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Europe


Today is VE day; Victory in Europe. 75 years ago today, Nazi Germany surrendered to British, American and Allied forces. Celebrations around Europe will not take place, because of the COVID19 pandemic.


In the UK people of ethnic minorities are four times more likely to die of coronavirus, than white people. The Office of National Statistics say that Black and Ethnic Minorities are more likely to live in crowded housing, and are more likely to work physical jobs, and may be more likely to have other health problems. In the UK 44% of health workers are non-white, however they account for 72% of health worker deaths. The UK has more than 30,000 COVID19 deaths, the second highest in the world.


The Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, are planning to open their borders to each other. This will be the first ‘travel bubble’ that will allow residents to move freely between the three countries. Australi and New Zealand have agreed to make a travel bubble between them.


Africa


Coronavirus could kill 190,000 people in Africa, the World Health Organization has said. The WHO say that without containment, up to 44 million Africans could become infected. A shortage of protective equipment leaves health workers at risk. At the moment, Africa has far less cases than Europe, Asia and the Americas, however, cases are rising and testing remains low.

Misinformation about the coronavirus is also spreading in Africa; sometimes even among top politicians. The president of Tanzania endorsed inhaling steam, Madagascar is now exporting a herbal tea, and the governor of Nairobi told people to drink alcohol…

“that is hennesy which has some alcoholic content. And that should act as a strong sanitizrer, its kills the virus, in case the virus is in the throat. it kills.”

None of these are backed up by science. The World Health Organization say that there is no cure for COVID19. Yesterday, the WHO asked Madagascar to put its herbal tea through proper tests, before continuing to tell people that it is effective.


Leosotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane has said that he will retire soon. He has been under pressure to resign after being blamed for the murder of his estranged wife, however, he says that he is retiring because of old age.


Floods have hit northern Rwanda. In the last few weeks, over 260 people have died in floods across Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.


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Asia

Pakistan is starting to ease its lockdown. Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Pakistan will reduce its lockdown in phases, starting from Staruday. Pakistan has 25,000 confirmed cases of COVID19.


A gas leak in India killed at least 13 people yesterday. The gas is believed to have been released from a plastic factory in Andhra Pradesh.


Russia has reported another daily record, with over 11000 people being confirmed to have COVID19. With 177,000 cases confirmed, it has overtaken Germany and France to have the 5t highest number of confirmed cases in the world.


The Israeli parliament has allowed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and rival Benny Ganz to share the role of Prime Minister. Israel has has 3 inconclusive elections in the last year. It has been suggested that Netanyahu and Ganz may serve terms of 18 months each as Prime Minister.


Americas


In the United States, 75,000 people have died of COVID19. 33.5 million people have lost their jobs since March, around one in five workers. President Trump has tested negative for the virus, The White house said yesterday


Brazil reported a record of new COVID cases yesterday, with over 10’000 confirmed. Over 127,000 Brazilians are confirmed to have the virus, however, testing remains low. President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly played down the scale of the virus.


On the border between Ecuador and Peru, the Siekopai tribe are trying to escape the coronavirus pandemic by escaping into the forest. The indigenous community has only 744 members, however 15 people have already tested positive and two have died. Many young and old siekopai people are taking canoes deeper into the amazon, to avoid contact with other people.


The international War on drugs is not working and should be stopped according to a new report. The Global Comission on Drug Policy have said that the crimialization of drugs is counter productive, as it puts power into the hands of criminal gangs. The report said that instead of criminalizing drugs, money should be put into education programs, so that people can make their own decisions.

Afghanistan could have one of the highest COVID19 infection rates in the world, according to The International Organization for Migration. A random survey in Kabul last week showed a third of respondents to be positive for the virus. The IMO say that 80% of Afghanistan’s population could become infected if nothing changes. 300 health workers are confirmed to have COVID 19, and 5 have died. 40 years of war have left Afghanistan’s healthcare system fragile.


Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro showed videos yesterday of the Americans captured trying to invade Venezuela. Maduro claimed that the American admitted being sent by the US government, and that the Colombian government was also involved. Colombia and the US have denied any connection to the Americans captured.


In India, one in 4 employed people lost their jobs in April, bringing unemployment over 27%, or , 120 million people. India is currently trying to repatriate 1.8 million Indian citizens from around the world.


The World Health Organization has warned nations that second waves of COVID19 may happen if restrictions are not relaxed in the right way. Dr Tedros Adhanom said that countries should consider six criteria before restarting their economies…


“As more and more countries consider how to ease the so called lockdown restrictions I want to reiterate the six criteria that WHO recommends that countries consider : first that surveillance that surveillance is strong, cases are declining, and transmission is controlled. Second, that health system capacities are in place to detect, isolate and test and treat every case and trace every contact. Third, that outbreak risks are minimised in special settings like health facilities and nursing homes. Fourth that preventive measures are in place in work places, schools and other places where it is essential for people to go. And fifth that importations risks can be managed. Sixth. that communities are fully educated, engaged and empowered to adjust to the new norm. The risk of returning to lockdown remains very real if countries do not manage the transition extremely carefully and in a phased approach.”

In Sudan 30 people have died in clashes between Arabs and non-Arabs. Since 2019 Sudan is being governed by a transitional council made up of 11 military and civilian members.

Poland has delayed its presidential election. The election should have taken place on Sunday, but the two largest parties agreed to find a new date.


Germany has relaxed its lockdown measures, and all shops are now able to open. Students will return to school in phases. Individual states will now have to monitor coronavirus infections. Any area with more than 50 infections per hundred thousand people must restart their lockdown. The Bundesliga, the top league of football, will begin again next week, without fans.


Brazil reported 633 coronavirus deaths yesterday, the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic. This is despite President Bolsonaro’s claim on Tuesday that the worst was over. Brazil is now considered an epicentre of the pandemic. Although 125,000 people are confirmed to have COVID19, the real number is probably much higher, as testing rates in Brazil remain low.


The ride-hailing company Uber will cut 3,700 jobs due to a lack of use of its services. The similar company Lift also announced administrative job cuts. Last week, AirBnB announced that it would cut a quarter of its workforce.


Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state, has repeated claims that COVID19 began in a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan. He also suggested that China was responsible for the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives....


...Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, challenged Mike Pompeo to show the evidence that COVID19 came from a Wuhan lab. In China, schools have reopened in Wuhan.


Libya. Reuters News Agency has reported that up to 1,200 Russian private military contractors are fighting in Libya, supporting General Khalifa Haftar. General Haftar is fighting against the United Nations recognized government of Libya, based in the capital Tripoli. The Russian state has denied any connections to private mercenaries.

The graffiti artist Banksy has created an artwork for a hospital. The piece shows a little boy playing with a superhero toy. However, superman and batman are in the bin, and the superhero chosen by the boy, is a nurse.

Asia

India will repatriate tens of thousands of its citizens. 190000 Indians currently stuck in other countries will be brought back to India in the next few weeks. Many are manual labourers working in the Middle East. India saw its biggest rise in confirmed cases of COVID19 yesterday, bringing the total to 46000.

In Tajikistan, the minister for health has been fired, after a fast rise in coronavirus cases. Tajikistan did not confirm any case of COVID19 until last week, but has suddenly confirmed 300 cases and 5 deaths.

In the Philippines the biggest TV channel has been closed down by the government. ABS CBN has been repeatedly attacked by President Rodrigo Duterte. According to Reporters Without Borders, journalists in the Philippines often suffer harassment, and, sometimes violence.

Australia and New Zealand are in talks to restart travel between them. Yesterday New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke about the benefits of creating a ‘trans-Tasman bubble’


Africa

Uganda has extended its lockdown but has relaxed some measures. Yesterday in Kampala many businesses were open, but there was less movement than usual.

Sudan criminalized Female Genital Mutilation last week. However, women’s rights activists say that there is still a long way to go to stop the practice. Activists say that the tradition will be difficult to stop, as almost 9 out of ten girls and women have had FGM performed on them. It is now punishable by 3 years in prison to remove any part of female genitalia.

South Africa has started trials of the BCG vaccine to fight coronavirus. The vaccine is primarily used against tuberculosis. South Africa and Egypt have the most confirmed COVID19 cases in Africa, both having over 7000 cases confirmed, however, South Africa’s testing rate is 5 times better than Egypt’s.

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How has the pandemic affected your town or city? Send your whatsapp audio message to +44 7307 872 842, with your name and location

Europe

The UK became the country with the highest number of confirmed COVID19 deaths in Europe yesterday, passing Italy. Over 30,000 deaths have now been confirmed in the UK, the second highest in the world after the United States.

The UK and the USA have stated that cyber attacks have taken place on laboratories investigating vaccines. They have suggested the possibility of either China or Russia trying to hack laboratories. British foreign secretary Dominic Raab spoke about this yesterday…

Airlines are suffering greatly from a lack of travel . Virgin Atlantic and Ryanair are cutting 3000 jobs each, and British Airways will cut 12000 staff. South African Airways collapsed this week. Argentina has officially stopped all internal and external flights. World passenger traffic is down 90%.

And in the Americas

Donald Trump yesterday promised a COVID19 vaccine by the end of 2020. He also said that China made a ‘horrible mistake’ by covering up the original outbreak of COVID19…

In Peru over 50,000 COVID19 cases have been confirmed. It has the second highest number of confirmed cases in South America after Brazil, however Peru’s number is likely to be more accurate than most other South American countries. Peru’s rate of testing is almost ten times higher than Brazil’s.

In Chile, scientists have prepared a test that could help diagnose COVID 19 - by the sense of smell. The aroma test kit, developed in the Catholic University of Santiago, will not tell people that they do have coronavirus, but, it will tell people if they definitely don’t have the disease. The University say that this test is very cheap and could be used on a massive scale, to test people who show no symptoms of the disease.