There has been more than one million cases of Covid-19 in the 22 countries of the World Health Organization’s Eastern Mediterranean region, the WHO confirmed on Sunday.
As of 11:00 on Sunday, 1,025,478 cases and 23,461 deaths have been recorded from the region, which spans from Morocco to Pakistan.
While cases in Europe have been largely declining, several countries in the region have been seeing increases in the number of cases and deaths. Countries recently reporting increases in cases include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Morocco, occupied Palestinian territory and Oman.
The WHO said it is especially concerned about the spread of the virus in war-torn countries such as Syria, Yemen and Libya due to poor infrastructure and fragile health systems vastly weakened by conflict. In all countries, it said, there is still a clear need for expansion of testing and more accurate reporting of cases and deaths to inform targeted responses.
Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, the WHO’s regional director for the region, said: “This is a very concerning milestone. As shops, restaurants, mosques, businesses, airports and other public places begin to open up, we need to be more vigilant and cautious than ever before. One million people have been infected, tens of thousands have died, and many more are still at risk in our region.
“We cannot relax our efforts. In fact, many countries lifting restrictions are seeing marked increases in cases, which signifies the need to accelerate public health response measures. Communities must remain vigilant and play a key role in keeping themselves and their countries safe.”
After thirteen weeks in lockdown could an easing of restrictions be on the horizon? If today’s newspaper reports are to be believed the Prime Minister is ready to end the ‘big national lockdown’.
That could mean pubs in England open their beer gardens and some restaurants and cafes could open their outside spaces too. There may also be a change to social distancing rules. But businesses say they’re still unclear about exactly how they can operate.
Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, one of Hollywood’s most enduring couples, are navigating the coronavirus lockdown with what they call “corona rules.” (See the video above.)
In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel Wednesday, Sedgwick said that one of the rules is to make the bed daily. Bacon hasn’t fully bought in, she added, but that may change after a disgusting incident just hours before their talk show appearance.
Sedgwick said the couple returned from walking the dog Wednesday morning to make the bed, “and there’s poop on the bed inside the sheets.”
Bacon immediately joked that it might have come from his wife after a Cinco de Mayo meal. But Sedgwick was all business after the discovery.
“I took a picture and sent it to the exterminator. It’s roof rat poop,” “The Closer” star said. “So those things are coming into the house onto the bed. So this is why we’ll never ever forget to make that bed for the rest of our lives.”
It has become a soundtrack to lockdown: not the wailing sirens or the helicopters overhead – but the melody of birdsong at sunrise, now sounding clearer than it has been for decades, in a world that has ground to a halt.
Today, the first Sunday in May, the height of spring – marks International Dawn Chorus Day – the sound of birdsong giving people around the world some distraction from the stress and anxiety of lockdown – and a reminder to many that life does and will go on.
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This could be the fast-food restaurant of the future.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to have a significant impact on the service industry, some restaurants are trying to adapt to the virus. As one McDonald’s in the Netherlands shows, things could be a bit more spacious down the road.
Customers wait outside on social distancing markings at a prototype location of fast-food giant McDonald’s for restaurants which respect the 1.5m social distancing measure, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Arnhem, Netherlands, May 1, 2020. (REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw)
The fast-food chain is trialing a new design in the Dutch city of Arlem, Reuters reports. The location puts an emphasis on promoting social distancing, which will likely still be asked of customers even after lockdowns are lifted.
Images of the McDonald’s show clear markings on the floor to show customers where to stand in relation to other customers. One photo even shows markings placed on the sidewalk and into the road, telling customers where exactly to stand while waiting on line.
MCDONALD’S CANADA TO START USING IMPORTED BEEF DUE TO SUPPLY CHAIN ISSUES
A customer cleans his hands before entering a prototype location of fast-food giant McDonald’s for restaurants which respect the 1.5m social distancing measure, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Arnhem, Netherlands, May 1, 2020. (REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw)
Other photos show clear plastic barriers placed between tables, food being delivered on hand trolleys (the company may be implementing table service at some locations to limit interactions between customers and employees), and a handwashing and sanitizing station near the restaurant’s entrance.
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A woman uses a touch screen at a prototype location of fast-food giant McDonald’s for restaurants which respect the 1.5m social distancing measure, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Arnhem, Netherlands, May 1, 2020. (REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw)
“We have tried to figure out how to keep our customers and employees safe while maintaining a restaurant atmosphere,” Eunice Koekkoek, a spokeswoman for McDonald’s Netherlands, told Reuters. “These are drastic changes, but we hope to make them in a way that customers don’t notice them too much.”
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While it’s unclear if these changes will come to McDonald’s locations in the United States, a spokesperson told Business Insider that the company is moving “thoughtfully and judiciously to make changes to our operations in collaboration with our franchisees.”
On a day when millions of people would normally be returning to work after the Easter break, the Daily Express tells us “we must all stay put” as the battle rages to save lives during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Lockdown for three more weeks,” is the headline in the Times. The paper says senior ministers are split, however, over the “stay at home” message, as evidence of the economic, social and health costs of the restrictions mounts.
The Daily Telegraph claims the cabinet has been banned from talk of an “exit strategy”, as ministers try to ease public fears about an eventual end to the lockdown by moving towards a “gradual unwinding of social distancing rules”.
The paper says the government has been “so successful” in convincing people of the need to stay at home that there are concerns it could prove difficult to persuade them to return to work once the decision is taken to relax current restrictions.
The Daily Mail says the scale of the coronavirus “catastrophe” unfolding in Britain’s care homes has been “dramatically laid bare”, after it was revealed more than 13% of them have now had outbreaks.
In its editorial, the Mail backs calls for a minister to be appointed with responsibility for the welfare of residents in nursing homes. It believes the mounting death toll in the UK’s care sector – and the lack of protection given to staff – is shaping up to be the great hidden tragedy of the Covid-19 crisis.
Alongside the headline, “no more”, the front of the Daily Mirror is filled with the faces of 35 health and social care workers who have died with the virus.
They gave their lives, the paper says, now the government must give all health and care workers the protective kit they need to be safe.
The Times calls for a great national effort to ensure that health and social care workers have the necessary protective kit to fight the virus. The truth is the health service is not “unconquerable”, the paper says – and the ability of the NHS to win the battle depends on staff having access to appropriate equipment.
The Guardian, in its lead story, describes how Britain missed three chances to join an EU scheme to bulk-buy masks, gowns and gloves and has been absent from key talks about future purchases.
The paper quotes a European Commission spokesman as saying the EU’s swift work has led to offers of medical equipment in excess of the number requested.
“Stick with the lockdown,” is the headline in the Metro. But, despite all the warnings, the paper says there are still a few people who “simply don’t get it”.
Robert Shrimsley writes in the Financial Times that he believes the prime minister’s illness has made him politically stronger.
He points out that since the Brexit campaign, Boris Johnson has made himself an ally of the NHS.
Now, with his heartfelt praise for the organisation which “saved his life”, a Tory leader has made himself high priest of the institution, described as the UK’s national religion.
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The Financial Times reports that none of the new mechanical ventilators developed for treating coronavirus patients has obtained UK regulatory approval, a month after the government issued a rallying cry for British industry to help plug a shortage of the devices.
The FT says the delays appear to be linked to the changing clinical understanding of how to best treat the disease – amid disagreements within the medical profession about when to deploy invasive ventilation for patients.
The Sun, meanwhile, demands an end to the pensions triple-lock to help meet the spiralling cost of the pandemic. It believes thousands of beneficiaries are middle-class millionaires who do not have mortgages to pay – and that it is only right they chip in to the eye-watering coronavirus bill.
The Times reports that roads in built-up areas may be converted into car-free zones to create extra space for cyclists and joggers during the lockdown. It says councils in cities including London, Manchester and Brighton were among the first to draw up proposals to convert roads into temporary bike lanes, following similar measures in other countries.
The Daily Telegraph says police are advising the public to confront people guilty of “one-off” breaches of lockdown rules – rather than report them.
The paper says the move follows claims that some forces have been inundated with calls about people flouting the restrictions, with many involving minor breaches such as neighbours going on two runs in a day.
The Sun describes how police in Hull allowed a street party to continue because everyone was obeying social distancing guidelines. Pictures from the scene show residents enjoying a drink in their front gardens while the man who organised the party played dance music from turntables outside his home.