International

Virus prevention measures turn violent in some African countries

coronavirus

MNA International Desk: Police fired tear gas at a crowd of Kenyan ferry commuters as the country’s first day of a coronavirus curfew slid into chaos. Elsewhere, officers were captured in mobile phone footage whacking people with batons. Virus prevention measures have taken a violent turn in parts of Africa as countries impose lockdowns and curfews or seal off major cities. Health experts say the virus’ spread, though still at an early stage on the continent, resembles that of Europe, adding to widespread anxiety. Cases across Africa were set to jump above 4,000 on Saturday, reports AP. Abuses of the ...

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Putin announces paid leave for all Russians next week

Russia

MNA International Desk: Russian President Vladimir Putin declared on Wednesday that all Russians would receive paid leave next week as part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All necessary institutions and establishments, including hospitals, pharmacies, shops, banks, transport and government bodies at all levels, will continue their work, Putin said in a televised address to the nation. He proposed to postpone the referendum on constitutional amendments on April 22 and the new date will be set after consulting experts, reports AP. “Now it is extremely important to prevent the threat of the rapid spread of the disease,” the ...

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Indians scramble for supplies as three-week coronavirus lockdown begins

Indians

MNA International Desk: Indians crowded grocery stores and chemists on Wednesday in a struggle for essential items after prime minister Narendra Modi ordered a total lockdown for three weeks to fight a coronavirus pandemic, one of the toughest such measures worldwide. India’s tally of 536 cases and 10 deaths is dwarfed by China, Italy and Spain, but Modi and health experts have warned that the nation of 1.3 billion people faces a tidal wave of infections if harsh steps are not taken. People in the key cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru rushed to stock up after Modi decreed the ...

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Myanmar reports first cases of coronavirus

Myanmar

MNA International Desk: Myanmar reported its first confirmed cases of coronavirus in two men who had recently travelled to the United States and the United Kingdom. The Southeast Asian nation had been the most populous country in the world to say it had no cases, despite sharing a long and porous border with China, where the virus originated in the city of Wuhan. The health ministry said a 36-year-old travelling from the United States and 26-year-old returning from Britain, both Myanmar nationals, had tested positive. “Investigation is ongoing on history of people who have been in contact with these two ...

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UN plans global fund to support treatment of coronavirus patients

coronavirus

MNA International Desk: The United Nations will create a fund to support the treatment of coronavirus patients worldwide, Norway’s foreign ministry said on Monday. “A multi-donor fund under UN auspices will provide predictability for our partners and help to make the efforts more effective,” Norway’s Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said in a statement, reports Reuters. The purpose of the fund is to assist developing countries with weak health systems in addressing the crisis as well as to tackle the long-term consequences, the ministry added. A formal announcement could be made later this week, it said. Almost 340,000 people have ...

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Spain warns the ‘worst is yet to come’

coronavirus

MNA International Desk: The Spanish government said on Saturday it would do whatever was needed to combat the coronavirus pandemic and warned that “the worst is yet to come” after the national toll surpassed 1,300 deaths and reached close to 25,000 cases. The second-worst outbreak in Europe showed no sign of slowing as the death toll jumped by more than 300 from the previous day. Intensive care units are filling up in some hospitals. “We have yet to receive the impact of the strongest, most damaging wave, which will test our material and moral capacities to the limit, as well ...

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Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia suspends prayers at mosques

Saudi Arabia

MNA International Desk: Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday that mosques would no longer be open for the customary five daily prayers or Friday congregations, an exceptional move to limit the spread of the coronavirus which has infected 171 people in the kingdom. Saudi Arabia, which chairs the Group of 20 major economies, announced an extraordinary virtual leaders summit next week “to put forward a coordinated set of policies to protect people and safeguard the global economy.” The US-allied Gulf Arab states have registered more than 1,000 infections, many linked to travel to neighbouring Iran, which is an epicentre for the ...

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US, China continue ‘war of words’ over coronavirus outbreak

China

MNA International Desk: A war of words between China and the United States showed no signs of let up on Monday, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a phone call with a top Chinese diplomat expressing ‘strong US objections’ over what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to shift blame for the spread of the coronavirus. Ties between the world’s top two economies, already complicated due to issues including trade, intellectual property rights as well as press freedoms, have further been tested by the outbreak of coronavirus, which causes the sometimes fatal, highly contagious respiratory illness COVID-19, reports Reuters. ...

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COVID-19: EU states record highest one-day death toll

coronavirus

MNA International Desk: The three states bearing the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe have all recorded their highest death tolls for a single day. Italy saw 368 deaths bring its total to 1,809, Spain recorded 97 more deaths for a total of 288, and France reported 29 deaths, giving a total of 120. The UK also saw a single-day record, with 14 new deaths and a total of 35, according to a BBC report Monday. Governments across Europe have responded by curbing the movements of citizens and tightening borders. Germany is to impose controls on its borders with ...

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Coronavirus: Spanish cases up by 1,500 in one day

Coronavirus

MNA International Desk: Coronavirus cases in Spain have risen by 1,500 to more than 5,700, public health officials say, reports The BBC. Spain is the worst affected country in Europe after Italy, which has more than 15,000 cases. The news comes as the Spanish government meets to declare a national state of emergency, for only the second time in its recent history. On Friday the World Health Organization (WHO) said Europe was now the “epicentre” of the pandemic. Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to use aggressive measures, community mobilisation and social distancing to save lives. Several European ...

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US summons Chinese envoy over Beijing’s coronavirus comments

Chinese

MNA International Desk: The US State Department summoned the Chinese ambassador to the United States on Friday to protest against comments by Beijing suggesting the US military might have brought the coronavirus to Wuhan, as tensions between the two global powers over the outbreak intensified. David Stillwell, the top US diplomat for East Asia, delivered a very “stern representation” to China’s ambassador Cui Tiankai, a State Department official said, adding that Beijing’s envoy was “very defensive.” The State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said China was seeking to deflect criticism of its role in “starting a global ...

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Greece reports first coronavirus death

Greece

MNA International Desk: Greece reported its first fatality from a coronavirus infection on Thursday, a 66-year-old man who had returned from a religious pilgrimage to Israel and Egypt at the end of February. The deceased had underlying health issues, the health ministry said in a statement. There were 99 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Greece by late Wednesday, reports Reuters. Separately, passengers on board a ferry boat were quarantined as a precaution after a crew member said he felt unwell, a health ministry spokesman said. The crew member disembarked for further health checks. The Athens News Agency reported there were ...

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Putin to stay in power until 2036

Vladimir Putin

MNA International Desk: The Russian parliament approved a constitutional reform to allow the country’s President Vladimir Putin to stay in power until 2036. The parliament gave the approval in the third and final reading Wednesday, a move that will allow Putin to remain in office for another 12 years after his current term ends in 2024, reports AP. The Kremlin-controlled lower house, the State Duma, endorsed a set of amendments to the constitution and a provision resetting the term count for Putin after the revised constitution goes into force. It passed by a 383-0 vote with 43 abstentions. A nationwide ...

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Airlines strive to stave off calamity as coronavirus locks down Italy

Airlines

MNA International Desk: Airlines around the world sank deeper into crisis on Tuesday as the worsening coronavirus epidemic and Italy’s lockdown hammered passenger numbers, forced the cancellation of thousands of flights and led to the delaying of plane orders. Some carriers face calamity, with Korean Air Lines warning the virus outbreak could threaten its survival after it scrapped more than 80% of its international capacity, grounding 100 of its 145 passenger aircraft. “The situation can get worse at any time and we cannot even predict how long it will last,” Woo Kee-hong, the president of South Korea’s biggest airline, said ...

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Modi’s Dhaka visit uncertain as Mujib Year programmes rearranged

Narendra Modi

MNA International Desk: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is unlikely to visit Bangladesh for the celebration of the birth centenary of the Father the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, sources have said. Two Indian news outlets, Hindustan Times and India Today gave the information in their reports published on Monday. The year-long celebrations were scheduled to open amid massive festivities at the National Parade Ground in Dhaka on March 17. Bangladesh had announced on Sunday that it was scaling down and postponing several events related to the celebration following the detection of three coronavirus infections in the country. “The planned ...

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New York declares emergency as US death toll from virus hits 19

coronavirus

MNA International Desk: Two more people succumbed to the novel coronavirus in Washington state, officials said on Saturday (local time), bringing the nationwide toll to 19, while the number of confirmed cases in New York rose to 89 and a cruise ship with infected passengers remained stranded outside San Francisco. More than half of all US states have reported cases of the coronavirus, which originated in China last year and causes the sometimes deadly respiratory illness COVID-19. As the outbreak takes root, daily life has become increasingly disrupted, with concerts and conferences cancelled and universities telling students to stay home ...

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Kuwait suspends flights to and from BD, six other countries over coronavirus

Kuwait

MNA International Desk: Kuwait suspended all flights to and from Bangladesh and other six countries for a week with an immediate effect from March 06 (Friday). The six other countries from where the expatriates will not be allowed to go to Kuwait are India, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Philippines, Egypt and Syria. Issuing a circular on Friday, Kuwait’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation ( DGCA) said the expatriates with valid residency permits or previous entry visas as well as those from other airports who stayed in the above-mentioned countries for the past two weeks are prohibited from entering. But the citizens ...

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Coronavirus death toll mounts to 107 in Italy

coronavirus

MNA International Desk: Italy closed all schools and universities and took other emergency measures on Wednesday to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Europe’s worst-hit country as the death toll and number of cases jumped. The total number of dead in Italy rose to 107 after 28 people died of the highly contagious virus over the past 24 hours, the Civil Protection Agency said. Education Minister Lucia Azzolina said schools and universities all over the country would be closed from Thursday until at least March 15. Only those in the northern regions most heavily affected by the ...

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North Korea fires two missiles in ‘first test of the year’

North Korea

MNA International Desk: North Korea fired two unidentified projectiles off the east coast into the sea on Monday, South Korea’s defense ministry said, in its first apparent weapons test of the year. The projectiles were launched from the North’s east coast towards the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, reports BBC. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said they were “believed to be short-range ballistic missiles”. Last May saw the first missile tests after an 18-month freeze. As the year progressed, many more followed. North Korea, which has historically stepped up missile testing in the spring, ...

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Saudi Arabia suspends entry for Umrah pilgrims amid coronavirus fears

Umrah

MNA International Desk: Saudi Arabia has temporarily suspended entry to the Kingdom for the purpose of Umrah and visiting the Prophet’s Mosque. It also suspended the entry of tourist visa holders from countries where the new coronavirus is spreading dangerously, Saudi Gazette reported citing a statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday. Millions of pilgrims every year visits Mekkah and Medina, two Islamic historic city for Hajj and Umrah. But the risk of coronavirus spread has reached new heights amid the current scenario all around the world. The foreign ministry said that the health authorities in Saudi Arabia ...

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Death toll rises to 20 from riots, Modi appeals for calm

Modi

MNA International Desk: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed for calm on Wednesday after days of clashes between Hindus and minority Muslims over a controversial citizenship law in some of the worst sectarian violence in the capital in decades. Twenty people were killed and nearly 200 wounded in the violence, a doctor said, with many suffering gunshot wounds amid looting and arson attacks that coincided with a visit to India by US President Donald Trump, reports Reuters. Police and paramilitary forces patrolled the streets in far greater numbers on Wednesday. Parts of the riot-hit areas were deserted. “Peace and harmony ...

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India to buy $3b military equipment from US, Trump says

military

MNA International Desk: US President Donald Trump Trump announced that India has signed a deal to purchase more than $3 billion of advanced military equipment, including helicopters. Trump also described trip to India as ‘unforgettable,’ ‘extraordinary’ and an expression of ‘love’ while he was delivering a joint statement with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi following their bilateral talks in New Delhi on Tuesday, reports AP. He mentioned that the two leaders made progress on what he describes as a “comprehensive trade deal” after talks. Trump also said he and first lady Melania Trump “have been awed by the majesty of ...

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Coronavirus infected 78,000 people globally

China

MNA International Desk: A viral outbreak that began in China has infected nearly 78,000 people globally. The World Health Organization has named the illness COVID-19, referring to its origin late last year and the coronavirus that causes it. The latest figures reported by each government’s health authority as of Saturday in Beijing: — Mainland China: 2,345 deaths among 76,288 cases, mostly in the central province of Hubei — Hong Kong: 69 cases, 2 deaths — Macao: 10 cases — Japan:754cases, including 634 from a cruise ship docked in Yokohama, 3 deaths — South Korea: 433 cases, 2 deaths — Singapore: ...

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Ex-lawmaker denies offering Assange a pardon from Trump

Assange

MNA International Desk: A former Republican congressman has denied he offered a pardon to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on behalf of US President Donald Trump. Assange’s lawyer said Dana Rohrabacher claimed to be acting “on instructions” from Mr Trump in offering clemency. In return, the president was said to have wanted Assange to say Russia was not involved in leaking emails during the 2016 US election. But Mr Rohrabacher, a former California representative, rejected the claims. “At no time did I talk to President Trump about Julian Assange. Likewise, I was not directed by Trump or anyone else connected with ...

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Quarantined passengers disembark from virus-hit ship in Japan

quarantined

MNA International Desk: Hundreds of people began disembarking a quarantined cruise ship off Japan on Wednesday as the death toll from the new coronavirus in mainland China passed 2,000 and the number of new cases in the country fell for a second straight day. Around 500 passengers were due to disembark the virus-hit Diamond Princess docked at Yokohama near Tokyo, public broadcaster NHK said, ending an ordeal that began when the ship was quarantined on February 3 after a former passenger was diagnosed with the virus in Hong Kong. There were also more promising signs out of China, where the ...

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Hospital director in China’s Wuhan dies of coronavirus

coronavirus

MNA International Desk: The head of a leading hospital in China’s central city of Wuhan, the epicentre of a coronavirus outbreak, died of the disease on Tuesday, state television said, becoming the second prominent Chinese doctor to have succumbed to the pathogen. Liu Zhiming, the director of Wuhan Wuchang Hospital, died at 10:30am, it said. Earlier this month, millions in China mourned the death of Li Wenliang, a doctor who was previously reprimanded for issuing an early warning about the coronavirus. Tens of thousands of medical workers have been fighting to contain the spread of the coronavirus, believed to have ...

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Turkey to oppose Pakistan blacklisting at anti-terrorism finance meet

Pakistan

MNA International Desk: Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said he would help Pakistan stay off a terrorism financing blacklist at a meeting of a global finance watchdog, a move he suggested would counter “political pressure” from Islamabad’s critics. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which tackles money laundering, told Islamabad late last year that it could face blacklisting if it continued to apply inadequate controls over terrorism financing. The FATF is meeting next week in France, and support from Turkey and longtime allies like China, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia could help Pakistan remain off the blacklist. A minimum of ...

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