A senior Saudi official urged more than 1 million Muslims intending to perform the hajj to delay making plans this year — comments suggesting the pilgrimage could be cancelled due to the new coronavirus pandemic. In February, the kingdom took the extraordinary decision to close off the holy cities of Mecca and Medina to foreigners over the virus, a step which wasn't taken even during the 1918 flu epidemic that killed tens of millions worldwide. Restrictions have tightened in the kingdom as it grapples with over 1,500 confirmed cases of the new virus.
Vice President Mike Pence was left flustered Wednesday when CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer confronted him about President Donald Trump's lengthy period of downplaying the coronavirus threat, insisting the president is just an “optimistic person” and never “belittled” the crisis. Discussing the White House coronavirus task force's new dire projection that up to 240,000 Americans could die from the virus, Pence applauded efforts by various private and public entities to provide food and supplies to Americans now under stay-at-home orders. The CNN anchor went on to ask why the president hasn't issued a national stay-at-home order since the White House's models show a lower death rate based on such a lockdown.
Citing a public health order to curb the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration is swiftly deporting unaccompanied migrant minors apprehended near the U.S.-Mexico border, upending a long-standing practice required under a federal law designed to protect children from violence and exploitation. Despite initially maintaining that the new measures would not apply to unaccompanied minors, Customs and Border Protection on Monday said its officials could deny entry to children who cross the southern border alone under an order by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC. The agency said some minors could be excluded from the CDC directive if a border official "suspects trafficking or sees signs of illness."
As U.S. spy agencies seek to assemble a precise picture of the world's coronavirus outbreaks, they are finding serious gaps in their ability to assess the situation in China, Russia and North Korea, according to five U.S. government sources familiar with the intelligence reporting. The agencies also have limited insight into the full impact of the pandemic in Iran, although information on infections and deaths among the ruling class and public is becoming more available on official and social media, two sources said.
REUTERS/Carlo Allegri Crowds of people gathered in New York City to watch the USNS Comfort arrive, despite a state order requiring social distancing. The ship will be used as additional hospital space for non-coronavirus patients as New York hospitals become overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's communications team asked the NYPD to help disperse the crowd after a journalist tweeted about it.
Rep. Nydia Velazquez said Monday that she's been "diagnosed with presumed coronavirus infection," three days after she spoke on the House floor and stood near 80-year-old House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the signing of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill. In a statement, Velazquez, D-N.Y., 67, said she first started feeling sick "in the wee hours of Sunday morning." At the advice of The Attending Physician, neither COVID 19 laboratory testing nor a doctor's office visit was recommended.
An estimated 120 million Indian labourers are in the same predicament as Mr Asif, and Mr Modi has been accused of causing a humanitarian disaster by locking down the cities and unleashing a wave of poor migrant workers. Many of those who have been forced out of work have streamed back along highways and railway lines to their home states and villages, potentially spreading the coronavirus infection into the country's hinterlands. Mr Modi's lockdown was a knee-jerk reaction without thought for the consequences to the poor, claimed Manish Tewari, an MP for the Congress party.
State prosecutors in Venezuela have summoned opposition leader Juan Guaido for an alleged "attempted coup d'etat" and attempted assassination, Attorney General Tarek William Saab announced Tuesday. In a statement broadcast on state television, Saab said Guaido had been summoned to appear before prosecutors next Thursday following an investigation last week into the seizure of a weapons cache in neighboring Colombia that he said was to be smuggled into Venezuela. The subpoena was delivered to his head of security on Monday night, Saab said.
Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he'll announce new measures to contain the spreading coronavirus after declaring a national health emergency, in a sign he is taking firmer action against the disease following weeks of being questioned for not acting decisively. The health emergency, announced Monday night, extends the suspension of all non-essential activity by 10 days to April 30. While no curfew was ordered, the government said there will be strict application of the rule requiring the elderly and sick to stay home even if their work is considered essential.
Nineteen people have died while fighting a raging forest fire in southwestern China and hundreds of reinforcements were sent to fight the blaze and evacuate nearby residents, officials and state media reported Tuesday. The area threatened by the fire in Sichuan province is thinly populated, but there was no estimate on how many people were leaving the evacuation zone. State media have described villages, a school, a chemical plant and other places as under threat.
From Zaha Hadid's majestic MAXII in Italy to the stunning beauty of Frank Gehry's Vitra Design Museum, these structures elevate the environment they were built in Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest
I know this because Super Tuesday was also the last time that I was invited to appear on cable news as a political commentator (in the Trump era, turns out, I should have become an FBI agent, lawyer... or a virologist). By the time Super Tuesday II (or whatever we're calling it) came along, Biden's miraculous turnaround was already headline story number II, taking a backseat to (deservedly) breathless pandemic coverage.
India and Pakistan sealed off centers belonging to a Muslim missionary group on Tuesday and began investigating how many coronavirus cases were linked to its activities. Tablighi Jamaat is a Deobandi Sunni Muslim missionary movement that preaches worldwide. Every year, tens of thousands attend its congregations in the Pakistani city of Lahore and other parts of South Asia.
Some couples who'd planned on trying to get pregnant this spring or summer are halting their plans due to the unknowns about how the novel coronavirus might affect them, their future children, or their birth plans. While the American Society for Reproductive Medicine has guidelines discouraging couples from beginning fertility treatments during this time, no organization has yet suggested couples should stop trying to conceive naturally. Couples should consider their own medical histories, mental health, and finances before deciding whether or not to proceed, OB-GYNs told Insider.
While officials from Montreal to Moscow have placed populations under some form of lockdown designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, one man continues to hold firm to the notion that the rest of the world has lost its mind: Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. “It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees!” Lukashenko told a Belarusian television reporter Saturday when asked whether the coronavirus could stop him from hitting the rink for a propaganda-filled hockey game. Lukashenko, one of the longest-serving leaders in the former Soviet Union, has been in power for over 25 years.
The novel coronavirus has prompted social distancing measures around the world. Lydia Bourouiba, an associate professor at MIT, has researched the dynamics of exhalations (coughs and sneezes, for instance) for years at The Fluid Dynamics of Disease Transmission Laboratory and found exhalations cause gaseous clouds that can travel up to 27 feet. “There's an urgency in revising the guidelines currently being given by the WHO and the CDC on the needs for protective equipment, particularly for the frontline health care workers,” Bourouiba told USA TODAY.
This is Candy Sterling – a fierce drag queen who lights up the New York City nightlife while maintaining a professional day job. Get to know her both in and out of drag on this week's episode of Behind the Drag.
China has concealed the extent of the coronavirus outbreak in its country, under-reporting both total cases and deaths it's suffered from the disease, the U.S. intelligence community concluded in a classified report to the White House, according to three U.S. officials. The officials asked not to be identified because the report is secret, and they declined to detail its contents. But the thrust, they said, is that China's public reporting on cases and deaths is intentionally incomplete.
The Trump administration is prepared to lift crippling sanctions on Venezuela in support of a new proposal to form a transitional government requiring both Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaidó to step aside in favor of a five-person governing council, U.S. officials said. The one-page “Democratic Transition Framework for Venezuela” was presented Tuesday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. It echoes a proposal made over the weekend by Guaidó that shows how growing concerns about the coronavirus, which threatens to overwhelm the South American country's already collapsed health system and economy, are reviving U.S. attempts to pull the military apart from Maduro.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) plans to call DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz to testify before congress regarding his office's audit of the FBI's FISA application process, which was released Tuesday and revealed potentially systematic abuses of the transparency measures required of the Bureau when agents interact with the FISA court. I have just been briefed on Inspector General Horowitz's audit of FISA applications involving American citizens. This random audit shows discrepancies regarding verification of the information under the Woods Procedures,” Graham said in a press release.
The coronavirus pandemic has rekindled rivalry in Turkey between President Tayyip Erdogan and Istanbul's opposition mayor, with disputes over fundraising and a potential lockdown possibly endangering a coordinated effort to combat the outbreak. The central government in Ankara has said a money-raising campaign launched by the mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu, is illegal and it has threatened to prosecute those involved. Imamoglu, seen as a possible future candidate for the presidency, launched the campaign this week with the slogan "We will succeed together", seeking cash and other donations from wealthier Turks for hundreds of thousands of those in need.
New York City is the epicenter of the US's coronavirus outbreak. To see how the rising death toll is affecting "deathcare" — services that families use to put the bodies of loved ones to rest — I shadowed Patrick Marmo, a funeral director from Brooklyn. "No one in the New York City area possibly has enough equipment to care for human remains of this magnitude," Marmo said.
The head of Moscow's main coronavirus hospital who met with President Vladimir Putin a week ago has tested positive, he said Tuesday, as the Kremlin announced the Russian leader's health was fine. Last Tuesday Denis Protsenko met with the Russian leader who inspected the Kommunarka hospital while wearing a bright yellow hazmat suit. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov swiftly told Russian news agencies that Putin took regular tests and there was no reason to worry about his health.
Hundreds of flights have been cancelled as fleets are grounded and the process of reimbursing people is under strain. EasyJet has faced particular anger as rebooking is done online but refunds require calling customer services and getting through is almost impossible. Holly Fitton, writing on Facebook, said: "I have been told to ring you for a refund.