World Roundup: • New Zealand virus-free • North Korea doles out aid

posted August 10, 2020 at 01:00 am
by  AFP
New Zealand marked 100 days on Sunday with no recorded cases of the coronavirus in the community but health officials warned there was no room for complacency.

There are still 23 active cases but all were detected at the border when entering the country and are being held in managed isolation facilities.

"Achieving 100 days without community transmission is a significant milestone, however, as we all know, we can't afford to be complacent," director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield said.

"We have seen overseas how quickly the virus can re-emerge and spread in places where it was previously under control, and we need to be prepared to quickly stamp out any future cases in New Zealand."

New Zealand, with a population of five million, has won widespread praise for its effective handling of the coronavirus since closing its borders on March 19.

The World Health Organization has hailed the country as an example to others for having "successfully eliminated community transmission.”

Nokor distributes aid

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered the distribution of aid to the border city of Kaesong after the area was locked down last month to fight the coronavirus, state media said Sunday.

Authorities raised the state of emergency to the maximum level for the city in July, saying they had discovered the country's first suspected virus case.

A train carrying goods arrived in the "totally blocked" city of Kaesong on Friday, the official KCNA news agency reported.

"The Supreme Leader has made sure that emergency measures were taken for supplying food and medicines right after the city was totally blocked and this time he saw to it that lots of rice and subsidy were sent to the city," it said.

Kim had been concerned "day and night" about people in Kaesong as they continued their "campaign for checking the spread of the malignant virus," the report added.

Trump extends economic relief

President Donald Trump on Saturday signed executive actions extending financial relief to Americans hit by the coronavirus pandemic as polls showed a large majority of voters unhappy with his handling of the crisis.

The four measures marked a presidential show of strength after Trump's Republican party and White House team failed to agree with opposition Democrats in Congress on a new stimulus package aimed at stopping vulnerable Americans from falling through the cracks.

"We've had it and we're going to save American jobs and provide relief to the American workers," Trump said at a press conference at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he was spending the weekend.

With double digit unemployment, disruption to businesses from social distancing rules, and persistent coronavirus spread, many Americans had been relying on relief measures approved earlier by Congress, but which mostly expired in July.

Trump said his decision to circumvent Congress with executive actions would mean relief money getting "rapidly distributed."

In reality, his measures are likely to face court challenges because Congress controls federal spending, and in any case they may add up to less money than initially appears.

Topics: New Zealand , Virus , Donald Trump , North Korea , World Health Organization , coronavirus pandemic
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