Coronavirus World Live Coverage: Greece, Italy, China, Netherlands

Coronavirus World Live Coverage: Greece, Italy, China, Netherlands


The coronavirus is upending Saudi Arabia’s big dreams and easy living.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, had upended his country out of a recognition that the kingdom could not keep living off oil forever. He diversified the Saudi economy by building up tourism and entertainment.

Some of the changes were head-spinning: cars steered by women, warm welcomes for wrestling champions and international rappers, gender-mixed cafes.

Michael Stephens, a Middle East analyst at The Royal United Services Institute in London. said Saudi Arabia was facing “the hardest time it’s ever been through.”

The crown prince has given no indication of scratching any specific plans. Still, Saudis long accustomed to generous fuel and electricity subsidies, cushy government jobs and free education and health care could live less comfortably.

And while coming austerity measures may not make a major dent in the lives of the rich, they are likely to hit hard in the rest of the country.

“We’re really worried,” said Abdulrahman, a 52-year-old trader in car parts and construction materials in Riyadh who, like many Saudis, asked to be identified only by first name to speak openly about government policy. “The ultimate suffering is going to the end users. The middle and lower class will suffer a lot from this.”

Euphoric Greeks and French headed to reopened beaches, keeping their umbrellas apart. Players in Germany’s national soccer league competed in deserted stadiums. Italy offered its pulverized tourism industry a lifeline with plans to lift some travel restrictions.

On Saturday, many in Europe cautiously rejoiced after months of debilitating confinement as even countries hardest hit by the virus continued to gradually ease restrictions.

But relief that life was moving slowly toward some semblance of normalcy was tempered by continuing protests in Germany, where, for the fourth weekend in a row, small groups that added up to thousands took to the street across the country to protest against measures imposed by the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The protesters, who include conspiracy theorists and right-wing extremists but also ordinary people concerned about their jobs, remain a small but noisy minority, as seven in 10 Germans back Ms. Merkel’s handling of the pandemic.

The coronavirus, which has sickened more than 4.5 million people around the world and killed at least 307,3000, has plunged Europe into an economic downturn not seen since the end of World War II. It has also forced European leaders to find a delicate balance between opening up their countries without inviting new waves of infections.

He shared the spreadsheet on Twitter — writing that the couple had been in danger of getting a “coronadivorce” — the post was shared about 21,000 times.

For some couples, the issue can be combustible: Arguments sometimes erupt over whose turn it is to sweep up or help with math lessons for newly homebound students. Living quarters are cramped, and feel even smaller with everyone stuck inside. And there are doubts that this dose of domesticity, which may be over in weeks, will open men’s eyes enough to reverse entrenched patterns.

Still, some men say they now feel closer to their families, and hope Japan’s often inflexible work culture will change sufficiently to allow them to spend more time at home even when the pandemic passes.

Thousands of children who beg in cities in northern Nigeria have been crammed into open trucks and driven across state borders back to their home villages despite a ban on interstate travel imposed in April, raising fears that the move could spread the coronavirus across Africa’s most populated country.

At least 2,000 of the children, who attended Quranic schools and were often sent out to beg in the streets, have been put into quarantine, according to local news reports. Many have tested positive for the coronavirus.





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