VIF Neighbourhood News Digest: May 6, 2020
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PAKISTAN
Cabinet approves easing lockdown after May 9: DAWN

The federal cabinet on Tuesday approved easing lockdown restrictions in the country gradually after May 9 to open earning facilities to workers and daily wage earners provided strict implementation of the coronavirus-related preventive measures suggested by the government is ensured. The National Coordi­nation Committee (NCC) will meet on Wednesday (today) in which the Centre and provinces will decide which businesses and industries will be reopened during the easing of restrictions. Click here to read....

AFGHANISTAN
Govt Releases More Taliban, Hopes for Peace Renewed: Reuters

The Afghan government on Tuesday released another group of Taliban prisoners as part of efforts to put the stalled peace process back on track, a move welcomed by the Taliban. So far, the government has released 950 Taliban prisoners, according to the National Security Council’s spokesman Javid Faisal, who said another 500 inmates will be released in the coming days. Faisal said that at this stage a total of 1,500 prisoners will be released by the Afghan government. The Afghan government made an earlier pledge to release a total of 5,000 Taliban prisoners only after the start of the intra-Afghan negotiations and if violence is reduced in a way that leads to a countrywide ceasefire. Click here to read....

BANGLADESH
Govt arranges chartered flight to repatriate Bangladeshis stranded in US: Dhaka Tribune

Responding to the appeal of Bangladeshis stranded in the United States due to the coronavirus pandemic, the government has arranged a chartered flight to bring back a number of them home. The Qatar Airways flight is likely to be either on May 14 or May 15. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in coordination with Bangladesh embassy in Washington and the consulates general of Bangladesh in New York and Los Angeles, has taken the initiative to arrange a special chartered flight of Qatar Airways to bring home stranded Bangladesh citizens from the USA possibly on 14 May or 15 May 2020,” according to a notice issued by the embassy in Washington on Monday. Click here to read....

MYANMAR
Food security concerns mount as COVID-19 disruption leaves Myanmar farmers unable to plant: Myanmar Times

Food security concerns in Myanmar are looming as farmers are unable to start the new growing season due to COVID-19 disruptions. “Since COVID-19, there is no longer usual trading as crops simply don’t sell anymore,” said Ba Myint, a farmer in Taungup township in southern Rakhine State, where the primary crops are rice and beans. The price of produce has crumbled, and at times there were no buyers even when the price was slashed by 75 percent, he told this newspaper. Click here to read....

NEPAL
Labs across country running out of Covid-19 test kits: The Kathmandu Post

Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital in Teku, Kathmandu, stopped conducting rapid diagnostic tests on Covid-19 suspects on Tuesday, as it ran out of test kits. The hospital has directed doctors at the out-patient departments to recommend polymerase chain reaction (lab) tests only for those that have a history of travelling to the disease-hit areas or reported close contact with the infected. Click here to read....

BHUTAN
Additional penalties for smugglers crossing the border: Kuensel

Last Friday, the Phuentsholing drungkhag court sentenced a 28-year-old man to nine years for illicit trafficking of 78 capsules of Spasmo Proxyvon Plus (SP+). The convict was arrested on April 5 near Chinese Line, which shares an open and porous border with Jaigaon. Police arrested the man around 1pm when his companion, a non-Bhutanese threw the drugs concealed inside a cricket ball over the fence. Click here to read....

SRI LANKA
Countrywide curfew from tonight upto Monday morning: Daily Mirror

Countrywide curfew will be re-imposed from 8 pm today to 5 am on Monday (11) including the high-risk districts of Colombo, Kalutara, Gampaha and Puttalam where curfew will continue indefinitely. Clarifying certain confusions on the use of the National Identity Card (NIC) in Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara and Puttalam where curfew remains in force indefinitely, acting Chief of Defence Staff and Army Commander Lt. General Shavendra Silva said people may leave their homes from Monday to Friday under the numbers system announced earlier based on the last digit of their identity cards but only to purchase essential items and medicine from stores and pharmacies located within walking distance. Click here to read....

CHINA
Home demand to buoy growth: China Daily

China's post-COVID-19 economic recovery will rely on domestic demand after production resumption, and policy response should focus on expanding consumption and investment, economists said on Tuesday. Click here to read....

US courts Chinese anger by stepping up push for Taiwan to take part in World Health Organisation : South China Morning Post

Washington has accelerated its push for Taiwan to be represented at the World Health Organisation in a move that is expected to further deepen the rift with Beijing. Click here to read....

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