Each Wednesday, we recap the most important headlines from our global community to keep you up to speed on world news.
In a step forward for maternal health, New York State has announced that a task force has been formed to examine the effects of COVID-19 on pregnancy, as well as to advocate for the needs of expectant mothers amid the ongoing pandemic, calling for stand-alone birthing centers first and foremost.
In an effort to provide mothers a safe alternative to already stressed hospital systems, the primary goal of the New York State Council on Women and Girls, led by Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, as well as Christy Turlington Burns, founder of Every Mother Counts, and Christa Christakis, executive director of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, District II, is to examine the best approaches to authorizing and certifying additional dedicated birthing centers.
The task force will make recommendations to Governor Cuomo by the end of the week, and will also be working with Regional Perinatal Centers to further awareness and action around the impact of the coronavirus on pregnancy.
The mass shooting began in Portapique on Cobequid Bay. The shooter disguised himself as a police officer as he led authorities on a miles-long manhunt across the Canadian province. Police said the shooter killed people in several locations over 12 hours and some of his victims were not known to him.
The victim death toll from the worst mass shooting in Canadian history has risen to 22, federal police said in a statement. Earlier, authorities had said at least 18 people were killed in the weekend attack, but officials had warned the death toll would likely rise as they investigated more than a dozen crime scenes and combed through the wreckage of fires the gunman allegedly set.
The United States Senate approved legislation worth $484 billion to provide funding for a small business jobs program, hospitals overrun by the coronavirus outbreak, and a national testing impetus to help tamp down the pandemic.
The emergency spending package adds approximately $320bn to a program designed to help small businesses keep employees on their payrolls until the US economy can be reopened again. The money is in addition to the $350bn approved by Congress in March for small businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program, which was quickly exhausted by overwhelming demand.
A portion of the new funding, $60bn, would be directed through community lenders to under-banked neighborhoods and rural areas. The bill includes $75bn for hospitals hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic and $60bn for economic disaster assistance, as well as $11bn for states, according to a summary of the legislation.
Multiple southern U.S. states have moved to start lifting stay-at-home orders and reopening certain businesses and workplaces that were shut down to slow the spread of coronavirus despite warnings against doing so.
State governors in Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee have announced plans to ease restrictions, as waves of organized protests against stay-at-home orders have swept across the country. Public opinion has shown that most Americans support continuing social distancing protocols despite economic ramifications.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the chief judge to free prison inmates who have been awaiting trial for six years or more to ease overcrowding as the novel coronavirus continues to spread. A statement quoted Buhari as saying 42 percent of Nigeria’s 74,000 or so prisoners were awaiting trial. He urged Chief Judge Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad to reduce that number “since physical distancing and self-isolation in such conditions are practically impossible”.
Buhari said inmates with no confirmed criminal cases against them, elderly prisoners and those who are terminally ill could be discharged.
In the U.S., a coronavirus-related policy shift that could have cleared the way for thousands of federal prisoners to be sent home early was abruptly reversed this week, according to friends and family members of inmates.
Inmates in various prisons who had been put into prerelease quarantine almost two weeks ago were advised Monday by authorities that the policy had changed, lawyers and associates said.
A Justice Department spokesman indicated that officials at the Bureau of Prisons were confused or given inaccurate guidance about previous directives from Attorney General William Barr.
Official statistics show 540 federal inmates and 323 staff with confirmed cases of the virus, with 23 prisoners having died after contracting Covid-19.