We can turn the tide on coronavirus crisis – Johnson
LONDON – The UK can “turn the tide” on the coronavirus crisis within 12 weeks, prime minister Boris Johnson has said. But pressed on what he meant by the three-month timescale, he said he did not know how long it would go on for. He said trials on a vaccine were expected to begin within a month and warned he would “enforce” Londoners to be kept apart “if necessary”. Earlier, in a message to the nation, Queen Elizabeth urged people to come together for the common good. Speaking at 10 Downing Street, Johnson told reporters: “I believe that a combination of the measures that we’re asking the public to take and better testing, scientific progress, will enable us to get on top of it within the next 12 weeks and turn the tide. I cannot stand here and tell you that by the end of June we will be on the downward slope. It’s possible but I simply can’t say that that’s for certain,” he added.
China reports first new local virus case in four days
HARARE – China reported 46 new coronavirus infections yesterday, including its first case of local transmission in four days. While the number of virus cases has been falling over the past few weeks in China, there has been growing concern around imported cases as countries around the world step up their fight against the pandemic. An estimated 900 million people in 35 countries are now confined to their homes, including 600 million cooped in due to government lockdown orders, according to an AFP tally. While about 56 million people in China’s central Hubei province had been locked down since late January, authorities have begun to ease travel restrictions as the number of fresh infections in Hubei dropped to zero. On Sunday, China reported 46 new virus cases, with all but one brought in from other countries. For the three consecutive days before, it had no new local cases.
North Korea fires two short-range ballistic missiles
PYONGYANG — North Korea on Saturday fired two short-range ballistic missiles toward the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, Yonhap news agency reported, citing South Korea’s military. The launch originated from North Pyongan province, the agency said, citing the South’s joint chiefs of staff. Earlier this month, the nuclear-armed North carried out similar launches on two occasions – Pyongyang said they had conducted “long-range artillery” drills, but Japan said the projectiles appeared to be ballistic missiles. Shortly before the Yonhap report about the launch, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that the country would convene its rubber-stamp parliament, the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA), on 10 April. The latest launch comes as a prolonged hiatus in disarmament talks with the United States drags on.
Iran’s Covid-19 death toll rises to 1 556
DUBAI — Iran’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak rose by more than 100 to 1 556 on Saturday and the total number of people infected now exceeds 20 000, a health ministry official said. Iran, one of the countries most affected by the pandemic outside China, had on Friday reported a death toll of 1 433 and a total number of confirmed infections of 19 644. The total number of people diagnosed with the disease stood at 20 610 on Saturday, health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said. Jahanpur warned that coronavirus cases would rise steeply unless people refrain from travelling during the two-week Iranian New Year holiday, which started yesterday. President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that social distancing measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak, including travel restrictions, will apply for only two to three weeks, expecting the crisis to ease by then. – Nampa-AFP-Reuters-BBC News