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

Iran faces epidemic

International | The coronavirus continues to spread worldwide
by Mindy Belz
Posted 2/27/20, 02:17 pm

GLOBAL: The spread of the coronavirus causing the disease COVID-19 has killed at least 2,800 people and left more than 82,000 people infected on every continent except Antarctica. For those who already have been quarantined, the story isn’t over. Here’s where to look for the latest information if you are an international traveler.

IRAN: “Right now in Iran we are facing a coronavirus epidemic,” said a medical doctor at a hospital in Tehran. With 19 reported deaths the country’s health system is struggling to keep up. The deputy health minister who briefed reporters on Monday later said he too had been diagnosed with the disease. Researchers said Iran may have 18,000 cases, well beyond the number currently reported

SAUDI ARABIA has suspended travel to the holiest sites in Islam due to the coronavirus.

ITALY: With more than 370 cases and 12 deaths reported in five days’ time, red-zone communities like San Fiorano are coming together to survive closures and scarce supplies.

SOUTH SUDAN: “The President and all the Vice Presidents have forgiven each other,” read a statement from the first meeting of a new unity government, pledging to “embark on reconciliation, forgiveness and healing of our broken social fabric,” following a six-year civil war. President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar, along with four other leaders, said the government will support resettlement efforts, as an estimated 4.3 million displaced people are encouraged to return to their homes.

SYRIA: Nearly 1 million Syrians have fled an Assad government regime offensive in Idlib in the last month, heading straight into freezing temperatures and snow and adding to the country’s displaced population, which already numbers 12 million in the nearly nine-year war. “I just want my children to feel warm,” said Ahmad Yassin Leila, whose infant daughter froze to death.

Russian warplanes are carrying out airstrikes against Turkey and Turkey-backed rebel positions in Idlib, and Turkey is vowing not to retreat—in a last-battle scenario that may bring a showdown among major powers.

UNITED KINGDOM: Defenses in Ironbridge buckled, forcing evacuations, as the Severn River continues to rise.

CHINA: Legal scholar and opposition leader Xu Zhiyong has penned a letter, his second since 2012, to Chinese leader Xi Jinping, asking him to step down. “You talk up the Reform and Opening-Up policy at the same time that you are trying to resuscitate the corpse of Marxism-Leninism,” he wrote, stressing Xi’s inability to follow his own vision in leading the country. Chinese authorities again arrested Xu on Feb. 15 amid a growing crackdown.

INDIA: Despite the same kind of Hindu nationalist opposition in jail that they face when free, three Christians jailed in Uttar Pradesh took prayer requests and welcomed seekers who want to come to church once they’re out.

I’M READING: The Possibility of Prayer: Finding Stillness With God in a Restless World by John Starke.

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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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