Migrants travelling through Somalia are now asked if they have ever heard of coronavirus.
(International Organization for Migration (IOM) via AP)
Six months into the most momentous pandemic in decades, it’s hard to imagine that anyone has not heard of the coronavirus.
However, scores of migrants arriving in Somalia tell United Nations workers every day that they are unaware of COVID-19.
Monitors for the International Organization for Migration, the UN migration agency, interview people at the border in Somalia.
The questions for migrants are simple. Origin? Destination? Why are you going?
But after the first infections were confirmed in Somalia, a new one was added: How many people in your group are aware of the coronavirus?
In the week ending June 20, 51 per cent of the 3,471 people tracked said they had never heard of COVID-19.
“The first time I saw this I was also very shocked,” Celeste Sanchez Bean, a program manager with the UN agency based in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, told The Associated Press.
Britain’s Royal Mail will slash 2,000 jobs
Royal Mail, the British postal service, will cut 2,000 management jobs as part of an overhaul of its operations due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The group said on Thursday that senior executive and non-operational roles will be hardest hit in the plan to save 330 million pounds ($595 million) over two years.
“In recent years, our UK business has not adapted quickly enough to the changes in our marketplace of more parcels and fewer letters,” said Keith Williams, interim executive chairman at Royal Mail Group.
“COVID-19 has accelerated those trends, presenting additional challenges.”
Germany will give half a billion euros to WHO
Germany on Thursday announced that it is giving half a billion euros to support the World Health Organization amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but said reforms are necessary to make the agency more transparent and accountable.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn said the country remains a “critical friend” of the World Health Organization.
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Speaking at a meeting of some member states at WHO headquarters in Geneva on Thursday, Mr Spahn said Germany would do its part to give WHO the political, financial and technical backing it required.
He said most of the more than 500 million euros was for the agency’s plan to stop the coronavirus pandemic.
In recent weeks, the WHO has come under siege from US President Donald Trump and others, for its performance during the COVID-19 pandemic and accused the agency of colluding with China to hide the extent of the outbreak when the virus first emerged.
Infection numbers soar across six Gulf Arab countries
The number of novel coronavirus cases in the six Gulf Arab states has doubled in a month to more than 400,000, as the region’s two biggest economies this week fully lifted curfews imposed to combat the infection.
As of Thursday, authorities across the region reported a total of 410,300 infections with 2,395 deaths, according to a Reuters tally. It passed the 200,000 mark on May 27.
The United Arab Emirates announced late on Wednesday the lifting of a nightly curfew in place since mid-March as the daily number of infections fell from a peak of some 900 in late May to average between 300-400 in recent weeks.
Neighbouring Saudi Arabia, which has the highest regional count at more than 170,600 infections and more than 1,400 deaths as of Thursday, ended its three-month curfew on Sunday.
Kuwait’s cabinet agreed on Thursday to ease the country’s curfew by one hour, to run from 8:00pm to 5:00am from Tuesday.
Qatar, Oman and Bahrain did not impose curfews.
New Delhi plans mass screening effort as virus cases surge
Indian authorities are launching a massive coronavirus survey taking down health details from New Delhi’s entire population of 29 million, and testing everyone with symptoms by July 6.
The new plan was announced after the sprawling capital became the worst-hit city by the pandemic in India with 70,390 cases, exceeding the financial capital of Mumbai.
India on Thursday registered another record high of 16,922 cases, taking the total to 473,105.
So far, the strategy in New Delhi — the territory that encompasses the capital city — had revolved around identifying containment zones, or areas with large clusters of cases.
But officials said that less than a fifth of all cases came from the zones, and broader surveillance was needed.
If officials find anyone confirmed to have been infected, or a cluster of patients living in a densely populated area where physical distancing isn’t possible, then the plan says that they would be moved to a COVID-19 government care centre.
India recorded its highest daily case jump on Thursday.
(Reuters: Francis Mascarenhas) South African mining sector approaches 1,800 cases
South Africa’s mining industry has recorded 1,796 cases of COVID-19 with six deaths, the Minerals Council said.
These figures were announced as mines ramp up after an extended shutdown.
The sector has conducted 15,994 COVID-19 tests so far, the industry body told reporters.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among mineworkers is around 1.6 per cent of South Africa’s current total of 111,796 cases.
The country has seen 2,205 deaths from COVID-19, according to the latest health ministry update on Wednesday.
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