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Terror returns to Manchester

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Manchester blast

Manchester, May 23 : Local hospitals in Manchester were flooded with injured from an explosion at the Manchester Arena just before 10.35 p.m. on Monday.

The police have confirmed 19 deaths and were treating this as a terror-related incident.

Over 50 young fans of American pop star Ariana Grande were injured in the incident. The blast occurred when Ariana Grande was performing on the stage.

However, the blast was not the only incident that shook Manchester tonight. In another development, hospital functions were disrupted at nearby Oldham Royal Infirmary as an unidentified person flashed a hand gun.

The injured were being treated at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, Wythenshawe and Oldham hospitals.

The police also executed a controlled explosion on an unidentified object at Cathedral Garden, near the Arena and just few yards from historic Manchester Cathedral.

“This is an absolutely horrifying incident and our thoughts are with everyone affected, especially those who have lost loved ones or been injured and traumatised,” said Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council.

“If it is confirmed this was a terrorist attack it is a monstrous act. But also a deeply futile one. Manchester is proud and strong city and we will not allow those who seek to sow fear and division to achieve their aims,” Leese added.

British Transport Police said the explosion was in the foyer area of Manchester Arena. The incident occurred just few metres away from the IRA bomb blast spot at city centre.

The Victoria Station was closed and it affected all the trams and train services.

Manchester Arena, formerly known as the MEN Arena, is the biggest indoor venue in the city with a capacity of around 18,000 for concerts.

Mancunians were showing their compassionate side just after the incidents. Within an hour of reports of the blast, people began offering spare rooms and beds to people stranded in the city using the hashtag #RoomForManchester.

Hundreds of tweets offering places to stay are being shared and re-tweeted thousands of times.

Local cab drivers were offering free rides to stranded young fans of the American diva.

(Anasudhin Azeez is Editor of London-based Asian Lite. The views expressed are personal. He can be reached at [email protected])

By Anasudhin Azeez

IANS

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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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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