‘Massive’ Numbers Of Afghan Migrants Returning Home From Sickened Iran Create Fear During Persian New Year
Many Afghanistan residents are defying orders not to congregate during their holiday celebrations raising fears among government officials that the spread of the virus could create numbers of cases like those seen in Wuhan. “The nature of this society is a very close physical one,” said a migration official. “People touch one another a lot; they live in multigenerational families.” More global news comes from France, Italy, Japan, India, and China, as well.
The New York Times:
Fresh From Iran’s Coronavirus Zone, Now Moving Across Afghanistan
Afghanistan has already imported its epidemic. And each day it adds to it, as thousands more displaced Afghans continue to flow across the border from Iran, which has reported among the world’s highest numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths. The returnees, some surely infected with the coronavirus when in Iran, cluster shoulder to shoulder in massive crowds on both sides of the crossing, where toilet facilities are primitive and soap and potable water are scarce. (Faizi and Zucchino, 3/26)
The Associated Press:
In Iran, False Belief A Poison Fights Virus Kills Hundreds
Standing over the still body of an intubated 5-year-old boy wearing nothing but a plastic diaper, an Iranian health care worker in a hazmat suit and mask begged the public for just one thing: Stop drinking industrial alcohol over fears about the new coronavirus. The boy, now blind after his parents gave him toxic methanol in the mistaken belief it protects against the virus, is just one of hundreds of victims of an epidemic inside the pandemic now gripping Iran. (Karimi and Gambrell, 3/27)
The New York Times:
For France, Coronavirus Tests A Vaunted Health Care System
One of the world’s best health care systems is facing its severest test ever, and whether it succeeds will say much about the ultimate adequacy of a well-funded, well-equipped and broadly accessible national treatment plan. If France’s experiment in confining its citizens — less rigorous than the Chinese, more precocious than the Italian, far more organized than the American — yields the hoped-for flattening of the curve, it would be vindication not just for the underlying system, but for a Western democracy’s organized effort to combat the coronavirus. The verdict is still weeks away. (Nossiter, 3/27)
The Washington Post:
Italy’s New Coronavirus Cases Are Slowing. How Soon Will Normal Life Return?
Italy's nationwide lockdown is showing the first small signs of payoff. The number of coronavirus cases is still rising, but at the lowest day-on-day pace since the outbreak began. The World Health Organization calls the slowdown encouraging. The health chief in the hardest-hit region says there's "light at the end of the tunnel." The temptation, for a cooped-up and stressed-out country, is to embrace the first sign that the crisis may at last be easing. (Harlan and Pitrelli, 3/26)
The New York Times:
‘We Take The Dead From Morning Till Night’
No country has been hit harder by the coronavirus than Italy, and no province has suffered as many losses as Bergamo. Photos and voices from there evoke a portrait of despair. (Bucciarelli, 3/26)
The New York Times:
Japan’s Virus Success Has Puzzled The World. Is Its Luck Running Out?
Japan had only a few dozen confirmed coronavirus infections when the 30-something nurse with a slight sore throat boarded a bus to Osaka, the country’s third-largest city, to attend a Valentine’s weekend performance by pop bands at a music club. Less than two weeks later, she tested positive for the virus, and the authorities swiftly alerted others who had been at the club. As more infections soon emerged from three other music venues in the city, officials tested concertgoers and their close contacts, and urged others to stay home. All told, 106 cases were linked to the clubs, and nine people are still hospitalized. (Rich and Ueno, 3/26)
Weeks Of Anguish And A 'Black Box': Inside Tokyo's Decision To Delay The Olympics
Officials in charge of staging Tokyo’s Olympic Games crowded around a low table inside Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s residence late Tuesday, wincing as they spoke by phone with the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Minutes later, Abe emerged to inform a gaggle of reporters that he had just spoken with Thomas Bach, the IOC’s president, and that they had agreed to officially delay the Tokyo Olympics. The evening call between Abe and Bach concluded days and weeks of negotiations between Tokyo and Lausanne, where the IOC is based, and came after repeated public denials by Japanese officials that a pandemic might derail the Games. (Takemoto and Grohmann, 3/26)
Covid-19 Hasn't Hit India Widely. But I Saw More Warnings There Than In U.S.
I grab my grandfather’s cellphone to call the corner shop and make sure it’s open, but before I hear the grocer’s voice, I hear a loud, off-putting cough. That was the abrupt start of a pre-recorded government PSA. The phone message listed off symptoms of Covid-19 — including that cough — and offered guidance for anyone suspecting they or someone they knew was infected. Only then would the call go through. (Chakradhar, 3/27)
China's Xi Offers Trump Help In Fighting Coronavirus As U.S. Faces Wave Of New Patients
Chinese President Xi Jinping told U.S. President Donald Trump during a phone call on Friday that he would have China’s support in fighting the coronavirus, as the United States faces the prospect of becoming the next global epicentre of the pandemic. (Lee and Zhang, 3/26)
The Wall Street Journal:
U.S., China Trade Blame For Coronavirus, Hampering Global Economy Rescue
Chinese President Xi Jinping has been on a telephone spree this month, dialing the leaders of coronavirus-battered France, Italy, Spain and Germany with offers of support including masks and other medical equipment. For weeks, the one phone number he hadn’t tried was Donald Trump’s. The leaders of the world’s two biggest economies finally spoke by phone in a call Mr. Trump initiated, according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency on Friday. (Davis and Wei, 3/27)