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COVID-19 death toll in Europe surpasses 21,000



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Brussels, March 30 : The COVID-19 pandemic continued to ravage Europe, with the death toll in the region climbing to over 21,000 out of more than 360,000 confirmed cases.

According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of coronavirus cases around the world crossed the 700,000 mark near midnight on Monday, of which, 361,457 cases and 21,496 deaths were registered in Europe, Xinhua news agency reported.

Following Italy and Spain, Germany became the latest European nation with over 50,000 confirmed cases, while Spain saw the highest single-day fatalities in the day.

With 838 deaths recorded in the past 24 hours, Spain saw the highest daily COVID-19 death toll on Sunday, according to data from its Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Services.

The figure is six more than the previous figure, bringing the total death tally to 6,528 since the first death in the country was confirmed on March 3.

Meanwhile, the country detected 6,549 new COVID-19 patients, pushing the total number of confirmed cases to 78,797.

Madrid continues to be the worst affected part of the country as the pandemic has claimed 3,082 victims, or 47 percent of all deaths nationwide, and infected 22,677 people in total.

In Italy, the worst-hit European country, local news media noted, a day after its death toll topped 10,000, that around one-third of the worldwide death toll from the pandemic so far has been contained within Italy’s borders.

As of Sunday, 10,779 people have died from COVID-19 in the southern European country. That is more than Spain and China, the next two countries suffering the most fatalities, combined.

Meanwhile, the total number of people confirmed to have coronavirus in Italy — combining active cases, deaths, and recoveries — climbed to 97,689 Sunday, 5,217 above the level recorded a day earlier.

Civil Protection Department Chief Angelo Borrelli said the number of new cases was higher than 3,651 a day earlier, but evidence showed that new cases could be plateauing.

With 3,965 new COVID-19 cases, Germany’s total number has increased to 52,547, making it the third nation in Europe with over 50,000 cases. Meanwhile, the death toll in the country remained low at 389 as of Sunday.

In Britain, the total number is approaching the 20,000 mark. With 2,433 more cases, the country has confirmed 19,522 cases as of Sunday morning.

Also on Sunday, Belgium and the Netherlands became the latest European countries with over 10,000 cases each, after Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Britain and Switzerland.

With 1,702 new cases in the past 24 hours, the total number of confirmed cases in Belgium, a country with some 11 million population, has reached 10,836, while total deaths increased to 431, according to data from the public health institute Sciensano.

In the Netherlands, the total number of cases and deaths has reached 10,866 and 771 respectively. With 132 new deaths, the death toll was the highest single-day figure so far in the country after Friday’s 112 and Saturday’s 93.


Supreme Court takes cognizance of migrant workers’ plight amid Covid-19 lockdown

The top court said that there have been lapses on part of Centre and State governments and immediate measures are required to be taken to provide travel, shelter and food to migrant labourers.




Migrant Workers on Truck

New Delhi, May 26 : The Supreme Court on Tuesday took suo motu cognizance of problems of migrant labourers who were stranded in different parts of the country during the nationwide lockdown to contain Covid-19 outbreak.

The Supreme Court said the media reports have been continuously showing the unfortunate and miserable conditions of migrant labourers walking on foot or cycling for long distances.

“Although the government of India and state governments have taken measures, there have been inadequacies and certain lapses. We are of the view that effective concentrated efforts are required to redeem the situation”, said a bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, S.K. Kaul and M.R. Shah.

The bench posted the matter for hearing on May 28, and asked the Registry to serve a copy to the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, as well states and Union Territories. The cognizance has been taken after several petitions were filed in the top court highlighting the plight of migrant workers during the Covid-19 crisis.

“In the present situation of lockdown in the entire country, this section of society needs succor and help by governments, especially steps need to be taken by the government of India, state governments/Union Territories in this difficult situation to extend helping hand to these migrant labourers,” said the top court.

The top court said it has also received several letters and representations from different sections of society highlighting the problem of migrant labourers. “The crisis of migrant labourers is even continuing today with large sections still stranded on roads, highways, railway stations and state borders”, said the bench.

The adequate transport arrangement, food and shelters are immediately to be provided by the Centre and State Governments free of costs, added the bench.

“They (migrants) have also been complaining about not being provided food and water by the administration at places where they were stranded or on the way i.e. highways from which they proceeded on foot, cycles or other modes of transport”, said the apex court.

Issuing notice to the Centre and all states/Union Territories, the top court asked them to submit their responses looking into the urgency of the matter.

“We direct the suo motu petition to be taken up day after tomorrow and we request the learned Solicitor General to assist the court, and by the next date of hearing, bring to the notice of the court all measures and steps taken or to be by the government of India in this regard”, said the bench.

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445 people died from Australia bushfires smoke: Experts

Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra all had periods where they had the worst air quality in the world as a result of the smoke.




Australia bushfires

Canberra, May 26 : Smoke from Australia’s devastating 2019-20 bushfires killed at least 445 people, health experts revealed on Tuesday.

Fay Johnston, a public health expert from the Menzies Institute for Medical Research at the University of Tasmania, told the bushfire royal commission on Tuesday that her team estimated that 445 people died as a result of the smoke that blanketed much of the nation’s east coast, reports Xinhua news agency.

It takes the total death toll from the 2019-2020 bushfire season, which has been dubbed the “Black Summer”, to nearly 480 after 34 people lost their lives directly.

According to modelling produced by Johnston and her colleagues, 80 per cent of Australians were affected by the smoke at some point, including 3,340 people who were hospitalized with heart and lung problems.

“We were able to work out a yearly cost of bushfire smoke for each summer season and… our estimates for the last season were A$2 billion in health costs,” Johnston said.

“There’s fluctuation year to year, of course, but that was a major departure from anything we had seen in the previous 20 years.”

Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra all had periods where they had the worst air quality in the world as a result of the smoke.

Commissioners also heard on Tuesday that the increasing frequency of significant bushfire events in Australia meant that survivors no longer feel safe during the recovery phase.

“Disasters are no longer perceived as rare events, they are often seen as climate change, and they’re part of our new reality,” Lisa Gibbs, a child welfare expert from the University of Melbourne, said.

“We don’t know how that is going to affect recovery because the seeds of hope are a really important part of people’s ability to deal with what has happened and to get back on track.”

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UK non-essential shops to reopen from June 15: PM Boris Johnson

The British Retail Consortium said it welcomed the announcement, adding it provided “much-needed clarity on the route ahead”.




Boris Johnson

London, May 26 : All non-essential retailers across the UK will be able to reopen from June 15, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced, as part of plans to further ease the COVID-19 lockdown in the country.

Adressing the daily Downing Street coronavirus briefing on Monday, Johnson said that the move was “contingent on progress in the fight against coronavirus”, and retailers will have to adhere to new guidelines to protect shoppers and workers, the BBC reported.

Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from June 1.

Johnson said new guidance had been published for the retail sector “detailing the measures they should take to meet the necessary social distancing and hygiene standards”.

“Shops now have the time to implement this guidance before they reopen,” he said.

“This will ensure there can be no doubt about what steps they should take.”

Commenting on the development, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “Enabling these businesses to open will be a critical step on the road to rebuilding our economy, and will support millions of jobs across the UK.”

The British Retail Consortium said it welcomed the announcement, adding it provided “much-needed clarity on the route ahead”.

A spokesman for the Confederation of British Industry added that the new guidance would help retailers to open “safely and securely”.

However, not all businesses are pleased with the announcement, said the BBC report.

The British Association of Independent Retailers said many small shops had been preparing to open from next week, adding: “It is therefore a little disappointing for the smaller retailers not to be able to open until June 15, especially as they can make it safe to do so.”

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