The Trump administration said Sunday that it was “beginning to see the glimmers of progress” in the fight to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the United States and across the globe. “We are beginning to see the glimmers of progress,” Vice President Mike Pence said during a hastily called briefing of the White House coronavirus task force, adding, “The experts will tell me not to jump to any conclusions, and I'm not.” Dr. Deborah Birx, a leading expert in infectious disease on the task force, said that there were encouraging signs in Spain and Italy, two countries hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Israelis celebrating the Jewish Passover holiday this week will hold the "seder", the traditional meal celebrating freedom from biblical slavery, confined to their homes under a national coronavirus lockdown. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the edict in a televised address in which he also held out hope of implementing an "exit strategy" soon that would gradually loosen restrictions imposed to try to stem the spread of the virus. Netanyahu said a ban on inter-city travel would go into effect on Tuesday afternoon and end on Friday morning.
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court refused Monday to hear the Catholic Church's challenge to a local ban on religious advertising. The case, brought by the Archdiocese of Washington against the District of Columbia region's mass transit system, would have been the latest example of religious freedom appeals heard by the conservative-leaning court. The justices already are considering four major religion cases, all brought to them by religious organizations after lower court losses: • School choice: Three Montana women challenged a Montana ban on state funds being used to pay for religious education.
At the start of what is expected to be the deadliest week of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, the White House tried to offer some hope that measures to contain the spread were working. The virus killed 1,264 over 24 hours in the U.S. as of 2:05 am ET on Tuesday, according to NBC New's tracker. Meanwhile in China, where the pandemic broke out, not a single new death was reported, and the city of Wuhan in Hubei province, where the new virus was first identified, prepared for lockdown measures to be lifted.
The Trump administration is seizing the opportunity of the coronavirus pandemic to push a cause that has long been an irritant in U.S. relations with China: Taiwan. The virus has added yet another dimension to U.S.-China tensions that were already wracked by a trade war and heated discussions over intellectual property, human rights and Chinese policies in Hong Kong and the South China Sea. And, while U.S.-China differences over Taiwan have waxed and waned for decades, they have persisted and are reaching new heights as the world grapples with the exponential spread of the COVID-19 virus.
There are many lessons to be learned from the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. Were China a more civilized nation, this outbreak would have been stopped early, and with far less harm, inside and outside of China. As Marion Smith wrote in these pages on Sunday, China's first response was to clamp down on reports of the then-new disease that had appeared in Wuhan.
China demanded an explanation from Brazil Monday after the far-right government's education minister linked the coronavirus pandemic to the Asian country's "plan for world domination," in a tweet imitating a Chinese accent. In the latest incident to strain ties between Brasilia and Beijing, Education Minister Abraham Weintraub insinuated China was behind the global health crisis. "Geopolitically, who will come out stronger from this global crisis?" he wrote on Twitter Saturday.
Americans should avoid frequent trips to the grocery store and pharmacy amid the coronavirus pandemic, Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health at the US Department of Health and Human Services, said Monday on NBC's "Today" show. In most states across the country, grocery stores and pharmacies are some of the only businesses that remain open as state orders have closed businesses deemed non-essential. US health officials recommend that Americans avoid frequent trips to the grocery store and pharmacies in an effort to reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19 as the pandemic is predicted to worsen in parts of the country this week.
Operational hours of public transport services including railways, subway and city buses will be curtailed and users will need to follow distancing rules, Governor Anies Baswedan said on Tuesday. Jakarta is the epicenter of the virus outbreak in Indonesia with the city of about 10.5 million people accounting for almost 50% of the nation's total confirmed cases of 2,738. The new social distancing measures are part of President Joko Widodo's efforts to streamline quarantine rules across the archipelago to curb the deadly virus amid forecast the pandemic may infect as many as 95,000 people by the end of next month before easing.
Under pressure from President Trump, the Indian government Tuesday lifted a ban on the export of hydroxychloroquine, paving the way for the anti-malaria drug to be shipped to the U.S. for use against the coronavirus. The decision came after Trump appealed to Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi in a phone call, then told a White House news conference Monday that India could face “retaliation” if it didn't release the drug. "I said, 'We'd appreciate your allowing our supply to come out,'" Trump said of his call with Modi.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has approved the withdrawal of one billion euros from the country's sovereign wealth fund to help fight the coronavirus epidemic, President Hassan Rouhani's official website said on Monday. Iran is the Middle Eastern country worst-affected so far by the coronavirus, with 3,739 deaths and 60,500 people infected as of Monday, official data showed. Shut out of international capital markets and facing a further hit to its finances with the collapse in global oil prices coming on top of U.S. sanctions, Iran is struggling to shield its economy from the coronavirus pandemic.
Lisa Marie David/NurPhoto / Getty Philippine police reportedly killed a man for disobeying President Rodrigo Duterte's strict quarantine rules. The man, 63, threatened local officials with a scythe after they told him to wear a face mask, a local police report said, according to Al Jazeera. This appears to be the first reported case of someone being shot dead in the Philippines for disobeying lockdown rules.
All of the doors and windows were locked from the inside, according to the sheriff's office. Patrick Jesernik, 54, and Cheryl Schriefer, 59, were found dead in separate rooms with obvious signs of trauma to their heads, the sheriff's office said in a statement. The couple, who were not married, had been together for eight years, according to Cathy Hoffmeyer, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office.
China has reported no new deaths from coronavirus anywhere in the country, for the first time since the beginning of the outbreak. For months now, every morning at 03:00, officials in China have put together the latest figures on the spread of the virus to share with the world. World Health Organization Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus hailed China for the "speed with which [it] detected the outbreak" and its "commitment to transparency".
The U.S. military said Tuesday it has killed a high-ranking leader of the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group with an airstrike in Somalia. A statement by the U.S. Africa Command said Yusuf Jiis was one of three extremists killed in Thursday's airstrike near Bush Madina in the Bay region. The U.S. called Jiis a “foundational member” of al-Shabab, which controls parts of central and southern Somalia and frequently carries out attacks in the capital, Mogadishu.
JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images) Sweden took the unusual step of not implementing a lockdown to halt the spread of the coronavirus. The country urged people to practice social distancing, but left places like shops and restaurants open, breaking the model followed by countries across Europe and around the world. Sweden has 477 deaths from the virus so far, but Stefan Löfven, the prime minister, is now warning that thousands will die from COVID-19 and the parliament may bring in more restrictive measures.
When the White House projected on March 31 that, even with social distancing measures, 100,000 to 240,000 Americans could die of COVID-19, the numbers were not necessarily shocking to those who had been paying attention. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had already said he projected between 100,000 to 200,000 U.S. deaths, and estimates by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington are not much different, projecting 81,766 American deaths by Aug. 4, as of Monday afternoon. White House is now setting the goal posts at 100-200K dead as a good job.
Trump said on Saturday that he had spoken to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and revealed that India is giving “serious consideration” to the release of shipments U.S. has already ordered. A Bloomberg News analysis found that 47 percent of the U.S. supply of hydroxychloroquine last year came from Indian manufacturers, including the top U.S. supplier, Zydus Pharmaceuticals Inc. which is a subsidiary of Ahmedabad, India-based Cadila Healthcare Ltd. It sold over 167 million units of the anti-malarial in 2019, and has supplied 28 million to the U.S. market so far this year.
British foreign minister Dominic Raab said on Tuesday he was confident that Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in intensive care with a coronavirus infection, would pull through because "he's a fighter". Johnson's personal battle with the virus has shaken the government just as the United Kingdom, now in its third week of virtual lockdown, enters what scientists say will be the deadliest phase of its coronavirus epidemic, which has already killed at least 6,159 people. "He remains in good spirits and ... his progress continues to be monitored in critical care," Raab said.
The declaration would cover seven regions including Tokyo and Osaka and last for about a month. Due to civil liberties enshrined in Japan's postwar constitution, the government cannot send police to clear people off the streets, as has happened in places including France, Italy and the U.K. The country's strongest enforcement measure could be public obedience -- and it remains to be seen whether that will be enough. The prevalence of the virus varies widely among the country's 47 regions and prefectures, with Tokyo seeing a rapid surge and three regions yet to confirm any cases as of April 5.
A nurse at a hospital in Kentucky said she was suspended for insubordination for refusing to treat COVID-19 patients when the hospital would not supply her with a protective respirator. Kenyatta Ervin, 49, said she previously had health conditions like pneumonia and asthma and needs the protection of an N95 mask, which have been in short supply. In a phone interview with her lawyer, Thomas Clay, Ervin said she was sent home from Norton Women's and Children's Hospital in Louisville on March 31 for refusing to provide patient care.
New York state has recorded its highest number of COVID-19 deaths in 24 hours, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday, adding though that hospitalizations appeared to be "plateauing." Cuomo said 731 people succumbed to the new coronavirus on Monday, bringing the state's total death toll to 5,489. New York has borne the brunt of America's deadly coronavirus pandemic, accounting for around half the number of deaths across the country.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has approved the withdrawal of 1 billion euros from the country's sovereign wealth fund to help fight the coronavirus epidemic, President Hassan Rouhani's official website said on Monday.
Mohammed al-Dulfi's 67-year-old father died on March 21 after a brief struggle against the new coronavirus, but it would take nine days for his body to find a final resting place in the Shiite holy city of Najaf in southern Iraq. On two occasions, the family rejected remote burial plots proposed by the government outside Baghdad for him and seven other coronavirus victims, al-Dulfi said. A fight broke out between the families and the Health Ministry's team.