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.
Victor Ruiz Garcia/Reuters Twenty-eight Texas spring breakers who recently vacationed in Cabo have tested positive for the coronavirus, tweeted Tony Plohetski of local station KVUE-TV. They chartered a plane with 70 people to get to Cabo, he said. Spring breakers, who are Gen Z, have been called out for crowding beaches and partying on booze cruises and ignoring calls for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Ezra Acayan/Getty The Philippines' main island Luzon, which has a population of more than 57 million, is on lockdown. Along with people's movements being restricted, soldiers are covering residents and the streets in disinfectant, and open coffins have been left on the roads as a warning to people to stay inside. On Sunday, the Philippines reported 343 new coronavirus cases in a day — its highest one day increase yet.
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.
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.
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.
Alaska: Gov. Mike Dunleavy has forestalled evictions and foreclosures of any tenant or homeowner covered by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, while the state Supreme Court has halted eviction hearings until May 1 and barred enforcement of outstanding ejectment orders against quarantined people. Arizona: Gov. Doug Ducey has ordered a 120-day stay on eviction orders against anybody quarantined or experiencing hardship because of COVID-19, starting March 24, and has launched a $5 million rental assistance fund. The state's “Save Our Home AZ Program” is offering principal reduction assistance, monthly mortgage subsidy assistance, and second lien elimination assistance.
More than 3,000 people had died of the novel coronavirus in the US as of Monday night after a single-day death toll of more than 500. Previously, the highest death toll in 24 hours was 446 deaths, according to The Washington Post. The top US infectious-disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN the country could see "millions of cases" as the outbreak pans out, with 100,000 to 200,000 deaths.
As European and American healthcare systems creak under the strain, China has offered millions of face masks and teams of medical experts. As well as seeking to deflect criticism over initial Chinese missteps in handling the epidemic, analysts say, the campaign is a public relations opportunity in China's great power rivalry with the West and especially the United States. COVID-19 first emerged in a wild animal market last year in the Chinese city of Wuhan, but Beijing says the situation in China is now under control with domestic cases dwindling to zero.
A man is suspected of infecting his pregnant wife with the novel coronavirus after hiding his symptoms to join her in a New York hospital maternity ward, USA Today reports. The incident prompted the hospital — Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York — to impose stricter screening measures on the already few visitors allowed in the maternity ward. A man hid his coronavirus symptoms from hospital staff so he could be with his pregnant wife in a New York hospital maternity ward last week, USA Today reported Tuesday.
Turkey's central bank on Tuesday added to its emergency program to help contain the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, as the country's number of confirmed cases surged 25% and the death toll climbed to 214. The bank introduced new measures to ease lenders' access to credit and support liquidity in the government bond market, before the latest data showed Turkey's caseload of Covid-19 rose to 13,531 from 10,827 from a day ago. The latest step, unveiled two weeks after the central bank's first round of emergency measures, amount to “Turkish QE,” or quantitative easing, said Timothy Ash, a strategist at Bluebay Asset Management in London.