Nigeria’s nightlife dwindles amid coronavirus restrictions
Sensei Uche has earned a living for the last three years as a “hype man” in Nigeria’s entertainment capital Lagos, standing alongside the DJ in clubs and whipping up dancers’ enthusiasm.
But the coronavirus pandemic cut off his livelihood when the government shut bars, nightclubs and restaurants late March, to curb the spread of the virus.
He is now plying his skills online. Wielding a microphone, he works alongside a DJ playing music for “isolation parties” at weekends. But while the online parties keep his brand alive, he is unable to monetize them.
“I just hope we can find a vaccine in time, so we don’t make this the new normal,” he said.
France to cautiously lift most lockdown measures
France will allow most restaurants, parks and schools to progressively reopen from June 2, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced on Thursday, as it works to restart its economy after nearly two months in lockdown.
Paris, and its surrounding region, is no longer considered a “red zone” as the hard-hit capital’s risk level was lowered, due to a significant drop in the number of COVID-19 cases, the health ministry said.
But unlike other parts of the country, Parisian restaurants will only be authorized to serve customers on outdoor terraces, while elsewhere in France, a maximum of ten people can be served inside.
“Restaurants are … capital to our art of living,” Philippe said in his announcement.
Beaches and museums will also be allowed to re-open starting next week, while the voluntary contact-tracing app “Stop Covid” will also be rolled-out.
Pope Francis to lead world in rosary prayer for the pandemic
Pope Francis will lead the world in a rosary prayer for the pandemic this weekend, the Vatican said Friday. The prayer will implore the Virgin Mary’s intercession and protection amid the coronavirus crisis.
The prayer will take place in the Vatican Gardens at 5:30 p.m. Rome time on Saturday and be broadcast live to the world online. While Catholic shrines from the United States to Guadalupe will also connect to the event and take part in the communal prayer.
“At the feet of Mary, the Holy Father will place the many troubles and sorrows of humanity, further worsened by the spread of COVID-19,” a statement released by the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization said.
Dozens of rosary beads have also been sent to families and medical staff affected by the virus, the Vatican said, as a sign of hope and solidarity.
In Moab, Utah, businesses welcome tourists back with caution
Tracy Bentley had already stocked up her bike shop in Moab, Utah, and hired seasonal staff when businesses shut down in mid-March to prevent the coronavirus from spreading there.
The town of just over 5,000 has a small hospital but no intensive care unit, and local officials were worried that their healthcare system would be overrun as adventure sports enthusiasts flocked to the town.
Moab closed businesses, hotels, and banned camping on nearby public lands. The measures worked: As of Monday, Grand County, where Moab is located, had just four confirmed cases.
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German retailers suffer worst losses since 2007 due to virus
In April, German retailers suffered their worst month-on-month losses since 2007 due to coronavirus lockdown measures, Germany’s statistics office Destatis reported on Friday.
Provisional data showed that the turnover in retail trade in April was 6.5 percent lower than in April 2019, Destatis said in a statement. Although there were some winners in the crisis, notably online and mail order services.
Although Germany has fared relatively well compared to its European neighbors and is beginning to ease measures, the managing director of the German Retailers Association, Stefan Genth, warned those in the industry: “the crisis is by no means over.”
New Zealand celebrates a week without a new coronavirus case
New Zealand, on Friday, celebrated one week without a new coronavirus case in the country.
The Ministry of Health for New Zealand confirmed seven days in a row without a new case, as well as no one currently receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19. Although there remains one active case in the country.
New Zealand’s success is thought to be due to early lockdown measures and an extensive testing campaign, so far over 275,000 people have been tested, the ministry said.
Among the relatively small population, the country has reported 1,154 cases since the pandemic began and 22 deaths, according to health officials.
Tokyo to further relax virus restrictions
Japan’s capital will continue to ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions on June 1, Tokyo’s Governor Yuriko Koike told reporters on Friday.
Movie theaters, sport clubs, public baths, and department stores are among the facilities that will be allowed to re-open in a phased relaxation process, she said.
Koike warned, however, that people should continue to wash their hands, wear a face mask and “avoid the ‘three C’s’ — closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings — as our new normal in our everyday life.”
Japan has recorded more than 16,000 infections and nearly 900 deaths from the virus as of Friday, the Ministry of Health said.
Japan’s air-force salutes medical workers in Tokyo
U.N. climate summit delayed to 2021
The United Nations has confirmed that its annual climate summit will be pushed back to November 2021, delayed by one year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The COP 26 summit will attract world leaders and climate experts in an effort to hash out plans to curb global warming and set goals to lower carbon emissions.
The meeting will continue to be hosted in Glasgow, Scotland, as planned, although a short “warm up” summit will also take place in Italy beforehand, the U.N. said.