DW: Billions Mark Good Friday in Isolation
The world is set for an unusually quiet Easter, with lockdowns imposed across the globe. While the US death toll continues to climb, New York State has seen a fall in patients hospitalized. Follow DW for the latest.
Global confirmed cases stand at over 1.5 million with over 94,000 dead
- The EU is set to release half a trillion euros immediately to tackle a pandemic-induced recession
- The UN Security Council is meeting for the first time to discuss COVID-19
- On Good Friday, over 2 billion Christians will stay away from church and many other events and vacations have been canceled
07:22 Billions of people under lockdown around the world have been urged to stay home during the Easter weekend, despite public holidays and religious commemorations. However, those living in northern Germany's state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania have been told they can go on day trips to the coast and the Baltic Sea islands.
A court in Greifswald on Thursday overturned a travel ban imposed by the state government, which had only redrafted the regulations a day earlier to list the tourist resorts as prohibited areas.
The ruling means that trips to the coast and the Mecklenburg Lake District are now permitted until and including Easter Monday. The ruling doesn't apply to tourists from other German states, who are banned from entering the area until at least April 19.
07:14 New York City has shortened the time it will hold unclaimed bodies before they are buried in a public cemetery. The medical examiner's office will now keep
remains in storage for just 14 days before they're sent to a burial ground on Hart Island. Normally, about a handful of bodies per day are interred there — people whose families can't afford a funeral, or who go unclaimed by relatives. On Thursday, some 40 caskets were lined up for burial, and two fresh trenches have been dug in recent days.
New York is bearing the brunt of the pandemic in the United States, accounting for around half the number of deaths. On Thursday, the death toll climbed to more than 7,000 after an additional 799 people died — a grim new city record for fatalities.
06:40 Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) says it's concerned about the prospect of coronavirus aid fraud. The Funke media group cited an internal BKA paper that warned about the likelihood of deceptive applications for loans, grants and social benefits offered by the government to offset the worst economic effects of the pandemic.
On Thursday, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia halted payments of emergency aid to solo self-employed and small businesses after several people set up fake business websites and then tried to apply for the rescue funds.
The state said legitimate applications will be continued to be processed but that payments had been halted temporarily pending an investigation.
06:30 Pakistan plans to end its three-week lockdown after a new study warned that a prolonged economic halt could lead to some 18 million job losses and plunge half of the country’s population into poverty. Some parts of the country face strict curfews enforced by the military in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus.
The cabinet decided to allow people to resume work in agricultural fields and re-open several industries including steel and cement manufacturing from April 14. "We are going to resume key sectors that employ millions," said Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan, adding that Pakistan’s retail and transport sectors would be the next to emerge out of the lockdown.
Researchers at the state-run Pakistan Institute of Development Economics had warned that the construction and retail sectors could be hit hardest. "As a result, 120 million people or more than half of the population are at risk of falling beneath the poverty line," said Mahmood Khalid, one of the co-authors of the study. The easing was announced despite the number of coronavirus infections climbing to 4,500.
06:10 A plan to hold a 10-person rally in Munich to ensure the preservation of the right to protest in Germany despite the coronavirus lockdown has been rejected by the country's highest court.
While the judges acknowledged the importance of freedom of assembly in a democratic state, the Constitutional Court concluded that the temporary ban during the outbreak is intended to protect the lives and physical well-being and integrity of citizens.
The court ruled that the three-hour demonstration on the banks of the Isar river could result in more than ten participants joining, including onlookers, and that the gathering could trigger counter-demonstrations.
05:30 The United Nations Security Council has held its first meeting on the coronavirus pandemic. The UN's most powerful body has been silent since COVID-19 started circling the globe. Following the talks, the Council issued a brief statement, expressing “support for all efforts of the secretary-general concerning the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to conflict-affected countries and recalled the need for unity and solidarity with all those affected.''
UN chief Antonio Guterres had warned the Council that the outbreak is threatening global peace and “potentially leading to an increase in social unrest and violence.” He said the Council’s role is “critical to mitigate the peace and security implications of the COVID-19 pandemic'' and “would count for a lot at this anxious time.''
05:25 Major oil producers except Mexico have agreed to cut output in May and June by 10 million barrels per day (bpd), following a collapse in prices due to the coronavirus pandemic and a Saudi-Russian price war.
The oil cartel OPEC says the agreement will also reduce production to eight million bpd from July to December. A virtual meeting of OPEC countries, allies and other key non-members dragged on into the small hours after beginning on Thursday afternoon.
The deal depends on Mexico's support to take effect. The country wanted its share of the cut reduced by three-quarters to 100,000 barrels.
04:50 Nearly three months after the first coronavirus case was reported outside of China, Yemen has confirmed its first infection. The country's national emergency committee for COVID-19 said the case was detected in the southern Hadramout province under the control of the internationally recognized government.
Humanitarian workers and the international community have warned that a coronavirus outbreak in the war-torn country, will have catastrophic impacts.
The Saudi-led coalition on Thursday said it had begun observing a unilateral ceasefire in Yemen to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but Houthi rebels dismissed the initiative as political manoeuvering.
04:20 Germany has seen 266 new deaths and 5,323 new infections since the previous day's update from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). The national disease control agency put the overall tally at 2,373 deaths and 113,525 confirmed cases. Johns Hopkins University, which publishes a tally of the global pandemic, puts German fatalities at 2,607 out of 118,235 cases. The two figures vary as RKI depends depend on data transmission from state and local levels and is updated around once a day, while JHU updates figures in real-time.
Read more on: DW
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