Coronavirus wrap: Global death toll passes 43 000, Kenya sorry for cop violence and girl, 11, Indonesia's youngest fatality

Clean-up crew dressed in protective gear to shield them from the novel coronavirus.
Clean-up crew dressed in protective gear to shield them from the novel coronavirus. (File, Getty Images)

Keeping you up to date on the latest novel coronavirus (Covid-19) news from around the world.

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Coronavirus death toll at 11:00 (GMT) Wednesday

Paris – The worldwide number of officially confirmed fatalities from the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) rose to 43 082 on Wednesday, according to a tally compiled by AFP at 11:00 (GMT) from official sources.

More than 865 970 declared cases have been registered in 186 countries and territories since the epidemic first emerged in China in December. Of these cases, at least 172 500 are now considered recovered.

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

Many countries are only testing cases that require hospitalisation.

 - AFP


Kenya president sorry for coronavirus cop violence

Nairobi – Kenya's president on Wednesday apologised for violence meted out by police following the declaration of a nationwide curfew last week to curb the spread of novel coronavirus.

"I want to apologise to all Kenyans for... some excesses that were conducted," President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a live broadcast from State House, during which he also introduced two young Kenyan coronavirus survivors.

"But I want to assure you that if we work together, if we all understand that this problem needs all of us, and if we pull in the same direction, we will overcome," Kenyatta said.

Police have used heavy-handed tactics to enforce the dusk to dawn curfew since its introduction on Friday, with tear gas, baton charges and the alleged firing of live rounds. A 13-year-old boy died in the capital Nairobi on Monday after being shot while standing on his balcony.

 - AFP



Girl, 11, Indonesia's youngest coronavirus fatality

Jakarta – An 11-year-old girl has become Indonesia's youngest person to die after contracting the novel coronavirus, officials said on Wednesday, as the country's death toll from Covid-19 nearly tripled from a week ago.

The girl, who was also suffering from dengue fever, was admitted to hospital on Madura Island off the coast of Java on 19 March. She had a fever and breathing difficulties, and died the following day. Tests only confirmed this week that the girl also had Covid-19.

"Her immune system was quite poor," said Joni Wahyuhadi, an official at East Java's virus task force. "She was battling two illnesses at once so that's why her condition worsened."

 - AFP



Coronavirus to plunge 8 million into poverty in Arab world - UN

Beirut – The novel coronavirus pandemic will plunge 8.3 million people in the Arab region into poverty, the United Nation's Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) said on Wednesday.

ESCWA also warned that two million people could become undernourished as a result.

"With today's estimates, a total of 101.4 million people in the region would be classified as poor, and 52 million as undernourished," the UN agency said.

"Arab governments must ensure a swift emergency response to protect their people from falling into poverty and food insecurity owing to the impact of Covid-19," Dashti added.

 - AFP



World faces food crisis in wake of coronavirus - UN, WTO

Paris – The heads of three global agencies warned on Wednesday of the risk of a worldwide "food shortage" if authorities fail to manage the ongoing novel coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis properly.

Many governments around the world have put their populations on lockdown causing severe slow-downs in international trade and food supply chains. Panic buying by people going into confinement has already demonstrated the fragility of supply chains as supermarket shelves emptied in many countries.

"Uncertainty about food availability can spark a wave of export restrictions, creating a shortage on the global market," said the joint text signed by Qu Dongyu, head of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Roberto Azevedo, director of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

"In the midst of the Covid-19 lockdowns, every effort must be made to ensure that trade flows as freely as possible, specially to avoid food shortage(s)" from developing, they said in their statement.

 - AFP

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