Suifenhe enters lockdown and other stories

Map showing Sulfenhe. Image: Wikipedia

Chinese city, Suifenhe, enters lockdown as the rest of the country relaxes restrictions.

As the rest of China tentatively opens up its borders, Suifenhe, which borders with Russia, is entering lockdown.

This is due to an increase in coronavirus cases in the area.

1,000 miles from Beijing, citizens of Suifenhe have been ordered to stay inside except for essential grocery shopping, once every three days.

Yesterday, China reported 59 imported cases of Covid-19.

Of these 59 cases, 25 came from Suifenhe. 

The city has now closed its borders to people, allowing the movement of goods only. 

The government is in the process of building a 600 bed isolation hospital for the city. 


Rising concerns about the spread of coronavirus into Afghanistan.

Map of Afghanistan, bordered by Iran and Pakistan. Image: Institute for Security Policy and Law Screengrab

Officials are worried about the movement of people, travelling from Iran and Pakistan, back into Afghanistan.

The borders linking Iran and Pakistan to Afghanistan are notoriously porous and officials are struggling more than ever to control the movement of people.

150, 000 Afghans returned to Afghanistan, from Iran, in March. Iran is currently one of the countries worst hit by the virus.

Although Afghanistan has not been badly impacted by the virus, reporting only 423 cases and 14 deaths so far, it is uncertain what new swathes of movement could trigger.

Natasha Howard, associate professor of global health and conflict at the National University of Singapore said: 

With the numbers of likely infected people who have crossed the border, I expect the numbers of cases and deaths [in Afghanistan] to go up significantly.

More people will be pushed into poverty as a result of the coronavirus.

By Oxfam East Africa – Luli looks after her severely malnourished child Aden. Image: Wikipedia

Major food companies are warning that the spread of the coronavirus could double the number of people going hungry world-wide, unless world leaders act quickly.

As food supply chains become massively disrupted, certain groups around the world may face starvation.

Companies such as Unilever, Nestlé and PepsiCo, along with farmers’ organisations, the UN Foundation, academics, and civil society groups, are calling on world leaders to keep borders open for trade, investing in environmentally sustainable food production.

These groups have asked governments to, “take urgent coordinated action to prevent the Covid-19 pandemic turning into a global food and humanitarian crisis”.

Top economists have estimated that trillions of dollars will be needed to help developing countries cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The United Nations have also warned that the economic fallout from the coronavirus could increase global poverty by as much a half a billion.

This bleak finding comes from a their study into the financial and human cost of the pandemic.

Ceasefire announced in Yemen.

Today a ceasefire has been announced in Yemen between Houthi forces and the Saudi Arabian-led coalition.

Map Showing Yemen’s Divided Country. Image: Wikipedia

The ceasefire comes after UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged Yemen to stop fighting in an attempt to combat an outbreak of the coronavirus

The war in Yemen has been unfolding for the past 5 years, since March 2015. Today the coalition, backed by Western forces, and the Iranian-aligned Houthi forces, has agreed to a 2 week ceasefire.

The UN’s special envoy Martin Griffiths called upon the people of Yemen to work towards a nationwide de-escalation.

Mr Griffiths said: ‘The parties must now utilise this opportunity and cease immediately all hostilities with the utmost urgency.’

It’s hoped that both parties will now take part in a video conference to discuss the terms of the ceasefire.

The UN has proposed a halting of all air, ground and naval hostilities.

Today marks a significant stage in the conflict in Yemen and a potential gateway for peace.

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