African migrants and refugees are taking a new deadly route to reach Europe’s shores.
Arrivals via the Atlantic path to Spain’s Canary Islands have seen a 520 percent rise compared to last year.
But almost 250 have drowned or gone missing.
In August, 15 lifeless Malians were spotted by a Spanish plane.
So why are migrants taking this route? The answer is twofold.
The increase in traffic comes after the European Union funded Morocco in 2019 to stop migrants from reaching southern Spain via the Mediterranean Sea.
“Morocco is putting more pressure on its northern border, and moves people to the south,” said Txema Santana, Spanish Commission to Help Refugees representative in the Canaries.
He said the reason the path is also becoming popular is because more people from Mali and Senegal have joined the route, especially in this porous border between Mali and Mauritania.”
The UN Commissioner for Refugees says many arrivals, who are potential refugees, are fleeing conflict in the Sahel.
Kassi Diallo fled Mali after his father was killed in an attack by extremists.
“I risked my life in this way because I was so sad,” he said.
“I have too many problems. But it’s not normal. A human being shouldn’t do this. But how else can we do it? It’s tough in Mali. I am in need of international protection, to live my life a bit and settle down so I can forget some things (trauma).”
It can take 10 days from Morocco or The Gambia to reach the Spanish islands and food reserves dry up quickly.
The Islands then become a path for arrivals, who wish to reach other countries such as France.
The Spanish government has raised the alarm over the increase in migration.
Spain has announced a donation of 1.5 million euros in border surveillance equipment to six West African countries.
Children above the age of six in Spain will be required to wear face masks at school at all times, the government said Thursday, as it seeks to restart lessons despite a surge in coronavirus infections.
“The use of masks will be mandatory in general from the age of six, even if social distance is maintained,” Education Minister Isabel Celaa told a news conference ahead of schools’ reopening next month.
Spain’s 17 regional governments, which are responsible for health care and education, have in recent days outlined a patchwork of different measures, leading critics to charge there was a lack of coordination.
The northern region of Cantabria’s requirement for children as young as three to wear masks sparked particular controversy.
As well as mask-wearing, pupils will also have to maintain a social distance of 1.5 metres (five feet) from each other, Celaa said, except for young children who will be allowed to mix only with their classmates but not with outsiders.
Other measures include requiring children to wash their hands at least five times a day, regularly ventilating classrooms and taking pupils’ temperature.
The goal is for children return to schools instead of having online lessons as they did at the end of the last school term due to the pandemic.
“We aim for all students to be present,” Celaa said.
Spain’s schools shut in mid-March when the country imposed a strict three-month lockdown to curb the spread of the virus and have not re-opened since.
New cases are growing at one of the fastest rates in Europe and debate has raged in Spain over how to protect children from infection in schools.
Some parents say they will refuse to send their children back to class because they fear it won’t be safe.
The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Spain, a nation of around 47 million people, surpassed 400,000 this week. Nearly 29,000 people have died, one of the world’s highest tolls.
Against this backdrop, local authorities have toughened measures to curb the spread of the virus. Madrid city hall announced Thursday that public swimming pools would close on September 1 and parks will be closed at night.
The Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, which include holiday hotspots Ibiza and Mallorca, announced Wednesday that beaches would be shut at night.
With nightclubs and bars closed across Spain, many young people have taken to gathering and drinking in parks and on beaches at night.
New restrictions to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, including the closure of discos and a partial ban on smoking outdoors, went into effect Sunday in two Spanish regions.
The small, northern wine-growing region of La Rioja and the southeastern region of Murcia are the first Spanish regions to implement a raft of new measures which Spain’s Health Minister Salvador Illa unveiled Friday to be enforced nationwide as the country battles a surge in the disease.
The measures include the closure of all discos, night clubs and dancing halls, while restaurants and bars are required to close by 1:00 am, with no new guests allowed in from midnight.
Visits in retirement homes will be limited, while smoking outdoors in public places is banned when a distance of two metres cannot be maintained.
The ban on smoking on the streets is already in place in two of Spain’s 17 autonomous regions, Galicia and the Canary Islands.
Spain’s remaining regional governments are expected to start implementing the new measures in the coming days.
The Basque Region, which neighbours La Rioja, plans to go a step further and will on Monday declare and “health emergency” which will allow it to impose greater restrictions on the size of public gatherings and establish selective confinement in areas where there is a high risk of transmission of the disease.
Nearly 29,000 people have died so far from COVID-19 in Spain, which declared a state of emergency between March 14 and June 21 that allowed the central government to impose restrictions nationwide.
With the state of emergency subsequently lifted, autonomy has been handed back to the regional authorities.
The health ministry has had to negotiate with them to impose the new measures on a nationwide basis.
Spain has a population of 47 million and its infection rate of 110 cases per 100,000 inhabitants is higher than in other European countries.
But in another video he shared on Monday night, after receiving more than he bargained for from Nigerian youths on social media, Coomassie appeared remorseful, saying that he was only airing his opinion and didn’t mean to offend anyone.
People mourn by the coffin of Armenian soldier Samvel Hovakimyan, 23, who was killed in the fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, during a funeral ceremony at a cemetery in the town of Gyumri on October 19, 2020 [Karen Minasyan/AFP]
Spanish-born actor Antonio Banderas has tested positive for coronavirus.
In a post shared on his Instagram page to mark his 60th birthday, Banderas said the development has forced him to celebrate in quarantine.
The multiple award-winning actor, who wrote in Spanish, said he’s “just a little more tired than usual and confident that I will recover as soon as possible.”
“I will take advantage of this isolation to read, write, rest and continue making plans to begin to give meaning to my newly released 60 years to which I arrive loaded with desire and enthusiasm.”
Banderas began his acting career in the 80s and have appeared in such blockbuster movies as Desperado, Assassins, Interview with the Vampire, and The Mask of Zorro.
He won Best Actor at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival for his role in the Spanish film, Pain and Glory.
Greetings to all. I want to make public that today, August 10, I am forced to celebrate my 60th birthday following quarantine after having tested positive for the COVID-19 disease, caused by the coronavirus.
I would like to add that I feel relatively well, just a little more tired than usual and confident that I will recover as soon as possible following the medical indications that I hope will allow me to overcome the infectious process that I suffer and that is affecting so many people around the planet.
I will take advantage of this isolation to read, write, rest and continue making plans to begin to give meaning to my newly released 60 years to which I arrive loaded with desire and enthusiasm.
The British government on Sunday defended its decision to impose an immediate requirement for passengers arriving from Spain to self-isolate amid a resurgence of coronavirus in the popular holiday destination.
The new rules took hold at midnight Saturday, hours after being announced, causing uncertainty for holidaymakers and leading to criticism from travel industry leaders.
“I think it’s quite poor that they did it so instantaneously,” Philip Bradby, 55, told the domestic Press Association after returning early to Britain from Barcelona.
But Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the government was required to take “swift” action.
“The data we got was on Friday, it showed a big jump right across mainland Spain. That was then assessed yesterday afternoon and we took the decision as swiftly as we could,” Raab told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme.
“We can’t make apologies for doing so,” he added.
“I understand it is disruptive for those going through this …but we must though be able to take swift, decisive action.”
Passengers arriving in Britain will have to self-isolate for two weeks following the surge in cases.
“The Joint Biosecurity Centre together with Public Health England have updated their coronavirus assessments of Spain based on the latest data,” said a British government spokesman.
“As a result, Spain has been removed from the lists of countries from which passengers arriving in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are exempted from the need to self-isolate.”
Britain is advising against all but essential travel to mainland Spain, but that does not apply to the Canary Islands or the Balearic Islands.
Barely a month after Spain ended its months-long state of emergency, new infections have been rising.
Transport minister Grant Shapps was caught in the ruling as he is currently in Spain for his summer break.
Labour called the decision “frankly shambolic”, with shadow health minister Jonathan Ashworth saying holidaymakers had been left “confused and distressed”.
The Catalan government on Friday ordered the closure of all nightclubs, discos and event halls across this region of northeastern Spain following a surge in cases of coronavirus.
The order, which will come into effect on Saturday and remain in force for two weeks, was given as Spain watches more than 280 new outbreaks, with virus cases tripling in the past fortnight.
Nearly half of all new cases have been in Catalonia, where just a week ago, officials urged nearly four million residents of metropolitan Barcelona to stay home unless absolutely necessary.
Friday’s order by the region’s civil protection agency also banned musical events with dance floors and imposed a midnight curfew on gambling establishments, casinos, bingo halls, bars and restaurants and their terraces, and music bars.
Barely a month after Spain ended its months-long state of emergency, new infections have been rising, with health officials increasingly pointed to nightlife as fertile ground for the spread of the virus.
Earlier this week, the southeastern region of Murcia also ordered the closure of nightclubs unless they had an outdoor terrace space for customers.
The closure came a month after Barcelona’s nightclubs and discos reopened but within days, regional officials had issued an order banning dancing unless you know your partner well.
Spain has been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic which has so far claimed 28,432 lives and infected more than 272,000 people.
France has also been worriedly watching the situation in Catalonia, with Prime Minister Jean Castex on Friday urging French nationals “to avoid going there until the health situation improves”.
After 3-month lockdown, Spain reopens border to most European countries and lifts restrictions on movement of citizens.
Spain has opened its borders to most European countries, as well as Britain, as the coronavirus state of emergency ends. Spaniards were also allowed to move freely around the country from Sunday.
A new field hospital in eastern Morocco will receive about 700 new coronavirus patients following a spike in infections in the kingdom, said the government.
Iraqi football legend Ahmad Radhi has died at a hospital in Baghdad as a result of complications from the new coronavirus.
Worldwide, at least 8.75 million people have been confirmed to have the coronavirus, more than 4.3 million have recovered, and more than 464,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Spain has begun an official 10-day mourning period for the tens of thousands of victims of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
Starting from Wednesday, all flags on public buildings across the nation and on Spanish naval vessels will be lowered to half-mast until June 5 to pay tribute to the more than 27,000 people that have so far lost their lives.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Twitter this would last for “10 days, the longest period of mourning in our democracy, in which we will all express our sorrow and pay homage to those who have died”.
The mourning period, which was approved at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, would also include a solemn memorial ceremony presided over by Spain’s head of state, King Felipe VI, according to government spokeswoman Maria Jesus Montero.
The dead are “men and women whose lives have been suddenly cut short, leaving friends and family in great pain, both from the sudden loss and from the difficult circumstances in which it has occurred,” she said following the cabinet meeting.
“Eight out of 10 victims were older than 70, they were those who helped build the country that we know today.”
Spain, where a nationwide lockdown was first imposed on March 14, is one of the countries hit hardest by the pandemic, registering the fifth-highest number of confirmed cases and deaths.
As of Wednesday, at least 27,111 people had died of COVID-19, the highly contagious disease caused by the new coronavirus. The overall number of known infections stands at more than 236,000, with some 150,000 recoveries.
Spain’s healthcare workers have been severely affected by the virus, with up to 20 percent infected out of the total confirmed case, Al Jazeera’s Marta Herrero reported.
“In the weekly cabinet meeting yesterday, the Spanish government decided to consider work accident for all the people that have died and been infected by COVID-19 in the healthcare sector,” she said from the capital, Madrid.
Easing of restrictions The government has so far renewed a state of emergency four times, which has allowed it to impose some of the world’s tightest restrictions on the country’s nearly 47 million people.
But in recent weeks, strict home-confinement orders and bans on public activity have been gradually relaxed.
Since May 11, half of Spain’s population has experienced an easing of the restrictions, with cafe terraces reopening and people allowed to meet in groups of up to 10 people – although these measures have not yet been rolled out in the worst-hit areas such as the Madrid region and Barcelona.
On Saturday, far-right protests erupted in Madrid as thousands of people, many honking car horns, rallied against the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and the lockdown measures
No other country has so far announced an observance on the scale of Spain’s 10-day mourning period, an event unprecedented since the country reinstated democratic rule in 1978.
Opposition parties had criticised Sanchez’s left-wing coalition government for not paying tribute to the victims of the pandemic as Spain’s high death toll became a point of political debate.
“They should have declared the mourning days ago,” Madrid resident Conchita Hernandez, 77, told The Associated Press news agency. Her husband, Agustin Alvarez, 77, compared the nearly 9,000 virus-related deaths in Madrid to the casualties during times of war.
“The mourning would have made more sense when we were all homebound, but I still think it makes a lot of sense,” Alvarez said.
China, where the virus emerged in late 2019 and has now officially killed 4,638 people, held a national day of mourning on April 4, while Italy, which has so far counted almost 32,900 deaths, mourned its victims on March 31.
And this week, the United States lowered its flags to half-mast for three days to remember its dead, who now number more than 98,900, the heaviest toll in the world.
What is certain is that there will be no relegation in these divisions, which could end up seeing 100 teams spread across five groups in Segunda B.
The project for the creation of a new division by the name of Segunda Pro will be postponed until the 2021/22 season, in which a new category of two groups from the Segunda B will be formed.
Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales announced his decision to the presidents of the territorial federations on Wednesday, just before the decision was endorsed by the Board of Directors who will meet on Thursday morning to make the decision to end the non-professional season official.
If the health authorities allow it, the promotion playoffs for Segunda B and Tercera Division will go ahead.
Spaniards took to the streets to jog, cycle and rollerskate for the first time after 48 days of confinement on Saturday as some European nations cautiously eased virus lockdowns and Russia faced a large spike in new infections.
As governments across the globe weigh how to lift restrictions to restart economies against the risk of new infections, US authorities brought some hope by approving an experimental drug for emergency use on coronavirus patients.
The decision was the latest step in a global push to find treatments and a vaccine for the coronavirus, which has left half of humanity under some form of lockdown and pushed the world economy towards its worst downturn since the Great Depression in the 1930s.
The virus has killed nearly 239,000 people worldwide and caused more than 3.3 million confirmed infections since it emerged in China late last year.
With signs the pandemic in their hardest-hit nations is slowing, European countries and some parts of the US have begun to lift restrictions to try to inject life into economies crippled by weeks of closure.
From Madrid to Mallorca, Spaniards flocked to the streets as they were allowed to exercise and walk freely outside as the government eased seven weeks of strict lockdown in a country with one of the highest numbers of fatalities at nearly 25,000.
“After so many weeks in confinement, I badly wanted to go out, run, see the world,” said financial advisor Marcos Abeytua in Madrid’s Chueca district who got up a 7 am to enjoy some time outside. “Yesterday, I was like a child on Christmas Eve.”
Near the city’s Retiro park, many residents were out to run, sometimes in groups, as a policeman used a loudspeaker to urge them to keep out of the deserted avenue and on the pavement.
Crowds of runners mingled with cyclists and skateboarders enjoying sports in the sun in Barcelona’s seaside neighbourhood.
“This all seems a bit crazy to me. On the first day we get some freedom I don’t see any safe distancing at all,” said Christian, an Italian living in Barcelona. “I didn’t expect to see thousands of people running like this.”
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, however, said masks would be obligatory on public transport from Monday, and children and elderly will still face some time restrictions on when they can go outside.
Spain, Germany, Austria and Scandinavian nations are all gradually easing lockdowns as the virus cases slow though they will keep in place social distancing measures, the use of masks and testing to try to track infections.
France, which will lift parts of its lockdown on May 11, on Saturday decided to extend a health emergency by two months until late July.
After a two-month shutdown, Italians on Monday will be allowed to stroll in parks and visit relatives. Restaurants can open for takeout and wholesale stores can resume business.
“We must maintain social distancing, maximum hygiene levels, and masks. We’ve done our bit to the best of our ability. From Monday, it’s up to you,” emergency response official Domenico Arcuri said at a press conference.
“I implore you, do not lower your guards.”
In Russia, though, authorities reported the largest increase in coronavirus cases with the new infections rising by nearly 10,000 in a single day.
In Moscow, the epicentre of Russia’s outbreak, around 2 percent of the population is infected by COVID-19, the disease caused by a coronavirus, officials said.
“The threat is apparently on the rise,” Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, said on his blog earlier Saturday.
Treatment hopes – More than 3.3 million cases of infection have been officially diagnosed in 195 countries, including 1.5 million in Europe alone. That number is likely only a fraction of true cases as testing is still limited.
The United States has the most deaths with more than 65,000, followed by Italy with 28,236, the United Kingdom with 27,510, Spain with 25,100 deaths and France with 24,594 fatalities.
US President Donald Trump on Friday announced that Remdesivir, an antiviral drug initially developed to treat Ebola, was given the green light for use after a major trial found that it boosted recovery in serious COVID-19 patients.
“It’s really a very promising situation,” Trump said on Friday at the White House.
The drug incorporates itself into the virus’s genome, short-circuiting its replication process.
Its approval came as the US leaders struggled with growing pressure from citizens wearying of stay-at-home orders.
Trump is keen for a turnaround as the world’s largest economy reels with tens of millions left jobless.
Texas became the largest US state yet to ease curbs, while anti-lockdown demonstrations were held in several states — including California, where officials had re-closed beaches beginning Friday to avoid a repeat of last weekend when crowds flocked to the shoreline.
In Huntington Beach, about 35 miles (55 kilometers) south of Los Angeles, several thousand people rallied to denounce the shutdown order.
“Open California!” chanted protesters near the closed beaches, carrying signs that read “All jobs are essential” or “Freedom is essential”.
Hong Kong shops opening – In Asia, India announced that the lockdown on its 1.3 billion people — the worlds biggest — would continue for two more weeks from May 4.
In Singapore, the government said Saturday that pet food stores and hair salons will be allowed to reopen on May 12.
Most of the city-state’s infections have been detected at dormitories housing migrant workers, and their confinement was extended to June 1.
Hong Kong recorded zero confirmed case of coronavirus on Saturday, for the sixth day within a week.
The city’s social distancing regulations including limits on the gathering of more than four people are due to expire on May 7. Authorities have not decided whether to extend them.
The city’s chief executive has said that civil servants will return to work in the office starting from May 4.
During the long weekend with public holidays to celebrate Buddha’s birthday and Labour Day, residents flocked to country parks and the city’s outlying islands to get some fresh air.
Shops and restaurants started to resume business in normal opening hours with more consumers going out to streets and shopping malls.
May Day on Friday carried extra significance this year because of the staggering number of people put out of work by the pandemic with the global economy in a tailspin.