Globe Trot A summary of international news compiled by senior editor Mindy Belz

Boris is back to lead Britain

International | Key countries attempt reopening, plus other international news and notes
by Mindy Belz
Posted 4/27/20, 04:54 pm

BRITAIN: Prime Minister Boris Johnson returned to work on Monday after his battle with the coronavirus, appearing lighter and less intense, but he resisted calls to ease Britain’s lockdown measures. He also said Britain will not extend its deadline for negotiating a trade deal with the European Union following Brexit, despite the pandemic.

British health officials warn doctors that children are falling ill with a new and potentially fatal combination of symptoms that may be linked to COVID-19, including a sore stomach and heart problems appearing as a form of toxic shock syndrome.

AUSTRALIA launched a controversial tracing app, promising also to legislate privacy protections, as communities around the world with outbreaks of the coronavirus under control sought to ease restrictions and reopen.

Large churches reopened in South Korea, and Iran announced plans to reopen mosques in areas less affected by the outbreak. For the first time in six weeks, children are allowed to go outdoors in Spain.

UNITED STATES: In the early weeks of the pandemic, the United States recorded an estimated 15,400 excess deaths—deaths above historic norms—twice the number of COVID-19 deaths recorded during that time and possibly also attributed to the disease. Low counts of cases and deaths attributed to COVID-19 may give some states license to reopen their economies prematurely, while others argued the rest of the country should not pay for the health crisis largely centered in New York City.

After the White House coronavirus task force canceled its nightly briefing on Monday, the White House announced President Donald Trump will hold a news conference at 5 p.m. EDT.

Maryland’s emergency hotline has fielded “hundreds of calls” about the use of disinfectants to treat COVID-19, said Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, when President Donald Trump last week suggested injecting disinfectants “knocks it out in a minute.” After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others issued warnings about the dangers of ingesting disinfectants, the president said he was “asking the question sarcastically.”

Surveys of mostly Protestant U.S. churches show 65 percent have seen a decline in giving since mid-March—cuts that are “much deeper and far-reaching” than declines in previous recessions.

BRAZIL is becoming the world’s next COVID-19 hot spot, with deaths in reported cases nearing 4,300, and President Jair Bolsonaro may be in political hot water for continuing to insist it’s a relatively minor disease.

IRAN: Christian dissident and house church member Mary Mohammadi will not appeal a sentence of three months in prison and 10 lashes for “disturbing public order,” stemming from January protests in Tehran.

LEBANON: Early reports suggested Lebanon’s coronavirus outbreak came from government ally Iran, but now Maronite Christian communities are on lockdown, blamed for the spread by the country’s Hezbollah-aligned health minister. Protesters are defying curfews and restrictions to protest the continuing deterioration of the economy and a governing alliance led by Hezbollah.

NORTH KOREA: A flurry of reports over the weekend suggested leader Kim Jong Un might be dead or in a vegetative state following cardiac surgery. The “biggest risk factor” to his rule is his health, noted Kim biographer Anna Fifield, but his notable absence could stem from the country’s coronavirus outbreak, or other: “None of us will know until either North Korea tells us or he waddles back into view.”

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Mindy Belz

Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine's first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and now senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afganistan, Africa, and the Balkans, and she recounts some of her experiences in They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Mindy resides with her husband, Nat, in Asheville, N.C. Follow her on Twitter @mcbelz.

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  • OldMike
    Posted: Tue, 04/28/2020 01:24 pm

    Regarding Kim Jong Un, “None of us will know until either North Korea tells us or he waddles back into view.” 

    My laugh for the day!

  • NEWS2ME
    Posted: Tue, 04/28/2020 03:48 pm

    I liked that too.

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