World

French coronavirus death toll hits new high as nursing home tally swells

PARIS (Reuters) – The total number of deaths from the coronavirus in France reached a new high on Saturday as the government included more previously unreported deaths in nursing homes. The health ministry reported 441...

Spain to extend state of emergency to April 26 as rise in infections slows

MADRID (Reuters) – Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Saturday he would ask parliament to extend lockdown measures by 15 days until April 26, as the rate of new coronavirus infections and deaths slowed again in one of the world’s worst-hit countries. In a televised address to the nation, Sanchez said the current lockdown...

China mourns thousands who died in country’s coronavirus epidemic

BEIJING/WUHAN, China (Reuters) – China on Saturday mourned the thousands of “martyrs” who have died in the coronavirus outbreak, flying the national flag at half mast across the country and suspending all forms of entertainment. The day of mourning coincided with the start of the annual Qingming tomb-sweeping festival, when millions of Chinese families pay...

COVID-19: WHO, UNICEF set-up Solidarity Response Fund

The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF have announced an agreement to work together on COVID-19 response, through the historic COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund powered by the United Nations Foundation and Swiss Philanthropy Foundation. The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund has been set up to facilitate an unprecedented global response by supporting the World Health Organization’s (WHO)...

Show typical British resolve, Queen to tell nation amid coronavirus outbreak

LONDON (Reuters) – Queen Elizabeth will call on Britons to show the same resolve as their forebears and take on the challenge and disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak with good-humoured resolve when she makes an extremely rare address to rally the nation on Sunday. In what will only be her fifth special televised message...

Number of coronavirus intensive care patients in Italy drops for first time

MILAN (Reuters) – Italy reported its lowest daily rise in COVID-19 deaths for nearly two weeks on Saturday and said the number of patients in intensive care had fallen for the first time. Officials urged the country not to flout strict lockdown measures they said were starting to show results, although new cases rose by...

U.S. prosecutors resist calls to free inmates as coronavirus spreads

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Five inmates at a federal prison in Oakdale, Louisiana, have died since March 28 after contracting the coronavirus. Harold Lee’s family fears he could be next. Lee, who was sentenced in 2018 for a bank fraud conviction, has asked a federal court for release on home confinement. The 59-year-old has hypertension and...

Bulgaria extends state of emergency to halt spread of coronavirus

SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria’s parliament approved the extension of a state of emergency by a month on Friday to stop the spread of the coronavirus, as the number of confirmed cases rose to 485. The Black Sea state’s parliament voted unanimously on March 13 to declare a state of emergency until April 13. As of...

U.S. warns airlines to quickly refund tickets after canceled flights

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Transportation Department on Friday issued a notice to airlines reminding them they are obligated to refund tickets when they cancel a flight or make a significant flight schedule change that passengers opt not to accept, but will not take any immediate action against airlines. U.S. and foreign airlines have canceled...

With no fries sold, Dutch farmers face billion kilo potato pile

BEEMSTER, Netherlands (Reuters) – It’s potato planting season, but many Dutch farmers are facing a mountain of a problem, with a million tons of potatoes left over from last season due to the coronavirus outbreak. Restaurants in the Netherlands, many serving popular deep fried “patat”, have been closed since mid-March, with a ban on public...

Israel seals off ultra-Orthodox town hit hard by coronavirus

BNEI BRAK, Israel (Reuters) – Israel put up roadblocks on Friday to seal off an ultra-Orthodox Jewish town badly affected by the coronavirus, but ordered in soldiers to support the residents. Emergency regulations approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet late on Thursday declared Bnei Brak, near Tel Aviv, a “restricted zone” due to its...

China scrambles to plug border gaps as thousands flood home

BEIJING/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Regions along China’s porous borders with southeast Asia are working hard to improve surveillance and curb illegal immigration, authorities said, as thousands flood into a country seen as a safe haven in the global war against the coronavirus pandemic. As the number of confirmed cases across the globe exceeds one million, China...

Millions of women feared at risk of backstreet abortions during pandemic

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Millions of women and girls may be forced to carry unwanted pregnancies or risk unsafe backstreet abortions as the coronavirus lockdowns restrict access to family planning services, charity Marie Stopes International said on Friday. Women are struggling to get contraception and terminations during the pandemic, the organisation warned, saying a...

4th April

Italy experts say reliable coronavirus antibody test may be ready soon

ROME (Reuters) – A reliable antibody blood test to find out who has already had the coronavirus would give a better picture of the extent of Italy’s epidemic and could possibly be identified within days, scientific advisers to the government said on Friday. More than 115,000 people have tested positive for the virus in Italy...

Two young American doctors spend honeymoon fighting coronavirus

(Reuters) – She’d picked her dress, they’d booked their honeymoon and the wedding was set for the end of March. Then, the coronavirus pandemic hit. So the two young American doctors, Kashif Chaudhry and Naila Shereen, whose whirlwind courtship spun them between New York City and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, cancelled their big plans. Two weeks...

IMF, WHO urge leaders to focus on health spending to get virus under control

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The IMF and the World Health Organization on Friday urged leaders of developing countries to prioritize paying medical staff, buying protective gear and other health expenditures in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a joint column in the UK’s Telegraph newspaper, the heads of the two institutions said getting the new...

EU to fly home another 250,000 nationals stranded by coronavirus

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – More than 250,000 European Union citizens are still trying to get home, as the number of people stranded by the coronavirus outbreak remains high even after the EU has repatriated some 350,000 people, its top diplomat said on Friday. While the repatriation of EU nationals since mid-March was moving swiftly, the number...

Grounded planes insured for more than $160 billion – report

LONDON (Reuters) – Aeroplanes with a total insured value of more than $160 billion are grounded around the world, presenting risks for insurers, a report said on Friday. Singapore has the largest number of planes standing idle at airports, at 205, with Hong Kong second at 178, the report by insurance broker Gallagher said. There...

British PM Johnson stays in coronavirus isolation with mild symptoms

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday he was remaining in isolation with mild symptoms of COVID-19, including a high temperature, seven days after he first tested positive for the new coronavirus which causes the respiratory disease. “Although I’m feeling better and I’ve done my seven days of isolation, alas I...

Google data shines light on whether coronavirus lockdowns worldwide are working

OAKLAND, California (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s <GOOGL.O> Google has published charts showing how the coronavirus has brought hard-hit Italy to a standstill, led to runs on grocery stores around the world and prompted a stark drop in going-out between Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day. The analysis of location data from billions of Google users’...

Trump drops idea of New York lockdown as U.S. death count crosses 2,000

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Saturday that he would issue a travel warning for the hard-hit New York area to limit the spread of the coronavirus, backing off from an earlier suggestion that he might try to cut off the region entirely. “A quarantine will not be necessary,” he said on Twitter....

Volunteer disinfectant sprayers help Wuhan prepare for a return to work

WUHAN, China (Reuters) – Volunteers in hazmat suits have been spraying Wuhan with disinfectant to help the Chinese city where the coronavirus first took hold get back to work as the number of new cases in China drops. Wuhan, where 11 million people live, had been paralysed by containment efforts imposed by authorities, who shut...

Coronavirus could trigger biggest fall in carbon emissions since World War Two

LONDON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Carbon dioxide emissions could fall by the largest amount since World War Two this year as the coronavirus outbreak brings economies to a virtual standstill, according to the chair of a network of scientists providing benchmark emissions data. Rob Jackson, who chairs the Global Carbon Project, which produces widely-watched annual emissions estimates,...

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth to make rare address to nation over coronavirus

LONDON (Reuters) – Queen Elizabeth will make an extremely rare address to the nation on Sunday as Britain grapples with the increasingly deadly coronavirus outbreak. The government has put Britain into a virtual lockdown, closing pubs, restaurants and nearly all shops, while banning social gatherings and ordering Britons to stay at home unless it is...

Do social distancing better, White House doctor tells Americans. Trump objects

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House task force on the coronavirus, had a message for Americans on Thursday: do better at social distancing. President Donald Trump didn’t like the message. At what has become a daily briefing by the president and his advisers, Birx, a highly respected expert in...

Istanbul mayor says time running out to halt coronavirus spread

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Europe’s largest city, Istanbul, is running out of time to impose a lockdown and stop a surge in coronavirus cases as around two million people are still going out into the streets every day, its mayor Ekrem Imamoglu said on Thursday. Compounding the problem, revived tensions between his opposition CHP municipality and...

Crisis haunts British banks in coronavirus relief effort

LONDON (Reuters) – With the future of many coronavirus hit firms in their hands, British banks, still scarred by the financial crisis, are worried that they are being asked by a desperate government to make loans that will never be repaid. This caution, combined with the challenges of an unprecedented demand for loans, is testing...

In Taiwan, anger at China over virus drives identity debate

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Anger at being confused with China amid the coronavirus outbreak and Beijing’s stepped-up efforts to assert sovereignty is stirring heated debate in Taiwan about how to further distance itself from its giant and often threatening neighbour. At its core is a debate about whether to drop “China” from the island’s official name,...

Business booms for coffin-makers in coronavirus-hit France

JUSSEY/PARIS (Reuters) – Two hauliers load their lorries with what is fast becoming a precious commodity in France as the coronavirus pandemic takes its dreadful toll – coffins. While most businesses have shut their doors as part of a national lockdown designed to slow the spread of the disease, the coffin-making factory in the sleepy...

Dutch end-of-life debate flares as coronavirus tests healthcare limits

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Doctors in the Netherlands have been advising elderly patients to think twice before agreeing to COVID-19 treatment in hospital intensive-care units, drawing criticism that they are attempting to ration scarce ICU beds. The affluent Netherlands is rapidly approaching the capacity of its healthcare system just over a month into the crisis,...

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