Germany's Angela Merkel in quarantine, 1 billion in lockdown due to coronavirus

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has gone into quarantine after being informed that a doctor who administered a vaccine to her has tested positive for the new coronavirus. (Reuters)
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Updated 23 March 2020

Germany's Angela Merkel in quarantine, 1 billion in lockdown due to coronavirus

  • A doctor who vaccinated Merkel tested positive for the new coronavirus

BERLIN: More than a billion people worldwide were confined to their homes on Sunday as the global death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic passed 13,000 and more than 300,000 people were infected.

Italy, Spain and France were in virtual lockdown and several South American nations took similar measures to curb the contagion.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, 65, went into voluntary quarantine after a doctor who vaccinated her tested positive for the new coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. She will undergo tests.

Italy banned internal travel on Sunday in another attempt to slow the spread of the virus. Its death toll of 5,476 is the highest in the world.

The number of coronavirus cases in the UK rose from 5,018 on Saturday to 5,683 on Sunday, a more rapid rise than in either China or Italy at the same stage

Britain may need to impose curfews and travel restrictions if people do not heed the government’s advice on social distancing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned.

In the US — with more than 29,000 infected and at least 385 dead — New York mayor Bill de Blasio called for the army to be deployed.

“This is going to be the greatest crisis domestically since the Great Depression,” de Blasio said. “This is why we need a full-scale mobilization of the American military.”

Nearly 80 million Americans were ordered to shelter at home as New York, California, Illinois, Connecticut and New Jersey instituted statewide lockdowns.


Italian Daesh member arrested, repatriated

Updated 11 min 8 sec ago

Italian Daesh member arrested, repatriated

  • Alice Brignoli moved to Syria in 2015 with her husband Mohamed Koraichi, an Italian citizen of Moroccan origin, and their three children
  • Brignoli has been flown back to Italy with her children, including a fourth who was born in Syria and stands accused of criminal association for terrorism

ROME: An Italian woman who moved with her family to Syria to join Daesh was arrested there on terrorism charges and repatriated, in an operation run by the special branch of Italy’s Carabinieri police in cooperation with the FBI.

Alice Brignoli moved to Syria in 2015 with her husband Mohamed Koraichi, an Italian citizen of Moroccan origin, and their three children.

She has been flown back to Italy with her children, including a fourth who was born in Syria. She is accused of criminal association for terrorism.

The Carabinieri said in a press conference attended by Arab News that Brignoli “played an active role in indoctrinating her children into the cause of jihad,” while Koraichi joined Daesh as a fighter. She was identified with her family by Italian investigators in Al-Hawl camp in Syria.

She and her children were handed over by the Kurdish authorities who control the camp to the Carabinieri, who flew them back to Italy on a military airplane. Koraichi died in September from a health complication.

According to investigators, Brignoli reached Syria in 2015 with her three children who were aged 6, 4 and 2 at the time. She drove by car all the way through the former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Turkey.

“Brignoli and her husband Koraichi had brought their children with them to Syria as part of a strategic choice: As they were all males, they could become fighters in the future. They could become terrorists,” Alberto Nobili, Milan anti-terrorism chief prosecutor, said at the press conference.

The 6-year-old “had been immediately sent to a training camp where he started to be instructed to become a fighter,” Nobili added.

“Upon her arrival in Milan, Brignoli said she was delighted that her children had finally returned to a normal life. The children are happy too because they know that their odyssey is over and now they hope to be able to live a new life.”

While Brignoli is now in San Vittore Prison in Milan, the children are being looked after by social services. She will be allowed to see her children periodically.

“It’s a beautiful story. With this operation we managed to bring back to life a woman and her four children,” Nobili said, adding that he is working on locating and repatriating “more Italian citizens who left the country” to join Daesh.

“We’ve developed relations with other countries who share with us this same problem, and we’re particularly focused on children kept in training camps,” he said.

“We must take care of them. Most of them are orphans and carry a fierce hatred as they saw their parents die. We must bring them back here, to normality, before it’s too late to stop their radicalization and violence. This is a good way to fight against terrorism and radicalization.”