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Vietnam bans entry from virus-hit nations, sends back 18 Koreans

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Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked the foreign affairs


ministry to ban entry to nationals from countries hit by the novel coronavirus outbreak, state media said on Wednesday.

The ban will focus on countries hardest hit by the virus such as Italy, Iran, South Korea, and Japan.

South Korea has become one of the most affected countries with more than 1,200 cases reported as of Wednesday,

leading to fear that visitors from the nation could bring the virus back to Vietnam.

There are currently 83 people in quarantine in Ho Chi Minh City and the coastal city of Da Nang who recently

arrived in Vietnam on flights from Daegu, the South Korean city at the centre of that country’s outbreak.

Eighteen South Koreans who refused quarantine upon arriving in Vietnam were sent home on Wednesday.

Vietnam also announced that cargo ships arriving from South Korea at the northern port city of Hai Phong will

be screened for infection.Out of the  16 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Vietnam, all patients have now been cured and released from quarantine.

The last patient, a 50-year-old man, was given the all-clear and left hospital on Tuesday.

There have been no officially confirmed cases of coronavirus in Vietnam in the last two week.

Edited By: Halima Sheji/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu



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Olawale Olukoga: 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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Wisconsin governor, Evers delays election over coronavirus outbreak

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Less than 24 hours before polls were set to open in Wisconsin, the governor of the Midwestern U.S. state issued an executive order on Monday postponing the election, which included balloting for the Democratic Party’s presidential primary.

The move by Gov. Tony Evers to hold off on in-person voting until June 9 comes as the state legislature refuses calls to take action and protect public safety, amid the coronavirus pandemic and despite Wisconsin being under stay-at-home orders.

More than a dozen other states are postponing primaries or switching to voting-by-mail because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Evers, a Democrat, tried over the weekend to persuade the Republican-led legislative bodies to cancel in-person voting, but failed.

Two members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission on Sunday denounced the legislature’s refusal to budge, saying that forcing an in-person election “not only threatens the voters, the clerks, and election staff, it threatens everyone those people subsequently come into contact with.”

In the letter, they also noted there was a severe shortage of poll workers.

The election will include a vote on a state Supreme Court judge, a key race for the Republicans.

Former vice president Joe Biden has a solid lead in the delegate count and polling shows him ahead of left-wing Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic race to become the centre-left party’s candidate to face President Donald Trump in November.

Sanders last week urged Wisconsin to delay its primary, while Biden has not issued such a call.

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Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
(NAN)



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Netanyahu announces total curfew for Jewish Passover holiday

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Israeli caretaker Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu late on Monday announced an absolute lockdown for the first days of the one-week Jewish Passover holiday, which starts at sundown on Wednesday.

To prevent a repetition of a mass outbreak of coronavirus that followed the Purim holiday in early March, Israelis would not be allowed to leave their neighbourhoods from 1700 GMT on Tuesday until 0500 on Friday.

They would not be allowed to leave their homes at all from 1600 GMT on Wednesday, the eve of the holiday celebrated by a normally festive family dinner, until 0500 GMT the next day.

“We are in a fateful week. There is certainly an improving trend,” he told a televised news conference.

“But whoever thinks we can end (the lockdown) with ‘Bam!’ and it’s over with, is making a bitter mistake.

“Pesach WILL NOT be Purim”, he added, using the Hebrew word for Passover.

Police units would be dispersed throughout the country to enforce the total lockdown.

A gradual release of the lockdown, which had thus far been partial, would only be possible after Passover, Netanyahu said.

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Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
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Russia’s coronavirus caseload jumps by about 1,000 over 24 hours

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 Russia reported nearly 1,000 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, its largest jump since the pandemic began, as regions throughout the country maintain lockdown quarantine measures.


The reported cases rose by 11 per cent, or 954, to 6,343, according to official figures. There have been at least 47 deaths linked with the virus in the country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has advised the public to stay home for the rest of the month and only go outside when absolutely necessary.

“We have not yet passed the peak of the epidemic in the world and in our country,” Putin said in a nationally televised speech last week.

Most of the country’s regions have imposed lockdown quarantine measures, following the lead of Moscow, which has the most recorded cases.

Putin until recently had been cultivating an image of being at the forefront of efforts to combat the crisis, including donning a hazmat suit to personally visit patients at Moscow’s Kommunarka hospital.

Putin is now working remotely, his spokesman said last week. A top doctor at that hospital, Denis Protsenko, with whom Putin had shaken hands during the visit, has tested positive for the virus.

Last week another facility specializing in treating the coronavirus opened at Moscow’s Pirogov hospital as the case count in Russia’s largest city continues to rise.

The Pirogov Centre has an initial capacity for 250 coronavirus patients, general director Oleg Karpov said.

“We understand that in fulfilling the main task our employees are at great risk,” Karpov told dpa on Monday.

Medical staff are being given drugs to strengthen their immune system as a prophylactic measure, he said.

Staff members are to be tested for the virus several times a week and provided living quarters at the facility to minimize the potential for spreading the disease.

The staff have undergone an intense training programme to prepare for working within the necessary protective gear, Karpov said, as such gear can “complicate and limit” the work that can be performed. .

IAA

Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola
(NAN)

 



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U.S. coronavirus death toll passes 10,000 mark

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 The death toll from the new coronavirus in the United States passed the 10,000 marker on Monday, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.


The country has the highest confirmed positives in the world, with more than 347,003 cases of the virus and 10,335 deaths related to Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by it.

Public health officials and the White House are warning the upcoming weeks will likely see peak coronavirus outbreaks and hospitalisations in the U.S., with the death rate also set to sharply climb.

There are growing signs of impending shortages of medical gear and staff.

The U.S. had just 1,000 confirmed cases and about 30 deaths on March 10, with the outbreak spreading rapidly and across the country.

New York is the current epicentre, while Louisiana, Michigan, Illinois and California are also hotspots, with more due to emerge.

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Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola
(NAN)

 

 



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Germany set to quarantine citizens returning from abroad

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 Germany is set to institute a two-week home quarantine for citizens returning from abroad, as part of efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.


The measure, which the government’s coronavirus crisis cabinet on Monday agreed to recommend to the federal states, will apply to German nationals, long-time residents or citizens of the European Union who return to the country after several days abroad.

The new measure, to be instituted on April 10, will not affect cross-border commuters, business travellers or service technicians who have to enter or leave the country for a few days of work.

Exceptions are also foreseen for lorry drivers, medical staff and travellers who transit through Germany.

People who are not citizens or long-time residents have already been prevented from coming into Germany since mid-March, unless they have a “valid reason to travel.”

Around 70,000 people have been turned away since Germany instituted controls at its borders with Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Denmark on March 16, according to the German Interior Ministry.

Some officials have floated the possibility of introducing more border controls, but North Rhine Westphalia state Premier Armin Laschet said the crisis cabinet decided against implementing measures between his state and Belgium and the Netherlands.

The liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) had also rejected the idea of intensifying the border controls.

“The virus does not stop at the borders, but [controlling vehicles] hinders the important movement of goods and leads to kilometre-long traffic jams at the borders,” Stephan Thomae, a top FDP parliamentarian, told dpa.

Germany recorded at least 97,800 coronavirus infections and more than 1,500 deaths by Monday afternoon, according to a dpa tally based on state data.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that Germany must build up its own production of protective wear as one consequence from the coronavirus crisis.

Merkel announced the creation of a special unit within the Economy Ministry.

“It is important for us to learn, as one experience from this pandemic, that we need a certain sovereignty here or at least a pillar of self-production,” she said.

Some progress had been made on the supply of face masks, but not as much as would be desirable, the chancellor said.

She added that doctors and care staff had to be “adequately equipped” with protective gear “and not living day to day.”

Merkel also stressed the importance of defending the EU during the coronavirus crisis, which presented the biggest test since its creation.

The pandemic is a “symmetrical shock” that affects all countries equally, she said, arguing that it was in every EU country’s interest that Europe emerges strong from this situation.

Meanwhile, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is to address the nation in a rare televised speech about the latest coronavirus developments on Saturday, during the Easter weekend, his office announced.

It is the first time the German head of state gives such a speech on current affairs, besides his annual Christmas broadcast.

The country has also worked to contain the economic fallout from the health crisis. The cabinet agreed on Monday to help companies that are struggling due to the epidemic with full state guarantees for loans of up to 800,000 euros (864,565 dollars).

The measure comes on top of an unprecedented aid package for citizens and businesses approved 10 days ago.

Companies will be able to obtain credit guaranteed in full by the state-owned KfW development bank as long as certain conditions are met.

It is meant to give them quicker access to funds than under the previously approved aid package.

The government hopes to prevent a wave of bankruptcies.

It has also been working on an app that people could volunteer to use to track the infection chain of the coronavirus, which can cause the potentially deadly Covid-19 respiratory disease.

This is an “absolutely essential element” for lowering infection rates, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Monday, adding that the app should be available for download in the coming days or weeks.

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Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola
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French crime reports sharply down after virus lockdown

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 Statistics released on Monday showed a sharp drop in reports of most categories of crime in France in March, the month that saw strict coronavirus lockdown introduced.


The Interior Ministry’s statistical service said it would be “extremely complex” to interpret the statistics, noting that the lockdown made it much harder for victims to report offences.

The figures showed reports of beatings and assaults causing injury were down 33 per cent on February.

Various categories of theft from persons as well as burglaries were down between 43 and 51 per cent, but murders were unchanged.

The service noted that “certain forms of crime cannot be carried out in the context of a lockdown, while others become more common.”

Since the lockdown only came into effect on March 17, it would be necessary to wait for April’s statistics to see its full effect, the service said.

With authorities warning of scams relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, Paris police meanwhile, said that they had shut down four fraudulent websites that purported to sell face masks and alcohol-based sanitizing gel.

And amid widespread concern that the lockdown may increase the risk of domestic violence and make it harder for victims to get help, Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa announced the opening of a helpline for potential abusers.

“Protect your family from violence: Get yourself assistance,” Schiappa wrote on Twitter.

Calls seeking the intervention of gendarmes and Paris police in domestic violence rose more than 30 per cent week-on-week after the lockdown came into force, according to Interior Minister Christophe Castaner in a television interview in March.

Schiappa last week told newspaper France-Ouest that despite that, a hotline for victims of domestic abuse was getting only a sixth of the usual volume of calls.

“There is therefore certainly more domestic violence but it is harder to raise the alert,” she warned. Authorities have also set up a new number for victims to seek help by text message.

The hotline for potential abusers was to be staffed by professionals with expertise on domestic violence and contributory factors such as alcohol and drugs, Schiappa told the newspaper.

“There is no shame in calling,” she said. “On the contrary, you’re being responsible by getting assistance and protecting your family from violence.” .

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Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola
(NAN)



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Alan Kurdi rescue boat takes on migrants off Libyan coast

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A German rescue boat, Alan Kurdi, has taken on 68 migrants off the Libyan coast, a sea rescue organisation, Sea-Eye, said on Monday, with the action taking place amid the coronavirus pandemic.


An emergency call was received on Monday, Sea-Eye said, with the migrants found without life jackets in a wooden boat.

A Libyan-flagged ship hindered the rescue, Sea-Eye said, claiming that shots were fired from it, causing people to jump overboard.

The Alan Kurdi must now set course for a safe harbour, Sea-Eye spokesman Gorden Isler told dpa.

“The crew is well prepared for the coronavirus, he said, and has been together for two weeks without any of them showing symptoms.”

“There is additional protection gear on board, which can be used to isolate anyone who shows symptoms.”

However, the crew cannot carry out tests for Covid-19 – the respiratory illness caused by coronavirus – on board.

Should a Covid-19 case arise they would have to rely even more on outside help, Isler said, as sick people must be disembarked.

Alan Kurdi is currently the only private rescue ship off Libya.

In Italy fewer migrants have been taken in since the nation was put on lockdown due to the coronavirus, though a few hundred did arrive in March.

Migrants are checked on arrival for Covid-19 symptoms, the Italian Interior Ministry said. They are then placed in “isolation” for two weeks.

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Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola
(NAN)



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Merkel calls for resolute defence of EU during coronavirus crisis

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The European Union (EU) is facing the biggest test since its creation and should be resolutely defended during the coronavirus crisis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel says.

The pandemic is a “symmetrical shock” that affects all countries equally, she said, arguing that it is in all EU member states’ interest that Europe emerges strong from this situation.

“Germany too will only do well in the long run if Europe is doing well,” she noted.

The answer to the coronavirus crisis can only be a strong Europe, Merkel said.

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Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
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Israeli parties try frantically to form coalition ahead of Passover 

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Israel’s two leading parties inched closer to forming a long-awaited unity government on Monday, stepping up negotiations in a bid to sign a coalition agreement ahead of the one-week Jewish Passover holiday, which starts at sundown on Wednesday.

Caretaker Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of the right-wing Likud, and centrist Blue and White leader Benny Gantz “met this morning to reach an understanding regarding the formation of a national emergency government,” a joint statement by the parties said.

“Everybody is interested in finalising an agreement as soon possible, ideally before Pesah,” a senior Blue and White source said, using the Hebrew term for Passover.

Blue and White would only join Netanyahu’s Likud, if the emergency unity government “safeguards democracy and…fight(s) the (coronavirus) pandemic as efficiently and as swiftly as possible,” the source told dpa.

One issue being discussed, the source confirmed, was whether the centrist party would accept Netanyahu’s insistence on extending Israeli sovereignty over part of the 30 per cent of the occupied West Bank, which, under U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial Middle East plan, should form part of Israel.

Israel Army Radio reported that the sides were “closer” than ever to signing a deal since an unprecedented third election in under one year on March 2 ended yet again without a clear majority.

But Likud officials earlier said the talks could still blow up.

A leading TV channel reported that Gantz had agreed to a unilateral annexation within two months and a half of some West Bank areas, pending U.S. approval.

It was not clear whether this meant the Jordan Valley or certain key settlements.

But new judges would be appointed only with Blue and White’s approval, Channel 12 said, adding that the government would have more than 30 ministers.

Netanyahu’s Likud won 36 of the 120 seats, while Gantz’s Blue and White won 33 – but Gantz’s decision to break his vow never to join a government led by the indicted Netanyahu prompted his alliance to disintegrate and he is now left with 15 mandates.

Gantz justified breaking his electoral promise by saying that Israel could not afford a fourth election and needed an emergency government to overcome the coronavirus crisis.

He reportedly has accepted a rotating premiership, with Netanyahu serving for the first 18 months, after which he would take over in October 2021.

Netanyahu’s long-awaited trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust has been postponed from March to May amid the coronavirus crisis.

He allegedly tried to influence press coverage and accepted expensive gifts in return for favours to media moguls and businessmen.

The 70-year-old has denied any wrongdoing.

Israel’s Labour Party meanwhile would merge with Blue and White, a joint statement said, apparently paving the way to join the emergency government too.

YEE

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
(NAN)

 

 



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