UK at critical COVID-19 moment as trend goes in wrong direction

The UK has reported around 395,000 cases of COVID-19 as of Sept. 21. (File/AFP)
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Updated 21 September 2020

UK at critical COVID-19 moment as trend goes in wrong direction

  • “We’re certainly at a very critical moment this morning,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said

LONDON: Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pondering additional COVID-19 restrictions as Britain is at a critical moment in the novel coronavirus outbreak with the trend going in the wrong direction.
“We’re certainly at a very critical moment this morning,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky. “It is clear that we are just a few weeks behind what we’re seeing elsewhere in Europe.”
“It is very important that we do everything we can to sort of bear down on this,” Shapps said. “We’ll hear from others including the prime minister on the proposed next steps.”


Suicide bomber kills 18 in Afghan capital

Updated 24 October 2020

Suicide bomber kills 18 in Afghan capital

  • There has been an upsurge in violence between Taliban and Afghan forces in the country
  • The US signed a peace deal with the Taliban in February, opening up a path toward withdrawing American troops from the conflict

KABUL: A suicide bomber struck near an education centre in the Afghan capital on Saturday, killing at least 18 people in the latest attack to rock the conflict-wracked country.
Violence on the ground has spiked in recent weeks despite the Taliban and the Afghan government holding peace talks in Qatar to end the country's grinding war.
The suicide attack, which also wounded 57, happened late afternoon at the centre, which offers training and courses for students in higher education in a western district of Kabul.
"A suicide bomber wanted to enter the education centre," Tareq Arian, spokesman for the interior ministry, said in a statement.
"But he was identified by the centre's guards after which he detonated his explosives in an alley."
He said the attack had left at least 18 people dead and 57 wounded.
"I was standing about 100 metres from the centre when a big blast knocked me down," said local resident Ali Reza, who had gone to hospital with his cousin who was wounded in the blast.
"Dust and smoke was all around me. All those killed and wounded were students who wanted to enter the centre."
Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack.
Residents in several districts of western Kabul belong to the minority Shiite Hazara community, often targeted by Daesh militants. 
In the past, extremists have targeted several education centres and other facilities in the area.
In May, a group of gunmen launched a brazen daylight attack on a hospital in west Kabul that left several mothers dead. The gunmen were shot dead after hours of fighting with security forces.