Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
Poland wants to let some prisoners go home due to coronavirus
More Polish prisoners will be given the possibility to serve their sentences at home due to the coronavirus epidemic, under a justice ministry proposal that could benefit up to 20,000 convicts. Poland has so far reported 684 cases of coronavirus, including eight deaths. It has shut schools, cinemas and other public venues, banned the entry of foreigners into the country and urged Poles to stay at home if at all possible.
Pompeo meets Afghan political rivals during visit to Kabul
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in the Afghan capital on Monday on a previously unannounced visit to try to salvage a historic deal between Washington and the Taliban, struck in February but marred by a political feud. Pompeo visited Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at his palace before meeting his political rival Abdullah Abdullah, both of whom say they are Afghanistan’s rightful leader following a disputed election in September.
Rouhani: U.S. should lift sanctions if it wants to help Iran fight coronavirus
The United States should lift sanctions if it wants to help Iran to contain the coronavirus outbreak, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday, adding that Iran had no intention of accepting Washington’s offer of humanitarian assistance. Iran is the Middle Eastern nation worst hit by coronavirus, with over 1,800 deaths and 23,049 infected people. One person is dying from the virus every 10 minutes, according to the health ministry.
‘First we need to stay alive’: virus spread dampens Chile’s fiery protests
For many in Santiago’s Plaza Italia, ground zero for mass protests in Chile that have raged for months, the chaos seemed never to end. Bloody clashes with police forces, tear gas, hooded vandals, broken windows and graffiti were a daily event. Then coronavirus hit.
UK calls in army and warns people to stay home or face lockdown
Britain sent in the army to deliver protective equipment to hospitals on Monday and told people to stay at home and heed warnings over social distancing or the government would bring in more extreme measures to stop the coronavirus spread. With some doctors saying they felt like “cannon fodder”, the government said the military would help ship millions of items of personal protective equipment (PPE) including masks to healthcare workers who have complained of shortages.
Health workers hard hit as Spain’s coronavirus cases rise
There are nearly 4,000 health workers infected with the coronavirus in Spain, more than one in ten of total confirmed cases, officials said on Monday as the virus toll rose in Europe’s second-worst affected country. Like in other countries hit hard by the virus, nurses, doctors and other health workers have said they are not getting enough protective kits. Authorities and companies are scrambling to manufacture, buy and distribute more of them.
Kiev monastery fights coronavirus with homemade hand sanitizer
The black-robed Orthodox clerics sit in a line under an icon in one of Ukraine’s oldest monasteries, mixing up batches of hand sanitizer to distribute to the poor and the needy. Wearing purple disposable gloves, the clergy and students in the 11th-century Vydubychi complex concentrate as they follow the recipe set out by World Health Organization and use sterilized gear to fill row after row of plastic bottles.
East Libya imposes full curfew over coronavirus
East Libya will impose a full curfew for 10 days from Wednesday in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus, though medicine can be delivered by telephone if necessary, the military said on Monday.
German vice-chancellor says Merkel is healthy but working from home
German Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Chancellor Angela Merkel, who on Sunday went into quarantine after coming into contact with a coronavirus-infected doctor, was healthy but working from home. “The Chancellor is healthy at this moment. She is simply in home office, as are many other people who have had to place themselves in self-isolation at home,” Scholz, who is Germany’s finance minister, told a news conference on Monday.
Russia to use mobile phones to track people at risk of coronavirus
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on Monday gave the authorities five days to develop a system to track people who have come into contact with anyone with coronavirus by using mobile phone geolocation data. Under the new system, people would be sent information if they came into contact with someone who was infected and the same information would be passed on to special regional headquarters set up to fight the pandemic.