergency in the five remaining prefectures still under restrictions, including Tokyo, as the spread of the virus has largely been brought under control.

“Today the government will lift the state of emergency across the nation. We’ve set some of the most strict criteria in the world to lift the declaration, and we concluded that prefectures across the country have met that standard,” Abe told a press conference.

The five prefectures that had remained under restrictions were Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama and Hokkaido.

The lifting of the state of emergency came after the government’s coronavirus advisory panel showed support for the move earlier in the day.

The emergency measures were issued first for Tokyo, Osaka and five other urban areas on April 7, before being expanded nationwide in mid-April and with the deadline extended thereafter until the end of May.

The advisory panel had been focusing on criteria for the emergency period being lifted which was based around the number of newly reported cases over the past week, the availability of medical resources, and the capacity to provide virus tests and monitor the spread of the virus.

“The advisory panel has agreed that all prefectures no longer need to be under a state of emergency and that lifting the declaration is appropriate,” Economic Revitalization Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said, adding that the situation would be closely monitored and reviewed every three weeks.

Nishimura also said that social and economic activities, including large-scale events, would be phased back in, although people would still be asked not to travel across prefecture lines until the end of the month.

The government, while showing caution amid the coronavirus pandemic, has been keen to see the economy fully reopened as the five prefectures that had remained under emergency restrictions account for around one-third of the country’s gross domestic product.

Data released by the government showed that Japan’s economy shrank for a second straight quarter in the January-March period and entered a technical recession under the impact of the pandemic.

The Cabinet Office said the economy shrank by an annualized real 3.4 percent in the January-March period from the previous quarter.

The decrease in the quarter corresponds to a 0.9-percent decline on a seasonally adjusted quarterly basis, the Cabinet Office said.

The Japanese leader is now tasked with ushering in a “new normal” for the society, which balances the rejuvenation of the economy with guarding against an explosive second wave of COVID-19 infections.

Abe had said earlier that another state of emergency could be declared if the country is faced with a second wave of infections.

“Our businesses and daily routines will be completely disrupted if we continue with strict curbs on social and economic activity. From now on, it’s important to think about how we can conduct business and live our lives while still controlling the risk of infection,” Abe said.

He said wearing face masks in public should be kept up and social distancing measures maintained. Abe also said that teleworking does not need to be immediately halted as medical experts have warned that relaxing too many restrictions too soon could trigger another wave of infections.

(XINHUA)

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Palestinian Authority to lift coronavirus restrictions

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The Palestinian Authorities on Monday said it would ease restrictions to stem the spread of the coronavirus over the course of the coming week.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said restrictions would be lifted in stages by Wednesday.

“Public transport will resume and mosques, churches, shops, parks, restaurants and cafes are to gradually reopen.

“Classes for older children will resume coming week, though the regular school year is already over,’’ Shtayyeh said.

He, however, warned that the restrictions imposed in March would return should the numbers of new infections begin to rise.

The Palestinian Health Ministry has confirmed 368 coronavirus cases in the West Bank and 55 in the Gaza Strip, with three virus-related deaths across both territories.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye (NAN)

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Japan lifts state of emergency over coronavirus for Tokyo, 4 other prefectures

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday lifted the state of emergency in Japan for the five remaining prefectures, including Tokyo, as the spread of the virus has been brought under control.

“Today the government will lift the state of emergency across the nation. We’ve set some of the most strict criteria in the world to lift the declaration, and we concluded that prefectures across the country have met that standard,” the Japanese leader told a press conference.

The remaining prefectures that were still subject to restrictions under the emergency declaration were Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama and Hokkaido prefectures.

Abe’s remarks and the official lifting of the state of emergency for the five prefectures brought an end to emergency measures issued first for Tokyo, Osaka and five other urban areas on April 7. The announcement came after the government’s coronavirus advisory panel showed support for the move earlier in the day.

The advisory panel had been focusing on the lifting criteria which was based around the number of newly reported cases over the past week, the availability of medical resources, and the capacity to provide virus tests and monitor the spread of the virus.

“The advisory panel has agreed that all prefectures no longer need to be under a state of emergency and that lifting the declaration is appropriate,” Economic Revitalization Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said, adding that the situation would be closely monitored and reviewed every three weeks.

Nishimura also said that social and economic activities, including large-scale events, would be phased back in, although people would still be asked not to travel across prefecture lines until the end of this month.

The government, while showing caution amid the coronavirus pandemic, has been keen to see the economy fully reopened as the five prefectures account for around one-third of the country’s gross domestic product.

On May 18, data released by the government showed that Japan’s economy shrank for a second straight quarter in the January-March period and entered a technical recession as a result of the adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Cabinet Office said the economy shrank by an annualized real 3.4 percent in the January-March period from the previous quarter.

The decrease in the quarter corresponds to a 0.9 percent decline on a seasonally adjusted quarterly basis, the Cabinet Office said.

The Japanese leader is now tasked with ushering in a “new normal” for society, which balances the rejuvenation of the country’s recession-hit economy, while ensuring the nation is not hit by an explosive second wave of COVID-19 infections.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Roundup: Egyptians stay indoors on fast-breaking day under anti-coronavirus measures

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Egypt celebrated on Sunday the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which comes after the holy fasting month of Ramadan, amid tight anti-COVID-19 restrictions.

Unlike previous years, streets, public parks and beaches that used to be overcrowded with people were almost empty as the security beefed up presence to impose a lockdown, social distancing measures as well as a 13-hour curfew that starts in the afternoon.

During the feast, Egyptians used to flock to public parks, zoos and other outdoor places to mark the festival. However, the spread of the novel coronavirus has kept millions of them indoors to avoid infection.

The most populous Arab country has so far confirmed 17,265 COVID-19 cases, including 764 deaths and 4,807 recoveries.

The Egyptian government decided to impose a stricter package of anti-COVID-19 measures during the six-day holiday to combat the spread of the virus.

In the holiday, the curfew in Egypt lasts for 13 hours instead of nine to maintain social distancing and avoid gatherings amid the increasing COVID-19 infections.

After the Islamic holiday, the curfew will be reduced to 10 hours for two weeks and then, the government will consider from mid-June easing restrictions and gradually resuming several suspended activities.

Egypt has already started easing restrictions and gradually reopening services and offices that have been halted since mid-March amid the government’s “coexistence plan” to maintain anti-coronavirus precautionary measures while resuming services, businesses and economic activities.

Meanwhile, Egyptian Interior Ministry announced that its security plans included intensifying security presence in all axes, roads, streets, squares and vital areas.

The plan also included following up on the implementation of the precautionary measures to preserve citizens’ well-being within the comprehensive plan to limit the spread of the coronavirus, which includes the closure of beaches, public parks, shops, malls, restaurants, and areas providing entertainment services.

The interior ministry announced on Sunday that 5,532 inmates were pardoned and released on the occasion of the Eid al-Fitr holiday. The move came in accordance with a recent presidential decree, the ministry said in a statement.

It has been a custom for Egyptian presidents to pardon prisoners, mainly those who have spent more than half of their terms as well as patients and the elderly people, on national and significant religious occasions.

(XINHUA)

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Spain’s coronavirus death toll rises to 28,752

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The coronavirus death toll in Spain rose by 70 to 28,752, according to the Spanish Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Welfare on Sunday.

According to the ministry, 70 people lost their lives in the 24 hours until midnight on Saturday, 22 more than the number reported a day earlier.

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases in the country rose to 235,772 from 235,290, it said.

(XINHUA)

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Economy

MPC: Don predicts CRR reduction to 22.5% due to coronavirus

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A Professor of Finance and Capital Market has said that Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would reduce the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) by five per cent during its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting on Thursday.

Prof. Uche Uwaleke of Nasarawa State University made the prediction in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Lagos.

Uwaleke, who spoke on the expectations from the meeting slated for May 28, said the MPC would likely reduce the CRR from 27.5 per cent to its previous level of 22.5 per cent.

“The MPC will most likely adopt a slightly dovish approach which may entail reducing the CRR from 27.5 per cent to its previous level of 22.5 per cent, while retaining the other policy rates.

“That is, the MPR at 13.5 per cent, Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent and the asymmetric corridor at +2-5.

“A reduction in the CRR will be the right decision to take as it will free up some funds for banks given that they are not remunerated for cash reserve with the CBN,” Uwaleke stated.

He noted that the reduction would be a breather and would support the banks not to lay off staff due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Uwaleke added that the CRR reduction would enable banks to maintain the Loan to Deposit Ratio put in place to enhance credit to the private sector, especially in this period of COVID-19.

“I think the choice before the MPC on May 28 will be either to maintain the policy parameters or relax them.

“The issue of further tightening of the policy may not arise as that could spark an outcry in view of the difficult times the economy is passing through.

“Essentially, the MPC will take into consideration the rising inflation rate which is moving far away from the CBN threshold of 9% and fast closing in on the MPR of 13.5%.

“If not put in check and it surpasses the benchmark rate, then we have a situation in which real returns are negative and becomes a disincentive to investors, especially portfolio investors.

“So, the MPC will be mindful not to discourage Foreign Portfolio Investment because of its positive impact on external reserves.

“The MPC will be the knock-on of a lower MPR on exchange rate against the backdrop of the move to merge the official and autonomous foreign exchange rates in line with the condition for accessing the $3.4 billion IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument Facility.

“These factors will feature prominently in the considerations to retain the policy rates including the huge fiscal deficit in the 2020 budget that will be financed largely through borrowing by the government.

“On the other hand, the MPC will equally be concerned about the current economic recession occasioned by COVID-19 and the collapse in crude oil price.

“The need for complementary measures in support of government’s stimulus packages and the ones by the CBN.

“I also expect the MPC to consider the effect of a high MPR on the asset quality of banks especially its potential to increase non performing loans arising from inability of many bank customers hard-hit by the pandemic to meet their loan terms and conditions.

“Against this backdrop, I see the balance of risks weighing in favour of economic growth stimulation,” Uwaleke said.

He said the CBN governor might seize the opportunity of the MPC meeting to unveil some heterodox measures aimed at containing the negative impact of the pandemic on the economy.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Saudi Arabia registers 2,399 new coronavirus cases, 72,560 in total

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Saudi Arabia registered on Sunday 2,399 new coronavirus cases, increasing the total number of infections to 72,560.

The death toll increased to 390 with 11 new fatalities, the health ministry tweeted.

The overall recovered cases increased to 43,520 with 2,284 new recoveries, it said.

Saudi Arabia enforces a 24-hour nationwide lockdown during the Eid al-Fitr holiday from May 23 to 27 as part of the precautionary measures against coronavirus.

(XINHUA)

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Sport

Bournemouth player one of two more coronavirus positive tests in EPL

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English Premier League (EPL) clubside Bournemouth confirmed on Sunday that one of their players is among the two latest people across the league to test positive for the coronavirus.

In a statement, Bournemouth said the player would now self-isolate for seven days, as per the protocols.

Six people across three clubs including at least one player from Watford tested positive for the virus in the first round of tests.

In a statement on its website, the Premier League said the two positive tests came from a round of 996 tests across all 20 clubs, with each club increasing their tests from 40 to 50.

“The Premier League can today confirm that on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 22 May, 996 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19. Of these, two have tested positive from two clubs,” the Premier League said.

A third round of tests will take place at the 20 clubs on Monday and Tuesday.

The Premier League is still hoping to resume the season in June.
OLAL

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)

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Politics

Ex-lawmaker urges Muslims to pray for end of coronavirus

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A former member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr Olusegun Olulade, told Muslims on Sunday to use the Eid-el-Fitr celebration to pray to God to heal Nigeria and the world of COVID-19.

In his Sallah message to Muslims, Olulade said they should pray to God so that normalcy would return to the world, particularly Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Eid-el-Fitr is celebrated after successful completion of the 30-day Ramadan fasting.

Olulade, who represented Epe Constituency II from 2011 to 2019, lauded Muslims for going through the fasting, in spite of the coronavirus pandemic.

The lawmaker told Muslims to remain committed to the teaching and lessons of Ramadan.

“The fasting may have come and gone but as Muslims, you must not forget all the lessons learnt during the Ramadan period. We must remain committed to all these lessons.

“As we celebrate Eid-el-Fitri, we must not forget that the world is going through a devastating period because of coronavirus.

“Our ways of life are not what it used to be. Today, we cannot do some things the way we use to do them before.

“Today, Muslims cannot go to the praying ground to observe Eid prayers. We cannot gather to hold Sallah celebration.

“This is indeed, a trying time for the world but in all, we should appreciate Almighty Allah for counting us to be among those who are witnessing today.

“You may not have the opportunity to go to praying grounds for prayers but we should use today to ask God to heal the world of this pandemic so that normalcy can return to the world.”

Olulade prayed that Allah would give the faithful opportunity to celebrate many more years in good health.

Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

 

 

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China tells U.S. to stop wasting time in coronavirus battle

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The U.S. should stop wasting time in its fight against the coronavirus and work with China to combat it, rather than spreading lies and attacking the country, the Chinese Government’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, said on Sunday.

The Sino-U.S. ties have nosedived since the outbreak of the new coronavirus, with the administrations of President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping repeatedly trading barbs over issues related to the pandemic, especially the U.S. accusations of cover-ups and lack of transparency.

The two top economies have also clashed over Hong Kong, human rights, trade and the U.S. support for Chinese-claimed Taiwan.

State Councillor Wang, speaking at his annual news conference on the sidelines of China’s parliament, expressed his deep sympathies to the U.S. for the pandemic, where the death toll is expected to surpass 100,000 in the coming days, the highest number of any country.

“Regretfully, in addition to the raging coronavirus, a political virus is also spreading in the U.S.

“This political virus is using every opportunity to attack and smear China,’’ said Wang, who is also China’s Foreign Minister.

“Some politicians have ignored the most basic facts and concocted too many lies about China and plotted too many conspiracies.’’

“I want to say here: Don’t waste precious time any longer, and don’t ignore lives,’’ Wang said.

“What China and the U.S. need to do the most is to first learn from each other and share their experience in fighting against the epidemic and help each country fight it.’’

China and the U.S. also need to start coordinating macro policies for their respective economies and the world economy, he added.

China remains prepared to work with the U.S. in the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect, Wang said, when asked if Sino-U.S. relations would further worsen.

China has always advocated that as the world’s largest developing country and the largest developed country, both of us bear a major responsibility for world peace and development,’’ he said.

China and the U.S. stand to gain from cooperation, and lose from confrontation.’’

Last month, Missouri became the first U.S. state to sue the Chinese government over its handling of the coronavirus, saying China’s response to the outbreak that originated in the city of Wuhan brought devastating economic losses to the state.

Wang said such lawsuits lacked any legal basis.

“The China of today is not the China of a century ago, and nor is it the world,’’ he added.

“If you want to infringe upon China’s sovereignty and dignity with indiscriminate litigation, and extort the fruits of the hard work of the Chinese people, I am afraid this is a daydream and you’ll only humiliate yourself.’’

Wang also offered his strong support for the World Health Organisation (WHO) and its chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, frequent targets of the U.S. criticism.

“To support the WHO is to support saving lives.

“This is the choice any country with a conscience should make,’’ he said.

Trump, who has accused the agency of being “China centric”, has threatened to permanently halt funding to the WHO and to reconsider his country’s membership of the agency.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Philippines reports 258 new coronavirus cases, total surging past 14,000

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The Philippines on Sunday reported 258 new cases of COVID-19, pushing the total number of cases to 14,035 since the outbreak in the country in January.

The Department of Health (DOH) said in a daily bulletin that the number of recoveries now has reached 3,249 after 72 more patients have recovered. The daily death toll also increased to 868 after five more deaths have been recorded, the DOH added.

According to the DOH, 195 cases or 75 percent of the daily cases were reported in Metro Manila while 51 cases or 20 percent were reported from other parts of the country. Twelve cases or 5 percent of the total daily cases were repatriated overseas Filipino workers, the DOH added.

(XINHUA)

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Migrant workers gather and wait to board buses during coronavirus lockdown in Bangalore, India

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Migrant workers from different Indian states gather and wait to board buses for their destinations during the coronavirus lockdown in Bangalore, India, May 23, 2020. (Str/Xinhua)

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S. Africans allowed essential travel abroad amid coronavirus pandemic

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The South African government on Saturday approved essential travel for its nationals who want to return to countries where they are based.

Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi made the announcement following consultations with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and the National Coronavirus Command Council.

South Africans who wish to leave the country are permitted to depart only for one of the following reasons: work, study, family reunion, taking up permanent residency and receiving medical attention, Motsoaledi said.

South Africa imposed travel restrictions in mid-March as part of the measures put in place to fight COVID-19, only allowing travel between countries under special circumstances.

Under the new policy, South Africans wishing to return to countries where they reside are required to provide necessary documentation. Moreover, if returning by road or connecting via flights, they need to submit permission from each transiting country.

The announcement came amid a surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.

As of Saturday, South Africa has recorded a total of 21,343 cases, the highest number in Africa, according to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.

Over the past 24 hours, the country has reported 1,218 cases, the highest single-day surge since March 5.

The number of deaths from COVID-19 has risen to 407, up by 10 from Friday.

(XINHUA)

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Live COVID-19 updates: Spain reports falls in new coronavirus deaths, cases

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The following are the updates on the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

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MADRID — The Spanish Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Welfare on Saturday confirmed falls in the number of new deaths and cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The ministry reported that 48 people lost their lives to COVID-19 in the 24 hours until midnight on Friday, down from 56 confirmed a day earlier, taking the death toll in Spain to 28,678.

The same period also saw a fall in the number of new cases detected by PCR tests, which discover if the coronavirus is active in the body. The ministry reported 361 new infections, down from 446 a day earlier, bringing the total cases to 235,290.

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ROME — A further 119 COVID-19 patients had died in the past 24 hours in Italy, bringing the country’s death toll to 32,735 out of total infection cases of 229,327, according to the latest figures on Saturday.

The number of recoveries rose to 138,840, an increase of 2,120 compared to Friday. Nationwide, the number of active infections fell by 1,570 to 57,752, according to the Civil Protection Department.

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NEW YORK — The U.S. state of New York now allows gatherings of up to 10 people for non-essential purposes, two months after a statewide order banned such gatherings of any size to curb spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order late on Friday to loosen the restrictions, stressing that people have to follow social distancing protocols and cleaning and disinfection protocols required by the state’s Department of Health.

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SANTIAGO — The Chilean Ministry of Health confirmed on Saturday that the number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the country had reached 65,393, with 673 deaths.

Of the number of new confirmed cases, 3,237 presented symptoms while 299 were asymptomatic.

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ANKARA — The total number of COVID-19 cases in Turkey climbed to 155,686 on Saturday, with 1,186 new daily cases registered, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

The death toll surged to 4,308 after 32 new fatalities were reported in the past 24 hours, the minister tweeted.

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BAGHDAD — The Iraqi Health Ministry on Saturday said that the daily increase of COVID-19 cases in the country jumped to 308, the highest record so far, bringing the total number of infections to 4,272.

The new cases included 274 in the capital Baghdad, seven in Sulaimaniyah, six each in Basra and Wasit, five in Muthanna, three each in Diyala and Karbala and one each in Erbil, Duhok, Najaf and Salahudin, the statement added.

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XI’AN — An epidemic prevention and control work team departed for Tajikistan from Xi’an on Saturday to join the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, at the invitation of the government of Tajikistan.

The 14-member team’s expertise extends from infectious diseases prevention and control, traditional Chinese medicine, to nursing and respiratory diseases treatment.

(XINHUA)

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