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Turkey Announces Full Lockdown In Bid To Halt COVID Surge

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Turkey Announces Full Lockdown In Bid To Halt COVID Surge

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has on Monday announced a nationwide “full lockdown” starting on Thursday and lasting until May 17 to curb a surge in coronavirus infections and deaths around the time of traditional family gatherings and celebrations that take place when the holy month of Ramadan ends in mid-May.

Under the new lockdown, Turks will be required to stay mostly at home except for essential shopping trips and urgent medical treatment.

Erdogan announcing the new measures after a cabinet meeting, said all intercity travel would require official approval, all schools would shut and move lessons online, and a strict capacity limit would be imposed for users of public transport.

The president added “at a time when Europe is entering a phase of reopening, we need to rapidly cut our case numbers to below 5,000 not to be left behind. Otherwise, we will inevitably face heavy costs in every area, from tourism to trade and education.”

The country’s health ministry data showed, Turkey logged 37,312 new COVID-19 infections and 353 deaths in the previous 24 hours on Monday, sharply down from mid-April but still the world’s fourth highest number of cases.

Certain groups including emergency service workers and employees in the food and manufacturing sectors will be exempted from the new restrictions scheduled to take effect from 16:00 GMT (7pm local time) on Thursday and will end at 02:00 GMT on May 17.

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India Tops 24 Million COVID-19 Cases As New Variant Spreads Across Globe

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India Prime Minister Narendra Modi has raised an alarm over the rapid spread of the highly transmissible coronavirus mutant first detected in the country as the official tally of infections crossed 24 million, and 4,000 persons died for the third straight day.

Jairo Mendez, a World Health Organization infectious diseases expert said the Indian B.1.617 variant of the virus has been found in cases in eight countries of the Americas, including Canada and the United States.

Mendez said “These variants have a greater capacity for transmission, but so far we have not found any collateral consequences” adding that “the only worry is that they spread faster.”

People infected by the variant included travellers in Panama and Argentina who had arrived from India or Europe. In the Caribbean, cases of the Indian variant have been detected in Aruba, Dutch St Maarten and the French department of Guadeloupe.

The mutant strain has also been detected in Britain, as well as in Singapore.

According to health ministry data, India recorded 4,000 deaths and 343,144 infections in the last 24 hours.

Public Health England said the total number of confirmed cases of the variant had more than doubled in the past week to 1,313 across the United Kingdom.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said “We are anxious about it – it has been spreading,” adding that there would be meetings to discuss what to do. “We’re ruling nothing out.”

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Israel Intensifies Attacks In Gaza As Conflict Enters Fifth Day

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At least 119 Palestinians, including 31 children, have been killed and more than 830 wounded since hostilities flared up on Monday as Israel continued to bombard the Gaza Strip with air raids on Friday.

Israel stepped up the deployment of troops and tanks near the besieged Palestinian enclave as hundreds of Palestinian families have taken shelter in UN-run schools in northern Gaza to escape Israeli artillery fire.

Video from Gaza City showed the night sky lit up by explosions from Israeli artillery, gunboats and air strikes.

Meanwhile, Jewish and Israeli-Arab mobs have been fighting within Israel, prompting its president to warn of civil war.

Defence Minister Benny Gantz ordered a “massive reinforcement” of security forces to suppress the internal unrest that has seen more than 400 people arrested.

Police say Israeli Arabs have been responsible for most of the trouble and reject the accusation that they are standing by while gangs of Jewish youths target Arab homes.

Save the Children said that at least thirty-one schools attended by more than 24,000 children and a health facility in Gaza have been damaged by Israeli airstrikes.

In southern Israel, due to the violence impacting thousands of children, all schooling has been suspended.

Save the Children’s Gaza Field Manager, Ibrahim Abu Sobeih “We keep telling my young daughter and son that the heavy shelling is celebrations, fireworks, what a joke! We resort to different ways to distract their attention from this awful atmosphere but all are in vain.”

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Israel Declares Emergency In Lod As Unrest Spreads

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Israel has on Tuesday night declared a state of emergency in the central city of Lod after rioting by Israeli Arabs, after demonstrations by Israeli Arabs broke out and escalated to rioting, with protesters clashing with police.

Amid intensified conflict between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a state of emergency in Lod. Israeli border police have been brought in from the West Bank

Earlier in clashes Lod’s mayor likened to a civil war, cars were set alight while 12 persons were reported injured. A father and daughter – both Israeli Arabs – died when a rocket from Gaza hit their car.

Palestinian militants fired hundreds of rockets deep into Israel, while Israel carried out heavy airstrikes on Gaza.

At least 40 persons have died in some of the worst violence in years.

Israel’s military says it is targeting militants in Gaza in response to rocket attacks on Jerusalem and other areas.

The confrontation came after weeks of rising tensions that were stoked by violent confrontations between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters at a site in Jerusalem that is holy to both, Muslims and Jews.

The Palestinian militants said they targeted the Israeli city of Tel Aviv after an Israeli air strike demolished a tower block in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday.

There have been calls for calm from all over the world following the escalation, which follows days of unrest in Jerusalem.

 

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