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Abe declares state of emergency over COVID-19

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Tokyo, April 7 (IANS) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in several regions of the country, a move that expands the powers of the local authorities in containing the spread of COVID-19.

Abe made the declaration in a meeting in Tokyo with a government group specially appointed to handle the health crisis and after securing the approval of Parliament, reports Efe news.

The state of emergency came into effect on Tuesday in the Tokyo metropolitan area and six other prefectures — Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo, Fukuoka — and will end on May 6.

It will allow authorities of the prefectures to impose a series of restrictions on citizens and companies to curb the increase in coronavirus infections.

In his address during the meeting broadcast by local TV channels, Abe asked citizens to avoid stepping out of their homes as far as possible until the end of the state of emergency to protect the lives and health of the Japanese people.

The Prime Minister, who, like the others present at the meeting, sported a face mask, requested the Japanese for all possible cooperation to prevent a drastic increase in the number of infections.

The state of emergency allows governments of Tokyo and the six other prefectures to order the closure of schools, commercial establishments, entertainment spaces, and sports and cultural event venues.

This measure, however, is far from more drastic measures imposed in other countries, such as Spain or Italy, where the entire population has been confined with sanctions for those who do not comply.

Abe said it was important for each citizen to change their actions and added that economic and social services could remain operational as long as gatherings were avoided.

This is the first time in Japan’s history that the measure has been applied.
The development comes as Japan has recorded 3,906 coronavirus cases, with 92 deaths.


Disaster

US patient receives $840,000 bill for COVID-19 treatment

“It’s scary. I don’t care how much you have covered. It’s scary to see that kind of number and not really know.”

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US Dollar

Washington, May 31 : A high school teacher from the US state of Colorado was shocked to receive a medical bill of $840,000 for his treatment for COVID-19, local media reported.

The bill received by Robert Dennis, a Centennial High School teacher, covered Dennis’ time at Denver’s Sky Ridge hospital, where he was put on a ventilator in the intensive care unit for two weeks, reports Xinhua news agency.

However, what was not included was Dennis’ three weeks at Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital, or his wife’s trips to the emergency room when she was also fighting the virus.

The couple estimated that their total bills would top $1.5 million.

The couple had insurance and they planned to call to make sure that they were covered.

“Seeing that number yesterday for the first bill, it took your breath away again,” the wife said.

“It’s scary. I don’t care how much you have covered. It’s scary to see that kind of number and not really know.”

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Lifestyle

Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque reopens after 2 months

The Al-Aqsa mosque is part of the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif compound, which is one of Islam’s holiest sites and the holiest site in Judaism.

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Masjid Al Aqsa

Jerusalem, May 31 : After remaining closed for two months due to the coronavirus pandemic, the compound of the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, which is the third-holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, started welcoming worshippers from Sunday again.

Hundreds of people, many of whom wore protective masks, chanted “god is great” as they stood at the mosque’s wooden doors, while some kissed the ground, reports the BBC.

They were then greeted by mosque director Omar al-Kiswani, who thanked them for being patient.

The compound also houses the Dome of the Rock.

Prayers will be held in the open in marked sections, each holding up to 50 people, reports The Times of Israel.

The Al-Aqsa mosque is part of the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif compound, which is one of Islam’s holiest sites and the holiest site in Judaism.

The site is a source of religious and political tension between Israelis and Palestinians and a frequent flashpoint for violence.

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Entertainment

Kendrick Sampson hit by rubber bullet at Los Angeles protest

In one video, LAPD officers can be seen firing rubber bullets to try and regain control at Pan Pacific Park.

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KENDRICK SAMPSON

Los Angeles, May 31 : “Insecure” actor Kendrick Sampson says he was hit by rubber bullets and even a police officer’s baton while protesting in California.

The “Vampire Diaries” star took to Instagram to show videos from marches in the Los Angeles area, reports usatoday.com.

“They’re gonna arrest all of us,” Sampson said in one video clip, adding: “Just to let y’all know, they’re telling us to disburse, but they boxed us in.”

The protests stemmed from the death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes.

In one video, LAPD officers can be seen firing rubber bullets to try and regain control at Pan Pacific Park.

“They shot me four times already. I already got hurt and I got hit with a baton,” Sampson said on Instagram.

Another video showed the actor backing away from the police, as he appeared to be hit by an officer’s baton, reports deadline.com.

aceY’all ain’t see no police f***ing up white folks when they took guns to the statehouse,” he said, while referring to an incident in Michigan over coronavirus restrictions, not in California.

“Ya all didn’t see police attacking white folks, beating em up with batons, shooting them with rubber bullets when they brought guns to f***ing state houses. We came up here with no weapons, with masks.a And we’re the ones who are not peaceful,” he added.

The actor also tagged “Black lives matter supporters”, and tweeted for elected officials to “defund police”, citing brutality in multiple cities across the US.

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