A Black high school student in North Carolina was forced to cut her hair during a softball game last month, after umpires said beads in her braids violated rules set by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFSHS).“It was humiliating,” Nicole Pyles told the Raleigh News & Observer. “Why do I have to take away from myself just to play this game where we are actually doing well? I’m embarrassed because you pick on me in front of all these people for no reason.”Rather than leave the game, Pyles decided to let teammates cut her hair. A video of someone asking the crowd if anyone had scissors was widely shared on social media.In its uniform policy for softball, the NFSHS permits “flat items, no longer than two inches, used to control the hair, such as bobby pins, barrettes and hair clips”. The rules do not account for religious or ethnic considerations.“Who else wears beads?” Pyles said. “Only black girls. People who have coarse hair.”One umpire in the softball game was white and one was Black.A Durham public schools investigation concluded the rule was “culturally biased”. The district said the rule should be changed to be more inclusive and said it supported Pyles.The student’s father, Julius Pyles, told the News & Observer the investigation “should have happened when the incident took place, it shouldn’t have taken this long. This is an incident that should have been addressed immediately.”According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Black school students are disproportionately disciplined across the US.In Texas last year, two Black students with braids were suspended for having hair that went below the top of their shirt collars. The school district kept the policy in place.Nine states – Washington, California, Colorado, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia – have made hair discrimination illegal in schools and workplaces.In Congress, the Crown (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act passed the House in September. It awaits its fate in the Senate.
Kenya’s High Court ruled a drive by President Uhuru Kenyatta to change the constitution was illegal, stopping a move critics say was designed to check his deputy, whom he has fallen out with publicly.
Parliament already passed the proposed amendments – popularly known as the Building Bridges Initiative – which mark the biggest change to the East African nation’s government structure since a new constitution was adopted in 2010.
However, issuing a ruling on several challenges lodged by various parties, a five-judge bench of the court said on Thursday that Kenyatta used a constitutional provision reserved for citizens to initiate the changes, making the process illegal.
“The constitutional amendment bill is an initiative of the president and the law is clear that the president does not have the constitutional mandate to initiate any constitutional changes through popular initiative,” the court said in its ruling.
As a result “civil proceedings can be instituted against the president for violating the constitution, by initiating its amendment,” the judges added.
“The president cannot be both player and umpire in the same match,” said Jairus Ngaah, one of the judges.
The government, which wants to hold a referendum after Kenyatta signs the bill into law, said it will appeal the ruling.
Kenyatta says the bill promotes the sharing of power among competing ethnic groups to reduce cyclical election violence and is not targeting anyone.
It will create 70 new constituencies, return the role of cabinet ministers to elected members of parliament, and create several powerful new posts: a prime minister, two deputies and an official leader of the parliamentary opposition.
Allies of Deputy President William Ruto, right, have loudly opposed the constitutional changes bill [File: Reuters]
Kenyatta initiated the changes with the backing of former prime minister Raila Odinga, after the two made peace in January 2018 following a divisive presidential election the previous year in which the president beat Odinga.
The rapprochement isolated Kenyatta’s deputy, William Ruto, who wants to succeed his boss when he steps down next year after serving the two constitutionally allowed five-year terms.
The constitutional amendments are partly designed to tame the political ambitions of the Kalenjin ethnic group’s Ruto, by making it possible to cobble together an alliance against him, said John Githongo, a prominent anti-graft campaigner.
“It is very clear that some of these alignments are to sideline him,” he said.
Ruto’s allies have loudly opposed the constitutional changes bill in parliament and outside.
“I don’t think we have a constitutional problem in Kenya… The biggest problem in Kenya is an economic problem,” Ndindi Nyoro, a pro-Ruto parliamentarian, said on the local Citizen TV.
The next presidential election will be held in 2022 and Kenyatta, having served two terms, is not eligible to stand again.
Ruto said the constitutional reform will create a system allowing Kenyatta and Odinga, respectively Kikuyu and Luo, the two main ethnic groups in the country, to share power.
Israeli ground troops are massing on the border with Gaza after another night of violence.Palestinian militants have fired more rockets into Israel, while Israeli air strikes have continued in Gaza. There have also been further street clashes.Read more: Fear grips Israel and Gaza as violence worsens
Beachgoers sunbathe and swim at a beach in Portimao, Algarve region, Portugal.NurPhoto | NurPhoto | Getty ImagesLONDON — The tables have turned for the Portuguese hotel industry on one announcement. The U.K. government said on Friday that from May 17 travelers from England will not need to quarantine when returning from Portugal. They will have to take a Covid PCR test within two days of their arrival in the U.K.— but this is a much simpler process compared to the rules applied to other destinations. Though rules might change depending on how the epidemiological situation develops, U.K. tourists were quick to jump on the opportunity to book a vacation abroad.It’s been “absolute madness in terms of (booking) requests,” Katya Bauval, executive director of sales at the Vila Vita Parc hotel in the Algarve, south of Portugal, told CNBC over the phone.She said that “bookings literally tripled in demand since Friday.”Portugal’s largest hotel chain, Pestana, has experienced a similar rush for reservations. “There’s been a very substantial increase in bookings,” Jose Theotonio, CEO of Pestana Hotel Group, told CNBC on Wednesday.Pestana said demand jumped 250% since Friday and rose by 475% in external booking operators. Consumers are mainly opting for places in the Algarve and Porto Santo, a small island in the archipelago of Madeira.The preference of consumers is “clearly sunny destinations,” Theotonio said.This signal from the British government has motivated other bookings.Jose TheotonioCEO of Pestana Hotel GroupPortugal also appeared to benefit from the inclusion of relatively few other popular European vacation destinations on the U.K.’s least restricted “green list.”Spain, Italy and Greece — just to name some of the other competing destinations in the south of Europe — have not yet been added to the U.K.’s top traffic light list. Instead, these countries have been left on the U.K.’s “amber” list, meaning that if U.K. tourists travel to Spain, Italy or Greece they will then be required to self-isolate for 10 days on returning home.”It was to Portugal’s advantage that Greece, Spain aren’t on the list,” Bauval said.’Motivated other bookings’Portugal has become a hotspot for international visitors in recent years. In 2019, the country welcomed 24.6 million visitors — a 7.9% growth from the previous year, according to the country’s national statistics office.The U.K. represented the biggest market for tourist stays in Portugal, accounting for 18.8% of the total number of nights in the country. This was followed by Germany, which was 12.3% of the total stays, and Spain, which accounted for 11%.A woman sunbathes at a beach in Sagres, Algarve region, Portugal on July 29, 2020. Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has promised to visit the Algarve every week this summer to help the regions struggling tourism sector overcome the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the UK governments decision to include mainland Portugal in its travel blacklist. (Photo by Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto via Getty Images)NurPhoto | NurPhoto | Getty ImagesBut the country’s tourism industry came to a complete halt in the wake of the coronavirus. The summer season experienced a later start in 2020 and continued at a much slower pace compared to previous years. Portugal was also forced to introduce a second lockdown at the start of 2021 due to a sharp increase in the number of Covid infections, but the strict measures have now been eased.”This signal from the British government has motivated other bookings,” Theotonio also said, noting that the recent surge in demand has also come from tourists in Germany, Spain and the domestic market too.U.S. tourists will take longer to come backThere’s also a common feature in recent hotel bookings: its immediacy. Visitors have mainly been booking a stay for May and June.This type of booking is “even more important,” according to Theotonio as it reduces the likelihood that people will need to cancel their plans.Portugal has also attracted many non-EU visitors in recent years. In 2019, there was a jump of 21.3% in the number of stays from American tourists; a 16.8% increase from China; and a rise of 14.9% from Brazil.But this demand will take longer to come back.”We feel it will take some time,” Bauval said, explaining how Vila Vita Parc had to shift its focus in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic to attract more Europeans. This is despite the announcement from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that vaccinated Americans will be able to visit Europe this summer.”We don’t have illusions,” Theotonio said, expecting only a “gradual” return to pre-pandemic activity levels.Tourists pull luggage as they walk towards a hotel at Villamoura beach in Villamoura, Algarve region, Portugal.Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The head of the Indian Medical Association has warned his fellow citizens against the practice of covering themselves in cow dung as a treatment for Covid-19, as the nation’s seven-day case rate reaches a new high.
On Tuesday, India’s seven-day average case count for Covid-19 reached a record high of 390,995 as the World Health Organization labeled the Indian strain of the virus a “variant of concern.” With hospitals already at breaking point and oxygen supplies being rationed, doctors have reiterated their warning against alternative treatments and preventative measures which have become popular across India.The practice of applying a cow dung and urine mixture to one’s skin and waiting for it to dry, before washing it off with milk or buttermilk, is particularly concerning to doctors.
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“There is no concrete scientific evidence that cow dung or urine work to boost immunity against Covid-19, it is based entirely on belief,” Dr JA Jayalal, national president at the Indian Medical Association, told Reuters on Tuesday.“There are also health risks involved in smearing or consuming these products – other diseases can spread from the animal to humans,” he added.Those involved in the ritual either hug or honor the cows while the pack is drying, and even practice yoga in their presence to boost energy levels.Gautam Manilal Borisa, an associate manager at a pharmaceuticals company, told Reuters that the practice helped him recover from Covid-19 last year. “We see … even doctors come here. Their belief is that this therapy improves their immunity and they can go and tend to patients with no fear.”In March, Madhya Pradesh Culture Minister Usha Thakur claimed that ‘havan’ (ritual burning) of cow dung could sanitize a house from Covid-19 for 12 hours.
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More than 1,000 test positive for Covid-19 in just 48 hours as Indian pilgrims descend on holy city in ‘super-spreader’ event
For Hindus, who form around 80% of India’s 1.3 billion population, the cow is a sacred animal and has been incorporated into several religious rituals. It is believed that the cow is representative of divine and natural beneficence. Cow’s dung is even used to clean homes and in prayer rituals.In March and April, millions of Hindus descended on Haridwar and the Ganges river where the Kumbh Mela pilgrimage was being observed. Thousands of Covid-19 cases were recorded as millions of pilgrims travelled to the city to take a dip in the holy river.According to the health ministry, there were a further 329,942 on Tuesday. Deaths from the disease rose by 3,876.If you like this story, share it with a friend!
The EU’s Commissioner for Home Affairs has called on Turkey to “deliver” on the migrant deal agreed with Ankara after meeting the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees to discuss how to manage the situation across the bloc.
Speaking at a joint press conference with UN High Commissioner Filippo Grandi, the EU’s Ylva Johansson called on Turkey to deliver on the “still valid” deal “as it stands”, by preventing the departure of refugees travelling from Turkey into Europe, and accepting the return of migrants from Greece.The EU official’s comments come amid ongoing discussions with the UN, member states and Turkey over how to resolve the issue of migrants trying to illegally enter European countries.Over the weekend of May 8 and 9 alone, hundreds of migrants arrived on Italy’s southern island of Lampedusa in the hope of securing admission into the bloc.EU and Turkey have been at loggerheads over the issue of migration, with each accusing the other of failing to uphold the agreement made in 2016 which would see Ankara prevent refugees travelling through Turkey into the bloc, in return for billions in aid.
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Brussels has accused Turkey of simply allowing migrants to overflow from its nation into Europe, negating the agreement, whereas Ankara has argued they cannot cope with the growing influx of refugees with the initial aid provided anymore, having taken in three times as many Syrians as the whole EU.There is currently no clear resolution on the issue, though the UN is calling for nations “to show solidarity towards Italy and to help in the situation” amid the influx of arrivals.Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
Israel’s supreme court has delayed a deeply contentious decision on whether Jewish settlers can evict Palestinians by force from their homes, after some of the worst unrest in Jerusalem in years during which hundreds of Palestinians have been wounded in confrontations with the police.The latest clashes erupted outside the Old City overnight on Saturday, and a former Israeli defence official described the atmosphere as like a powder keg ready to explode at any time.At least 120 people were injured, including a one-year-old child, and 14 were taken to hospital, according to the Palestine Red Crescent. Israeli police said 17 officers were hurt.Islamic authorities estimated 90,000 people had gathered for night-time prayers at the holy city’s al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. Saturday night’s violence came a day after more than 200 people were wounded in fighting around the mosque, prompting international calls for calm.Tensions in Jerusalem had soared in recent days, before the expected Israeli court ruling on Monday on whether authorities can evict dozens of Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood and give their homes to Jewish settlers.On Sunday afternoon, in light of the tensions and after a request from the attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, the supreme court agreed to delay the hearing. It said it should be held within a month.Still, the hiatus might not be enough to end the crisis. Inflaming the situation, Israelis will mark Jerusalem Day on Monday, celebrating the anniversary of when troops captured the city in 1967, including its majority-Arab neighbourhoods.Amos Gilad, an ex-head of military intelligence and former top defence ministry official, said the parade should be cancelled or rerouted. “The powder keg is burning and can explode at any time,” he told Army Radio.Palestinians have also complained of oppressive restrictions on gatherings during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.Police defended their actions after dispersing a protest in Sheikh Jarrah on Saturday night, where demonstrators had thrown stones at security forces. Earlier, before Laylat al-Qadr, considered to be the holiest night during Ramadan, police had blocked busloads of pilgrims headed to Jerusalem to worship.Palestinian medics said Palestinians were wounded by rubber bullets, stun grenades or beatings, among them a woman whose face was bloodied.Police chief Kobi Shabtai said he had deployed more officers in Jerusalem after Friday night’s clashes, which left 18 police wounded. After weeks of nightly violence, Israelis and Palestinians were bracing for more conflict in the coming days.“The right to demonstrate will be respected but public disturbances will be met with force and zero tolerance. I call on everyone to act responsibly and with restraint,” Shabtai said.On the frontier with Gaza, troops fired teargas towards Palestinian protesters, as officials said three incendiary balloons were launched into Israel, causing fires but no injuries.On Friday, riot police stormed the al-Aqsa mosque compound after they said Palestinians threw rocks and fireworks at officers.The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, defended the police actions. “Israel is acting responsibly to ensure respect for law and order in Jerusalem while allowing freedom of worship,” he said in a meeting of security officials.The violence was the worst in years at al-Aqsa, Islam’s holiest site after Mecca and Medina. Jerusalem has long been the centre of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, with its holy sites revered by Jews and Muslims.The Old City’s Western Wall forms part of the holiest site in Judaism – the Temple Mount. It is equally part of the al-Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, however, with the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque above it.Palestinians have held nightly protests in Sheikh Jarrah against an attempt by Israeli settlers to take over Arab homes.Dozens of Arab Israeli protesters gathered across Israel in solidarity with Sheikh Jarrah residents, holding up signs that read “the occupation is terrorism”.A reporter for Israeli public TV tweeted footage of a Jewish driver whose car was attacked with stones and windows shattered at the entrance to Sheikh Jarrah on Saturday.The Islamist movement Hamas, which rules Gaza, urged Palestinians to remain at al-Aqsa until Ramadan ends, saying: “The resistance is ready to defend al-Aqsa at any cost”.The quartet of envoys from the EU, Russia, US and the United Nations expressed deep concern over the violence. “We call upon Israeli authorities to exercise restraint,” they wrote.The US said it was extremely concerned and urged both sides to “avoid steps that exacerbate tensions or take us farther away from peace”.The EU called on the authorities “to act urgently to de-escalate the current tensions”.The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, said he held the Israeli government responsible for the unrest and voiced “full support for our heroes in al-Aqsa”.Yair Lapid, an Israeli politician attempting to form a coalition government to replace Netanyahu, backed the police. “The state of Israel will not let violence run loose and definitely will not allow terror groups to threaten it,” he tweeted.The al-Aqsa clashes drew sharp rebukes across the Arab and Muslim world.Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, denounced Israel as a “cruel terrorist state” in a speech in Ankara on Saturday, calling on the UN to intervene to “stop the persecution”.Jordan condemned Israel’s “barbaric attack” and Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia, Pakistan and Qatar were among Muslim countries that criticised Israeli forces for the confrontation.Israel also drew criticism from Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, two countries that signed normalisation accords with the Jewish state last year.Iran called on the UN to condemn the Israeli police actions, calling the actions of Israeli police a “war crime”.
Thousands of worshippers head to Al-Aqsa, the day after Israeli police stormed the mosque and injured 205 Palestinians.Tensions are high in occupied East Jerusalem as thousands of Palestinian worshippers head to Al-Aqsa Mosque for the sacred Muslim night of Laylat al-Qadr, the day after Israeli forces stormed the holy site and injured more than 200 Palestinians.
Israel has announced it was beefing up security around the mosque compound ahead of expected protests over the potential eviction of Palestinians from Jerusalem homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers.
Tensions have mounted in the city, the occupied West Bank and Gaza throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, amid growing anger over the eviction orders.
Israeli border guards have over the past few days used skunk water, tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and shock grenades to disperse sit-ins held in support of the families facing eviction.
At least 205 Palestinians and 18 Israeli officers were injured in Friday’s confrontations, which drew international condemnations and calls for calm.
Here are all the latest updates:
38 mins ago (18:37 GMT)
What can stop Palestinians getting evicted from Sheikh Jarrah?
Although Sheikh Jarrah makes up just a tiny part of occupied East Jerusalem, the area is a major source of tension between Palestinians and Israelis.
A recent order to evict Palestinian families has triggered days of violent protests.
Despite international calls for restraint, the protests are intensifying. So why is the Sheikh Jarrah dispute so contentious?
Click here to learn more.
48 mins ago (18:27 GMT)
Arab-Israeli NGO urges end to incursions on Al-Aqsa Mosque
An Arab-Israeli NGO has called on senior Israeli officials to order security forces to halt their “violent incursions” into the Al-Aqsa Mosque and refrain from using excessive force against Palestinian worshippers and medical personnel.
In a letter to Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and Israeli Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, lawyer Wesam Sharaf of Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel said the incursions endangered the lives of worshippers, and violated their right to freedom of worship.
“There is no need to overstate the constitutional status of the right to worship,” Sharaf wrote.
“The [Israeli police’s] dispersal of prayer sessions using excessive force and disproportionate and abusive means constitutes a grave violation of the constitutional right of worshippers to freedom of worship, in a manifestly disproportionate manner.”
Jehad Qaws’s daughter asks him about her toy before he’s detained by Israeli police on Saturday. Several Palestinians were rounded up in occupied J’lem following the flare up in AlAqsa Mosque compound on the last Friday of Ramadan. pic.twitter.com/wSHGiZhhxE
— Rania Zabaneh (@RZabaneh) May 8, 2021
52 mins ago (18:22 GMT)
‘Not $1’: US lawmaker urges end to complicity in Israeli abuses
Over the past several years, US Congresswoman Betty McCollum has tried to spur a debate in the United States about the billions of dollars that Washington sends to Israel each year.
The Democrat from Minnesota wants to know more about just where the money is going, while ensuring that Israel is not using US military assistance to commit human rights abuses against Palestinians.
Last month, McCollum introduced her latest bill, which aims to get guarantees that US aid is not used in abuses against Palestinian children, the destruction of Palestinian property, the removal of Palestinians from the occupied West Bank, or Israel’s attempts to further annex Palestinian land.
Read more here.
These horrific attacks on Palestinian worshippers come as the Israeli military plan to evict more than 500 Palestinians from their homes in the illegally occupied East Jerusalem.
We should all be speaking up for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people #SaveSheikhJarrah https://t.co/wFbYWPbfXs
— Zarah Sultana MP (@zarahsultana) May 8, 2021
1 hour ago (18:08 GMT)
Israeli police block buses of Israeli-Palestinians heading to Al-Aqsa
Israel’s national police chief announced that he was beefing up forces in Jerusalem ahead of expected disturbances in the coming days following Friday’s protests.
Incredible sight: Thousands of Palestinian citizens in Israel make way on foot to Al-Aqsa after Israeli police blocked their buses. Tonight is the Night of Kadir, one of the holiest nights in Islam. The Israeli police are working hard again to cause chaos. pic.twitter.com/GN06QmZ4JJ
— Louis Fishman لوي فيشمان לואי פישמן (@Istanbultelaviv) May 8, 2021
Thousands of Palestinians were expected to return to Al-Aqsa Mosque after dark fell for the sacred Muslim night of Laylat al-Qadr.
Television footage showed buses of Muslim worshippers from Israeli Arab cities being stopped by police on the main highway to Jerusalem.
Word of the roadblock spread on social media, drawing hundreds of young men from nearby Arab villages and Jerusalem.
A French Tricolor flag hands from the Arc de Triomphe.China News Service | China News Service | Getty ImagesLONDON — Unlike other euro nations, France doesn’t have any plans to significantly reduce its public debt in the near future.But market watchers and economists don’t seem bothered. The second largest euro area economy predicts that its public debt ratio is likely to stand at 117.8% in 2021, and to fall only slightly to 116.3% in 2022. Estimates from Goldman Sachs suggest the French debt pile will remain at the same levels until at least 2024.”France stands out as the only large euro area country where we, and external forecasters, do not project a significant reduction in the debt-to-GDP ratio by the end of our forecast horizon,” analysts at the investment bank said in a note in April.”We expect French government debt of 116% in 2024, down only slightly from 2020 levels, while we look for a notable decline in Germany, from 71% to 68% and Italy from 156% to 151%,” they added.France has long struggled with high levels of debt and the pandemic has naturally made the situation worse. Its long history of debt is one of the reasons why economists believe there won’t be a massive improvement in the coming years.France has not seen a “consistent debt decline in decades,” Sarah Carlson, senior vice president at Moody’s, told CNBC on Tuesday.Data collected by the International Monetary Fund shows France’s debt growing since 2010, when it stood at about 85% — above the EU’s recommended threshold of below 60% of debt to GDP (gross domestic product).Jessica Hinds, economist at Capital Economics, said there are two main reasons why France has posted high levels of debt: It runs persistent primary budget deficits and its sluggish economic growth has made it harder for the government to reduce the debt burden.”Over 2010 to 2019 as a whole, France’s borrowing costs have on average been a touch lower than nominal GDP growth between 2010 to 2019. But the persistent primary budget deficit (government borrowing) has meant that despite this the debt ratio has not fallen, it has merely stabilised at a high level,” she said.In addition, Goldman Sachs also said that its research “has shown that over history French fiscal policy has tended to respond less to rising debt than other major euro area countries.”This is likely to remain the case as the country gears up for a new presidential election next year and as the country keeps fighting the Covid-induced crisis.At this stage, I would be more worried about a premature return to austerity.Jessica Hindseconomist at Capital Economics”We do not expect France to adopt a new fiscal rule until after next year’s elections, as we think President Macron is unlikely to push through a fiscal consolidation agenda ahead of the election,” Goldman Sachs said.But ultimately analysts think it doesn’t make a huge difference that France is not focused on tackling its debt for now. This is because interest rates are low and fiscal stimulus is needed to address the economic crisis.”At this stage, I would be more worried about a premature return to austerity that could hold back the economic recovery rather than a slow reduction in the debt burden,” Jessica Hinds, economist at Capital Economics, told CNBC via email.Carlson from Moody’s, also said that “what matters is debt affordability” — the ratio of annual interest payments to keep a government’s debt to its annual tax revenues. And she added that France is able to finance itself at cheaper prices now than back in 2015.The yield on the 10-year French government bond is currently trading at about 0.153% versus 1.2% at its 2015-peak.
The Cambodian government has lifted the three-week lockdown imposed on the country’s capital Phnom Penh, allowing life in the city to return to normality despite Covid-19 infection rates continuing to climb across the country.
The decision to remove the lockdown measures was followed by a warning from Phnom Penh’s deputy governor that residents “should not be negligent” about exercising caution despite the easing of measures.The government lifted restrictions in parts of Cambodia after residents grew frustrated at how the lockdown had cut off their ability to earn money or access food supplies, with jobs and markets closed under the health measures.However, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) representative in the region, Li Ailan, has warned that Cambodia could be moving too quickly, and lifting restrictions could result in “a possible surge.”Street barricades in yellow zones where infection rates are lower have been removed, so traffic and pedestrians can move freely again, whereas red and orange zones with higher rates remain under lockdown for another week, until May 12.
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Case numbers and fatalities have continued to climb to record highs in Cambodia of late, with data provided to the WHO on April 26 showing 4,545 new infections – higher in the country than any previous point of the pandemic – and 29 deaths in the past seven days.The country of 16.9 million was largely unaffected by the virus until the start of 2021 when case numbers and deaths began to climb. To help tackle Covid-19, Cambodian officials launched a vaccination program earlier this year, with over 2 million doses already administered and 1.5 million more set to arrive from China later in May.Like this story? Share it with a friend!