Queen Elizabeth II Says Collective Effort Will Defeat COVID-19

Queen Marks 92nd Birthday With Commonwealth Concert
The queen warned the situation could persist but said the COVID-19 outbreak would be defeated through a collective effort. File photo: Stefan Rousseau / POOL / AFP

 

Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday thanked healthcare workers on the frontline of the fight against the coronavirus outbreak, promising that a united effort would help defeat the disease.

In a rare special televised address, the 93-year-old monarch drew on her experience in World War II, offering a message of hope to people forced to separate from family and friends.

The broadcast to Britain and Commonwealth nations came as billions of people across the world are forced to stay at home to stop close-contact transmission of the virus.

The monarch and her 98-year-old husband Prince Philip have been at Windsor Castle, west of London, as a precaution since March 19, as the death toll and number of positive tests increased.

Britain currently has 47,806 confirmed hospital cases and 4,934 deaths. Her own son, heir to the throne Prince Charles, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have both contracted the virus.

The queen warned the situation could persist but said the outbreak would be defeated through a collective effort in a “common endeavour”, including through scientific cooperation.

“We will succeed — and that success will belong to every one of us,” she said.

The message — only her fourth in a time of crisis in her 68-year reign — was recorded at Windsor, with a single camera operator wearing protective clothing as a precaution.

She personally thanked frontline staff in Britain’s state-run National Health Service (NHS), care workers and other key workers for “selflessly” carrying out essential roles.

She also paid tribute to everyone forced to stay at home to reduce the burden on the NHS, and to protect the elderly and vulnerable most at risk from the disease.

The broadcast featured footage of doctors and nurses, workers making deliveries, and military personnel helping to construct a new 4,000-bed field hospital in London.

Members of the public were also seen clapping in appreciation from their homes for frontline staff.

The queen said people in Britain and around the world could feel proud of their community response to the outbreak.

“Together we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it,” she added.

The queen drew on her experience during World War II, and recalled her first broadcast in 1940 with her sister Princess Margaret, addressed to children evacuated from their families.

The sisters were sent to Windsor for safety as London was bombed.

She referenced British wartime singer Vera Lynn, whose song “We’ll Meet Again” became an anthem for service personnel fighting abroad, far from their loved ones.

“We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”

AFP

Coronavirus: UK PM Boris Johnson Admitted To Hospital

Johnson had been in self-isolation at home after testing positive for COVID-19.  Photo: SIMON DAWSON / POOL / AFP

 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was taken to hospital on Sunday for tests, his office said, 10 days after he tested positive for coronavirus.

Johnson, 55, announced he had mild symptoms of COVID-19 on March 27 and had been in self-isolation at his Downing Street residence for seven days.

He had been scheduled to re-emerge on Friday after a week of recovery and working remotely but said he would remain at home because he still had a high temperature — one of the symptoms.

Downing Street said in a statement on Sunday: “On the advice of his doctor, the Prime Minister has tonight been admitted to hospital for tests.

“This is a precautionary step, as the Prime Minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus 10 days after testing positive for the virus.”

It is understood Johnson’s admission to the hospital was not an emergency and was considered sensible because of his ongoing symptoms.

Johnson is the most high-profile world leader to contract the virus. His pregnant partner, Carrie Symonds, said she has been ill with symptoms for a week but was now recovering.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock returned to work on Friday after a week at home following his positive test for COVID-19. The chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, has also displayed symptoms.

Johnson’s close adviser Dominic Cummings has also had to self-isolate.

Downing Street said at the time of Johnson’s announcement that Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab would take charge if the prime minister was incapacitated.

But Johnson is understood to be still in charge of the government, and in contact with ministers and officials.

The former London mayor was seen on Thursday night, joining in a weekly round of applause in appreciation of healthcare workers tackling the outbreak.

In his video message on Friday, he said: “In my own case, although I’m feeling better and I have done my seven days of isolation, alas, I still have one of the minor symptoms… a temperature.

“So, in accordance with government advice, I must continue my self-isolation until that symptom itself goes.”

Asked about the prime minister’s health on Sunday, Hancock told Sky News television: “He’s OK. I’ve been talking to him every day, several times a day throughout the time both of us were off.

“He’s very much got his hand on the tiller.”

He said of his own experience: “Some people get it (COVID-19) pretty mildly, others very, very seriously. The PM is not at that end of the spectrum.

“In dealing with him and working with him every day, he’s in good spirits.

“But he’s also being absolutely careful and cautious to follow public health advice both for the direct impact and also as an example to the nation.”

AFP

Global COVID-19 Deaths Rise Above 41,000

An Iranian medic treats a patient infected with the COVID-19 virus at a hospital in Tehran on March 1, 2020. KOOSHA MAHSHID FALAHI / MIZAN NEWS AGENCY / AFP

 

The worldwide number of officially confirmed fatalities from the novel coronavirus has risen to 41,072, according to a tally compiled by AFP from official sources as of 1900 GMT on Tuesday.

More than 828,240 declared cases have been registered in 186 countries and territories since the pandemic broke out in China in December. Of these cases, at least 164,900 are now considered recovered.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP offices from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections.

Many countries are only testing cases that require hospitalisation.

The past 24 hours brought 4,396 more deaths — 849 of them in Spain, 837 in Italy and 612 in the United States — while 70,404 new cases emerged.

The worst affected country by deaths is Italy, which registered its first fatality in late February, now has 12,428 deaths for 105,792 cases — 4,053 of which emerged Tuesday. The Italian authorities say 15,729 people have recovered.

After Italy, Spain has registered 8,189 deaths for 94,417 cases, France has 3,523 deaths for 52,128 cases, the United States has listed 3,440 deaths for 174,467 cases and mainland China — excluding Hong Kong and Macau — 3,305 deaths for 81,518 cases.

China, where the disease first emerged in December, registered 48 new cases over the past 24 hours for one death. To date, 76,052 people are considered to have recovered in China.

The United States has listed the most diagnosed cases with 174,467 people contaminated and 6,038 recovered.

Since 1900 GMT Monday, Trinidad and Tobago, Myanmar, Tanzania, Mauritania, Cote d’Ivoire, and Belarus announced their first deaths while Burundi, South Sudan, and Sierra Leone reported their first cases.

Europe has listed 29,912 deaths for 452,978 cases, Asia 3,889 fatalities for 108,726 cases, the United States and Canada 3,538 deaths for 182,953 cases, the Middle East 3,008 deaths for 55,578 cases, Latin America and the Caribbean 508 deaths for 17,191 cases, Africa 195 deaths and 5,698 cases, and Oceania 22 deaths for 5,224 cases.

AFP

US Coronavirus Death Toll Exceeds China’s

Medical supplies and beds are seen inside a tent as volunteers from the International Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse set up an Emergency Field Hospital for patients suffering from the coronavirus in Central Park, New York, on March 30, 2020. Bryan R. Smith / AFP.

 

The number of deaths in the United States from coronavirus has surpassed those reported by China, where the pandemic began in December, according to a toll published on Tuesday by Johns Hopkins University.

There have been 3,415 deaths in the US from the virus, the Baltimore-based university said, more than the 3,309 reported officially in China.

Italy has suffered the most virus deaths — 12,428 — according to Johns Hopkins, followed by Spain with 8,269 and then the United States.

There are 175,067 confirmed coronavirus cases in the US, the university said, the most of any country in the world.

Italy is next with 105,792 cases, followed by Spain with 94,417 and China with an official tally of 82,278.

Germany has 68,180 cases and 682 deaths followed by France and its overseas territories with 45,232 cases and 3,032 deaths, Johns Hopkins said.

The majority of cases and deaths in the US are in New York, which quickly became the epicenter of America’s outbreak after the state announced its first confirmed infection on March 1.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that the city was “tripling” hospital capacity in a bid to get ready for the peak of the pandemic expected in two to three weeks.

“(We) will require a level of hospital capacity we’ve never seen, (that) we’ve never even conceived of,” he told NBC.

Areas of the Big Apple are being quickly transformed to prepare for the influx that is already overwhelming stretched hospitals and putting a strain on medical supplies.

13-Year-Old UK Boy Dies After Contracting COVID-19

(FILES) This file handout illustration image obtained on February 3, 2020, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19  Lizabeth MENZIES / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / AFP.

 

 A 13-year-old British boy has died days after testing positive for COVID-19, hospital officials and his family said on Tuesday, with relatives saying he had no underlying illnesses.

The boy, who died Monday, is believed to be Britain’s youngest confirmed death in the coronavirus pandemic. A 12-year-old girl, whose death was confirmed earlier on Tuesday in Belgium, is thought to be Europe’s youngest victim.

A spokesman for King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said, “Sadly, a 13-year old boy who tested positive for COVID-19 has passed away, and our thoughts and condolences are with the family at this time.

“The death has been referred to the coroner and no further comment will be made.”

Nigeria’s Coronavirus Cases Rise To 97 As NCDC Confirms Eight More Infections

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has reported eight new cases of coronavirus in the country, taking the total number of infections to 97.

According to the NCDC, two of the cases were in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, four in Oyo State, one in Kaduna State and one in Osun State.

Information from the NCDC shows that as of 10:40 pm on March 28, 2020, Lagos had the highest number of cases with 59, followed by the FCT with 16 cases. The number of cases in Oyo surged to seven, Ogun had three while Enugu, Edo, Bauch and Osun states each had two cases.

Four states – Ekiti, Rivers, Benue and Kaduna – each had one case.

The NCDC’s latest confirmation of cases brings to 16, the number of cases announced in the country on Saturday.

One of the cases is Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai who disclosed that he was positive via Twitter. The governor is the first case to be recorded by Kaduna.

READ ALSO: Governor El-Rufai Tests Positive For Coronavirus

At 4 pm on Saturday, the NCDC had confirmed eight other cases. Seven of them were in Lagos with the eighth one being the first case in Benue State.

Of the 97 cases confirmed in the country, one death has been recorded.


The Week In Photos: Coronavirus Pandemic Disrupts Daily Life

A combination of some of the best photos of the week ending March 28, 2020.
A combination of some of the best photos of the week ending March 28, 2020.

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted life across the world, forcing cities to go into lockdown mode with more than a billion people now having to stay at home as part of the strategy to halt its spread.

So far, more than half a million people globally have become infected and more than 30,000 people have died, two-thirds of them in Europe, according to an AFP tally as of 1900 GMT on Saturday.

Specifically, as of the time of the tally, which is based on official information sources, 30,003 lives had been lost. Italy is the worst hit with 10,023 deaths, followed by Spain with 5,690.

Meanwhile, the United States has become the epicentre of the virus, surpassing Italy and China in terms of confirmed cases.

AFP reported on Saturday that the United States, reached a new record on Saturday, a count by Johns Hopkins University showed.

Over the past 24 hours, the United States also marked a record 453 deaths linked to the COVID-19 illness, bringing the country’s toll to 1,891 deaths since the pandemic began.

As of 1855 GMT on Saturday, Johns Hopkins recorded 115,547 US cases. That included a 23 per cent jump of 21,309 in one day, which is also a record.

New York is the epicentre of the US outbreak, with more than 50,000 — or about half — of the country’s total cases.

 

Italy’s Coronavirus Death Toll Exceeds 10,000 Despite Lockdown

Priest Don Marcello gives a blessing to the coffins of deceased people inside the church of San Giuseppe in Seriate, on March 28, 2020. Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP

 

The coronavirus toll in Italy shot past 10,000 on Saturday and showed little sign of slowing despite a 16-day lockdown.

The 889 new fatalities reported in the world’s worst-hit nation came a day after it registered 969 deaths on Friday — the highest single toll since the COVID-19 virus emerged late last year.

Italy now looks certain to extend its economically debilitating — and emotionally stressful — business closures and the ban on public gatherings past their April 3 deadline.

“Is it time to reopen the country? I think we have to think about it really carefully,” civil protection service chief Angelo Borrelli told reporters.

“The country is at a standstill and we must maintain the least amount of activity possible to ensure the survival of all.”

Italians had begun to hope that their worst disaster in generations was easing after the increase in daily death rates began to slow on March 22.

But the new surge has changed the Mediterranean nation’s mood.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told Italians late Saturday to be ready to spend more time cooped up at home.

“If one is being reasonable, one cannot envision a quick return to normal life,” Conte said in his latest sombre television address.

– Going into debt –
The monumental economic toll of fighting the pandemic has triggered a huge row among European leaders about how best to respond.

The southern European nations worst-hit by the virus are urging the EU to go abandon its budget rules.

The bloc has already loosened its purse strings in ways not seen since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.

But Conte argues that this is not enough.

France is backing a push by Italy and Spain for the EU to start issuing “corona bonds” — a form of common debt that governments sell to raise money to address individual economic needs.

More spendthrift nations such as Germany and the Netherlands are baulking at the idea of joint debt.

Conte said he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had “not just a disagreement but a hard a frank confrontation” this week about how to proceed.

“If Europe does not rise to this unprecedented challenge, the whole European structure loses its raison d’etre to the people,” Conte told Saturday’s edition of the Il Sole 24 Ore financial newspaper.

‘Critical point in history’

The entire eurozone is expected to slip into a recession over the coming months.

But Italy is facing the threat of a near economic collapse after being the first European country to shutter almost all its businesses on March 12.

Some forecasts suggest that its economy — the third-largest among nations that use the euro common currency — could contract by as much as seven per cent this year.

It shrank by 5.3 per cent of gross domestic product in 2009.

Conte warned that EU leaders were in danger of making “tragic mistakes”.

“I represent a country that is suffering a lot and I cannot afford to procrastinate,” Conte said.

The energetic 55-year-old has seen his popularity shoot up thanks to a general sense that he has been doing all he could.

A growing number of medics are warning that Italy’s fatalities could be much higher because retirement homes often do not report all their COVID-19 deaths.

The number of people who have died from the new disease at home is also unknown.

“This is something very different from the 2008 crisis,” Conte warned in the newspaper interview.

“We are at a critical point in European history.”

 

Atiku Abubakar’s Son Tests Positive For Coronavirus

Abubakar says his son has been moved to the Specialist Hospital in Gwagalada for treatment and management. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar says his son has tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Abubakar disclosed this in a tweet on his verified Twitter handle on Sunday night.

He did not mention the name of which of his sons was infected but revealed that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has been duly informed about the situation and that his son had been moved to the Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital in Abuja for treatment.

Abubakar, who was the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2019 Presidential elections called for prayers for his son and urged Nigerians to stay safe.

“Coronavirus is real,” he warned.

READ ALSO: Three New COVID-19 Cases Confirmed In Lagos

A few hours before Abubakar made the announcement he had tweeted his support and praise for the health workers battling the virus, which has infected thousands across the world, claimed more than 12,000 lives and forced almost a billion people to stay indoors as governments move to tackle its spread.

“I join millions of other Nigerians to celebrate our health workers for their courageous work at this challenging time, and I urge all Nigerians to remain strong while we fight the scourge of this #COVIDー19 to the end,” he tweeted.

The announcement comes a day in which the NCDC announced eight new cases of coronavirus, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 30.

Of the eight cases announced on Sunday, six were in Lagos, one was in Oyo State and one in the nation’s capital Abuja.

It is not clear if the case confirmed in Abuja on Sunday is Abubakar’s son or whether he represents a fresh case.

The last update provided by the NCDC is that there have been a total of 30 confirmed cases in the country.

Twenty-two of the cases were in Lagos State, four in Abuja, two in Ogun State, one in Ekiti State and one in Oyo State.

Defiant Olympic Chiefs Face Increased Pressure To Postpone Tokyo 2020

The Olympic Rings are pictured in front of the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne on March 21, 2020. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

Pressure mounted on Olympic organisers to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Games on Saturday after the powerful US track and field federation urged this summer’s event be pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The IOC had refusal to cancel the Olympics, saying that the Games were further away than other shelved events.

USA Track and Field became the latest influential sports body to ask for the Games to be called off after its head Max Siegel “respectfully requested” in a letter that the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) “advocate … for the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo”.

USOPC had said it was too soon to axe the July 24-August 9 Games, much like International Olympic Committee (IOC) head Thomas Bach, who said that it would be “premature” to make such a big decision.

“The right and responsible thing to do is to prioritise everyone’s health and safety and appropriately recognise the toll this difficult situation has and continues to take on our athletes and their Olympic Games preparations,” wrote Siegel.

USATF joined a growing chorus of calls from sports organisations to push back the Olympics, a day after the country’s swimming federation asked USOPC to back a postponement until 2021.

“We urge the USOPC, as a leader within the Olympic Movement, to use its voice and speak up for the athletes,” USA Swimming CEO Tim Hinchey said in a letter.

That request for a delay was echoed on Saturday by France’s swimming federation which said that the Games could not be organised properly in the “current context”.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe told AFP on Saturday that the sporting world was in “uncharted territory”.

“We have another meeting early next week to discuss the work, given the number of athletes who are struggling to train in various countries due to measures put in place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus,” said Coe.

“I don’t think we should have the Olympic Games at all costs, certainly not at the cost of athlete safety and a decision on the Olympic Games may become very obvious very quickly in the coming days and weeks.

“The issue of competition fairness is paramount. We are all managing the situation day by day and increasingly hour by hour.”

The Norwegian Olympic Committee (NOC) quickly followed, saying that it had sent a letter to the IOC on Friday, motivated in part by a Norwegian government ban on organised sports activities which had created “a very challenging time for the sports movement in Norway”.

“Our clear recommendation is that the Olympic Games in Tokyo shall not take place before the COVID-19 situation is under firm control on a global scale,” the NOC said in the letter.

IOC ‘putting us in danger’

The new chairman of the United Kingdom’s athletics governing body also questioned the need to hold the Olympics this summer given the uncertainty surrounding the spread of COVID-19, which has now killed over 12,000 people worldwide according to an AFP tally.

“To leave it where it is creating so much pressure in the system. It now has to be addressed,” head of UK Athletics Nic Coward told the BBC.

On Friday, Bach defended the IOC’s refusal to cancel the Olympics by saying that the Games were further away than other shelved events, such as football’s European Championship which was due to start in mid-June and has been moved to 2021.

“We are four-and-a-half months away from the Games,” Bach told the New York Times.

“For us, (postponement) would not be responsible now.”

Athletes lashed out at IOC advice to continue training “as best they can”, with Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi accusing the body of “putting us in danger”.

“The IOC wants us to keep risking our health, our family’s health and public health to train every day?” asked Stefanidi.

World champion fencer Race Imboden of the United States said on Twitter that he was “worried” about the prospect of the Olympics going ahead.

“We keep being told the Olympic Games are happening. Starting to realise it’s more important to have the games go on than the athletes be prepared or mentally healthy.”

But USOPC chairwoman Susanne Lyons insisted on Friday that organisers had time on their side.

“We don’t have to make a decision. Our games are not next week, or two weeks from now. They’re four months from now,” Lyons said.

AFP

Almost One Billion People Confined To Homes As Coronavirus Toll Exceeds 12,000

A view of the deserted Cité Jean Jaurès housing project at Saint-Ouen, north Paris on Mach 20, 2020, as a strict lockdown comes into effect in France to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Wafaa ESSALHI / AFP

 

Almost one billion people were confined to their homes worldwide on Saturday as the global coronavirus death toll topped 12,000 and US states rolled out stay-at-home measures already imposed across swathes of Europe.

More than a third of Americans were adjusting to life in various phases of virtual lockdown — including in the US’s three biggest cities of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago — with more states expected to ramp up restrictions.

New Jersey became the latest US state to restrict movement as the fast-spreading pandemic upends lives across the planet, closing businesses, shutting schools and forcing millions to work from home.

“This is a time of shared national sacrifice, but also a time to treasure our loved ones,” US President Donald Trump told a press conference. “We’re going to have a great victory.”

The virus death toll surpassed 12,000 worldwide as worst-hit Italy reported a one-day record number of deaths at 793 — the overall total shot past 4,800 — and Spain reported a 32 percent spike in new deaths.

The nearly one billion people are now confined to their homes in 35 countries around the world — including 600 million hemmed in by obligatory government lockdown orders — according to an AFP tally.

In France, police officials said helicopters and drones were being deployed to boost the government’s attempts to keep people in their homes.

“The helicopters will give us a larger vision and a panoramic view of the situation in real-time to help guide the patrols on the ground,” a national police source said.

The measures came as pressure mounted on Olympic organizers to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Games — and as the US Congress thrashes out an emergency economic package that could top $1 trillion.

Street lights illuminate a deserted Champs Elysees leading to the Arc de Triumph monument in central Paris on March 21, 2020, four days after a strict lockdown came into effect.
JOEL SAGET / AFP

‘Months, not weeks’

With virus fears gripping the world’s number one economy, New Jersey followed several other states, including California, New York and Illinois, in telling residents to stay indoors.

Governor Phil Murphy ordered all non-essential businesses to close their physical stores from 9:00 PM (0100 GMT Sunday).

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo warned Saturday that the disruption is likely to last for months.

“I don’t believe it’s going to be a matter of weeks,” he said.

China on Saturday reported no new local infections for a third straight day, and the WHO said the central city of Wuhan, where the virus first emerged late last year, offered a glimmer of “hope for the rest of the world.”

But there are growing concerns of a new wave of “imported” infections in the region, with Hong Kong reporting 48 suspected cases on Friday –- its biggest daily jump since the crisis began.

Italy, a nation of 60 million now accounts for 36 percent of the world’s coronavirus deaths and its death rate of 8.6 percent among confirmed infections is significantly higher than in most other countries.

France, Italy, Spain and other European countries have ordered people to stay at home, threatening fines in some cases, while Bavaria became the first region in Germany to order a lockdown.

Britain also announced tougher restrictions, telling pubs, restaurants and theaters to close.

While the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions are the hardest hit by the virus, the World Health Organization has warned that young people are also vulnerable.

Australia’s famed Bondi beach and Rio de Janeiro’s beaches were ordered shut.

A restriction on non-essential travel over the US borders with Canada and Mexico was due to come into force Saturday.

And US lawmakers expressed hope of striking an agreement on a $1 trillion emergency aid package, amid fears of widespread economic fallout because of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, US Vice President Mike Pence said he and his wife would be tested for the coronavirus after one of his office staff contracted the illness.

And America’s Food and Drug Administration also approved the first coronavirus test that can be conducted entirely at the point of care for a patient — and deliver results in 45 minutes.

In sport, the USA Track and Field became the latest influential sports body to ask for the Summer Olympics to be called off.

“The right and responsible thing to do is to prioritize everyone’s health and safety,” chief Max Siegel said in a letter to the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC).

Pigeons stand on an empty central square, close to Rennes’ city hall in Rennes, western France on March 21, 2020. Damien MEYER / AFP

China help

The strict confinement measures follow the template set by China, as a lockdown imposed in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, appeared to have paid off.

Europe now accounts for more than half of the world’s fatalities linked to COVID-19.

Accurate figures are difficult to come by, however, as many of those who die suffer from other illnesses, and infection rates are uncertain because of a lack of testing in many countries.

The shadow of the virus is lengthening across Africa and the Middle East as well.

Cases stand at more than 1,000 across Africa, where health care systems are fragile and social distancing is not possible in many crowded cities.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, Finland, Lithuania and Mauritius all reported their first virus deaths Saturday.

In Iran, which reported 123 new deaths Saturday, both supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani promised the country would overcome the outbreak — but still refused to join the rest of the world in imposing heavy restrictions.

The country has more than 1,500 deaths and some 20,000 infections.

In Latin America, Bolivia ordered citizens to stay at home from Sunday, and Colombia said it would begin mandatory isolation from Tuesday.

AFP

Dybala, Maldini Test Positive For Coronavirus

Juventus’ Argentinian forward Paulo Dybala’s teammates Daniele Rugani and Blaise Matuidi had earlier tested positive for the virus.   Photo: MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP

 

Argentina striker Paulo Dybala said Saturday that he has become the third Juventus player to test positive for coronavirus while former AC Milan defender Paolo Maldini revealed that he and his son have also been infected.

“Hi everyone. I just wanted to let you know that we have received the Covid-19 test results and that Oriana (Sabatini, his girlfriend) and I are positive,” the 26-year-old Dybala tweeted.

“Fortunately, we are perfectly fine. Thank you for your messages.”

Italian champions Juventus said that Dybala had been self-isolating since Wednesday.

“He will continue to be monitored. He is well and is asymptomatic,” said the club in a statement.

Later Saturday, the club said Maldini, now the technical director at Milan, and his 18-year-old son Daniel, a youth team player, were also battling the disease.

“Paolo and Daniel are both well and have already completed two weeks at home without contact with others,” said a statement from AC Milan.

“They will now remain in quarantine until clinically recovered, as per the medical protocols outlined by the health authorities.”

Maldini, 51, is considered one of the greatest defenders of all time.

He won five Champions Leagues with Milan and appeared in 647 matches.

Juventus teammates Daniele Rugani and Blaise Matuidi have also tested positive for the disease which has claimed almost 800 lives in Italy.

 

AFP

Ighalo Double Powers United Past Rooney’s Derby Into FA Cup Quarters

Manchester United’s Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo (25) scores his team’s third goal during the English FA Cup fifth round football match between Derby County and Manchester United on March 5, 2020. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Odion Ighalo ruined Wayne Rooney’s hopes of leading Derby to an FA Cup upset against Manchester United as the Nigeria striker’s double sealed a 3-0 win in the fifth round on Thursday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were always in control at Pride Park and Luke Shaw opened the scoring before Ighalo took over to dash Rooney’s bid to knock out his former club.

United will travel to Premier League strugglers Norwich in their sixth successive quarter-final appearance in a competition they have won 12 times.

Ighalo has only been at United for a few weeks after arriving from China, but his second and third goals for the club stole the spotlight from Old Trafford icon Rooney.

Rooney left United in 2017 after 13 glittering years including five Premier League titles, Champions League glory and a club record 253 goals.

The 34-year-old had spells at Everton and DC United before joining second-tier Derby in a player-coach role alongside boss Phillip Cocu in January.

It was the first time Rooney had faced United since playing for Everton in January 2018 and he remains without a goal in seven appearances against them.

Eighteen years after he burst onto the scene as a teenager with a brilliant goal for Everton against Arsenal, Rooney remains one of English football’s most fascinating figures and he was the centre of attention as fans from both teams chanted his name before kick-off.

But, no longer the effervescent menace who terrorised defenders with his power and poise, Rooney is playing in a deep-lying role these days and he couldn’t quite roll back the years in the face of a composed United display.

It was a Derby player 16 years younger than Rooney who almost gave the hosts a shock lead when Louis Sibley fired just wide from long-range.

Rooney went even closer with a curling free-kick that forced Sergio Romeo to make a sprawling save at his near post.

There are six changes for United as Romero started in goal for David De Gea after his howler in the draw at Everton last weekend, while Harry Maguire was ruled out with an ankle injury.

Bruno Fernandes, the new idol for United fans, was in the team and the Portugal midfielder was starting to pull the strings.

United looked more dangerous once Fernandes heated up and Derby keeper Kelle Roos made a superb save to repel Ighalo’s shot from just six yards.

United’s pressure paid off with a fortunate opener in the 33rd minute.

Fernandes’ shot was deflected high into the air and Shaw met it with a half-volley from the edge of the area, the ball taking a wicked bounce off Jesse Lingard and looping over Roos into the net.

Shaw turned provider as United doubled their lead eight minutes later.

Advancing with intent towards the Derby area, the left-back squeezed a pass into Ighalo, who turned away from two defenders before poking his shot past Roos from six yards.

Rooney was unable to stem the tide and his response was a frustrated foul on Scott McTominay that earned him a booking.

Choosing a more palatable approach to leading the Derby fightback early in the second half, Rooney unfurled a sumptuous pass to Jayden Bogle, whose cross was headed just wide by Martyn Waghorn.

Ighalo ended any hopes of a Rooney-inspired revival in the 70th minute.

Juan Mata picked out Ighalo in the area and when the 30-year-old’s initial shot was blocked, he kept his composure to guide the rebound into the net.

In what would have been an emotional finale for Rooney, his free-kick almost crept in until Romero made a brilliant tip-over.

AFP