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???? ?????/iStock(PARIS) -- A knife attack which resulted in two dead and five wounded Saturday morning in the town of Romans-sur-Isere, an hour drive South of Lyon, is being treated as a terrorist attack by French authorities. Two of the victims are in critical condition.

The 33-year-old assailant stabbed seven people in shops and streets in downtown Romans-sur-Isere shortly before being arrested, police told ABC News.

The assailant, of Sudanese nationality, was arrested "while he was kneeling on a sidewalk praying in the Arabic language."

On site, Minister of Interior Christophe Castaner spoke of a "terrorist journey" before telling the press that the national anti-terrorist prosecutor's office was currently assessing the situation and would decide whether or not to qualify the act as a terrorist act.

The judiciary police of Lyon originally opened an investigation which was later in the evening taken over by the Counterterrorism Prosecutor's Office.

In a press release, the Counterterrorism Prosecutor's office revealed that "handwritten documents with religious overtones in which the author of the lines complained in particular of living in a country of disbelievers" were found duringa search carried out at the suspect's home.

The alleged perpetrator was taken into custody on charges of assassination and attempted assassination in connection with a terrorist enterprise and criminal terrorist association. An acquaintance of the suspect's was also placed in police custody.

The Interior Minister saluted the mobilization of a hundred police officers during an ongoing nationwide lockdown to stem the spread of COVID-19, which already claimed the lives of more than 6,000 in France.

"The security forces intervened and were able to quickly neutralize him," Castaner stated. "As I speak to you, it seems like all the risks have been neutralized."

France’s President Emmanuel Macron expressed his support for the victims in a tweet, saying "My thoughts are with the victims of the Romans-sur-Isère attack," and calling the attack an "odious act which comes to plunge into mourning our country already hard hit in recent weeks."

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- South Korea has received requests from 121 countries to export or donate coronavirus testing supplies, according to one government official.

To meet the sudden surge of demands from foreign countries, Seoul has set up a task force with online updates and contact information of 29 Korean manufacturers and exporters specializing in COVID-19 diagnostic devices.

"Forty-five different countries are asking to get our product. They are asking us, sometimes from an embassy or some government or some president. They are sending [requests] directly by email [to me]," Dr. Jong-Yoon Chun, CEO of Seegene, told ABC News.

Seegene’s COVID-19 test kit, Allplex 2019-nCoV Assay, has accounted for 80% of South Korea’s coronavirus testings and the company's Seegene Medical Foundation has processed 220,000 tests.

South Korea’s massive testing campaign since the country's first outbreak on Jan. 20, together with intensive contact tracing, has helped to slow the spread of COVID-19. A total of 443,273 people have been tested, according to medical officials, and 174 patients have died.

While Europe and the United States struggle to find ways to contain the deadly virus, Seegene Medical Foundation’s doctors and scientists say other countries could perhaps replicate what they have done in the past nine weeks. In an exclusive tour of its diagnosis laboratory in Seoul to ABC News, Seegene revealed for the first time a stage-by-stage system that could test up to 15,000 samples in a day.

"It’s just a simple matter of collecting the instruments, putting them all together in one place, and getting the system running as soon as you can. Speed is very important," Chun, Seegene's CEO, told ABC News. "It is crucial to have a control tower giving clear guidelines and get the government sectors, health care workers and private sectors to work together. In our case, within only one month, everything was under control."

The foundation turned an entire floor of its building into three operative rooms to process all the incoming COVID-19 samples.

Nationwide samples are collected in the basement parking lot and then each tube is immediately coded for identification. The entire diagnosis process is made up of three stages: extraction, amplification and analysis. In its first stage, sample tubes are carefully opened by lab specialists in a negative pressure room then moved into one of 17 sets of nucleic acid extraction instruments. This process is to extract and separate out the RNA, holding the virus’ genome, from everything else in the sample.

Next is what Seegene calls the "mixing" stage, or "pre-PCR setup." Extracted materials placed on small palm-sized plates are each mixed with multiple reagents provided in test kits. It is a sensitive and lengthy process if done by hand as each sample must be added with four to six reagents in concise amounts. But Seegene’s lab uses nine sets of its own modified version of STARlet Hamilton automated liquid handling workstations that automatically mixes the elements, which then reduces human error or contamination during the process.

The number and type of reagents added vary depending on different test kit brands that offer their own choice of genes to target. Currently, most labs around the world use brands that target one or two from three types of genes -- rdrp, N and E -- as recommended by the World Health Organization.

"There are an alarming number of cases that turn out to be false negatives. Then you may have a silent carrier out and about spreading the virus to others. So it’s safe to have at least two types checked out," Dr. Lee Wang-Jun, chairman of Myungji Hospital in Goyang, told ABC News. In other words, the entire process would have to be repeated twice. Seegene’s Allplex 2019-nCoV Assay offers unique technology designed to target all three genes in one single tube saving time.

"Right now, Seegene’s test kit has the highest share in test kits used for diagnosis in South Korea due to the convenience of detecting three genes with one tube," Professor Lee Hyuk Min of Yonsei Severance Hospital’s department of laboratory medicine, told ABC News.

"We put these three gene target detection in one tube and it can help us to facilitate our [diagnosis] process very fast," Lee Dae Hoon, executive director at Seegene, told ABC News. "It can reduce the cost because we can run only one tube, not three tubes."

A 90-minute process developed by Seegene amplifies tiny DNAs, converted from RNA, to make thousands of copies so that large enough amounts are available for a measurable result. Each machine can carry 96 samples.

The system then determines whether the virus is positive, negative or inconclusive. The total running time from extraction stage to analysis takes just five to six hours to process a total of 15,000 samples, according to doctors and researchers at Seegene Medical Foundation.

Another Korean company, Kogenebiotech, has two genes-RdRp and E-in separate tubes.

SolGent's test kit targets the N gene and ORF1a gene and exports more than 95% of its product to 34 countries worldwide.

"Last week we made 300,000 kits. Starting this month, we are shipping out 400,000 kits a week," Jay Yoo, CEO of SolGent, told ABC News

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inga/iStock(CESENA, Italy) -- Famed Italian shoe designer Sergio Rossi, 84, has died.

"Today everyone at Sergio Rossi joins me in remembering our dear Sergio, the inspiring founder of our dream," CEO Sergio Rossi Group Riccardo Sciutto said in an Instagram post.

"Sergio Rossi was a master, and it is my great honor to have met him and gotten to present him the archive earlier this year," he continued. "His vision and approach will remain our guide in the growth of the brand and the business."

Rossi was hospitalized a few days prior in Cesena, Italy, according to WWD.

"He loved women and was able to capture a woman's femininity in a unique way, creating the perfect extension of a woman's leg through his shoes," Sciutto said in a statement. "Our long and glorious history started from his incredible vision and we'll remember his creativity forever."

After initially learning how to manufacture shoes from his father, Rossi officially launched his own company in 1968.

Rossi's popular shoes have been worn by celebrities such as Ariana Grande, Rihanna, Laura Dern, and many more.

Prior to Rossi's death, his brand was committed to giving back for coronavirus relief. From March 14 to March 20, the brand donated 100% of proceeds from online sales to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, the company pledged to donate € 100,000 to the hospital ASST Fatebenefratelli – Sacco in Milan.

Introducing this initiative, the brand wrote in an Instagram post, "In a time of unprecedented hardship, where we are confronted with our vulnerability, it is crucial to rediscover the humanity that distinguishes us, our sense of brotherhood and the courage and strength to support each other."

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ElFlacodelNorte/iStock(NEW YORK) -- As the United States increasingly becomes the epicenter of the novel coronavirus pandemic, its neighbors in Mexico and Central America are urging new steps to prevent the virus' spread to their populations, including a halt to deportations and increased security along the southern U.S. border -- an ironic turn under President Donald Trump, who has made a border wall his political calling card.

But instead of heeding those calls, the Trump administration continues to deport migrants -- including an increasing number of unaccompanied minors -- and return asylum seekers across the border to Mexico to wait for their day in U.S. immigration court -- even after at least one man deported back to Guatemala tested positive for COVID-19, the name of the disease from the virus.

"Deportees arrive every day, risking further spread of COVID-19 infection in Central America and straining the limited resources of Central American governments that are preparing health systems to attend to an already vulnerable population," said Meg Galas, Northern Central America director for the International Rescue Committee, an aid organization that supports deported migrants, particularly in El Salvador.

The U.S. has over 245,000 COVID-19 cases, with the numbers growing exponentially. That dwarfs the outbreaks sprouting up to the south, with 1,378 in Mexico, 219 in Honduras, 47 in Guatemala and 41 in El Salvador as of Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Trump and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador spoke on March 21 after their administrations agreed to restrict border crossings to essential travel only, in particular for trade and public health services.

Five Mexican states share a border with the U.S., and during a teleconference with Mexico's foreign and interior ministers on Wednesday, several of their governors urged the federal government to implement more restrictions on travel from the U.S. and to warn Mexican citizens in the U.S. not to return or "risk" endangering "their families in their cities of origin," said Tamaulipas Gov. Francisco Javier Garcia Cabeza de Vaca.

The Mexican consulate in Dallas did just that Wednesday, issuing an alert to "highly" recommend citizens in the U.S. "stay at home and avoid all types of international travel, including to Mexico."

But the Trump administration continues to force asylum seekers of all nationalities back across the border into Mexico to wait there for their cases to be adjudicated. The Supreme Court ruled on March 11 that the policy -- which the administration titled the "Migrant Protection Protocols," but is often called "Remain in Mexico" -- could continue ahead of a final ruling on its legality.

Since the policy's implementation in January 2019, some 60,000 asylum seekers have been sent back across the border, but with removals continuing apace, governors like Garcia Cabeza de Vaca are increasingly concerned newly displaced migrants could bring COVID-19 with them, spreading the virus like wildfire through their cramped, difficult living conditions.

"We have to find a way to give (migrants) dignified and humane treatment as well as adequate medical services because if they become contagious, especially in border cities, they can generate serious problems where they concentrate," Garcia Cabeza de Vaca said Wednesday, according to his office.

All hearings for Migrant Protection Protocols asylum seekers have been postponed through May 1, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

In addition to moving migrants back across the border into Mexico, the Trump administration announced on March 20 that it would remove, "without delay," any foreign nationals arriving on U.S. territory "without documentation," according to acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, citing orders from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to protect the U.S. public. Under U.S. law and international treaties, the U.S. has to hear any asylum seeker's case, but this order would allow asylum seekers to be immediately removed.

The U.S. has not yet released data that would show if that has increased the number of removals. But 95 minors, unaccompanied by a parent or guardian, were deported to Guatemala in March, for example, according to Guatemala's migration agency -- over four-times as many as in February and nearly six-times as in January, at 23 and 16, respectively. Deportation of these unaccompanied minors seems to violate a decades-old legal protection for migrant children.

Many of the migrants deported by the Trump administration are also not citizens of the country they're deported to, after the administration finalized agreements with El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to deport any asylum seeker who passed through their territory back, regardless of their country of origin.

Critics say those deals violate U.S. obligations under international law, endangering asylum seekers by returning them to countries racked by violence and poverty and no ability to receive them -- particularly in a time of pandemic, when their already impoverished health systems are stretching thin and their governments have issued nationwide lockdowns.

As the number of COVID-19 cases rise across the U.S., these deportation flights run the risk of carrying infected migrants to one of these countries -- with that fear coming true for the first time this week. A Guatemalan man who was detained on March 5 and deported to his home country on March 26 had no fever or other symptoms at the time, according to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson, but he was later confirmed to have the deadly virus -- potentially putting other migrants on the deportation flight at risk.

Knowing how vulnerable their populations are amid burgeoning deadly outbreaks, the governments of all three countries have urged the U.S. to halt deportations. But they have little leverage to battle an American administration intent on reducing all forms of immigration to the U.S. and willing to use financial assistance, which all three countries depend on, as a weapon.

Guatemalan authorities pushed back over two weeks ago, demanding that deportation flights stop. But after consulting with U.S. authorities, they allowed them to continue, but only for Guatemalan citizens and after "adequate health protocols are established," the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry said in a statement on March 17.

The ICE spokesperson told ABC News the agency works with foreign governments and through the State Department to address the impact of "world events," like the coronavirus pandemic, but deportations are continuing.

"ICE's expectation is that each country will continue to meet its international obligation to accept its own nationals. Currently, repatriation flights to Central America are ongoing, however, the situation is fluid and changing every day," they said, adding that the agency conducts a "visual screening" of detainees and ensures they have a temperature below 100.4 degrees before deporting them.

With up to 25% of COVID-19 patients not showing symptoms, according to the CDC, it's unclear if that is enough.

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iStock/Panama7(BERLIN) -- In the Berlin neighborhood of Pankow, a 196-foot stretch of the Berlin wall has been torn down to make way for condominiums, sparking the ire of historians.

"The partial demolition of the continuous piece of the hinterland wall on Dolomitenstrasse is a clear loss of original wall remains," Manfred Wichmann, head of the Berlin Wall Foundation, told German paper Tagesspiegel.

Located in a quiet neighborhood, the demolished divider was part of the so-called hinterland wall complex that ran along the Berlin-Stettin railway line for several hundred meters and separated East and West Germany. Five panels remain on a piece of property owned by the German railway company Deutsche Bahn.

"This was a testimony to how deeply the border regime of the GDR intervened in the everyday life of the people in East Berlin," Wichmann added.

The 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall was celebrated Nov. 9 throughout the city, including at pieces of the wall such as the one in Pankow.

While remains of the wall in central Berlin have become memorials to the city's long separation, others, such as demolished sections on the city's outskirts, are far from the public eye and receive less attention. Yet, historians have said these sections still hold historic value.

The Berlin Wall Foundation has argued that even less visible parts of the wall outside of the city center, such as in Pankow, should be preserved. With only about 6,500 feet remaining in Berlin, historians such as Wichmann have said it's more important than ever to preserve it.

This particular section of the wall, about 11 feet high, wasn't a protected historical site, known to few outside the neighborhood besides graffiti artists. City Building Councilor Vollrad Kuhn told Tagesspiegel that the demolition had taken place as scheduled and did not require any specific procedure, as it was not a listed building.

"No protected status was determined by the monument authorities; the foundation had obviously campaigned too late to preserve it," Kuhn told the paper.

As building projects continue in the German capital post-reunification, many segments of the former divider have been torn down, some higher profile than others. In 2013, a plan to demolish the East Side Gallery, a coveted section of the wall, to make way for luxury apartments on the city's river Spree was met with outrage and public protests. The popular tourist destination is an .8-mile stretch of wall that features street art from some of the city's leading artists, including pieces of historic significance from decades earlier.

That year, work crews removed portions of the wall for the construction of high-rise luxury apartments. Kani Alavi, head of the East Side Gallery's artists' group, told The Associated Press at the time: "All they see is their money. They have no understanding for the historic relevance and art of this place."

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jarun011/iStock(NEW YORK) -- While much of the United States and Europe has been staying home to avoid COVID-19 as it kills thousands, terrorist groups are blasting online propaganda messages toward followers and potential recruits which hail the calamity of the disease as divine retribution.

In propaganda communiques this week, ISIS and al-Qaeda have each claimed that the highly contagious and deadly coronavirus is God's wrath upon the West, and the disease itself is a "soldier of Allah," as one ISIS supporter recently said in an online chatroom, according to the private SITE Intelligence Group.

"Allah, the Creator, has revealed the brittleness and vulnerability of your material strength. It is now clear for all to see that it was but a deception that could not stand the test of the smallest soldier of God on the face of the earth," al-Qaeda said in a statement this week distributed by its propaganda arm As-Sahab.

COVID-19 has killed more than 47,000 people worldwide but there are relatively few cases in regions where Islamist extremist groups have their strongholds, such as in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Arabian Peninsula and the Sahel region of North Africa.

ISIS on Tuesday in its official online publication al-Naba said the pandemic's impact -- it has killed more Americans as of this week than the nearly 3,000 who died in al-Qaeda's 9/11 attacks -- shows that America isn't all-powerful and invincible.

"It is falsehood to worship America and to fear it instead of Allah the Almighty," ISIS said in its message.

Terrorism experts point out that we have heard all of this before. Jihadi groups have a propensity for calling any natural disaster the will of God exacting vengeance on western powers who have been waging war on them for more than two decades.

"This is apocalyptic fervor. It plays into their end-of-times rhetoric," Col. Chris Costa, a retired Army intelligence officer whose career focused on jihadist adversaries, told ABC News. "They are opportunistic and taking advantage of a pandemic by suggesting this is divine retribution. If they can't beat us on the battlefield they can beat us through God's vengeance, they believe."

In an op-ed for DefenseOne this week, Costa, a former Trump White House counterterrorism adviser who now is director of the International Spy Museum, argued that the U.S. cannot allow the coronavirus to cause the U.S. to take its foot off the accelerator in confronting enemies such as jihadi groups and right-wing extremists.

In its long communique, al-Qaeda drilled down on the economic impact of COVID-19, which brought America's booming economy to a dead stop and caused the filing of four million unemployment claims and forced Congress to adopt Trump's $2 trillion emergency stimulus plan.

Bleeding the U.S. economy dry has always been a goal of the terrorist group, and the financial cost of 9/11 was something its late leader Osama Bin Laden often spoke of as a great success.

"ISIS is taking a totalitarian vision, whereas al-Qaeda is trying for hearts and minds" by calling on westerners to use time at home to study Islam and consider joining with jihadis," said Aaron Zelin, an ISIS expert and author of the new book, Your Sons Are at Your Service: Tunisia's Missionaries of Jihad.

Both al-Qaeda and its Taliban allies promote ways to avoid the disease spreading around the world, offering social services to Muslims "like they're jihadis in business suits."

Will it succeed? Zelin and Costa expressed skepticism that either the "god's vengeance" or soft-power approaches will draw in a significant number of converts and recruits.

"They may draw some troubled personalities and in-betweeners, folks on the extreme edges of society," Costa said.

Both groups have called upon followers to be ready to strike in violent attacks, and federal law enforcement and the New York Police Department in bulletins have each urged officers to remain vigilant even as thousands of cops nationwide have been put on sick leave or tested positive for COVID-19.

"The last thing they hope for today, is that this difficult time will coincide with the preparations of the soldiers of the Caliphate for new strikes on them, similar to those of Paris, London, and Brussels and elsewhere," ISIS said on Tuesday in its al-Naba publication.

In a warning late last week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security told police around the country that there are no known plots.

"Violent extremists probably are seeking to exploit public fears associated with the spread of COVID-19 to incite violence, intimidate targets and promote their ideologies, and we assess these efforts will intensify in the coming months," according to the intelligence bulletin, compiled by the agency's Counterterrorism Mission Center and Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office, and obtained by ABC News.

"I think there is a legitimate concern of some kind of action that takes advantage of our vulnerability right now," Costa said.

There is no telling where the coronavirus will strike in the coming months but spinning natural disasters in the homelands of their enemies is a default reaction by jihadi groups overseas, said another expert who monitors the group.

“Whether it’s a devastating tsunami, earthquake, wildfire, or the unprecedented situation we are facing now, groups like the Islamic State and al-Qaeda always bend the story into a ‘God’s will’ narrative, or call to carry out attacks amid destabilization,” said SITE Director Rita Katz.

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holgs/iStock(TAIPEI, Taiwan) -- Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has announced plans to donate 10 million masks to countries that have been most severely impacted by the coronavirus.

On the heels of an estimated $35 billion stimulus package intended to bolster the island nation's economy, Taiwan pledges to donate masks and medical supplies to the rest of the world as part of its global "Taiwan can help" campaign.

"We want everyone to not only see that ‘Taiwan can help,’ but that ‘Taiwan is helping,’" Tsai said at a press conference Wednesday morning.

Despite being one of the countries expected to be hardest hit by COVID-19, Taiwan as of Wednesday had a total of only 329 cases and five deaths.

While Taiwan appears to have the virus under control, Tsai said that each country affects all others.

"We cannot stop the spread of COVID-19 simply by preventing an outbreak within Taiwan. All members of the international community must pool their capabilities and work together to overcome this challenge," she said.

With the ability to produce up to 13 million face masks a day, Taiwan is donating seven million masks to Europe, including Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Belgium and the U.K., and an additional two million masks to the U.S., with the rest going to other smaller countries who have diplomatic ties with the island, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"Over the past months we have seen countless acts of bravery and sacrifice from medical workers from around the world. It is our duty as global citizens to give them our full support," Tsai said in English, adding that Taiwan would also be donating its surplus medical supplies to those "on the front lines who are working around the clock to save lives."

Taiwan's mask donation announcement comes as the White House coronavirus task force is debating whether to reverse the current U.S. recommendation against wearing masks in public, an about-face that President Donald Trump informally endorsed at his Wednesday evening press conference.

Taiwan, meanwhile, is seeking to strengthen its position in the international medical community, having been largely excluded from involvement with the World Health Organization due to pressure from China.

Earlier last month, Academia Sinica, Taiwan’s most prominent research institution, held a video conference with the U.S., European Union, Czech Republic and Canada to discuss the research and development of COVID-19 test kits, vaccines and reagents.

In addition to working with charities and nongovernmental organizations, Taiwan is also slated to start collaborating with the Czech Republic on the production of test kits and vaccines and the exchange of medical supplies and equipment. Taiwan previously sent alcohol for making hand sanitizer to Australia in exchange for fabric used for masks.

"Taiwan again urges WHO to comprehensively include it in related meetings, mechanisms and activities, so that Taiwan can work hand in hand with the world to overcome this grave challenge," Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. "Taiwan will take concrete actions to prove to the international community that the world needs Taiwan and that Taiwan will not be absent."

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oonal/iStock(LONDON) -- Victor Orban, the prime minister of Hungary, was granted extraordinary powers by his nation’s government this week. By 137 votes to 53, lawmakers in the Hungarian parliament voted to give Orban’s government the power to rule by decree to combat the coronavirus pandemic, for as long as the prime minister sees fit.

Rights groups have warned that Orban, who was praised by President Trump last year as having done a “tremendous job” in the eastern European country, appears to be using the guise of the COVID-19 emergency to assume the position of dictator.

In the words of David Vig, Amnesty International’s Hungary director, “This new law bestows unlimited powers to the government to rule by decree beyond the pandemic.”

And the headline in the Washington Post blared: “Coronavirus kills its first democracy.”

Renáta Uitz, chair of the Comparative Constitutional Law Program at the Central European University, called the situation in Hungary "the opening of a new era.”

"This is the first time that he has claimed uncurbed, unconstrained, uncontrolled power,” Uitz said. This is “definitely the closest we have been to what a dictatorship looks like on paper. The elements of power are there. And now the only defense is, ‘OK, I’m not going to use these powers. So we are waiting for a dictatorship in practice.”

The law's “closet competitor is a historical competitor — and that’s the 1933 Enabling Act, that literally put Hitler into the driving seat in Germany. The paper powers resemble those of the 1933 German Enabling Act and that’s pretty scary to whoever has studied history,’ Uitz said.

While the new law in Hungary is the most marked example of national leaders using the coronavirus pandemic to consolidate their power, the unprecedented lockdowns in countries around the world to help stop the spread of the disease, which has no vaccine or known cure, has posed concerns for civil liberties and human rights campaigners.

The lockdown


While the U.S. has so far resisted calls for a nationwide lockdown, the sheer scale of the international response to the spread of the novel coronavirus is unlike anything seen to peacetime.

The Guardian newspaper estimated that around 20% of the world’s population – some 1.7 billion people – were living under some kind of lockdown.

And that was before the 1.3 billion inhabitants of India, the world's largest democracy, were instructed not to leave their homes for 21 days. UNESCO, the United Nation’s education agency, estimates that around 1.5 billion students have had their studies disrupted, by school closures and delayed exams.

After the law giving Orban sweeping new powers was passed, the president of the European Commission, the executive branch of the EU, of which Hungary is a member, issued a statement saying that the Commission would be monitoring emergency measures by member states, which must be “limited to what is necessary and strictly proportionate,” and must “not last indefinitely.”

The “values of freedom, democracy, the rule of law… are common to all of us. We must uphold and defend them, even in these challenging times,” the statement said.

France, Italy and the U.K. have all gone into varying states of lockdown, although the crucial difference is that their governments have set time limits, and promised regular review of the expansion of their powers. Yet the U.K., for instance, has come under criticism for alleged abuse of police powers in monitoring the lockdown.

“Many democratic constitutions have provisions for declarations of emergency for temporary rule by decree, and so the question is what gets rolled back when the crisis passes,” Matthew Kroenig, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank and author of the upcoming book, ‘The Return of Great Power Rivalry, Democracy vs Autocracy,’ told ABC News. “And I suspect in some cases leaders are seeing this as an opportunity to grab power.”

Joe Nye, an American political scientist and former Dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, told ABC News that he believes “such policies [of lockdown] will be accepted if they are seen as necessary to save many lives.”

There is an undoubted tension between the emergency powers governments around the world are using to suspend modern life as we know it, and the preservation of vital civil liberties.

“A government is entitled to do that, to protect its citizenry when there is a true threat of health and also of safety,” Michelle Goodwin, the founding director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy at the University of California, said. “But that right is not absolute… There have been times across history where the government has quickly turned to health as being its wedge issues in order to carry out what would otherwise be a political agenda.”

‘Never let a good crisis go to waste’


In the current crisis, there remains a difference between conventional democracies taking on emergency powers, and countries in recent years which have "backsliding towards autocracy" – the system of government by one powerful individual – according to Kroenig. Hungary is just one of those countries.

“Part of the broader context here is that we've seen a decline in the number of democracies around the world... we're in a period where autocracy is on the march and democracy appears to be on the decline,” Kroenig said.

Another example is the Philippines, where Rodrigo Duterte, another strongman leader who President Trump has praised in the past, has also been granted sweeping new emergency powers over the country’s healthcare system, which could be extended past three months.

Like Hungary, the Philippines has also passed laws making the spreading of fake news about the virus a criminal offense, which advocates believe are pretexts for crackdowns.

Pointing to the example of Duterte, Kroenig said some leaders may be seeking powers they “intend to keep forever,” adopting the mantra: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

There are many historical examples, he said, of “leaders slowly accru[ing] power until there is no vestige of democracy left.”

Last year may seem long ago in the current climate, yet it is important to remember that protest movements challenged the authority of governments throughout the world – from South America, to India, Iran and Hong Kong.

Emergency situations such as the coronavirus pandemic not only allow for governments to use emergency powers, they often see people look to strong leaders in order to deal with them, according to Nye.

“I think such policies will be accepted if they are seen as necessary to save many lives,” Nye added. “Yes, in times of crisis and fear, humans turn to authority figures.  Americans tend to rally around the president, and authoritarians tend to seize more power.”

Mass surveillance

The tactics being used to monitor the movement of people, ostensibly to protect public health, could have significant implications for future protest movements, and indeed ordinary life for millions of people, for the coming months and beyond.

A host of democratic countries, Israel and South Korea to name just two, have joined authoritarian regimes such as China and Iran that have sought track coronavirus patients using cellphone data. Several European countries are reportedly considering similar moves.

But in China, the origin of the outbreak, the authorities have gone one step further, resorting to using drones to not just disinfect areas and deliver shopping, but also to track individuals, after they found people could circumvent cellphone tracking by leaving their phones at home, according to Kroenig.

"We've seen specific ways in which authoritarian governments are improving their capabilities to crack down on society in the crisis," he said. "I think the Chinese [Government] are learning lessons in this crisis that they could continue to implement even after the crisis passes."

Indeed, drones have been used to help enforce lockdowns in such a range of places as India, Italy, Portugal and Indonesia.

Russia meanwhile is turning to its facial recognition system in Moscow, already one of the largest in the world, to police its lockdown. The system can alert police when it recognizes people who should not be outside their homes and authorities have said it has already caught 500 people who violated orders to self-isolate since the start of March. The city is also set to introduce a special pass system where residents will receive a QR code that they must be able to show when going outside, even to visit the grocery store.

Miles Kahler, a senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations, while hesitant to speculate about how the pandemic will change politics in the long run, is in agreement.

“We have only one other comparable case - the 1918 [Spanish flu] pandemic,” he told ABC News in an email exchange. “In that case, most of the world was already on a war footing; politically, populations had experienced years of large-scale casualties and expected less of their governments in terms of public health.”

In the U.S., the lawmakers on the left and the libertarian right are in general agreement that the use of such measures should be strictly limited, he said, but that those same counterbalances are not in place for a host of countries across the globe.

While it may be too early to say what the long-term impacts on global politics the pandemic will have, what is clear is that we are in a “major historical moment,” according to Koenig.

"I think this could be a huge inflection point. A point at which things could go in a number of different directions,” he said. “"Where does this stop? Is it temporary to deal with the crisis or do these powers remain in place permanently?"

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narvikk/iStock(BRASILIA, Brazil) -- Governors responsible for more than 200 million Brazilian citizens have refused to relax social distances measures despite the insistence of the country’s president amid the outbreak of novel coronavirus.

Rejecting the recommendations of international organizations and his own health ministry, President Jair Bolsonaro urged his nation to end its quarantine and get back to work.

"We have to face this virus, but face it like a man, dammit, not a boy," Bolsonaro said Sunday. "We have to face it with reality. That's life. We're all going to die someday."

He added, "We have to take precautions with the elderly, with people who are at high risk. But protecting jobs is essential."

Over the last several weeks, the leader of Latin America’s most populous country has repeatedly played down the dangers of COVID-19, comparing the pandemic to a “little cold” and questioning decisions to close schools.

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have taken down some of the president’s videos and posts because they are seen as harmful content and a violation of the companies' policies.

Bolsonaro’s rejection of international recommendations has sparked political outrage, alienating the populist president from one-time allies and igniting calls for his impeachment.

All but three of Brazil’s 27 states have refused to follow Bolsonaro's proclamation. Even former right-wing allies of the president, like Rio de Janeiro Gov. Wilson Witzel, have begun to break with him.

“So far I’ve been asking, now I am giving an order: don’t leave your home,” Witzel told Rio de Janiero residents Monday.

He went on to accuse Bolsonaro of possibly committing crimes against humanity for rejecting the advice of international health organizations.

In addition to the state governors, Brazil’s Senate has broken with the president. Many citizens have participated in nightly panelaços -- protests of banging pots and pans -- from their home quarantines.

According to Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, Brazil has over 5,800 cases of COVID-19 with over 200 deaths as of Wednesday, the highest in South America.

A press aide of Bolsonaro tested positive for COVID-19 in March after meeting President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago. Both Trump and Bolsonaro have tested negative for coronavirus.

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PeterHermesFurian/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The COVID-19 pandemic has dominated the news agenda across the globe since the start of this year, but in one secretive Central Asian country you won’t even hear the word ‘coronavirus’ mentioned -- and its putting its citizens in danger, according to a new report.

In Turkmenistan, which was ranked at the bottom of the World Press Freedom Index in 2019 -- one place lower than North Korea -- the word ‘coronavirus’ has been removed from the national vocabulary, according to the independent NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

The government, led by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, who is known in Turkmenistan as the “Father Protector” of the nation, was one of the fastest moving countries in combatting the pandemic by closing its borders in early February.

To date, no cases of COVID-19 have been reported by the authorities, and the media, controlled by the Turkmen government, has removed the world “coronavirus” from every source of public information, from health pamphlets to schools and hospitals, according to RSF.

Despite the banishment of the word, leader of neighboring Uzbekistan spoke to the Turkmen President last week, the Uzbek readout of the call made clear that the two discussed a number of measures related to the spread of coronavirus.

“Current aspects of bilateral cooperation were discussed, including the priority measures taken in both countries to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection,” according to the readout.  “The work of the relevant departments and organizations in providing mutual practical assistance and monitoring the development of the epidemiological situation, especially in the border areas, was noted with satisfaction.”

Meanwhile there was no mention of coronavirus on the Turkmenistan government’s published readout of the call.

“The Turkmen authorities have lived up to their reputation by adopting this extreme method for eradicating all information about the coronavirus,” the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk, Jeanne Cavelier, said in a statement. “This denial of information not only endangers the Turkmen citizens most at risk but also reinforces the authoritarianism imposed by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov. We urge the international community to react and to take him to task for his systematic human rights violations.”

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omersukrugoksu/iStock(NEW YORK) -- India's first week of a nationwide 21-day lockdown in response to the coronavirus has shined a brutal spotlight on the plight of the country's most vulnerable citizens.

Mirai Chatterjee, who is based in densely populated Ahmedabad, a northern city of more than five million, knows this better than anyone.

"The poorest and weakest in our society are the women," said Chatterjee, who directs the social security team for the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA), a trade union that supports 1.7 million low-income women who are self-employed.

Under normal circumstances, her members' lives are punctuated by food and income insecurity, as well as difficulty accessing health care and childcare.

Under the nation's new 21-day lockdown, female workers without salaries are struggling to survive.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the 21-day lockdown with no warning last week, effectively halting the movement of an estimated 1.3 billion people just four hours before the decree went into effect at midnight March 25.

"There will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes," Modi said. "Stay wherever you are in the country."

The new orders, which affected non-essential workers, took a toll on Chatterjee's members, including construction workers, small farmers, vendors, garment and domestic workers, and rickshaw drivers, who aren't salaried.

"Today you work, today you earn, today you eat," Chatterjee said.

Without daily wages, they don't have money to buy food or medicine. Few have savings to fall back on.

"That is one huge humanitarian crisis, which we’re still going through," Chatterjee said. "There were no systems put in place at the time of this announcement. Nobody told them, stay where you are, you’ll get food, we’ll take care of you."

Prerna Singh, an associate professor at Brown University, who is working on a book about infectious disease control in India and China, said the lockdown ignored the reality of life for those who survive on daily wages.

The government's response, showed "complete callousness and indifference to plight of India's most marginalized," she said.

"They put in place this authoritarian order, without thinking of the hundreds of thousands of people who are so far from home, who don’t have homes," Singh added.

The lockdown, which shut down transportation options almost immediately, came so quickly that when migrant workers found themselves with no way to make money, they set off on foot for their home villages, sometimes hundreds of miles away.

"People are desperately trying to go back to their home villages," Chatterjee said.

In addition to risking exposure to the elements by walking four or five days on the road, "the other worry is that when people flee cities, they are carrying the virus to areas that did not have it," she said, noting that rural areas in India have especially weak public health systems.

"By not planning for this mass exodus, we have actually endangered more people," Chatterjee said.

On March 26, the government announced a $2 billion stimulus package. Local governments have also begun to step in and provide aid, like shelter and food.

While Chatterjee and her colleagues at SEWA normally do in-person outreach, since their office closed they've been working the phones and contacting members using Zoom and WhatsApp.

"We have a cadre of grassroots women leaders, who are embedded in the communities they live in," Chatterjee said.

Those grassroots leaders are distributing food, information and health kits, including masks and soap, to members who need it.

Even with those stopgap measures, the situation is grim, Chatterjee said.

Public health recommendations, such as constant hand washing, aren't possible to implement effectively in households where there's only enough water to bath once or twice a week.

"Where is the water for that?" Chatterjee asked.

Similarly, going grocery shopping once a week isn't practical for low-income people, and even less so for those who have lost their income entirely.

"They don’t have that financial backing where they can stock up," Chatterjee said.

And unlike middle- and upper-class households, where residents with outside space say that the sky is pollution-free and bluer than ever because of the lockdown, a different remark is reverberating in poor, densely populated areas, Chatterjee said.

"Many women have asked, 'How can we do social distancing? It’s virtually impossible,'" she said.

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real444/iStock(WUHAN, China) -- As "Wuhan is Back!" banners hang over reopened shopping districts and the head of China’s National Health Commission declaring Tuesday that Wuhan is no longer a COVID-19 battleground, China announced that it will once again start including asymptomatic coronavirus cases in daily tallies beginning on Wednesday.

There have been growing concerns about possible "silent carriers" across the country as lockdown measures ease in Wuhan and Beijing is trying to get the rest of the country to jump-start the stricken economy.

Since mid-February, China has not included patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 but show no symptoms in its official count. As the coronavirus, however, spread across the globe and other nations included asymptomatic cases in their growing tallies, there has been a chorus of worry whether China’s numbers reflected the magnitude of infections.

Wuhan's reporting of new cases in multiple consecutive days, has not included asymptomatic cases.

China's NHC said that as of Monday, there are now 1,541 asymptomatic cases under medical observation across the country including 205 imported cases. It remains unclear if the country will disclose the backlog of asymptomatic cases since mid-February.

While most new reported cases in China in recent weeks are of the imported variety from Europe or the U.S., a local transmission case popped up over the weekend in the western province of Gansu. It was brought in by a man from Hubei province who had been allowed to leave the former epicenter with an all-clear "green health code."

The criteria change signaled the central government in Beijing was taking the concerns seriously. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang instructed officials Monday to pay close attention to silent carriers after having warned officials last week to "not cover up reports for the sake of keeping new case numbers at zero."

The delayed response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan has been blamed domestically and internationally on local level officials reluctant to deliver bad news to Beijing.

Chinese newsmagazine Caixin reported that new asymptomatic cases are still found every day, while the South China Morning Post reported last week that, based on classified government data that they saw, at the end of February a third of the positive cases in China presented no immediate symptoms. When the case tally was 80,000 at the end of February, SCMP reported that 43,000 asymptomatic cases were left off the list.

As a result, there is a growing distrust in other provinces of Hubei residents, whose travel restrictions were largely lifted last week. Hubei authorities said that 4.6 million out of 58.5 million residents in the province returned to work by Saturday and 2.8 million itinerant workers headed to other parts of China.

On Friday, a clash apparently broke out on a border bridge over the Yangtze River when Jiangxi police refused to let Hubei residents into their province. Videos circulated briefly on social media before being censored, showed angry Hubei residents, chanting "Go Hubei!", rushing Jiangxi riot cops and even turning over a police vehicle.

International travelers entering China are not exempt from scrutiny. Domestically, China is repainting COVID-19 as a foreign threat. As of last weekend, China closed its borders to foreign nationals although 90% of the imported cases are returning Chinese passport holders.

As a result, foreigners are now facing discrimination within China. Not only are all foreigners, even those with residence permits, now banned from entering China, foreigners who remain in China are increasingly being viewed with suspicion and temporarily barred from some shops and restaurants as they cannot apply for a health code. Meanwhile, Wuhan has entered a period of soft openings before travel restrictions out of the city are expected to lift next week on April 8 and the state media has been eagerly pushing the recovery angle.

On Monday, 11 shopping malls including one of Wuhan's fanciest, Wuhan International Plaza, reopened with limited shopping hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cinemas and restaurants remained closed but if shoppers were in need of something from Cartier or Louis Vuitton, they were open for business.

China Central Television ran a three-hour livestream on its social media platforms showing the extensive measures put in place. Before entering the mall or each individual shop there are temperature checks, health code checks and signs that masks are mandatory.

Chinese citizens, especially those in harder-hit areas, are required to register for a QR code on their WeChat or AliPay app which assigns them a traffic light-like designation based on their health status: red, yellow and green

At the Chu River Han Street shopping district, some stores were still adjusting to the new normal of the post-COVID-19 world, only allowing limited shoppers. On the CCTV livestream, the reporter visiting a Xiaomi electronics store in the Wuhan's Chu River Han Street shopping area was told only five customers are allowed inside at a time. At another electronic retailer, a CCTV reporter wanted to check out the new Huawei 5G phone but was told he would not be allowed to touch or handle the display phone.

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iStock(NEW YORK) -- A painting by Vincent Van Gogh has been stolen after burglars broke into a Dutch museum that is closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Van Gogh’s “The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring,” painted in 1884, was taken from the Singer Laren Museum, which lies just outside Amsterdam, in the early hours of Monday morning, the director of the museum said. The painting was stolen on what would have been the Dutch master's 167th birthday.

Staff at the museum said that they are “shocked and unbelievably annoyed” about the theft during a press conference that was live-streamed online.

The painting has now been added to the international Interpol list of stolen artworks, police said. The authorities have so far not issued a statement about how much the artwork might be worth.

The authorities at the Groninger Museum are aware of the theft of the Van Gogh painting, and said they are “shocked” by the news that the painting was taken. The painting was on loan from the Groninger to the Singer Laren.

Potential buyers should now be aware that the painting has been stolen, police said. The authorities are appealing for information from the public to assist their investigation.

The burglars broke into the museum at about 3:15 AM local time, according to police. Images from the scene of the burglary show that the glass doors at the front of the museum were smashed during the break-in.

Arthur Brand, an independent Dutch art crimes investigator who was responsible for recovering a Picasso painting that had been missing for two decades, told ABC News that while the painting wasn't one of Van Gogh's best known works, it still had the potential to fetch millions on the black market.

“This was done by professional thieves," he said. “I hope we will find them before they manage to sell the painting to the top criminals.”

The Singer Laren will be closed until at least June 1 in order to minimize the risk of visitors spreading the novel coronavirus, although the museum’s director continues to post videos online that discuss the museum’s best known paintings in order to keep the public engaged.

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Dan Kitwood/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, shared one last update for their 11 million Instagram followers.

"As we can all feel, the world at this moment seems extraordinarily fragile," Harry and Meghan wrote in a post on their Sussex Royal account Monday. "Yet we are confident that every human being has the potential and opportunity to make a difference — as seen now across the globe, in our families, our communities and those on the front line— together we can lift each other up to realise the fullness of that promise."

"What’s most important right now is the health and wellbeing of everyone across the globe and finding solutions for the many issues that have presented themselves as a result of this pandemic," they wrote, referring to the coronavirus pandemic. "As we all find the part we are to play in this global shift and changing of habits, we are focusing this new chapter to understand how we can best contribute."

"While you may not see us here, the work continues," they wrote. "Thank you to this community -- for the support, the inspiration and the shared commitment to the good in the world. We look forward to reconnecting with you soon. You’ve been great! Until then, please take good care of yourselves, and of one another."

Harry and Meghan will no longer use the @SussexRoyal handle when they step down as senior members of the British royal family on Tuesday.

The Sussexes plan to keep their @SussexRoyal Instagram account and SussexRoyal.com website online "for the foreseeable future," but both will remain inactive, according to a Buckingham Palace spokesperson.

The discontinuation of their online Sussex Royal brands is the final public-facing dissolution of their royal lives. It comes less than two years after they tied the knot in a star-studded wedding ceremony at St. George's Chapel that was watched by millions of people.

The Sussexes at the time were heralded as the future of the royal family. Now, less than two years later, they have reportedly settled in Los Angeles with their son Archie and are working to build their own non-profit organization as non-royals.

"This is very much a bittersweet moment for Harry and Meghan," said ABC News royal contributor Victoria Murphy. "Harry was born into this life and grew up expecting to carry out duties as a working royal. He has often had conflicted feelings about the role, but to actually make that leap and walk away feels like a truly seismic moment for him and the monarchy."

She went on, "There is a lot that Harry and Meghan still feel frustrated about when it comes to the terms of their departure; however, ultimately they have secured their freedom which is what they wanted so this is also happy day for them. They will now have control over their lives and the life they want to shape for their son and that is something that is very important to them."

Harry and Meghan have not yet announced whether Los Angeles -- where Meghan was born and where her mother still lives -- will be their permanent base.

As of Wednesday, the couple's Buckingham Palace office will close. They are now being represented by Sunshine Sachs, a public relations firm with ties to the entertainment industry.

A Sussex spokesperson from Harry and Meghan's Buckingham Palace office issued their last statement on behalf of the couple on Monday.

"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will spend the next few months focusing on their family and continuing to do what they can, safely and privately, to support and work with their pre-existing charitable commitments while developing their future non-profit organization," the spokesperson said. "For now, there will be no additional information on their next steps."

While Harry and Meghan appear to plan to stay out of the public eye in the near future, we do know that we will soon hear from Meghan.

The former actress will narrate a new Disneynature film, "Elephants," which hits the streaming service Disney April 3.

A source close to Meghan told ABC News that the duchess recorded the voiceover in London last fall and had been made aware of the film through mutual friends of the filmmakers.

Harry and Meghan have had to adjust their upcoming plans due to the pandemic, according to Murphy. Harry's father, Prince Charles, tested positive earlier this month for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, and Harry and Meghan have been sharing information about the virus and ways to help on Instagram.

"They are starting a non-profit and building a team but that process will understandably slow given what is going on in the world," said Murphy. "It's clear that for the next few months they want the focus to remain on the global response to the pandemic and they will be focusing on their family and staying safe while doing what they can."

The pandemic also makes the timing of Harry and Meghan's departure from the royal family particularly evident. Harry's brother and sister-in-law, Prince William and Kate, have been the royals' public faces during the pandemic and now the youngest senior members of the royal family.

"There is no doubt that Harry and Meghan's departure leaves a big hole for the royal family," said Murphy. "They have an incredible ability to galvanize a young and global audience and there was such a lot of excitement across the world about their marriage. There were plans for them to have a big role within the Commonwealth and Harry no longer using his honorary military appointments is also a big loss because the armed forces is a community that he has such an affinity with."

"Practically, the monarchy is also unable to cover as much ground having lost two full-time senior working royals so the Sussexes' departure will definitely be felt," she said.

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Bev Vaughan(LONDON) -- After a long and successful 39-year career as a nurse working for Britain’s National Health Service, Bev Vaughan never thought that she would be dusting off her uniform after she retired in 2016.

The coronavirus pandemic changed all of that.

“My uniform is clean, my shoes are polished and I am ready to go back,” said Vaughan.

A 58-year-old retired matron from Portsmouth on the southern coast of the United Kingdom, Vaughan is one of an estimated 20,000 former or retired members of the NHS who have heard the call of duty and are returning to work to help alleviate the strains that coronavirus has put on hospitals and clinics around the country.

“They want me to work in what is called the COVID Silver Command. It is a hub that helps the nurses across the organization by fielding phone calls, emails, a bit of running around taking supplies here, there and everywhere,” she said.

Vaughan added that she is fortunate to be in a position that allows her to return to work and mobilize so quickly to help combat the spread of coronavirus while supporting the system that she dedicated her life to.

“Once you are a nurse, you are always a nurse,” said Vaughan. “You work in a very close-knit community. I just feel really privileged to be in a position where I am still registered as a nurse so I am in a position where I can fairly quickly go back.”

But in spite of all of her experience, Vaughan admits that she is anxious about going back.

“There will be some anxiety. I think every first day at work is a difficult time. In many ways, even though I am anxious, I am looking forward to making my contribution,” she said.

According to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, she isn’t the only one either.

Johnson posted a video while in self-isolation to social media on Sunday night thanking all of the returning NHS workers and volunteers around the country who are giving up their own time -- and potentially putting themselves in harm’s way -- to help support the NHS.

“Thank you, by the way, to everybody who is now coming back into the NHS in such huge numbers,” said Johnson. “Just this evening I can tell you we have 20,000 NHS staff coming back to the colors, doctors and nurses, it is the most amazing thing and that is, of course, in addition to the 750,000 members of the public who have volunteered to help us get through this crisis.”

For Vaughan and the other 20,000 medics returning to work, the timing couldn’t be more crucial.

Professor Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians, told the Press Association on Monday that an estimated 25% of doctors are currently off work in the U.K. due to either having contracted coronavirus themselves or because a family member or a person they live with has had to isolate after exhibiting symptoms.

Said Goddard: “At the moment, we think it’s more doctors self-isolating with family members, though there are some off sick themselves. This is really impacting a lot in emergency departments and London is in a much worse position than elsewhere at the moment, but it will come to other places.”

But for Vaughan, and for the thousands of other people like her, it is about a sense of duty to the public during a national crisis.

“We haven’t quite hit the mushroom yet but, trust me, it’s coming,” warned Vaughan. “I think there are more nurses who will probably listen to me and say ‘yes, I can go back.’ Once you are a nurse, you are always a nurse.”

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Chautauqua County reports 13 COVID-19 case, five now released from quarantine... There is a new case of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County... giving the county 13 positive cases since the outbre...

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