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‘Full-body scan for some passengers at US airports’

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Some passengers at US airports might have to go through full-body electronic scan for security reasons, authorities have said, ending a policy that allows anyone to opt out of the advanced imaging screening, in wake of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and California.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) which secures American airports said necessary changes have been made in the protocol under which it would be mandatory for some passengers to go through full body scanner for security reasons.

“Generally, passengers undergoing screening will have the option to decline AIT (Advanced Imaging Technologies) screening in favor of a pat down. Some passengers will still be required to undergo AIT screening as warranted by security considerations in order to safeguard transportation security,” TSA said in a series of tweets yesterday.

Security screening at US airports and public transportation systems have been tightened as a precautionary measure in view of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. US officials, however, have said there is no credible and specific terrorist threat this holiday season.

TSA said a third person in less than a month has been arrested at Newark Liberty International Airport after officers detected a gun in the traveler’s carry-on bag.

TSA officers detected a .45 caliber handgun in a man’s carry-on bag on Monday as he was passing through one of the airport checkpoints. It was the third gun that TSA officers have stopped at a Newark checkpoint within a 17-day period.

A loaded .25 caliber gun was caught by TSA officers on December 5 and a loaded .38 caliber gun was caught on December 19. And a day earlier, TSA officers detected a handgun in the carrying bag of a passenger at the Norfolk International Airport checkpoint.

It marked the 16th gun that TSA officers have detected at Norfolk so far this calendar year, more than double the number that were caught at the checkpoint last year.

TSA screens approximately two million passengers and their luggage every day for prohibited items, including weapons and explosives. For this, TSA uses imaging technology to safely screen passengers for any items which may be concealed under clothing, while X-ray units screen all carry-on baggage.

Last year, TSA detected approximately 2,212 firearms at airport checkpoints, averaging six firearms per day. More than 900 improvised explosive device drills are conducted every day at airport checkpoints.

Disaster

UK PM still showing COVID-19 symptoms: Downing Street

Meanwhile, the government’s Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, is also continuing to self-isolate and has not given an update on his condition, Metro newspaper reported.

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Boris Johnson

London, April 3 : UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was still showing symptoms of coronavirus the day before his seven-day quarantine period was supposed to end, Downing Street has confirmed.

The Prime Minister set aside a week to self-isolate on march 27 in accordance with public health advice and has been leading the government via video conference from hs residence at 10, Downing Street, reports the London-based Metro newspaper.

Asked at a media briefing whether Johnson planned to leave on Friday, a spokesperson said: “We’re following the guidelines from Public Health England (PHE) and from the chief medical officer which state that you need to self-isolate for a period of seven days, so no change in that.”/

The spokesperson described Johnson’s symptoms as “mild”.

Meanwhile, the government’s Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, is also continuing to self-isolate and has not given an update on his condition, Metro newspaper reported.

But Health Secretary Matt Hancock left quarantine on Thursday after seven days and gave a press conference setting out a five-point plan to ramp up testing to 100,000 a day.

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UN: Mass spread of COVID-19 in Global South will impact the world

UN officials say every resource must be mobilised to prevent a ‘wildfire’ of cases in fragile states and refugee camps.

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Antonio Guterres

Coronavirus has upended lives and workplaces around the world, with more than a third of the globe under lockdown.

At the United Nations headquarters in New York, where about 10,000 people usually work, a skeleton staff of a few hundred are on site, ensuring the world body’s vital operations continue – such as peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads fast, the UN is critically concerned about those most vulnerable, especially refugees and people trapped in conflict situations.

The UN has launched a $2bn global humanitarian appeal to assist fragile states and those most vulnerable.

It says prevention and suppression of the virus must be a priority for leaders of all countries.

Leading UN officials have also called for all conflicts to cease and warring parties to focus their efforts on tackling the coronavirus.

To discuss the global efforts against COVID-19 and the risks facing the world’s most vulnerable populations, Talk to Al Jazeera speaks to Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general; Mark Lowcock, the under-secretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs; and Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

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Disaster

Coronavirus pandemic to render 18.5mn jobless in Pak

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pakistan coronavirus

Islamabad, April 3 : The Pakistan government has estimated that 12.3 million to 18.5 million people in the country will lose their jobs and the economy will sustain massive losses in just three months due to “moderate to severe shocks from the coronavirus outbreak”, it was reported on Friday.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Planning in a meeting discussed the preliminary estimates, which are based on information received from various government entities and initial research conducted by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, reports The Express Tribune.

Initial estimates have showed that in case of limited restrictions, about 1.4 million jobs will be lost, which are equal to 2.2 per cent of Pakistan’s employed workforce.

In a moderate scenario where private offices and most shops are closed, but essential shops were open, the government has estimated that 12.3 million people would become jobless.

“On employment, we can assess that under moderate restrictions employment loss could be up to 12 million, around 20 per cent of the employed labour force,” Jahanzeb Khan, the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission told The Express Tribune.

In case of a complete shutdown, the government has assessed that 18.53 million people or 30 per cent of the labour force will be unemployed.

In monetary terms, the loss of wages will translate into 561 billion Pakistani rupees for three months alone.

The Ministry also assessed losses at 1.2 trillion Pakistani rupees in a limited lockdown scenario, 1.96 trillion in moderate and 2.5 trillion in case of complete restrictions on movement, which symbolises a curfew-like situation.

“It is widely believed that the impact of the virus and severity of lockdowns on the overall economy may have a severe impact on the economic performance parameters,” Khan added.

The government also expected a sharp slowdown in trade activities.

“On the trade side, there is an expected sharp slowdown in imports from 35 per cent up to 60 per cent, depending upon the severity of the crisis,” Khan told The Express Tribune.

Pakistan has so far reported 2,441 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 35 deaths.

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