WHO officials believe this could be due to Africa’s age demographics, as more than 60 percent of the continent’s population is under the age of 25.
In Europe, nearly 95 percent of the reported deaths were over the age of 60.
“For now, COVID-19 has made a soft landfall in Africa, and the continent has been spared the high numbers of deaths [that] have devastated other regions of the world,” WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti said in Friday’s report.
The strict guidelines that were quickly enforced are also believed to have contributed to the low number of infections and fatalities.
Low testing rates are also a problem, explained Dr. Ahmed Al Mandhari, WHO regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean.
“Despite global shortages, we are working hard to prioritize the delivery of testing kits and personal protective equipment to low- and middle-income countries that have the most vulnerable populations, based on the number of cases reported.”
A new study by WHO also showed that the health care community could easily be overwhelmed if “containment measures fail,” according to the organization’s report.
Nick Cordero attends the Broadway Opening Night Arrivals for “Burn This” at the Hudson Theatre on April 15, 2019 in New York City. (Walter McBride/FilmMagic)
Her message continues: “It is exactly what we need. Small improvements are small wins that equal a VICTORY! Thanks be to God!”
Besides sharing uplifting videos from her followers all over the world who are rooting for Cordero, Kloots has also managed to keep her spirits high with her “AK! Positive thought of the day” announcements.
On Saturday, the actor’s wife shared a quote that reads, “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
“This couldn’t be more true for our family right now,” Kloots wrote on social media. “I have to have faith that this all has a higher purpose and that what’s to come is greater than we could have imagined.”
Cordero and Kloots have an 11-month-old son, Elvis.
Earlier this week the 41-year-old Broadway star had apparently “gone a little downhill,” according to his wife. At the time she asked her fans for “mega prayers” as she vowed that the virus is “not going to let him down.”
Since his hospitalization on March 30, the star has suffered many maladies including mini-strokes, a leg amputation, holes in his lungs and more.
China’s foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong dismissed concerns that its proposed national security laws for the city would harm foreign investors, hitting back at “meddling” countries as Beijing’s ties with Washington soured further.
The security legislation, which could see Chinese intelligence agencies set up bases in Hong Kong, has sent chills through the business and diplomatic communities, spooked financial markets and escalated geopolitical tensions.
U.S. government officials have said the legislation would end the Chinese-ruled city’s autonomy and would be bad for both Hong Kong’s and China’s economies. They said it could jeopardize the territory’s special status in U.S. law, which has helped it maintain its position as a global financial centre.
Hong Kong is caught in the cross-hairs of a Beijing-Washington conflict developing on many fronts. After trade disputes and reciprocal accusations over the source and handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Washington on Friday accused the Chinese government of making it impossible for U.S. airlines to resume service to China.
Britain, Australia and Canada expressed “deep concern” in a joint statement about the proposed security laws which they said would undermine the “one country, two systems” principle agreed when Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
Bankers and headhunters said it could lead to money and talent leaving the city. Hong Kong stocks slumped 5.6 per cent on Friday, and sent chills through global markets.
A spokesperson of the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in Hong Kong said in a statement the city’s high degree of autonomy “will remain unchanged, and the interests of foreign investors in the city will continue to be protected under the law.”
Beijing’s move comes after pro-democracy protests in 2019 plunged Hong Kong into its biggest political crisis since the handover. Communist authorities see the protests as a security threat and blame the West for fomenting unrest.
The commissioner’s office described statements by “meddling countries” as “double standard and gangster logic.”
WATCH | Canada holds back from condemning China’s new security laws:
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stops short of condemning China’s controversial new security laws as Canada-China relations remain on shaky ground. 2:02
“No matter how venomously you smear, provoke, coerce or blackmail us, the Chinese people will remain rock-firm in safeguarding national sovereignty and security,” it said.
“Doomed is your plot to undermine China’s sovereignty and security by exploiting the troublemakers in Hong Kong as pawns and the city as a frontier for secession, subversion, infiltration and sabotage activities against China.”
Chris Patten, the last governor of the former British colony, said China has betrayed the people of Hong Kong.
‘Hong Kong is half-way dead’
As Hong Kong braced for its first major protests since the proposal of the legislation on Sunday in the centre of the city, police said in a statement they “will deploy adequate manpower in relevant locations.”
Despite reassurances from Beijing and Hong Kong authorities, many Hong Kongers fret over losing rights.
Lok, 42, a clerk at an investment company, said she felt there was no prospect for her children, aged 16 and 9, and she hopes they will move away: “I think Hong Kong is half-way dead. I didn’t expect Hong Kong would deteriorate that quickly.”
WATCH | Protests reignite in Hong Kong after China enacts national security law:
Hong Kong activists prepare for renewed protests for freedoms and autonomy after China enacts national security legislation in the region. 2:03
Hong Kong publishing tycoon Jimmy Lai, an outspoken critic of Beijing who faces charges of illegal assembly, said on Twitter the legislation would bring the end of “China’s last miracle” and the communist party was slaughtering “the proverbial golden goose.”
Over the past 24 hours, Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing politicians have also responded to concerns that the national security legislation could reduce freedoms.
Upon her return from Beijing late on Friday, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said the stock market “goes up and comes down” and blamed protests for destabilizing the business environment.
Henry Tang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said the legislation was “beneficial” for business, bringing stability.
In an interview with Reuters, Lam’s predecessor as Hong Kong chief executive, Leung Chun-Ying, said the legislation was needed to “stamp out terrorism.” He noted that the British had maintained a police special branch, dismantled before the territory was handed over to Chinese rule in 1997.
“Singapore has a Special Branch. We don’t. America has all kinds of law enforcement agencies that are tasked to deal with national security threats. We don’t. So it’s not surprising that as part of the efforts to fill the national security legal gap, we need to have a body,” Leung said
Before COVID-19, Rachel Dei-Amoah would typically be asleep by 10 PM. Now, she’s often awake past midnight, reading or online window shopping.
The hushed late-night hours are rare moments of peace for the mother of two, as she attempts to juggle childcare and a demanding professional career during a pandemic.
“Now I’ve got to parent, while I’m at my work day. I’ve got to be a teacher, during my work day. Now, there’s not a lot of time for mom anymore.”
Dei-Amoah, 47, counts herself fortunate. Her full-time job as a manager of executive pensions at TD Bank in Toronto has continued uninterrupted, shifting entirely to work-from-home.
But demands on her time have grown exponentially. With schools closed, she’s managing online learning for her kids, aged 6 and 10, mediating sibling quarrels, and serving up three meals a day for the family.
Her mental capacity is maxed out, she says, “because it’s like, I’ve got to think about all these things and still think about my work.”
As the slow process of reopening non-essential businesses begins across Canada, Dei-Amoah is one of many female professionals and entrepreneurs struggling with work-life balance.
She’s unsure what to do with her kids this summer, with camps no longer an option, and anxious about returning to the workplace, because she’s immunocompromised.
“I don’t know how I’m gonna go back to the office. Even for the whole rest of the year. Like, I don’t know how it’s gonna be possible.”
It’s a crisis some economists have dubbed a “she-cession.” But, as the pandemic wears on, women’s participation in the coronavirus economy may be heading for even rockier times.
With children at home, and families forced to take on more domestic labour, experts predict growing numbers of working women may reduce hours or opt out of the labour market entirely.
“As we think about a working-from-home environment, especially if schools and daycares are closed, guess what? That is going to affect women and their careers the most,” said Pedro Barata, head of the Future Skills Centre, an employment research institute at Ryerson University.
“This could actually be a step backwards rate in terms of the equality between men and women in the workplace and career paths.”
Workplaces will be dramatically different, if and when everyone returns to work, says one expert, but there could be some advantages. 5:49
The pandemic also forced Dei-Amoah’s husband to work from home, but the children see him as the “fun one.”
At first, Dei-Amoah attempted to tutor her six-year-old daughter with her reading difficulties and tackle her 10-year-old son’s math challenges. But, coupled with her banking job, it wasn’t sustainable.
“I was like, ‘You know what? Screw it. I’m concentrating on their weaknesses, not their strengths,'” said Dei-Amoah.
“We turn in some assignments. But I am not stressing over it because it’s just making my workday worse.”
‘The stress is what’s killing me’
In Lisa Iafrate’s case, the pandemic shattered her business ambitions, literally causing her to lose her hair.
“The stress is what’s killing me… because there’s so much out of my control,” said Iafrate.
Iafrate is a go-getting entrepreneur based in King City, Ont., who quit her job several years ago to launch a company called TaLii Towels that sells compact, antibacterial towels.
Iafrate found success in the trade show market, criss-crossing North America to sell her product. But when the pandemic hit, all the trade shows Iafrate booked this year were cancelled, and her online business dried up.
“Sales just completely stopped. Then I went into panic mode,” said Iafrate.
After weeks of depression, she hatched a plan to turn her towels into facemasks, generating enough revenue to employ her 21-year-old daughter and five local seamstresses.
However, as a 60-year-old single-mother hustling to rebuild her business, she’s exhausted by domestic chores around her house, which now doubles as her home office.
“I’m working three times harder because I have to look after the household as well as my business. And the business is already taking up 50 to 60 hours a week,” said Iafrate.
Investment in childcare needed
Barata says efforts to jumpstart the coronavirus economy have focused on investment in male-dominated industries such as manufacturing and construction, but politicians need to recognize this economic crisis is different than past downturns.
“Infrastructure investments are going to be key in terms of getting the economy back to work. But so is childcare. So are opportunities for women in terms of training and retraining,” said Barata.
Dei-Amoah says she’s fortunate her bosses have become more understanding of how and when employees work. Her inbox often gets busy in the evening, between 7-10 PM, because many of her colleagues are pulled into childcare in the afternoon.
“It’s increased people’s understanding of what flexibility is in the workplace,” said Dei-Amoah.
BEIJING: The Chinese virology institute in the city where COVID-19 first emerged has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new contagion wreaking chaos across the world, its director has said.
Scientists think COVID-19 — which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed some 340,000 people worldwide — originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal.
But the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology told state broadcaster CGTN that claims made by US President Donald Trump and others the virus could have leaked from the facility were “pure fabrication”.
In the interview filmed on May 13 but broadcast Saturday night, Wang Yanyi said the centre has “isolated and obtained some coronaviruses from bats.”
“Now we have three strains of live viruses… But their highest similarity to SARS-CoV-2 only reaches 79.8 percent,” she said, referring to the coronavirus strain that causes COVID-19.
One of their research teams, led by Professor Shi Zhengli, has been researching bat coronaviruses since 2004 and focused on the “source tracing of SARS”, the strain behind another virus outbreak nearly two decades ago.
“We know that the whole genome of SARS-CoV-2 is only 80 percent similar to that of SARS. It’s an obvious difference,” she said.
“So, in Professor Shi’s past research, they didn’t pay attention to such viruses which are less similar to the SARS virus.”
Conspiracy rumours that the biosafety lab was involved in the outbreak swirled online for months before Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo brought the theory into the mainstream by claiming that there is evidence the pathogen came from the institute.
The lab has said it received samples of the then-unknown virus on December 30, determined the viral genome sequence on January 2 and submitted information on the pathogen to the WHO on January 11.
Wang said in the interview that before it received samples in December, their team had never “encountered, researched or kept the virus.”
“In fact, like everyone else, we didn’t even know the virus existed,” she said. “How could it have leaked from our lab when we never had it?”
The World Health Organization said Washington had offered no evidence to support the “speculative” claims.
In an interview with Scientific American, Shi said the SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence did not match any of the bat coronaviruses her laboratory had previously collected and studied.
NEW DELHI: The unfolding miseries of millions of poor people in the world’s largest coronavirus lockdown is the ”greatest manmade tragedy” in India since Partition, says historian and economist Ramchandra Guha. Cautioning that there will be social and psychological consequences for the rest of the country too, he said the migrant tragedy could have been averted or at least minimised if Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given them a week’s notice to return home before the lockdown kicked in. “It is probably not as bad as Partition, for at that time there was also horrific communal violence. But it is nonetheless the greatest manmade tragedy in India since Partition,” Guha told PTI in an interview. In a televised address on the evening of March 24, Prime Minister Modi announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown from midnight that day. The lockdown measures included banning train services, road transport and air travels to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. The lockdown was extended thrice but certain relaxations have been allowed since late April. “I have no idea about how the prime minister took the decisions he did. Did he consult with knowledgeable officials, or take inputs from his cabinet ministers? Or did he act unilaterally?” asked the author of books such as “”Redeeming the Republic” and “India After Gandhi”. Even now, he added, the situation can be “slightly” salvaged if the prime minister chooses to adopt a more consultative approach, and takes advice from the best minds in the country, including those in the Opposition. “But I rather fear that he won’t. His cabinet ministers are busy shifting the responsibility to the states for cleaning up a crisis the Centre has created,” the noted historian added. Days after the lockdown came into force, lakhs of migrants, including daily wage workers, walked, cycled or hitchhiked to their home states hundreds, sometimes thousands, of kilometres away. Two months on, the exodus from cities and towns across India continues. The images of their struggle for survival shook the nation and made global headlines, raising questions about the government’s handling of the situation. Arguing that the tragedy could have been averted if Modi had given the migrant workers at least a week’s notice to return home, Guha said, “That he or his advisers did not think of the consequences of a lockdown at four hours notice is mystifying. They bear direct responsibility for the humanitarian tragedy that has since unfolded.” Guha said the tragedy has three dimensions — public health, economy and society. “Had the migrants been allowed to go home in mid March, when few had Covid, they would have been safely re-integrated with their communities. Now, with so many of them infected, they are carriers of the disease,” he said. Discussing the impact of the migrant crisis on the economy, he said it would have a cascading effect. “The economy was already in a shambles before the pandemic, and now it is in a state of near collapse. The unemployment rate is in the region of 25 per cent. “The social and psychological dimensions are also important; now, migrants who have after so much trouble and suffering finally returned home will be unwilling to return to factories and cities in search of work,” the economist said. To a question on overall challenges such as a crumbling economy, allegations of threat to its founding principles and the pandemic facing the country, he said he is today more pessimistic about India than he has been ever been. “This is the greatest crisis India has faced since Partition. Then, we had towering politicians like Nehru, Patel, and Ambedkar; and great, selfless social workers like Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay and Mridula Sarabhai,” he said. “These leaders set aside their personal and political differences to work together to unite India and rebuild its society and economy. Now, when we face a crisis of comparable magnitude, those in power at the Centre can think only of building their individual brand or promoting the interests of their own party,” Guha observed. “Unless that changes, and changes soon, our future seems terribly bleak,” he said. The Indian economy, Asia’s third largest, has been hit hard by the nearly two-month lockdown of 1.3 billion people. Lakhs of people have lost their livelihoods while numerous sectors, including tourism, service industry, retail trade, real estate and manufacturing, are staring at a grim future due to huge losses. On May 12, Modi announced a Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package to revive the economy. It is not clear yet how far it will impact to bring back the economy on its tracks. According to an assessment by the Reserve Bank of India, the economy is expected to contract for the first time in nearly 40 years, due to demand compression and supply disruptions.
NEW DELHI: The Indian economy is likely to slip into recession in the third quarter of this fiscal as loss in income and jobs and cautiousness among consumers will delay recovery in consumer demand even after the pandemic, says a report.
According to Dun & Bradstreet’s latest Economic Observer, the country’s economic recovery will depend on the efficacy and duration of implementation of the government’s stimulus package.
“The multiplier effect of the stimulus measures on the economy will depend on three key aspects i.e. the time taken for effecting the withdrawal of the lockdown, the efficacy of implementation and duration of execution of the measures announced,” Dun & Bradstreet India Chief Economist Arun Singh said.
The report noted that the government’s larger-than-expected stimulus package is likely to re-start economic activities.
Besides, measures taken by the Reserve Bank of India like reducing the repo rate by a further 40 basis points to 4 per cent, extending the moratorium period by three months and facilitating working capital financing will also help stimulate the momentum.
Singh said while the measures announced by the government are “positive”, most of them have been directed towards strengthening the supply side of the economy, and “it is to be noted that supply needs to be matched with demand”, he said.
Besides, “in the absence of cash-in-hand benefits under the government’s stimulus package, demand for goods and services is expected to remain depressed”, he added.
He further said the loss in income and employment opportunities, and cautiousness among consumers, will lead to a delayed recovery in consumer demand, even after the pandemic. As debt and bad loan levels increase, the banking sector might face challenges.
“Therefore, even as authorities across the country announce several relaxations in the lockdown phase 4.0, it is highly likely that India might be close to registering a recession in the third quarter of the financial year,” Singh said.
The report further noted that even as the monetary stimulus is expected to inject liquidity and stimulate demand for a wider section of the economy, the channelisation of funds from the financial institutions will be subjected to several constraints.
The foremost concern being increase in risk averseness, as the balance sheets of firms, households, and banks/NBFCs have weakened considerably and low demand for funds by firms as production activities have been on a standstill during the lockdown period, Singh said.
India has been under lockdown since March 25 to contain the spread of the coronavirus, resulting in supply disruptions and demand compression.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a nationwide lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus on March 25. It has been extended thrice, with some relaxations. The fourth phase of the lockdown is set to expire on May 31.
The owner of the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos has listed his stadium on Airbnb as a destination spot for travelers who would like to carouse in a professional baseball stadium and sleep in a clubhouse.
For $1,500 USD per night, up to 10 guests can spend the night at Blue Wahoos Stadium and take batting practice — indoors or out — play catch on the field or have a picnic on the outfield grass, all courtesy of owner Quint Studer.
“I think what we want to do is just create these experiences that people will remember for a long time,” Studer told the Pensacola News Journal. “The Airbnb we’re offering is a chance to sit in a locker room that is close to a major league locker room as you will ever get. We just want a unique, cool experience.”
Guests can hang out in the team’s remodeled clubhouse, and watch TV on the giant screen before calling it a night in a bedroom that sleeps 10 next to the clubhouse. A team staffer will remain on site for security and to answer questions.
Minor League Baseball, along with MLB, is on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, with no timetable for a return to action. While the MLB continues negotiate a return with its players, the MiLB season could be cancelled, according to reports.
The Blue Wahoos have been the Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins since 2019.
The exit of Sebastian Vettel from Scuderia Ferrari has been the biggest Formula One news story during the pandemic. What slipped through almost unnoticed was that at the same time as Vettel’s exit, Ferrari unveiled a new pulmonary ventilator for Covid-19 patients—conceived, designed and built in five weeks. With more than 32,000 deaths so far, Italy is one of the worst affected countries in the world, and the region of Emilia-Romagna—where Ferrari’s headquarters Maranello is located—remains one of the hardest hit.
To help the Italian authorities in their nation-wide battle, Ferrari’s engineers joined hands with the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) to develop the ventilator FI5—F for Ferrari, I for IIT and 5 for the five-week target.
“This is exactly the skills we need: engineers that know fluid dynamics that can help with the design of a respirator,” Giorgio Metta, IIT’s scientific director said during the virtual unveiling last week. Despite the lockdown in the country, Ferrari was granted permission to work on the project, which now has been made an ‘open source’, allowing institutions around the world to study the model for free and build their own.
Ferrari’s rising star Charles Leclerc driving a vehicle to deliver medical and essential supplies during Red Cross duty in Monaco . ( Croix-Rouge de Monaco/Facebook )
“Some Italian, Mexican and United States companies have already contacted Ferrari and IIT to move on to certifying and distributing the product. IIT, through connections to all European research centres, will put the project on the DIH-HERO network, used for robotic technologies in health care,” a Ferrari statement added. This is in addition to Ferrari also producing respirator valves and fittings for protective masks at their Maranello plant. The Agnelli family, which controls Ferrari and also the Italian football club Juventus, had earlier donated €10 million and 150 ventilators to Italy’s civil protection office and provided a fleet of vehicles for use by the Italian Red Cross.
With the start of the season delayed from March to July, F1 is in trouble itself, with revenue losses, furloughs and job cuts for the team staff and pay cuts for the drivers. And that’s just for the sustainable teams; the smaller ones are currently unsure of how they will bounce back after the crisis ends.
Less than 200km northwest of Ferrari’s Maranello is Milan, the capital city of the region of Lombardy—which is the worst affected region in the country as it has accounted for approximately half of the Covid-19 deaths in Italy. Milan is also the headquarters of Pirelli, F1’s sole tyre suppliers. Pirelli joined in the fight by donating medical equipment—ventilators for intensive care units (ICUs) and protective suits for healthcare workers.
Pirelli F1 chief Mario Isola went a step further—he’s a frontline worker in the fight.
Ever since he completed his two-week quarantine period after returning from the season-opening Grand Prix in Melbourne (which was cancelled on the weekend) back in March, Isola has been working as a volunteer paramedic and ambulance driver. Part of Croce Viola Milano—a volunteer medical service in Milan—for the last 30 years, Isola could earlier only afford to offer his services during F1’s off season. Now, he is all in. Since April 5, Isola has completed several shifts (at least once a week), with each shift lasting 10-12 hours, attending to nine calls a shift on an average.
Respirator valves and fittings developed by Ferrari at its Maranello plant ( F1 )
“It’s tough. Sometimes we know we are visiting a Covid-19 patient. We also spend at least 30 minutes between every mission cleaning the ambulance to sanitise it,” Isola was quoted as saying by F1.com. “Shifts have been tough because of the hot weather. It can be difficult to breathe with the mask and physically challenging when you have to carry patients down several flights of stairs because they cannot walk.”
Isola says the job is not just physically demanding, but also a strain emotionally. “A couple of shifts ago, our first mission was with an elderly lady. She was 80 plus with high fever and breathing difficulties, so it was 90% sure a COVID-19 case. To take this grandmother from the family, you don’t know what to say. You try to support them but you don’t want to lie. So it’s very difficult,” Isola said.
In England, Silverstone – the venue for the British Grand Prix, and where the first F1 race took place 70 years ago – has made its ambulances, medical cars and numerous medical bays available to Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). Following the United Kingdom government’s call for assistance for manufacturing devices to aid Covid-19 patients, the technology wings of seven UK-based teams are collaborating to produce respiratory devices. The initiative by the collaboration is called ‘Project Pitlane’.
As a part of this project and at their facility in Brixworth, reigning champions Mercedes have been producing CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) breathing aids—which Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) is using for patients with severe lung infections. The NHS took to using these machines, after reports from Italy indicated that roughly 50% of patients on CPAP avoided the need for invasive mechanical ventilation. 10,000 units of CPAP have been rolled out of the Mercedes factory, built using machines that would normally produce F1 pistons and turbochargers. Renault and Red Bull Racing joined forces to manufacture portables ventilator recently invented by a NHS doctor.
Charles Leclerc – Ferrari’s rising star – has been volunteering with Monaco Red Cross to deliver food to the elderly who are unable to leave their homes. Leclerc also distributed food among Red Cross volunteers, transported equipment to hospitals and has been racing online, along with McLaren’s Lando Norris, to raise funds for World Health Organisation’s Covid-19 Response Fund.
Hong Kong police fired tear gas to disperse anti-government protesters on Sunday, as thousands thronged the streets to protest against Beijing’s plan to directly impose national security laws on the city.
The rally came as the city’s government sought to reassure the public and foreign investors over the laws that sent a chill through financial markets and drew a rebuke from foreign governments, international human rights groups and some business lobbies.