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New NEMA DG pledges to improve staff’s response to disasters

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Retired AVM Muhammadu Muhammed, the new Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), said staff welfare and their ability to respond to disasters would be his priority.

Muhammed made the promise
at his inaugural meeting with newsmen and directors of the agency in Abuja.

He said that it was important to improve the capabilities of the staff members to enable them to be prepared at all times for disasters management in the country.

“If we fail to prepare, then, we have undoubtedly prepared to fail. Suffice to say at this point, that for us, failure is not a consideration, let alone an option.

“This is because our nation will largely depend on us, as an agency, to ameliorate disaster situations, prior to, during and after such episode.

“I am aware that for us as an agency to achieve this, so much is expected and required of us.

“It is on this note that we will do as much as possible to equip our staff with the requisite knowledge through training to ensure they give their best whenever they are called upon,” he said.

Muhammed reiterated that successful emergency management rely upon experience and expertise.

He added that although one could could not stop natural disasters, one could arm himself with knowledge and reasonable level of disaster preparedness so that not many lives would be lost.

The director-general urged the staff members to give their full cooperation and equally provide ideas on how best to resolve issues whenever they arose.

Mohammed also appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for given him the opportunity to head the agency.

Edited By: Joe Idika/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

Ruth Oketunde: 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

Laos reports 38 new cases of dengue fever, 1 new death

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Laos reported 38 new confirmed cases of dengue fever and one new death from the disease, according to Lao Ministry of Health report.

The highest number of dengue patients were reported in Lao capital Vientiane at 345 with two deaths, while 190 cases were reported in Attapeu province, and 186 cases were reported in Vientiane province.

As of Sunday, 1,337 people had been diagnosed with dengue fever and four deaths were recorded, according to the Center of Information and Education for Health under the Lao Ministry of Health.

Lao health authorities urged people to clear potential mosquito breeding sites around their homes and workplaces to help control the spread of dengue fever.

Meanwhile, improvement of the diagnosis and treatment of dengue at hospitals and dispensaries is necessary to prevent unavoidable deaths.

According to the World Health Organization, dengue is one of the fastest emerging infections and is currently the most rapidly spreading viral disease known, with Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Singapore also seeing high incidence. The number of cases in the Western Pacific Region has more than doubled over the past 10 years.

(XINHUA)

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Singapore reports 344 new COVID-19 cases

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Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 344 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 31,960.

Of the new cases, 99 percent were linked to known clusters, while the rest were pending contact tracing.

A total of 862 more COVID-19 patients have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. In all, 15,738 have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospitals or community care facilities, the ministry said.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Yemeni gov’t confirms 11 new COVID-19 cases, 233 in total 

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The number of people infected with the novel coronavirus in the Yemeni provinces controlled by the government has increased to 233 as health authorities confirmed 11 new cases on Monday.

According to a brief statement released by the country’s Health Ministry, “during the past 24 hours, 11 new cases were officially recorded in three provinces controlled by the government.”

The war-torn Arab country recorded also two more deaths among the people being treated for COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 44 in the Yemeni areas under the control of the government.

The pro-government health authorities said that the number of recoveries has increased 10 since the outbreak of coronavirus on April 10.

The Yemeni government has taken several measures to contain the outbreak of COVID-19, including imposing a partial overnight curfew in Aden and other major cities under its control.

The government called on donors and relevant international humanitarian organizations to provide support to help contain the pandemic.

Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi group seized control of much of the country’s north and forced the internationally-recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of Sanaa.

(XINHUA)

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Senegal reports 83 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, total reaching 3,130

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Senegal’s Ministry of Health and Social Action on Monday reported 83 more confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 3,130 in the country.

Of the 83 new cases, 79 are follow-up contact cases and four community-transmission ones, ministry spokesperson Aloyse Waly Diouf told a daily briefing on the pandemic.

A total of 1,091 tests were conducted in the previous 24 hours, he said.

An additional 59 patients recovered from the disease, bring the total of recoveries to 1,515. The number of patients in intensive care units rose to 15, Diouf said.

The death toll remains at 35 across the country.

Senegal, which reported the first confirmed case on March 2, now has a total of 3,130 cases, including 2,761 follow-up contact cases, 89 imported ones and 280 community-transmission ones.

President Macky Sall on Sunday urged citizens to stay vigilant and observe preventive measures to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

Although the situation appears to be stabilizing in the country, Senegal faces a possible rise of imported cases from neighboring countries.

Its northern neighbor Mauritania reported a surge of confirmed cases last week, while Mali on Monday reported nine new cases in the western region of Kayes, right next to the border with Senegal.

Across Senegal’s southern border, Guinea-Bissau on Sunday reported 64 positive cases out of 84 samples tested.

Senegal’s state of emergency over the pandemic, declared on March 24, was extended early May to last through June 2. Residents are subject to a 9 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew and required to wear masks at all public places.

(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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General news

Kwara records 4 new COVID-19 cases

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The Kwara government says it has recorded four new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 74, as of May 24.
Mr Rafiu Ajakaye, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor and Spokesman of the state Technical Committee on COVID-19, made this known in a statement issued on Monday in Ilorin.
Ajakaye said that out of the 1,112 tests so far conducted, 1,030 tested negative for the coronavirus, while 44 were active out of the remaining 74 cases.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), in its verified website, stated that 34 patients had so far been discharged and one death recorded in the state.

Edited By: Joe Idika and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Foreign

Brunei reports no new COVID-19 cases for 18 straight days

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Brunei reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Monday with the national tally of cases standing at 141, marking the 18th consecutive day without new cases.

According to Brunei’s Ministry of Health, no more recoveries were recorded on Monday, maintaining the total number of recovered cases at 137.

Only three active cases are still receiving treatment at the National Isolation Center, and two patients remain in critical condition. There has been so far one death resulting from the COVID-19 in Brunei.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Ukraine reports 259 new COVID-19 cases

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Ukraine’s health ministry said on Monday that 259 more people have tested positive for coronavirus in the past 24 hours, raising the total number to 21,245.

The ministry said 623 people have so far died from the disease, while 7,234 patients have recovered. Of the infected, 1,546 are children and 4,112 are health workers.

A total of 6,620 coronavirus patients have been hospitalized since the beginning of the epidemic, it said.

On Wednesday, the Ukrainian government introduced adaptive quarantine measures from May 22 to June 2.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Belgium enters new deconfinement stage with more students returning to school

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Belgium entered in a new stage of the government’s Phase-2 deconfinement plan Monday, with more pupils filing back to the classroom.

The wearing of masks is not compulsory for children under 12 years old. However, hygiene measures and physical distance will have to be respected.

The new stage also concerns prisons. Visits will resume there under the strict conditions of one visit per prisoner and once a week.

The public health institute Sciensano on Monday reported 250 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 57,342 since the pandemic hit the country.

“These new infections confirm the continuing downward trend… over the past few days,” said Yves Van Laethem, inter-federal spokesman on the fight against COVID-19.

The same 24 hours saw 27 new hospitalizations, a decrease of around 4 percent, and 32 deaths, according to Laethem.

As of Monday, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed 9,312 lives in Belgium since its outbreak. Currently, 251 patients are in intensive care, down by five from a day earlier.

Belgium entered Phase-2 deconfinement on May 18, with schools reopening to some grades under strict organizational conditions.

(XINHUA)

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General news

Gov. Oyetola mourns New Telegraph editor, says death huge blow to journalism

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Gov. Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun has described the death of Alhaji Waheed Bakare, Saturday Editor of The New Telegraph Newspapers, as “a devastating blow and a great loss to his immediate family and journalism in Nigeria”.

Oyetola, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Ismail Omipidan, on Monday in Osogbo, commiserated with Bakare’s family, friends, colleagues, the Journalists’ Hangout family and the management of The New Telegraph Newspapers over the loss.

The governor described Bakare as a hardworking, talented, cerebral and an accomplished journalist that would be sorely missed by all.

“I received with great shock the passing of Alhaji Waheed Bakare, Editor, Saturday New Telegraph.

“His death is not only a loss to his family, but also to the journalism profession.

“As people who believe in God, we should take it in good faith and give gratitude to God that the late journalist ran a good race and gave a good account of himself as a newsroom leader and gatekeeper.

“As a professional and a devout Muslim, Bakare showed class in the discharge of his responsibilities.

“My deep condolences go to the entire family, the New Telegraph management as well as all journalists in Nigeria. He will be sorely missed.

“I pray Allah to forgive his shortcomings and grant him Aljanah Firdaus. I also pray Allah to comfort his bereaved family and loved ones,” Oyetola added.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Bakare died on Sunday after a brief illness.

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Bangladesh records highest daily spike with 1,975 new COVID-19 cases, death toll tops 500

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The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh reached 35,585, including 1,975 new cases confirmed in the last 24 hours, the biggest daily jump since March 8, a senior health ministry official told a media briefing on television on Monday.

With 21 new deaths, the toll due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country reached 501 on Monday, said Professor Nasima Sultana, additional director general of Directorate General of Health Services under the Ministry of Health.

She said 9,451 samples were tested in the last 24 hours across Bangladesh, which used to record the highest daily increase of 1,873 cases on May 23.

During the last 24 hours, she said 433 more patients were released from hospitals and clinics, bringing the number of recovered patients in the country to 7,334.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Indonesia reports 479 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, 19 new deaths

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The COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 479 within one day to 22,750, with the death toll adding by 19 to 1,391, Achmad Yurianto, a Health Ministry official, said at a press conference on Monday.

Jakarta, home to some 10 million people, suffers the highest number of deaths totaling 501, followed by East Java 292, West Java 128, Central Java 70, Banten 66, South Sulawesi 66, South Kalimantan 61 and the rest recorded in other areas.

The pandemic has spread to all the 34 provinces in the country.

Authorities have been conducting rapid tests in areas where cases were detected, and ordering the public to always wear masks to curb the spread.

The COVID-19 National Task Force’s Chief Doni Monardo said people who are traveling in the country must show medical certificates proving that they had gone through either rapid tests or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for the COVID-19.

The certificates for rapid tests and those for PCR tests last three days and seven days respectively, he added.

Monardo said the certificates must be shown to authorities at security screening checkpoints in roads, airports, seaports and railway stations.

“If a person can’t show the certificate, authorities will require the person to return to his or her departure point,” he stated.

(XINHUA)

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Uganda’s COVID-19 cases hit 212, with 14 new cases confirmed

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Uganda has registered 14 new cases of COVID-19 bringing the total number of cases in the east African country to 212, ministry of health said in a statement issued on Monday.

The ministry said out of the 1,739 samples collected from cross-border cargo truck drivers, contacts of the previously confirmed cases and community, which were tested on Sunday, 14 samples turned out positive.

“All new cases are contacts to previously confirmed truck drivers. All contacts were under quarantine at the time of test,” said the statement.

A total of five foreign truck drivers, all Tanzanians who tested positive for the virus at Uganda’s Mutukula border were handed over to their country of origin, the ministry said.

Out of the 212 COVID-19 cases, 68 have recovered and no one has died of the respiratory disease, according to the ministry of health.

(XINHUA)

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General news

Osun discharges 2 COVID-19 patients, records 2 new cases

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The Osun government says it has discharged two more coronavirus patients from its isolation and treatment centre.

The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Rafiu Isamotu, who made this known in a statement on Monday in Osogbo, said the patients were discharged after testing negative for the virus twice as required by treatment protocol.

Isamotu, however, confirmed the detection of two new COVID-19 cases in the state.

“Today, two COVID-19 patients were discharged from our isolation and treatment centre to join their families after they tested negative for the virus.

“Sadly, we also recorded two new cases in the state.

“Thankfully, they are all stable and responding to treatment.

“In total, 34 patients have been successfully treated and discharged from our isolation centres across the state out of the 44 confirmed cases in the state,” he said.

Isamotu urged residents to continue to abide by the safety measures put in place by the state government to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Laos confirms no new case of COVID-19 for 43 consecutive days

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Laos reported no new case of COVID-19 for 43 consecutive days, with the total number of confirmed cases unchanged at 19.

Lao Deputy Minister of Health Phouthone Meaungpak told a press conference on Monday, the total number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in the country remained at 19, as no new case was confirmed for 43 consecutive days.

On Sunday, a total of 1,516 people entering Laos through international border checkpoints. Of these, 823 people crossed the border with Thailand, 26 of them were Lao returning workers, and others were truck drivers bringing freight into Laos.

A total of eight truck drivers entered Laos from China, while 665 truck drivers entered Laos from Vietnam.

At all border crossings, the temperature of each person entering Laos was checked and no one showed signs of fever. All Lao workers returning to their homes were sent to a quarantine center for 14 days, according to the report.

The National Taskforce Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control on Monday announced it had been monitoring 3,690 people at 95 accommodation centers across the country.

As of Monday, Laos has tested 5,795 suspected cases with 19 cases tested positive, and 14 patients have recovered.

Another five infected cases are treated in designated hospital — Mittaphab Hospital (Hospital 150) in Lao capital Vientiane.

Laos announced its first two COVID-19 confirmed cases on March 24.

(XINHUA)

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Philippines reports 284 new COVID-19 cases, 14,319 in total

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The Philippines on Monday reported 284 new cases of the COVID-19, pushing the total number of the cases to 14,319 since the highly infectious disease emerged in the country in January.

The Department of Health (DOH) said in a daily bulletin that the number of recoveries now has climbed to 3,323 after 74 more patients have survived the disease. The total death toll has increased to 873 after 5 more patients succumbed to the viral disease, the DOH added.

According to the DOH, 171 cases or 60 percent of the daily cases were reported in Metro Manila, 70 cases or 25 percent in the Central Visayas region in the central Philippines and 43 cases or 15 percent in other parts of the country.

(XINHUA)

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Health

COVID-19 : Oyo records 7 new cases

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Oyo State has recorded seven new confirmed cases of the COVID-19, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the state to 240.

The seven new cases were among the latest 313 recorded in 17 states by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Sunday.

The News Agency of Nigera reports that of the 240 recorded cases as at Sunday, 171 were reported as active in the state.

Meanwhile, the Oyo State COVID-19 Taskforce has relaxed the curfew in the state from between 7 p.m and 5 a.m to between 8p.m and 5 a.m  inspite of the daily increase in cases in the state.

The taskforce, however, said community testing would commence by the end of this week while health workers selected to participate in the exercise would begin training from Wednesday.

(
Edited By: Kevin Okunzuwa/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)

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Foreign

Republicans sue Gov. Newsom over vote-by-mail order for November election

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Three Republican groups have sued Gov. Gavin Newsom over his executive order to send mail-in ballots to California’s 20.6 million voters in November.

The suit was brought by the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the California Republican Party.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced the lawsuit via Twitter late on Sunday.

“His radical plan is a recipe for disaster that would create more opportunities for fraud & destroy the confidence Californians deserve to have in their elections,” McDaniel said.

Newsom issued the order on May 8, making California the first state in the nation to temporarily shift to all-mail voting as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lawsuit accuses Newsom of a “brazen power grab” that would “violate eligible citizens’ right to vote.”

The complaint echoes those made by President Donald Trump, who has criticised mail-in ballots as “dangerous” and fraudulent and threatened to withhold federal funding from some states that have sought to expand mail voting.

In making the decision, California officials cited public health concerns of millions of people showing up to cast a ballot when the threat of infection is still likely to be present.

Responding to the lawsuit late on Sunday, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said via Twitter: “Expanding vote-by-mail during a pandemic is not a partisan issue – it’s a moral imperative to protect voting rights and public safety.

“Vote-by-mail has been used safely and effectively in red, blue and purple states for years.

“This lawsuit is just another part of Trump’s political smear campaign against voting by mail.

“We will not let this virus be exploited for voter suppression.”

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Bulgaria reports record-low new COVID-19 infections

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Bulgarian health authorities on Monday reported a record low of only six new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide tally to 2,433.

Meanwhile, another 22 people have recovered from the disease, raising the total number of recoveries to 862, secretary of the national coronavirus task force Dimo Dimov said in a statement, adding that there were no new COVID-19 deaths.

He also said that 235 patients are currently hospitalized with 20 in intensive care units.

(XINHUA)

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Kyrgyzstan reports 30 new COVID-19 cases

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Kyrgyzstan on Monday confirmed 30 new COVID-19 cases and two new deaths, raising its total number of infections to 1,433 and the death toll to 16.

Among the newly infected are five medical workers, bringing the number of infected medical workers to 280, including 231 recoveries, Deputy Health Minister Nurbolot Usenbaev, said during his daily online news briefing.

The number of recoveries increased to 992, with 12 new recoveries in the last 24 hours, Usenbaev noted.

He added that currently 425 patients are in hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, 348 of whom are in a satisfactory condition without any particular symptoms, while four are in the intensive care unit.

A total of 2,307 people who have had contact with infected patients are under medical observation, and another 6,841 people are in home quarantine under the supervision of doctors for the same reason.

(XINHUA)

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