An Israeli Minister close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday called for a renewed lockdown to prevent coronavirus infections from spiralling out of control.
“I believe that we must go to a lockdown now,” Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said in an interview aired on Ynet, the online version of Israel’s biggest-selling Yedioth Ahronoth daily on Monday.
“A lockdown of between 10 and 20 days.
“A lockdown that breathes you go to work, the supermarket or the pharmacy, but not to places of entertainment.
“Why? First of all, we’ll probably get there. So better early than late,’’ he argued.
Steinitz added that the current suspension of flights to and from Israel over coronavirus concerns would be far more damaging to the country’s economy than temporarily closing local businesses such as bars.
“A lockdown of around 14 days could cut the number of new infections to several dozen a day,’’ he said.
Although its total death toll, at 362 is relatively low, the number of new infections in Israel has begun spiralling out of control.
On Sunday, Israel saw 1,151 new cases in one day, after hitting a record with 1,464 daily cases on Friday.
He said that there were 18,300 confirmed active cases of coronavirus, of whom 151 were defined as being in serious condition, while 47 were on respirators.
Netanyahu, initially praised for his decisive action early on in the pandemic, has faced growing criticism and anger.
In the largest demonstration yet against his handling of the crisis, tens of thousands protested in Tel Aviv late on Saturday.
Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)
Nadal to skip United States Open due to COVID-19 concerns, as organisers announce entries
World number two Rafa Nadal confirmed on Tuesday that he would not defend his United States Open crown this year at Flushing Meadows.
His announcement came as organisers released the singles entry list for the Grand Slam.
“After many thoughts I have decided not to play (at) this year’s United States Open,” Nadal said on Twitter.
”The situation is very complicated worldwide, and the COVID-19 cases are increasing. It looks like we still don’t have control of it.
“We know that the reduced tennis calendar is barbaric this year after four months stopped with no play.
”I understand and thank (everyone) for the efforts they are putting in to make it happen. We have just seen the announcement of Madrid not being played this year.
“This is a decision I never wanted to take but I have decided to follow my heart this time and for the time being I rather not travel.”
The United States has the highest tally in the world with more than 4.7 million confirmed novel coronavirus cases and nearly 156,000 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.
World number one Novak Djokovic, a three-times champion in New York, headlines the men’s list along with last year’s runner-up Daniil Medvedev.
There are other top 10 players, including Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev.
Swiss Roger Federer, a five-times United States Open champion, will also be absent after the 38-year-old was forced to undergo knee surgery in June which prematurely ended his 2020 season.
Nine of the top 10 women’s players, including 23-times Grand Slam champion Serena Williams and holder Bianca Andreescu, are on the entry list along with 2018 champion Naomi Osaka.
As many as 13 Grand Slam champions are in the women’s draw.
These include Romania’s Simona Halep, the reigning Wimbledon champion and 2018 French Open winner, and this year’s Australian Open champion American Sofia Kenin.
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) said eight additional wildcard entries would be selected in both the men’s and women’s fields.
Organisers said the seedings would be announced closer to the start of the tournament which is scheduled for Aug. 31.
A number of players are also set to take part in the Aug. 20 to Aug. 28 Western & Southern Open in New York, which serves as a warm-up event for the United States Open.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
Sexual violence: Mrs Akeredolu pledges to partner stakeholders
The wife of Ondo State Governor, Mrs Betty Akeredolu, has pledged her readiness to partner with relevant stakeholders to end cases of sexual violence in the state.
Akeredolu spoke on Tuesday in Akure at a stakeholders meeting on gender-based sexual violence
According to her, an action plan must aim at addressing the issue of rape in the state holistically.
The governor’s wife, therefore, advised stakeholders to collectively come up with a reasonable action plan that would end the menace.
Mrs Titi Adeyemi, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, said the essence of the meeting was to have a follow up forum on the previous meeting with stakeholders on rape and gender based violence.
Adeyemi noted that the spate of rape cases and gender-based violence was becoming alarming.
“It has become so worrisome, especially during the coronavirus period, which concerns every individuals.
“There has been an upsurge on issue of rape and all hands must be on deck to curb it.
” That is the main reason Mrs Akeredolu and relevant authorities have shown great concern at this time.
“We have put a team of experts together, people who have technical knowledge on gender-based violence issues to look for a lasting solution.
“We have a whole range of stakeholders coming together to evolve an action plan to tackle the menace, and I believe that this move is going to assist the state and the society at large,” she said.
Adeyemi said her ministry had concluded plans with the Ministry of Budget to include funds for gender-based violence management in its budget.
She also said that a desk for management of gender based violence cases would be created while government would build the capacity of care givers as well as empower victims.
The commissioner commended the governor’s wife for contributing to the proactive measures put in place to curb the menace in the state.
Mrs Bola Ogundadegbe, the Chairperson of Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) in the state, disclosed that the 112 rape incidents recorded since 2017 had been charged to court.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that stakeholders at the meeting included representatives from Ministries of Justice, Education, Health, Women Affairs as well as representatives of non governmental organisations specialising on rape cases.
Edited By: Muftau Adediran/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)
Spain records lower unemployment in July
The Spanish Government on Tuesday said the rate of unemployment declined slightly in July compared to the previous month, in spite drastic measures implemented to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
According to the Labour Ministry, the number of unemployed people declined by 2.3 per cent, or circa 90,000 people, to 3.8 million.
However, analysts were surprised by the result, as predictions had said the number would rise by 20,000.
The figures indicate the Spanish labour market was recovering after unemployment numbers rose by 302,000 in March and 283,000 in April, but only 26,500 additional people were reported unemployed in May and 5,100 in June.
This, they said, marked an ever smaller increase in the rate of unemployment in the country.
The impact of the coronavirus crisis was more apparent in comparison to 2019, however, unemployment in July was 25 per cent higher than in July 2019.
Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)
Philippine capital, surrounding provinces return to lockdown
More than 27 million people in the Philippines on Tuesday went back under stricter lockdown measures as the Health Department reported a record number of new coronavirus cases.
The department reported 6,352 additional coronavirus infections, pushing the country’s total caseload to 112,593.
The department added that death toll also rose to 2,115, following 11 additional deaths.
Meanwhile, almost half of the additional cases were confirmed in the Metro Manila region, which has been placed under what is locally called modified enhanced community quarantine for the next 15 days.
The protocol was also imposed in the four surrounding provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal.
Also, public transport, private and government offices and other commercial services were suspended in the five regions, while people were prohibited from leaving their homes unless for essential trips.
Dine-in services in restaurants were also suspended, and some of the 16 cities in Metro Manila re-imposed a ban on alcohol.
Catholic churches were once again closed to the public, as well as beauty salons and gyms.
Coronavirus cases in the Philippines have been increasing since the government began to ease restrictions in June in a bid to revive the economy.
One of the doctors who joined the call warned that if the infections were not halted, the country would be the next New York City, where people die on stretchers due to lack of space in hospitals.
Health Undersecretary Maria Vergeire urged the public to follow minimum health standards of wearing face masks, frequent handwashing and maintaining physical distance.
“We all know the situation in the country. We all know that as long as there is no vaccine or cure, we have to learn to live with the virus.
“That is why we are always reminding the public to follow health protocols,” she said.
Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)