Belgium passes 2,000 coronavirus cases, deaths mount

Soldiers patrol central station before Belgium imposes a lockdown to slow down the spread of the coronavirus disease in Brussels. (Reuters)
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Updated 20 March 2020

Belgium passes 2,000 coronavirus cases, deaths mount

  • 462 new confirmed cases of the virus have been reported

BRUSSELS: The number of coronavirus cases recorded in Belgium surged past 2,000 on Friday and the number of deaths attributed to the disease COVID-19 jumped by by 16 to 37.
According to the country’s national crisis center, 462 new confirmed cases of the virus have been reported, bringing the total to 2,257 in a country of 11.4 million people.


Taliban attack on Afghan government compound kills 10, wounds dozens

Updated 1 min 46 sec ago

Taliban attack on Afghan government compound kills 10, wounds dozens

  • ‘It’s a complex attack that started with a car bomb’
  • Taliban claims responsibility for the attack

KABUL/MAZAR-I-SHARIF: Taliban militants clashed with security forces following a car bomb blast at a government compound in northern Afghanistan on Monday, killing ten people and wounding dozens more, officials said.
The attack took place at a government facility in Samangan province’s capital Aybak close to an office of the National Security Directorate, the main intelligence agency.
“It’s a complex attack that started with a car bomb,” said Mohammad Sediq Azizi, a spokesman for the provincial government.
The attack ended after four gunmen died following clashes with Afghan security forces, he added.
Abdul Latif Ibrahimi, Samangan’s governor, said ten security members were killed and 54 people, including civilians, were wounded.
In a statement, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes at a sensitive time as violence increases even as the United States tries to usher the government and militants toward peace talks to end more than 18 years of war.
The violence threatens to hamper progress on the talks, which have not started due to a separate disagreement over the release of 600 Taliban prisoners from 5,000 the group has demanded.
Local officials also accused the Taliban of attacking security force checkpoints around the country overnight, killing seven personnel in the northeastern province of Badakhshan, 14 in northern Kunduz, and four in the central province of Parwan.
The Taliban said in statements they had carried out attacks killing nine in Kunduz and eight in Badakhshan.