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Business booms for coffin makers as worldwide Coronavirus infection passes 1.1m 

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By Henry Ojelu with agency report

Global Coronavirus infection passed the much anticipated one million mark yesterday as business continues to boom for coffin makers in many countries.

More than 1,100,376 people have so far been diagnosed with the virus according to the data from Johns Hopkins University. The death rate as at Friday evening was 58,110 while more than 227,668 people have recovered from the disease, including more than 9,000 in the US.

Meanwhile, United Nations chief Antonio Guterres has renewed his call for a global ceasefire, urging all parties to conflict to lay down arms and allow war-torn countries to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

“The worst is yet to come,” Guterres said on Friday, referring to countries such as Syria, Libya and Yemen. “The COVID-19 storm is now coming to all these theatres of conflict.”

His comments came after Spain announced another 932 coronavirus deaths as its total toll nears 11,000 and continued to suffer the second-most fatalities in the world behind Italy.

The United States reported the highest daily death toll of any country so far at nearly 1,200. It now has more than 6,000 fatalities as the contagion rapidly spreads.

New York reports deadliest day, makes plea for help

New York suffered its deadliest single day from the coronavirus, recording 562 more deaths across the state for a total of 2,935 fatalities, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
Cuomo warned that people are “going to die in the near term” due to a lack of ventilators of hospital beds and called for the US to deploy its resources to New York to help it deal with the growing crisis.

READ ALSO:BREAKING: Nigeria announces 20 new cases of coronavirus

’Worst yet to come’ for countries in conflict—UN chief

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres renewed his call for a global ceasefire, urging all parties to conflict to lay down arms and allow war-torn nations to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

“The worst is yet to come,” Guterres said, referring to countries with fighting like Syria, Libya and Yemen.
“The COVID-19 storm is now coming to all these theatres of conflict.”

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth to address nation

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II will make a rare address to the nation on Sunday, Buckingham Palace said.
“Her Majesty The Queen has recorded a special broadcast to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in relation to the Coronavirus outbreak,” Buckingham Palace said.

The address, which was recorded at Windsor Castle where the 93-year-old monarch is staying with her husband Prince Philip, will be broadcast at 19:00 GMT on Sunday.


Pandemic threatens food in import-reliant states -WFP

The coronavirus pandemic threatens to cause food shortages for hundreds of millions of people, especially in Africa, the United Nations warned.

In poorer countries that rely upon exports to pay for food imports, middle class people could end up needing food aid to survive the COVID-19 crisis, the World Food Programme said.

“Generally we are used to dealing with a supply-side shock, like a drought, or a demand-side shock like a recession – but here it is both… and at a global level,” said WFP chief economist Arif Husain.

Russia to halt flights bringing citizens home

Russia will suspend all flights bringing Russians home from abroad from Friday night, the Interfax news agency cited sources as saying.

The Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said 25,000 people abroad had appealed for help getting home, with many still stranded as measures to curb the spread of coronavirus have limited travel options.

Israel seals off ultra-Orthodox town

Israel set up roadblocks to close off an ultra-Orthodox Jewish town badly affected by the coronavirus, but ordered in soldiers to support the residents.

Emergency regulations approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet late on Thursday declared Bnei Brak, near Tel Aviv, a “restricted zone” due to its high rate of infections.

The new designation allows authorities to tighten curbs on public movement.

Anguish as Sri Lanka forces Muslims to cremate victims

The forced cremation of two COVID-19 infected Muslims in Sri Lanka has sent shock waves among the minority community, which accused the authorities of violating Islamic burial rites.

Bishrul Hafi Mohammed Joonus, a 73-year-old man from the capital Colombo who died of COVID-19, was the second Muslim to have been cremated in the Indian Ocean island nation, which has registered 151 cases so far.

New 4,000-bed field hospital opens in London

Prince Charles opened a new 4,000-bed temporary hospital in a conference centre in east London on Friday, the first of several being built in Britain to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

The new state-run National Health Service (NHS) Hospital is named after the trailblazing 19th-century nurse Florence Nightingale and has been built in just nine days.

Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest son and heir officially launched the facility via videolink from Scotland, where he has been in self-isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.

Business booms for coffin-makers in France

While most businesses have shut their doors as part of a lockdown, the coffin-making factory in the sleepy town of Jussey in northeastern France can barely keep up with the orders.

France has confirmed nearly 60,000 cases of the coronavirus and as of Friday 5,387 deaths, the fourth highest tally in the world.

“Given what’s happening, the pace of production is going up by 50 coffins a day,” said Emmanuel Garret, manager at the OGF plant.

Iran’s death toll rises to 3,294

Iran’s death toll from the new coronavirus rose to 3,294 as it claimed 134 lives in the past 24 hours, according to Health Ministry Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpur.

The total number of people confirmed to be infected is 53,183, he said on state television, adding that 4,035 were “under observation”, a term that may mean they are in a critical condition.

Of the total number of people diagnosed with the disease, 17,935 have recovered.

Spain death toll increases by 932

More than 900 people died in Spain over the past 24 hours for the second day running, government figures showed, although the rate of new infections and deaths continued to slow.

Spain has the world’s second-highest death toll after Italy, with the virus so far claiming 10,935 lives – 932 in the past day – from 117,710 confirmed cases.

But health ministry figures confirm a consistent downward trend in the rate of new cases and fatalities.

Saudi king orders $2.4bn support for citizens

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman ordered the disbursement of up to 9 billion riyals ($2.39bn) in financial support to more than 1.2 million citizens who work in private sector companies affected by the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported.

China advises foreign diplomats to stop coming to Beijing

China’s foreign ministry is advising foreign diplomats to stop coming to Beijing, after the country temporarily banned most foreigners from entering to prevent a resurgence of the coronavirus epidemic, a spokeswoman said.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters during a daily briefing that the ministry was aware of confirmed coronavirus cases among foreign diplomats in China.

True infections could be as high as 10 million-expert

As many as 10 million people globally may have been infected by the new coronavirus, Australia’s chief medical officer said, with the under-reporting due to a lack of testing for the highly contagious respiratory disease, in some countries.

“Worldwide we have passed one million infections. But we believe the true number is five or 10 times as much,” Brendan Murphy told reporters.

Murphy said the mortality rates vary so much around the world that he believes many infections are going undetected.

The World Health Organization has called on countries to significantly increase testing for the coronavirus, while some critics have also highlighted differences in how some countries count coronvirus cases.

Washington extends stay-at-home order until May 4

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has extended orders to keep non-essential businesses closed and most of the state’s more than seven million residents home through May 4, saying that social distancing measures must remain in place for an extra month to minimise the spread of the coronavirus.

In recent days, Inslee had signalled that his initial stay-at-home orders from March 23, which were set to expire next week, would be extended.

Scientists, doctor launch anti-coronavirus body

A group of scientists, physicians, funders and policymakers from more than 70 institutions in over 30 countries have launched an international coalition to respond to COVID-19 in resource-poor settings, The Lancet magazine reported.

The COVID-19 Clinical Research Coalition aims to accelerate desperately needed COVID-19 research in those areas where the virus could wreak havoc on already-fragile health systems and cause the greatest health impact on vulnerable populations, the report said.

The members of the coalition argue that international research collaboration and coordination is needed urgently to support African, Latin American, Eastern European and certain Asian countries to respond effectively to the health crisis.

US Navy sacks aircraft carrier commander

The US Navy has relieved the commander of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, who wrote a scathing letter that was leaked to the public asking for stronger measures to control a coronavirus outbreak on board his warship.

The removal of Captain Brett Crozier from command of the 5,000-person vessel, which was first reported by Reuters, was announced by acting US Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, who said the commander exercised poor judgment.

The dismissal, two days after the commander’s letter was leaked, shows how the coronavirus is challenging US institutions, even those accustomed to dangerous and complex missions like the US military.

27,000 people under self-quarantine in South Korea

South Korea says more than 27,000 people are under a 14-day self-quarantine in the county after it strengthened border controls to slow coronavirus infections linked to international arrivals.

Park Jong-hyun, an official from the Ministry of the Interior and Safety, said on Friday that 19,567 of those under self-quarantine have recently returned from overseas while another 7,499 were isolated after contacting virus carriers.

There are now more than 10,000 confirmed cases in South Korea with at least 174 deaths.

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