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Friday 15th March

Coronavirus: 300,000 people are now confirmed to have died. 4.5 million confirmed cases. However, 1.7 million people have recovered.


World leaders, past and present, have said that any COVID19 vaccine or treatment must be available to everyone in the world, for free. 140 people signed an open letter, including the current leaders of Pakistan, South Africa, Ghana and Senegal, and former leaders of the UK, New Zealand, and Portugal.


Europe

The United Kingdom plans to mass-produce an anti-body test. The antibody test should tell people if they have had COVID19. It is hoped that a person with antibodies cannot become reinfected, although this is not certain. Government Minister Grant Shapps spoke about the antibody test yesterday…

“I hink its very exciting that there is a very reliable possibly 100% reliable antibody test. That is the test of course that shows whether or not you have actually had coronavirus in the past rather than currently, and have therefore developed the antibodies. It is very good news, particularly if it transpires that this makes you immune at least for a period, from getting coronavirus again….”


Bulgaria’s capital Sofia saw protests yesterday. Thousands of people were protesting against lockdown measures. Bulgaria has had restrictions in place since March 13th.


Africa

There is tension between Algeria and Morocco, after a Moroccan diplomat referred to Algeria as an ‘enemy’. Algeria asked Morocco to discipline the diplomat. Morocco and Algeria have had difficult relations since the 1960s. The border between them has been closed since 1994.


Burundi has expelled the coronavirus team of the World Health Organization. The Burundian foreign ministry said that the WHO was interfering with its COVID19 response. Burundi has only 15 confirmed cases of the virus, but experts warn that the real number could be much higher, as testing rates are very low. Burundi will hold a general election on the 20th May.


A group of Eritreans are suing the European Union. The group claim that the EU us funding a project that uses forced labour. The European Union spent $20 million euros in Eritrea last year. However, human rights organizations say that the EU does not have real control of where the money goes. Eritrea is a dictatorship that has never had elections.


In Zimbabwe, three female politicians have gone missing. The three women are members of the Movement for Democratic Change. Amnesty international say that they were arrested on Wednesday and have not been seen since.

In the United States, Donald Trump has said that comments by the top infectious disease expert, are unacceptable. On Wednesday Dr Fauci said that reopening the United States now could be dangerous. In a Tweet, presidential candidate Joe Biden said “I would trust the guy who’s one of our top public health experts, not the one who pondered injecting disinfectant into the body and looked directly at a solar eclipse.” Yesterday afternoon, Trump said that he thought that a vaccine would be ready this year, and that the military would be used to help distribute it…

“We were given very little when we came into this administration and they’ve done a fantastic job, and I think we’re gonna have a vaccine by the end of the year, and I think distribution will take place almost simultanesously because we’ve geared up the military, and you’ll see that tomorrow.”

Nicaragua has moved 2,800 prisoners to ‘house arrest’, to avoid contamination in prisons. Many of them have been in prison since protests against President Daniel Ortega in 2018.

Asia

Yemen has been in civil war since 2014. There is now a worry that coronavirus may be infecting large numbers of people without detection. Rates of cholera and malaria may also be rising. Fighting between the Saudi-backed government and the Iran-backed Houthis has continued despite many calls to stop. Last night, however, the United Nations reported that talks between the two sides are progressing.


The phillippines is in the middle of a strong typhoon. Thpyoon Vongfong is the first typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, and hit the east of the country yesterday, with winds up to 150 km/h. Around 200,000 people have been moved to temporary shelters.


Japan has ended the state of emergency in most regions. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that 39 prefectures can relax their restrictions, however, 6 prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka, will remain under a state of emergency. Japan has confirme 16,000 cases of COVID19 but new cases have been decreasing recently.


In New Zealand people have enjoyed the relax in lockdowns. The government have said that the risk of infection is now very low… JA: “ We have been a government that with the support and efforts of New Zealanders took us through an enormous health challenge and we will take the same approach to the recovery of our economy…”

On Wednesday night, some barbershops stayed open throughout the night, because so many people wanted their hair cut.

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