Italy will be placed under a nationwide lockdown over the Easter weekend for the second year running, a draft decree law seen by Reuters said on Friday, underlining the struggle to stem a fresh surge in coronavirus cases. Non-essential shops will be shuttered nationwide from April 3-5. On those days, Italians will only be allowed to leave their homes for work, health or emergency reasons.
Joe Biden has directed states to make all American adults eligible for coronavirus vaccines by 1 May and set an audacious goal of 4 July for gatherings to celebrate “independence” from the deadly pandemic. But in his first prime-time address, which marked the anniversary of America’s shutdown, the president warned that restrictions could be reinstated if the nation lets down its guard against the virus.
Thailand has said it will delay use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine after several European countries temporarily suspended the jabs following a small number of reports of blood clots. The decision comes despite AstraZeneca – which produced the vaccine with Oxford University – insisting there is no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis.
Turkey and Egypt have had their first diplomatic contact since breaking off relations in 2013, according to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. Ties between Egypt and Turkey deteriorated after a military coup spearheaded by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi removed the Ankara-backed President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. Erdogan has repeatedly referred to el-Sisi as a “putschist president” he holds responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians.
King Goodwill Zwelithini of the Zulu nation in South Africa has died in hospital where he was being treated for diabetes-related issues. The king, 72, was the leader of South Africa’s largest ethnic group and an influential traditional ruler. Throughout his 50 year-reign he was a strong advocate for preserving cultural identity. South Africa’s president has described him as a “much-loved visionary”.