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Diane A. Wade

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Diane is a perfectionist. She enjoys searching the internet for the hottest events from around the world and writing an article about it. The details matter to her, so she makes sure the information is easy to read and understand. She likes traveling and history, especially ancient history. Being a very sociable person she has a blast having barbeque with family and friends.

UK’s PM Boris Johnson has been admitted to the intensive care at a central London hospital after his Covid-19 symptoms worsened.

He was moved to the unit on the advice of his medical team and was receiving “excellent care”, Downing Street said.

Boris Johnson has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to deputize “where necessary”, a spokesman added.

The 55-year-old prime minister was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital with “persistent symptoms” on April 5.

According to Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth II has been kept informed about Boris Johnson’s health by No 10.

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World leaders – including President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron – have expressed their support for Boris Johnson.

On April 7, cabinet minister Michael Gove said the prime minister was not on a ventilator.

A Downing Street statement read: “The prime minister has been under the care of doctors at St Thomas’ Hospital, in London, after being admitted with persistent symptoms of coronavirus.

“Over the course of [April 6] afternoon, the condition of the prime minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the intensive care unit at the hospital.”

The staement continued: “The PM is receiving excellent care, and thanks all NHS staff for their hard work and dedication.”

Boris Johnson was initially taken to hospital for tests after announcing 11 days ago that he had the coronavirus. His symptoms included a high temperature and a cough.

President Trump said Americans “are all praying for his recovery”, describing Boris Johnson as “a very good friend of mine and a friend to our nation” who is “strong” and “doesn’t give up”.

Prsident Macron said he sent “all my support to Boris Johnson, to his family and to the British people at this difficult moment”.

President Donald Trump has warned Americans to prepare for the “toughest week” of the coronavirus pandemic yet, predicting a surge in deaths.

At his daily briefing, the president said “there will be death” in a grim assessment of the days ahead.

Donald Trump sought to reassure the worst-hit states, promising medical supplies and military personnel to combat the virus.

However, in contrast to his warning, President Trump suggested easing social-distancing guidelines for Easter.

At a news conference at the White House on April 4, he said: “We have to open our country again.

“We don’t want to be doing this for months and months and months.”

President Trump’s calls to relax restrictions on life came on the day confirmed coronavirus infections in the US surpassed 300,000, the highest number in the world.

Image source Flickr

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As of April 4, there were almost 8,500 deaths from Covid-19 in the US, with most in New York state – the epicenter of the outbreak.

On the same day, New York state recorded 630 more Covid-19 deaths, another daily record that takes its toll to 3,565. New York state now has almost as many cases – over 113,000 – as the whole of Italy.

The president gave a candid assessment of what lies ahead for the US in the coming weeks.

He said: “This will be probably the toughest week between this week and next week, and there will be a lot of death, unfortunately, but a lot less death than if this wasn’t done but there will be death.”

To support states in their fight against Covid-19, President Trump said his administration would be deploying a “tremendous amount of military, thousands of soldiers, medical workers, professionals”.

The military personnel will “soon” be advised of their assignments, the president said, adding that “1,000 military personnel” were being deployed to New York City.

President Trump also addressed his use of the Defense Production Act, a Korean-War-era law which gives him powers to control the production and supply of US-made medical products.

He said he was “very disappointed” with 3M, a US company that makes masks, saying it “should be taking care of our country” instead of selling to others.

However, the president rejected accusations that the US had committed an act of “modern piracy” by redirecting 200,000 Germany-bound masks for its own use.

On the question of easing social-distancing restrictions, President Trump reiterated a familiar theme.

President Trump has said: “The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself.”

Elsewhere in the world, there has been cause for optimism as the number of new infections and deaths from coronavirus has started to gradually diminish.

Globally, more than 60,000 people have died and more than 1.1 million have been infected, Johns Hopkins University says.

President Donald Trump has said he will not wear a face mask despite new medical guidelines advising Americans to do so.

He said he could not see himself greeting “presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens” in the Oval Office while wearing one.

President Trump stressed that the guidance released on April 3 was “voluntary”.

“You do not have to do it,” he said.

“I don’t think I’m going to be doing it.”

The guidelines issued by the CDC came as the US reported more than 1,100 deaths in a single day – the highest total for a 24-hour period anywhere in the world.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the US has so far confirmed 278,458 cases of Covid-19 and more than 7,000 deaths.

New York state remains the worst affected area, with nearly 3,000 deaths, and state governor Andrew Cuomo has appealed for help from other parts of the US.

Until now, US health authorities had said that only the sick, or those caring for patients of coronavirus, should wear masks, but newer studies suggest that covering up one’s face is important to prevent inadvertent transmission.

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President Trump said on April 2: “From recent studies we know that the transmission from individuals without symptoms is playing a more significant role in the spread of the virus than previously understood.”

However, the president told reporters after announcing the CDC’s new guidance: “I just don’t want to do it myself.”

“Sitting in the Oval Office… I somehow don’t see it for myself.”

Americans are now advised to use clean cloth or fabric to cover their faces whilst in public. Officials have stressed that medical masks remain in short supply, and should be left for healthcare workers.

The CDC guidance comes as the number of cases globally climbs past one million.

President Trump announced the guidance at the White House daily coronavirus briefing, but repeatedly emphasized that the advisory was “voluntary”.

According to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University, more than a million cases of coronavirus have been registered globally on April 2, 2020.

This is another grim milestone as the world grapples with the spreading pandemic.

More than 51,000 people have died and more than 208,000 have recovered.

The US accounts for the most cases and Italy has the highest death toll.

Covid-19 first emerged in central China three months ago.

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Though the tally kept by Johns Hopkins records one million confirmed cases, the actual number is thought to be much higher.

It took a month and a half for the first 100,000 cases to be registered, but one million was reached after a doubling in cases over the past week.

Nearly a quarter of cases have been registered in the US, while Europe accounts for around half.

On April 2, Spain said 950 people had died in the previous 24 hours – thought to be the highest number of deaths of any country in one day.

The number of confirmed Spanish cases rose from 102,136 on April 1 to 110,238 – an 8% rise that is similar to the rate recorded in previous days. Spanish authorities believe the virus is now peaking and say they expect to see a drop in figures in the days ahead.

Spain is the second-worst hit nation in terms of deaths. It has also lost nearly 900,000 jobs.

On April 2, the US said it saw a record 6.6 million new unemployment benefit claims.

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The US death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has exceeded 5,000, while confirmed cases worldwide are reaching one million.

According to Johns Hopkins University, which tracks cornavirus figures globally, there were 884 deaths in the US in the last 24 hours, a new record.

The latest victims include a six-week-old baby. More than 216,000 are now infected, the world’s highest figure.

Reserves of protective equipment and medical supplies are almost exhausted.

The Trump administration says it can acquire adequate supplies, and has $16 billion available to do so. State and local officials have complained about insufficient protective equipment such as masks and gowns as well as ventilators, needed to help keep patients breathing.

Meanwhile, VP Mike Pence warned the US appeared to be on a similar trajectory as Italy where the death toll has exceeded 13,000 – the worst in the world.

The number of confirmed infections across the US rose by more than 25,000 in one day. The worst-hit place is New York City, where nearly 47,500 people have tested positive and more than 1,300 have died.

According to officials, as many as 240,000 people could die in the US from Covid-19 – the disease caused by the new coronavirus – even with the mitigation measures in place. In Connecticut, a six-week-old baby has died from coronavirus, believed to be America’s youngest victim of the virus so far.

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Queens, New York City’s second-most populous borough, has the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths. The area is home to a large population of low-income workers employed by the service sector who live in close proximity, and social-distancing guidelines are hard to enforce.

New York City needed 2.1 million surgical masks, 100,000 surgical gowns and 400 ventilators, among other items, by Sunday, said Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has warned that April would be worse than March as the outbreak gathered pace. The NYC mayor said the goal was to triple the number of hospital beds, to 65,000.

Bill de Blasio tweeted: “This will be an epic process through the month of April. It’s herculean, but I believe it can be reached.”

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As more US states tighten measures to fight the coronavirus, about three out of four Americans are now, or about to be, under some form of lockdown.

The US has almost 175,000 confirmed virus cases and over 3,400 deaths.

It surpassed Italy last week as the country with the highest number of people suffering from Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee and Arizona became the latest states to order citizens to stay at home, meaning 32 of 50 states have taken such steps.

Meanwhile governors are quarrelling with President Donald Trump about the availability of testing kits.

New York City is the worst-hit place in the US, with 914 confirmed fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Some 245 million people are already under orders to stay at home, or facing such orders which come into effect later on March 31.

Almost two-thirds of states have issued directives for their citizens to stay put, while the remaining states have localized orders in effect.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has been reluctant to impose a state-wide order, said he would instruct people in four counties in the south – where more than half the state’s cases of the virus exist – to stay at home. He said this would last until at least the middle of May.

In general, the “lockdowns” allow people to only go out to get essential supplies and medicines, or limited forms of exercise.

The economic consequences have been profound, with millions of people having lost their jobs.

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According to a Fed estimate, 47 million people could be out of work in the coming months, with the US still weeks away from the peak of infections.

According to CBS News, President Trump and state governors held a conference call on March 30 in which the president suggested there was no longer a lack of kits to test people for Covid-19.

In an audio recording obtained by CBS News, President Trump says he has not “heard about testing in weeks.

He says: “We’ve tested more now than any nation in the world. We’ve got these great tests and we’re coming out with a faster one this week… I haven’t heard about testing being a problem.”

Montana Governor Steve Bullock is heard to say his state does not have adequate numbers of kits.

He says: “Literally, we are one day away, if we don’t get test kits from the CDC, that we wouldn’t be able to do testing in Montana.”

Washington Governor Jay Inslee told the New York Times he was taken aback by President Trump’s assertion.

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Image source Wikipedia

Federal coronavirus guidelines such as social distancing will be extended across the US until at least April 30, President Donald Trump has said.

The president had previously suggested that restrictions could be relaxed as early as Easter, which falls in mid-April.

He said: “The highest point of the death rate is likely to hit in two weeks.”

President Trump appeared to be referring to peak infection rates that experts fear could overwhelm hospitals.

White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci had earlier warned that the virus could kill up to 200,000 Americans.

He said that it was “entirely conceivable” that millions of Americans could eventually be infected.

The US now has more than 155,000 confirmed cases.

As of March 29, 2,493 deaths had been recorded in the country in relation to Covid-19, according to figures collated by Johns Hopkins University.

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The US last week became the country with the most reported cases, ahead of Italy and China.

Speaking during the latest Coronavirus Task Force press briefing at the White House on March 29, President Trump said that measures such as social distancing were “the way you win”, adding that the US “will be well on our way to recovery” by June.

Suggesting that the “peak” of death rates in the US was likely to hit in two weeks, President Trump said that “nothing would be worse than declaring victory before victory is won – that would be the greatest loss of all”.

Analysts suggest that when President Trump referred to a peak in the “death rate”, he probably meant the total number of recorded infections.

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Image source Wikipedia

President Trump backs down after saying he is considering a quarantine on New York and two other states.

He has said quarantining New York “will not be necessary”, after Governor Andrew Cuomo said doing so would be “preposterous”.

The president said the latest decision was taken on the recommendation of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Donald Trump had earlier said he might impose a quarantine on New York, and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut, to slow the spread of Covid-19.

There are more than 52,000 cases in New York.

New York has about half of the total confirmed Covid-19 cases in the entire US.

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President Trump tweeted that instead of quarantine, a “strong travel advisory” would be issued to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut by the CDC.

The CDC then published a statement urging residents of those three states to “refrain” from all non-essential domestic travel for 14 days.

It said the advisory did not apply to “critical infrastructure” service providers, including healthcare professionals and food suppliers.

Speaking to reporters on March 28 about the situation in New York, President Trump said: “We’d like to see [it] quarantined because it’s a hotspot… I’m thinking about that.”

He said it would be aimed at slowing the spread of the virus to other parts of the US.

He said: “They’re having problems down in Florida. A lot of New Yorkers are going down. We don’t want that.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo responded by saying that quarantining the state of New York would be “preposterous” and “anti-American”.

“If you said we were geographically restricted from leaving, that would be a lockdown.”

The governor said New York had already implemented “quarantine” measures, such as banning major gatherings and ordering people to remain at home, but that he would oppose any “lockdown” efforts.

Andrew Cuomo told CNN: “Then we would be Wuhan, China, and that wouldn’t make any sense.”

He added that this would cause the stock market to crash in a way that would make it impossible for the US economy to “recover for months, if not years”.

“You would paralyze the financial sector,” he said.

Governor Cuomo added later: “I don’t know how that can be legally enforceable. And from a medical point of view, I don’t know what you would be accomplishing.

“But I can tell you, I don’t even like the sound of it.”

He also said he would sue nearby Rhode Island if the authorities there continued targeting New Yorkers and threatening to punish them for failing to quarantine.

On March 27, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo deployed National Guard troops to stop cars with a New York license plate, to remind them of their state’s advice that they quarantine.

Soldiers are going door-to-door in coastal vacation communities to ask if any residents have recently visited New York City.

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As a measure to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, Russia is beginning what President Vladimir Putin called a “non-working week”.

The Russian government is urging people to stay at home, though mixed messaging has left many people confused.

According to officials, the new restrictions could be extended beyond April 5, depending on the health situation.

The number of Russians infected with Covid-19 passed 1,000 on March 27, with most cases detected in Moscow.

Based on that figure, the Kremlin spokesman has stressed that there is “de facto no epidemic” here, comparing Russia’s position favorably with the crisis in Europe.

Whilst state TV’s rolling news channel has changed its name to We’re Staying Home – broadcasting from presenters’ living rooms – many people are struggling to adjust after its previous insistence that Covid-19 was a “foreign threat”.

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When President Putin announced a paid week off work for all, there was a rush to book holidays.

The governor of Krasnodar region, which includes the Black Sea resort of Sochi, had to order the closure of all shopping centers, parks and restaurants – and limit flights – after hotel reservations sky-rocketed.

Many Moscow residents have already headed out of town to their dachas, or summer houses.

In the Russian capital, there has been a noticeable increase in people in facemasks on the streets since President Putin’s national address.

Supermarket staff have begun wearing them and there are bottles of hand sanitizer in coffee shops.

Food stores will remain open, as well as other essential services, but from this weekend cafes and restaurants can offer takeaway only.

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Image source Wikipedia

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US has surpassed any other affected country’s on March 26.

With more than 86,000 positive tests, the US has overtaken China (81,782 cases) and Italy (80,589), according to the latest figures collated by Johns Hopkins University.

However, with almost 1,300 Covid-19-related fatalities, the US death toll lags behind China (3,291) and Italy (8,215).

The grim milestone came as President Donald Trump predicted the nation would get back to work “pretty quickly”.

Asked about the latest figures at a White House briefing on March 26, President Trump said it was “a tribute to the amount of testing that we’re doing”.

VP Mike Pence said coronavirus tests were now available in all 50 states and more than 552,000 tests had been conducted nationwide.

President Trump also cast doubt on the figures coming out of Beijing, telling reporters: “You don’t know what the numbers are in China.”

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Later, the president tweeted that he had had a “very good conversation” with China’s President Xi Jinping.

He said: “China has been through much & has developed a strong understanding of the Virus. We are working closely together. Much respect!”

President Trump has set a much-criticized goal of Easter Sunday, 12 April, for reopening the country. That plan seemed to gather impetus on March 26 as it emerged an unprecedented 3.3 million Americans have been laid off because of the virus.

At March 26 briefing, he said: “They [the American people] have to go back to work, our country has to go back, our country is based on that and I think it’s going to happen pretty quickly.

“We may take sections of our country, we may take large sections of our country that aren’t so seriously affected and we may do it that way.”

He added: “A lot of people misinterpret when I say go back – they’re going to be practicing as much as you can social distancing, and washing your hands and not shaking hands and all of the things we talked about.”

President Trump promised more details next week.

In a letter to state governors on March 26, President Trump said his team plans to release federal social distancing guidelines that may advise some regions to loosen restrictions.

He wrote of a “long battle ahead” and said “robust” testing protocols might allow some counties to lift their safeguards against the coronavirus.

President Trump said the “new guidelines” would create low, medium and high risk zones that would allow the government to advise on “maintaining, increasing, or relaxing social distancing and other mitigation measures they have put in place”.

On March 26, President Trump phoned in to Fox News host Sean Hannity’s program and said he believed Iowa, Idaho, Nebraska and parts of Texas could reopen earlier than other states.

The plan emerged as new research on March 26 estimated Covid-19-related deaths in the US could top 80,000 over the coming four months – even if people observe strict social distancing.

According to the study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine, as many as 2,300 patients could be dying every day by April.

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Image source Wikimedia

Russia has postponed a vote on constitutional change that would allow President Vladimir Putin to stay in power, because of coronavirus concerns.

President Putin said the public vote – previously due to be held on April 22 – would be delayed until a “later date”.

The proposed changes include scrapping a ban on allowing Vladimir Putin to run for office again.

The changes have already been approved by parliament and Russia’s constitutional court.

They would give Vladimir Putin – who is serving his fourth presidential term and has dominated Russian politics for two decades – the right to serve two more consecutive terms.

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Later on March 25, Russia confirmed the deaths of two people who had been diagnosed with the new coronavirus. According to Ria Novosti, the 88- and 73-year-olds had pre-existing conditions. Russia has a total of 658 cases.

President Putin said: “The absolute priority for us is the health, life and safety of people. Therefore I believe that the vote should be postponed until a later date.”

He also announced that Russians would not work next week “to slow the speed” of the infection.

However, the Russian leader warned that it was impossible to prevent any spread of the virus at all in Russia because of the country’s size.

The Russian economy was also under serious pressure because of the virus, he said.

During their week off, employees would continue to be paid and key services would continue, Vladimir Putin said.

The president also announced extended welfare support, including for families with children and those who had lost jobs.

Russia has already taken measures such as 14-day quarantine for people arriving from abroad, school closures and warning for elderly people in Moscow to self-isolate.

It has also stopped cultural and sporting events and closed gyms, theaters and nightclubs, although cafes and restaurants have been allowed to stay open.

Russia has so far stopped short of imposing the kind of lockdown seen in some European countries.

There have been more than 435,000 confirmed cases worldwide. Europe is now the center of the global outbreak.

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Image source: Wikipedia

Spain’s deaths number from the coronavirus has surpassed the official figure from China, becoming the second highest in the world.

The death toll has risen by 738 in just 24 hours to a total of 3,434 – a record spike for Spain.

In comparison, China has officially reported 3,285 deaths, while Italy – the worst affected country – has 6,820.

Spain’s PM Pedro Sánchez will later ask lawmakers to extend his country’s state of emergency for another two weeks.

Lawmakers are expected to agree to the prime minister’s request for lockdown measures to stay in place until April 11. Under the rules, people are banned from leaving home except for buying essential supplies and medicines, or for work.

According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, globally there are nearly 440,000 cases of the virus, with deaths approaching 20,000 and more than 100,000 people having recovered.

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On March 25, the UN said the virus was “threatening the whole of humanity” as it launched a $2 billion appeal for the world’s poorest people.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: “Global action and solidarity are crucial. Individual country responses are not going to be enough.”

On March 25, figures released by the health ministry show that in just 24 hours, Spain’s national death toll rose by 738. The country’s number of cases soared by 7,973.

These are the highest figures for Spain in a single day. Spain now has 47,610 confirmed cases. Catalonia accounts for close to 10,000 of those, while the Basque Country and Andalusia both have more than 3,000 cases. However, the worst affected region is the area around the capital Madrid, which has recorded 14,597 cases.

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Image source: indiatvnews.com

India’s PM Narendra Modi has announced that a nationwide lockdown will be imposed on March 24 in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The restrictions will apply from midnight local time and will be enforced for 21 days.

The prime minister said in a TV address: “There will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes.”

India – which has a population of 1.3 billion – joins a growing list of countries that have imposed similar measures.

Nearly 400,000 people have tested positive for the virus worldwide, and around 17,000 have died.

The new measures in India follow a sharp increase in cases in recent days. There have been 519 confirmed cases in the country and 10 reported deaths.

PM Narendra Modi said: “The entire country will be in lockdown, total lockdown.”

He added: “To save India, to save its every citizen, you, your family… every street, every neighborhood is being put under lockdown.”

Narendra Modi warned that if India does not “handle these 21 days well, then our country… will go backwards by 21 years”.

“This is a curfew,” he said.

“We will have to pay the economic cost of this but [it] is the responsibility of everyone.”

Under the new measures, all non-essential businesses will be closed but hospitals and other medical facilities will continue to function as normal.

Schools and universities will remain shut and almost all public gatherings will be banned.

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In his address, PM Modi also stressed that the 21 day lockdown was “very necessary to break the chain of coronavirus”. He emphasized the seriousness of the situation and said that even developed countries had faced problems in combating it. He also said that “social distancing was the only way to stop” the virus spreading.

The prime minister announced that nearly $2 billion would be made available to boost India’s health infrastructure.

He called on people not to “spread rumors” and to follow instructions.

The prime minister’s announcement came after several Indian states introduced measures of their own, such as travel restrictions and the closure of non-essential services.

India has already issued a ban on international arrivals and grounded domestic flights. The country’s rail network has also suspended most passenger services.

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Germany has extended its restrictions on social interactions to try to contain the coronavirus outbreak, banning public gatherings of more than two people.

People will not be allowed to form groups of three or more in public unless they live together in the same household, or the gathering is work-related. Police will monitor and punish anyone infringing the new rules.

In a TV address, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said “our own behavior” was the “most effective way” of slowing the rate of infection.

The measures included closing hair, beauty and massage studios. Other non-essential shops had already been shut.

Restaurants will now only be allowed to open for takeaway service. All restrictions apply to every German state, and will be in place for at least the next two weeks.

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Shortly afterwards, Chancellor Merkel’s office said she would quarantine herself.

A doctor who vaccinated Angela Merkel on March 20 against pneumococcus, a pneumonia-causing bacteria, had tested positive for coronavirus.

The 65-year-old chancellor will be tested regularly in the next few days and work from home, her spokesman said.

Germany, Europe’s largest economy, has so far confirmed 18,610 cases and 55 deaths from Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Chancellor Merkel urged citizens to keep contact outside their own household to an absolute minimum and to ensure a distance of at least 1.5m (5ft) from another person when in public.

She said: “The great aim is to gain time in the fight against the virus.”

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Image by Fritz_the_Cat from Pixabay

Italy’s worst-hit region of Lombardy has introduced stricter measures in a bid to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

Under the new rules announced on March 21, sport and physical activity outside, even individually, is banned. Using vending machines is forbidden.

The move comes as Italy reported nearly 800 coronavirus deaths on March 21 and saw its toll for the past month reach 4,825, the highest in the world.

Lombardy is the worst-affected region in the country with 3,095 deaths.

The region’s President Attilio Fontana announced the new measures in a statement.

Businesses have been asked to close all operations excluding “essential” supply chains. Work on building sites will be stopped apart from those working on hospitals, roads and railways.

All open-air weekly markets have been suspended.

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Across Italy there have been 53,578 total cases to date, with about 6,000 people having recovered.

The region of Lombardy has been under a lockdown since March 8 and the government had hoped to see results there first.

On March 21, Italian PM Giuseppe Conte ordered the closure of all “non-essential” businesses in the country. However, the prime minister did not specify which businesses would be considered essential.

Supermarkets, pharmacies, post offices and banks will remain open and public transport will continue to run.

During a TV address to the nation, PM Conte said: “We will slow down the country’s productive engine, but we will not stop it.”

He described the situation as “the most difficult crisis in our post-war period”.

Despite the measures introduced so far, the number of new cases and deaths in Italy has continued to grow.

Meanwhile, Spain’s health ministry has reported a 32% spike in new deaths from Covid-19 with 1,326 confirmed deaths, the second highest in Europe after Italy.

In a news conference on March 21, PM Pedro Sánchez warned “the worst is yet to come” and that “very difficult days lay ahead”.

The Spanish government has issued a lockdown for some 46 million people who are only allowed to leave their homes for essential work, food shopping, medical reasons or to walk the dog.

Global cases pass 300,000 with more than 13,000 deaths around the world; 92,000 people have recovered.

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Image source: indiatvnews.com

India is observing a 14-hour long curfew to try to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

PM Narendra Modi announced the Janata curfew last week, telling citizens that it would be a test in order to assess the country’s ability to fight the virus.

The prime minister urged citizens to stay indoors from 07:00 until 21:00 on March 22.

India has so far recorded 315 cases.

Narendra Modi tweet: “Let us all be a part of this curfew, which will add tremendous strength to the fight against Covid-19 menace. The steps we take now will help in the times to come.”

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According to NDTV, transport across India has been affected by the curfew. No long-distance or suburban trains are running; however, those already running before the curfew will not be stopped.

Images from various cities in India show roads and towns mainly empty.

In Delhi, all stores were closed apart from those selling essentials, and pharmacies. Religious places canceled activities as part of the curfew.

PM Modi has asked people at 17:00 on March 22 to stand at balconies or near windows and clap or ring bells to show their appreciation for medical professionals and sanitation workers.

Some parts of India have already enforced shutdowns.

Rajasthan ordered a shutdown until March 31. Four cities in the state of Gujarat have introduced similar measures until March 25.

India has barred entry to everyone, including citizens, flying from certain countries, including most European nations. It has also canceled most entry visas for people flying in from other countries.

Popular Indian monuments – such as the 16th Century Red Fort in Delhi – have been shut to visitors to prevent large gatherings.

The Taj Mahal, India’s most iconic monument, closed its doors on March 17, along with more than 140 other monuments and museums.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

California governor has issued a “stay at home” order to residents as the state tries to stem the march of the coronavirus across the most populous US state.

Governor Gavin Newsom told residents they should only leave their homes when necessary during the pandemic.

He earlier estimated more than half of the 40 million people in his state would contract Covid-19 in just the next two months.

Speaking from the state’s emergency operations centre in Sacramento – a place that is normally used to coordinate the response to wildfires or earthquakes – Governor Newsom called on people here to only leave their homes if it was absolutely necessary, to get food, collect medicines, or care for a friend or relative.

Citing a model that state planners here have been using, the governor predicted that more than half of California’s population will contract the virus over the course of the next eight weeks – a staggering total of around 25 million people.

Governor Newsom said that cases of the virus were doubling every four hours in some areas, and – based on projections – nearly 20,000 more hospital beds would be needed to deal with the effects of the outbreak than the state could currently provide.

The virus has claimed 205 lives in the US and infected more than 14,000.

Globally nearly 250,000 patients have tested positive for the respiratory illness and more than 10,000 have died.

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Governor Newsom said on March 19: “This is a moment we need to make tough decisions. We need to recognize reality.”

California is among the first states to bring in blanket restrictions. Earlier this week Nevada said non-essential businesses should close for 30 days.

The governor’s order will allow residents to leave their homes to buy groceries or medicine, or walk a dog or take exercise, but seeks to limit public interactions.

It will force businesses deemed non-essential to close, while allowing others including grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and petrol stations to stay open.

About half of California’s population is already subject to similar stringent measures, including the city of San Francisco.

Speaking at a press conference in Sacramento, Governor Newsom said the virus “will impact about 56% of us – you do the math in the state of California, that’s a particularly large number”.

The governor did not clarify how his officials had calculated that figure, which would amount to nearly 22.5 million infected people.

However, his spokesman acknowledged the estimate did not take into account the mitigation measures being implemented state-wide.

Governor Newsom is asking Congress for a billion dollars in federal funding to support California’s response to the crisis, and calling for a navy hospital ship to be deployed to the Port of Los Angeles to help deal with the anticipated surge in patients.

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All 50 states in the US have been hit by the deadly coronavirus as West Virginia reported its first case of the infection on March 17.

Announcing the state’s first Covid-19 patient, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said: “We knew this was coming.”

So far, there are 108 deaths in the US from coronavirus and more than 6,300 confirmed cases nationwide.

Globally, there are 217,325 cases and 8,917 people have died as of March 18.

As the Trump administration seeks a $1 trillion stimulus package, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reportedly warned Republican senators privately on March 17 that if Congress failed to act, US unemployment could hit 20% – almost double the jobless rate during the Great Recession after the 2008 financial crisis.

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NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would decide within two days whether to order the city’s 8.5 million residents to “shelter in place”.

Such a move could largely confine people to their homes, while allowing them to make necessary trips to buy groceries or medicine, walk a dog or exercise as long as they avoid public interaction.

The mayor said: “It’s a very, very difficult decision.

“We’ve never been here before. I have never heard of anything like this in the history of New York City.”

However, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has suggested he would reject such a plan.

Meanwhile, officials in the San Francisco Bay area have already ordered 6.7 million residents to stay home for all but the most crucial outings until April 7.

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Senior EU officials are warning that it is proving harder than ever to reach an agreement on the European Union's next multi-annual budget

In an unprecedented move, the European Union will ban travelers from outside the bloc for 30 days in order to seal its borders amid the coronavirus crisis.

The measure is expected to apply to 26 EU states as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. UK citizens will be unaffected.

The travel ban came as deaths continued to soar in Italy and Spain, and France began a strict lockdown.

Europe, which is now the “epicenter of pandemic”, has been badly hit by the coronavirus, which has killed 7,500 globally.

Meanwhile, the Euro 2020 soccer championship has been postponed by a year.

According to the WHO, the virus has infected more than 185,000 people worldwide.

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The travel ban will affect all non-EU nationals from visiting the bloc, except long-term residents, family members of EU nationals and diplomats, cross-border and healthcare workers, and people transporting goods.

Free travel is a cherished principle within the European border-free Schengen area. However, in recent days many countries have unilaterally imposed full or partial border shutdowns in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

This prompted the EU Commission to propose that the bloc act in a more unified fashion and restrict entry to the union as a whole, at the urging of French President Emmanuel Macron.

The measures were agreed in a video-summit between EU leaders on March 17 and will now have to be implemented by member states.

EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said at a press conference: “They said they will immediately do that.

“This is good, so that we have a unanimous and united approach [where] the external borders are concerned.”

The UK and the Republic of Ireland – which is part of the EU but not Schengen – will be invited to join the measure.

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Image source: Wikipedia

The US coronavirus emergency could last until the end of the summer or even longer, President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House on March 16.

The US has so far had 4,100 cases of the virus and 71 deaths.

The president said over the next 15 days, Americans should not gather in groups of more than 10 people and avoid bars, restaurants, food courts and crowds.

Donald Trump said the US is facing “an invisible enemy” that is “so contagious”.

According to a tally from Johns Hopkins University, there have been more than 174,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus globally and over 6,700 deaths.

Under the US coronavirus task force’s new guidelines, President Trump urged all older Americans to stay home.

Work and schooling should be at home.

Discretionary travel, shopping trips and social visits should be avoided.

Anyone in a household who tests positive for the virus should stay at home along with everyone who lives there.

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Asked how long the emergency will last, President Trump said: “People are talking about July, August, something like that, so it could be right in that period of time where I say, it washes through.”

The president continued: “They think August, could be July, could be longer than that.”

He said he was not considering a national curfew or lockdown, though added: “We may look at certain areas, certain hot spots as they call them.”

President Trump said he had not yet decided to close the US-Canada border, but told reporters it was something the administration was considering.

He also addressed issues of testing, as the US has been criticized for lagging far behind smaller countries in getting tests out to the states.

Officials said on March 16 that a million tests were currently available and more would be coming this week.

“A lot of testing has been going on,” President Trump said, though he also noted that those without symptoms should not get the test.

“Not everybody should run out and get the test, but we’re able to handle tremendous numbers.”

Health officials also said they are due to add 30 million masks to the US supply and are shipping out gear and health workers to bolster local testing efforts.

Asked how he would score his administration’s response to the crisis on a scale of one to 10, President Trump said: “I’d rate it a 10. I think we’ve done a great job.”

White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, who joined the president, issued an appeal directly to millennials, asking them to limit social contact.

She said: “They are the core people that will stop this virus.

“We really want people to be separated.”

Dr. Birx also warned against socializing even if people feel well.

She said: “We know that there is a large group of infected people who are asymptomatic, who continue to spread the virus.”

VP Mike Pence, who is leading the coronavirus taskforce, told reporters he had not been tested yet.

He said: “I’m in regular consultation with the White House physician and he said I’ve not been exposed to anyone for any period of time that has had the coronavirus and that my wife and I have had no symptoms.”

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Image source Wikipedia

President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency to help handle the growing outbreak of COVID-19.

The move allows the federal government to tap up to $50 billion in emergency relief funds.

It loosens regulations on the provision of healthcare and could speed up testing – the slow pace of which has been criticized widely.

There are 1,701 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the US, and 41 deaths.

Several states have taken measures to stem the infections rate, including banning large gatherings, sporting events and closing schools.

The new coronavirus originated in China last December, but Europe is now the “epicenter” of the global pandemic, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on March 13, as several European countries reported steep rises in infections and deaths.

Italy has recorded its highest daily toll yet – 250 over the past 24 hours, taking the total to 1,266, with 17,660 infections overall.

The Trump administration has come under recent scrutiny over its failure to provide Americans with widespread coronavirus testing.

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The decision on the state of emergency was announced by President Trump in a live address from the White House Rose Garden.

The “next eight weeks are critical,” President Trump said.

What are the measures envisaged as part of the emergency response?

The US Health Secretary Alex Azar and health officials can waive certain laws and license requirements, giving more flexibility to healthcare providers.

Hospitals have been asked to activate their emergency preparedness plans.

Up to 500,000 additional coronavirus tests will be available by early next week, though authorities are not recommending tests without clear need; private labs and vaccine developers will be able to provide five million coronavirus tests within the month, though authorities are not recommending tests for those without symptoms.

Interest on all student loans is to be waived until further notice as a measure to ease the burden for students as universities and colleges across the country shut their doors.

Democrats in Congress and heavily-affected states had been urging President Trump to issue the order, which will also allow more people to qualify for government health insurance.

Urged again to explain why he hasn’t taken a coronavirus test following reports that he has been in the company of people who have tested positive recently, President Trump said he had no symptoms and there was no need for a test. But he added that he was likely to have one “fairly soon”, anyway.

President Trump’s travel ban on 26 European countries, which was met with anger and confusion this week, will go into effect on March 13 at midnight EDT.

The 1988 Stafford Act gives the president alone the ability to direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to co-ordinate a national response to “natural catastrophes” within the US.

There are currently more than 30 national emergencies in effect.

President Trump has declared several national emergencies in his presidency, including one last year to redirect military funds to build a southern border wall to prevent illegal immigration.

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The EU will pay €2,000 ($2,225) each to refugees in overcrowded camps on the Greek islands willing to go back to their home countries.

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson announced the scheme in Athens on March 12.

The scheme was agreed with the Greek government.

Ylva Johansson said it was temporary – open for one month only – and only for refugees who arrived before January 1.

The commissioner said 5,000 migrants would be eligible for the “voluntary return”.

This month, hundreds of immigrants and refugees have reached Greek islands near Turkey by boat, increasing the pressure on struggling reception centers. The camps on those islands already have nearly 42,000 asylum seekers, though they were designed for about 6,000.

Aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), which is working on the Greek islands, says more than 14,000 of the refugees are children.

Ylva Johansson said seven EU member states had agreed to take in at least 1,600 unaccompanied children from the camps, seen as especially vulnerable.

Many of the refugees are Syrians fleeing the civil war, but there are also Afghans, Pakistanis and West Africans. It is not clear how many would qualify for refugee status.

Aid agencies consider Syria too dangerous for refugees to be sent back there, but some other countries of origin, such as Pakistan, are considered safe enough.

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Greece has temporarily suspended its processing of new asylum applications – a move condemned by aid groups.

The latest surge in numbers at the Greek border came after Turkey announced that it would no longer stop them trying to enter Greece. Turkey, which is hosting 3.7 million Syrian refugees already, accuses the EU of not doing enough to help.

Ylva Johansson said repatriation of refugees from the islands would be coordinated with the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the EU border force Frontex.

The situation is also acute on the Greece-Turkey land border, where Greek police have used tear gas and water cannon to keep immigrants out.

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Italy is now facing its biggest crisis since World War Two. The government has pledged to spend €25 billion ($28 billion) to tackle it – three times more than it estimated it would need just a week ago. The economy is now expected to slide into deep recession.

However, the foreign minister sounded a note of optimism, with a message to the international community that “Italy will make it and Europe will make it – I’m sure”.

He offered to share the experience and knowledge that the Italian government had built up since the outbreak began with any country that needed it.

Italy has now seen 1,016 deaths, amid a total number 15,113 infections. Civil protection officials say 1,258 have recovered, although the number of cases has gone up by 2,651 since March 11. Italy is the world’s worst-hit country after China.

Countries across the world have grounded flights to Italy or banned entry to Italians or anyone travelling from Italy. Austria and Slovenia are placing restrictions on their borders with Italy.

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Italian nationals living in other countries have also reported individual acts of hostility towards them, deplored by the foreign minister as “unacceptable discrimination”, prompting “interventions” from his government.

A handful of politicians here have been infected with the virus or are in preventative self-isolation, including the leader of the Democratic Party, part of the governing coalition.

Italian authorities say it could take two weeks for the impact of the restrictions to be seen on the coronavirus outbreak nationwide, which is still surging in towns and cities outside the initial red zone.

It is placing exceptional strain on Italy’s healthcare system – one of the best in Europe.

The government has named a new commissioner to deal with the virus, Domenico Arcuri. He will co-ordinate the program to resupply hospitals with equipment they urgently need.

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President Donald Trump has announced travel restrictions on 26 European countries in a bid to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

The travel ban applies to travelers from countries which are members of the Schengen border-free travel area.

The UK, Ireland and other non-Schengen countries (e.g. Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania) are unaffected. US citizens are also exempt.

The European Union condemned the measures, which it said were taken “unilaterally and without consultation”.

The new rules go into effect on March 13 at midnight EDT and mark a major escalation from President Trump, who has been accused of inaction over coronavirus.

There are 1,135 confirmed cases of the virus across the US, with 38 deaths so far.

President Trump said: “This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history.”

Justifying the travel restrictions, Donald Trump accused the EU of failing to take “the same precautions” as the US in fighting the virus.

The president’s speech said all travel from Europe would be suspended but a presidential proclamation later said it would only apply to anyone who had been in the EU’s Schengen border-free area in the 14 days before their arrival in the US.

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President Trump also said the suspension would also apply to cargo coming from Europe into the US. He later tweeted to say that trade would “in no way be affected”.

The speech included plans to provide billions of dollars in loans to small businesses and the president urged Congress to free up more funds.

He said for most Americans the risk was “very, very low” adding “no nation is more prepared or more resilient than the United States”.

In its response, the EU said the coronavirus was “a global crisis, not limited to any continent and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action.

European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel said in a statement: “The EU disapproves of the fact that the US decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation.”

Senior Democrats said it was “alarming” that President Trump did not address a shortage of coronavirus testing kits in the US.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement: “The best way to help keep the American people safe and ensure their economic security is for the president to focus on fighting the spread of the coronavirus itself.”

On the travel ban, Lawrence Gostin, a public health expert at Georgetown University, tweeted: “Most of Europe is as safe as US. This will have no impact on US … germs don’t respect borders.”

Concern over the coronavirus outbreak rose after a number of new cases were confirmed earlier this month.

Containment efforts have begun in earnest. Troops have been deployed to New Rochelle, just north of NYC, where one outbreak is believed to have originated.

The National Guard will deliver food to some individuals who have been told to self-isolate there.

The governor of Washington state has also banned large gatherings in several counties. The north-western state is the focal point of the outbreak in the US, accounting for 24 of at least 38 deaths across the country.

In an unprecedented move, the NBA announced that it would suspend the season after the March 11 games. The decision came after one player for the Utah Jazz tested positive for the virus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Congress that the outbreak is “going to get worse”, and that depended on the ability to contain those infected.

High medical costs make the virus particularly problematic – many Americans avoid visiting their doctor because of unaffordable charges. A lack of paid sick leave is another concern, as are fears about the number of available tests.

Vice-President Mike Pence, who is in charge of the task force co-ordinating the response to the crisis, has said that “any American can be tested, no restrictions, subject to doctor’s orders”, and that insurers had promised to offset the charges.

Joe Biden has strengthened his position as front-runner in the Democratic race to take on President Donald Trump in November’s White House election.

On March 10, he won Michigan, the biggest prize of primary voting, extending his lead over main rival Senator Bernie Sanders.

Five other states – Washington, Missouri, Mississippi, Idaho and North Dakota – voted on March 10.

The former vice-president also swept aside Bernie Sanders in Missouri, Mississippi and Idaho.

The Vermont senator won North Dakota, with results from Washington state still outstanding on March 11.

It is unclear if Bernie Sanders would fight on until the party convention in July.

The Democrats’ next big election milestone is in a week’s time when 577 delegates are up for grabs.

To secure the nomination, a candidate needs the support of 1,991 delegates. Before March 10 vote, Joe Biden had 648 to Bernie Sanders’ 563.

Joe Biden had lagged behind his Democratic rivals in early voting states, but rebounded after big wins on Super Tuesday and endorsements from several former nomination rivals.

His campaign looked all but lost at the start of the primary season in February. The 77-year-old finished a poor fourth in the Iowa caucuses and fifth in the New Hampshire primary.

However, the turn came with South Carolina – where he won due to the support of the large African-American community – and on the Super Tuesday he won 10 out of 14 states at stake, establishing a sizeable lead over Bernie Sanders.

Thanking supporters from Philadelphia on March 10, Joe Biden said Democrats, including supporters of Bernie Sanders, could beat Donald Trump.

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Bernie Sanders, 78, enjoys widespread support among young voters, but has so far failed to turn that into electoral success.

The Democratic Party has been involved in a lengthy internal debate aimed at deciding which candidate has the best chance of denying President Trump a second term in office this autumn.

Once a crowded field of more than two dozen, celebrated for its women and candidates of color, the Democratic contest is now a race between two white male septuagenarians.

Joe Biden, a moderate, and Bernie Sanders, a staunch left-winger, offer starkly different visions for America’s future.