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Monday 11th May 2020.
Iran has said that it is ready to swap prisoners with the US, because its citizens were at risk in American prisons, because of coronavirus. One surprise exchange of prisoners took place last year. At least four Americans are currently in Iranian prisons. In Iran coronavirus lockdown restrictions have been relaxed recently, however, yesterday the Southwestern Abadan state was forced to restart its restrictions, after a quick rise in cases.
Iraq saw large protests yesterday. People were manifesting against unemployment and corruption. Last year protests in Iraq caused hundreds of deaths. New Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi tried to help the situation by releasing some protesters held in prison since last year. However, protests yesterday demanded an end to his government.
There were also protests in Hong Kong yesterday. Riot police were used to separate protesters in shopping malls calling for independence and democracy. Last year Hong Kong saw huge protests against Chinese control, however this year has seen less protests because of coronavirus.
Malaysia will continue a partial lockdown until June 9th. Some businesses have reopened since last week. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said yesterday that if the country saw a significant rise in cases, then a full lockdown could be implemented.
Lebanon is reopening after a two month lockdown. However, a poor economy means that many businesses won’t be reopening at all. The Lebanese pound has lost half its value in 6 months.
Wuhan, the Chinese city were COVID19 is believed to have originated, has seen its first new case of the virus in weeks. Experts believe the COVID19 originated in an exotic animal market in Wuhan, probably passing to humans, from bats.
In the United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday announced small steps to lower restrictions. He spoke about some changes, but most lockdown measures will continue in the UK. Shops, bars and restaurants will remain closed until July, and only some schools may open in June, however, people will be able to spend time outside, including in public parks…
“We must stay alert, we must continue to control the virus and save lives. We must also recognize that this campaign against the virus has come at colossal cost to our way of life. We can see it all around us in the shuttered shops and abandoned businesses, darkened pubs and restaurants and there are millions of people who are both fearful of this terrible disease and at the same time also fearful of what this long period of enforced inactivity will do to their livelihoods and their mental and physical wellbeing.”
In Germany infections have accelerated since lockdowns have been relaxed. According to the Robert Koch Institute, the rate of infection is now over one, which means that the number of infected people will grow. Germany allowed shops to last week.
In Spain many shops, bars and restaurants will be able to open today. However, in Madrid, Barcelona and some other large cities, most restrictions will stay in place. Yesterday Spain registered its lowest daily death toll since Mid-March, with 143. In France many restrictions are being relaxed today as well.
Djibouti has changed the decision to relax its lockdown. Djibouti has the highest number of confirmed cases per capita in Africa, with more than one in every thousand people confirmed to be infected.
Libya. Turkey has said that war crimes have been committed by warlord Khalifa Haftar. Haftar’s forces have been trying to take Libya’s capital Tripoli for a year. 5 civilians were killed by Haftar’s forces yesterday. Libya has been stuck in conflict since 2011.
Officials in Mexico say that they expect the real number of COVID19 cases to be eight times the official number of 33,000. Mexico has seen a fast rise in deaths recently, some attributed to COVID19, and some not.
US president Donald Trump continues to claim that his government’s response to COVID19 has been a success. Former President Barack Obama has described it as a ‘chaotic disaster’. In New York, governor Andrew Cuomo has said that from now on all care home staff will be tested for coronavirus twice a week. There have been 5000 COVID 19 deaths in care homes in New York State…
“All nursing home staff must now be tested twice a week.. That’s not just a temperature check. That’s a diagnostic test. We have the tests available. We’ve brought them online. The state has more testing capacity than any state in the country. They have to test their staff twice a week. That is a rule.”
Also in the United States, for the first time, renewable energy sources have generated more electricity than coal every day for a month. In the whole month of April, the amount of electricity produced by solar, wind and hydropower was larger than the amount produced by burning carbon.
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