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

The altered face of Easter 2020

International | Stay-at-home orders and social distancing mark the culmination of Holy Week in Jerusalem and elsewhere
by Mindy Belz
Posted 4/09/20, 08:38 pm

ISRAEL: Jerusalem’s Via Dolorosa will be empty on Good Friday, as Christians around the world mark Holy Week events leading to Easter under the restrictions of COVID-19. Israel banned travel and imposed a curfew at the start of the Jewish Passover to encourage residents to stay home, but a Franciscan procession through the Old City will take place, with a downsized crowd and social distancing.

Elsewhere, Christians will mark Good Friday with a day of prayer and fasting, prepared meditations, and other vigils.

UNITED STATES: As of Wednesday, COVID-19 is the leading cause of death in the United States and is likely to remain among the top causes of death for the year. (UPDATE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesman Jeff Lancashire told CNN on Friday, “There are no data to support that theory.”) As the coronavirus death toll continues to rise rapidly, there are some signs that new cases may be leveling off. Deaths in New York City reached a one-day high on Wednesday of 799.

  • Most Americans first saw evidence of the coronavirus pandemic not in hospitals but in supermarkets, and truckers like Mathew Tubbs are part of an important global supply chain we depend on now more than ever.
  • Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs has put together a “Faith and COVID-19 Resource Repository” that looks helpful.
  • With New York traffic jams on lockdown, the average speed on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway has increased 288 percent.
  • Major stores across the United States will close on Easter Sunday.

YEMEN: The Saudi-led coalition has declared a unilateral cease-fire that could be extended beyond two weeks, out of concern for the spread of the coronavirus in one of the world’s most debilitating conflicts.

BRITAIN: Doctors have moved Prime Minister Boris Johnson out of intensive care, but he remains hospitalized. Dominic Raab, deputized to stand in for Johnson, is well known in Conservative ranks but inexperienced when it comes to making some of the momentous decisions he may be called to make.

Next week, Brits will launch a volunteer army deployed by the government to transport home health workers, deliver food, and other assignments. More than 750,000 people signed up within three days.

GERMANY: Iranian refugees are sewing face masks for the elderly at a furious clip, in a country with more than 118,000 COVID-19 cases and 2,600 deaths.

IRAN: The flow of refugees and migrants from Iran has been responsible for rapidly spreading cases of the coronavirus in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

RUSSIA: The United States, for the first time, has added to its terror list—a designation normally reserved for Islamist extremist groups—a Russian white supremacist group.

IRAQ: The U.S. State Department’s top diplomat for the Middle East warned that the threat from Iranian militias in Iraq remains “significant” for U.S. forces—as Iraq moved to name intelligence chief Mustafa al-Kadhimi as its next prime minister.

NOTE: Globe Trot will take a break on Easter Monday, returning Tuesday and Thursday next week. Have a blessed, safe, stay-home Easter, everyone.

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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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  • Gregory P
    Posted: Fri, 04/10/2020 12:18 pm

    Unless abortions willfully performed have declined dramatically, they remain the leadiing cause of deaths of human beings in the United States every day.