Foreign News


Algeria lifts lockdown on coronavirus epicentre



Algeria has ended a full lockdown on the northern Blida province, the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in the country, and replaced it with a curfew during the holy month of Ramadhan.

Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad said the curfew will begin at 14:00 local time (13:00GMT) and end at 07:00 the next day.

It is unclear if the full lockdown on Blida province, which was to end in a week, will be re-introduced after Ramadhan.

Other nine provinces, including the capital Algiers, that had a curfew starting from 15:00 local time will now have a relaxed curfew starting from 17:00.

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said there had been improvement since the lockdown and curfew were imposed and soon "normal life" would resume, according to Xinhua news agency.


Egypt reduces curfew hours for Ramadhan




Egypt's prime minister has announced that night-time curfew hours will be shortened during the holy month of Ramadhan.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said the curfew will begin at 21:00 local time (19:00GMT), an hour later than the previous time, starting Friday.

More businesses will be allowed to reopen during Ramadhan and restaurants will be allowed to offer food delivery services.

Communal prayers are still not allowed and mosques will remain closed.

Social gatherings are still banned in the country.

The nigh-time curfew was imposed on 24 March when the country had 366 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Egypt currently has 3,891 cases of coronavirus and 287 deaths.


South Africa to ease virus lockdown restrictions



BBC Johannesburg

South Africa’s president has announced an easing of some lockdown restrictions beginning next month, citing economic concerns.

But President Cyril Ramaphosa warned that most people should remain at home, public gatherings remain banned, and the country’s borders will stay closed.

From 1 May, some businesses will be allowed to reopen, and a third of their employees can return to work.

Some schools will also reopen – but with strict limits likely on class sizes.

Most people are still being urged, or told, to stay at home.

President Ramaphosa said a month-long lockdown has been working, and has slowed the pandemic’s progress. But people need to eat, and to earn a living, he said.

It is a precarious balancing act for South Africa, as for so many countries.

Mr Ramaphosa warned of the danger of a new surge of infections. There’s already concern about new spikes in several cities, and warnings that some hospitals are nowhere near ready.

But the pressure to reopen the economy – at least partially, and cautiously – is huge.

The government has announced new welfare grants to help the poorest families here.

But millions of people have lost their incomes, and aid organisations warn of growing signs of desperation.



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