Wednesday, 15 July, 2020
Exclusives - 28 April, 2020

Pandemic may spark human rights disaster, UN rights chief warns

The UN warns that pandemic, which has killed more than 208,000 people, may cause a 'human rights disaster... #Pandemicmaycausehumanrightsdisaster...

Worldwide, the number of people confirmed to have the coronavirus has risen to more than three million, and at least 208,000 have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Some 878,000 people have recovered.

However, countries around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Iran and Spain, are moving to ease coronavirus lockdowns as daily infections and deaths slow. Italy has announced it will ease its two-month-old controls from May 4.

The UN rights chief has warned that countries flouting the rule of law in the name of fighting the novel coronavirus pandemic risk sparking a "human rights disaster".

At least 1.3 million Australians have downloaded the government's COVIDsafe tracing app, as support for Prime Minister Scott Morrison surges thanks to his handling of the outbreak.

Reports of children struggling with severe symptoms worry UK

The UK is examining whether there is a link between an inflammatory disease which severely affects children and COVID-19, a health official said, adding that it was too soon to say whether there was a link.

Health Minister Matt Hancock said he was "very worried" about reports of children struggling with severe symptoms that might have a link to COVID-19.

"We have become aware in the last few days of reports of severe illness in children which might be a Kawasaki-like disease," Stephen Powis, national medical director for England, said, referring to a syndrome which causes inflammation of blood vessels, adding that the disease was very rare.

UK has a 'very long way' to go: health official

The UK has a very long way to go in its attempt to contain the coronavirus and people should not just focus on passing through the first peak of cases, the government's top medical adviser said.

"This has got a very long way to run. I think just thinking about the first peak, which ... we have actually managed to go through, we've still got some way before it's falling right off, but there is a long long way to go beyond that," Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England said.

"It's a big mistake in my view just to consider just the first phase. We need to look at the epidemic as a whole."

Turkey's death toll rises to 2,900

Turkey's confirmed cases increased by 2,131 in the past 24 hours, and 95 more people have died raising the death toll to 2,900, according to Health Ministry data.

The total number of cases in the country stood at 112,261, the data showed, the highest number for any country outside Western Europe and the US.

Southern hemisphere countries will have lessons for North

Southern hemisphere countries such as South Africa, Chile, Argentina and Australia need support so they have the capacity to manage both seasonal influenza and the coronavirus, a senior World Health Organization (WHO) expert said.

The experience those countries will have with both diseases circulating at the same time will greatly benefit countries in the northern hemisphere that may face the same situation in six months’ time, Dr. Mike Ryan, head of WHO's emergencies programme, told a news conference.

WHO says US federal plan is clear and science-based

A top World Health Organization (WHO) official said that the US seems to have a "very clearly laid-out", science-based federal plan for fighting the epidemic.

"The federal government and the system of governors are working together to move America and its people through this very difficult situation," Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO's top emergencies expert, told a virtual briefing in Geneva, adding that the federal system linking 50 states made the situation "complex".

Ryan repeated an earlier WHO warning against easing restrictions too soon. Speaking specifically about US plans to ease confinement measures, he said: "We believe that the over-arching federal plan seems to be very much based on science."

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