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Monday 3rd August 2020.

Starting in Asia today...

In Afghanistan there was an attack on a prison in Jalalabad yesterday. A suicide bomb exploded in a car near the entrance to the prison. Fighting with guns continued afterwards. At least five people are confirmed to have died. Many prisoners are thought to have escaped. Daesh has claimed responsibility for the attack.

India's interior minister Amith Shah is in hospital with COVID19. On twitter yesterday Shah asked people who had been in contact with him to isolate themselves and get tested. India has now reported 1.8 million cases of coronavirus. This number has doubled in just two weeks.

Phillipine President Rodrigo Duterte has been criticised for telling people to use petrol as disinfectant. Last week officials tried to correct the president, saying that he was joking, but on Friday Duterte said that he was not joking. The Philippines passed 100,000 confirmed infections this weekend. Yesterday it reported over 5000 infections - its largest single day increase.

The Australian city of Melbourne has started a night curfew. People will not be allowed outside of their homes between 8pm and 5am. Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews spoke yesterday...

"From 8PM tonight a curfew will be implemented. There will be a curfew across metropolitan Melbourne from 8PM this evening and it will run from 8PM to 5AM each and every day."


In the United States on Friday President Trump warned that the app TikTok might be banned...

"We're looking at TikTok. We may be banning Tiktok. We may be doing some other things. There are a couple of options. But a lot of things are happening. So we'll see what happens. But we are looking at a lot of alternatives with respect to TikTok."

The US has warned that user data could be accessed by China. In response TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, has considered selling TikTok to Microsoft. India banned TikTok last month, after tensions with China. TikTok has around 80 million users in the US, and 800 million worldwide.

Also in the US, Space X astronauts fell back to earth yesterday. This was the first time that a private company has taken humans into space.

Latin America continues to be the world's coronavirus hotspot. Latin America has only around 8% of the world's population, but has one-third of confirmed COVID cases. Brazil reports an average of 50,000 new cases every day. Mexico is now the country with the third highest COVID19 death toll - with over 47,000 deaths confirmed. In Chile, one in every 54 people has been confirmed infected.

In Brazil, Facebook has blocked 12 Facebook accounts after a supreme court ruling. The 12 accounts, all supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro, have been accused of running a fake news network. Facebook said that it disagreed with the court ruling, and said that it was a threat to freedom of expression.


In France and the UK scientists are discussing the possibility of herd immunity for coronavirus. Herd immunity is the idea that if enough people become infected, the virus will stop spreading. This idea has previously been rejected by most governments, however, some experts are now suggesting that it may be possible to reach herd immunity by allowing younger people to become infected.

The UK has been relaxing lockdown measures for the last month, however a new rise in COVID cases, has meant that relaxation will be slower than expected. On Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson postponed the reopening of some businesses...

"Today Im afraid we are postpoing those changes for at least a fortnight. That means until the 15th of August at the earliest, casinos, bowling allies, skating rinks, and the remaining close contact services, must remain closed. Indoor performances will not resume. Pilots of larger crowds in sports venues and conference centres will not take place. Wedding receptions of up to 30 people will not be permitted, but ceremonies of course can continue to take place in line with COVID secure guidelines."

Africa quickly...

In Cameroon at least 15 people were killed in an attack in the North. Jihadist group Boko Haram has been blamed for the attack. South Africa has confirmed half a million cases of COVID19 - more than half of all cases in Africa. And in Ethiopia thousands of people were in the street yesterday, to show support for the filling of the Renaissance Dam. The Dam on the river Nile is expected to give electricity to millions of Ethiopians.

Stephen Devincenzi

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