In a Politburo meeting, televised to all the counties and military regiments, the Chinese president exalts the role of the Party in managing the crisis. The epidemic "has not changed the long-term fundamentals of China's economic growth." But Xi also kept silent about the infection alarm. Scientists: the virus had been present in Wuhan since November. And it came "from outside" the fish market. The hypothesis of the virus research laboratory (for war purposes).
Beijig estimated to have lost over 180 billion euros in the first two months of the year due to pulmonary epidemic. Economic growth in sharp decline in the first quarter. Bringing workers back to factories is a priority for Chinese companies. Only 30% of the 300 million migrant workers are available.
At present, there are no cases of Covid-19 in North Korea. But the country shares a long and porous border with China. About 3,000 people in North Pyongan province are under control because of suspicious symptoms. South Korea has the largest number of confirmed cases outside China: 763. Before 19 February, Seoul reported only 31.
Yesterday there were 150 deaths and 409 new infected. As of today, non-Wuhan residents without coronavirus symptoms can leave the city, isolated for nearly a month. Guangdong lowers the alert level. But Wuhan's doctors warn: recovered people can be healthy carriers of the virus.
Overnight air raids on the southern suburbs of Damascus. Yesterday, the attacks focused on "dozens" of targets in the Strip, where at least four injured were registered. The new hotbed of tension triggered by the killing of a member of the group along the border.
The pontiff makes a new appeal for peace in Syria: “On the other side of this sea, especially in north-western Syria, an immense tragedy is taking place.” He notes that the Lord asked us to engage in “the extremism of charity. It is the only kind of Christian extremism: the extremism of love.”
In his address to the bishops taking part in the meeting on the ‘Mediterranean frontier of peace", Pope Francis urges the Churches to proclaim the Word and work for the common good. “The Mediterranean remains a strategic region whose equilibrium has an impact on the other parts of the world,” he said. War “is a genuine madness.” Francis slams the “great hypocrisy” of those countries that preach peace and then sell weapons. He compares what today’s populist leaders say to what was said during the Nazi era. He demands religious freedom for persecuted Christians and values cooperation with groups from other religions.
The Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem spoke at the meeting on the ‘Mediterranean frontier of peace’. In his address, he said: “The Churches of the Middle East and North Africa have repeatedly asserted that they do not only need economic aid, but need above all solidarity, to feel heard”. Brotherhood and human solidarity are needed, but also the courage to speak out.
“We are working on these cases not because of international pressure, but because of our responsibility and accountability,” said a military spokesman. Myanmar’s Armed Forces will follow recommendations from the president and the final report of a commission of enquiry established by Aung San Suu Kyi. The document, which was made public on 20 January, found evidence of mass killings, including nearly 900 Rohingya.
In Iran, the first case is reported in Qom, possibly a Chinese worker. The authorities appear to have downplayed the issue to prevent a low turnout in yesterday’s parliamentary election. Kuwait stops flights to and from Iran. Crippled by US sanctions, Iran’s health system is a source of concern.
In South Korea, 229 new cases were reported, the largest single-day rise since late January. Japan has lost track of the path of some cases, which tripled to 90 last week. For the WHO, the situation in Iran is "very concerning” with 18 cases and four deaths in the last two days.
The Future Forward Party (FFP) is dissolved because it accepted illegal funding from its founder and leader, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit. Main party leaders have also been banned from political life for ten years. In parliament, opposition forces have been weakened.
About 700 children who survived the 2008 massacres will take this year’s Grade 10 examination. Christian and Hindu pray at a shrine destroyed during the pogrom. Bishops wish good luck to all students.
Beijing is cutting tariffs on many US imports to meet its commitment to buy US200 billion in US products and services. Imports are also needed to face the coronavirus outbreak. Doubts remain about its ability to buy US.5 billion in agricultural products from the United States.
“We are a Church called together by God, not a self-organized mutual admiration club,” writes the Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan in his letter for Lent. “The breaking of the Bread is a commemoration of the violent death that the Lord went through. Who claps while others are in pain? It is pain with love; yes, but it still pain.”