UK records lowest daily virus death toll since start of lockdown

People walk past a food stall in Portobello Market in west London on June 1, 2020, following the easing of the lockdown restrictions during the novel coronavirus pandemic. (AFP)
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Updated 01 June 2020

UK records lowest daily virus death toll since start of lockdown

  • Country reports 111 more coronavirus deaths in a sign of “significant progress”
  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced 1,570 more positive cases

LONDON: Britain on Monday reported 111 more coronavirus deaths — the lowest daily toll since the start of the nationwide lockdown on March 23.
Reporting is often lower after a weekend but Health Secretary Matt Hancock told a news conference it was a sign of “significant progress” in tackling the outbreak.
Hancock also said there had been 1,570 more positive cases, the lowest number since March 25.
The announcement came as lockdown measures were eased in England, with the youngest primary school pupils going back to school, with open air markets and car showrooms reopening.
Britain as a whole still has the second-highest cumulative toll in the global outbreak, with 39,045 deaths registered after a positive test for the virus.
The government maintains it is in a position to begin lifting its stay-at-home measures as transmission rates fall, but critics say this could lead to a second wave of infections.


New Filipino military chief vows to enforce controversial anti-terror law

Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay. (Supplied)
Updated 03 August 2020

New Filipino military chief vows to enforce controversial anti-terror law

  • Gapay said his priority would be to bring an end to the New People’s Army (NPA) — the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, based primarily in rural areas

MANILA: The new chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, on Monday assumed office with a vow to enforce the country’s recently enacted anti-terrorism law.
The controversial legislation took effect last month, despite legal challenges at the Supreme Court to stop its implementation.
It criminalizes acts that incite terrorism “by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, banners, or other representations.” The new law also grants authorities broad powers to wiretap and tag individuals and groups as terrorists and detain them without charge for up to 24 days.
“We will capitalize on this very good anti-terror law. It is comprehensive, it is proactive, and it is geared to prevent occurrence of terroristic acts,” Gapay said in his first speech as army chief.
He called on Filipinos to support the military because beside dealing with terrorism and communist insurgency, the country now faced an unseen enemy in the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The army, he said, was helping the government contain the deadly virus which had infected more than 100,000 people in the Philippines and claimed at least 2,100 lives.

We will capitalize on this very good anti-terror law. It is comprehensive, it is proactive, and it is geared to prevent occurrence of terroristic acts.

Lieutenant General Gilbert I. Gapay, Commanding general, Philippine Army

Gapay said his priority would be to bring an end to the New People’s Army (NPA) — the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, based primarily in rural areas — and local terrorist groups — Abu Sayyaf, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and factions of the Daulah Islamiyah — that operate mainly in the country’s south.
“There will be no let up as we continue to be at the forefront confronting all these threats. We are trained for this but still we need the support of other agencies; we need the support of our fellow Filipinos,” Gapay added.
He said the army would continue to collaborate with partner agencies and foreign counterparts in addressing domestic and regional threats, adding that it would suggest provisions to the rules and regulations of the new law to enhance intelligence sharing and strengthen maritime security to deter foreign terrorists from entering the country through its porous sea borders.
Prior to his appointment, Gapay, who replaces the retiring Gen. Felimon T. Santos, Jr., served as the 61st army commander.