News Briefing

Daily News Briefing – ‘Who can we trust if we can’t trust the WHO’?

Wednesday 8 April

BRIEF – ME! – DAILY NEWS BRIEFING

Wednesday 8 April 2020 News Briefing – Today’s headlines are dominated by the global Coronavirus Pandemic. As of 6:30 am (GMT), these are the global active numbers.

Global COVID-19 UPDATE

Coronavirus Cases: 1,431,973

Deaths: 82,096

Recovered: 302,209

  • Coronavirus: Global cases top 1.4 million.
  • Japan says virus is ‘biggest crisis since WW2’ and unveils its battle plan.
  • Boris Johnson spends second night in intensive care. 
  • Saudi Arabia cases could hit 200,000 says, health minister.
  • Wuhan’s 76-day travel ban lifted. 
  • Did the WHO bottle it? Who can we trust? 

Coronavirus: Cases top 1.4 million 

CNN says the global coronavirus count has now topped more than 1.43 million infections and more than 82,000 deaths worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

The US remains the worst infected country with the number of confirmed cases nearing 400,000. The US death toll is at least 12,895 after the country recorded the highest single-day death toll. 

President Trump has said he is putting a hold on WHO funding for what he says is a “China-centric stance,” but then said he’s only considering the move.

Read the full story on CNN

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Japan coronavirus: ‘biggest crisis since WW2’ 

Japan Times says facing a worried nation on the brink of a potential dramatic spike in novel coronavirus patients, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pleaded with residents to stay home to protect their lives. And counter what he called “the biggest crisis since World War II.” 

His news conference followed the official declaration of a state of emergency earlier in the day. The declaration covers seven prefectures and will continue through May 6. 

The government also OK’d its largest economic relief package ever in a bid to combat the economic fallout. Experts say the overall bailout package is on target, but are split on a key policy. 

Read the full story on Japan Times

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Boris Johnson spends second night in intensive care

BBC News says Boris Johnson has spent a second night in intensive care as he continues to receive treatment for coronavirus. The PM is at St Thomas’ Hospital in London and is in “for close monitoring,” Downing Street has said. 

Mr Johnson’s condition is “stable” and he remains in “good spirits”, his spokesman added on Tuesday evening. Downing Street also confirmed that the planned review into whether the UK’s coronavirus restrictions could be eased would not go ahead. 

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is currently deputising for the PM. Raab said he was “confident” the PM would recover from the illness, describing him as a “fighter.”

Read the full story on BBC News

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Number of coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia could hit 200,000, says health minister

Arab News says the eventual number of coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia could be as low as 10,000 or as high as 200,000 depending on compliance with curfews and social distancing, the Kingdom’s health minister said on Tuesday. 

“We stand today at a decisive moment as a society in raising our sense of responsibility and contributing together with determination to stop the spread of this pandemic,” Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said in a rare televised address. 

The Kingdom has reported 2,795 virus cases and 41 deaths, the highest in the six Gulf states.

Read the full story on Arab News

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China lifts 76-day travel ban on Wuhan, the centre of the coronavirus pandemic

France24 says the lockdown that served as a model for countries battling the coronavirus around the world has ended after 11 weeks. Chinese authorities are allowing residents of Wuhan to once again travel in and out of the city where the pandemic began. 

As of just after midnight Wednesday, the city’s 11 million residents are now permitted to leave without special authorisation as long as a mandatory smartphone app powered by a mix of data-tracking and government surveillance shows they are healthy and have not been in recent contact with anyone confirmed to have the virus.

Read the full story on France24

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WHO can we trust? Just when coronavirus gave the World Health Organization its moment to shine, it bottled it

RT News says the World Health Organisation (WHO) has veered from downplaying Covid-19 to spreading global panic. What is the point of the body if it fails during the crisis it was born to deal with? 

The WHO has become famous this year, however, the global body hasn’t exactly been praised. Criticism has come in from various corners of the world. Several US senators have called for the WHO’s leader Dr Tedros’ resignation over the handling of the crisis. At the precise moment when the world needed it most, the WHO has been found wanting.

Read the full story on RT News

With the global health pandemic seemingly filling all corners of the news, here are three stories that shouldn’t be pushed to the sidelines. 

  • Trump encourages the US to mine the moon – without any sort of international treaty. 
  • Brexit trade talks are continuing during these ‘difficult times.’
  • The United Nations has condemned rocket attacks on a hospital in Triopla.

Trump order encourages the US to mine the moon

The Guardian says whilst the world is racked by COVID-19, President Trump has less earthly concerns on his mind too. He has signed an executive order encouraging the US to mine the moon for minerals. The order makes clear that the US doesn’t view space as “global commons” – opening the way for the mining of the moon without any sort of international treaty.

Read the full story on The Guardian

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Brexit trade talks continuing in ‘difficult times’ 

BBC News says post-Brexit trade talks are continuing with the EU “in these difficult times,” according to the UK’s chief negotiator. David Frost said he and his EU counterpart, Michel Barnier, would decide a timetable for further discussions in April and May. The opposition parties have called for the December deadline for reaching an agreement to be extended following the global health crisis. But No 1o plans to stick to the timetable.

Read the full story on BBC News

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UN condemns rocket attack on Triopla hospital 

Aljazeera reports the United Nations has condemned the shelling of a hospital in Tripoli, calling it a “clear violation of international law” as Libya struggles to prepare for a coronavirus outbreak. On Monday, projectiles struck the grounds of the Al Jhadra General Hospital located in an area held by the internationally recognised government near the front line, injuring at least six health workers.

Read the full story on Aljazeera

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