Covid-19: 1.8 billion Muslims begin a Ramadan like no other


IN THE PAPERS - Friday, April 24: We look at how the papers are covering the start of Ramadan. Also, The New York Times reports on mortality data in Ecuador that shows the true scale of coronavirus there. And finally, Tom Hanks proves once again why he's the nicest guy in Hollywood.


Some 1.8 billion Muslims are beginning Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, after Islamic leaders spotted the new moon as per tradition and as the Jakarta Post shows on its front page. A worldwide lockdown means, though, that Ramadan this year will be like no other; it’ll be a quieter, more intimate affair. But there's a real sense of hope in the Gulf News. The editors there say confinement means Muslims will observe the true spirit of Ramadan: self-reflection in fasting and "protecting our family, society and the country" by staying at home. 

The New York Times reports that its analysis of mortality data in Ecuador has found that the actual death toll from coronavirus, at around 7,600, is 15 times higher than the tally reported by the government.  Ecuador is one of the worst affected countries and one of the least equipped, with the Times reporting that bodies are being abandoned on sidewalks or packed into cardboard coffins. 

Finally, Tom Hanks has proven he's once again the nicest guy in Hollywood. During his quarantine in Australia, a young boy called Corona wrote to the actor, asking how he was and revealing he was being bullied for his name. Buzzfeed reports that Hanks wrote back offering him encouragement and then gifted the young boy his prized Corona-branded typewriter, which he had brought along with him!

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