5.51pm EDT 17:51 More than 2,000 rural migrant workers blocked from returning home pelted Indian police with stones, officials in Gujarat said, as millions more stranded in the state readied to return to villages. Poor migrant workers across the country lost their jobs during the world’s biggest pandemic lockdown, which began in late March to
More than 2,000 rural migrant workers blocked from returning home pelted Indian police with stones, officials in Gujarat said, as millions more stranded in the state readied to return to villages.
Poor migrant workers across the country lost their jobs during the world’s biggest pandemic lockdown, which began in late March to guard against the spread of new coronavirus.
Saturday’s clash in western India’s Gujarat is the latest in a spate of such protests across India.
It happened when officials stopped the workers, who had rented vehicles, from crossing into neighbouring Madhaya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh states, because they did not have sufficient paperwork for entry, officials told AFP.
Serbia will end its state of emergency over the coronavirus next week, as the rate of infections has slowed sufficiently, President Aleksandar Vucic has announced.
The lifting of the state of emergency – involving closure of borders and airports, a daily curfew, and weekend lockdowns since mid-March – should be ratified by the government-controlled parliament on Wednesday, Vucic said.
The Balkan nation has confirmed 9,464 cases and 193 people deaths from the Covid-19 disease, but infections have declined to under 5% of the thousands of people tested daily, epidemiologists say.
Brazil passes 100,000 confirmed cases
There have been 4,588 new cases of the coronavirus in Brazil and 275 deaths over the last 24 hours, the health ministry said on Sunday, bringing total confirmed cases in the country to over 100,000.
The nation has now registered 101,147 confirmed cases of the virus and 7,025 deaths. The number of cases increased roughly 5% on Sunday from the previous day, while deaths rose by roughly 4%, the ministry said.
Travellers to France who arrive from a country in the European area (EU, the Schengen open-border area and the UK) will be exempt from a planned compulsory two-week quarantine, the French embassy in Britain said on Sunday.
The new quarantine rules will apply to travellers, whether French or foreigners, as part of the fight against the new coronavirus.
“People entering the French territory from countries in the European area (EU/Schengen and United Kingdom) will NOT be affected by the quarantine measure announced in France, the details of which will be specified shortly,” the French embassy in Britain said on Twitter.
France, which has been the fifth-hardest hit country with 24,895 deaths from Covid-19, is preparing to gradually lift lockdown measures from May 11.
French government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye said earlier on Sunday that a list of “countries at risk” would soon be issued, without giving details.
South Africa’s mining union has announced it has won a court case against the government that will force authorities to impose strict guidelines on mining companies to protect workers against Covid-19.
The union said in a statement on Facebook that it was “truly elated” with the court’s ruling on Friday. “Now the lives and livelihoods of mineworkers can be protected,” South Africa’s Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) president Joseph Mathunjwa said.
South Africa, the world’s largest platinum, manganese and chrome ore producer which has recorded 6,336 cases of the coronavirus, of whom 123 have died, is letting its mines run at half-capacity during a national lockdown.
But AMCU filed the court action to demand national safety standards for mines, including sanitisation procedures and minimum level of protective gear, before they go back to work.The miners fear being infected because social distancing is near impossible inside deep mine shafts.
Workers in deep mines in Peru have also pushed back against returning to work without adequate protective gear and proper information about cases at sites. Such resistance could also spread to Chile, Burkina Faso, the United States and other countries, where mine workers are making similar demands.
Portugal downgrades state of emergency
Portugal has downgraded its state of emergency to a category of “calamity”, as the rate of new coronavirus infections reached its lowest since the beginning of the outbreak, six weeks after a state of emergency was declared.
“It’s like being freed from prison,” enthused Rodrigo Garcia, 40, on a walk to Lisbon’s River Tagus with his wife, two sons and dog. “We’ve gone out here and there, but with the end of the state of emergency we feel much freer.”
A three-phase reopening plan begins on Monday, after a six-week state of emergency when people were urged to stay indoors except for brief exercise, and most non-essential services were shut.
Beaches remain closed other than for water sports and exercise, but under the lesser state of calamity spending time in parks is no longer strictly forbidden. Still, police officers were out in force on Sunday urging people not to linger and to maintain social distancing.
“A state of calamity still means you should stay home as much as you can,” officer Sofia Gordinho told Reuters. “If people want to sit in the sun for a bit, that’s okay, but we are asking them to move on so others can come without it getting crowded.”
Spared the huge tolls in neighbouring Spain and some other Western European nations, Portugal reported 25,282 cases of the new coronavirus on Sunday, just 0.4% more than the day before, and 1,043 deaths in a population of 10 million people.
Coronavirus test kits used in Tanzania have been dismissed as faulty by President John Magufuli because he said they had returned positive results on samples taken from a goat and a pawpaw.
Magufuli, whose government has already drawn criticism for being secretive about the coronavirus outbreak and has previously asked Tanzanians to pray the coronavirus away, said the kits had “technical errors”.
The Covid-19 testing kits had been imported from abroad, Magufuli said during an event in Chato in the north west of Tanzania, although he did not give further details.
The president said he had instructed Tanzanian security forces to check the quality of the kits. They had randomly obtained several non-human samples, including from a pawpaw, a goat and a sheep, but had assigned them human names and ages.
These samples were then submitted to Tanzania’s laboratory to test for the coronavirus, with the lab technicians left deliberately unaware of their origins.
Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan will not be hosting the programme tomorrow as he waits for the results of a Covid-19 test after experiencing a “mild symptom”.
“On medical advice, and out of an abundance of caution for a mild symptom that arose in past 48hrs, I’ve had a test for Covid-19 and so won’t be working on @GMB until I get the result back, which should be tomorrow,” he tweeted.
Qatar, the Gulf Cooperation Council’s second worst-hit country after Saudi Arabia, reported 679 new cases on Sunday, bringing the total confirmed cases to 15,551.
Al Jazeera reports that 12 people have died from the virus in the Middle Eastern country.
Meanwhile in the UK, more people are now in hospital with coronavirus in the north-west of England than in London, as regional differences in the spread and peak of the pandemic become increasingly apparent.
Latest figures show 2,033 people in London hospitals compared to 2,191 in the north-west, where the peak for hospitalisation appears to have been on 13 April, compared to 8 April in the capital.
Read the full report here.
France’s tracing app expected to enter testing week on Monday
France’s state-supported ‘StopCOVID’ contact-tracing app should enter its testing phase a week on Monday when the country starts to unwind its lockdown, a government minister has said.
Minister for Digital Affairs Cedric O, a member of President Emmanuel Macron’s inner circle, presented the app as a key element of France’s strategy to stave off the coronavirus as authorities grapple with the prospect of mass testing.
“There’s nothing magical about this app, but it’s not technological coquetry either,” O wrote on online publishing platform Medium. “It’s only useful if it’s integrated into a global health system.”
Countries are rushing to develop apps to assess the risk of one person infecting another, helping to isolate those who could spread the disease.