March, 20 2020 - 03:08 PM
Indian PM Modi appeals to citizens to isolate at home, self-impose curfew amid COVID-19 scare
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday appealed to the countrymen to isolate themselves at their homes in order to save themselves from Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
In a televised address to the nation, Modi said that COVID-19 had adversely affected many nations over the past two months, and that it was a wrong belief that it won't affect people in India, reports XINHUA.
Modi also urged the Indians to observe a self-imposed curfew on March 22 (Sunday) from 0700 hours till 2100 hours and stay inside their homes. He specially urged those aged above 60 years not to move out of their homes in the coming weeks.
The local (district) administrations across the country must blow siren at 1700 hours on Sunday to alert the people about the timing of thanking the people engaged in controlling COVID-19 spread, said Modi.
He also suggested that enough care should be taken to ensure essential services do not come under pressure. "Routine medical check-ups at hospitals should be avoided at hospitals in a bid to avoid putting extra pressure on the medical facilities available in the country. Also, non-urgent medical surgeries should be postponed to a later date," said Modi.
March, 20 2020 - 03:06 PM
How one elite New York medical provider got its patients coronavirus tests
As US authorities scrambled to ramp up the nation’s capacity to test for coronavirus last week, at least 100 executives and other New Yorkers of means had easy access to testing, according to two sources familiar with the activities of a little-known medical service catering to the affluent.
These people paid a $5,000-a-year membership fee for a medical concierge service in New York City called Sollis Health, which worked with Enzo Clinical Labs Inc to test its members for COVID-19, according to the sources, reports Reuters.
The arrangement gave members, which include people in finance, entertainment, advertising and media industries, access to the tests at home at a time New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state had the capacity to test just a few hundred patients a day. The two sources declined to provide the identities of the people the company tested for coronavirus and Reuters could not establish them.
The demand for the coronavirus testing services provided by Sollis underscores the lack of preparedness of public health institutions. The access it provided its members is the latest example of how well-to-do people got coronavirus tests at a time of scarcity.
Sollis is part of a lucrative cottage industry, where membership costs can run into tens of thousands of dollars a year for services such as special access to doctors and private emergency rooms. These companies have found a niche in wealthy cities like New York and San Francisco as the rich seek access to better healthcare. Reuters was unable to ascertain if other medical concierge services also were offering coronavirus tests.
March, 20 2020 - 03:05 PM
Two Los Angeles Lakers players have tested positive for COVID-19, team says
Two Los Angeles Lakers players have tested positive for coronavirus, the NBA franchise said on Thursday, and have been quarantined under the care of the basketball team’s doctor.
The Lakers did not identify the two infected players but said they were tested along with the rest of the team because of a March 10 game against the Brooklyn Nets. Four Nets players have since been found to have COVID-19, Reuters reports.
“We learned today that two Lakers players have tested positive. Both players are currently asymptomatic, in quarantine and under the care of the team’s physician,” the Lakers said in a written statement.
“All players and members of the Lakers staff are being asked to continue to observe self-quarantine and shelter at home guidelines, closely monitor their health, consult with their personal physicians and maintain constant communication with the team,” the Lakers said.
The NBA has been criticized for giving its players coronavirus tests that are often unavailable to the general public, even patients showing symptoms of the respiratory illness.
The Lakers said public health officials recommended the tests because of the game against the Nets.
March, 20 2020 - 02:42 PM
Muslims in Indonesia divided over Friday prayers amid coronavirus fears
While many Muslims in Indonesia’s capital accepted advice to avoid religious gatherings and prayed at home on Friday elsewhere in the world’s most populous Muslim country, people ignored the risk of coronavirus and crowded into their mosques.
A religious gathering in Malaysia late last month attended by some 16,000 people generated about 670 coronavirus cases across the region, including 576 in Malaysia, 61 in Brunei and 22 in Cambodia. At least 13 Indonesians were also infected, reports Reuters.
Indonesia has reported 309 cases in all but the figure is rising and medical experts warn the number of infections is likely to be higher. Twenty-five people have died in Indonesia.
But some Muslims trusted in their faith to keep them safe.
“Allah is protecting those who abide by their obligations,” said Aswin Jusar, 76, in the town of Depok, south of Jakarta, as he prepared to attend Friday prayers as usual despite a call from the mayor for religious activities to be suspended.
March, 20 2020 - 02:40 PM
UK hopes newly-made ventilators will be ready for coronavirus fight next week
Britain said on Friday its scramble to produce thousands of ventilators to fight the coronavirus outbreak was achieving results as top companies have already produced a prototype and it should be ready for use in hospitals by the end of next week.
British companies have formed three teams, led by aerospace engineer Meggitt (MGGT.L) and carmakers McLaren and Nissan (7201.T) to pursue the rapid production of ventilators. European giant Airbus (AIR.PA) is working across the process to provide its 3D technology and facilities, reports Reuters.
“More than half a dozen companies have already made one in prototype, to check with us that we are happy with the quality,” health minister Matt Hancock told BBC TV.
Hancock said he hoped the new ventilators would be approved for use in hospitals by the end of next week.
March, 20 2020 - 02:29 PM
France says 130,000 of its nationals trying to return home
France is trying to facilitate the repatriation of 130,000 of its nationals stuck overseas due to the coronavirus outbreak, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Friday.
“The fundamental principle is that for the 130,000, we want to bring them back to the national territory, but we ask them to be calm and patient,” Le Drian told France Info radio, adding that it would be up to them to pay for their return tickets, reported Reuters.
Le Drian urged the more than 3 million French expatriates to stay where they are and warned that the government was ready to toughen up restrictions in France to limit people’s movements if existing guidelines were not adhered to sufficiently.
March, 20 2020 - 02:24 PM
Faced with a shortage of face masks, some US doctors make their own
Doctors in Seattle have been reduced to making their own face masks out of sheets of plastic, after a global shortage of medical protective gear has hit Washington state, an epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.
Ahead of an anticipated shortage of medical supplies, hospital staff met in a conference room south of Seattle to make homemade masks for the doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals on the frontline of tackling the coronavirus outbreak, reports Reuters.
“We’re days away from running out of the equipment we need,” said Melissa Tizon, Associate Vice President of Providence St. Joseph Health, which runs 51 hospitals across five western states. “We’re expecting more shipments later on but until then we’ve got to improvise.”
March, 20 2020 - 01:54 PM
Apple limits online iPhone purchases to two per person amid coronavirus
Apple Inc (AAPL.O) is limiting customer purchases of iPhones over its online stores in many countries including the United States and China to a maximum of two handsets per person, checks on its website on Friday revealed.
The purchase caps come just after the hardware maker closed all of its brick-and-mortar stores outside China, as the coronavirus spreads globally and forces lockdowns and limitations on public movement to contain it, reports Reuters.
Checks on Apple’s website reveal that in numerous countries, a drop-down menu prevents customers from buying more than two of the same model iPhone, across all models. The last time it did so was in 2007, when the iPhone was first introduced, to stop people from reselling them.
In mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, and Singapore, a message appears above iPhone listings informing customers that purchases will be limited to two devices per order.
Apple declined to comment.
The purchase limits come as Apple braces for a blow due to the coronavirus’ impact on sales, both due to supply chain disruptions and weak demand.
March, 20 2020 - 01:50 PM
Russia starts testing coronavirus vaccine prototypes on animals
Russian scientists have begun testing prototypes of potential vaccines against the new coronavirus on animals in a laboratory in Siberia, Russia’s consumer health regulator said on Friday.
Russia has reported 199 coronavirus cases so far, less than in many other European countries, but the figure has risen sharply in recent days. One person diagnosed with the virus has died, reports Reuters.
Scientists in the Vektor State Virology and Biotechnology Centre in the city of Novosibirsk have developed vaccine prototypes based on six different technological platforms and began tests on Monday to try to work out how effective they are and in what doses they could be administered, the regulator said.
Scientists around the world have warned that the development of a vaccine is a lengthy and complex process that might only yield something for broader use in the next 12-18 months.
March, 20 2020 - 01:41 PM
Pakistan reports third death, urges people to practice social distancing
A 77-year-old patient in the southern city of Karachi died from econdary transmission of the novel coronavirus.
The patient was a cancer survivor and had suffered from hypertension and diabetes, provincial health minister Azra Pechucho has announced.
They had no history of recent travel to any country with a coronavirus outbreak, and had not been in contact with anyone who had travelled to such a country, reported Al Jazeera.
Friday's death brings the total number of deaths in Pakistan due to COVID-19 to three. "We have now reached the point of community circulation," said Pechucho in a video statement.
March, 20 2020 - 01:38 PM
Germany to facilitate retail sector cooperation to fight coronavirus
German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier wants to loosen anti-trust laws to allow greater cooperation between retail businesses in the fight against coronavirus, magazine Der Spiegel reported on Friday.
“If the food industry and retail sector cooperate to secure supply for citizens during the crisis then we will take up anti-trust issues with the cartel authority in order to find a solution,” Altmaier told Spiegel, reports Reuters.
March, 20 2020 - 01:21 PM
Italy urges new EU bonds to fight coronavirus crisis
Italy’s Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri said on Friday that European Union bonds are needed to fight the coronavirus emergency hobbling the block’s countries.
“We should foresee the issue of European securities that can be used by each country under the same conditions and must be related to the fight against coronavirus and its economic consequences,” Gualtieri told Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera, reports Reuters.
“We are facing a symmetrical shock that affects everyone and therefore we need to use the tools we have in an innovative way”.
March, 20 2020 - 01:20 PM
Delayed by sanctions, border checks, first medical aid trickles into North Korea
The first shipments of international medical aid are due to arrive at North Korea’s borders this week to shore up its defenses against the coronavirus, but strict border controls could mean the stream of supplies remains a trickle.
Some aid organizations had to get emergency sanction exemptions from the United Nations to clear the way for the shipments and are now navigating North Korea’s border controls imposed in a bid to shut out the virus, reports Reuters.
North Korea has not reported any confirmed cases of the new coronavirus that was first detected in China late last year, though a top US military official said last week he is “fairly certain” there were infections in North Korea.
March, 20 2020 - 01:18 PM
YouTube to reduce streaming quality in Europe due to coronavirus
Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) YouTube said on Friday it will reduce its streaming quality in the European Union to avoid straining the internet as thousands of Europeans, constrained by the coronavirus outbreak, switch to teleworking and watch videos at home.
YouTube is the second company after Netflix (NFLX.O) to act after EU industry chief Thierry Breton urged streaming platforms to cut the quality of their videos to prevent internet gridlock. Videos account for a substantial part of internet traffic data, reports Reuters.
The move came after Breton spoke to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki. It said so far it had only seen a few usage peaks but decided to act to minimise stress on the system.
“We are making a commitment to temporarily switch all traffic in the EU to standard definition by default,” the company said in a statement.
March, 20 2020 - 12:50 PM
Shops close across Turkey, dimming hopes of a boom year
Shops closed across Turkey on Thursday to help halt the coronavirus spread, dimming the economy’s prospects and raising questions for hundreds of thousands of workers after Ankara pledged $15 billion in support and advised Turks to stay home.
Clothing retailers shuttered and malls, with some 530,000 employees and annual turnover of $160 billion, were set to follow suit after Turkey announced cases of the virus had nearly doubled to 191 including a second death, Reuters reports.
A day after President Tayyip Erdogan announced a series of steps to backstop the economy, two sources said government officials are in the early stages of trimming private expectations for economic growth, which was publicly forecast to be 5% this year.
March, 20 2020 - 12:45 PM
Turkey postpones events until end-April over coronavirus
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan issued a decree on Friday postponing all events related to science, culture and art, as it seeks to contain a surge in coronavirus cases.
The country’s death toll has reached four, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said late on Thursday, after an 85-year-old woman died of the highly contagious respiratory illness, reports Reuters.
The number of confirmed cases in the country has surged since the first case was announced last week, reaching 359 on Thursday. The cases have roughly doubled every day since Sunday.
Koca said Turkey had conducted 1,981 test in 24 hours to midnight Thursday, 168 of which came back positive.
March, 20 2020 - 12:43 PM
Rohingya, UN step up efforts to get Malaysia refugees screened for virus
The UN refugee agency and Rohingya community leaders in Malaysia are stepping up efforts to get refugees who attended a Muslim gathering to come forward for coronavirus checks, after cases linked to the event jumped across Southeast Asia.
More than 670 infections in the region have been linked to the gathering last month at a mosque on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur. A total of 16,000 people of many nationalities attended the four-day event, Reuters reports.
It was reported that authorities were trying to track down an estimated 2,000 Rohingya who had attended the gathering. Rights groups said “several hundred” Rohingya attended and that the overall estimate included other refugees, such as ethnic Burmese Muslims.
Refugees are considered illegal immigrants in Malaysia and activists say they may fear coming forward for testing.
March, 20 2020 - 12:35 PM
Coronavirus: Thirteen medics have died in Italy, over 2600 health workers infected
Five more Italian doctors have died from coronavirus, bringing the death toll among medics in the country to 13.
The country's National Federation of Medical Order (PhoneMeCo) confirmed they died on Thursday of the virus. At least 2629 health workers have been infected, reports The New Zealand Herald.
Initially, three new fatalities were named as Luigi Ablondi, former general manager of Crema hospital, Giuseppe Finzi, a hospital doctor in Cremona and a general practitioner in Bergamo called Antonino Buttafuoco.
Then later today it emerged another two medical workers had died from the illness, the Italian national federation of doctors guilds said.
One of the Italian doctors who died, Marcello Natali, previously told Euronews he had to work without gloves as supplies for the product dried up.
All the health workers infected make up of 8.3 per cent of the country's total cases, according to the Gimbe Health Foundation's release.
March, 20 2020 - 12:34 PM
Maldives to subsidise water, electricity amid COVID-19 pandemic
The government of Maldives has decided to subsidise the cost of water and electricity for the next two months in order to provide financial support to the public amid the COVID-19 pandemic, local media quoting Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer reported Friday.
Ameer said that 19.5 million US dollars has been allocated by the government to pay for 40 percent of all electricity bills and 30 percent of all water bills in the months of April and May, reported XINHUA.
Ameer said that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected the global economy, and Maldives' decision to declare a State of Public Health Emergency would cause unavoidable losses for the country's economy.
March, 20 2020 - 12:32 PM
Paralysis for Latin America with Argentine lockdown, Rio beach closures
Brazil on Thursday announced it was closing land borders and prohibiting entry to people from European and many Pacific Asian countries to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, as Mexico and Peru reported their first virus deaths.
And Argentina said it would go on a “preventative and compulsory” lockdown from Friday until March 31 in an effort to contain the virus, AFP reports.
Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro state also said it would bar people from its world famous beaches including Copacabana and Ipanema.
Chile, rocked by months of social protests, unveiled an $11.75 billion economic stimulus package to cope with the effects of the virus on the giant copper producer, but also announced it was postponing a referendum on changing its constitution.
March, 20 2020 - 12:31 PM
7th death reported in Australia as COVID-19 cases climb
A seventh person has died in Australia after contracting COVID-19 as confirmed cases skyrocketed to over 700 on Friday, with 144 new cases in 24 hours.
An 81-year-old woman passed away on Thursday night after coming in contact with the virus at a Sydney hospital, reports AFP.
The State of New South Wales (NSW), of which Sydney is the capital, remained at the center of the outbreak, with all but one of the country’s deaths and around half of all confirmed cases, with at least 382 people testing positive.
Over 1,000 people who disembarked in Sydney from a cruise ship on Thursday were told to self-isolate after a number of other passengers tested positive for the virus
March, 20 2020 - 12:29 PM
Afghanistan reports 2 imported COVID-19 cases
The Afghanistan’s Public Health Ministry on Friday reported two new confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections.
“Within the last 24 hours, two new COVID-19 cases were reported in western Herat province, bordering Iran. The latest cases, both of which were imported cases from Iran, have brought to 26 the total number of the affected people by infection disease, including 15 in Herat,” Wahid Mayar, spokesman of the ministry, said in a statement, reports AFP.
All the 26 infections were imported cases from overseas.
A total of 390 COVID-19 suspected cases have been tested in the country’s national laboratories since mid February and 30 suspected cases are still under investigation, according to Mayar.
Meanwhile, many Afghan people have decided to cancel celebration of Nowruz or the New Year Day, which falls on Friday, March 20 after the government banned holding gatherings and frequently advised people to stay at home and avoid unnecessary street walks and traveling in the new year holidays.
March, 20 2020 - 12:13 PM
Thailand reports 50 new coronavirus infections for total of 322
Thailand reported 50 new coronavirus infections, taking its tally to 322, a health official said on Friday, with the majority located in Bangkok, the capital.
A group of 41 new cases is linked to earlier infections, while another, of nine, centres on overseas arrivals and contact with foreigners, Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, director-general of the disease control department, told a news conference, Reuters reported.
Thailand has had one death in the outbreak, with 43 patients having recovered and gone home, while 278 are still in hospital.
March, 20 2020 - 12:02 PM
Chinese mainland reports 39 newly imported COVID-19 cases
The Chinese mainland reported 39 newly imported cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Thursday, bringing the total number of imported cases to 228, according to the National Health Commission.
The commission said it received reports of 39 newly confirmed cases on the mainland Thursday, all of which were imported from outside China, XINHUA reports.
Of the 39 newly imported cases, 14 were reported in Guangdong, eight in Shanghai, six in Beijing, three in Fujian, and one in Tianjin, Liaoning, Heilongjiang, Zhejiang, Shandong, Guangxi, Sichuan and Gansu respectively, according to the commission.
March, 20 2020 - 11:53 AM
Xi, Putin discuss strengthening cooperation on fighting COVID-19 by phone
Chinese President Xi Jinping said Thursday that China stands ready to work with all other countries to step up international cooperation against the COVID-19 epidemic and safeguard global public health security.
In a phone conversation in the night with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, Xi pointed out that the novel coronavirus disease broke out ferociously, and China had to rise up to the challenge and respond to it bravely, XINHUA
That is because it concerns not only the lives and health of the Chinese people, but also the public health security of the whole world, added the Chinese president.
Xi stressed that at the special moment when both countries are fighting against the epidemic, China and Russia have been supporting each other and cooperating closely, which has demonstrated the high level of China-Russia relations in the new era.
For his part, Putin said that the remarkably effective measures taken by the Chinese government has not only contained the epidemic's spread inside China but also made important contributions to safeguarding the health of people in other countries.
Russia highly appreciates and is pleased with China's efforts, he said, adding that China has set a good example for the international community by lending a helping hand to other epidemic-hit countries in a timely manner.
March, 20 2020 - 11:40 AM
Australia closes indigenous areas over virus fears
Australia moved to lock down remote indigenous communities Friday, hoping to stop COVID-19 from reaching vulnerable populations that could quickly become overwhelmed.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was “taking action to restrict travel into remote indigenous communities to prevent the spread of the coronavirus”, AFP reports.
“States and territories will nominate prescribed areas — that is, communities — in consultation with indigenous communities,” Morrison said.
“That will restrict persons from entering or leaving,” with exceptions for emergency services, he added.
Health experts have warned that high rates of chronic illness, overcrowded housing and poor access to medical facilities in remote indigenous communities could exacerbate the impact of the virus.
Australia has seen 785 confirmed cases of COVID-19, overwhelmingly in urban areas.
March, 20 2020 - 11:37 AM
Australia hunts 2,700 cruise passengers over virus fears
Australia issued an urgent call for 2,700 cruise ship passengers who disembarked in central Sydney to isolate themselves and contact authorities Friday, after four travellers tested positive for COVID-19.
New South Wales authorities said they had deemed the New Zealand-bound Ruby Princess “low risk” and let passengers spill into the centre of the country’s most populous city on Thursday, AFP reports.
They later discovered that three passengers and one of the 1,100 crew members had tested positive.
The ship was on a cruise from Sydney to New Zealand when passengers fell sick and 13 were tested for flu mid-voyage.
March, 20 2020 - 11:35 AM
Australian banks announce $57 billion loan relief package for businesses
Australian banks on Friday said they would defer loan repayments for six months for small businesses impacted by the coronavirus in a A$100 billion ($57.34 billion) relief package.
Depending on customer take up, this could help put as much as A$8 billion back into the coffers of small businesses, Australia Banking Association chief Anna Bligh said, Reuters reported.
“These are extraordinary times,” she told reporters, adding Australia’s banking system was among the strongest and the most stable in the world.
“And they (banks) stand ready, open for business, open to lend to those businesses that may need that.”
March, 20 2020 - 11:33 AM
Australia delays budget as coronavirus appears among cruise passengers
Australia on Friday delayed its federal budget by five months to October saying the coronavirus pandemic made it impossible to make sensible economic forecasts, as it prepared to dramatically expand its stimulus spending to avoid recession.
The country’s banks said separately they would defer loan repayments for small businesses impacted by coronavirus for six months at a cost to their bottom lines of A$8 billion ($4.7 billion), amid fears of massive job losses, Reuters reports.
“The idea that you can actually put together any sort of forecast around the economy at this time is simply not sensible,” said Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who welcomed the banks’ move as a “game changer”.
The country of 25 million people has seen only seven deaths from the flu-like virus but its case numbers have jumped to almost 800 in recent days, and the government is stepping up limits on movement including a ban on all foreign arrivals.
About 2,700 passengers from the Ruby Princess cruise ship that disembarked in Sydney on Thursday were ordered to self-isolate after three of them tested positive for the novel virus which can cause a respiratory disease known as COVID-19.
March, 20 2020 - 11:28 AM
Aeromexico to slash flights over coronavirus shock
Mexican airline Aeromexico will reduce domestic flight capacity by 35% and international capacity by 50% in response to the shock to demand caused by the coronavirus outbreak, according to an internal company memo seen by Reuters on Thursday.
In the memo, Aeromexico Chief Executive Officer Andres Conesa said the measures meant the airline would need to ground 40 aircraft immediately and that more would probably follow.
An Aeromexico spokesman declined to comment on the memo.
March, 20 2020 - 11:27 AM
Air Canada to lay off more than 5,100 employees amid coronavirus outbreak
Air Canada (AC.TO) is set to lay off more than 5,100 members of its cabin crews because of a decline in flights following the coronavirus outbreak, CBC News reported here late on Thursday.
Air Canada has “no choice” but to cut staff, calling the move “difficult but necessary,” CBC reported, citing a letter from the airline’s vice president of in-flight service, Renee Smith-Valade, reports Reuters.
March, 20 2020 - 11:26 AM
Unity will help Iran overcome coronavirus, Rouhani says
Iranians will overcome a coronavirus outbreak with unity, President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech on Friday, praising doctors and nurses for their courage in fighting the disease that has killed 1,284 in the Middle East country.
“Our nation has managed to reach its goals, despite difficulties ... Iran will overcome the coronavirus with unity,” Rouhani said in a speech at the start of the Iranian New Year, Reuters reports.
March, 20 2020 - 11:14 AM
US judge orders release of Peru ex-president on bail due to coronavirus outbreak
A US judge on Thursday ordered the release of Peru ex-president Alejandro Toledo on bail from a California jail, where he has been held pending extradition proceedings, citing insufficient safeguards to protect older inmates with a heightened risk of illness from the coronavirus outbreak, according to a court filing.
The former Peru president has been accused of taking a $20 million bribe from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht during his 2001-2006 term., Reuters reports.
March, 20 2020 - 11:10 AM
Google exploring using location info to slow coronavirus spread
Alphabet Inc’s Google is exploring ways to use location information to slow the spread of the coronavirus by, for example, determining the effectiveness of social distancing.
US Senator Ed Markey, who has long championed consumer privacy, urged caution with the government’s efforts to partner with big tech companies to track the coronavirus, Reuters reports.
In a letter to Michael Kratsios, the White House’s chief technology officer, Markey cited a Washington Post report that said the government had discussions with Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc , Facebook Inc , Alphabet Inc’s Google, IBM Corp and other tech companies to discuss potentially using smartphone location data as a research tool as the virus spreads in the United States.
March, 20 2020 - 11:06 AM
Cannes Film Festival 2020 postpones due to coronavirus
The Cannes Film Festival has been postponed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The event, one of the world's most important film festivals, was meant to run May 12-23, but organizers has said in a statement that could not happen, reported the New York Post.
"Several options are considered in order to preserve its running, the main one being a simple postponement," the organizers' statement said. That could be a shift to late June or the beginning of July, it added.
March, 20 2020 - 10:57 AM
Malaysia to deploy army amid movement curbs to contain coronavirus
Malaysia will deploy the army from Sunday to assist police in enforcing a restricted movement order aimed at reining in the spread of a coronavirus, the government said.
Friday’s announcement follows curbs imposed on travel and businesses this week, as infections spiked to 900, with two dead, Reuters reports.
The majority of cases have been linked to a gathering of 16,000 Muslim missionaries late last month.
March, 20 2020 - 10:56 AM
Tesla suspends production at US vehicle factory due to coronavirus
Tesla Inc on Thursday ended a standoff with local California authorities concerned about the spread of the coronavirus, saying it will suspend production at its San Francisco Bay Area vehicle factory on March 24.
The company said its New York solar roof tile factory will also temporarily suspend production, while operations at its Nevada battery plant will continue, Reuters reports
“Despite taking all known health precautions, continued operations in certain locations has caused challenges for our employees, their families and our suppliers,” the company said in a statement.
Tesla’s shares were down 8% in after-hours trading following the announcement.
March, 20 2020 - 10:51 AM
California governor orders entire state to stay at home
All 40 million residents of California were Thursday ordered to stay at home indefinitely in a bid to battle the coronavirus pandemic in the nation’s most populous state.
The statewide directive, which Governor Gavin Newsom said goes into effect “this evening,” is the most dramatic containment measure yet by a US state, AFP reports.
“There is a recognition of our interdependence that requires of this moment that we direct a statewide order for people to stay at home,” he said.
No end date was set for the measure because the pandemic is a “dynamic situation,” said Newsom.
California has been among the worst hit by the virus, with at least 18 confirmed deaths so far, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.
Around 1,000 Californians have tested positive.
March, 20 2020 - 10:37 AM
Coronavirus: Global death toll stands at 10,048
The death toll from coronavirus or COVID-19 has reached 10,048 globally as of Thursday.
It has so far infected 245,630 people around the world, according to worldometer.
Of them, 147,145 are currently being treated with 7,378 being in serious or critical condition, UNB reported.
So far, 98,485 cases had outcomes and of them, 88,437 (90 percent) recovered and 10 percent died.
March, 20 2020 - 10:32 AM
Saudi king warns of ‘difficult’ coronavirus fight
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman warned Thursday of a “more difficult” fight ahead against the new coronavirus, as the kingdom faces the double blow of virus-led shutdowns and crashing oil prices.
“We are going through a difficult stage,” the king said in the first televised speech by a Gulf leader on the pandemic.,AFP reported.
“The next stage will be more difficult at the global level to confront the rapid spread of the pandemic,” he added.
Saudi Arabia has reported 274 COVID-19 cases but no deaths so far.
March, 20 2020 - 10:24 AM
Walmart to hire 150,000 workers as shoppers surge on coronavirus fears
Big-box retailer Walmart Inc (WMT.N) said on Thursday it would hire more than 150,000 hourly workers in the United States, citing a jump in shoppers due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Rival Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) made a similar move earlier this week, announcing it would hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the United States as the virus outbreak boosts online orders, Rueters reports.
Walmart also said it plans to pay a special cash bonus of $300 to full-time hourly workers and $150 to part-time associates. The company will accelerate the next scheduled quarterly bonus, it said.
The 150,000 new workers being hired through the end of May will work in Walmart’s stores, clubs, distribution and fulfillment centers, the company said, adding that they would be temporary at first but many would convert to permanent roles over time.
March, 20 2020 - 10:20 AM
Governments offer financial lifelines to airlines, at a price
Shattered airlines were left counting the cost of government support as politicians in the United States and New Zealand set out conditions for bailouts needed to absorb the shock of coronavirus.
Conditions include provisions that loans may convert to government equity stakes, with Air New Zealand Ltd’s (AIR.NZ) bailout also dependent on suspending its dividend and paying interest rates of 7% to 9%, while US airlines cannot increase executive pay or providing “golden parachutes” for two years, Reuters reports.
New Zealand on Friday offered its national carrier a NZ$900 million ($510 million) lifeline, which Finance Minister Grant Robertson said would help it survive after the government banned all non-resident arrivals to the country.
“That puts us in a very good position over the next several months,” Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran told reporters of the loan, which it will not draw down immediately. “We would expect the airline industry will look different at the end of this. Not all airlines are going to survive.”
Under the $58 billion US proposal for passenger and cargo carriers, the US Treasury Department could receive warrants, stock options, or stock as a condition of government assistance in order for the government to participate in gains and be compensated for risks.
March, 20 2020 - 10:17 AM
Honduran government says confirmed coronavirus cases rise to 24
The Honduran government said on Thursday the number of registered cases of coronavirus infection in the Central American country had risen to 24, Reuters reports.
March, 20 2020 - 10:13 AM
US Senate to seek deal on $1 trillion coronavirus economic aid package
US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced emergency legislation to stem the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, and Republicans and Democrats agreed to meet Friday to seek an agreement.
The $1 trillion-plus package will include direct financial help for Americans, relief for small businesses and their employees, steps to stabilize the economy, and new support for healthcare professionals and coronavirus patients, McConnell said., Reuters reports.
“We are ready to act as soon as agreement with our colleagues across the aisle can be reached,” he said on the Senate floor. “The Senate is not going anywhere until we take action.”
March, 20 2020 - 10:09 AM
Brazil bars certain foreigners, allows Americans, as coronavirus spreads
Brazil late on Thursday announced it will bar citizens from certain countries affected by the coronavirus outbreak from entering the country, but exempted the United States, one of the countries with the highest number of cases.
The measure was published in Brazil’s federal gazette and is relatively weak in its restrictions compared to other Latin American nations. Those banned include citizens of the EU, China, Japan, Australia, Malaysia and South Korea, Rueters reported.
Brazil crossed 600 coronavirus cases on Thursday, more than doubling in two days. So far Brazil has remained the odd country in the region not implementing severe air travel restrictions.
March, 20 2020 - 10:06 AM
British Airways pilots to face pay cut due to coronavirus
British Airways (ICAG.L) pilots will face a 50% pay cut to their basic salary for April and May, as the airline seeks to reduce its cost to try survive the coronavirus crisis, the Financial Times reported on.ft.com/2xdsAYR on Thursday.
British Airways in a letter to its staff said it had agreed to initial measures with BALPA, the UK-based pilot union that aims to address “the immediate threat to the business in the face of COVID-19 and the unprecedented impact this is having on the airline,” Reuters reports.
But a union source told FT that pilots’ pay cut would work out to less than 50% based on an agreement that pilots can temporarily suspend their pension contributions.
The BALPA denied that there would be 50% pay cuts.
March, 20 2020 - 09:57 AM
'Buy as much as possible' - Taiwan sees boon to panic buying
People in Taiwan were told to buy as much as possible during the coronavirus outbreak, as the island’s premier struck a distinctly different approach to panic buying by advising them there was plenty to go around and it would support the economy.
While Taiwan has only reported 108 cases of the virus, large rises in recent days from people returning from overseas has prompted some people to rush to supermarkets to stock up, even as the government says there is no need to panic and it will punish hoarding and profiteering, reports Reuters.
Writing on his Facebook page late on Thursday in a post entitled “Buy as much as possible, there’s plenty of goods”, Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang said it was the ideal opportunity to buy more Taiwanese products in a boon for the economy.
March, 20 2020 - 09:56 AM
Saudi Arabia suspends domestic flights and trains for 14 days over coronavirus fears
Saudi Arabia suspended on Friday all domestic flights, buses, taxis and trains for 14 days starting Saturday, state news agency reported quoting a source in interior ministry.
The source said the move comes as a precautionary measure to limit the spread of coronavirus which has spread panic in global markets and put several countries on virtual lockdowns, reports Reuters.
Saudi Arabia has so far confirmed 274 infections and no deaths, while globally the pandemic has killed nearly 10,000 and infected over 240,000.
March, 20 2020 - 09:49 AM
Latin American airlines slash flights, salaries in response to coronavirus
Latin America’s major airlines sharply curtailed international flights on Thursday because of the coronavirus outbreak as Panama and Colombia imposed month-long travel bans and the largest carrier cut the salaries of 43,000 employees.
The bans by Panama and Colombia, effective on Monday, came after Peru, Argentina and Chile, among others, severely curtailed flights, Reuters reported.
The measures intensified pressure on the region’s airlines, whose shares have tumbled more than their peers in other countries.
March, 20 2020 - 09:48 AM
Nigeria, South Africa step up fight against virus in Africa
African countries led by Nigeria and South Africa have ramped up action against the coronavirus after the continent recorded its first fatality.
Nigeria said Thursday it would shut schools and limit religious meetings in its economic hub Lagos and capital Abuja, while South Africa, the continent’s most industrialised economy, slashed a key interest rate to help shore up business, reported AFP.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and home to some 200 million people, has so far recorded just 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and is following other countries in ratcheting up its response.
In South Africa, the central bank on Thursday cut its main interest rate by a full percentage point to 5.25 percent to try to bolster its already battered economy.
The bank said there could be a contraction of 0.2 percent this year but cautioned “significant uncertainty” clouded forecasts given the impact of the virus.
March, 20 2020 - 09:29 AM
Haiti reports first two coronavirus cases
President Jovenel Moise announced Haiti’s first two cases of novel coronavirus on Thursday as his government adopted extraordinary measures to contain its spread.
“We have found the two first cases of coronavirus in our national territory,” Moise said during an address televised on state media, reported AFP.
Haiti is the Caribbean’s poorest and most densely populated country and the virus’ arrival spurred the government to implement a series of restrictive measures, including an 8:00 pm to 5:00 am curfew and ban on gatherings of more than 10 people.
Schools, universities and vocational schools are set to close Friday until further notice and Moise ordered factories to suspend work.
March, 20 2020 - 09:20 AM
Italy overtakes China with most virus deaths, California goes on lockdown
Italy surpassed China on Thursday as the country with the most deaths from coronavirus as California, home to more than 39 million people, was placed under lockdown in the most drastic containment measure yet by a US state.
The death toll soared in Europe as Italy announced another 427 fatalities on Thursday, taking its total to 3,405, according to a tally compiled by AFP from official sources.
President Donald Trump said meanwhile that the United States is fast- tracking antimalarial drugs for use as a treatment and lashed out at China for not informing the world earlier about the original outbreak.
China for its part reported on Friday a second day with no new domestic cases since the virus appeared in the central city of Wuhan in December, before spreading worldwide.
March, 20 2020 - 07:54 AM
South Korea, China, Japan foreign ministers to hold video conference over coronavirus response: Seoul
The foreign ministers of South Korea, China and Japan will hold a video conference on Friday to foster cooperation on the coronavirus pandemic, Seoul’s foreign ministry said.
The ministers are expected to share information on the outbreak in their countries and discuss ways to prevent the further spread of the virus while maintaining economic and people-to-people exchanges, reports Reuters.
March, 20 2020 - 07:52 AM
Global economy already in recession on coronavirus devastation
The global economy is already in a recession as the hit to economic activity from the coronavirus pandemic has become more widespread, according to economists polled by Reuters amid a raft of central bank stimulus actions this week.
The spread of the disease caused by the virus, COVID-19, has sent financial markets into a tailspin despite some of the biggest emergency stimulus measures since the global financial crisis announced by dozens of central banks across Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australia, reports Reuters.
March, 20 2020 - 07:51 AM
China reports record new coronavirus cases from abroad
China’s coronavirus infections from abroad hit a new daily record while infected travelers reached an unprecedented number of Chinese provinces, pressuring authorities to hold the bar high on already tough custom rules and public-health protocols, reports Reuters.
March, 20 2020 - 07:50 AM
Colombia to suspend entry for all travelers from abroad
Colombia will block entry to everyone traveling from abroad from midnight on Monday in an effort to control the spread of coronavirus, President Ivan Duque said on Thursday.
The Andean country earlier this week closed its land and water borders and limited entry through airports to citizens and resident foreigners, Reuters reports.
March, 20 2020 - 07:47 AM
Tesla suspends production at US vehicle factory due to coronavirus
Tesla Inc on Thursday ended a standoff with local California authorities concerned about the spread of the coronavirus, saying it will suspend production at its San Francisco Bay Area vehicle factory on March 24.
The company said its New York solar roof tile factory will also temporarily suspend production, while operations at its Nevada battery plant will continue, Reuters reports.
March, 20 2020 - 07:46 AM
Boeing eyes production pause as virus spreads
Boeing Co is leaning toward a temporary work stoppage at its twin-aisle jetliner factories due to the spread of coronavirus, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday, echoing a similar move by European rival Airbus SE, reports Reuters.
March, 20 2020 - 07:45 AM
Diabetic man becomes Mexico's first coronavirus death
Mexico has registered its first death from coronavirus, a 41-year-old diabetic Mexican man whose symptoms began last week, the health ministry said late on Wednesday.
No more details were immediately available, Reuters reports.
March, 20 2020 - 07:44 AM
Air New Zealand gets $514 million lifeline from government as virus hits travel
Air New Zealand (AIR.NZ) said on Friday it was offered a NZ$900 million ($514 million) lifeline by the government to keep the airline flying as travel curbs to stem the coronavirus outbreak threaten the survival of many airlines globally.
Shares fell as much as 35% to the lowest level since 2012 in their first trading since last March 13, Reuters reports.
From plague to coronavirus, French brotherhood keeps burying the dead
In a cemetery in northern France, members of the Charitable Brotherhood of Saint-Eloi de Bethune carried an urn towards a family tomb, each wearing a face mask that stood out against a uniform of black tails, white gloves and bicorne hat.
Behind them followed the deceased woman's two sons, their partners, and a grand-daughter, their numbers restricted by a ban in France on large burial gatherings with the country under virtual lockdown as the coronavirus sweeps through Europe.
"We're aware of the risks," said brotherhood member Robert Guernot, "but our brotherhood was established during an outbreak of the plague."
Explainer: What is herd immunity and will it affect the pandemic?
Jerusalem Friday prayers sees smaller crowds amid partial coronavirus lockdown
Palestinian worshippers scuffled with Israeli police in East Jerusalem on Friday as crowds headed to Al-Aqsa Mosque to pray, amid a partial lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Police in riot gear and wearing face masks put barricades up outside Damascus Gate and other entrances to the walled Old City ahead of Friday noon prayers, and checked identity papers to limit the numbers attending.
The crowds were much lower than usual, witnesses said, with only a few hundred in attendance. Some who were refused access prayed in the rain-sodden streets outside the walls, and there were light scuffles as police used tear gas and horses to disperse a crowd.
South Korea discusses coronavirus with China, Japan; plans to quarantine Europe entries
The foreign ministers of South Korea, China and Japan held a video conference on Friday to discuss cooperation on the coronavirus pandemic amid growing concern over the number of infected people arriving in their countries from overseas.
Though the epidemic erupted in China in December, and South Korea at one stage had the second-most infections, both subsequently succeeded in stifling domestic transmission of the virus.
The number of cases in Japan has been far smaller, but Tokyo has the extra worry of whether to press ahead with hosting the Olympics this summer.
National Zoo to remain closed until March 31
The National Zoo in the capital's Mirpur will stay closed from Friday to March 31.
The decision came from the authorities to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Md Iftekhar Hossain, public relations officer of the Ministry of Fisheries And Livestock confirmed the matter.
Earlier on Thursday, all tourist spots across Bangladesh including in Cox's Bazar, Sundarbans, Sylhet, Rangamati, Sreemangal, Bandarban and Netrokona have been shut down to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in the country.
3 new corona cases found in Bangladesh: DGHS
Three more patients have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus in Bangladesh.
The Additional Director General of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Professor Dr Nasima Sultana made the disclosure in a briefing today.
The newly infected people include two male and one female, she said at the press briefing at the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) in Mohakhali.
"One of the infected people is female who is aged around 30 and the other two male are aged around 30 and 70 respectively. The elderly patient is in critical condition. We're providing him treatment at the Intensive Care Unit," she said.
Prayer at home better than mosque for now: Islamic scholars
Muslims in Bangladesh are confused whether they should go to mosques on Friday to say jum'a prayers as Saudi Arabia and some Gulf countries have suspended congregational prayers at mosques to avoid the spread of the coronavirus,
Islamic scholars in Bangladesh, however, think saying Jum'a or other prayers at mosques during a disaster are not mandatory.
They also said people should better say prayers at home as the Prophet Mohammad (Pubh) himself had given the same direction during a crisis period during his life.
California issues 'stay home' order; US death toll hits 200
California issued an unprecedented statewide 'stay at home" order on Thursday for its 40 million residents and Washington warned Americans to return home or stay abroad indefinitely, as the number of coronavirus deaths in the country hit 200.
Governor Gavin Newsom's directive, effective immediately, marks the largest and most sweeping government clampdown yet in the worsening public health crisis brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak, which he predicted could infect more than half the state within eight weeks.
Covid-19 symptom-free certificate must for foreigners to enter Bangladesh
All foreigners with valid visas or those have applied for fresh visas to enter Bangladesh (by air/sea/land ports) have to submit Covid-19 symptom-free certificate with English translation, obtained within 72 hours of the proposed travel.
All travellers arriving from any coronavirus-affected country will remain in quarantine for two weeks either at government-run facilities or at home depending on the medical advice at the entry point.
The decisions have been taken according to the regulations issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh.
In a notice for Indian citizens in Bangladesh, the High Commission said all foreigners with valid visas staying in Bangladesh can extend their visas by two months.
No visa on arrival will be issued till April 15.
Any traveler who lived in or visited EU countries and Iran since March 1 will not be allowed to enter Bangladesh till April 15.
However, nationals of these countries staying outside of the EU and Iran since February 29, 2020 can travel to Bangladesh with valid visa.