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Trump threatens action against China over COVID-19 - Al Jazeera America
Putting blame on China, US is reportedly looking into taking action against China over coronavirus outbreak.
While some individual states have already filed suits against China, the administration of US President Donald Trump is reportedly considering measures against China for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Trump's position is that China could have done more to warn and protect the world from the pandemic. Such measures could worsen already strained relations between Washington and Beijing. Al Jazeera's John Hendren reports from Chicago in the US state of Illinois.
UK coronavirus death toll surges 621 in 24 hours - Al Jazeera English
More than 28,130 people killed by COVID-19 in UK, now closely behind Italy as Europe's hardest-hit nation.
The United Kingdom's coronavirus death toll rose 621 in one day to 28,131 - a few hundred below Italy which has so far had the world's second most deadly outbreak after the United States. The government said 182,260 people have tested positive for COVID-19, up 4,806 on Friday. But hospital admissions have fallen. More: Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday said the country had "passed the peak" of the virus, as he comes under mounting pressure to ease lockdown restrictions imposed in late March. A review is expected this Thursday and Johnson said the government would outline a plan to lift social distancing measures that would keep transmission rates down. "The very strong advice today is that moment has not yet come," Housing Minister Robert Jenrick told a daily briefing announcing the latest figures. In the meantime, the public should remain at home except to shop for essential groceries, medicine or to exercise, he added. Lockdown resistance As the UK shadows Italy for the grim status of being the worst-hit country in Europe, Johnson is facing criticism from opposition parties who say his government stumbled in the early stages of the outbreak. Johnson, 55, initially resisted introducing a lockdown to restrict economic and public activity, but changed course when projections showed that one-quarter of a million people could die. Johnson himself battled COVID-19 last month, spending three days in intensive care. He returned to work on Monday, telling the nation that people around the world were looking at the UK's "apparent success". The US has had 64,740 deaths, followed by Italy with 28,710, and the UK at 28,131 and then Spain with 25,100. Italy, which has a population of 60 million, said its death toll rose 474 on Saturday. The UK has a population of about 67 million. Tests to ease lockdown Johnson said the country is over the peak but it is still too early to relax the lockdown he imposed on March 23 because there could be a second peak that he fears might overwhelm hospitals. The $3 trillion British economy, the world's fifth-largest, is stalling and Johnson is expected this week to present a possible way to get the country back to work without triggering a second spike in cases. He has set five tests that must be met before he can lift the lockdown - with a reduction in the daily death toll and prevention of a second deadly peak among the key ones. Government scientists say while the daily death tolls show a downward trend they expect them to plateau for a while.
Eastern Europeans flown in for 'vital' jobs on UK, German farms - Al Jazeera English
Charter flights bring Eastern European workers to the UK and Germany after farms fail to recruit enough local workers.
London, United Kingdom - Seasonal workers from Romania were flown into the United Kingdom on a special charter flight on Thursday evening to help fill a huge shortage of workers to pick fruits and vegetables on the country's farms. A flight from Bucharest, operated by Air Charter Service (ACS), touched down at Stansted Airport near London at around 5pm, carrying 150 people from Romania, Glenn Phillips from ACS tells Al Jazeera. Workers were then taken by bus to farms in the Midlands and the South East. More: Farms across Europe are facing an acute labour deficit as a result of the travel bans that have been in place since mid-March amid the coronavirus outbreak. Farmers are deeply concerned about rotting crops, rising prices and a shortage of fresh fruits and vegetables. Britain following Germany The UK is following the example of Germany, where a programme allowing the arrival of 80,000 migrant workers over the course of two months has been under way since April 2. ACS has already operated a total of 13 flights in the past three weeks, five of which have been in the past couple of days, carrying a total of 18,740 workers from Romania and Bulgaria to Germany, says Phillips.
UK doctor who urged PM to provide protective gear dies of virus - Al Jazeera English
Abdul Chowdhury, the latest doctor to die of coronavirus, warned PM Johnson to provide NHS workers with adequate PPE.
London, United Kingdom - A British doctor who warned United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson that health workers on the front line did not have enough personal protection equipment (PPE) has died of COVID-19. Abdul Mabud Chowdhury, a 53-year-old consultant in the urology department at Queen Elizabeth hospital in Romford, worked for the NHS for more than 20 years after migrating from Bangladesh. He died on Wednesday aged 53 after spending 15 days in hospital. More: In a Facebook post on March 18 directly addressing Johnson, Chowdhury urged the prime minister to provide PPE for "each and every NHS health worker in the UK", as he called for him to fast-track testing for medical staff. Doctors, nurses and other workers who are in direct contact with patients were trying to help, he wrote, "but we are also human beings [with] human rights like others [trying] to live in this world disease free with our family and children." While he appreciated moral support being given to NHS workers, "we have to protect ourselves and our families and kids in this global disaster crisis by using appropriate PPE and remedies," he said. "I hope we are by default entitled to get this minimal support for our safe medical practice." Adnan Pavel, Chowdhury's friend, described him as an "enthusiastic" mentor to young British Bangladeshi men in the UK and a selfless philanthropist to vulnerable people in Bangladesh. "He was such a good man. He was always very helpful to everyone. He was a man with life," Pavel told Al Jazeera. Last year, Pavel and Chowdhury delivered a motivational speech to British Bangladeshi men who had just graduated or were about to apply to university. "He wanted to inspire them so that they could fulfil their calibre and become a successful doctor, engineer, journalist, academic, lawyer or accountant," he said. "Because Dr Chowdhury was a senior doctor, he always actively helped junior doctors so that they could fulfil their career aspirations as well." "He personally initiated many medical projects in remote villages in Bangladesh [providing] free medical treatment." On February 8, Pavel interviewed Chowdhury for a TV programme on a Bangladeshi community channel, NTV Europe, about concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. "Dr Chowdhury started talking about the [coronavirus] issue from the very beginning, asking why the British government and other European countries weren't taking rigorous and strict measures to control it. "He was worried developing countries like Bangladesh will be the worst victim of this crisis because of economic issues and improvised healthcare issues," said Pavel. Chowdhury's death came amid mounting concerns that medical workers are not receiving adequate PPE. Some have claimed that they have had to share PPE, while reports in UK media suggest some nurses have resorted to using bin bags as aprons. Asif Munaf, an acute medical registrar who works across the East Midlands, told Al Jazeera: "We've learned from the countries such as Taiwan and South Korea that full PPE for front line staff is absolutely crucial in circumventing the patient-staff spread as well as more general surface contact spread. "This has resulted in fewer healthcare staff deaths than would otherwise have transpired. "Despite the stark warnings from Italian doctors as well as our own NHS front line, most notably Dr Chowdhury who has passed away this week after his posting a Facebook status about his concerns, the government seem to be deploying an 'it will be ok' attitude in the face of a growing crisis. "How many more front line deaths will we have to seen before adequate PPE is rolled out across the NHS?"