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Dozens dead in Pakistan as PIA plane plunges into Karachi houses

Islamabad, Pakistan – At least 85 people have been killed after an Airbus A320 passenger airliner crashed into a residential neighbourhood while on approach to the airport in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi, officials say. At least two male passengers of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK-8303 from the eastern city of Lahore to Karachi survived the crash on Friday, a health ministry spokeswoman told Al Jazeera. There were at least 91 passengers on board the plane, according to an official passenger manifest shared with Al Jazeera by the officials. Health ministry spokeswoman Meeran Yousuf told Al Jazeera by telephone that 85 people have died, with 53 bodies kept at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Karachi’s largest government hospital, and 32 at Civil Hospital Karachi, another major state-run hospital. Yousuf said the two survivors were being treated at the hospitals in Karachi, while 19 bodies have been identified so far. At least six people who were on the..

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UK to introduce quarantine for international arrivals from June 8

Britain will introduce a 14-day quarantine for travellers arriving from abroad from June 8, interior minister Priti Patel said, with the government warning that anyone breaking the rules would face a fine or prosecution. All international arrivals, including returning Britons, will have to self-isolate and provide details of where they will be staying under the plans, which were criticised by airlines, business groups and politicians alike. “Now we are past the peak of this virus, we must take steps to guard against imported cases triggering a resurgence of this deadly disease,” Patel said at a news conference. “We are not shutting down completely. We are not closing our borders.” Those who breached the quarantine in the United Kingdom could be fined 1,000 UK pounds ($1,218), and spot checks would be carried out by health and border officials. The quarantine will not apply to those arriving from the Republic of Ireland, nor to freight drivers, medical professionals or seasonal agr..

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Trump predicts coronavirus vaccine by years end, vows plague will pass

As some states loosen lockdown restrictions in a bid to set the nation’s battered economy on the road to recovery, President Trump endorsed a state-by-state approach while predicting at a Fox News virtual town hall on Sunday that a coronavirus vaccine could be available by December. “I think we’ll have a vaccine by the end of the year,” Trump told the moderators, Fox News’ Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, saying he was “very confident” in the assessment. “We’ll have a vaccine much sooner rather than later.” Asked by MacCallum if he was concerned about the potential risks of accelerating a vaccine and human trials, Trump responded: “No, because they’re volunteers. They know what they’re getting into … They want to help the process.” That timeline was dramatically ahead of previous estimates from both public and private sector experts at the outset of the pandemic, which had said a vaccine could take up to 18 months, if not longer. But, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Inst..

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Italy eases out of lockdown as 4 million people head back to work

By Matt Bradley, Bill O’Reilly, Yuliya Talmazan and Lidia Sirna[contfnewc] ROME — Italy is turning “a new page,” the countrys prime minister said ahead of some 4 million Italians returning to work Monday as Europes longest coronavirus lockdown eased. “A new page is beginning, and we will have to write it together with faith and responsibility,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told Italians in a Facebook post Sunday. “The risks of having more infections are numerous, but we will be able to avoid them with responsibility.” [contfnewc] With factories and construction sites reopening, the government is enforcing new rules for traveling on public transportation by marking available seats on buses and subways. People flow out of San Giovanni subway station in Rome on Monday as lockdown restrictions are relaxed. Cecilia Fabiano / AP Italians will also have the chance to feel the fresh air with parks and public gardens for the first time in eight weeks. They will be able to travel locally to..

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Coronavirus: UK hospital trials new treatment drug

BBC:A new drug developed by UK scientists to treat Covid-19 patients is being trialled at University Hospital Southampton. Developed by UK bio-tech company Synairgen, it uses a protein called interferon beta, which our bodies produce when we get a viral infection. Initial results from the trial are expected by the end of June. There are currently few effective treatments for coronavirus with doctors relying on patients’ immune systems. What is the new drug? Interferon beta is part of the body’s first line of defence against viruses, warning it to expect a viral attack, explains Richard Marsden, chief executive of Southampton-based Synairgen. He says the coronavirus seems to suppress its production as part of its strategy to evade our immune systems. The drug is a special formulation of interferon beta delivered directly to the airways when the virus is there, with the hope that a direct dose of the protein will trigger a stronger anti-viral response even in patients whose immune ..

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Coronavirus stokes Middle East boiling points

BBC:The Middle East has many reasons to fear the coronavirus pandemic, but it has one big advantage when it comes to resisting it. Most people in the region are young. A rough average is that at least 60% are under the age of 30. That makes them less susceptible to developing Covid-19, the illness that has killed so many people in countries with older populations. Most governments in the region saw what was happening elsewhere and had time to impose curfews and social distancing measures. But that is where the Middle East’s advantages end. Years of strife in the world’s least stable region have left weaknesses that the pandemic is sure to deepen. Medical capabilities vary widely. The best hospitals in Israel are as good as any in the world. The healthcare systems in Yemen, Syria and Libya – never strong – have been severely damaged, and in places destroyed, by years of war. Yemen was already in the grip, the UN said, of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Now it has cases of Co..

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Newly confirmed Ebola case in the DRC creates a triple emergency for local communities – IRC

Beni, DRC, April 10, 2020 — Kate Moger, International Rescue Committees Regional Vice President of the Great Lakes, said, “The confirmation of a case of Ebola in Beni is tragic and comes just as the people of DRC were preparing to celebrate on Sunday the end of this disease after nearly two years. This is a devastating development for the communities in eastern DRC who are also under threat from the corona virus outbreak, in addition to ongoing conflict and displacement. This is now a triple emergency: vulnerable populations facing ongoing humanitarian crises, the spread of COVID-19, and now again potentially a re-emerging Ebola crisis. The International Rescue Committee continues to respond to both Ebola and COVID-19 and will ensure that infection, prevention and control support is provided to health centres, as well as sharing critical information on both diseases with the affected populations. The reality of needing to address both Ebola and COVID-19 in a conflict zone is, and must ..

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Guinea: Violence During Referendum

(Nairobi) – Guineas security forces violently cracked down on opposition supporters in the lead up to and during the March 22, 2020 constitutional referendum and legislative elections, Human Rights Watch said today. Security forces have killed at least eight people, including two children, and wounded over 20 others. Since mid-February, security forces have also arrested scores of suspected opposition supporters, and forcibly disappeared at least 40. Government officials said protesters injured at least nine members of the security forces, vandalized polling stations, burned election materials, and threatened voters on election day. On March 22, armed soldiers, gendarmes, and police officers in pickup vehicles and on foot deployed across Guineas capital, Conakry, fired teargas and live rounds on protesters, killing at least six people, including one woman, and injuring at least eight men. “Guinean security forces have confronted popular protests with brutal violence,” said Ilaria All..

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Sudan: A Year On, Justice Needed for Crackdowns

(Nairobi) – Sudans transitional government should accelerate efforts to investigate and prosecute crimes against protesters by government security forces since December 2018, Human Rights Watch said today. December 2018 was the start of the wave of protests triggered by price increases that forced president Omar al-Bashir to step down on April 11, 2019. “Scores of protesters, including teenagers and children, paid with their lives to force al-Bashir out, but a year on, the families of those killed are still searching for justice,” said Jehanne Henry, East Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Sudanese authorities should step up their efforts to do right by these victims. Justice should not be denied or delayed.” Government security forces, particularly the National Security and Intelligence Service (NISS), used lethal, excessive force including live ammunition to break up the protests, killing dozens of unarmed protesters every month. While the exact death toll of protesters is not..

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More than 200,000 Libyans displaced amid fighting as COVID-19 threat increases

Tripoli – More than 200,000 people have been displaced in the year since the conflict reignited in Libya according to new data compiled by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Tripoli accounts for approximately 150,000 of recorded new displacements, but people were also forced to leave their homes in other conflict-affected areas in the country, including Murzuq, Sirt and Abu Gurayn. Hostilities continue unabated in the capital Tripoli this week, damaging civilian infrastructure, including one of the few functioning health facilities in the city, Al Khadra hospital, where COVID-19 patients are being treated. A health worker was also injured in Mondays attack. “A year into the conflict, the humanitarian situation in Libya has never been worse,” said IOM Libya Chief of Mission Federico Soda. “The needs have never been greater and the conditions have never been more challenging. Despite calls for a humanitarian ceasefire, the fighting continues amid serious fears of a COV..

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