Coronavirus threat to global peace and stability, UN chief warns
Here now is the full story on UN secretary general Antonio Guterres’ comments on Thursday and other important developments in the pandemic.
The head of the United Nations has called the coronavirus pandemic the “fight of a generation” and a threat to world peace and security.
The secretary general, Antonio Guterres, warned the UN security council that the pandemic had the potential to increase social unrest and violence, which would greatly undermine the world’s ability to fight the disease.
It was, he said, the UN’s most grave test since it was founded 75 years ago and had already hindered efforts to resolve international, regional and national conflicts.
Mass burials on Bronx island
New York has since the 19th century used Hart Island to bury New Yorkers with no known next of kin or whose family are unable to arrange a funeral.
Typically, 25 bodies are interred each week by low-paid jail inmates working on the island, which sits off the east shore of the city’s Bronx borough and is accessible only by boat.
That number began increasing in March as the new coronavirus spread rapidly. They are now burying about two dozen bodies a day, five days a week, said Jason Kersten, a spokesman for the department of correction, which oversees the burials.
More on Japan now.
Tokyo’s governor, Yuriko Koike, and Japan’s government have reportedly resolved a row over how the capital’s restaurant and entertainment scenes should be covered by a month-long state of emergency declared this week in response to a sharp rise in Covid-19 infections.
Koike had been at loggerheads with the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, over his refusal to support stricter restrictions on businesses in Tokyo and six other areas covered by the declaration.
On Friday, Japanese media reported that Koike had bowed to pressure to permit hair salons, barber shops, DIY and hardware stores to stay open, but would ask restaurants to close at 8 pm.
Koike will create a fund for businesses that meet her requests to close, the public broadcaster NHK said. Abe had rejected calls to compensate such businesses, triggering concern that many would remain open throughout the state of emergency.
Kenji Shibuya, head of the Institute for Population Health at King’s College, London, warned that friction between Koike and the Abe administration risked blunting the impact of social distancing measures intended to ward off the kind of explosive outbreaks seen in China, the US and parts of Europe.
“The tension between Koike and the cabinet will definitely damage the impact of the emergency declaration,” Shibuya said. “There is zero chance of achieving 80%,” he added, referring to Abe’s social distancing target.
Second death in New Zealand
A second death has been linked to Covid-19 in New Zealand, the ministry of health said.
A woman in her 90s who contracted the disease at a Christchurch nursing home.
New Zealand’s first covid death was on March 29 on the West Coast; a woman in her 70s with underlying health conditions.
Following four days of declining numbers, 44 new cases of corona were announced today, up from 29 yesterday. “We can continue to report more people recovered than new combined cases,” the ministry said in a statement. “The combined total of confirmed and probable cases in New Zealand is 1283.”
16 people are being treated in hospital for the illness, including 5 in ICU.
Yesterday, 4520 tests were conducted around the country, with 40% of cases having links to overseas travel.
State department criticises WHO
The Japanese government is considering widening its state of emergency after two prefectures asked to be covered by the measures.
The prime minister, Shinzo Abe, declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, asking 56 million residents in the seven hardest-hit of Japan’s 47 prefectures to cut contact with other people by 70-80%, but took a more relaxed attitude towards businesses amid warnings that Japan is heading for a deep recession.
The declaration covers Tokyo and six other prefectures but omits others with large urban areas.
They include Aichi prefecture, home to the city of Nagoya, the carmaker Toyota and other major firms. The local governor, Hideaki Omura, said he would declare a state of emergency on Friday even if the central government refused to add Aichi to the nationwide list.
“If we look at what’s happened in the last week, it doesn’t look good and so we’re making preparations,” Omura said. Aichi has about 300 confirmed Covid-19 cases.
The governor of Kyoto prefecture, which has more than 160 cases, said on Friday he would also ask to be covered by the state of emergency.
Global deaths pass 95,000, confirmed cases over 1.6 million