The Queen’s speech
International | Britain and the United States brace for a grim week
by Mindy Belz
Posted 4/06/20, 01:20 pm
BRITAIN: In 1940, during the Blitz, 14-year-old Princess Elizabeth spoke to the nation by radio, giving a “message of sympathy” to British children evacuated from London to escape nightly bombings. On Sunday, the 93-year-old Queen Elizabeth again spoke to the nation at “an increasingly challenging time,” bolstering her subjects as the U.K. suffered its deadliest day with COVID-19.
“I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge,” she said. “And those who come after us will say the Britons of this generation were as strong as any.”
Hours after the queen’s speech, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to a London hospital as “a precautionary step,” 10 days after he tested positive for the coronavirus. Cases in the U.K. have topped 48,000 as deaths neared 5,000 on Monday. (Editor’s note: Johnson was later transferred to intensive care.)
UNITED STATES: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned of a surge in coronavirus cases this week, saying, “This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment.” The number of cases reported in the country has tripled the number reported elsewhere, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged all Americans to wear masks in public.
- Doctors and nurses who came to the United States as refugees and carry wartime experience are battle-tested assets in New York City’s fight against the pandemic.
- Outside New York, hot spots with high death tolls include Detroit; Chicago; King County, Wash.; and Bergen, N.J.
- At least 22,000 Americans are trying to get home from overseas as they face sudden border closures and flight cancellations. Americans leaving Peru, in particular, have been stranded. Elsewhere, U.S. diplomats have warned Americans living abroad, “U.S. citizens who wish to return to the United States should make commercial arrangements as soon as possible unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.”
INDIA’s 21-day lockdown continues with grim implications for daily wage workers and migrants. Death from lack of access to food and other resources may prove as deadly as COVID-19 to this population who live day to day.
- In India, 90 percent of residents are daily wage workers (less than one-fifth of U.S. workers are)—making health and economic impacts of the virus unique.
- Authorities have quarantined 9,000 people connected to a Muslim gathering linked to the country’s outbreak. Overnight Sunday, millions of Indians turned off their lights and together lit candles and flashlights in a show of unity.
CHINA: Authorities released human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang—jailed since 2015 for defending the rights of religious minorities—from prison on Sunday and immediately placed him in quarantine for 14 days, hundreds of miles from his family.
WORLD’s June Cheng recaps the evidence China has underreported coronavirus cases.
BANGLADESH: With humanitarian groups bracing for COVID-19 cases to spread in key refugee areas, 700,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, also known as Burma, are in 34 border camps served by one hospital, with six intensive care beds. As isolation wards are built inside the camps, the area is reporting (with very little testing) six deaths and 54 cases.
IRAQ: Gunmen in Nasiriyah assassinated protest leader Anwar Jassem Mhawwas, known as “Umm Abbas,” wounding also her two sons in the attack and reigniting tensions in the southern city, where the anti-government movement has not died down since last October. Protesters clashed with police over the weekend in a country on coronavirus lockdown.
FRANCE: Authorities launched a terror probe after a knife attack in the southeast allegedly committed by a Sudanese refugee left two people dead and five wounded.
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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.