Johannesburg - South Africa’s police service said it had arrested four of its members for allegedly taking part in illegal liquor trade, undermining a lockdown ban on the sale of alcohol and cigarettes. Several shuttered liquor outlets have been looted since President Cyril Ramaphosa imposed a nation-wide lockdown to halt the spread of coronavirus. Police minister Bheki Cele on Sunday said there had been at 16 reports of raids on liquor stores in South Africa’s Western Cape province, home to the southern city of Cape Town, since the lockdown started on March 27. Cele also “noted with concern the alleged involvement of police members in some of the liquor related crimes”. Two warrant officers were arrested on Thursday after police received a tip-off and “pounced on the suspects inside the store”, Cele said in a statement.

Spain’s daily virus toll rises again with 619 dead

Madrid - Spain’s daily death toll from the coronavirus rose to 619 on Sunday, after falling for three straight days, the government said. The country, one of the worst hit by the pandemic, has now recorded 16,972 deaths from COVID-19. The daily toll was up from 510 on Saturday.

Iran reports 117 new virus deaths, raising total to 4,474

Tehran - Iran on Sunday announced 117 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, bringing the overall official toll to 4,474, even as it eased some restrictions that had been imposed to slow the spread of the illness. Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour also told a news conference that 1,657 new infections had been confirmed in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 71,686. Iran has carried out 263,388 tests for the virus so far, he added. Of those confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 and admitted to hospitals, 43,894 have recovered and been discharged, while 3,930 are in a critical condition. Iran announced its first coronavirus cases on February 19 and has so far become the worst-hit country in the Middle East. The new tolls come as Iran has started a gradual reopening of its sanctions-hit economy. On Saturday, it allowed small businesses to reopen outside the capital and this will be extended to the capital Tehran on April 18.