International Covid-19 update: '6 killed by Kenyan police during lockdown', US to curb immigration

2020-04-22 20:03
Kenyan police officers during the country's Covid-19 curfew. (Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

Kenyan police officers during the country's Covid-19 curfew. (Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

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A 13-year-old boy is one of six people in Kenya who have been killed in alleged police violence during the enforcement of a dusk-to-dawn curfew implemented to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), Al Jazeera reports.

The measure, which came to power on March 27, prohibits people from moving outside between 19:00 to 05:00.

The six deaths investigated by HRW happened during its first 10 days, the US-based group said.

"It is shocking that people are losing their lives and livelihoods while supposedly being protected from infection," said Otsieno Namwaya, HRW's senior Africa researcher.

The victims include a 13-year-old boy shot in the stomach while standing on a balcony, a tomato vendor hit by a tear gas canister thrown to disperse people at an open-air market and an accountant beaten to death in a pub, according to HRW.

It said police officers have also extorted money from residents and looted food.

The group called on Kenyan authorities to "urgently investigate" cases of police brutality and hold those responsible to account.

"Police brutality isn't just unlawful; it is also counterproductive in fighting the spread of the virus," Namwaya said.

National Police Service spokesperson Charles Owino told dpa news agency that there were "a few cases where some few police officers misbehaved", but said these were isolated incidents.

Police brutality is not a policy of the Kenyan government, he added.

"We took action against them - some were suspended, some were indicted, some were even taken to court," Owino said.

US to curb immigration 

US President Donald Trump vowed to sign Wednesday an order partially blocking immigration to the United States, AFP reports.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization said there was still a long way to go to defeat the virus, with most countries still in the early stages of dealing with the pandemic.

Trump said his action was being taken "to protect American workers" after 22 million people lost their jobs in the United States alone in the devastating economic backlash sparked by unprecedented measures taken to halt the spread of the virus.

With large swathes of businesses hurt in the crisis and employees forced to stay home or work shorter hours, the United Nations warned that the world is facing "a humanitarian catastrophe" with millions on the brink of starvation.

"Make no mistake: we have a long way to go. This virus will be with us for a long time," WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference.

Italy's death toll hits 25 000, France records 544 more deaths

Italy's official death toll from the novel coronavirus topped 25 000 on Wednesday, but the number of those currently being treated declined for a third consecutive day as the government considers easing some of the lockdown measures, AFP reports.

With 437 fatalities reported by the civil protection services over the past 24 hours, the Mediterranean country's official toll over the past two months rose to 25 085 - the second-highest in the world after the United States.

Nevertheless, most doctors believe that Italy's actual toll is substantially higher because most care home deaths are not counted and the number of people who died outside hospitals is unknown.

The decline in the number of active virus cases was accompanied by a fall in the number of people receiving intensive care treatment to the lowest level since 18 March.

Both figures are being watched closely by the Italian government as it considers which restrictions to lift and which to extend when the nation's current lockdown ends on 3 May.

Meanwhile, France's death toll increased by 544 on Wednesday, taking the tally to 21 340. 

Ukrainian church which resisted confinement hit with coronavirus

AFP reports that Ukrainian authorities on Wednesday quarantined the fourth monastery managed by the Orthodox church which had resisted confinement, as more monks became infected with the coronavirus.

Pokrovsky Golosiivsky monastery in Kiev was closed after twelve of its monks tested positive for Covid-19, Kiev mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

The monasteries in quarantine all belong to the Moscow-aligned Ukrainian Orthodox Church which had defied the government's plea to stay at home and encouraged worshippers to attend services.

The Church's main, iconic Kiev-Pechersk Lavra monastery was closed last week as almost 150 monks were infected there and at least three of them died.

Fears of a fresh spike in coronavirus cases spread after worshippers gathered in the Church's second-largest monastery in the town of Pochaiiv in central Ukraine to celebrate Easter last weekend.

Ukraine has confirmed 6 592 cases of the virus, including 174 deaths.


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