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Trials of Astra Zeneca’s and Oxford University’s Covid-19 vaccine will resume after being paused due to a reported side effect in a patient in the UK.

On September 8, AstraZeneca said the studies were being paused while it investigated whether the adverse reaction was linked with the vaccine.

However, on September 12, Oxford University said it had been deemed safe to continue.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock welcomed the news that the trials would resume.

He said: “This pause shows we will always put safety first. We will back our scientists to deliver an effective vaccine as soon as safely possible.”

Oxford University said in a statement that it was “expected” that “some participants will become unwell” in large trials such as this one.

The university added that the studies could now resume following the recommendations of an independent safety review committee and the UK regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

It would not disclose information about the patient’s illness for confidentiality reasons.

However, the New York Times reported that a volunteer in the UK trial had been diagnosed with transverse myelitis, an inflammatory syndrome that affects the spinal cord and can be caused by viral infections.

The WHO says nearly 180 vaccine candidates are being tested around the world but none has yet completed clinical trials.

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Hopes have been high that the vaccine might be one of the first to come on the market, following successful Phase 1 and 2 testing.

The move to Phase 3 testing in recent weeks has involved some 30,000 participants in the US as well as in the UK, South Africa and Brazil. Phase 3 trials in vaccines often involve thousands of participants and can last several years.

According to official figures released on September 12, a further 3,497 people have tested positive with the virus in the UK. It is the second day in a row that number of daily reported cases has exceeded 3,000.

It brings the overall number of confirmed cases so far to 365,174. Meanwhile, the government figures revealed that a further nine people have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, bring the UK death toll to 41,623.

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Photo Getty Images

Before the worldwide COVID virus pandemic hit in early 2020, retail gasoline prices were already relatively low compared to the prior four years. But once the historically unique economic impact of the virus sank in, the cost of a gallon of fuel dropped by about 50 percent for most consumers. Plus, that entire and massive plunge in value took place within a four-week window of time. Necessity of the mother of invention, as the old saying goes. In this case, millions of individual investors started thinking about investment opportunities in oil, assuming COVID wouldn’t last forever and that per-gallon costs would eventually bounce back.

It’s important for every investor to understand the way the health crisis affect the fuel market, who some of the key players are, how the overall economic shutdown is continuing to change the world, and what at the pump prices are likely to do in the near future. The good news for people who wish to turn a crisis into an opportunity is that oil prices still have room to rise before they’re back at pre-crisis levels. Anyone who wants to know how to buy crude oil should consider such diverse methods as ETFs (exchange-traded funds), corporate stocks, futures, options, and CFDs (contracts for difference).

The COVID Effect on Recent Prices

Why did a worldwide virus lead to a huge drop in the price of crude, and by extension, gasoline? The primary factor was economic shutdown, which took place in most developing and developed nations. With millions of people either not working or doing their jobs from home, there was a gigantic drop in the need for vehicle fuel, which meant an over-supply situation. Like a 1,000-pound boulder in a pond, the value of the world’s most preferred fossil fuel sank about 50 percent within a couple of weeks.

The Iran Effect

Political turmoil in producer nations can lead to unusual changes in the energy markets, as the recent Iranian situation clearly demonstrates. After the U.S. pulled out of a large international coalition and decided to impose trading sanctions on Iran, the market reacted quickly, anticipating a possible oil shortage if Iran decides to cut production in retaliation for the U.S. move. For at least 30 years, the volatile leadership in Iran has wreaked havoc on the worldwide energy markets, which is one reason investors always keep a close eye on that nation’s financial news.

OPEC+ and Russia

There has been a recent change at the top of the global energy-producing hierarchy. For decades, Saudi Arabia, as the leading member of OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), was in near-total control of international supply. However, OPEC is now only number three in a trio of the globe’s top petroleum producers, which includes the U.S. at the top and Russia in the second spot. But investors should remember that OPEC still has a lot of power because its members act in unison, while U.S. and Russian producers do not.

The Economic Shutdown

In the second half of 2019, the per-barrel cost of crude petroleum sat at about the $55 mark. Now that the virus effect is slowing, that $55 level is still about $12 above the current $43 cost. That’s good news for anyone who still wants to take part in what could be a rise back to the normal, or at least pre-crisis values.

Prices at the Gas Pump

For consumers who worry about their monthly transportation budgets, there is an upside and a downside. As the national and world economies rebound and employment numbers get back to financially healthy levels, the price of petrol at the pump is also going back to its 2019 averages, slowly but surely.

For Investors to Consider

Before heading to your favorite trading platform to place orders for fuel-based CFDs, futures, and industry stock shares, consider some key facts about recent price activity and industry behavior, including the following:

  • Since 2014, the price, in U.S. dollars, of a barrel of crude oil dropped from $104 to $30.
  • The huge fall in per-barrel values were only partly due to COVID-related factors.
  • The new trio of top producers, the U.S., Russia, and OPEC are the predominant influencers behind global production and supply.
  • When the world economy is doing well, per-barrel prices usually go up due to increased industrial demand.
  • Natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes can have profound temporary effects on the industry.
  • At-the-pump costs for consumers are affected by at least a half-dozen factors, including retail demand, inflation, supplies, economic headlines in producing countries, and political turmoil. That makes it difficult to predict future market behavior.

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2020 has become a year of radical change, shifts in perspective, and the sobering reminder that all of us are mortal, prone to disease and ailments that can, and sometimes will end our lives. From wildfires engulfing en entire continent to political scandals, a biblical plague, and everything in between, the term “dumpster fire” doesn’t even begin to cover the year 2020.

Most of us take a few major events per year in stride. That’s just how it goes, right? Things happen, people die, and the world keeps turning. So, why are you feeling extra emotional this year? Could it be that there’s more to it? Perhaps these new changes are more traumatic than we might have thought. Why am I so emotional? Let’s look closer at some of the reasons you might be feeling more emotional than usual.

1. Can You Say…COVID?

COVID-19 came sweeping out of the east with a fury no one saw coming (except everyone did, just not the US). If you’re in the United States, you’re probably still feeling terrified of the virus, which has claimed more than 160,000 peoples’ lives and continues to spread, despite areas of the world being in recovery.

With five million confirmed cases and counting, the end of the COVID crisis is nowhere in sight for the United States, and experts are suggesting that we may experience a resurgence as winter approaches. How can one not feel emotional under these circumstances? We feel neglected by our leaders, uncertain of the future, and afraid to even visit a grocery store for fear of catching the virus.

The hierarchy of needs comes into play here. Maslow suggests that all people have a hierarchy of needs, and until the basic needs are met, you can’t be creative, happy, or fulfilled. These basic needs are physiological needs (food, air, water, etc.), safety needs (personal security, employment, resources, health), and then love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.

Notice how safety and things like food and air come before everything else. If your most basic needs aren’t met, it’s incredibly difficult to feel safe or satisfied; and lets’ be honest, none of us are feeling very safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. Social Media

The unfortunate truth about our favorite way to connect with friends, family, and our favorite brands is that it may not be a healthy habit to engage in. Studies have shown that people who spend a lot of time on social media tend to suffer from lower self-esteem, a sense of sadness or even depression, and increased social withdrawal. That’s a bit alarming, no doubt, but there’s a good chance your social media usage has increased during quarantine.

Social media can be a stressful place. Not only are you seeing doctored versions of everyone else’s lives (that always seem to look “better”), but you’re also getting a ton of misinformation on things like COVID restrictions. How can anyone feel good getting bombarded with conflicting information, political opinions, and Jane’s constant posting about how amazing her life is?

Cutting down on social media might actually help improve your mental health and help you through this year without having a major breakdown. We all miss our friends and family, but there are plenty of other ways to stay connected until we can meet in-person once more.

3. Life Brought Into Perspective

Major traumatic events often have the effect of bringing life into sharp focus. When mortality comes knocking, and the threat of illness and potential death lingers in the air like a foul stench, we tend to look back on our lives and take measure of what we’ve done; and everything we haven’t. For some, this means facing mistakes or decisions that have potentially led to happiness or unfulfillment. For others, this means getting their act together and finally deciding to get that degree, ask that girl out, or just do better for themselves.

There’s no guarantee that we’ll have a future. Even tomorrow isn’t something we can be sure of, but if COVID has taught us anything, it’s that life is short. Too short to waste on petty quarrels, pointless scrolling online, and other trifles. If reflecting on your life has caused you to feel sad, unfulfilled, or generally unhappy with where you’re at, now’s the time to make some important choices to ensure the rest of your life is exactly what you want.

4. The News

Fear-based media; what is it? To properly explain it, we’d need an entire article. Luckily, this article explains the concept in-depth. The basic premise is that fear sells papers, column inches, and keeps people coming back for more. If you’ve ever watched the news, you’ll notice it’s riddled with fear-based headlines, commentary, and a general focus on the negative. Why? Because it preys on the anxieties we all have.

This year has been a treasure trove of fear for the mainstream media. If you’ve been watching the news consistently, you’re probably starting to feel the effects of this fear-mongering, to the detriment of your mental health. Yes, you should still keep yourself informed, but where you get your information is just as important as the information itself.

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Press release 

The City of Houston wants to keep critical safety information about the coronavirus pandemic a secret. Wait till you find out one of the reasons why.

Dolcefino Consulting asked for records on any events or locations where contract tracers found community spread.  It was part of our investigation into any real evidence Houston bars had been linked to coronavirus outbreaks. We didn’t ask for patient information, just locations, like the huge protest rallies downtown and other large gatherings.

The City of Houston Legal Department and the City Attorney are now refusing to tell you where coronavirus outbreaks have happened. Why? One reason, according to the City, is Homeland Security.

“The release of this information could alert a criminal or terrorist to potential vulnerabilities in the Cities emergency response plan to COVID-19,” said City Attorney Rebekah Wendt. Wendt went on to claim that the release of certain information could “allow a criminal or terrorist to have intimate details concerning the City’s evolving plans to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and allow them to exacerbate COVID-19 and future disasters.” 

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Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is also keeping the contact tracing results a secret, even though the taxpayers are the people footing the bill. In the span of just two hours, the County Health Department claimed they had no records of congregate settings related to the coronavirus. An hour and a half later, the County Health Department did admit that they had records but claimed that they were too busy with the spread of the coronavirus to tell us where the coronavirus was spreading.

“On one hand we have a statewide order and a local order telling us that we have to wear masks to wear masks to control the spread of the coronavirus and we are spending millions of dollars to try to keep people safe but meanwhile our local government won’t tell us which places we need to avoid,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting.

“The public has every right to evaluate how the government is handling this pandemic and the City of Houston and Harris County Health Department should be ashamed of themselves.”

New lockdown measures have been imposed in the Australian state of Victoria after a surge in coronavirus infections.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the restrictions would come into effect on August 2 at 18:00.

Under the new rules, residents of the state capital Melbourne will be subject to a night-time curfew.

Melbourne’s stay-at-home order will be enhanced, giving residents fewer exemptions for leaving home.

Residents will not be allowed to travel further than 3 miles from their home, exercise will be restricted to once a day, and one person will be able to go shopping for essentials at a time.

After early success in suppressing the new coronavirus, Australia has had fewer cases than many other countries, recording about 17,000 infections and 200 deaths.

However, cases are rising rapidly in Victoria, accounting for many of Australia’s new infections in recent weeks, promoting the return of lockdown restrictions in early July.

Imagine de Pete Linforth de la Pixabay

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On August 2, Victoria reported 671 new Covid-19 cases and seven deaths. Those increases brought the totals to 11,557 infections and 123 deaths.

PM Andrews said the lockdown measures introduced in Victoria – Australia’s second most populous state – were working but too slowly.

“We must do more. We must go harder. It’s the only way we’ll get to the other side of this,” he said at a news conference.

He said the changes to lockdown rules announced on August 2 will remain in place until at least September 13.

PM Andrews said Melbourne will move into stage-four restrictions on August 2, placing further limits on the movement of people.

That will include a night-time curfew, which will be implemented across Melbourne from 20:00 to 05:00 from August 2.

The only reasons for leaving home during these hours will be work, medical care or care-giving.

Melbourne residents will only be allowed to shop and exercise within 3 miles of their home. Exercise outside of the home will only be allowed for one hour at a time.

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Thousands of protesters have gathered in the German capital Berlin to demonstrate against the country’s coronavirus restrictions.

Protesters said measures including the wearing of facemasks violated their rights and freedoms.

Police broke up the protest, saying organizers had not respected coronavirus hygiene regulations.

Germany has been less badly affected by the pandemic than some European countries, but cases are rising.

On July 31, Germany recorded more than 900 new cases and seven deaths.

According to officials, about 20,000 people attended the Berlin protest on August 1.

Organizers had declared August 1 a “day of freedom” from months of coronavirus restrictions.

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Demonstrators held up banners featuring such slogans as “Corona, false alarm” and “We are being forced to wear a muzzle”.

Some participants were from the far right and some were conspiracy theorists who do not believe Covid-19 exists, but others were ordinary people who simply object to the government’s approach to the pandemic.

Police ordered demonstrators to disperse at the end of the afternoon. They said they had launched legal action against organizers for not respecting coronavirus hygiene rules.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn criticized people for failing to adhere to regulations, including the 1.5m (5ft) social distancing requirement.

“Yes, demonstrations should be allowed even amid the pandemic. But not like this,” he wrote on Twitter.

Social distancing rules and hygiene requirements apply throughout Germany, and people must wear face-coverings in shops and on public transport. Mandatory testing has been introduced for holidaymakers returning from high-risk areas.

Germany has had more than 210,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 9,000 related deaths since the pandemic began.

Russia is preparing to start a mass vaccination campaign against coronavirus in October, the health minister has said.

Health minister Mikhail Murashko said that doctors and teachers would be the first to receive the vaccine, local media reported.

Russia’s first potential vaccine would be approved by regulators this month, Reuters reports, citing anonymous sources.

However, some experts are concerned at Russia’s fast-track approach.

On July 31, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he hoped that Russia – and China – were “actually testing the vaccine” before administering them to anyone.

The leading infectious disease expert in the US has said that America should have a “safe and effective” vaccine by the end of this year.

“I do not believe that there will be vaccines so far ahead of us that we will have to depend on other countries to get us vaccines,” Anthony Fauci told US lawmakers.

Scores of possible coronavirus vaccines are being developed around the world and more than 20 are currently in clinical trials.

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Mikhail Murashko, quoted by Interfax news agency, said that the Gamaleya Institute, a research facility in Moscow, had finished clinical trials of a vaccine and that paperwork was being prepared to register it.

“We plan wider vaccinations for October,” he said, adding that teachers and doctors would be the first to receive it.

Last month, Russian scientists said that early-stage trials of an adenovirus-based vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Institute had been completed and that the results were a success.

Last month the US, UK and Canada security services said a Russian hacking group had targeted various organizations involved in Covid-19 vaccine development, with the likely intention of stealing information.

Republican Herman Cain, who ran for president in 2012, has died after contracting Covid-19.

The 74-year-old was hospitalized after being diagnosed with the disease earlier this month.

A message posted on his official website said: “Herman Cain – our boss, our friend, like a father to so many of us – has passed away.”

Herman Cain, who in 2006 survived late-stage colon cancer, is one of the best-known US victims of Covid-19.

His social media accounts had been providing regular updates on his condition. On July 7, a post from his Twitter account said “doctors are trying to make sure his oxygen levels are right”.

“This is a tough virus,” it said.

“Please continue praying.”

Herman Cain appeared without a mask at a rally held by President Donald Trump in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 20.

He was admitted to hospital with coronavirus on July 1, though it is unclear when or where he caught the infection.

President Trump paid tribute to Herman Cain on July 30 at the White House, saying: “He was a very special person… and unfortunately he passed away from a thing called the China virus.”

Herman Cain, one of the US presidential hopefuls, announced he is suspending his campaign for the Republican nomination

Herman Cain announced he is suspending his presidency bid

Herman Cain was born in Tennessee to a father who worked three jobs as a janitor, chauffeur and barber, and a mother who worked as a servant. He went on to study for a degree in maths and a master’s in computing.

He worked variously as a Baptist minister, a radio talk show host and as a businessman.

Herman Cain was an advocate of a flat tax system – his 9-9-9 plan – and ran for office after a stint as CEO of Godfather’s Pizza.

During his run, he told reporters he would not stand for any “gotcha questions”.

“And when they ask me who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan, I’m going to say you know, I don’t know. Do you know?”

Herman Cain initially proved popular, but later found himself at the centre of a number of harassment allegations.

Although he denied the accusations against him, his popularity soon suffered and he suspended his campaign. Mitt Romney later became the Republican candidate in an unsuccessful race against President Barack Obama’s bid for a second term in office. In 2019, President Trump sounded Herman Cain out to sit on the Federal Reserve Board, but he withdrew his nomination after several Republican senators refused to back his appointment.

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Imagine de Pete Linforth de la Pixabay

Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, has begun a second lockdown in response to a spike in new coronavirus infections.

The five million Melbourne’s residents will be barred from leaving home for six weeks, except for essential reasons.

Police say they are setting up a “ring of steel” around the city, with “checkpoints anytime and anywhere” to enforce the measures.

Borders between Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital, and neighboring states closed on July 7.

PM Scott Morrison paid tribute to Melbournians’ resilience on July 8.

“The rest of the country knows that the sacrifice that you’re going through right now is not just for you and your own family, but it’s for the broader Australian community,” the prime minister said during a news conference.

Scott Morrison also said he was proposing measures to slow the return of Australian nationals from overseas.

Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews announced the Melbourne lockdown on July 7 after the state saw 191 new infections, its highest daily number since the pandemic began.

The July 8 figure was down to 134, but still much higher than numbers in the rest of the country.

Australia has recorded almost 9,000 cases and 106 deaths from the virus.

Meanwhile, Australian media reported that passengers on a flight from Melbourne to Sydney disembarked on July 7 without being screened.

New South Wales state has banned travel from the greater Melbourne area except under exceptional circumstances, and the passengers should have been required to self-isolate for two weeks.

People will be kept to their homes and will only be able to leave for essential reasons, such as for work, exercise and shopping for food and other necessities.

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Schools will largely return to distance learning and restaurants will, once again, only be permitted to serve takeaway food.

However, shops and hairdressers will remain open.

The lockdown covers only Melbourne and an area to the north called the Mitchell Shire, but the state as a whole has been sealed off from the neighboring states of New South Wales and South Australia.

Police and troops have been stationed at border crossings and patrol the vast borders with drones and other aircraft.

As of July 9, they will also be doing random checks on vehicles in and around the city.

For months Australia had felt optimistic about containing Covid-19 then came the resurgence of the virus in Melbourne.

Novak Djokovic has become the latest tennis player to test positive for the new coronavirus.

Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki all revealed they have tested positive for Covid-19 after playing at Djokovic’s Adria Tour competition.

The 33-year-old world’s No 1 played fellow Serb Troicki in the first event in Belgrade.

In a post on Twitter, Novak Djokovic said it had been “too soon” to stage the tournament.

“I am so deeply sorry our tournament has caused harm,” he said.

He said the tournament had been organized with “a pure heart”, “good intentions” and a belief that they had “met all health protocols”.

“We were wrong and it was too soon,” he said.

The remaining Adria Tour events in Banja Luka and Sarajevo have now been canceled Novak Djokovic’s brother Djordje, who is a director of the tournament, has confirmed.

“Unfortunately, due to all the events that happened in the last few days, we have decided that the most important thing right now is to stabilize the epidemiological situation, as well as for everyone to recover,” he said.

A statement on Novak Djokovic’s website said: “Immediately upon his arrival in Belgrade [after the second event] Novak was tested along with all members of the family and the team with whom he was in Belgrade and Zadar. He is not showing any symptoms.”

There have been no ATP Tour events since February because of the global pandemic and the Adria Tour, which is not an ATP Tour event, was one of the first competitions to be staged since then.

The first leg in Serbia attracted 4,000 fans, and players were later pictured dancing close together in a Belgrade nightclub.

Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov played Croatia’s Borna Coric on June 20 in the second leg in Zadar, Croatia.

With Croatia easing lockdown measures, players were not obliged to observe social distancing rules and were seen embracing at the net at the end of their matches.

Photo Getty Images

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Pictures on the tournament’s social media site from June 19 showed Grigor Dimitrov playing basketball with Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Marin Cilic, while he also put his arm around Borna Coric before their match.

Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic and Andrey Rublev, who also played in the Adria Tour, have tested negative, but suggested they will all now self-isolate for up to 14 days.

The ATP Tour season is set to restart on August 14 and the US Open will be held without fans from August 31 to September 13, despite some players voicing concerns about travelling to New York.

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Dexamethasone, a cheap and widely available drug, can help save the lives of patients seriously ill with coronavirus, UK experts say.

The low-dose steroid is part of the world’s biggest trial testing existing treatments to see to see if they also work for coronavirus.

The drug cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators. For those on oxygen, it cut deaths by a fifth.

Had the drug had been used to treat patients in the UK from the start of the pandemic, up to 5,000 lives could have been saved, researchers say.

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Dexamethasone could be of huge benefit in poorer countries with high numbers of Covid-19 patients.

PM Boris Johnson said there was a genuine case to celebrate “a remarkable British scientific achievement”, adding: “We have taken steps to ensure we have enough supplies, even in the event of a second peak.”

About 19 out of 20 patients with coronavirus recover without being admitted to hospital.

Of those who are admitted, most also recover but some may need oxygen or mechanical ventilation.

These are the high-risk patients dexamethasone appears to help.

Dexamethasone is already used to reduce inflammation in a range of other conditions, including arthritis, asthma and skin some conditions.

It appears to help stop some of the damage that can happen when the body’s immune system goes into overdrive as it tries to fight off coronavirus.

This over-reaction, a cytokine storm, can be deadly.

In the trial, led by a team from Oxford University, about 2,000 hospital patients were given dexamethasone and compared with more than 4,000 who were not.

For patients on ventilators, the drug cut the risk of death from 40% to 28%.

For patients needing oxygen, dexamethasone cut the risk of death from 25% to 20%.

Dexamethasone does not appear to help people with milder symptoms of coronavirus who do not need help with their breathing.

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President Donald Trump has revealed he is taking hydroxychloroquine to ward off coronavirus, despite public health officials warning it may be unsafe.

Speaking at the White House, the president told reporters he started taking the malaria and lupus medication recently.

President Trump said: “I’m taking it for about a week and a half now and I’m still here, I’m still here.”

There is no evidence hydroxychloroquine can fight coronavirus, and regulators warn the drug may cause heart problems.

Dr. Marcos Espinal, director of the Pan American Health Organization – part of the WHO – has also since stressed that no clinical trials have recommended the use of hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus.

President Trump, 73, was hosting a meeting devoted to the struggling restaurant industry on May 18, when he caught reporters unawares by revealing he was taking the drug.

“You’d be surprised at how many people are taking it, especially the frontline workers before you catch it, the frontline workers, many, many are taking it,” he told reporters.

“I happen to be taking it.”

“Donald Trump” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Gage Skidmore

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Asked what was his evidence of hydroxychloroquine’s positive benefits, President Trump said: “Here’s my evidence: I get a lot of positive calls about it.”

He added: “I’ve heard a lot of good stories [about hydroxychloroquine] and if it’s not good, I’ll tell you right I’m not going to get hurt by it.”

Though some people in the White House have tested positive for coronavirus, President Trump said again he had “zero symptoms” and was being tested frequently.

He added that he had been taking a daily zinc supplement and received a single dose of azithromycin, an antibiotic meant to prevent infection.

When asked whether the White House physician had recommended he start taking the disputed remedy, President Trump said he himself had requested it.

Dr. Sean Conley, physician to the president, said in a statement issued through the White House later on May 18 that President Trump was in “very good health” and “symptom-free”.

The US Navy officer added: “After numerous discussions he and I had regarding the evidence for and against the use of hydroxychloroquine, we concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks.”

The FDA last month issued an advisory saying that hydroxychloroquine has “not been shown to be safe and effective”.

The agency cited reports that the drug can cause serious heart rhythm problems in Covid-19 patients.

The FDA warned against use of the medication outside hospitals, where the agency has granted temporary authorization for its use in some cases. Clinical trials of the drug are also under way.

The CDC says there are no approved drugs or therapeutics to prevent or treat Covid-19, which is confirmed to have infected more than 1.5 million people in the US, killing more than 90,000 patients.

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Applications of foreign nationals seeking permanent residence in the US will be suspended because of the coronavirus crisis, President Donald Trump said.

A day after he announced the move in an ambiguous tweet, President Trump said the measure would protect American jobs.

It is not clear how effective it will be as most visa services have already been suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Critics say President Trump is trying to distract attention away from his response to the virus. The US has nearly 45,000 deaths.

Democrats also accuse the Trump administration of using the pandemic to crack down on immigration. The issue has traditionally been a strong campaigning theme for President Trump, a Republican, but has taken a back seat during the crisis and in the lead-up to the November election.

Image source Wikipedia

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At a White House coronavirus briefing, President Trump said the executive order with the decision was likely to be signed on April 22. The ban could be extended “much longer” depending on how the economy was doing, he said.

After vowing to suspend “all immigration” to the US on April 20, President Trump apparently changed his original plan after a backlash from some business leaders. It would reportedly impact immigrants given temporary working visas, like farm laborers and hi-tech employees.

More than 20 million Americans have lost their jobs amid the coronavirus outbreak, and President Trump said the government had a “solemn duty” to ensure they regain their jobs.

He said: “It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labor flown in from abroad.”

The president added that there could be some exemptions to the measure.

He also said: “We want to protect our US workers and I think as we move forward we will become more and more protective of them.”

President Trump’s order could spark legal challenges.

The US has the highest number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the world – more than 820,000 – according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the disease globally.

Green cards give immigrants legal permanent residence in the US and the opportunity to apply for American citizenship.

In a typical year, nearly one million green cards are issued in the US. The majority – roughly 70% – go to those with relatives living in the US, according to a 2018 report from the US Senate. For employment-based green cards, a common form of the residency status, roughly 80% are issued to those already in the country, shifting from a temporary visa to permanent residence.

Italy and Austria seek to ease restrictions brought in to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The European Commission has urged EU countries to co-ordinate with each other to relax measures gradually.

An internal document sent by the Commission to EU governments said that even phased measures would “unavoidably lead to a corresponding increase in new cases”.

Lifting restrictions had to wait for the spread of the virus to be reduced for a significant period, it said, with enough capacity in intensive care units to cope with a second surge in cases and increased testing, along with mass antibody tests.

Garden centers, DIY stores and small stores can open but with strict rules on social distancing.

Spain has allowed some businesses to return to work, and Denmark is reopening schools for younger children. Poland has said it will gradually lift restrictions on its economy from April 12, probably starting with general stores.

Spain reported its lowest increase in infections since March 20 on April 14. There has been a 1.8% increase from April 13 to 3,045. The number of deaths has gone up by 567 to 18,056.

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In France, President Emmanuel Macron extended France’s lockdown for another four weeks until May 11, as he said current restrictions had slowed the virus but not beaten it.

In Germany, the head of Robert Koch public health institute said that while there had been a slowdown it was too early to talk of a clear trend.

In Italy, where over 20,000 people have died in the pandemic, a limited number of shops and businesses have been allowed to reopen.

However, some of the worst-hit regions have decided to hold off.

Lombardy and other regions in the north will maintain their measures for longer.

After five weeks under lockdown, bookstores, stationery and clothes for babies and young children can reopen their doors but with strict rules on customer numbers and hygiene.

Businesses, stores and schools should lead the way, followed by limited reopening of restaurants, bars and cafes.

The reopening of bookshops and clothes stores for young children is a glimmer of hope, after Italy saw 20,465 fatalities, second only to the US in the number of deaths officially caused by Covid-19.

The daily toll of fatalities is now falling and the number of patients in intensive care has dropped for 10 days in a row to 3,260. However, Lombardy, where Italy’s outbreak began, still saw another 280 deaths declared on April 13, and officials have decided to allow children’s clothing shops to open, but not bookshops.

Also in the north, some of the worst-affected areas of Emilia-Romagna will stay locked down, while in Veneto officials are talking of a “soft lockdown”. Bookstores and clothing stores can open for two days a week, says Veneto governor Luca Zaia, and a ban on exercising more than 200m away from home has been lifted. But residents will still need to wear a mask and gloves if they go out.

Austria was one of the first European countries to follow neighboring Italy in imposing strict lockdown measures about a month ago, and the government says it has managed to flatten the curve of new infections. It has so far reported about 14,000 cases and 368 deaths.

Last week, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz unveiled plans to lift restrictions gradually.

In an open letter to the country on April 11, Sebastian Kurz said he wanted to “come out of this crisis as quickly as possible and fight for every job in Austria”.

From April 14, stores under 400 sq m (4,300 sq ft) in size are allowed to reopen, along with hardware stores and garden centers.

However, it is also compulsory for people to wear a mask in supermarkets and pharmacies.

Economy Minister Margarete Schramböck told Austrian TV: “Experience in countries that have handled it well has taught us that we have to move gradually.”

Larger stores, shopping centers and hairdressers are due to reopen from May 1, while restaurants and hotels could reopen from mid-May if health conditions allow, Austria’s chancellor has said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) welcomed the slowing down of infections in some European countries but warned against lifting restrictions too early, so as not to prompt “a deadly resurgence”.

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Speaking at his Easter vigil service in an almost empty St Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis has urged people not to “yield to fear” over coronavirus, calling on them to be “messengers of life in a time of death”.

Members of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholic community could follow a live stream of the service.

Lockdown measures are still in place across Italy, hard hit by the pandemic.

Italy’s PM Giuseppe Conte praised the leader of the Roman Catholic Church for his “gesture of responsibility” in marking Easter without a congregation.

Catholic Christians around the world are celebrating Easter, the most important festival in the Christian calendar, despite the restrictions that have left hundreds of millions confined to their homes. Many priests are conducting services in churches without congregations.

Image source: Vatican Media

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Pope Francis recalled the Biblical account of a woman finding Jesus’s tomb empty on the day Christians believe he rose from the dead.

He said: “Then too, there was fear about the future and all that would need to be rebuilt. A painful memory, a hope cut short. For them, as for us, it was the darkest hour.”

“Do not be afraid, do not yield to fear: this is the message of hope. It is addressed to us today,” the Pope added.

The Pope’s service, normally held in front of thousands of worshippers, was attended by only around a couple of dozen people. Several traditional features were also scaled back, including the baptism of converts.

On April 12, the Pope will give his Easter Sunday address at a ceremony behind closed doors. Historically it has been given to crowds in St Peter’s Square.

Speaking at his Easter vigil service in an almost empty St Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis has urged people not to “yield to fear” over coronavirus, calling on them to be “messengers of life in a time of death”.

Members of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholic community could follow a live stream of the service.

Lockdown measures are still in place across Italy, hard hit by the pandemic.

Italy’s PM Giuseppe Conte praised the leader of the Roman Catholic Church for his “gesture of responsibility” in marking Easter without a congregation.

Catholic Christians around the world are celebrating Easter, the most important festival in the Christian calendar, despite the restrictions that have left hundreds of millions confined to their homes. Many priests are conducting services in churches without congregations.

Pope Francis recalled the Biblical account of a woman finding Jesus’s tomb empty on the day Christians believe he rose from the dead.

He said: “Then too, there was fear about the future and all that would need to be rebuilt. A painful memory, a hope cut short. For them, as for us, it was the darkest hour.”

“Do not be afraid, do not yield to fear: this is the message of hope. It is addressed to us today,” the Pope added.

The Pope’s service, normally held in front of thousands of worshippers, was attended by only around a couple of dozen people. Several traditional features were also scaled back, including the baptism of converts.

On April 12, the Pope will give his Easter Sunday address at a ceremony behind closed doors. Historically it has been given to crowds in St Peter’s Square.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has warned the coronavirus pandemic will turn global economic growth “sharply negative” this year.

She said the world faced the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The head of the International Monetary Fund forecast that 2021 would only see a partial recovery.

Lockdowns imposed by governments have forced many companies to close and lay off staff.

Earlier this week, a UN study said 81% of the world’s workforce of 3.3 billion people had had their place of work fully or partly closed because of the outbreak.

Kristalina Georgieva made her bleak assessment in remarks ahead of next week’s IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings.

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Emerging markets and developing countries would be the hardest hit, the IMF chief said, requiring hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign aid.

She said: “Just three months ago, we expected positive per capita income growth in over 160 of our member countries in 2020.

“Today, that number has been turned on its head: we now project that over 170 countries will experience negative per capita income growth this year.”

Kristalina Georgieva added: “In fact, we anticipate the worst economic fallout since the Great Depression.”

She said that if the pandemic eased in the second half of 2020, the IMF expected to see a partial recovery next year. But she cautioned that the situation could also worsen.

Kristalina Georgieva’s comments came as the US reported that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits had surged for the third week by 6.6 million, bringing the total over that period to more than 16 million Americans.

On April 9, following marathon talks, EU leaders agreed a €500 billion ($546 billion) economic support package for members of the bloc hit hardest by the lockdown measures.

The European Commission earlier said it aimed to co-ordinate a possible “roadmap” to move away from the restrictive measures.

Earlier this week, the International Labor Organization (ILO), a UN agency, warned that the pandemic posed “the most severe crisis” since World War Two.

The ILO said the outbreak was expected to wipe out 6.7% of working hours across the world during the second quarter of 2020 – the equivalent of 195 million full-time workers losing their jobs.

Last month, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) warned that the global economy would take years to recover.

OECD secretary general Angel Gurría said that economies were suffering a bigger shock than after the 9/11 terror attacks of 2001 or the 2008 financial crisis.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Some workers at food delivery company Instacart and US and Italian workers at Amazon have walked out, complaining of inadequate protection.

Pressure is growing on Amazon and other delivery companies to improve protection for workers worried about getting infected with coronavirus.

US senators have also written to Amazon boss Jeff Bezos to express concerns.

Instacart and Amazon have said they are taking extra precautions, amid booming demand for delivery services due to the virus.

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An Amazon spokesman said in a statement: “We are going to great lengths to keep the buildings extremely clean and help employees practice important precautions such as social distancing and other measures.

“Those who don’t want to work are welcome to use paid and unpaid time off options and we support them in doing so.”

Amazon said it had adjusted its practices, including increased cleaning of its facilities and introducing staggered shift and break times.

In Italy, Amazon said it had reduced deliveries since March 22. However, union leaders say workers need access to better protection.

“Several employees working at the site use face masks for days instead of having new ones each day,” one union representative told Reuters.

A group of workers at Whole Foods, which is owned by Amazon, plan to walk out on March 31, citing similar problems.

Whole foods told NBC it has “taken extensive measures to keep people safe.”

In 2019, the company faced criticism for cutting healthcare benefits for 1,900 part-time employees.

Earlier this month, Jeff Bezos – who is one of the world’s richest people with an estimated $115.6 billion fortune – addressed the worries in an open letter to staff, thanking them for their work.

Amazon, which is looking to hire 100,000 more warehouse workers in the US to help address the surge in orders, has also said it would boost pay for warehouse staff around the world, including by $2 per hour in the US and by £2 per hour in the UK, where staff have been told to work overtime.

However, US lawmakers have questioned Amazon over reports of shortages of protective and cleaning supplies, as well as its sick leave policies.

Amazon earlier faced strikes by workers in France and Italy and has been hit by legal complaints over the issues in Spain, according to a global alliance of unions coordinated by UNI Global Union.

A strike on March 30 against Instacart was organized by the Instacart Shoppers and Gig Workers collective, which had accused the company of profiting by putting people making its deliveries “directly in harm’s way”.

They said the company should provide protective gear, offer hazard pay and extend the pay for those unable to work because of the virus, whether due to a required quarantine or pre-existing condition.

On March 29, after the call about March 30 strike, Instacart said it was working with a manufacturer to produce its own hand sanitizer and changing its tip policy. It had earlier said it would pay bonuses and provide 14 days of sick leave for its shoppers or part-time employees diagnosed with the virus or placed under isolation orders.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The IOC has decided that the Tokyo Olympic Games will start on July 23, 2021 and run to August 8 after being postponed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

On March 30, the International Olympic Committee’s executive board met to make the decision.

The Olympics will still be called Tokyo 2020 despite taking place in 2021.

The Paralympic Games, originally due to start on August 24, 2020, will now take place between August 24 and September 5, 2021.

IOC president Thomas Bach said: “I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Government and all our stakeholders, we can master this unprecedented challenge.

“Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel.”

The decision to postpone both events was taken to protect the health of the athletes and everyone involved, and to support the containment of the new coronavirus.

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The new dates also took into consideration the rest of the global sports calendar after the men’s soccer European Championship was postponed to the summer of 2021.

The World Athletics Championships, originally set to take place in Oregon, USA, between August 6 and August 15, 2021, will now be postponed until 2022.

Olympic organizers hope the delay will allow sufficient time to finish the qualification process which will follow the same mitigation measures planned for 2020.

It has previously been confirmed that all athletes already qualified and quota places already assigned will remain unchanged.

Purchased tickets would be valid for rescheduled events or a refund could be requested when the new dates were set, organizers previously confirmed.

On March 24, Japan’s PM Abe Shinzo said the Games would be held in their “complete form” and no later than summer 2021.

Tokyo 2020 organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori said he had proposed the July 23 to August 8 timeframe to the IOC, and that Thomas Bach had agreed, following consultations with the international sports federations.

It is the first time in the Olympic Games’ 124-year modern history that they have been delayed, though they were cancelled altogether in 1916 because of World War One and again in 1940 and 1944 for World War Two. Cold War boycotts affected the summer Games in Moscow and Los Angeles in 1980 and 1984 respectively.

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UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock both tested positive for coronavirus, which causes the Covid-19 disease.

It comes after the UK government’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has said he is self-isolating after experiencing symptoms of coronavirus last night.

Prof. Chris Whitty has led the UK’s medical response and appears in the government’s public information films. Known symptoms of the virus include a persistent dry cough and a raised temperature.

PM Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus after displaying “mild” symptoms.

He is continuing to work in his Downing Street office although he will not be taking part in March 27 daily government briefing.

Boris Johnson’s fiancée, Carrie Symonds, who is several months pregnant, is self-isolating elsewhere.

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A total of 759 people have now died of the coronavirus in the UK, while 14,579 have tested positive.

The death toll jumped by 181 on March 27 – a rise of 31% – making it the biggest rise in deaths that the country has seen so far, surpassing March 26’s record of 115.

In England, patients were aged between 29 and 98 years old.

According to health officials, all but four patients, aged between 82 and 91 years old, had underlying health conditions.

The UK has the seventh highest number of recorded deaths in the world after Italy, Spain, China, Iran, France and the US.

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Image by Vektor Kunst from Pixabay

Governments from around the world have asked people to stay at home to help preventing and slowing down the spread of coronavirus.

Self-isolating means cutting yourself off from the rest of the world.

From now on, if one person in a household starts to display flu-like symptoms – defined as a fever of above 100F (37.8C) or a persistent cough – everyone living there must stay at home for 14 days.

The person with the symptoms should stay in a well-ventilated room with a window that can be opened, and keep away from other people in the home.

They should ask for help for groceries, other shopping or medication, which can be dropped off on the doorstep by friends, family or delivery drivers.

The Covid-19 disease can cause a fever, cough and breathing problems. It takes five days on average for people to start showing the symptoms.

What if someone self-isolating shares a home?

If someone is self-isolating and shares a kitchen, they should try to avoid using it when other people are there and take meals back to their room to eat. Clean all the surfaces at home with household cleaning products daily.

Although they might not be able to entirely separate themselves from family members or flat-mates, the advice is to limit contact as much as possible.

If possible, stay at least 6ft from other people they live with and sleep alone. Keep away from vulnerable people.

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People living with someone in isolation should wash their hands often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds – especially after coming into contact with them.

Other people shouldn’t share towels, toiletries or other household items with someone in isolation, who should have a separate bathroom. If that is not possible, the isolated person should use the bathroom last, cleaning it thoroughly afterwards if they are able.

Any rubbish that the isolated person has been in contact with should be double-bagged and kept.

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Image by Vektor Kunst from Pixabay

Authorities in most of the coronavirus affected countries have asked people to stop non-essential contact with others and avoid all unnecessary travel. This is known as social distancing.

Social distancing means trying to avoid contact with other people.

It means spending less time in public places, where a lot of people are around.

Usually, governments want:

  • People to start working from home wherever possible
  • All unnecessary travel stopped
  • Restaurants, pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues to be avoided
  • Stay at least 6ft from other people
  • Keep away from vulnerable people
  • Anyone living with someone who has a cough or a temperature to stay at home for 14 days.

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Under the US coronavirus task force’s new guidelines, President Donald Trump has 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 new coronavirus should stay at home along with everyone who lives there.

Global stocks have plunged again despite central banks around the world announcing a coordinated effort to ease the effects of the new coronavirus.

The Dow Jones index closed 12.9% down after President Donald Trump said the economy “may be” heading for recession.

Meanwhile, London’s FTSE 100 ended 4% lower, and other major European markets saw similar slides.

On March 15, the Fed cut its interest rates by 100 basis points to a target range of 0% to 0.25% and said it would offer at least $700 billion for support to the markets in the coming weeks.

The move was part of coordinated action announced alongside the eurozone, the UK, Japan, Canada, and Switzerland.

It comes as local officials across the US shut schools, restaurants and bars, sports leagues cancel tournaments, and retailers such as Urban Outfitters, Nike, and Gap announce hundreds of temporary store closures.

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Speaking after the announcement, Fed chairman Jerome Powell said: “The virus is having a profound effect.”

Investors are worried that central banks now have few options left to combat the impact of the pandemic.

In New York, steep falls as markets opened triggered another automatic halt to trading, which is meant to curb panic selling. Before last week, such halts, known as circuit breakers, had not been used in more than two decades.

However, the sell-off continued after the 15-minute suspension, with the Dow losing nearly 3,000 points or 12.9%, its worst percentage drop since 1987.

The wider S&P 500 dropped 11.9%, while NASDAQ dropped 12.3%. All three indexes are now down more than 25% from their highs.

In London, companies in the travel sector saw big falls. Share in holiday company Tui sank more than 27% after it said it would suspend the “majority” of its operations. BA-owner IAG fell more than 25% after it said it would cut its flight capacity by at least 75% in April and May.

The FTSE 250, which includes a number of well-known UK-focused companies, ended down about 7.8%.

All the main European share indexes fell sharply, though they later regained some ground. France’s Cac 40 index fell more than 5.7% and Germany’s Dax dropped more than 5.3%.

In Asia, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 closed down 2.5% and the Shanghai Composite in China ended the day 3.3% lower.

Oil prices, which have been shaken by a price war between exporters, fell again. Brent crude dropped by more than 10% to less than $32 a barrel while West Texas International crude fell more than 8% to less than $30 a barrel.

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Image source France24

France has ordered the closure of all non-essential places used by the public from March 14 midnight as the coronavirus outbreak spreads.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the number of people in intensive care was growing and earlier guidelines for the public were being ignored.

The measure applies to restaurants, cafes, cinemas and nightclubs as well as non-essential businesses.

It would not, the prime minister said, affect essential businesses which he listed as food shops, chemists, banks, tobacco shops and petrol stations.

Edouard Philippe also asked people to reduce their travel, especially between towns.

“The best way to slow down the epidemic is social distancing,” he said.

“I say this gravely – we must all together show greater discipline in the application of these measures,” the prime minister added.

However, local elections due on March 15 would also still go ahead, he said. Religious buildings would remain open but gatherings and ceremonies should be postponed.

France reported a sharp rise in cases on March 14, from 3,661 to 4,499. It recorded 12 more deaths, bringing the toll to 79.

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Meanwhile, Spain has confirmed a 15-day lockdown as part of emergency measures.

There will also be a reduction in medium-distance rail traffic to stem the spread of people around the country, and economic measures to support businesses and workers.

After a lengthy meeting of the country’s government cabinet, Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez said a partial lockdown would be in place across the country, with the armed forces on standby to assist with relief efforts.

All stores will be forced to close, except for those selling food and other basic necessities.

Pedro Sánchez said the state of emergency could be extended with congressional approval.

Authorities recorded 1,800 more cases since March 13 – many in the capital Madrid.

This will be the second state of emergency in the country since the transition to democracy began in 1975, the first being a 2010 air traffic controllers’ strike.

With 191 deaths and 6,046 infections, Spain is the worst-hit European country after Italy.

Rome declared a nationwide lockdown on March 16. More than 1,440 people have died in Italy.

Meanwhile, the US is extending its European coronavirus travel ban to include the UK and Republic of Ireland. The ban will begin at midnight EST on March 16, VP Mike Pence announced.

On March 13, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Europe was now the “epicenter” of the pandemic.

The WHO Director General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, urged countries to use aggressive measures, community mobilization and social distancing to save lives.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The Tokyo Olympic Games will go ahead as planned in July, despite coronavirus concerns resulting in the postponement of sporting events, Japan PM Shinzo Abe said.

The prime minister added the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would have the final decision whether Tokyo 2020 goes ahead.

He said: “We will overcome the spread of the infection and host the Olympics without problem, as planned.”

Japan has had more than 1,400 cases and 28 deaths resulting from coronavirus.

According to organizers, the Tokyo Games is expected to cost about 1.35 trillion yen.

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The Japan section of the Olympic Torch relay is due to start in Fukushima on March 26. The recent torch-lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia was held without spectators, before the rest of the relay in Greece was suspended to avoid attracting crowds.

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike said: “We’re taking thorough infection measures with regards to the torch relay domestically.”

Several Olympic trials events in the US have been postponed, including wrestling, rowing and diving.

The Tokyo Olympic Games will go ahead as planned in July, despite coronavirus concerns resulting in the postponement of sporting events, Japan PM Shinzo Abe said.

The prime minister added the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would have the final decision whether Tokyo 2020 goes ahead.

He said: “We will overcome the spread of the infection and host the Olympics without problem, as planned.”

Japan has had more than 1,400 cases and 28 deaths resulting from coronavirus.

According to organizers, the Tokyo Games is expected to cost about 1.35 trillion yen.

The Japan section of the Olympic Torch relay is due to start in Fukushima on March 26. The recent torch-lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia was held without spectators, before the rest of the relay in Greece was suspended to avoid attracting crowds.

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike said: “We’re taking thorough infection measures with regards to the torch relay domestically.”

Several Olympic trials events in the US have been postponed, including wrestling, rowing and diving.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

UK’s health minister Nadine Dorries has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

She showed symptoms on the day she attended an event with PM Boris Johnson.

Nadine Dorries, 62, said she has been self-isolating at home.

The Department of Health said the minister first showed symptoms on March 5 – the same day she attended an event hosted by the prime minister.

Six people with the virus have died in the UK, which has a total of 382 cases.

The latest person to die was a man in his early 80s who had underlying health conditions.

The Bank of England earlier announced an emergency cut in interest rates from 0.75% to 0.25% in response to the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak

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It is not known how many meetings Nadine Dorries had attended at Westminster or in her constituency in recent days, but she was at an event at Downing Street on March 5 to mark International Women’s Day.

She also held a surgery in her constituency on March 6 which was attended by up to 12 people, according to Steven Dixon, chair of the Mid Bedfordshire Conservative Association.

Steven Dixon said the details of all those who attended the surgery have been passed to the NHS.

The Flitwick Club, where the surgery took place, is undergoing a deep clean as a precaution.

The Department of Health said ministers – including the prime minister – would not need to undergo testing as Public Health England (PHE) has assessed the risk of Nadine Dorries’ close contacts and only those with symptoms needed to self-isolate.

Nadine Dorries added she was worried about her 84-year-old mother who was staying with her and began to cough on March 10.

The number of total cases for the UK include 324 cases in England, 27 in Scotland, 16 in Northern Ireland and 15 in Wales.

There are 91 in London, with the next highest infected area being the south-east, with 51 cases. The latest person to die, on March 9, was a man in his 80s, with underlying health conditions, who was being treated at Watford General Hospital.

The man caught the virus in the UK and officials are trying to trace who he had been in contact with.