UK coronavirus LIVE: Gyms and pools reopen as WHO reports biggest one-day jump in deaths since April



South Korea has reported more than 100 new coronavirus cases for the first time in four months, while South Africa has also announced a surge in infections and some US states tightened anti-disease controls.

The new cases in South Korea include 36 workers returning from Iraq and 32 crew members of a Russian freighter, the government said.

Authorities had previously warned to expect a spike in cases from abroad and appealed to the public not to be alarmed.

South Africa, Africa’s hardest-hit country, reported more than 13,104 new confirmed cases, raising its total to 408,052. The government has reported 6,093 deaths.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday that schools will “take a break” for a month to protect children.

But despite rising infections, restaurant and hospitality workers have staged protested this week to demand a loosening of restrictions on their industries.

China, which has relaxed most of its anti-virus controls after case numbers dropped off, reported 34 new infections – including 29 that were contracted within the country.

A total of 638,352 deaths and 15,672,841 cases have now been reported worldwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

India, the country with the third-highest infection total behind the United States and Brazil, reported its death toll rose by 740 to 30,601.

The government also reported a surge of 49,310 new cases, raising its total to 1,287,945.

The Home Ministry issued an advisory on Friday calling for Independence Day celebrations on August 15 to avoid large gatherings.

In the US, governor Tate Reeves of Mississippi tightened controls on bars to protect “young, drunk, careless folks”.

Bars were already limited to operating at 50 per cent capacity and they will now also have to ensure all patrons are seated and stop sales at 11pm.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell of New Orleans ordered bars to close and banned restaurants from selling alcoholic drinks to take away. That came after more than 2,000 new cases were reported for the surrounding state of Louisiana, including 103 in New Orleans.

Arizona reported 89 additional deaths, raising the state’s fatality total to 3,142. The state reported 3,349 new cases, raising its total to 156,301.

The US has suffered 145,391 deaths and has 4.1 million confirmed cases.

In Australia, premier Daniel Andrews of the southern state of Victoria announced five deaths and 357 new cases. Victoria, where the death toll has risen to 61, earlier closed its border with neighbouring New South Wales.

In Yemen, 97 medical workers have died of the virus, a serious blow to a country with few doctors that is in the midst of a five-year-old war.

Humanitarian group MedGlobal said in a report that the “overwhelming death toll” will have “immense short-term and long-term health effects”.



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Vietnam detects its first locally-transmitted coronavirus case since April

Vietnam has detected its very first regionally-transmitted circumstance of coronavirus in practically 100 times, authorities mentioned Saturday, in a region whose swift and full lockdown gained praise for controlling the distribute of the illness.

“Affected person 416” is a 57-calendar year-outdated retired Vietnamese guy in the southern city of Danang, and the initially local community transmission considering that 16 April.

Local wellbeing officers have analyzed 105 folks who had been in shut call with him, the Ministry of Health and fitness claimed on its website.

The male experienced taken his mom to a hospital in the days prior to soon after exhibiting signs or symptoms of the sickness, authorities reported, but gave no affirmation of how he was infected in a nation the place the virus appeared to have been stubbed out for various months.

“The affected person is at present on ventilator guidance owing to respiratory failure,” it reported, incorporating his household believe that his contacts with many others had been restricted.

“He did not go out of the town and only stayed at residence to look just after his grandchild and interact with neighbours, he did not make speak to with strangers,” it stated.

Danang has been packed with local travelers returning to its beaches and places to eat given that Vietnam lifted its lockdown.

In spite of sharing a lengthy, ungovernable border with China, Vietnam has recorded just 416 virus conditions – including the most up-to-date from Danang – with no fatalities.

Communist authorities were quick to lock down the region following the virus emerged in neighbouring China, with a arduous point out quarantine and get in touch with-tracing program put in location.

International flights remain strictly constrained with a two-week necessary quarantine laid out for website visitors.

Some analysts say the tricky reaction to the virus will aid the economic climate as overseas financial investment and neighborhood client self-confidence bounces back again.

Folks in Australia have to remain at minimum 1.5 metres absent from many others. Verify your state’s restrictions on accumulating restrictions.

If you are experiencing cold or flu indications, stay home and organize a check by contacting your health practitioner or call the Coronavirus Health Details Hotline on 1800 020 080.

Information and details is offered in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus



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GDP plummeted by 20.4 PER CENT in April amid coronavirus chaos


The UK economy shrank by an astonishing 20.4 per cent in April – the biggest fall ever – as coronavirus wreaked havoc.

GDP plummeted by more than a fifth in the first full month of lockdown, following a 5.8 per cent slump in March, which was in itself a record.

UK plc has now contracted by 25 per cent since February – with the country facing the worst recession in 300 years, when the Great Frost laid waste to Europe.

The eye-watering reduction, even worse than predicted by analysts, shows the scale of the devastation being inflicted on the economy by lockdown. Construction was the hardest hit, with a dive of more than 40 per cent in April. Manufacturing was down 24.3 per cent and the powerhouse services sector was 19 per cent in the red.

It will heap pressure on Boris Johnson to find a way to ease the draconian curbs. Cabinet ministers including Chancellor Rishi Sunak and swathes of Tory MPs are demanding he relaxes the two-metre social distancing rule strangling the hospitality and retail sectors.

GDP plummeted by more than a fifth in the first month of lockdown, and has now contracted by 25 per cent since February. In this chart, 100 represents the size of the economy in April 2016

Construction has been the worst hit sector of the economy, according to the ONS figures

Construction has been the worst hit sector of the economy, according to the ONS figures

ONS spokesman Jonathan Athow said the drop was likely to represent the worst of the impact, but there are warnings that many jobs will not come back quickly and the economy could take years to recover.

‘April’s fall in GDP is the biggest the UK has ever seen, more than three times larger than last month and almost ten times larger than the steepest pre-covid-19 fall,’ Mr Athow said. 

‘In April the economy was around 25 per cent smaller than in February. 

‘Virtually all areas of the economy were hit, with pubs, education, health and car sales all giving the biggest contributions to this historic fall.

‘Manufacturing and construction also saw significant falls, with manufacture of cars and housebuilding particularly badly affected.

‘The UK’s trade with the rest of the world was also badly affected by the pandemic, with large falls in both the import and export of cars, fuels, works of art and clothing.’

Mr Athow said it was ‘highly likely that April will be the low point of economic output’.

But he added: ‘It is really too early to know how quickly economic activity will recover in the coming months.’

Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds warned the UK economy was shrinking at a faster rate than those of other developed countries.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Ms Dodds said: ‘What particularly concerns me is that actually we’re not just looking at one month of economic damage.

‘There was a report that came out a couple of days ago from the OECD and it suggested that the drop in GDP for this year for the UK would actually be worse than for every other industrialised nation.

‘So we’re in a very, very difficult situation as a country and we will need strong action to help us climb out of this as quickly as possible.’ 

Experts had been expecting April’s GDP to contract by 18.7 per cent, according to a consensus compiled by Pantheon Macroeconomics.

Neil Birrell, chief investment officer at asset manager Premier Miton, said: ‘All the economic data out of the UK for April showed the economy to be in awful shape – in fact, worse than expected.

‘Other countries’ data is improving as lockdown eases and the concern is that the UK is getting left behind and, as we are currently witnessing, equity markets are very sensitive to any threat to recovery.’

The figures are a throwback to the early days of lockdown, with the ONS not due to reveal May data until next month.

However, it is likely to show another shocking drop, as many businesses were not up and running until restrictions were eased a few weeks ago.

The UK economy is facing the worst recession in 300 years, since the Great Frost laid waste to Europe on 1709

The UK economy is facing the worst recession in 300 years, since the Great Frost laid waste to Europe on 1709

Mr Johnson effectively put the economy on pause to combat coronavirus on March 23, closing non-essential shops and telling people to ‘stay at home’.

The measures were announced to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Debate is now turning to how to safely reopen to mitigate some of the worst economic impacts while still trying to constrain the spread of the disease.

Tej Parikh, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, said many businesses will still need support as lockdown slowly lifts.

‘Emergency loan schemes have helped stop firms collapsing, but left many saddled with debt,’ he said.

‘Businesses will be reluctant to hire and spend on new projects as they repair their finances, particularly as social distancing eats into demand and productivity. Firms will continue to face cashflow challenges in the months ahead.’



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As personal & small business loans crash, bank lending in April shrinks Rs 1.1 lakh crore


MUMBAI: Bank lending has shrunk by Rs 1.1 lakh crore during the four weeks ended April 24 to Rs 91.5 lakh crore. While such a decline in lending is not unusual, this year the drop was entirely because of loans to individuals in the personal segment shrinking by nearly Rs 63,000 crore and to micro and small enterprises by nearly Rs 50,000 crore during the period which coincided with Lockdown 1.0 and the first half of Lockdown 2.0.
In percentage terms, the sharpest drop in outstanding loans was in the personal segment, with middle-class borrowing for consumption through credit card outstanding and advances against fixed deposits (FDs) and shares falling by over 10%. Most Indians in this period remained in their homes, unable to go out and spend or order anything online other than food and groceries. The personal loan segment saw outstanding advances decline by Rs 62,861 crore to Rs 24.9 lakh crore.
According to data released by the RBI, the total bank credit as on April 24 stood at Rs 91.5 lakh crore — a dip of 1.2% from Rs 92.6 lakh crore on March 27. Loans to micro and small enterprises in the priority sector shrunk 4.2% in four weeks to Rs 11 lakh crore from Rs 11.49 lakh crore. While the lockdown has clearly brought down demand, many private banks, which were active in the retail and personal loan segments, turned risk-averse by tightening credit standards and reducing exposure.

The Rs 11,116-crore drop in credit card outstanding is largely explained by the closure of all non-essential retail outlets, including online ones, during the lockdown. Credit card outstanding, which had crossed Rs 1.08 lakh crore in March 2020, has declined to Rs 96,978 crore in April. The drop in loan against shares and FDs also appears to be reflecting a decline in consumption. Loans against FDs fell 14% to Rs 60,975 crore while loans against shares dropped 10% to Rs 4,818 crore in April 2020.
The sectors which saw an expansion in bank credit included large industry, where banks lent an additional Rs 8,900 crore, retail trade where loans grew by nearly Rs 7,000 crore and, surprisingly, non-banking financial companies, where banks lent an additional Rs 5,000 crore. Loans to the services segment did reasonably better, shrinking only 0.8% to Rs 25.74 lakh crore from Rs 25.94 lakh crore a month earlier. In the services sector, transport operators were the biggest borrowers in April. Loans outstanding to this sector grew 3% to Rs 1.48 lakh crore. The demand for loans was the lowest in the wholesale trade segment, where outstanding advances fell by 5% to Rs 2.49 lakh crore.
To help banks overcome their risk aversion, the government has come out with a scheme to guarantee loans to businesses that have an outstanding credit limit of up to Rs 25 crore. This will include MSMEs and other small businesses. Many banks expect to grow their MSME books by nearly 20% on the back of this guarantee.



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South Korea coronavirus cases jump to highest since early April as warehouse outbreak widens



FILE PHOTO: People wearing protective face masks to avoid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), wait in a line at an amusement park in Seoul, South Korea April 30, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo

May 28, 2020

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea reported 79 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the most since April 5 and the third straight day of rising infections, raising the spectre of a second wave of disease in a country widely praised for containing the initial outbreak.

Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said at least 69 cases so far this week have been linked to a cluster of infections at a logistics facility operated by Coupang Corp, one of the country’s largest online shopping firms, in Bucheon, west of Seoul.

According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), the new cases brought the country’s total as of midnight on Wednesday to 11,344 with 269 deaths. South Korea’s robust programme of testing earlier this year was credited with helping the number of deaths comparatively low in a global pandemic that has now killed more than 350,00.

The warehouse cluster appears linked to an outbreak that emerged in several Seoul nightclubs and bars in early May, the KCDC said, and comes as the country seeks to ease social distancing rules, reopen schools, and keep new virus infections in check.

Unlike many countries, South Korea didn’t impose a strict lockdown to counter the new coronavirus, but officials said if new cases keep rising, they may consider issuing new guidelines.

(Open https://tmsnrt.rs/2WTOZDR in an external browser for a Reuters interactive)

Health officials said on Thursday they would be conducting on-site inspections of logistics centres across the country, to develop better policies for preventing outbreaks at such facilities.

Coupang, backed by Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank Group, said it closed the Bucheon facility on Monday. It said on Thursday it had also closed a separate facility in Goyang, in the Seoul suburbs, after an employee tested positive there.

“As soon as the employee’s diagnosis was confirmed, Coupang sent home and self-quarantined employees who had contact with the employee,” the company said in a statement.

The spreading outbreak and warehouse closures come as Coupang and other e-commerce firms scramble to keep up with a surge in orders as more people opted to shop from home during the coronavirus outbreak, despite the absence of a strict lockdown.

In February, March and April, sales of South Korean online retailers including Coupang jumped 34%, 17% and again 17% respectively from the same months a year ago, according to trade ministry data.

That compared with offline retailers’ sales that dropped 7.5%, 18% and 5.5% in the same three months from a year earlier.

($1 = 1,237.6300 won)

(Reporting by Joyce Lee, Sangmi Cha and Josh Smith; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)





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China’s industrial firms’ profits fall in April but at slower pace



Workers wearing face masks following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak load steel products for export to a cargo ship at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China May 27, 2020. China Daily via REUTERS

May 27, 2020

BEIJING (Reuters) – Profits at China’s industrial firms fell at a slower pace in April, helped by improvements in automobiles and electronics, but the economy faces persistent pressure as activity and demand remains weak after the coronavirus outbreak.

Profits at China’s industrial firms in April fell 4.3% year-on-year to 478.1 billion yuan ($67 billion), after plunging 34.9% in March, the statistics bureau said on Wednesday.

China’s economy has shown patchy signs of recovery as it reopens after several weeks of tough virus containment measures.

But fallout from the pandemic, which paralysed business activity and triggered the first quarterly economic contraction on record, is expected to keep earnings under strain for most of this year.

For the first four months, industrial firms’ profits fell 27.4% year-on-year to 1.26 trillion yuan, compared with a 36.7% slump in the first three months.

Automobiles, special-purpose equipment, electrical machinery and electronics industries notched up significant recoveries in profits in April. Twenty three out of 41 sectors surveyed posted growth last month versus eight in March.

However, the overall profit outlook is not optimistic as market demand has still not recovered, industrial goods prices remain low, and pressure from costs are still high, Zhu Hong, an official at statistics bureau, said in a statement.

Recent data from factory activity to trade have underscored a weak outlook for China and the global economy.

Beijing has stepped up tax and credit relief for virus-ravaged companies since February, but it has refrained from massive economic stimulus for fear of rekindling debt risks.

The uncertainty stoked by the pandemic has forced China to drop its growth target for gross domestic product (GDP) for 2020 for the first time since such annual goals were set three decades ago.

Earnings at China’s state-owned industrial firms were down 46.0% year-on-year for the first four months, versus a 45.5% decline in the quarter ended March, the statistics bureau data showed.

Liabilities at industrial firms rose 6.2% on year at end-April, versus 5.4% growth as of end-March.

Private sector profits declined 17.2% in January-April, narrowing from January-March’s 29.5% fall.

The industrial profit data covers large firms with annual revenue over 20 million yuan from their main operations.

($1 = 7.1410 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Gabriel Crossley and Roxanne Liu; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)





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Nearly 5000 people fly into UK with coronavirus during April


Nearly 5000 people fly into UK with coronavirus during April, according to the chief scientific adviser to the Home Office.

So far arrivals to the UK have not been tested for the virus – nor required to go into quarantine.

But that is set to change under the Prime Minister’s plans for easing lockdown.

In his address to the nation on Sunday evening, Boris Johnson announced that arrivals by air would be required to self-isolate.

The figure works out as fewer than 0.5% of people who arrived in the UK by plane last month.

Thousands of people with the virus have landed in the UK

Professor John Aston told the Commons’ Science and Technology Committee that 95,000 people arrived in the UK by plane between April 1 and 26, including 53,000 UK citizens.

Asked if there is an estimate of how many of those had Covid-19, he replied: “We believe that less than 0.5% of those people arriving potentially had Covid-19.”

Half a percent of 95,000 people is 4,750 people.
He went on to say that “less than 0.5% of those arriving were due to the total cases of Covid-19 in the UK”.

A public health campaign notice is displayed on a flight information screen at Heathrow

Prof Aston told the committee that the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) used “complicated modelling” to calculate the estimate.
“It requires you to understand the prevalence (of Covid-19) within overseas countries as well as the prevalence within the UK,” he said.

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Coronavirus government action explained

The  Covid-19 “road map”  published on Monday appears to contradict  Boris Johnson’s assertion that it would apply only to “people coming into this country by air”.

The document says: “The government will require all international arrivals not on a short list of exemptions to self-isolate in their accommodation for 14 days on arrival into the UK.

From the coronavirus to Brexit, this is an era of great change and uncertainty. Events in Parliament have rarely been so crucial – or confusing.

Our daily politics newsletter is there at 8.30am to guide you through these turbulent times.

Written by the Mirror’s Head of Politics Jason Beattie it includes sharply-written commentary, a concise overview of events in Westminster and a sprinkling of gossip. There’s then a 4.30pm bullet-point update with the day’s headlines.

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It adds that anyone without a pre-arranged place to stay “will be required to do so in accommodation arranged by the government.”

The government said the measures “will be introduced as soon as possible”.

Travellers from the Republic of Ireland, as well as the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, will be exempt.





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Moscow Sees 20% Surge in Mortality in April: Official Data


Moscow recorded 20% more fatalities in April 2020 compared to its average April mortality total over the past decade, according to newly published preliminary data from Moscow’s civil registry office.

The data comes as Russia sees the fastest growth in coronavirus infections in Europe, while its mortality rate remains much lower than in many countries. Moscow, the epicenter of Russia’s coronavirus outbreak, has continued to see daily spikes in new cases despite being under lockdown since March 30. 

According to the official data, 11,846 people died in Russia’s capital in April of this year, roughly a 20% increase from the 10-year average for April deaths, which is 9,866. The numbers suggest that the city’s statistics of coronavirus deaths may be higher in reality than official numbers indicate.

Russia confirmed 11,012 new coronavirus infections Sunday, bringing the country’s official number of cases to 209,688. In the capital, 109,74 people have been infected and 1,068 people have died from the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

Russia’s federal statistics agency Rosstat has not yet released its April death figures, which are expected to be published later this month or in early June

Russia boasts a relatively low coronavirus mortality rate of 0.9%, which experts believe is linked to the way coronavirus-related deaths are counted.



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‘Horrifically swift’: Canada lost almost two million jobs in April; jobless rate soars to 13%


The Canadian economy lost two million jobs in April, an astonishing figure and, remarkably, one that might  understate the damage caused so far by the coronavirus crisis, economists said. 

Statistics Canada on Friday reported the collapse in employment caused the jobless rate to spike to 13 per cent from 7.8 per cent in March, nearly matching the highest ever recorded in data that date to the mid-1970s. In all, about 15 per cent of the labour force is currently without work. 

“Job losses have been horrifically swift since February,” Arlene Kish, an economist at IHS Markit, a data and research firm, said in a note to her clients.

The unemployment rate reached 13.1 per cent in December 1982, during a previous recession. Otherwise, the hiring statistics in April were unlike anything economists had ever seen. The devastation was equally dramatic in the United States, where 20.5 million people lost their jobs last month, while the unemployment rate soared to 14.7 per cent, making it the worst month for the labour market since the U.S. government began tracking data in 1939.

Canada’s jobless numbers could have been worse. The only thing keeping the current recession from turning into a depression is the hundreds of billions of dollars the federal government and the Bank of Canada have pushed into the economy since March to cushion the fall. Still, not even all that money can catch everyone.

“I will qualify for the wage subsidy, that’s all fine, but some of my employees do not want to come back because they are scared of getting sick,” Charles Khabouth, chief executive of Ink Entertainment, which employed 2,600 workers at bars, restaurants, clubs, and live events before the pandemic, said in an interview. “So what do I do? I had to let them go because all of my properties were closed. I only kept about 30 of my staff.”

In one superficial way, the April data were a positive surprise: Bay Street’s consensus forecast had predicted twice as many job losses. But that’s a thin silver lining. The devastation grows when you include people who are technically employed, but have lost most of their hours and those who have stopped seeking work because there is no work to be found. 

The total number of “underemployed” Canadians in April was probably around four million, said Derek Holt, an economist at Bank of Nova Scotia.  

“The traditional definition excludes these people from the labour force, but we are not in a normal situation,” said Parisa Mahboubi, an economist at the C.D. Howe Institute, a Toronto-based think-tank. “Some people lost their jobs and are willing to work, but they can’t because maybe they have kids at home and schools and daycares are not open. Or they are going to start looking for work when the economy reopens.” 

In April, almost 40 per cent of the labour force worked less than half their usual hours or not at all, according to StatsCan; the same figure in February was 11.3 per cent, a contrast that perhaps paints a more accurate portrait of Canada’s current situation.  

“In May, we will probably have in the neighbourhood of at least another one million people losing jobs,” said David MacDonald, an economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a think-tank. 

In May, we will probably have in the neighbourhood of at least another one million people losing jobs

David MacDonald

 

Bay Street’s forecast might have been off because economists have been using applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) as a proxy for job losses.

Canadians who are unemployed, sick with COVID-19 and cannot go into work, have a family member who is sick with the virus, or who have lost a majority of their work hours are all eligible. To date, some 7.6 million people have applied for CERB, more than double the number of official jobs lost in March and April. 

The COVID-19 crisis struck workers in services industries first. Last month, the recession caught up with the “goods” sectors, as construction companies cut 21 per cent of their workers and manufacturing employment dropped by 16 per cent.

Almost all the jobs lost in April were classified as temporary layoffs, according to StatsCan, a glimmer of hope that the economy could bounce back once the lockdowns end. 

Mahboubi said it remains to be seen if the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program — which subsidizes worker salaries by 75 per cent, up to $847 a week — will actually result in employers rehiring employees that have been temporarily laid off.  

“The number of Canadians benefiting from the wage subsidy is significantly less than the number of Canadians receiving CERB,” she said. “The government needs to look into what are the reasons behind this and what they can do to repair their relationship between employers and employees.”

Also of note in April’s labour data was how Canada’s major cities seemed to bear the brunt of the job losses. Montreal recorded the largest decline in employment of 18 per cent, while Toronto lost 539,000 or 15 per cent of its jobs. 

“Accommodation, hospitality and food services industries are largely concentrated in our major cities,” said Brendon Bernard, an economist at job search site Indeed Canada. “That could explain why cities tended to fare worse. If you look at just accommodation and food services, those sectors were just crushed.” 

Women were disproportionately affected in terms of lost hours and lost jobs in March, but the gender gap narrowed in April, as 14.6 per cent of men lost jobs compared with 16.9 per cent of women. 

“Young women have still been the worst affected in this crisis,” Bernard said. “But now you see that expanding out to young men, probably because of manufacturing and construction getting hit.”  

Financial Post

• Email: vsubramaniam@nationalpost.com | Twitter:





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Coronavirus live news: global cases near 3.5 million as travel within China up 50% since April | World news






Afghanistan announces its highest rise of Covid-19 cases and deaths

Six new polio cases have been reported in Afghanistan as the war-torn country recorded its highest one-day rise of new coronavirus cases and deaths, triggered by the continued surge of transmission in Kandahar and Kabul amid an intensified war across the country.

The country confirmed 235 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, marking its biggest one-day rise of new infections, and 12 patients died overnight – bringing the total number of infections to 2,704 and death toll to 85. There have so far been 345 recoveries. Wahidullah Mayar, a health ministry spokesman, said 256 health workers have also tested positive in the country.

Most of the new infections were confirmed in Kabul, raising the total number of transmissions to 680 – with 63 reported in last 25 hours. Kabul is the country’s worst-affected area and authorities have implemented a lockdown in a bid to contain the spread of the virus. Despite the lockdown in several provinces, in most cities streets are still crowded with vehicles and people walking freely around. Experts fear that may be a challenge in the fight with Covid-19.

The disease may cause huge collateral damage among Afghanistan’s many vulnerable citizens. Save the Children has already warned that lockdowns – although they are being widely ignored – have put seven million children at risk of hunger.

Meanwhile, Mayar said on Saturday that six new polio cases were recorded in the country, mostly in the southern province of Kandahar. Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria, are the only three countries in the world where polio remains endemic.

War continued to intensify in the country. A government spokesman said 17 civilians were killed by the Taliban in the first week of Ramadan.

Updated





Russia records its biggest increase of Covid-19 cases

















After Covid-19: How will a socially distanced high street actually work?

Britain’s once bustling high streets are now eerily quiet, with all non-essential shops closed and thousands of staff furloughed. Many may never reopen as the lockdown accelerates shifts to online shopping, while others will have to find ways to adapt to a radically different retail world of long-term social distancing rules and nervous customers afraid of catching the virus.

The British Independent Retailers Association warned last week that one fifth of their members might close for good if footfall is low. Yet some of the big non-food retailers such as Homebase and B&Q are starting to reopen stores, and the British Retail Consortium has issued guidance on how non-essential shops could trade while keeping customers and staff safe.

The Observer spoke to five shop owners on one British high street to find out how they are faring and what the future holds for their businesses.













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