Spain reports more deaths than China; Zimbabwe doctors strike; India’s 1.3 billion people head into lockdown

The World
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Spain has reported more coronavirus deaths than China, as more than 435,000 cases worldwide have been confirmed and total casualties near 20,000. Nearly 112,000 people are reported to have recovered from COVID-19. 

In Zimbabwe, doctors are striking over the lack of personal protective gear to fight the virus. “Right now we are exposed and no one seems to care,” said the president of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association. The lack of basic medical supplies is not new: Families have been asked to provide necessities such as gloves and even clean water, while doctors use their own money to supply the poorest patients.

From The World: WHO fills gaps to fight COVID-19 in countries with weaker health systems, says spokesperson

India’s 1.3 billion people head into lockdown

With just hours’ notice, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a three-week lockdown of the country’s 1.3 billion population, sending people scrambling to prepare for 21 days with limited access to services. He acknowledged the lockdown would be “very difficult time” for those in poverty. Many laborers have started long treks home — on foot. 

But the government’s directives have been confusing. Breaking the lockdown could lead to a year in prison. And though essential services, such as grocery stores, are allowed to remain open, police have reportedly violently cracked down on seemingly sanctioned businesses. India’s health system ranks poorly, and an outbreak of coronavirus in densely popluated slums could prove devastating.   

More: India’s coronavirus lockdown and its looming crisis, explained

And: Sanitary workers risk their lives despite spread of coronavirus

$2 trillion US economic stimulus could head to vote

After intense negotiations, the US Senate could pass a $2 trillion economic stimulus package Wednesday that touches almost all aspects of the US economy. If the legislation passes, Democratic leadership hope to pass it by unanimous consent in the House. 

The legislation — the biggest in modern history — would send checks to some Americans, and create hundreds of billions in lending programs for small businesses and large industries. It would also provide funds for hospitals, as well as provide state and local stimulus money.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell call it a “wartime level of investment.” The mammoth bill dwarfs the two previous coronavirus relief bills, which total more than $100 billion in and of themselves. But will it be enough?

And: US military issues final furlough notices to nearly half its South Korean workforce, union says

Also: Pompeo cuts $1 billion in Afghan aid as two leaders reject push for unity

Australia detained this family on a remote island — alone

Two-year-old Tharunicaa has spent nearly all of her life imprisoned. She and her family are being held in a remote Australian detention center in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

The family members have been the only people detained on Christmas Island until the government made the controversial decision earlier this year to use the center as a temporary quarantine site for Australian COVID-19 evacuees.

The move brought renewed attention to a family that has been isolated there, largely out of sight and out of mind, for seven months.

Could the US win gold — in breakdancing?

A competitor performs breakdance moves at the Breakdancing Northeast Regionals in suburban Washington, DC, on March 8, 2020.
A competitor performs breakdance moves at the Breakdancing Northeast Regionals in suburban Washington, DC, on March 8, 2020.Courtesy of Monica Chang

The Tokyo Olympic Games have been postponed to next year, but Antonio Castillo already has his eyes on 2024. 

A Mexican American immigrant and breakdancer, Castillo is behind an effort to field the first Team USA for breakdancing — which could debut as an Olympic sport as soon as the 2024 Summer Games in Paris.

“We have to make sure, when the time comes, that we have a national team that can represent the birthplace of hip hop culture and hopefully win gold,” Castillo said.

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Listen: Number of lockdowns grows as countries try to counter the coronavirus

A person with a walker crosses and carrying an umbrella is seen crossing 42nd Street with brightly lit signs all around.
A person with a walker crosses 42nd Street in a mostly deserted Times Square following the outbreak of the coronavirus, in New York, March 23, 2020.Carlo Allegri/Reuters

About a fifth of the world’s population is now under some sort of lockdown to try to contain the spread of the coronavirus. At the same time, China has announced it will be lifting the restrictions on people in Wuhan and the surrounding province of Hubei, where the virus was first identified. And, in states like California, in shelter-in-place mode because of the coronavirus, farmworkers are considered essential. The farmworkers still go out and work, but there are increasing concerns about their safety on the job. Also, Verdant Spirits, based in Dundee, Scotland, is switching production from gin to hand sanitizer in the wake of coronavirus and hopes to produce more than 100 gallons of hand sanitizer gel.

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