Sat, 06 Jun 2020

World Shelters at Home on Good Friday During COVID Pandemic

Voice of America
10 Apr 2020, 19:35 GMT+10

Millions of people around the world are observing Good Friday, the day Christians believe Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem.

The rituals of the holy day are different this year, as most worshippers must view the solemn ceremonies on various media platforms instead of gathering in churches, as the world struggles with COVID-19.

Much of the globe is sheltering at home to slow the transmission of the deadly virus.

More than 1.6 million people have contracted the disease, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

The United States is the global hotspot for the virus with more than 466,000 cases.

Spain and Italy follow with 153,222 and 143,626 respectively.

The pandemic "poses a significant threat to the maintenance of international peace and security - potentially leading to an increase in social unrest and violence that would greatly undermine our ability to fight the disease," U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a closed-door meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Thursday, according to the text of his remarks.

U.S. President Donald Trump, at his virus briefing Thursday, did not seem to think massive testing for the virus is warranted for the U.S. even though some people who carry the virus are asymptomatic. "We're talking about 325 million people and that's not going to happen, as you can imagine, and it would never happen with anyone else, either. Other countries do it, but they do it in a limited form."

The Trump administration is increasingly focused on considering when to reopen the U.S. economy, largely shut down due to the virus. More than 16 million Americans have filed for unemployment compensation.

Finance ministers from the 19 eurozone countries Thursday agreed on a package worth more than half a trillion euros to help companies, workers and health care systems mitigate the economic consequences of the coronavirus outbreak.

The measures provide for hard-hit Italy and Spain to quickly gain access to the eurozone's bailout fund for up to 240 billion euros, as long as the money is used for the needs of their health care systems.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has warned that the coronavirus pandemic could lead to the world's worst economic depression since the 1930s.

Georgieva said Thursday that governments had already poured $8 trillion into programs to keep economies afloat but more will be needed. She said developing countries and emerging markets will be the hardest hit. A partial recovery may be seen in 2021, she said.

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