Coronavirus threatens to reverse progress in TB fight: WHO

Geneva - The novel coronavirus pandemic threatens to reverse progress towards eliminating tuberculosis, until now the top infectious disease killer globally, the World Health Organization warned Wednesday. The countries hit hard by tuberculosis such as India and South Africa have seen resources usually allocated to diagnosing and treating TB diverted to fighting coronavirus, the WHO said. The report estimated that TB could cause this year between 200,000 and 400,000 more deaths than the 1.4 million last year, even though remedies exist. “The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to unwind the gains made over recent years,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.  “The impact of the pandemic on TB services has been severe. Data collated by WHO from high TB burden countries show sharp drops in TB notifications in 2020,” he said. In India alone, weekly and monthly notifications plunged by 50 percent from the end of March to end of April following a lockdown in the country, which has the highest number of cases in the world, the report said. 

Spain court orders ministry to compensate gender violence victim’s family

Madrid - A Spanish court ordered Wednesday the interior ministry to pay 180,000 euros in compensation to the family of a woman murdered by her abusive husband after her request for protection was turned down. The woman in September 2016 asked police in the southern town of Sanlucar la Mayor near Seville for a protection order against her husband but the request was turned down because he had no criminal record and officers concluded she faced little risk. The following month the man, reportedly a former police captain in the Dominican Republic, stabbed his wife to death in the street in front of the couple’s two children.  He committed suicide in May 2020 while serving a 28-year jail sentence for the crime. Spain’s National Court on Wednesday ruled that the Spain’s Guardia Civil police force had provided “inadequate” protection to the woman and ordered it to pay 20,000 euros ($23,500) to each of her parents, and 70,000 euros to each of her two children, for “moral damages”.