New Zealand’s health minister resigns after coronavirus criticism
UNTV News • July 2, 2020 • 299
New Zealand’s embattled Health Minister David Clark resigned on Thursday (July 2) after security slip-ups at quarantine facilities where the coronavirus was detected just days after officials declared it had been eliminated from the country.
Clark was also under fire for personally breaching strict lockdown rules twice earlier in the year, by taking his family on a beach trip and driving to a mountain biking track.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who had earlier refused calls to sack Clark, citing his critical role in the country’s response to the pandemic, said she agreed with his decision.
Recent opinion polls have Ardern’s Labour Party far ahead of its main rival National Party, putting it on track to win a Sept. 19 general election, but public confidence in her government has been undermined by a series of blunders.
Ardern had declared in early June that New Zealand had eliminated coronavirus, although she warned there would almost certainly be new cases, as she lifted social distancing restrictions.
Just days later it was revealed that two women who arrived from Britain who were allowed to leave quarantine early on compassionate grounds later tested positive for the virus.
Ardern appointed Education Minister Chris Hipkins as interim health minister until the September election, after which she said she would consider a permanent replacement. (Reuters)
India’s Interior Minister Amit Shah said on Sunday (August 2) that he had tested positive for coronavirus and had been admitted to hospital.
Amit Shah, a close aide to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and one of the country’s most powerful politicians, heads a key ministry that has been at the forefront of managing India’s coronavirus outbreak.
“I request all of you who came in contact with me in the last few days to isolate yourselves and get tested,” Shah said in a tweet.
India has 1,695,988 confirmed cases and 36,511 deaths due to coronavirus as of August 2, according to a Reuters tally. (Reuters)
Every age group should take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and others from being infected with COVID-19, stated the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) during a press conference on Thursday.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also acknowledged that long-term care facilities are being hit hard by the coronavirus in many countries.
“In many countries, more than 40 percent of COVID-19-related deaths have been linked to long-term care facilities and up to 80 percent in some high-income countries,” said Tedros.
He stated that although seniors are vulnerable to COVID-19, young people face the same risk of being infected.
In some countries, the number of cases increased because young people relaxed their vigilance and didn’t follow precautionary measures.
“Young people are not invincible. Young people can be infected. Young people can die. And young people can transmit the virus to others. That’s why young people must take the same precautions to protect themselves and protect others as everyone else,” said Tedros.
As of 18:03 Central European Summer Time on Thursday, there have been 16,812,755 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 662,095 deaths, reported the WHO. (Reuters)
Tokyo could declare a state of emergency if the coronavirus situation in the Japanese capital deteriorates further, its governor warned on Friday (July 31).
Yuriko Koike said Tokyo had confirmed 463 new cases on Friday – another single-day record – and implored residents to follow health guidelines to contain the spread of the virus.
“If the situation worsens, Tokyo would have to think about issuing its own state of emergency,” Koike told a news conference.
The Japanese government lifted the nationwide state of emergency in late May after Japan appeared to have contained the outbreak, touting its mask-wearing habits and health system as some of the factors that helped it fare better than Europe and the United States.
But the virus has made a worrying resurgence. The number of daily new cases in Japan hit a new record on Thursday (July 30), with infections spreading rapidly not only in Tokyo but also in other regions. (Reuters)
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