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Israel sends army to ultra-Orthodox city over coronavirus

Israel sends army to ultra-Orthodox city over coronavirusPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday gave the green light for soldiers to be deployed in a mostly ultra-Orthodox Jewish city considered the centre of Israel’s novel coronavirus outbreak. “In light of the special situation in Bnei Brak following the restrictions due to the coronavirus, the IDF (army) will immediately present the necessary civil assistance to Bnei Brak municipality in fulfilling its responsibilities,” Netanyahu’s office said after talks with security and health officials. Authorities have enforced restrictions on access to Bnei Brak, a majority ultra-Orthodox city near Tel Aviv that is home to around 200,000 people.

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Divisions among Hong Kong expats over virus response

Divisions among Hong Kong expats over virus responseAs Hong Kong suffers a new spike in coronavirus infections, anger and recrimination have broken out among the city’s expatriates over whether enough of their well-heeled community is taking the outbreak seriously enough. Ahead of the city’s decision on Monday to ban non-residents from entering for two weeks, officials had reported the number of cases had more than doubled to 318 infections after locals and foreign residents flooded back once the pandemic spread to Europe and North America. The vast majority of new infections have been among Hong Kongers, many students fleeing schools and universities overseas.



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China, US spar over origin of coronavirus

China, US spar over origin of coronavirusA Chinese government campaign to cast doubt on the origin of the coronavirus pandemic is fuelling a row with the United States, with a Beijing official promoting conspiracy theories and Washington calling it the “Wuhan virus”. The spat comes as China tries to deflect blame for the contagion and reframe itself as a country that took decisive steps to buy the world time by placing huge swathes of its population under quarantine. With cases falling in China and soaring abroad, Beijing is now rejecting the widely held assessment that the city of Wuhan is the birthplace of the outbreak.



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Republicans face backlash over racist labeling of coronavirus

Republicans face backlash over racist labeling of coronavirusChina says US politicians are stigmatizing the country with ‘despicable’ practice of calling the virus ‘Wuhan coronavirus’ and ‘China coronavirus’ * Follow live updates on the coronavirusSenior Republican figures are facing backlash over an apparent effort to label Covid-19 as “Chinese coronavirus” – as China accused some US politicians of “disrespecting science” in order to “stigmatize” the country.Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, and Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, are among those to add a geographical marker to the coronavirus in recent days.Pompeo called the virus the “Wuhan coronavirus” on Friday, referring to the Chinese city where the outbreak started, and McCarthy used the term “Chinese coronavirus” on Monday, when he tweeted out a link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal agency that has led the US effort to fight the virus.The CDC website specifically avoids the phrase when talking about Covid-19, the novel strain of coronavirus at the heart of the global outbreak.Other Republicans, including Senator Tom Cotton and Representative Paul Gosar – who is in self-quarantine – have used similar terms.China reacted furiously on Monday, with a spokesman for the foreign ministry criticizing US elected officials.“Despite the fact that the WHO [World Health Organization] has officially named this novel type of coronavirus, certain American politician[s], disrespecting science and the WHO decision, jumped at the first chance to stigmatize China and Wuhan with it. We condemn this despicable practice,” said Geng Shuang.Republicans’ attempts to associate Covid-19 overtly with China repeats a common theme of associating epidemics with certain countries, such as 1918 influenza pandemic being branded “Spanish flu”.Academics have warned the practice leads to stigma and racism, and the World Health Organization sent a memo to governments and media organizations at the end of February, urging people not to use the terms “Wuhan Virus”, “Chinese Virus” or “Asian Virus”.“Governments, citizens, media, key influencers and communities have an important role to play in preventing and stopping stigma surrounding people from China and Asia in general,” the WHO said.The branding fits neatly with Donald Trump’s anti-China rhetoric and ongoing trade war, however – as Democratic congressman Ted Lieu pointed out in a tweet, referring to Trump as Potus, the president of the United States.“One reason @POTUS & his enablers failed to contain COVID2019 is due to the myopic focus on China. The virus was also carried into the US from other countries & US travelers. Calling it Chinese coronavirus is scientifically wrong & as stupid as calling it the Italian coronavirus.”



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