Covid-19 wrap | Bodies of Senegalese citizens who died abroad barred from returning for burial

(Yawar Nazir/Getty Images)
(Yawar Nazir/Getty Images)

Relatives of Senegalese nationals who have died from Covid-19 abroad may turn to the country's courts because its government is refusing to allow for the bodies to return for burials and religious ceremonies, AFP reports. 

The families want to hold religious ceremonies on home soil to bury their loved, but the government has ruled out repatriating bodies to stem the spread of the virus.

This has left bodies stranded, is some cases for weeks, and grieving family members "distressed," said Tamsir Ousmane Ba, a relative of one of the deceased in Italy.

The family members said that around 80 Senegalese have died from Covid-19 overseas, including 40 in France alone.

But the foreign ministry estimates that a total of 67 Senegalese citizens have died from coronavirus worldwide, according to Amadou Francois Gueye, the head of the department of exterior.

"The government is maintaining its decision not to repatriate bodies," he added.

Lawyer Me Assane Dioma Ndiaye said the group of relatives filed a motion with the Supreme Court on Tuesday to declare the foreign ministry's decision illegal.

The family members are suffering from "trauma, stress and great distress", the lawyer said.

He added that the decision was a "fundamental violation" of the right to mourn and practice religion in the Muslim-majority West African country.

The relatives have spoken of the difficulty of mourning without a burial, and said they fear that unless they keep up payments to maintain the bodies, they could be buried wherever they are currently located.

Some have already been buried in this way, said Tamsir Ousmane Ba.

The Supreme Court will meet with the parties on Thursday, the lawyer said.

People in lockdown turn to gaming

AFP reports that video games have been seeing exceptional growth during the Covid-19 pandemic which has shut down real-world activity and kept billions indoors.

Evidence of the gaming surge was seen in strong results this week from Activision Blizzard, which said an average of 102 million people played its games such as Call of Duty online monthly the first quarter of this year.

The company reported growth in titles such as Overwatch, World of Warcraft and the popular color-matching smartphone game Candy Crush.

gaming,nintendo switch,switch

The Nintendo Switch has grown in popularity during the coronavirus lockdown. (Getty Images)

Videogame publisher Electronic Arts, meanwhile, saw players flock to online sports in hit franchises devoted to soccer, baseball, and American football.

"They're gaming so much they are wearing out their devices," said analyst Ted Pollak of Jon Peddie Research.

A report by Futuresource Consulting called gaming "the shooting star of the entertainment industry" which is expected to grow its share of the sector to 36 percent by 2023 from 31% last year.

"Following a record-breaking year in 2019, with gaming software generating $143 billion of consumer spend, the industry is now poised for further growth, with captive audiences worldwide acting as a catalyst."

NPD analyst Matt Piscatella said sales of the Nintendo Switch gaming console doubled in March compared with a year earlier, with many of those users playing games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the fifth of the franchise which takes people to explore a deserted island.

Spain to extend country's state of emergency

Spain's parliament on Wednesday voted to extend the country's state of emergency, allowing stringent coronavirus lockdown measures to remain in place for at least two more weeks, AFP reports.

The government imposed a nation-wide lockdown nearly eight weeks ago to curb the outbreak, which has killed more than 25 000 people and infected over 220 000 in the country - one of the hardest hit in the world.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez warned that abruptly ending the strict lockdown would be "unforgivable", ahead of a parliamentary vote Wednesday to further extend the state of emergency.

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