Easter date: When is Easter? What date does it fall on this year?

In the Christian calendar, Easter marks the end of the 40 days of Lent. And unlike other Christian events, such as Christmas Day, the date Easter falls on is subject to change every year.

When is Easter?

Easter is the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and it occurs every year.

This year Easter Sunday falls on April 12, 2020.

Therefore Good Friday falls on April 10, Holy Saturday on April 11 and Easter Monday on April 13.


  • UK long range forecast: Britain to see Easter SCORCHER – latest map

Why does Easter’s date change every year?

The date Easter falls on changes year-to-year and can fall at any time between March 22 and April 25.

Christian churches across the world may set different dates for Easter, but sometimes all churches celebrate Easter at the same time.

In Western Christianity, the date is calculated based on observations of the moon.

The date Easter falls on is set to coincide with the first full moon after the vernal equinox, the Paschal Full Moon.

The church always recognises the vernal equinox as March 21 every year.

In 2020 the full moon falls on April 8.

Therefore Easter Sunday will fall this year on April 12.


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How is Easter celebrated?

For Christians, Easter is often marked by attending a church service.

However, while the UK is currently under lockdown due to coronavirus, people have been advised not to leave their homes.

Religious services and social gatherings in churches have been banned for the time being to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

As well as attending church, Christians may also mark the occasion with candles, flowers and music.

For non-Christians, people still mark Easter by spending time with their family.

Some mark the event by gifting chocolate Easter eggs to loved ones, as the eggs symbolise new life.

Some people will celebrate with a special lunch for the day, and children may engage in Easter egg hunts.

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Military fights coronavirus as RAF evacuates patients, Army builds hospitals and Navy submariners advise on isolation – The Sun

THE MILITARY has been helping the UK respond to coronavirus, evacuating patients, building makeshift hospitals and advising people how to cope in isolation.

With the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the UK surpassing China’s official tally, the armed forces are doing vital work to help the national effort.

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There have been 41,903 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK, and 4,353 people have died.

The military has already put 20,000 troops on standby to help respond to the deadly virus, transporting equipment, managing logistics and helping in hospitals, but each service is also making extra contributions to help the national effort.


The Army has led the transformation of London’s ExCel centre into an enormous makeshift hospital.

The ExCel centre in East London, which usually hosts international conferences and exhibitions, was transformed into the UK’s biggest hospital by the British Army in just 10 days.

NHS Nightingale has 4,000 beds, dwarfing the second biggest hospital in Tooting, South London, which has 1,300 beds.

The new hospital will start to take its first patients in the coming days, supported by 16,000 staff.

The project was led by Colonel Ashleigh Boreham, a Gulf War hero who has served in the Army since 1992.

He said: “It’s the biggest job I’ve ever done. But you know what? I’ve spent 27 years on a journey to the moment. This enemy is different to what we’re used to dealing with. This is a threat you can’t see.

“Yes it’s a big job, without a doubt. But it’s achievable.

“I’ve got the experience. I’m the right person at the right time for this particular project.”

There are plans to replicate the build in other large venues across the UK, with the NHS confirming on Friday that there are plans for four few sites.

NHS chief executive, Sir Simon Stevens, said that more NHS Nightingale hospitals would be built in Birmingham, Bristol, Harrogate and Manchester.

The new emergency centres, which the Army will help to plan and build, will offer up to 4,500 beds between them.

The Army are also planning to embed their medics in hospitals to support NHS workers.

Last month, 450 British Army medics were withdrawn from a military exercise in eastern Europe to prepare for deployment in the UK.

Ministry of Defence has recently drawn up plans for up to 11,200 trained members of the Defence Medical Service to help on the frontline.

Finally, the Army is helping to transport vital equipment to hospitals across the country.

Troops have been transporting masks and other protective equipment, and 150 troops are being trained to drive oxygen tankers.


The Royal Navy has also been supporting the UK’s effort to combat coronavirus, lending its helicopters to the NHS.

Three Navy choppers based on the south coast will help the South West Ambulance Services, supporting more than 4,500,000 people in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Bristol and Somerset.

The Merlin MK2 helicopters and their crews, which are usually used for hunting submarines, will be working 12-hour shifts carrying stretchers and coronavirus patients to nearby hospitals.

The helicopters’ Commanding Officer Chris Knowles said: “This is very different from our ordinary role, but jobs like this are in our DNA.

“We are helping out the nation and the National Health Service during these testing times – it’s a real moment for everyone to pull together.”

The Navy has also been assisting in helicopter practice exercises to the North East, where three Wildcat choppers will be tasked with delivering supplies, ferrying medics and carrying patients.

The helicopters manoeuvred through Newcastle city centre and past the famous Tyne Bridge to land at NHS Calliope, HQ for 100 Royal Navy Reservists.

The seaborne service, however, isn’t just helping the UK’s effort, with the Navy sending a battleship to assist in the British Overseas Territories.

On Thursday, the RFA Argus was dispatched to the Caribbean, where it will support the islands during the pandemic.

The 175-metre ship has previously operated off the coast of Yemen and Iraq, and featured in the Hollywood hit World War Z.

Merlin and Wildcat helicopters were also sent to support the ship.

Have something to look forward to and try not to get too downhearted. Think of the things you and your friends will be able to do once it’s all over!


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Finally, Navy submariners have given advice to Brits about how to cope in self-isolation.

While on patrol, submarine teams can spend months under the water and have little contact with the outside world.

Sub Lieutenant Andrew Rose said people should find a routine to get through self-isolation.

He said: “Get a routine and stick to it. There’s plenty we could do in the house such as cleaning, exercising, contacting family or friends, learn a new skill etc.

“Also remember that, just like being at sea, isolation won’t last forever. Have something to look forward to and try not to get too downhearted. Think of the things you and your friends will be able to do once it’s all over!”


The RAF is doing its bit to help UK’s coronavirus response too, evacuating patients from remote areas of the country and setting up temporary mortuaries in aircraft hangers.

In late March, and RAF transport aircraft evacuated a man with COVID-19 from the Scottish Shetland Islands.

The Atlas plane, which can carry up to 116 troops, alongside helicopters and other vehicles weighing up to 37 tonnes, took the man in his 60s to an intensive care unit in Aberdeen.

Alongside this, the RAF has provided helicopters to help NHS hospitals across the country.

The service has dispatched three choppers to Moray, in Scotland, and two to Leeming, in North Yorkshire, where they will move equipment, medical personnel and patients.

The Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, said that the aircraft “are ready to support emergency services and local communities wherever needed across the highlands and islands of Scotland – the Armed Forces have always got your back.”

Prince William wants to help the new helicopter support teams and return to the frontline as an air ambulance pilot.

On a visit to an NHS call centre in March, he revealed that he missed working in the life-saving role.

A source told The Sun last week: “William has been seriously considering returning as an air ambulance pilot to help in the current pandemic.

“He knows the whole country is doing its bit and he wants to help. But it’s complicated as he was originally grounded from the job so that he could become a senior working royal.”

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Finally, RAF aircraft hangars could be used to store up to 6,000 coronavirus victims.

Footage shot inside a disused US airbase in Oxfordshire showed hangars filled with plastic sheeting and scaffolding, built to hold the bodies of those killed by COVID-19.

In a statement, Oxfordshire County Council said: “In common with all other areas of the country, there are longstanding contingency plans to provide extra mortuary space during emergency situations.

“Partners from organisations including the NHS, registration services, Coroner’s office and local authorities have been meeting regularly to consider requirements that may be placed upon Oxfordshire during the coronavirus outbreak.

“This has led to a temporary facility being prepared at the former RAF base at Heyford Park, which will be used if required.”

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Virtual Grand National 2020: Templegate's pinstickers guide and tips for the race on ITV

BURROWS SAINT looks a winner not a sinner in the Virtual Grand National.

He has already won the Irish version of this great race and virtual Rachael Blackmore can be the first woman to win Aintree’s showpiece.

Kimberlite Candy and Walk In The Mill both ran crackers in the Becher Chase here in December and have every chance of hitting the frame from their low weights.

Tiger Roll will pull out all the stops to make it three Nationals in a row but only the great Rummy himself has carted so much weight to win in recent memory. That won’t stop him being in the mix but he may have to settle for a place.

Lots of the bigger weights have each-way claims with last year’s fifth Anibale Fly sure to run well again. All of Wales will be cheering on Welsh National winner Potters Corner who will be plodding on when others cry enough.

Definitly Red will be popular with virtual punters at Liverpool and is another who should run well.


TIGER burning bright. Has etched his name in the great race’s history by winning the past two Nationals in great style. We know he handles the big fences and has no issues with this trip. He’s still only 10 so is the right sort of age for an Aintree winner. No horse has carried so much weight to National success since Red Rum himself in 1974 but he’ll make another bold bid.


MAI not win. Finished third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last year but was only ninth in this year’s renewal when making a couple of mistakes. Is a Grade 1 winner at his best and has plenty of staying power. Having his first crack at these fences, which is no bad thing, but his big weight is a worry.

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ASO no. Has got plenty of decent form over shorter distances but has yet to taste success beyond 2m5f. Trainer Venetia Williams threw him into the deep end of the King George over 3m at Christmas but he didn’t get home at Kempton. Hard to see him staying this far.


ELEGANT looks good. Won the Welsh Grand National in the mud two years ago so has lots of staying power and was a well-backed sixth in the race this season. Found the Cheltenham Gold Cup a real struggle last time but should enjoy this trip a lot more and will be running on at the finish. Has an each-way shout.


FLY has wings. Hasn’t won for more than two years but was good enough to finish second in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last season before a good fifth in the National when he jumped the fences well. He warmed up for this with a good third over hurdles at Naas last time and has less weight than 12 months ago. On the shortlist.

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Virtual Grand National 2020: Best betting offers and sign up bonuses with Paddy Power, Betfair, Ladbrokes and Betway – The Sun

SUN RACING have laid out the best sign-up offers available to new customers.

We've teamed up with the some of the UK's leading bookmakers to help you get more bang for your buck.

With these sign-up offers below you can boost your betting bank by over £100.

We have also broken down the jargon to these offers and explain which offer may suit you best, as well as showing you the latest promotions, to ensure you don't miss out.

Paddy Power: £20 Risk Free Bet* – CLAIM HERE

Paddy Power are giving you a totally risk free £20 bet.

Sign up to Paddy Power and if your first bet loses, you will get it refunded up to £20.

What's more, it's in cash too!

See more Paddy Power offers here

Betway: Up to £30 Bonus* – CLAIM HERE

Betway have a bonus of up to £30 for new customers.

Sign up and place your first deposit of up to £30.

This will then get matched once a bet at odds of 1.75 or greater has been placed.

See more Betway offers here

Betfair: Risk Free £20 Exchange Bet* – CLAIM HERE

The Betfair Exchange are giving new customers a risk free £20 bet.

Simply bet £20 on any race and if it's a loser, you will get your £20 back.

Whats more, it's in CASH!

See more Betfair offers here

Ladbrokes: Bet £5, Get £20 in Free Bets* – CLAIM HERE

What separates this sign up offer from others, is the minimum deposit being just £5.

So if you're seeking free bets, without wanting to part with too much money, this is the offer for you.

New customers must register using promo code 20FREE, place a £5 win single bet or £5 e/w at odds of 1/2 or greater and get up to £20 in free bets.

Ladbrokes: Stake £10, Get £50 Welcome Bonus* – CLAIM HERE

This casino offer is perfect for new customers.

Simply stake £10 on any casino, slots or live casino game and you will get a £50 welcome bonus!

Whether you enjoy sitting at the roulette table, or having a few spins on the slot machines, this offer is for you.

See more Ladbrokes offers here

Coral: Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets* – CLAIM HERE

All new customers need to do is place a single £10 bet and get £30 in free bets in return.

Back a winner at any meeting and you still have £30 pounds worth of bets to place on more races.

Meaning, regardless if you're up or down after your first tenner, you still have opportunities to make money without spending anymore money.

See more Coral offers here

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Kevin Hart tells 50 Cent to ‘f–k off’ after he’s trolled for grey hair

Kevin Hart has clapped back at 50 Cent after the Queens rapper jokingly took aim at him, Sean “Diddy” Combs and Deion Sanders for embracing their grey hair during the coronavirus quarantine.

The “Power” producer, 44, trolled the three stars on Instagram Friday afternoon, posting photos of the trio and their greying strands alongside the caption, “man where the f–k is the time machine, they got old on quarantine. LOL.”

Hart, 40, replied to the “For Life” actor with a quip of his own, telling him to “f–k off.”

He went on, “I used the product this week 😂😂😂😂.”

That product could have been hair dye, as Hart’s most recent posts show his hair color reverted from salt-and-pepper back to black.

In a screenshot captured by The Jasmine Brand, 50 Cent lets the comedian know that there is nothing but love between them, telling the Philadelphia native, “love you boy, you know I f–k wit you keep winning.”

Deion Sanders, 52, also responded to 50, writing, “Man I can shave! And I look younger than u.”

Several stars have embraced their maturing hair color during the quarantine, including Sarah Silverman, who recently shared a few words on why she believes her silver strands are beautiful and well-earned.

“The days are manic,” Silverman wrote. “From weeping to dancing to worrying about sick friends to sobbing to playing call of duty and talking shit to the screen like an asshole. good or bad the greys are on point.”

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50 Cent Accuses SlowBucks of Abusing Ashanti’s Sister After She Shows Heavy Injuries

Kenashia ‘Shia’ Douglas shares on her Instagram account a video that includes images of her covered in blood with her teeth broken to celebrate her 31st birthday.

AceShowbiz50 Cent has reignited his beef with hip-hop entertainer Slowbucks. It all started after Ashanti‘s sister, Kenashia “Shia” Douglas, shared on Instagram a video of her terrifying injuries from an abusive relationship to celebrate her 31st birthday.

In the video, she put all the transformative moments in her life, from the day she was born until she turned 31. However, after the one-minute mark, things took a darker turn. Images of her sporting a black eye and a bloody face with her teeth broken flashed on the screen as she talked about how one’s experiences change as they grow older.

“Our experiences begin to shape our realities. Here, we learn about pain, isolation, sacrifice and heartache,” she said in voiceover. “These experiences though, no matter how bad, how painful, how ugly, how dark, how beautiful, are all threads that together wove our story and shape our purpose. They reignite our passion and remind us of who we are divinely meant to be.”

Shia didn’t name names in her clip, prompting people to speculate that the abuse was done by her former fiance Slowbucks. Among those who think so is Fiddy, who unsurprisingly didn’t keep his opinion to himself. The “Power” star shared the video on his own account and added in the caption, “yo what’s wrong wit you boy, hitting that girl like that.”

Slowbucks has yet to respond to Fiddy.

Slowbucks and Shia dated for a few years before getting engaged in 2016. In an interview, she gushed over how strong their relationship was even after the industry drama, including his beef with Fiddy. “I don’t think that any real woman would let anything hinder their relationship,” she said at the time. “If it’s a real relationship and the love and everything in between is authentic, then nothing can hinder your relationship. Only death.”

It’s unknown when Slowbucks and Shia called it quits, though some believe that it was between 2018-2019.

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Elton John donates £815k to coronavirus Emergency Relief Fund to protect people with HIV

SIR Elton John has pledged £815,000 ($1million) to a coronavirus Emergency Relief Fund to protect those living with HIV.

The 73-year-old music icon took to Instagram today to announce that his foundation was launching the fund to make sure no HIV patient is left behind while the COVID-19 pandemic grips the globe.

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In the video, the performer read out a statement to his 2.8million followers and explained how the fund will help those in need.

He began: "Hi this is Elton and I'm so pleased to announce that my foundation is a launching a new COVID-19 Emergency Fund today.

"For almost 30 years, my foundation has prioritised the most vulnerable people to HIV to end the aids epidemic and we're committed to this amid the COVD-19 crisis too.

"Distributing medicines, testing and preventive treatment is not as simple as it was a few weeks ago so our new COVID-19 emergency fund will help frontline partners to prepare for and respond to the pandemic and it's effects on HIV prevention and care for the most marginalised communities.

Adding: "We must keep up momentum or else the results could be disastrous for people living with HIV and other infectious diseases. We're with you, we're thinking of you, we will not leave anyone behind".

The award-winning musician echoed the same sentiments in the caption of the video which read: "Today, I’m proud to announce that my Foundation @EJAF is launching a $1million COVID-19 Emergency Fund to make sure that our frontline partners can respond to the effects of COVID-19 on HIV care for the most marginalised communities around the world.

"Now and always, I’m committed to not leave anyone affected by HIV behind. Click on the link in my bio for more info.

"Sending love to all of our Foundation’s partners, grantees, supporters, frontline workers and members of our community during this time."

Elton previously mentioned his fund while appearing on Miley Cyrus' Bright Minded live-stream last night.

The Rocket Man hitmaker admitted he was concerned HIV/Aids suffers would be hit with a "double whammy" due to the strain on the health service.

Elton is self-isolating in Los Angeles with his husband David Furnish and their two sons, Zachary, nine, and Elijah, seven.

As well as pledging money to his HIV/Aids charity, Elton has also played a huge part in raising money to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

He hosted the iHeart Living Room Concert For America last Sunday, which raised more than $8 million dollars in donations earmarked to Feeding America and the First Responders Children’s Foundation.

The event saw a plethora of stars including Mariah Carey, Lizzo, Backstreet Boys, Camila Cabello and boyfriend Shawn Mendes performing from the comfort of their homes.


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Cancer breakthrough: New method targets deadly cells

It works by basically forcing the cancer cells to dump their waste in their ‘home’ rather than have it taken out and disposed of. A team of researchers from the Centre for Soft and Living Matters, based in South Korea, found that selective killing of cancer cells will clutter their waste disposal system. Cancer patients will have ‘cancer lysosomes’ and ‘healthy cell lysosomes’ – a lysosome is a sac filled with a large number of enzymes and acid, it works to break down and recycle damaged cellular components. 

Researchers discovered that if the ‘cancer lysosomes’ is punctured, then harmful toxins will be released inside the cell damaging the cellular components – effectively killing the cancer cell. 

In cancer-free patients, the healthy lysosomes usually release toxins outside of the cell – simply put it it’s like throwing out rubbish from your home rather than emptying it back on the floor. 

Co-author Dr Bartosz Grzybowski, said: “In this work, we have harnessed the deregulated waste management system of the cancer cells to act as a nanoscale assembly line for constructing high-quality nanoparticle crystals that destroy the very lysosome reactors that allowed them to grow in the first place.”

The mixed-charge nanoparticles will assemble into crystals and cause the death of thirteen types of cancer lines. 

Co-author Dr Kristiana Kandere-Grzybowska, said: “Non-cancerous cells, however, also internalise mixed-charge nanoparticles, but nanoparticle aggregation is limited. The nanoparticles quickly transit through the recycling routes and are cleared from these cells.

First author of the study, Dr Magdalena Borkowska added: “Our conclusions are based on a comparison of thirteen different sarcomas, melanoma, breast and lung carcinoma cell lines with four non-cancer cell types.

“The nanoparticles were effective against all thirteen cancer lines, while not harming non-cancerous cells.” 

Overall, the interactions between particles, serum proteins and cells’ internal environment work in concert to impair cancer lysosomes.

Dr Kandere-Grzybowska said: “”The nanoparticle clusters may alter the lipid composition of the lysosome membrane, affect its integrity and render it less mechanically robust.

“Unexpectedly, our team also discovered that some proteins, such as the cell growth signalling molecules mTORC1, are displaced (and thus inhibited) from the surface of nanoparticle-containing cancer lysosomes. 

“This is important because cancer cell growth and division require mTORC1, and nanoparticles are shutting it down only in cancer cells.”

The mixed-charge strategy could be applied to other types of nanoparticles, such as polymer-based particles, dendrimers or iron oxide nanoparticles. 

Another important step will be testing the effectiveness of mixed-charge nanoparticles against tumours in animal models. 

The findings are published in Nature Nanotechnology.

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‘Tsunami’ of cases as coronavirus spreads where social distancing is a privilege

Outside China, it's the rich world that has so far borne the brunt of coronavirus. Spain and Italy are under siege, the streets of New York are deserted, and, in Australia, luxury cruise ships and a party among the private school set in Aspen have been the centres of the pandemic's spread.

But despite the inconvenience of working and schooling from home, the gripes about Victoria's short-lived "bonk ban" and quarantined ex-travellers complaining about the food in five-star hotels, Australia has been able to hunker down and self-isolate.

An Indian boy helps a girl to drink water as others wait to collect potable water from a public tap in a poor area of Hyderabad, India.Credit:AP

Then last week, a tweet from an Indian doctor went viral and provided some much-needed perspective on this fearsome disease: "Social distancing is a privilege," wrote Dr Jagadish J Hiremath. "It means you live in a house large enough to practise it.

“Hand washing is a privilege too. It means you have access to running water. Hand sanitisers are a privilege. It means you have money to buy them. Lockdowns are a privilege. It means you can afford to be at home. Most of the ways to ward the corona off are accessible only to the affluent.”

Dr Hiremath runs a hospital in an industrial area of Bangalore, about 1000 kilometres from Mumbai. His words were a sobering reminder of the world’s structural inequalities.

And if well-off nations with solid health systems and economies have seen about 53,000 people die so far, when COVID-19 spreads in earnest to poorer countries, refugee camps, and informal settlements, it is likely to become deadlier still. Aid agencies, the United Nations and national governments across the developing world know that that day is approaching.

“It’s just a trickle at the moment, but based on what we’ve seen in places like Italy and New York we need to prepare for a tsunami.”

“High population density and inadequate housing conditions … mean that measures to prevent and respond to COVID-19, such as quarantine and social distancing, are simply not possible,” said World Vision International’s Global Director of Humanitarian Operations, Isabel Gomes, this week.

“Populations forced to live in such places will find it very difficult to protect themselves.”

In India, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day nationwide shutdown on March 24, about one-sixth of the urban population live cheek-by-jowl in the country’s slums.

The largest of those communities is Dharavi in Mumbai, which recorded its first case of coronavirus on Wednesday. Here, there’s about one toilet for every 1400 residents, and around 100,000 makeshift homes, each with multiple residents under the one roof. The laneways are so narrow that neighbours can’t help but rub shoulders as they pass. Some labourers fled the cities and crushed onto buses and highways to go back to their home villages, probably carrying the virus to every corner of the country.

As Dr Hiremath told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald last week, COVID-19 started in wealthier nations, but it “has now become a poor man’s burden to carry.”

A family at the grave of their relative who died of coronavirus in one of the two official cemeteries for COVID-19 victims in Jakarta, Indonesia.Credit:Getty Images

Indonesia presents another cautionary tale. A few weeks ago, the world’s fourth most populous nation was yet to officially record a single case of coronavirus. By Friday morning there had been 1790 cases and 170 deaths – making the country the worst-affected nation in south-east Asia. Most of the deaths have been in the teeming capital, Jakarta.

While President Joko Widodo was initially slow to respond, his government has now imposed “large scale social restrictions” on its citizens including a nationwide work-from-home policy. But for now, there are no plans to stop “Lebaran” at the end of May, an annual migration of 20 million people from the cities to home villages all over the country to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr religious festival.

In any event, many Indonesians work in informal industries, earning a living as food vendors, domestic helpers, drivers – jobs where working from home is simply not feasible. For these daily wage earners, the choice is stark: risk hunger, or risk infection.

Motorcycle taxi “Gojek” driver Mohammad Feri Fadli told The Age and Herald he would continue working on the streets of Bali, but had noticed a 50 per cent drop in his income since the first case of COVID-19 in his country.

“I am scared of the virus too, but I brave it every day to go out,” said the father of two, who regularly sends money back to his family in Java. “My wife makes snacks and sells them online, but it’s so quiet lately she had to stop. What we eat, we earn each day. If I don’t bring money home, there will be nothing to eat tomorrow.”

Aid agencies also fear the catastrophic impact of COVID-19 sweeping into refugee camps, makeshift settlements and conflict zones. According to the United Nations refugee agency, more than 70 million people are living out of their homes, many in camps, due to conflict.

There, a lack of medical resources and pre-existing health conditions will make the pandemic even harder to fight. And for many communities in fragile nations, COVID-19 will exacerbate a range of child protection threats that are largely foreign in the west, such as child marriage and child slavery.

“It’s a humanitarian emergency writ large,” said Save the Children deputy chief executive Mat Tinkler. “It’s just a trickle at the moment, but based on what we’ve seen in places like Italy and New York we need to prepare for a tsunami.”

That preparation itself has been made difficult by the shutdowns that some governments and non-government groups are imposing on their staff. In the Pacific, Papua New Guinea has now gone into lockdown, and the Australian High Commission evacuated all non-essential staff last week. Private companies that usually assist in aid and development have also withdrawn workers. With fewer people, travel restrictions disrupting supply chains, and limited internet, the ability to “surge into hotspots” and respond to the virus is likely to be affected, says Tinkler.

One of the biggest, most densely packed refugee camps in the world is the Cox’s Bazar displacement camps in Bangladesh, where 859,000 refugees are living after fleeing Myanmar in 2017.

Here, an estimated 40,000 people per square kilometre live in plastic shelters crammed side-

Thanks to a government crackdown, they have had no access to internet or cell phone data for more than six months, so have no means of obtaining reliable information about COVID-19. They do not know which hospitals could take them in, and which are already at capacity.

An epidemic in this environment could be catastrophic.

In Africa, all but five of the continent’s 54 countries now have cases of coronavirus. As the number of infections exceeded 6000 on Thursday, the head of Africa Centres for Disease Control Prevention, Dr John Nkengasong, warned that the continent was "very, very close" to where Europe was after a 40-day period.

In a small snapshot of the difficulties ahead, Cote d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso are already running out of hospital beds, armed conflict continues unabated in countries such as Nigeria and South Sudan and high rates of diabetes, HIV, other diseases will likely increase the risk of COVID-19 across the continent.

Homeless people queuing for a meal and a shelter in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, South Africa, during a nationwide lockdown.Credit:AP

Here too, social distancing and quarantine is often all but impossible. In Mozambique, for instance, it’s not uncommon for up to seven or eight family members to live under the one roof and walk several kilometres a day for basic water supplies. In Uganda and Ethiopia, about 82 percent of the population gather en masse for religious services. Church services in Australia are now streamed online but such a concept is not feasible in rural Africa.

“Health-care systems across Africa could collapse under the added weight of the pandemic,” says Patrick Youssef, the regional director for Africa at the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“In northern Mali, 93 per cent of health-care facilities have been completely destroyed – proof that hospitals, ambulances and medical personnel all too often become targets in armed conflict. The underfunded community health centres that are left already struggle to treat common illnesses like malaria and measles. How could we expect them to test and treat people for COVID-19?”

In a bid to deal with the looming catastrophe, international humanitarian agencies are ramping up their efforts in fragile nations despite their staff restrictions. World Vision has been distributing protection equipment and hygeine supplies in Asia since January and is now undertaking further work in countries such as Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Haiti and Syria.

However, acting chief executive Graham Strong is under no illusions about the overwhelming challenge ahead, and the stark contrasts between developed nations and the third world when it comes to fighting the worst global pandemic in a century.

From the sanctuary of his Australian home, Strong has been watching in awe at the billions of dollars state and federal governments have pumped into job seeker payments, childcare, and hospital beds. He hopes, optimistically, that it doesn’t detract from the global effort to protect the most vulnerable.

“I’ve just been amazed in terms of watching what the Australian government is doing for Australians,” says Strong. “I think it’s great that we’re able to do that, but we have to realise that a lot of fragile states don’t have the ability to provide that for their citizens.”

In India, Dr Hiremathe knows that lockdowns have helped to flatten the curve. In his, country, though, “it is coming with a price”.

“I run a hospital in an industrial area of Bangalore,” he says. “Most of (the labourers) here are daily wage earners, and since the factories are shut down, they’re suffering from a loss of income.

“If proper arrangements are not made, we may soon see more people dying of hunger than COVID-19.”

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I fell in love with a friend who didn't love me back

It was a miserable cold winter’s night at the bar in a busy pub when I saw her first. A wide eyed fawn haired woman. All clavicles, effortless grace and beauty – even as she sat, bored in a carpeted boozer, munching a pickled egg.

Feeling uncharacteristically brave, I chose to follow the butterflies doing loop-the-loops in my gut and went to spark up a conversation. In 10 minutes, we ruminated on her unusual snack combination (pickled egg and dry roasted peanuts) and sussed we had writing in common.

At that time, I was six months into a very brutal and unexpected heartache, the fourth in a series that could only be described as ‘from bad to worse.’ I never meant to become so good at being lonely, but at the dawn of my thirties, I’d become a dab hand. Meeting a woman whose very being sent my heart racing within seconds was euphoric.

We were allies in otherness, in a pub where everyone else seemed to be part of the same team. It was the most fulfilling conversation I’d had in months.

Yet with every high there comes a low, and that was her telling me about her loser boyfriend – who was treating her dreadfully.

In that moment, I realised that I’d just met a woman I had enormously strong feelings for, who was brilliantly smart, immeasurably kind and potentially the most beautiful person I’d ever seen – but who not only had a different sexual orientation to mine but was in a relationship with a man who didn’t deserve one iota of the love and understanding she gave him.

Human connections never fail to mystify me and despite my obvious frustrations, we got on so well that we exchanged numbers and became friends.

We had drinks. She suggested books I might enjoy. She sent me music that reminded her of me.

I tried not to overthink every piece of prose, every lyric – not to keep any shred of hope that compositions filled with aching for another’s closeness were aimed at me. 

I sent songs back, always terrified that their lovey-dovey sentiments might give me away – or scarier still (in terms of my ego, anyway), that she might think my taste in music was slightly gauche.

Six months on, keeping schtum about my feelings really began to eat away at me, but not in the way you might expect. No part of me ever believed I’d have a real shot with her, nor that she’d want to have a romantic relationship with me.

She’s straight and if that wasn’t enough, she out of my league. In fact she’s out of my universe. Too bright, too brilliant, too pretty.

What really got to me was keeping something from someone I really cared about, a friend who shared so many private thoughts and emotions with me. A friend who I spoke to about everything going on in my life but from whom I was hiding my biggest secret.

It felt like lying to her and that stung far more than longing to be her person. 

So I told her, in the only way I knew how: by getting white-girl wasted on a night out and making an utter fool of myself as we sat close together on a cold metal bench. Tears, apologies, the works.

Umpteen actors would nail my character in this movie, and it would have a happy ending. Sadly, life’s not a romcom.

She didn’t say she felt the same. She didn’t say anything really because I didn’t give her a chance to handle the grim responsibility of rejecting a friend so dear to her.

I launched into a soliloquy about how I’d never disrespect her boundaries, how soulmates come in all shapes and sizes, that platonic love is forever and how I was sure the romantic feelings would fade. A hopeful diminuendo.

We hugged and she thanked me for being honest. We both promised nothing in our friendship would change.

Life trudged mercifully on, as it tends to. Today, we’re still very close and as we’re both currently single, we get to enjoy each other’s company and make plans and support each other.

Neither of us have delved back into that night since in the mutual, unspoken understanding that should we ever want to, we could be as open and honest as with every other part of our relationship.

As time has passed, my previous feelings have evolved into platonic ones and – as a hopeless romantic – honestly makes me feel a bit sad. Because if those initial feelings had been reciprocated, they would have lasted forever, at least on my part.

Unrequited love gave me all the fun parts of falling for someone. Butterflies, thinking about her all the time, spoiling her with small thoughtful gifts, the immeasurable satisfaction of her laughing at my jokes. Feeling like somebody. Being seen.

Romantic feelings for my friend were a beautiful shield from the potential of losing myself in a relationship all over again, and they stepped in during a time in my life when it seemed like pain would never go away. The mere idea of falling in love with someone who could love me back only to smash me to smithereens was, and remains, utterly nightmarish.

I’m not saying unrequited love has been an easy ride but it’s not even close to the shadow some of my previous romantic relationships have left on my heart.

At times, they have blocked out the light completely – falling in love with my friend was like all of the lights being turned back on, even if she never felt the same. 

Apart from feeling a bit of an eejit, nothing changed in our friendship and in all sincerity, I’m now speaking up in defence of unrequited love. It isn’t risky, nor redundant. It is valid, important, and a comforting half-way for when you’re not ready to be in love again.

Being vulnerable and open about your feelings, even if you know that things aren’t going to go your way, is important. It closes a chapter, leaving you open to the rest of your life and the day when things will get better and you know you’re brave enough to say how you feel.

Love, in its truest form, is all around us. In the romantic sense, it is mutual respect and adoration. Always being excited to see each other. Never tiring of each other’s jokes.

Maybe one day I’ll find that but for now I’m satisfied and enjoying emotional stillness in all the platonic love I’m lucky enough to have. It’s marvellous.

Last week, in Love, Or Something Like It: I manifested my husband

Would you like to share your love story?

Love, Or Something Like It is a new series for Metro.co.uk, covering everything from mating and dating to lust and loss, to find out what love is and how to find it in the present day. If you have a love story to share, email [email protected]

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