Our editors give us a breakdown of this week’s biggest news stories
United Kingdom: Ryan Morrice
Boris Johnson announced new rules, amounting to a lockdown, in order to slow the spread of coronavirus. People are allowed only to leave their house for basic necessities and to do one form of exercise per day. Most businesses have also been ordered to shut. Police were given powers to fine people if they violate these rules.
Work began on converting the ExCel convention centre in London into a makeshift hospital in preparation for more coronavirus cases. Named the NHS Nightingale, it will have the capacity to treat 4,000 patients. Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre and Manchester’s Central Convention Centre will also be converted into makeshift hospitals.
Farmers warned that they will need tens of thousands of new workers to pick fruit and vegetables to prevent food from rotting in the fields. Migrant workers usually fill these jobs, but coronavirus travel restrictions have stopped them from coming to the UK this year.
Alex Salmond, former First Minister of Scotland and leader of the SNP, was acquitted on all charges of sexual assault.
Africa: Camille Capelle
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 are steadily rising across the continent, reaching over 4,000 total cases and 136 deaths. South Africa has the highest number, having confirmed over 1,100 cases. In response, South Africa has announced a lockdown which is being strictly enforced. The South African Central bank is also purchasing government bonds in an attempt to make funds available to handle the approaching health crisis. The numbers of cases are also rising quickly in Egypt, Morocco, and Algeria. Nevertheless, the rate of infection remains lower than on other continents.
Asia: Max Dowden
This week, the Japanese government finally relented in its previous insistence that the 2020 Summer Olympics would go on as scheduled in July, now opting to delay the Games until next year. This comes amid calls that Japan has been slow to respond to the continued spread of the virus, and increasing pressure on the government for wider public shutdowns.
Meanwhile, to the South, widespread admiration for the Taiwanese government’s response to the COVID crisis (they have less than 250 cases and only 2 deaths as of writing, in a country of 24 million) has re-ignited calls for the country to be admitted into the World Health Organization. The country has been prevented from joining thus far due to pressure from China, which still claims that the independent government in Taipei is an illegitimate regime.
Finally, a notable opposition leader in Bangladesh, Khaleda Zia of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, has been released on a six-month bail to seek medical treatment. Ms. Zia had been serving a five-year prison sentence for allegedly misusing charity funds, accusations which the BNP claim were politically motivated.