British travellers who are on holiday in Portugal may face a 14 day quarantine when returning as coronavirus cases reached levels considered dangerous by the UK government.
In Scotland, travellers from Greece already have to quarantine, whereas in Wales, this only applies to those arriving from the island of Zante.
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The draconian move is being introduced in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19. Until recently North Korea denied having any cases of coronavirus.
However last month dictator Kim Jong-un admitted it “could have entered” the country.
News of the news of the new policy was given to Radio Free Asia by multiple sources within North Korea.
A resident of the country’s Hamgyong province said they’d been told the policy “will be in effect along the entire North Korea-China border until the coronavirus pandemic ends”.
They explained: “Police in the city of Hoeryong issued an emergency notice from the Ministry of Social Security, saying they would kill anyone within a kilometre of the North Korea-China border regardless of their reason for being there.
“After announcing the declaration, the police department told the public, ‘The coronavirus has spread everywhere except our country, so the enemy is trying to infiltrate the border by sending the virus across it’.
“They stressed the need to raise awareness among the border area residents and establish a system to report strangers and activities of the enemy.”
The ban applied to the entire 880-mile North Korean/Chinese border which extends across four provinces.
Whilst North Korea hasn’t officially declared any Covid-19 cases last month the city of Kaesong was put into lockdown for three weeks after a suspected case was detected.
READ MORE: North Korea crisis – Kim Jong-un bracing for huge typhoon in just hours
Earlier this week photos were released were released by the state controlled Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) which appeared to show Kim Jong-un attending a politiburo meeting to discuss the Covid-19 crisis.
The politburo, which controls the state sanctioned Korean Workers Party, is North Korea’s de facto governing body.
Former South Korean diplomat Chang Song-min had earlier suggested Kim could be in a coma with his sister Kim Yo-jong being groomed for leadership.
He said: “I assess him to be in a coma, but his life has not ended.
“A complete succession structure has not been formed, so Kim Yo-jong is being brought to the fore as the vacuum cannot be maintained for a prolonged period.”
However Shinmoongo, a leading South Korean news site, attacked his allegations as “absurd”.
A North Korean military source also confirmed the new policy to RFA.
They said: “At around 5:00 p.m. on the 25th, an urgent telegram from the Supreme Command came in telling the military to kill anyone within a kilometre of the border regardless of the reason.
“The emergency message goes into effect from midnight on the 26th,” the second source said.
“The emergency order stipulates that soldiers on border guard duty will leave behind their blank shots and carry only live ammunition.”
A 61-year-old man has died in the Gaza Strip after contracting the coronavirus, Palestinian authorities said on Wednesday as they clamped down on an outbreak in the enclave.
The man had suffered previous illnesses and had been on a respirator, the health ministry said. It was the first death among the general population since an infected woman died at a quarantine centre in March.
Health officials said nine more cases were discovered on Wednesday. Six of them were in the isolated Maghazi refugee camp where a first four cases had been confirmed on Monday, prompting Gaza’s Hamas authorities to impose a full lockdown.
The three other cases were in northern Gaza Strip, indicating the virus has begun to spread into different areas of the enclave of 2 million people.
The outbreak outside Maghazi remains slow but it cemented concerns by local and international health organisations over the territory’s potentially disastrous combination of poverty, densely populated refugee camps and limited hospital capacity.
With local authorities maintaining a lockdown in all cities, people were instructed to stay home at all times and to wear face masks if, in cases of extreme necessity, they had to go out.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which helps over half of Gaza’s population, said it was looking into alternative plans to continue health, education and food services to beneficiaries should the lockdown be extended.
Adnan Abu Hasna, UNRWA spokesman in Gaza, said clinics remained open but physical presence was prohibited, instead staffers were providing medical consultation over the phone and some medication was delivered to patients at home.
Abus Hasna said:
We are in constant consultation with the health ministry and we are also in discussion over the implementation of our own alternative plans in order to ensure the continuation of delivering services to refugees.
Monday’s cases were uncovered after a woman traveled to the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where she tested positive, the Gaza health ministry said.
A ministry spokesman urged everyone who might have visited a supermarket outside a hospital in central Gaza to quarantine themselves and report to medics immediately.
The political commentator told Express.co.uk that there has been a rise of euroscepticism in Italy because of the coronavirus crisis. Mr Dale added that European Union’s response to the pandemic has been lamentable and has benefitted the richer northern-European countries within the trading bloc.
Mr Dale said: “COVID-19 has exposed flaws within every system of Government in individual countries but especially the EU.
“In theory the EU does not have jurisdiction over health policy but when you look at the opinion polls in Italy the EU came bottom with 4 percent.
“This has led to a huge rise in euroscepticism in Italy, I don’t know about other countries, but I suspect so as well.
“Because the response has been lamentable and yet again it all seems to be to the benefit of the richer northern-European countries rather than to the benefit of those countries that need it help.
READ MORE: Boris ‘trump card’ in EU talks exposed – different to predecessor May
“Italians feel let down, Spanish people feel let down by the EU because it is very difficult to think of what they have done.”
He added: “They launched a rescue package but where is that money going to go? How is it going to be allocated?
“Is it actually going to go to the countries that really need it?”
Last week Brexit activist Emily Hewertson slammed the European Union’s “take” approach after the trade bloc failed to support some of its nations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think we have really seen that in Italy.
“Italy was put in an appalling position by the EU, when it really needed help from EU nations it just wasn’t given it.
“Germany was essentially hoarding ventilators, while thousands of Italians were dying.
“It was absolutely shocking and I think it does show that the EU does work on its own interests.”
Thanks to strict quarantine measures and an aggressive and widespread testing programme, Vietnam has kept its virus total to an impressively low 415 cases, and had reported no locally transmitted infections for 100 days.
But on Friday, Vietnam’s health ministry said in a statement that a 57-year-old man from Danang, a popular tourist hotspot, had tested positive three times for the virus, prompting the isolation of 50 people he came in contact with.
One hundred and three people connected to the patient were tested for the virus but all returned negative results, the statement said.
The health ministry has not officially confirmed the case as Covid-19, which comes at a time when Vietnam was about to resume international commercial flights and as domestic tourism is surging.
It did not say how the man contracted the virus, but said he had not left Danang for nearly a month. He was initially diagnosed with pneumonia.
Late on Friday, authorities in Hanoi reinstated a recommendation to wear masks in public places as Vietnam’s benchmark VN Index closed down 3.22%.
China has sought to dismiss those figures. This is despite officials from both countries talking to help resolve tensions. Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said: “I can tell you responsibly that it is false information.”
Mr Zhao did confirm the meetings between officials.
He explained: “The meeting indicated that China and India are willing to appropriately handle the disputes through dialogue, manage the situations and lower tensions.
“We also agreed to continue the dialogue and work together to promote peace and stability in the border areas.”
Indian media reported the meeting lasted 10 hours by video conference.
There were suggestions it was attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.
Mr Lavrov told Associated Press: “We never had a goal to help India and China develop their bilateral ties.
“India and China have every opportunity to tackle and solve any problems in relations between them.”
Some reports claim Mr Jaishankar did not mention the border conflict.
READ MORE: Boris Johnson urged to prioritise a trade deal with the US
Media reports last week saw troops clashed at heights of 14,000ft.
Some reports suggest soldiers feel into the fast-moving Galwan River at subzero temperatures.
At least 76 Indian soldiers were injured, in addition to 20 dead.
A 1996 agreement barred guns and explosives from the disputed area.
A weapon passed to the BBC by an Indian officer claims to be a Chinese used iron rod covered in nails.
The two sides went to war in 1962.
The war lasted little over a month and resulted in a Chinese victory.
Skirmishes have broken out between the two since.
Donald Trump has offered to mediate the current tensions: “They have got a big problem there. They have come to blows and we’ll see what happens. We are trying to help them out.”
Opinion by Isabel Ortiz, Sara Burke, Hernan Cortes Saenz (new york and brussels)
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
Inter Press Service
NEW YORK and BRUSSELS, Jun 10 (IPS) – After a period of forced silence because of the Covid-19 quarantines, citizens around the world are defying coronavirus restrictions and claiming the streets to fight for real democracy, jobs, living wages, public services, human rights and against corruption, inequality and injustice. We predict an increasing wave of protests all over the world led by different types of people defying the status quo. Unless policies change, clashes in the street are likely to become the new normal.
In the last weeks, we have seen protests against racism and police brutality explode in the US and internationally after another black man died in police custody. We see Chileans protesting lockdown-food shortages, scarcity of work, and costly social services, and Ecuadorans demonstrating against IMF-supported austerity cuts. Lebanon has convulsed with riots over corruption, lack of jobs and public services. Protesters in Hong Kong continue to defy China’s tightening grip. In Israel they denounce West Bank annexation, while in the Philippines they condemn President Duterte’s Anti-Terrorism Act as a breach of civil rights and the Constitution. Young people are taking to the streets in Senegal over the lockdown and lack of jobs and opportunities. In Spain we see health workers demanding safer working conditions while workers from other industries face massive layoffs. In many countries, people protest in car-based caravans to maintain social distancing because of the pandemic.
There have been periods in history when large numbers of people rebelled against the status quo and demanded change, such as in 1848, 1917 and 1968. While protests have intensified in recent weeks because of the pandemic, the level of protests worldwide has remained high for more than a decade, with some of the largest protests in world history. They were set off by the 2008 financial crisis and commodity price spikes, such as those that sparked food riots in Africa and Asia, three years before the “Arab Spring”, the “Indignados” (Outraged) in Spain or “Occupy” in the US and Hong Kong. More recently, we have seen massive protests in Latin America and a global feminist wave set off by the “Me Too” movement. Now, as Covid-19 makes its way around the world, we are experiencing the continuation of this period of rising outrage and discontent.
We have been studying recent world protests and found interesting lessons. To start, the number of protests has been increasing on a yearly basis. Protesters’ main general demand was for economic and social justice in the face of prescribed “austerity” reforms; however, the overwhelming grievance of protesters, regardless of the political system of their country, was the lack of “real democracy”. Other common demands relate to people’s rights such as racial, gender or labor rights. The main target of the protests was national governments, but global institutions and corporations were also targeted.
A profile of demonstrators reveals that not only traditional protesters (eg. activists, unions) are demonstrating; on the contrary, middle classes, youth, older persons and other social groups are actively protesting in most countries because of lack of trust and disillusionment with the current political and economic system.
People around the world are acutely aware that policy-making has not prioritized them. Across the political spectrum, there is rebellion against politics as usual. Governments both authoritarian and democratic are failing to respond to the needs of ordinary people. Many demonstrations and marches also explicitly denounce the international system and institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the European Central Bank, which have been widely perceived as the chief architects of inequitable reforms.
Not only is the number of protests increasing, but also the number of protestors. Crowd estimates suggest that dozens of rallies had more than one million protesters; some of those may well be the largest protests in history (eg. 100 million in India in 2013, 17 million in Egypt during the Arab Spring).
Repression is well documented in over half of the protests in our study. According to media reports, the protests that generated the most arrests were in Iran, the UK, Russia, Chile, Malaysia, US and Cameroon (different years). Our research, that we continue updating, also documents a rising concern with some modes of repression that do not imply the use of physical violence: citizen surveillance.
If there is repression, what are the controversial demands that protesters are putting forward? The grievances demanded cross over virtually every area of public policy, from jobs, public services and social protection to the environment, finance, taxation, corruption and justice. The majority of the demands are in full accordance with United Nations proposals and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Governments need to listen to the demands from citizens legitimately protesting the denial of social, economic and civil rights. Leaders and policymakers will only invite further unrest if they fail to prioritize and act on the demand for real democracy.
Isabel Ortiz is Director of the Global Social Justice Program at the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, Columbia University, and former director of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNICEF.
Sara Burke is Senior Policy Analyst at Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES; for identification purposes only; views do not reflect the institutional views of FES).
Hernan Cortes Saenz is PhD in International Relations.
World Protests Show Rising Outrage and Mounting DiscontentWednesday, June 10, 2020
The Sahel – ‘in Every Sense of the Word a Crisis’Wednesday, June 10, 2020
‘Universal Challenges’ Expose Layers of InequalitiesWednesday, June 10, 2020
Eliminating Age Discrimination from Lockdown CurfewsWednesday, June 10, 2020
The Need, Within the UN, for an Honest Conversation on RacismWednesday, June 10, 2020
Global Solidarity & Effective Cooperation in the Face of COVID-19Tuesday, June 09, 2020
UN Chiefs Silenced by Big Powers with VetoesTuesday, June 09, 2020
Economic Ghosts Block Post-Lockdown RecoveryTuesday, June 09, 2020
We Need to Slow down and Reconnect with Our Ocean for the Future of the PlanetMonday, June 08, 2020
2nd World Food Safety DayMonday, June 08, 2020
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The exodus of migrant workers from big cities is plunging India’s factories into a crisis, Agence France-Presse reports.
An acute shortage of workers has turned the roar of machines to a soft hum at a footwear factory near New Delhi, just one of thousands in India struggling to restart after migrant workers decided to leave town during the virus lockdown.
India is slowly emerging from strict containment measures that were imposed in late March as leaders look to revive the battered economy, but manufacturers don’t have enough workers to man the machinery.
The big cities, once an attractive destination for workers from poor, rural regions, have been hit by reverse migration as millions of labourers flee back to their home villages, some uncertain if they will ever return.
Sanjeev Kharbanda, a senior executive with Aqualite Industries, which owns the footwear factory in the northern state of Haryana, said: “Sixty per cent of our labourers have gone back. How can we run a production unit with just one-third of our workforce?”
Kharbanda said the company’s sports shoe unit had been sitting idle as there were no skilled workers to operate the high-tech machines.
“We are running just one shift now. The cost of production has gone up and our profits are going down,” he said, a conveyor belt carrying semi-finished flip-flops running slowly in the background.
In Gujarat state’s Surat city – where 90% of the world’s diamonds are cut and polished – many factories have been unable to open after more than two-thirds of workers fled, Surat diamond association president Babu Kathiriya told AFP.
Meanwhile, the state’s salt refineries have started doubling salaries to lure staff back. But experts say the workers may not return anytime soon.
There are an estimated 100 million migrant workers – nearly a fifth of the labour force and contributing to an estimated 10% of GDP – across the nation of 1.3 billion people.
Many are employed as cheap labour across a vast range of sectors including textiles, construction, mines and small businesses.
Medical workers in Indonesia are complaining of persistent delays to an increase in coronavirus testing promised by their president, Joko Widodo, Reuters reports.
The south east Asian nation, the world’s fourth most populous, has the highest coronavirus death toll in east Asia outside China, and one of the lowest global testing rates.
Indonesia reported 568 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, taking the total to 16,006, with 1,043 deaths. It has so far conducted around 50 tests per 100,000 people, compared with 2,500 per 100,000 in neighbouring Singapore.
Widodo promised in April that 10,000 tests would be performed each day, but the goal is yet to be reached, with testing rates on average hovering at less than half that figure. Health experts have urged Jakarta to rapidly increase its testing rate to determine the true spread of the virus across the Indonesian archipelago, saying that without sufficient data the full extent of the outbreak will remain unknown.
“We can’t even get the results after two weeks,” Meneldi Rasmin, a consulting doctor at Persahabatan Hospital in Jakarta, told Reuters.
“So we cannot determine whether it’s COVID-19 or not. We can only judge them (the patients) from clinical symptoms,” he said, attributing the delay to limited equipment capacity.
In between his rounds at Persahabatan Hospital where medical staff move about in white protective gear, Rasmin called for testing capacities to be scaled up not only in the capital, but across the sprawling country.
“Early detection by rapid testing should take place in every small district. Local clinics should take control, instead of (centralized) rapid testing,” he said. “It should be organized at the community level, working together with the district authority.”