South Africa has said that it is “alarmed” by President Donald Trump’s “regrettable” decision to cut the WHO funding at such a crucial time when the global health body deserves increased support from the member states to bolster its efforts to stop the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, President Trump said that the US will halt funding to the World Health Organisation after he accused it of “severely mismanaging” the coronavirus pandemic that surfaced in China. The president said hundreds of millions of dollars in US funding would be suspended while a review was conducted to assess WHO’s “role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus”. South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation in a statement said that “the Government of the Republic of South Africa is very concerned and alarmed at the announcement by the President of the United States of America to cut funding to the WHO with immediate effect.” Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor has also come out in strong support of WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, whom Trump accused of inefficient leadership earlier this week. “South Africa is particularly alarmed that the decision is made amid a global health crisis that requires a full capacity WHO to provide support in combating the deadly COVID 19 pandemic.”
US President Donald Trump has unveiled a three-phase plan to reopen the world’s largest economy, jolted by the COVID-19 pandemic, that allows governors to gradually ease the crippling lockdown in their states. His announcement came on a day when the labour department said another 5.2 million workers filed for unemployment benefits last week. The job losses from the COVID-19 pandemic was 22 million in March, easily the worst stretch of US job losses on record. The International Monetary Fund this week projected that the American economy will shrink this year by 5.9 per cent amidst the pandemic that has wrecked havoc in the country. “America wants to be open and Americans want to be open,” he said. “A national shutdown is not a sustainable long-term solution,” Trump told reporters at his daily White House briefing on the coronavirus outbreak. Asserting that a prolonged lockdown, combined with a forced economic depression, would inflict an immense and wide-ranging toll on public health, Trump told reporters on Thursday that his administration is issuing new federal guidelines that will allow governors to take a phased approach to reopening their individual states.
Five-time Oscar nominated cinematographer Allen Daviau has died of coronavirus at the age of 77. Daviau, best known his work on Steven Spielberg’s “E.T. the Extra Terrestrial” and “Empire of the Sun,” died at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital, reported Deadline. “Allen was diagnosed about a week ago and went to West Hills Hospital because of underlying conditions. “In the last few days, as his condition went downhill and it was clear that he wasn’t going to survive, his friends and healthcare advocates and our staff worked to bring him back to MPTF, because he wanted to die at home. This had been his home for the last eight years,” Bob Beitcher, MPTF president and CEO said. Daviau, a native of New Orleans, was nominated for best cinematography Academy Awards for Spielberg movies “The Color Purple,” “Empire of the Sun,” and “E.T. the Extraterrestrial” and also two Barry Levinson films, “Avalon” and “Bugsy”. Spielberg also released a statement following Daviau’s demise. “In 1968, Allen and I started our careers side by side with the short film Amblin. Allen was a wonderful artist but his warmth and humanity were as powerful as his lens. He was a singular talent and a beautiful human being,” the filmmaker said. Daviau’s other credits include John Schlesinger’s “The Falcon and the Snowman,” Albert Brooks’ “Defending Your Life” and Peter Weir’s “Fearless.” One of his final films was 2004’s “Van Helsing.”
A record number of 4,591 Americans have died in the last 24 hours due to the deadly novel coronavirus in the US, which has the highest number of COVID-19 casualties in the world. According to the Johns Hopkins University data, by 8 pm on Thursday, as many as 4,591 Americans have died in the last 24 hours, The Wall Street Journal said. The previous highest was 2,569 on Wednesday. By Thursday, more than 662,000 Americans tested positive with the coronavirus. The dreaded disease, which originated in Wuhan city in China in December last year, has so far claimed more than 144,000 lives and infected over 2.1 million people. The virus has infected over 671,000 people and claimed more than 33,000 lives, the highest for any country in the world. New York City and its adjoining areas, including New Jersey and Connecticut have emerged as the epicenter of the virus in the US. New York alone accounts for 226,000 cases of infections and 16,106 deaths. In New Jersey, as many as 3,518 people have died of the disease and 75,317 have tested positive. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, till April 14, four per cent of the Americans infected with COVID-19 were of Asian origin and nearly one-third (30 per cent) were African Americans. US President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House that experts and scientists report that his strategy to slow the spread of the virus has saved hundreds of thousands of lives. “Models predicted between 1.5 million and 2.2 million US deaths. If there was no mitigation, it could have even been higher than that and between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths with mitigation. It is looking like we will come far under even these lowest numbers,” he said.