- 660K displaced
- Russian deaths
- No growth goal
More than 660,000 people have been displaced from their homes in conflict zones around the world since March, despite a UN call for a global ceasefire during the coronavirus pandemic, a top international aid group said Friday.
READ: Coronavirus worldwide toll passes 5 million
The Norwegian Refugee Council said its figures showed that armed conflict around the world had continued during the pandemic, even as much of globe went into lockdown.
“At a time when health experts tell us to stay at home, men with guns are forcing hundreds of thousands out of their homes and into extreme vulnerability,” said the NRC’s Secretary-General Jan Egeland. “This not only hurts those who are forced to flee, it seriously undermines our joint efforts to combat the virus.”
Russia reports highest daily death toll
Russia on Friday reported its highest ever daily coronavirus death toll of 150, even though the number of new infections fell below 9,000 for the third day in a row.
READ: Russia coronavirus cases edge towards 300,000
Health officials reported a total of 3,249 deaths and 326,448 cases, the second-highest number of infections in the world after the United States.
One of Russia’s most high-profile virus cases, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, returned to work this week after receiving treatment for the illness in hospital.
No annual growth target for China
China’s communist rulers avoided setting an annual growth target for the first time in decades, as they struggle to deal with the “immense” economic challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Analysts say the move points to China missing its key political goal of doubling gross domestic product from 2010 levels, a blow to the ruling party’s pledge to provide prosperity in exchange for unquestioned political power.
Before the pandemic, Beijing was widely expected to announce a growth target of around six percent this year, but the COVID-19 shock caused economic growth to shrink 6.8 percent in the first quarter.
Trump: Quicker reopening of economy
President Donald Trump pressed for a broader reopening of the United States as coronavirus-related job losses mounted, while parts of Europe embraced post-lockdown life.
READ: Trump urges US reopening as China premier warns of challenges
With summer approaching on both sides of the Atlantic, more stores opened their doors, and beaches welcomed tourists, despite the global number of virus cases passing five million.
Trump, with an eye on his re-election prospects in November, made it clear he hoped more state governors would move toward a loosening of anti-virus restrictions.
“We did the right thing but we now want to get going... you’ll break the country if you don’t,” he told African-American leaders in Michigan, a key election battleground state.
US layoffs surpass 38.6m
Job losses in the United States are slowing but totaled an unheard-of 38.6 million since the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns began, while officials debate what additional steps will be needed to rescue the beleaguered economy.
Another 2.43 million Americans were put out of work last week, fewer than the previous week but still among the highest figures on record, according to the latest Labor Department data.
“The dramatic spike in unemployment claims is trending down, but it still completely overshadows any precedent,” Kate Bahn, director of Labor Market Policy at the Center for Equitable Growth, said on Twitter, noting that the latest number was three times higher than the record prior to the pandemic.
Quarantine for international arrivals
Britain is to introduce 14 days quarantine for international arrivals, Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis confirmed on Friday.
“People who are coming to the UK will have to do quarantine,” Lewis told Sky news, adding that the period of confinement would be a fortnight.
“We’re saying to people you’ve got to make your own arrangements, if you’re coming to the UK then you need to make those arrangements. Obviously for the UK citizens coming back they’ll be able to quarantine at home, for visitors they will need to make arrangements for here they can do that quarantine for 14 days.”
In Brazil, virus hitting young people harder
More young people are dying of COVID-19 in Brazil than other countries, a trend is driven partly by demographics – the overall population is younger – but also by poverty and the need to work.
The South American giant of 210 million people is the latest flashpoint in the coronavirus pandemic, rapidly rising to third this week on the list of countries with the most infections. With more than 310,000 cases, it lags behind only the United States and Russia.
Brazil’s death toll meanwhile surged past 20,000 Thursday.