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On Thursday, Standard Chartered Plc “the Group”  announced further details on how the Group will provide both short-term relief, and longer-term assistance, for communities across its 59 markets via the recently launched US$50m Covid-19 global charitable fund. 

The fund will operate in two distinct components. Under its Phase 1 covering immediate relief for communities by July 2020,  the Group will provide US$25m of funding for immediate relief from the impact of Covid-19, with all funding commitments made by July 2020.

For the Phase 2 which aims at supporting economic recovery and protecting livelihoods, the Group will provide US$25m of funding to protect employment and educational opportunities, aiding the long-term recovery of communities impacted by Covid-19.

Funding will begin in August 2020 with a target to deliver projects by the end of 2021. 

Part of the US$25m will be donated directly by Standard Chartered’s employees via a month-long giving campaign commencing on 27 April.

On Wednesday, The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that there were worrying upward trends in early epidemics in parts of Africa and Central and South America, warning that opening up global travel needed to be managed carefully.

WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus told Geneva journalists 

“Most countries are still in the early stages of their epidemics and some that were affected early in the pandemic are starting to see a resurgence in cases,” Ghebreyesus said.

Make no mistake, we have a long way to go. This virus will be with us for a long time, he added, while noting progress in Western Europe. 

The WHO’s top emergencies expert Dr Mike Ryan warned against opening up global travel too quickly, saying it would require “careful risk management”.

In a statement from the governor’s office on Thursday, disclosed that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam extended the state’s current ban on elective surgeries by a week until May 1.

The closure of Department of Motor Vehicle offices was also extended by two weeks until May 11.

According to the statement, the ban on elective surgeries will continue while state officials evaluate Virginia’s personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies and how to safely ease restrictions on nonessential medical procedures.

“My top priority is protecting public health, and that includes ensuring that our front-line medical staff have the equipment they need to stay safe as they treat Virginians who are sick.”

We have increased our supply of PPE, but before we allow elective surgeries to resume, we must first be assured that the doctors, nurses, and medical staff who are fighting this virus or conducting emergency surgeries have the necessary supplies. We are working with medical facilities on plans to ensure that we can resume elective surgeries safely and responsibly,” Northam said.

During the Thursday White House press briefing, President Trump said he’s not happy with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to reopen his state’s economy. 

“I want the states to open, more than he does, much more than he does. But I didn’t like to see spas at this early stage, nor did the doctors,” he said.

Trump was referring to Georgia’s decision to begin allowing fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers, hair and nail salons, and massage therapy businesses to reopen, as well as in-person religious services as early Friday, April 24.

“Frankly, I didn’t like to see a lot of things happening, and I wasn’t happy with it, and I wasn’t happy with Brian Kemp. I wasn’t at all happy. I could have done something about it if I wanted to. But I am saying let the governors do it. But I wasn’t happy with Brian Kemp,”Trump added. 

President Trump said he may extend social distancing guidelines beyond May 1 if he doesn’t feel the country is in a safe place.

When asked whether he might need to re-up the guidelines when they expire at the end of the month. 

“We may go beyond that.

People are gonna know just out of common sense, but until we feel it’s safe, we are going to be extending,” he said.

Trump disclose this after saying he thought the worse would be over by early summer.

On Thursday, President Trump said he hopes to sign the roughly $480 billion relief package tonight.

The package would deliver aid to small businesses and hospitals and expand Covid-19 testing. The measure passed the House earlier tonight.

“I’m signing it probably tonight,” he said during Thursday’s briefing.

On Wednesday, a Deputy Mayor, announced that the Mayor of the Spanish coastal town of Badalona, resigned after he was arrested for violating the strict curfew imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus in Spain.

According to local media, Mayor Alex Pastor was travelling in a vehicle in Barcelona, not far from his town, and was unable to give reasons for his trip when the Police stopped him. He also refused a breathalyser test and in the process bit one of the officers.

Deputy Mayor, Ruben Guijarro, in a statement to his party, the Socialist Workers Party of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Pastor also announced his resignation as Municipal Councillor.

The mayor, who is in police custody said all accusations made by the authorities were true.

The Head of the party’s branch in Catalonia Miquel Iceta stated that Pastor’s actions were incompatible as a public office holder and had demanded his resignation.

A strict curfew had been in place since March 15, whereby walking and driving for leisure and outdoor sports were strictly prohibited.

South Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recorded 11 new cases of Covid-19 and one coronavirus-related fatality on Tuesday.

Six of the new cases were imported from abroad.

South Korea has recorded 10,694 coronavirus infections and 238 fatalities since the pandemic began, according to public health authorities.

Sixty-four more recovered patients have been discharged from isolation, bringing the national total of recovered cases to 8,277 — 77.4% of all people diagnosed with the virus.

30 new cases of novel coronavirus and no additional deaths have been reported in China on Tuesday, according to the country’s National Health Commission.

Among the new cases, 23 were imported and seven were locally transmitted. The local cases were reported in the country’s northernmost Heilongjiang province, which shares a border with Russia.

Another 28 patients were discharged.

New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo warned that it is not yet time to pop the champagne bottles despite the fact that construction has stopped on temporary field hospitals.

It was reported earlier that New York state received federal government approval for eight facilities for use as temporary field hospitals.

However, as of Tuesday, not all are needed or in use at this time, according to a state government administration official. If the need for hospital beds or facilities spikes then we’re ready to re-engage with our federal partners,” the official said.

But while new construction has stopped on temporary field hospitals, Cuomo said he is not ready to stop those projects completely.

“We stopped any new construction when we saw the rates starting to stabilize but I’m not ready to close anything down yet, either,” Cuomo said Tuesday night. Now you have some health experts, CDC today starts to warn about an outbreak in the fall, I don’t even want to think about that yet.

“This is no time to pop the champagne bottles, right,” Cuomo added. “I said a couple days ago, don’t get cocky, don’t get arrogant.”

New York state has recorded more than 258,000 coronavirus cases, including at least 19,114 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Indonesia’s  President Joko Widoo on Tuesday Has banned all citizens from traveling to their hometowns for Eid al-Fitr celebrations in an effort to contain the spread of novel coronavirus in the country’

“I have decided on banning the ‘mudik’ (Eid al-Fitr exodus) tradition for all citizens,” Widodo said after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, according to the state-run Antara news agency.

Millions of people normally go back to their hometowns to see their families every year in a homecoming tradition known as “mudik,” the report said.

Jokowi did provide specifics on how the ban will be enforced.

The President also said the decision was taken to curb travel after a recent government study showed the majority of the population did not intend to return home for the festival. However, around 24% of Indonesians were still planning to make the journey, Antara reported.

Indonesia has recorded more than 7,000 coronavirus cases and at least 616 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 20: Researchers work with live COVID-19 specimens at Downstate’s BioBank on April 20, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The specimens were transferred from Downstate’s hospital for research at Downstate’s Health Sciences University, which is part of the University Hospital of Brooklyn. (Photo by Misha Friedman/Getty Images)

Over 824,438 people in the United States have been diagnosed with Covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tally of cases. The total includes at least 45,039 deaths.

The University has reported at least 37,179 new cases and 2,731 deaths so far on Tuesday.

The number of fatalities could begin to increase significantly in the coming days because some states will begin including “probable deaths” in their tallies, and so will Johns Hopkins. Those could look like surges in the number of Covid-19 related deaths in the United States. 

On Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that President Trump agreed to take ownership of the national supply chain to get coronavirus testing kit manufacturers the supplies they need to produce kits

The problem with bringing testing up to scale is the national manufacturers who make the testing kits and send them to state labs, Cuomo said. Those companies say they have a problem with the supply chain getting swabs, vials and chemicals to produce the testing kits, Cuomo added.

The governor said his meeting at the White House was very productive, positive, and got a lot done.”

Some of the meeting focused on the importance of dividing the responsibilities between states and the federal government to scale up testing, he said.

The state will be responsible for managing diagnostic and antibody testing, who to test, where to test and tracing cases, Cuomo said.

The goal is to double New York State’s testing from 20,000 diagnostic tests to 40,000 diagnostic and antibody tests, he said.

“It will take several weeks at best, this is an enormous undertaking,” Cuomo added.

The number of coronavirus-related deaths in the US has now surpassed 41,000, according to Johns Hopkins.

The US university – which has been tracking the outbreak since shortly after it erupted in China late last year – says there are now more than 746,000 confirmed infections across America, with New York state being the worst-hit

Protesters took to the streets in states across the US on Sunday, requesting that governors reopen economies shut by the pandemic.

U.S. President, Donald Trump announced a 19-billion-dollar aid package for U.S. farmers on Friday, in a bid to support the U.S. food supply chain.

“The programme will include direct payments to farmers as well as mass purchases of dairy, meat and agricultural produce to get that food to the people in need,” Trump said.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue disclosed that 16 billion dollars in direct payments will be made to farmers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will purchase 3 billion dollars in goods.

South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) disclosed on Thursday that a  total of 141 people who had apparently recovered from Covid-19 have tested positive again

KCDC deputy director Kwon Joon-wook said the agency did not know what caused the people to retest positive and was investigating. 

Most experts think it’s unlikely that somebody will be re-infected for the coronavirus soon after recovering. It’s possible that issues with testing – or varying amounts of viral RNA in the body, which the tests look for – could explain why people tested positive after testing negative. 

Kwon also said that the government is studying cultivated samples from the patients to determine whether the cases could be contagious. Kwon said the study will take about two weeks from today.

“Our KCDC workers are working day and night to collect samples and conduct studies,” Kwon said.

On Wednesday, Dr Jonathan Obaje, Vice President of the Nigerians in the Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), Singapore Chapter, disclosed in a phone interview, that no Nigerian in Singapore had tested positive for COVID-19.

Obaje spoke against the backdrop of how Nigerians abroad were coping under the pressure of global lockdown since the outbreak of the virus in China.

“So far, no Nigerian in Singapore has tested positive for the coronavirus. We keep in touch with each other through NIDO Singapore social media groups. Certainly, the lockdown has created opportunities and challenges. Nobody ever imagined that Singapore’s fast-paced, 24-hour bustling city, airport, and seaports could ever slow down for few hours, ever. It is almost unbelievable that we could have four weeks of paid leave to stay at home with family. Also, to do those things we have always wanted to do, but had no time to do, such as call friends, read books, watch programmes, and so on, it is unbelievable. Although too much of anything is bad when people did not plan for it, engagement in useful ventures is key to avoiding boredom,” he stated.

According to him, Nigerians in Singapore have taken advantage of the situation to learn something new to improve their wellbeing and better their lives in spite of the economic challenges.

On Tuesday, the Philippines reported 291 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, which brings the total number of infections in the country to 5,223.

The Department of Health (DOH) also reported that 20 COVID-19 patients have died, bringing the death toll to 335.

They added that 53 new patients have recovered from the virus, bringing the total number to 295.

On Tuesday, the Chinese government explained why it resorted to strict measures against Nigerians and other Africans stranded in Guangzhou, China.

The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Zhou Pingjian explained that according to statistics, there is a widespread of coronavirus among Foreigners, especially Nigerians and other Africans which led to the action. Adding that the Nigerians and other Africans were found to be more vulnerable given the number of those tested positive to the virus. 

However, he stated that the measure put in place was meant to protect them not harm them. He then agreed with Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama that the measures deployed to contain the importation of COVID-19 which led to the mistrust were not properly communicated.

He also mentioned that the Chinese has a zero tolerance for discrimination. Adding that Nigeria is a good friend of China and therefore would not do anything to destroy that relationship.