Pandemic may cause Africa’s 1st recession in 25 years: World Bank

  by Susan NJANJI and Sofia CHRISTENSEN Agence France Presse JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AFP) — The World Bank warned Thursday that sub-Saharan Africa could slip into its first recession in a quarter of century because of the coronavirus pandemic on the world’s most impoverished continent. “We project that economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa will decline from 2.4 percent in 2019 to -2.1 to -5.1 percent in 2020, the first recession in the region in 25 […]

Another 6.6 million US workers file for unemployment benefits last week

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Business shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic caused 6.6 million US workers to apply for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said Thursday. That shocking number of first-time claims for jobless benefits in the week ending April 4 was a slight decrease from the previous week’s count of 6.9 million, which was revised up by 219,000 from the original tally, according to the report. With the latest weekly data, […]

One hundred Italian doctors have died of virus: medics

ROME, Italy (AFP) — One hundred Italian doctors have died of the novel coronavirus since the pandemic reached the Mediterranean country in February, Italy’s FNOMCeO health association said on Thursday. “The number of doctors who have died because of COVID-19 is 100 — perhaps even 101 at the moment, unfortunately,” a FNOMCeO spokesman told AFP. © Agence France-Presse

Spain sees daily drop in virus deaths, over 15,000 total

MADRID, Spain (AFP) — Spain’s daily death toll from the coronavirus fell to 683 on Thursday, after rising for two days, the authorities said. The country, one of the worst hit by the pandemic, has now recorded 15,238 deaths from COVID-19. The daily toll was down from 757 on Wednesday. However, there has been growing speculation that officials may have grossly underestimated the death toll. Authorities in the Madrid region acknowledged on Wednesday that the […]

Wuhan virus lockdown over, but lingering fears slow recovery

by Jing Xuan TENG Agence France Presse WUHAN, China (AFP) — Hairstylist “Ah Ping” is back in business now that Wuhan’s coronavirus lockdown has been lifted, but his salon has no customers, only empty chairs and lingering fears over a contagion that continues to haunt the city. Wuhan is waking from its coronavirus nightmare, loosening tight restrictions on movement and business as the global pandemic’s launchpad tries to move on. But the full recovery remains […]

Virus claims record dead but US President Trump sees light at end of tunnel

by Susan STUMME with AFP Bureaus Agence France Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The coronavirus pandemic notched up another round of record death tolls in the United States and Europe, dousing the optimism of US President Donald Trump who insisted there was light at the end of the tunnel. The virus has now killed more than 87,000 people and infected over 1.5 million, according to an AFP tally on Thursday, sparing almost no country […]

Taiwan demands apology from WHO chief over virus ‘slander’

  TAIPEI, Taiwan (AFP) — Taiwan demanded an apology from the World Health Organization chief on Thursday after he accused the island’s government of leading personal attacks against him and his agency’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for unity to fight the disease on Wednesday after US President Donald Trump criticized the global health body and threatened to cut its funding. During the press conference he spoke of the […]

‘Italy’s youngest patient’ recovers from virus: media

ROME, Italy (AFP) — A two-month-old baby who was believed to have been Italy’s youngest COVID-19 patient has been released from hospital after overcoming the disease, media reports said Thursday. The baby was no longer running a temperature or fever and was released with her mother, who has recovered from a bout of pneumonia, the reports said. The two were hospitalized in the southern city of Bari on March 18. Italy has officially attributed 17,669 […]

UN delivers 90 tons of COVID-19 aid to Venezuela

CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) — A plane carrying 90 tons of UN health, water, and sanitation aid arrived in Venezuela on Wednesday to help the cash-strapped country fight the coronavirus pandemic. The shipment includes 28,000 Personal Protective Equipment kits for health workers, oxygen concentrators, pediatric beds, water quality control products, and hygiene kits, the UN said. “This is the first United Nations humanitarian shipment in support of the Venezuela COVID-19 outbreak,” said Peter Grohmann, the UN’s […]

Global coronavirus cases top 1.5 million: AFP tally

PARIS, France (AFP) — More than 1.5 million cases of the novel coronavirus have been registered worldwide, according to a tally compiled by AFP at 0530 GMT Thursday from official sources. Of the 1,502,478 infections, 87,320 people have died across 192 countries and territories since the epidemic first emerged in China late last year. The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only […]

Coronavirus adds to struggles in City of God favela

PICTURES BY MAURO PIMENTEL. Agence France-Presse RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AFP) — There are no good options these days in City of God. Venture out in this densely populated Rio de Janeiro favela, and residents risk exposing themselves to coronavirus. Stay in, and many have nothing to eat. The Brazilian slum rose to fame in 2002, when an acclaimed film of the same name chronicled the violence, crime and stark choices facing young people growing up […]

Monster storm gathers strength off Tonga

NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga (AFP) — Tropical Cyclone Harold surged back into a scale-topping Category Five storm Thursday as it sideswiped Tonga after leaving a trail of destruction across the South Pacific. The island kingdom declared a state of emergency late Wednesday as the storm bore down, warning of destructive winds and massive sea surges. Police said early Thursday that power had been cut in parts of the country and howling winds were gathering pace amid heavy […]