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S. Korea holds talks with U.S. over Iran

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A South Korean delegation has met U.S. officials in Washington for talks over Seoul’s efforts to resume humanitarian exports to Iran, the foreign ministry said on Friday.


Hong Jin-wook, the ministry’s director-general for Middle East affairs and head of the delegation, held meetings with Brad Smith, deputy director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the Treasury Department, and Nick Stewart, an official of the State Department, on Thursday.

The delegation’s visit to Washington came after another Korean delegation visited Tehran on Monday and Tuesday for consultations over the resumption of humanitarian trade exempt from anti-Iran sanctions.

“The two sides positively evaluated the results of the delegation’s visit to Iran and agreed to accelerate follow-up consultations over the resumption of medical and other humanitarian exports to Iran,’’ the ministry said.

South Korea has reportedly sought to export humanitarian products to Iran through a mechanism similar to the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement, which is a payment method designed to facilitate Swiss companies’ sales of food and medicine to Iran.

Though humanitarian exports are not subject to sanctions, South Korean firms had difficulty resuming their sales of medicines and other products to Iran due to fears that they could be affected by the sanctions.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Ismail Abdulaziz



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Abiodun Oluleye: 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

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UN Chief decries domestic violence surge amid COVID-19 lockdowns

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“We know lockdowns and quarantines are essential to suppressing COVID-19, but they can trap women with abusive partners.

“Over the last weeks as economic and social pressures and fear have grown, we have seen horrifying global surge in domestic violence.

“In some countries, the number of women calling support services has doubled,” he stated.

The UN Chief noted that help might not come for the victims since the police and healthcare providers were already overwhelmed by demands of the pandemic.

He added that “local support groups are paralysed or short of funds”, while some domestic shelters are closed, and others full.

Guterres, therefore, called for an end to violence in homes around the world.

“I recently called for an immediate ceasefire in conflicts around the world to focus on our shared struggle to overcome the pandemic.

“I appealed for an end to violence everywhere now. But violence is not confined to the battlefield.

“For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest: in their own homes.

“And so I make a new appeal today for peace at home, and in homes, around the world,” he said.

The Secretary-General urged governments to make prevention and redress of violence against women a key part of their national response plans for COVID-19.

This, he stated, means increasing investments in online services and civil society organisations.

He said it also meant ensuring that judicial systems continue to prosecute abusers, and setting up emergency warning systems in pharmacies and groceries.

“This also means declaring shelters as essential services, and creating safe ways for women to seek support without alerting their abusers.

“Women’s rights and freedoms are essential to strong, resilient societies.

“Together, we can and must prevent violence everywhere, from war zones to people’s homes, as we work to beat COVID-19,” Guterres said.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
(NAN)



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COVID-19: FG pledges commitment to provision of adequate healthcare

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The Federal Government has assured Nigerians who tested positive to the COVID-19 of its commitment to providing them adequate healthcare.


Mr Ferdinand Nwonye,  the spokesperson in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, gave the assurance in a statement in Abuja.

According to him, the assurance is to reinforce the commendation by António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, on strategies put in place to contain the outbreak in Nigeria.

“This is through the setting up of new medical facilities such as isolation and testing centres to curtail the spread of the virus in Nigeria.

“To this end, the Federal Government wishes to reassure Nigerians of its continued commitment to ensuring that those who have tested positive for COVID-19 are given good medical attention.

“Government also calls on Nigerians to observe necessary health guidelines issued by the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to stay safe,” he said.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Gutteres had commended the strategies put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, saying this was a morale booster and laudable development.

He also commended the Nigerian government for the prompt initiation and implementation of safety precautions.

(
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Mufutau Ojo)
(NAN)



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UK coronavirus deaths could reach 7,000 to 20,000 – Ferguson

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UK deaths from the coronavirus could rise to between about 7,000 and 20,000 under measures taken to slow the spread of the virus.


Neil Ferguson, a professor at Imperial College in London, who has helped shape the government’s response, said on Sunday.

“We had an exponentially growing curve of infections, which we interrupted at a certain time,’’ the epidemiologist told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme.

“We don’t have the ability right now to measure how many people have been infected, that will come with antibody tests.

“And so, we are making statistical estimates of that and those are subject to a certain degree of uncertainty.

“We think it could be anywhere between about 7,000 or so up to a little over 20,000.’’

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
(NAN)



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COVID-19 cases increase to 3,662 in Malaysia, death toll at 61

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A total of 61 people have died of the COVID-19 in Malaysia with 179 newly confirmed cases, bringing the total to 3,662 in the country, the Health Ministry said on Sunday.


Health Ministry Director-General, Noor Hisham Abdullah, said at a press briefing that among the infections, 1,005 have been cured and discharged from hospital.

Ninety-nine others are currently being held in intensive care and 48 of those are in need of assisted breathing.

Hisham urged the public to cooperate and be honest with the authorities if they had contact with confirmed cases, travel history, or attending events that had spread infections.

He said that a single patient, who had a travel history to Italy, had caused an infection cluster involving 37 people, five of whom later died.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
(NAN)



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Warnings mount that U.S. is approaching ‘saddest’ period of virus

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The weeks ahead will likely see peak coronavirus outbreaks and hospitalisations in the U.S., with the death rate also set to sharply climb, public health officials warned on Sunday.


The warning came amid renewed pleas by state governors for more medical equipment.

States like New York, Louisiana and Illinois said they were facing shortages of key items like ventilators.

“The military is due to deploy some 1,100 troops to New York to help set up makeshift hospitals and staff existing medical facilities,’’ Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told CNN on Sunday.

New York is currently the epicentre, with about a third of the more than 312,000 cases across the U.S., there are over 8,500 deaths nationwide.

“This is going to be the hardest and saddest week of most Americans’ lives quite frankly,’’ Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on the Fox network.

Adams’ remarks echoed President Donald Trump, who warned the country was heading into its “toughest week” in the coming days.

“There will be a lot of death, unfortunately,’’ Trump said.

Gov. JB Pritzker of Illinois told CNN that he expected the Midwestern state to start peaking meanwhile New York is still in its apex in two weeks.

However, Pritzker put a strain on resources like ventilators which would otherwise be shared and moved around the country based on need.

Pritzker, an outspoken critic of the Federal Government, said the White House did not move swiftly enough early this year to start physical distancing programmes.

He added that it did not also move early in producing more medical equipment, in spite of having intelligence pointing to a coming outbreak.

“They seemed not to act at all,’’ he said.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Isaac Aregbesola
(NAN)



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Indonesia orders citizens to wear face masks as virus cases soar

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Indonesian citizens are now required to wear face masks when they are outside, the government announced on Sunday, as the number of Covid-19 cases rose to 2,273.


Achmad Yurianto, the government spokesman for issues relating to the disease, said the order to wear a face mask is in accordance with recommendations from the World Health Organisation.

“Starting from Sunday, everyone has to wear face masks when going outside,” Yurianto said.

He noted that even asymptomatic people could be a virus spreader.

“Citizens should wear washable cloth masks since surgical masks and N95 masks are for medical workers only,’’ Yurianto said.

According to Yurianto, Indonesia reported 181 new cases of infection, while 14 more patients have been cured, bringing the total to 164.

The death toll rose to 198.

“Health authorities have tested 9,712 people to detect and to trace the spread of the virus,’’ he added.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Isaac Aregbesola
(NAN)



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Egypt bans public charity banquets during Ramadan amid pandemic

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Egyptian authorities have banned public charity banquets, an age-old feature of the Islamic month of Ramadan, in an effort to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, state media reported on Sunday.


Benefactors in Egypt have the tradition of hosting such banquets, which offer free meals to the needy at break of daily fast at sunset, known as “iftar”, in Ramadan.

The ninth month of Islam’s lunar calendar, Ramadan is to start this month amid growing concerns in Muslim countries that the pandemic will impact its observance.

The Ministry of Awqaf, responsible for mosques in mostly Muslim Egypt, said it would not permit fast-breaking or iftar charity tables this Ramadan around mosques.

“We call on all benefactors, charity associations and other bodies who used to set up the iftar tables in the holy month in the past to offer their charity in the form of cash or food items to the poor.

“Also to those in need this year,” the ministry said in a statement.

Egypt closed mosques as a precaution against the virus in March, which has infected 1,070 people and caused 71 deaths.

Report says it is not clear if mosques will reopen in Ramadan, when they are traditionally packed.

The month is also marked by a special nightly prayer called “taraweeh.”

During Ramadan, observant Muslims abstain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to dusk.

Fasting is one of Islam’s five pillars, alongside declaration of faith, prayer five times a day, alms-giving, and the pilgrimage to holy sites in Saudi Arabia.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Isaac Aregbesola
(NAN)



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Going to be a lot of death in U.S. next week from coronavirus, Trump says

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President Donald Trump told Americans to brace for a big spike in coronavirus fatalities in the coming days, as the country faces what he called the toughest two weeks of the pandemic.


“There’s going to be a lot of death,” Trump said at a briefing with newsmen on Sunday.

He pushed back on criticism that the federal government has not done enough to get ventilators that many critically ill coronavirus patients need to survive to the states.

According to him, some governors are asking for more machines than they will need.

“Fears of shortages have led to inflated requests,” Trump said of submissions his administration has received to dole out equipment from the strategic national stockpile.

The U.S. has the world’s highest number of known cases of COVID-19, the flu-like respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.

According to a Reuters tally, over 306,000 people have tested positive in the U.S. and over 8,300 have died.

White House medical experts have forecast that between 100,000 to 240,000 Americans could be killed in the pandemic, even if sweeping orders to stay home are followed.

“We are coming up to a time that is going to be very horrendous.

“We probably have never seen anything like these kind of numbers. Maybe during the war, during a World War One or Two or something,” Trump said at the White House.

On Saturday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that in the grimmest day yet for the U.S. state hit hardest by the pandemic, coronavirus-related illnesses had killed 630 people in the last 24 hours in New York State.

“The disease has now killed 3,565 people in New York and the situation is particularly worrying on Long Island, east of New York City, where the number of cases is like a fire spreading,” Cuomo told a news conference.

Health experts calculate that New York, home both to bustling Manhattan and hilly farm country stretching to the Canadian border, might be around a week away from the worst point in the health crisis which has killed about 60,000 people worldwide.

“We’re not yet at the apex, we’re getting closer. Our reading of the projections is we’re somewhere in the seven-day range.

“It’s only been 30 days since our first case, it feels like an entire lifetime,” Cuomo said.

New York City alone accounted for over a quarter of the U.S. coronavirus deaths tallied by Johns Hopkins University.

Hospitals and morgues in the city are struggling to treat the desperately ill and bury the dead.

Because of the risk of infection, many people with critically ill relatives in New York City are unable to see their loved ones in their final hours.

A resident at New York-Presbyterian hospital said he and his colleagues have made several death notification phone calls every shift this week.

“There’s something sort of unquantifiably painful about telling a family their loved one died without letting them see them,” he said.

The emergency stockpile of medical equipment maintained by the U.S. government has nearly run out of protective garb for doctors and nurses.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Ali Baba-Inuwa
(NAN)



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American citizen at U.S.FK’s Camp Humphreys tests positive for COVID-19

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An American citizen working at U.S. Forces Korea’s (U.S.FK)Camp Humphreys tested positive for the new coronavirus Sunday, the 19th confirmed case for the U.S.FK community.


U.S.FK said the infected person was an American construction worker working for the military camp.

According to U.S.FK, the U.S. citizen last visited Camp Humphreys, the U.S.FK headquarters in Pyeongtaek, some 70 kilometres south of Seoul, and has since been under self-quarantine at his home for having been in contact with another coronavirus patient.

“The additional case brought the total number of U.S.FK-related infections to 19.

“It marks the fifth consecutive day a new COVID-19 case was confirmed among the U.S.FK community, ’’ the military said.

Across the peninsula, the military remains at a level of “high” risk, and U.S.FK Commander Gen. Robert Abrams declared a public health emergency to issue related guidance and enforce compliance.

Separately, U.S.FK’s Eighth Army said three Army specialists and one sergeant first class had been punished for visiting or drinking at bars in violation of the U.S.FK COVID-19 public health guidance.

The three specialists were reduced to the rank of the entry-level E-1 and punished with hundreds of dollars of pay forfeiture as well as 45-day restriction and extra duty.

“Eighth Army will publish the results of enforcement actions related to compliance with current Force Health Protection Condition orders.

“This is to ensure that our soldiers, civilians, contract employees and their families understand the ramifications of not following the commander’s directives,’’ it said in its Facebook.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Isaac Aregbesola
(NAN)

 

 



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