More regulations eased as the world learns to live with coronavirus

Volunteers fill cartons with food rations in the Lebanese capital Beirut on May 29, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 31 May 2020

More regulations eased as the world learns to live with coronavirus

DUBAI: More countries across the Middle East are reopening their economies as COVID-19 infections cases are being controlled and stabilized in some areas of the region.

Saudi Arabia will resume domestic flights and prayers in mosques on Sunday, while authorities released new rules of conduct and ask people to follow them.

The UAE’s national disinfection program was revised, allowing residents to freely move from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. Those living in Dubai meanwhile have an extra hour outdoors, with the de facto curfew in effect from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Mosques and churches in Jordan will also reopen for the public on June 7. Meanwhile, Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem will allow prayers starting Sunday.

May 30, 2020, Saturday (All times in GMT)

18:55 - Mauritania records 60 new #coronavirus cases and one death.

17:55 - Egypt announced 1,367 new cases of coronavirus and 34 deaths from the disease. 

17:50 - Yemen announced 27 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. 

17:45 - The UAE announced 726 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. 

17:32 -  Spain's coronavirus death toll rose by four on Saturday to 27,125, the Health Ministry said, reflecting a dramatic decline in daily fatalities in recent weeks as the country brings the outbreak under control.

17:30 - Morocco is evacuating its citizens that have been stranded in Algeria due to coronavirus restrictions. 

16:58 - Iraq announced the death of 10 patients from COVID-19 on Saturday in highest daily death toll so far. 

16:15 - The UN General Assembly adopted a new voting procedure Friday for the upcoming election of new members of the Security Council aimed at preventing a large gathering and ensuring social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of meeting in the horseshoe-shaped assembly chamber at UN headquarters overlooking New York’s East River, ambassadors from the 193 UN member nations will cast secret ballots at a designated venue during spaced-out time slots.

15:23 - UK government authorizes return of live sport, while Britain announces 215 coronavirus deaths.

14:27 - Iraq imposes a full curfew for a week from tomorrow.

12:45 - Saudi Arabia announced 22 new deaths from COVID-19 on Saturday and 1,618 new cases of the virus.

11:35 – Cathay Pacific Airways said that the reopening of transit services for passengers at Hong Kong International Airport from June 1 will not include those traveling to and from mainland China. READ MORE

08:36 – Government employees went back to work in Iran on Saturday and President Hassan Rouhani said mosques are to resume daily prayers throughout the country, even though some areas are seeing high levels of coronavirus infections.

07:53 – Germany blasted US President Donald Trump’s decision to sever ties with the World Health Organization, describing it as “disappointing” and a setback for global health. Health Minister Jens Spahn said the WHO “needs reform” if it is to “make any difference,” something the EU must now take a lead in doing.




US President Donald Trump said the World Health Organization failed to do enough to combat the initial spread of coronavirus. (AFP)

07:45 – Russia reported 181 deaths from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, down from the record 232 deaths registered the previous day and pushing the nationwide death toll to 4,555. Officials said 8,952 new infections had been confirmed, bringing the national tally to 396,575, the third highest reported total in the world after the United States and Brazil.

07:01 – Two scientific advisers to the British government have warned that COVID-19 is still spreading too fast in the country to lift the lockdown, with one describing it as a political decision. READ MORE

06:19Taiwan’s government approved Gilead Sciences’ potential COVID-19 treatment, remdesivir, to treat the illness caused by the coronavirus.

06:10India registered another record single-day jump of 7,964 coronavirus cases and 265 deaths, a day before the 2-month-old lockdown is set to end.

04:50 – Thailand reported one new coronavirus case and no new deaths, taking the total number of infections to 3,077 as local transmission of the new virus appeared to wane.


Pope Francis ‘very distressed’ over Turkey’s Hagia Sophia conversion to mosque

Updated 7 min 56 sec ago

Pope Francis ‘very distressed’ over Turkey’s Hagia Sophia conversion to mosque

  • ‘My thoughts go to Istanbul. I’m thinking about Hagia Sophia. I am very distressed’
VACTICAN CITY: Pope Francis said Sunday he was “very distressed” over Turkey’s decision to convert the Byzantine-era monument Hagia Sophia back into a mosque.
“My thoughts go to Istanbul. I’m thinking about Hagia Sophia. I am very distressed,” the pope said in the Vatican’s first reaction to a decision that has drawn international criticism.
The Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano had on Saturday carried reaction from different countries about Friday’s decision to turn the monument from a museum back into a mosque but without any comment.
A magnet for tourists worldwide, the Hagia Sophia was first constructed as a cathedral in the Christian Byzantine Empire but was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who critics say is chipping away at the Muslim-majority country’s secular pillars, announced Friday that Muslim prayers would begin on July 24 at the UNESCO World Heritage site.
In the past, he has repeatedly called for the stunning building to be renamed as a mosque and in 2018, he recited a verse from the Qur'an at Hagia Sophia.
Erdogan’s announcement came after a top court canceled a 1934 cabinet decision under modern Turkey’s secularizing founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to preserve the church-turned-mosque as a museum.