The world continues to bear the loss of human lives and revenue amid coronavirus crisis

Above, a boarded up shop in San Francisco, California as the US death toll from the coronavirus pandemic topped 5,000 late on April, 1, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 03 April 2020

The world continues to bear the loss of human lives and revenue amid coronavirus crisis

  • US death toll from the coronavirus pandemic topped 5,000 late Wednesday
  • Arab airlines incurred over $8 billion in losses since the outbreak of coronavirus

DUBAI: The world continues to bear the burden of loved ones and revenue as the coronavirus pandemic rages on.

In the United States, the death toll topped 5,000 late Wednesday, lower than those of Spain and Italy but above China where the virus conflagration first emanated in December, and now leads the world in the number of coronavirus cases.

Middle East governments meanwhile continue to implement measures to contain the spread of coronavirus and mitigate its devastating effects to the private sector and its residents.

Thursday, April 2 (All times in GMT)

19:53 - Egypt reported 86 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday bringing the total number of cases to 865. Six people have also died of the virus, with 58 people dying in total.

18:43 - Qatar reported 114 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases to 949. 

18:09 - The World Bank on Thursday approved a plan to roll out $160 billion in emergency aid over 15 months to help countries deal with the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic.
The board of the Washington-based development lender announced the first set of fast-track crisis funding, with an initial $1.9 billion going to projects in 25 countries, and operations moving forward in another 40 nations, the bank said in a statement.
India will be the largest beneficiary of the first wave of programs with a facility for $1 billion, followed by Pakistan with $200 million and Afghanistan with a little over $100 million, but funding is going to countries on nearly every continent, the bank said.

17:51 -  Britain is looking at issuing immunity certificates to people who have developed resistance to the coronavirus, but there needs to be more research into the science behind it, health minister Matt Hancock said on Thursday.
People who have had COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, develop antibodies to fight the virus, but it is unclear how long any immunity they develop lasts.
"(An immunity certificate) is an important thing that we will be doing and are looking at but it's too early in the science of the immunity that comes from having had the disease," Hancock said at a news conference.
"It's too early in that science to be able to put clarity around that. I wish that we could but the reason that we can't is because the science isn't yet advanced enough." 

17:45 - The number of cumulative known deaths from coronavirus in France surged to nearly 5,400 on Thursday as the country started including fatalities in nursing homes in its data.
Jerome Salomon, head of the public health authority, said the number of coronavirus-related deaths in hospitals rose 12% on Thursday to 4,503 from a day earlier.
He added that a provisional tally showed that a cumulative 884 people in total had died in nursing homes. This makes for a total of 5,387 lives lost to coronavirus in France.
Salomon said the number of known infections rose to 59,105 from 56,989 in France. The number of patients requiring life support rose to 6,399 from 6,017 on Wednesday.

17:19 -  Jordan reports 21 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 299.

17:15 -  Morocco reports 49 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 691. 

16:43 – Jordan imposes a complete curfew from midnight.

16:20 – Death toll from coronavirus in Italy has climbed by 760 to 13,915, slightly higher than the daily rise of 727 registered a day earlier.

15:47 – Tunisia records 33 more cases of coronavirus infections, bringing the tally to a total of 455.

15:30 – Egyptian Prime Minister says that while the country has 850 cases of coronavirus infections and they are "still far from the dangerous stage," while also announcing that a number of villages have been locked down.

15:20 – Iran’s parliament says speaker Ali Larijani has tested positive for the new coronavirus and is in quarantine.

14:06 – President Vladimir Putin ordered most Russians to stay off work until the end of April due to the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday.

14:00 – Four soldiers in West Africa have tested positive for coronavirus, the French army said on Thursday.
The army also said that three of the infected soldiers have been repatriated to France. 

13:09 – The United Kingdom's death toll from the coronavirus rose 24 percent to 2,921 as of April 1.
As of 0800 GMT on April 2, a total of 163,194 people had been tested of which 33,718 tested positive, the health ministry said.
"Of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 2,921 have sadly died," the health ministry said.

12:25 – The number of deaths caused by an infection with the new coronavirus in the Netherlands has increased by 166 to 1,339, health authorities said.

12:15 - Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior implemented a 24-hour curfew in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah on Thursday to limit the spread of coronavirus, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

11:21 – More than a half of Britons think Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government was too slow to order a lockdown to slow the spread of coronavirus, according an opinion poll published on Thursday. READ THE STORY

10:23 – Europe has recorded over 500,000 confirmed coronavirus cases. Over 95 percent who died in Europe due to coronavirus were over 60, the World Health Organization said.

09:43Iran’s total number of infected people with coronavirus increases to 50,468, while deaths have risen 3,160.

WATCH: Our web-shooting super hero Spider-Man pays residents of Stockport in the UK a visit while they stay at home, and stay safe from coronavirus.

09:40 – Spain’s coronavirus death toll rose to 10,003 on Thursday from 9,053 on Wednesday, while total cases increased 110,238 from 102,136 a day earlier.

09:34 – The UAE council of ministers has decided to reduce the daily maximum limit for the decline of shares to 5 percent from 10 percent to support the economy during the coronavirus pandemic.

09:16 – Kuwait has recorded 25 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of infected patients to 342.

09:13 Palestine has confirmed 21 new coronavirus cases.

09:12 – Belgium has reported 183  new coronavirus deaths bringing the total to 1,111.

09:00 – The Philippines’ health ministry on Thursday recorded 11 new deaths and 322 additional cases from the coronavirus outbreak.

08:58 – Emirates Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum has said the airline has received approval to resume a limited number of passenger flights starting April 6.

08:25 – The venture capital arm of Abu Dhabi state investor Mubadala plans to launch a health care fund next year to tap into increased demand for investment in life sciences and digital health technology following the coronavirus outbreak. FOR THE STORY

08:25 – Russia has recorded six deaths and 771 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 30 deaths and 3,548 cases.

08:22 – Spain has shed close to 900,000 jobs, more than half of them temporary, since it went into lockdown in mid-March to fight the coronavirus outbreak, social security data showed on Thursday. READ TTHE STORY

08:02 – Kuwait’s central bank announced a stimulus package on Thursday to support vital sectors and small and medium enterprises amid the fallout from the coronavirus epidemic.

WATCH: Tennis world number one Novak Djokovic gets creative to pass the time and stay in shape as the coronavirus pandemic brought the tennis season to a halt.

08:00 – The Philippines’ ambassador to Lebanon Bernardita Catalla has died of coronavirus, the Philippine foreign affairs ministry said.

07:57 – Thailand will implement a nationwide curfew between 10p.m. and 4a.m. starting Friday, a government statement said.

07:48 – Morocco recorded 22 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total at 676.

07:17 – The head of Israel’s Mossad has been quarantined after being in contact with the health minister who tested positive for coronavirus. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will also remain in quarantine until next Wednesday.

07:12 – Bahrain has confirmed 241 new coronavirus cases; all patients arrived from Iran.




Hand sanitizers are packed at Dhaman Medical Company in Hidd, Bahrain in this March 25, 2020 photo. (Reuters)

06:59 – Oman has recorded 21 new coronavirus cases.

06:57 – China’s Foreign Ministry, asked about US doubting accuracy of China’s coronavirus data, said US officials have been making shameless comments and their actions are immoral.

06:20 – New York rushed to bring in an army of medical volunteers as the statewide death toll from the coronavirus doubled in 72 hours to more than 1,900, while the global number of people diagnosed with the illness edged closer to 1 million on Thursday. READ THE STORY

06:02 – Australia’s national science agency said on Thursday it has commenced the first stage of testing potential vaccines for COVID-19, as it joins a global race to halt the coronavirus pandemic. READ THE STORY

06:00 – British Airways has been in talks with its union about a plan to suspend around 32,000 staff in response to the coronavirus pandemic, a person familiar with the situation said.
The British flag carrier has cut flights and warned it will need to cut jobs to survive the outbreak as the battered aviation sector frantically seeks to cut costs.

05:55 – The US Navy is evacuating thousands of sailors from the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in Guam after its captain warned a coronavirus outbreak was threatening the lives of the crew.

05:55 – Kuwait confirmed one new coronavirus recovery, bringing total to 81. The country has reported 317 cases so far.

05:42Thailand reported 104 new coronavirus cases and three new deaths.




Medical staff dressed in protective gear test a woman for the COVID-19 novel coronavirus at a drive-through testing centre at Vibhavadi Hospital in Bangkok on March 25, 2020. (File/AFP)

05:29 – North Korea remains totally free of the coronavirus, a senior health official in Pyongyang has insisted, despite mounting skepticism overseas as confirmed global infections near one million.

05:09 – Israel’s coronavirus deaths reached 30, officials said.




Israeli police talk to a driver at a checkpoint in the city of Bnei Brak, a city near Tel Aviv with a largely ultra-Orthodox population, on March 31, 2020. (File/AFP)

04:56 – Australia announced free childcare for six months as part of a bid to keep businesses operating through the coronavirus pandemic, as data on new infections supported early signs of “flattening the curve.” READ THE STORY

04:56 – Israeli Health Minister Yaakov Litzman and his wife have tested positive for the coronavirus and have undergone quarantine, his office said late Wednesday.

02:48 – The US death toll from the coronavirus pandemic topped 5,000 late Wednesday, according to a running tally from Johns Hopkins University.

At about 0235 GMT Thursday, 5,116 people had died, the tally showed, on the same day the United States set a one-day record of 884 people killed in 24 hours.

LOOK: The usually bustling streets of Saudi Arabia have gone silent as the Kingdom’s curfew measures remain in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

02:12 – A woman from the Kokama ethnic group in the Amazon rainforest is the first indigenous person in Brazil to test positive for the new coronavirus, authorities said.  The coronavirus pandemic has fueled fears about the possible impact for indigenous peoples in the Amazon, who are particularly vulnerable to imported diseases.

01:31 – IAG-owned British Airways is expected to announce a suspension of about 36,000 of its employees, BBC News reported.

The airline has reached a broad deal with Unite union that will include suspension of jobs of 80 percent of BA’s cabin crew, ground staff, engineers and those working at head office, the news agency reported, adding that no staff were expected to be made redundant.

01:04 – Singapore suffered its fourth coronavirus-related death on Thursday, a day after the city-state reported a record number of new cases that took the island-state’s total infections to 1,000.

00:00 – A British man accused of smuggling a phony coronavirus cure into the United States was charged Wednesday with a federal crime, prosecutors said. Frank Richard Ludlow, 59, of West Sussex was charged in Los Angeles federal court with introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce and could face up to three years in federal prison if convicted, according to the US attorney’s office.

Wednesday, April 1 (All times in GMT)

23:00 – Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has signed a declaration that Tahya Misr (Long Live) Egypt, a donation-based national fund, will take care of the expense of quarantine for Egyptians evacuated from abroad over the novel coronavirus. Sisi’s decision comes a day after many Egyptian nationals who arrived from Britain and Kuwait refused to be quarantined for 14 days at their expense.

16:00 – Arab airlines incurred over $8 billion in losses since the outbreak of coronavirus, the Arab Air Carriers’ Organization said. “In the Arab world, millions of reservations have been canceled so far with airlines and hotels in various countries, and the flow of pilgrims to the world’s leading Arab tourist destinations has stopped. Thousands of flights to Arab airlines have been canceled, and 800 aircraft belonging to them have been stopped at airports so far,” a statement said.


Russian mediation reopens major highway in NE Syria

Updated 26 May 2020

Russian mediation reopens major highway in NE Syria

  • Syria records 20 new cases of coronavirus in largest single-day increase

BEIRUT/DAMASCUS: Traffic returned to a major highway in northeastern Syria for the first time in seven months on Monday, following Russian mediation to reopen parts of the road captured last year by Turkey-backed opposition fighters.

Syrian Kurdish media and a Syrian Kurdish official said several vehicles accompanied by Russian troops began driving in the morning between the northern towns of Ein Issa and Tal Tamr. 

The two towns are controlled by regime forces and Syrian Kurdish fighters while the area between them is mostly held by Turkey-backed opposition fighters.

Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters captured parts of the highway known as M4 in October, when Ankara invaded northeastern Syria to drive away Syrian Kurdish fighters. The M4 links Syria’s coastal region all the way east to the Iraqi border.

Four convoys will drive on the M4 every day with two leaving from Tal Tamr and two from Ein Issa, according to the Kurdish ANHA news agency. The report said a convoy will leave from each town at 8 a.m., and another set of convoys will do the same, three hours later.

The ANHA agency added that the opening of the highway will shorten the trip between the two towns as people previously had to take roundabout, side roads.

“This is the first time the road has been opened” since October, said Mervan Qamishlo, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led and US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

Russia, a main power broker with Turkey in Syria, mediated the deal to reopen the highway, he said. Russia and Turkey back rival groups in Syria’s nine-year conflict.

Coronavirus cases

Syria reported 20 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, the largest single-day increase to date.

The war-torn country has recorded 106 infections and four deaths so far, and new cases have increased in recent days with the return of Syrians from abroad.

Syria has kept an overnight curfew in place but has begun to open some of its economy after a lockdown. Doctors and relief groups worry that medical infrastructure ravaged by years of conflict would make a more serious outbreak deadly and difficult to fend off.