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Belarusian leader bucks coronavirus 'psychosis,' plays hockey
Posted 4 hours 45 minutes ago

“It is better to die on your feet, than live on your knees!” Lukashenko, who hit the ice for a weekend hockey game, said.


India cracks down on Muslim group emerging as coronavirus cluster
Posted 5 hours ago

India sealed off the headquarters of a Muslim missionary group on Tuesday and ordered an investigation into accusations it held religious meetings that officials fear may have infected dozens of people with the coronavirus. India has registered 1,251 cases of the coronavirus, 32 of whom have died. The numbers are small compared with the United States, Italy and China but health officials say India, the world's second most populous country, faces a huge surge that could overwhelm its weak public health system.


China's Huawei warns more US pressure may spur retaliation
Posted 5 hours 15 minutes ago

Huawei’s chairman warned Tuesday that more U.S. moves to increase pressure on the Chinese tech giant might trigger retaliation by Beijing that could damage its worldwide industry. Huawei Technologies Ltd., which makes smartphones and network equipment, reported that its 2019 sales rose by double digits despite curbs imposed in May on its access to U.S. components and technology. Huawei is at the center of tensions with Washington over China's technology ambitions and possible spying that helped to spark Trump's tariff war with Beijing in 2018.


Coronavirus: Anger as migrants sprayed with disinfectant in India
Posted 5 hours 49 minutes ago

Footage shared thousands of times shows a group of workers in India being sprayed with chemicals.


Former CDC head on coronavirus testing: What went wrong and how we proceed
Posted 6 hours 6 minutes ago

Who should seek a test? Should we test everyone? How much will that even help? Let's clear a few things up.


CDC is weighing advising Americans to wear face masks outdoors
Posted 6 hours 18 minutes ago

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is considering whether to update its guidelines on the new coronavirus to advise Americans to wear homemade masks outside of the home — not so much to protect the people wearing the mask but as another tool to limit the spread of COVID-19, The Washington Post reports. The new virus can be spread through saliva droplets emitted during a cough, sneeze, or even talking, and having a mask to capture those drops would presumably keep sick, especially asymptomatic, coronavirus carriers from spreading the disease.The CDC currently recommends keeping six feet apart, among other social distancing practices, and washing hands frequently and thoroughly for 20 seconds. It would not recommend people use surgical or N95 masks, in short supply and great demand for doctors, nurses, and other first responders treating COVID-19 patients. Instead, people would be urged to make their own masks out of old T-shirts, sheets, and paper towels, as Jeremy Howard, a University of San Francisco research scientist and advocate for the DIY approach, explains in the video below.Many Asian countries recommend citizens wear masks to fight the spread of the coronavirus, and the homemade masks have some prominent proponents in the U.S., including former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb; Thomas Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security; and former National Institutes of Health director Harold Varmus. Other health experts worry that encouraging mask-wearing would instill a sense of false security and make Americans more reckless, might inadvertently contaminate someone else who handles the mask, and could further deplete the personal protective equipment stockpiles needed for medical professionals.More stories from What comes after social distancing? Scientists are proposing a massive test-and-trace effort requiring 'tens of thousands of people' Trump's message to blue states battling coronavirus: Drop dead Late night hosts mock Trump's coronavirus ratings fixation, compare him with Tiger King's Joe Exotic


The coronavirus is spreading quickly through Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities
Posted 7 hours 14 minutes ago

In Israel, the coronavirus is spreading in ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities up to eight times faster than anywhere else in the country.Ultra-Orthodox Jews account for 12 percent of Israel's population, but they make up 40 to 60 percent of coronavirus patients at four of the country's largest hospitals, officials told Israeli media. Health experts said the virus is moving so quickly in these communities because the ultra-Orthodox have large families, don't trust the government, and pay little to no attention to secular media. Many are also still gathering for prayers and funerals, despite all Israelis being ordered to stay home.Bnei Brak is a suburb of Tel Aviv, and 95 percent of the population is ultra-Orthodox. On Friday, there were 267 confirmed coronavirus cases, and by Monday, that number climbed to 508. Several hundred mourners gathered in Bnei Brak on Saturday night for the funeral of a rabbi, prompting furious secular Israelis to call on the government to place Bnei Brak under curfew. On Monday, a New York Times journalist and photographer were told to leave a synagogue in the suburb where morning services were being held, and they walked past several groups meeting furtively for prayers.Bnei Brak has just one hospital, and its director general, Dr. Moti Ravid, told the Times he would like authorities to prohibit residents from leaving for at least one week, to slow down the coronavirus' spread. There are lots of small children living in the town, and "if they help to infect others, the result will be that many old people will die," he said.More stories from What comes after social distancing? Scientists are proposing a massive test-and-trace effort requiring 'tens of thousands of people' Trump's message to blue states battling coronavirus: Drop dead Late night hosts mock Trump's coronavirus ratings fixation, compare him with Tiger King's Joe Exotic


Immigration lawyers sue US govt over coronavirus risks
Posted 9 hours 5 minutes ago

A US group representing immigration attorneys sued the US federal government on Monday to stop in-person immigration hearings and to obtain better protection for the duration of the coronavirus crisis. The United States has the most cases of the new coronavirus, ahead of China and Italy, with more than 3,000 deaths and some 163,000 confirmed cases reported. Additionally, they want the government to release detained immigrants who cannot properly communicate remotely with their attorneys or with the immigration court.


Open coffins are left on roads to remind people to stay inside while soldiers shoot disinfectant from water cannons. Here's what lockdown for 57 million people in the Philippines looks like.
Posted 10 hours 8 minutes ago

Despite the lockdown, on Sunday the Philippines reported a daily increase of 343 new coronavirus cases — its highest one day increase yet.


'So many patients dying': Doctors say NYC public hospitals reeling from coronavirus
Posted 13 hours 10 minutes ago

"The situation is quite horrible and they're saying we haven't hit the peak yet and we're doing all sorts of crazy things to keep up," one doctor said.


A coronavirus-stricken cruise ship is approaching Florida. Will it be allowed to dock?
Posted 14 hours 27 minutes ago

The Zaandam has four dead passengers and 179 others with flu-like symptoms.


Wuhan's death toll could be astronomically higher than the Chinese government has reported, some residents say
Posted 16 hours 35 minutes ago

Officials in Wuhan, China, reported that 2,535 people in the city have died from COVID-19. Some residents suspect that's a severe undercount.


No, America’s Response to Coronavirus Isn’t the Worst in the World
Posted 17 hours 18 minutes ago

The coronavirus pandemic is already a catastrophe. How we fare in comparison to the rest of the world is hardly of paramount importance. Once the Chinese government hid the outbreak, failed to contain it, and then misled the world, there remained little possibility that any nation, much less an enormous and open society like the United States, was going to be spared its devastation.Yet, when the political media isn’t preoccupied with a gotcha du jour, pundits, partisans, and journalists have seemed downright giddy to let their minions know that the United States now has the most coronavirus cases in the world. It took a six-siren-emoji tweet from MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough to tell us that fact.Here is how the New York Times’ Paul Krugman framed the number:> America's response to the coronavirus is the worst in the world, which is shocking and has a lot to do with a leader who is completely unfit, temperamentally and intellectually, for the job 1/> > -- Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) March 29, 2020A Nobel Prize–winning economist surely understands that we don’t have enough data to definitively declare the United States the world leader in cases. Even if we did, it doesn’t necessarily follow that this is the fault of public policy. There are plenty of unexplained coronavirus disparities around the world.The Financial Times chart that that is circulated by Krugman and his fellow pundits, and sometimes cynically deployed as a means of attacking the administration’s response, is largely useless as a point of comparison. For one thing, a graph illustrating per capita cases in all the nations that the Financial Times chart includes looks different. A chart that combined all the cases in European nations — the continent has approximately the same population as the United States — would also look dramatically different. The known cases in Spain and Italy alone are nearly twice as many as the United States right now.Cross-country comparisons at a given point in time fail to account for many things, including density and time. Iceland is not like Italy, and New York is not like Alaska. And simply because nations such as Italy and Spain experienced outbreaks earlier and more deadly than nations such as Germany and Sweden does not mean the disparities are destined to last.Moreover, testing in the United States began slowly before being ratcheted up quickly (and criticism of that delay is a fair one). Thus, the curve reflects the reality of expanded testing as much as it reflects reality of the disease. And though I’m not a statistician, I do know that nations have varied criteria for testing, varied standards of testing, and varying effectiveness in the testing they do perform. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese coronavirus tests sent to European nations, for example, have turned out to faulty. The data are incomplete. Krugman’s claim lacks vital context.Speaking of China, accepting the veracity of numbers offered by the ChiCom government without any skepticism might be good enough for The New York Times and other outlets, but it shouldn’t be enough for anyone who values facts.It’s also worth mentioning that the timeline of these charts are also uncertain. It’s unlikely we know when the tenth or hundredth case was actually transmitted in China or Iran or even here -- and it’s possible that some people had died and some others had recovered before most people understood the magnitude of the future pandemic.All of this is worth keeping in mind when as we see journalists harping on the overall case number without context. If you want to continue to utilize this once-in-a-century pandemic as a cudgel against your political adversaries, have fun. But the most important gauges of success right now are flattening the curve so that hospitals aren’t overwhelmed with new patients, ramping up our testing capacity to get a better handle on the virus’s properties, and measuring the number of recoveries from coronavirus. Not owning Donald Trump.The United States has already dealt with coronavirus far better than the Chinese government. The fatality rate in the U.S., so far, is nowhere near that of Italy. Our dynamism is one of the reasons why an early high case count is a not a measure of either national success or failure. It’s not our nature to allow the state to close down borders, travel, or trade, or to stop interactions with the world — or with each other, for that matter. And yet, many of same people who incessantly and cynically warned of the coming Fourth Reich are now blaming the administration for not acting like a dictatorship. It’s difficult to keep up.


Border Patrol Stopped a Chinese Biologist Carrying Viable SARS, MERS Viruses at Detroit Airport in 2018
Posted 17 hours 39 minutes ago

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at Detroit Metro Airport stopped a Chinese scientist carrying vials believed to contain the MERS and SARS viruses in November 2018 — just over a year before the first reported Wuhan coronavirus case, according to an FBI tactical intelligence report obtained by Yahoo News.“Inspection of the writing on the vials and the stated recipient led inspection personnel to believe the materials contained within the vials may be viable Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) materials,” the report reads. The vials were labeled “Antibodies”, and the unnamed scientist said he was asked to deliver them to a researcher at a U.S. institute.The report also lays out a pattern of Chinese interference, detailing two other cases from May 2018 and September 2019, in which different Chinese nationals tried to enter the U.S. with undeclared flu strains and suspected E. coli, respectively.“The Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate assesses foreign scientific researchers who transport undeclared and undocumented biological materials into the United States in their personal carry-on and/or checked luggage almost certainly present a US biosecurity risk,” the report states. “The WMDD makes this assessment with high confidence based on liaison reporting with direct access.”The FBI has stepped up its efforts to combat Chinese espionage operations in recent months after admitting failures in preventing the recruitment of U.S. researchers by Beijing’s “Thousand Talents Plan.”“With our present-day knowledge of the threat from Chinese plans, we wish we had taken more rapid and comprehensive action in the past,” John Brown, assistant director of the counterintelligence division at the FBI, told a Senate subcommittee in November. “The time to make up for that is now.”In January, the head of Harvard University’s chemistry department was federally charged with failing to disclose funding from the Chinese government, after he hid his involvement in the talents program, which encourages the stealing of U.S. intellectual property.China has come under fire for its handling of the coronavirus, despite pushing propaganda, which has been parroted by Western media, in an attempt to shift criticism to the U.S. A study released earlier this month detailed how the Chinese Communist Party could have prevented 95 percent of total infections if it had acted sooner to limit the spread and warn others.


Senior Italian cardinal, papal vicar for Rome, has coronavirus
Posted 17 hours 48 minutes ago

Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, Pope Francis' vicar for the diocese of Rome, on Monday became the highest-ranking Catholic official known to test positive for coronavirus. De Donatis' office said he was tested for the virus after feeling unwell and was admitted to a Rome hospital. A pope is also the bishop of Rome but appoints someone to act as his vicar to administrate the vast diocese.


CNN Chief Jeff Zucker Defends Not Cutting Away From Trump’s Coronavirus Pressers
Posted 18 hours 7 minutes ago

CNN chief Jeff Zucker on Monday defended the network’s decision to carry President Donald Trump’s coronavirus press briefings live despite criticism that Trump uses the conferences to spread misinformation during a pandemic.During an internal employee call, the network head said he has “probably spent more time on this topic than anything else, believe it or not,” and that he gets more calls and emails on the subject than any other topic. The Daily Beast reported last week that employees at both CNN and MSNBC have begun pushing back against airing the briefings, which some cable staffers described as “open-mic nights” full of “misinformation.” But both networks have continued to broadcast the events.“We might take it from the top and then cut away after the first lie, and return when the lies stop,” one cable-network producer told The Daily Beast.According to multiple sources, Zucker argued on the staff call that it is important for viewers to hear critical information from the administration’s public-health experts like Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, and for the CNN audience to hear the president answer tough questions from journalists including the network’s own. He did note that the network had pondered whether to air portions of the briefings after Trump finishes speaking, but said that he felt comfortable airing the briefings live because of those grillings by reporters.“It’s a very difficult decision,” Zucker remarked. “As of now, we are going to continue to carry those briefings.”CNN, MSNBC Bosses Ignore Staff Pleas to Cut Trump Coronavirus PressersThe network has begun taking some measures to try to push back on the inaccuracies in Trump’s briefings. A number of CNN chyrons during pressers over the weekend included statements calling out misinformation in some of Trump’s claims.An NBC News insider, noting that the president often makes misstatements during the briefings, told The Daily Beast last week: “I think the best way to handle the president in the briefing is that you handle the president like you handle the virus. He has to be contained and quarantined and his falsehoods have to be scrubbed so that they don’t rub off on you.”The president himself has complained about networks considering not taking his briefings live. In a series of tweets over the weekend, he ranted against the “lamestream media” by boasting of the high Nielsen ratings his briefings are generating, quoting a New York Times article which showed him rating alongside highly popular television broadcasts like The Bachelor and Monday Night Football.As a result, the White House has sent mixed signals about the networks carrying Trump’s briefings live. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham has pushed networks to carry them, chastising the networks from cutting away from any briefings, saying it was “literally their job to  report vital news of the day.” White House spokesperson Judd Deere called cutting away from the press briefing “pretty disgraceful.” But Trump himself has taunted cable-news networks when they do carry the briefings, claiming last week that CNN didn’t actually want to cover his pressers, but only did so because the “ratings are too high.”Sean Hannity: Media Scared Trump Looks ‘Too Presidential’ in Coronavirus BriefingsRead more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


A 90-year-old woman who recovered from the coronavirus said her family's potato soup was partly responsible. Here's the recipe.
Posted 18 hours 56 minutes ago

Geneva Wood, 90, credited family, God, and potato soup for her recovery from COVID-19. The soup is certainly not a cure, but it didn't hurt.


First minor with coronavirus in New York City dies
Posted 19 hours 5 minutes ago

Only a handful of deaths of people under 18 with coronavirus have been announced around the country.


No scandal here: Mexico president defends meeting mother of drug lord 'El Chapo'
Posted 19 hours 6 minutes ago

MEXICO CITY/BADIRAGUATO, Mexico (Reuters) - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Monday defended his weekend handshake with the mother of drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, calling her a "respectable old lady" and seeking to cast his critics as the principal menace to the country. In a 30-second video posted on Twitter on Sunday, Lopez Obrador could be seen approaching Maria Consuelo Loera's car, parked on a dirt road on the outskirts of Badiraguato, a mountainous municipality in the northwestern state of Sinaloa. Surrounded by onlookers, Lopez Obrador told Loera she need not get out of the car, they shook hands and after a brief exchange he told her he had "received her letter."


Trump says Democrats' push for expanded voting threatens Republicans
Posted 19 hours 55 minutes ago

President Trump on Monday criticized attempts by Democrats in Congress to expand voting access for the presidential election in the fall, saying increased voter turnout would keep Republicans from getting elected.


Fact check: will Covid-19 fade in the summer – then return later like the flu?
Posted 20 hours 15 minutes ago

Experts weigh in on whether coronavirus will dissipate during the summer and warn against letting up on physical distancing * Coronavirus – live US updates * Live global updates * See all our coronavirus coverageThe seasonal flu tends to dissipate during the summer, leading some to hope the coronavirus will do the same. Experts explain why transmission of some illnesses lowers with warmer temperatures – and warn against lowering our guard. Why are some viruses seasonal?Dr Marc Lipsitch: What makes seasonal viruses seasonal is a combination of opportunities for transmission – whether school is in term, which facilitates transmission – and what proportion of the population is immune, combined with weather.Humidity is lower in the winter, which is good for transmission. Low humidity makes [virus-carrying] droplets settle more slowly because they shrink to smaller sizes and then friction keeps them in the air, whereas high humidity doesn’t do that.Dr Lee W Riley: People still get the common cold [in the summer] and we’re beginning to see this new coronavirus in the southern hemisphere. It’s more about the way people behave. Can we expect the number of Covid-19 cases to fall this summer?Lipsitch: Based on our best estimates from other coronaviruses, summer alone is not going to bring transmission to a level where the number of cases shrinks. It’s just going to grow more slowly.It’s really clear that warmer weather does not stop the transmission or growth of the virus. That’s clear from Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong. Singapore and Hong Kong have kept it to a large degree under control, but that’s with incredibly intense control measures. There’s no question that coronaviruses are capable of transmitting in hotter, humid climates.Dr George Rutherford: Thinking that it’s magically going to go away in April or May or whenever is just that – magical thinking. The projections show quite a bit of transmission out through the summer.Riley: It’s a completely new virus, so it’s really hard to know what would happen. If you try to extrapolate from [related] viruses, then we don’t expect for this new coronavirus to completely disappear by the summer.default Could there be a second wave of infections in the autumn?Riley: A reintroduction of the epidemic is certainly possible; it’s beginning to happen in Hong Kong. Hong Kong successfully controlled the epidemic early on, and they started relaxing some of their restrictions. Now they’re beginning to see new cases reappear.Rutherford: In 2009, we saw a second wave of the swine flu. It started in the spring in Mexico. Some schools in the United States got out early for the summer, and when [students] went back in the fall, it came back in a bump. That [outbreak] was blunted because a vaccine came out that fall. That’s not going to happen here. We’re going to have to temporize until a vaccine arrives.Lipsitch: If we let up on social distancing before a large fraction of the population is immune, there could be a second peak of infections in the fall, when it’s most contagious, due to school being back in session and cooler temperatures. And that would be the worst possible outcome. Will we need to resume social distancing in the fall?Lipsitch: If our strategy is to use social distancing as our main control measure because we haven’t figured out anything better, then the best way to do it is to distance until we bring cases down to low enough levels that we can let transmission resume by relaxing social distancing, and have several weeks or months where we don’t overwhelm the healthcare system.And then we distance again, and repeat the cycle. With each cycle, we’ll get more time off social distancing, because the buildup of immunity in the population helps to slow the spread. So you don’t get to the dangerous peak as quickly.That [scenario] will be destructive to the economy, to education, and all sorts of things. But as a means of trying to preserve the healthcare system, if we don’t have another approach, it may be our best option.I want to be clear: as an epidemiologist, I’m saying what I think existing tools make possible for the purposes of disease control, and not what I think is socially desirable. Multiple rounds of social distancing are not something I look forward to.Riley: It’s conceivable that we may have to do another round of lockdowns, but we need to look even further ahead. What’s going to happen next year? Is it going to come back again like the influenza? Is a new type of coronavirus going to come back? Maybe not next year, but maybe, two years from now? This is not the only time we’re going to be doing these lockdowns. Is there another approach we could take?Rutherford: I think as shelter in place starts to get peeled back, it’s going to need to be replaced with something more along the South Korean model of aggressive contact tracing, quarantine and isolation, and that’s going to be the bridge to get us out to when the vaccine comes in. Given the hit on the economy that’s going on now, there’s going to be a lot of enthusiasm for the South Korean model.Lipsitch: If we can do that, it’s great. The challenge is that reintroductions are a constant threat. We’ve seen it in China. They’re trying to go back to work while doing control based on individual cases, but they’ve had multiple introductions from outside the country now. I think it’s what we should aim for, but I’m not hugely optimistic that it will work.Riley: South Korea and Hong Kong had really efficient contact tracing programs, where they would quarantine the contacts of symptomatic people who were diagnosed with coronavirus. It was a much more focused approach to controlling transmission.The problem in the US is we don’t have that kind of manpower, and that’s probably something that the US really needs to start looking into in a very serious way, because we just totally neglected our public health system infrastructure.Panel: * Dr Marc Lipsitch, professor of epidemiology and director, Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health * Dr Lee W Riley, professor and chair of the Division of Infectious Disease and Vaccinology, UC–Berkeley School of Public Health * Dr George Rutherford, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, director, Prevention and Public Health Group, UCSF


Coronavirus: Why are planes still flying?
Posted 20 hours 23 minutes ago

A number of global airlines are still running passenger flights amid the coronavirus pandemic.


Wuhan Residents Dismiss Official Coronavirus Death Toll: ‘The Incinerators Have Been Working Around the Clock’
Posted 20 hours 32 minutes ago

Wuhan residents are increasingly skeptical of the Chinese Communist Party’s reported coronavirus death count of approximately 2,500 deaths in the city to date, with most people believing the actual number is at least 40,000."Maybe the authorities are gradually releasing the real figures, intentionally or unintentionally, so that people will gradually come to accept the reality," a Wuhan resident, who gave only his surname Mao, told Radio Free Asia.A city source added that, based on the aggregation of funeral and cremation numbers, authorities likely know the real number and are keeping it under wraps."Every funeral home reports data on cremations directly to the authorities twice daily," the source said. "This means that each funeral home only knows how many cremations it has conducted, but not the situation at the other funeral homes."The city began lifting its lockdown on Saturday after two months of mandatory shutdown, with a complete lift of restrictions set for April 8. Funeral homes in Wuhan have been handing out the cremated remains to families every day, but rumors began circulating after one funeral home received two shipments of 5,000 urns over the course of two days, according to photos reported by Chinese media outlet Caixin, which were later censored.Reports of the funeral’s crematoriums working nonstop also raised questions."It can't be right … because the incinerators have been working round the clock, so how can so few people have died?" a man surnamed Zhang told RFA.Wuhan residents said the government was paying families 3,000 yuan for "funeral allowances" in exchange for silence."There have been a lot of funerals in the past few days, and the authorities are handing out 3,000 yuan in hush money to families who get their loved ones' remains laid to rest ahead of Qing Ming," Wuhan resident Chen Yaohui said, in a reference to the traditional grave tending festival on April 5.“During the epidemic, they transferred cremation workers from around China to Wuhan keep cremate bodies around the clock," he added.China has used state propaganda in an attempt to avoid blame for the spreading of COVID-19, despite reports showing how the government suppressed initial reports of human-to-human transmission and gagged Wuhan labs that discovered the novel virus resembled the deadly SARS virus of 2002-2003.


FBI report describes China’s ‘biosecurity risk’
Posted 21 hours 37 minutes ago

In late November 2018, just over a year before the first coronavirus case was identified in Wuhan, China, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at Detroit Metro Airport stopped a Chinese biologist with three vials labeled “Antibodies” in his luggage.


Dr. Birx predicts up to 200,000 coronavirus deaths 'if we do things almost perfectly'
Posted 22 hours 33 minutes ago

"I think in some of the metro areas we were late in getting people to follow the 15-day guidelines," the White House coronavirus response coordinator said on "TODAY."


There are early signs that coronavirus outbreaks around the world are slowing down
Posted 23 hours 5 minutes ago

Data shows that the number of new cases is slowing in the US and Western Europe, two major epicenters of the virus.


Saudi, UAE businesses battle cash crunch despite anti-coronavirus stimulus
Posted 1 day 51 minutes ago

RIYADH/DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are spending tens of billions to prop up their economies during the coronavirus crisis and oil price slump but the scaling back of state projects is blunting the impact. Saudi Arabia last week announced suspension of work on the third phase of a $100 billion expansion of the Grand Mosque in Mecca over coronavirus fears. Two days earlier, construction giant Saudi Binladin Group said in an internal note, seen by Reuters, that two employees on the project had been infected.


German experts say growth rebound could be relatively quick
Posted 1 day 1 hour 37 minutes ago

A group of leading economists say Germany, Europe's largest economy, will suffer a deep slump in the first half of this year but should rebound relatively quickly from the disruption of the virus outbreak. The German Council of Economic Experts predict that the economy will shrink 2.8% for the full year and rebound next year with growth of 3.7%, although their report issued Monday acknowledged a high degree of uncertainty about the length of the restrictive measures that have shut down much of the economy. The base scenario is a V-shaped recovery, with a sharp downturn and quick rebound.


Taliban kill dozens of Afghan forces in two attacks
Posted 1 day 1 hour 54 minutes ago

The Taliban have killed about two dozen Afghan police and pro-government fighters, officials said Monday, in two attacks that come as the foes are supposed to be preparing for peace talks. In one of the incidents late Sunday, the insurgents killed at least six soldiers and 13 police and pro-government militiamen at several outposts near a police headquarters building in northeastern Takhar province, provincial police spokesman Khalil Assir told AFP. "The police bravely defended and prevented the Taliban from entering the celebration," Assir said.


After more than 10,000 coronavirus deaths — the worst in the world — Italy is showing signs that its 3-week lockdown is working
Posted 1 day 1 hour 56 minutes ago

Italy's counts of new coronavirus deaths and infections are starting to fall, though the country is likely still in for an extended lockdown.


Indonesia Plans to Limit People’s Movement to Combat Virus
Posted 1 day 4 hours 23 minutes ago

(Bloomberg) -- Indonesia may soon quarantine almost 30 million people in its capital and surrounding areas and limit people’s movement between regions to contain the spread of the coronavirus that’s killed more than 100 people in the world’s fourth-most populous nation.President Joko Widodo told a cabinet meeting on Monday more decisive steps are “needed to break the chain of distribution of coronavirus.” Widodo is starting a “new stage of war against Covid 19, which is social distancing with health quarantine,” president’s spokesman Fadjroel Rachman said on Twitter.Jokowi, as the president is known, didn’t spell out how authorities plan to enforce greater social distancing with the capital already being placed under an emergency status and schools, cinemas and entertainment spots closed for about two weeks. The government will consider a civil emergency only as the last resort, he said.The plan to restrict people’s mobility follows a spike in confirmed cases, with the number of infections in Jakarta reaching 698, more than half the country’s total. The pandemic has killed 122 people, the highest in Southeast Asia. A lockdown will allow authorities to prevent an exodus of people from the capital city area to their hometowns or villages as jobs are lost or when the Muslim-majority nation celebrates the end of the fasting month in May.The return of people in large numbers from places like Jakarta, the epicenter of the pandemic in Indonesia, to their homes can complicate ongoing efforts to halt the spread of the virus, West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said in a statement Sunday.An estimated 19.5 million people traveled to their hometowns from big cities like Jakarta last year and after the declaration of the emergency status, thousands of casual workers have already left for their homes, raising the specter of wider infections, the president said. Jokowi said adequate social safety net and income support measures were needed for daily wage earners, informal sector workers and street hawkers to prevent them from fleeing the city.New WaveThere are fears a new wave of infections could soon hit the nation of almost 270 million people as authorities ramp up rapid testing of suspected cases using blood samples. Authorities had already declared a state of emergency until April 19 in Jakarta, asking companies to allow employees to work from home and businesses to operate only essential services to contain the virus spike.Jokowi had argued against copying the lockdown model adopted by countries such as China and Malaysia, saying the character and culture of the country should be taken into account in deciding shutdowns, and instead called for voluntary physical distancing. But the surge in cases has overwhelmed the country’s healthcare system, with authorities scrambling to procure enough personal protection equipment, hazmat suits and ventilators for medical workers.The government temporarily banned exports of face masks and sanitizers, and allowed traders to import garlic and onions without permits to boost supplies ahead of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. It has already ordered retailers to ration the sale of staples such as rice, cooking oils, sugar and instant noodles to prevent panic buying and hoarding.Parliament MeetingThe Indonesian parliament, which held a plenary meeting on Monday, will discuss and amend laws required to deal with the fallout of the pandemic in the coming days, according to Speaker Puan Maharani. The lawmakers will prioritize steps needed to assist the government in handling the economic and social impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, Maharani said.“The design of the state budget is no longer in line with the assumptions used,” Maharani said in a statement. “Therefore, adjustments and changes are needed both in terms of revenue, expenditure and financing, which focus on handling coronavirus outbreak and overcoming the social and economic impact.”Jokowi said last week he has been in talks with the parliament about changing the 2020 budget assumptions and increasing the legally bound fiscal deficit cap from 3% of gross domestic product to allow government to boost spending counter the impact of the pandemic.(Updates with comment from president’s spokesman in second paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Blissful ignorance? Submariners likely unaware of pandemic
Posted 1 day 4 hours 50 minutes ago

Of a world in coronavirus turmoil, they may know little or nothing. Submariners stealthily cruising the ocean deeps, purposefully shielded from worldly worries to encourage undivided focus on their top-secret missions of nuclear deterrence, may be among the last pockets of people anywhere who are still blissfully unaware of how the pandemic is turning life upside down. Mariners aboard ballistic submarines are habitually spared bad news while underwater to avoid undermining their morale, say current and former officers who served aboard France's nuclear-armed subs.


Coronavirus: South Africa reports first deaths as lockdown begins
Posted 1 day 5 hours 32 minutes ago

The country's health ministry says cases have passed 1,000, as a three-week lockdown begins.


Indian police fire tear gas at jobless workers defying coronavirus lockdown
Posted 1 day 6 hours 28 minutes ago

NEW DELHI/AHMEDABAD, India (Reuters) - Police in India fired tear gas to disperse a stone-pelting crowd of migrant workers defying a three-week lockdown against the coronavirus that has left hundreds of thousands of poor without jobs and hungry, authorities said on Monday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered the country's 1.3 billion people to remain indoors until April 15, declaring such self-isolation was the only hope to stop the viral pandemic. On Sunday, about 500 workers clashed with police in the western city of Surat demanding they be allowed to go home to other parts of India because they had no jobs left.


Mexico's president shifts tone on coronavirus, urges people to stay home, warns of dire consequences
Posted 1 day 9 hours 11 minutes ago

Critics said Mexico's president was downplaying the coronavirus threat. But he has now shifted his tone.


Phoenix officer killed, 2 others wounded; gunman killed
Posted 1 day 9 hours 28 minutes ago

Authorities say a 22-year-old man fatally shot a Phoenix police commander and wounded two other officers as they tried to remove him from a home after his roommates complained he was acting erratically. Cmdr. Greg Carnicle, a 31-year-old police veteran who was set to retire in the fall, and the two other officers were shot Sunday night as they walked up stairs in the house after Jacob Emry Mcilveen refused to leave, said Phoenix police spokeswoman Sgt. Mercedes Fortune. Mcilveen remained in the home several hours after the injured officers were removed.


Serial killer dubbed Grim Sleeper dies in California prison
Posted 1 day 15 hours 46 minutes ago

Lonnie Franklin, the convicted serial killer known as the "Grim Sleeper" who preyed on the women of South Los Angeles for more than two decades, has died in prison. California corrections officials said Franklin was found unresponsive in his cell at San Quentin State Prison on Saturday evening. An autopsy will determine the cause of death; however, there were no signs of trauma, corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton said in a statement.


Largest U.S. dam removal sparks debate over coveted West water
Posted 1 day 18 hours 43 minutes ago

California’s second-largest river has sustained Native American tribes with salmon for millennia, provided upstream farmers with irrigation water for generations and served as a haven for retirees who built homes along its banks.


Coronavirus: 'Millions' of Americans could be infected, expert warns
Posted 1 day 18 hours 51 minutes ago

The US government's leading expert warns up to 200,000 people could die, as cases continue to rise.


Surge of virus cases in California threatens hospitals
Posted 1 day 19 hours 42 minutes ago

A surge of coronavirus cases in California has arrived and will worsen, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday, while the mayor of Los Angeles warned that by early next week his city could see the kind of crush that has crippled New York.


The U.S. is preparing for a medical supply airlift of unprecedented scale
Posted 1 day 20 hours 20 minutes ago

As hospitals across the United States face a shortage of medical supplies in the face of the novel coronavirus pandemic, planes are gearing up to bring in reinforcements.The first aircraft in a series of flights scheduled by the White House over the next 30 days arrived in New York from Shanghai on Sunday morning, bringing with it 12 million gloves, 130,000 N95 masks, 17.6 surgical masks, 50,000 gowns, 130,000 hand sanitizer units, and 36,000 thermometers, all of which will be distributed throughout the New York tri-state area. A non-government distributor had actually already bought the supplies and planned to sell them in New York, but they'd normally arrive on ships. A sea voyage would've taken over a month, so the government is expediting the process by air. Going forward, the U.S. has 22 similar flights coming in over the next two weeks that will distribute supplies to different parts of the country, per Axios.Navy Rear Admiral John Polowcyzk, who is running the Federal Emergency Management Agency's coronavirus supply chain task force, said he doesn't think the U.S. has ever seen anything like this on its own soil. "I don't know of another effort like this," he told Axios.Polowcyzk is hoping it's only a two- or three-week effort, but admitted planes could be coming in over the next month. Read more at Axios.More stories from Trump's message to blue states battling coronavirus: Drop dead Fox News reportedly fears its early downplaying of COVID-19 leaves it open to lawsuits Mexico's president criticized for shaking hands with El Chapo's mother during coronavirus pandemic


Fauci says that lifting lockdowns is 'a matter of weeks' and depends on the availability of 15-minute coronavirus testing
Posted 1 day 21 hours 9 minutes ago

"If we need to push the date forward, we will push the date forward," Dr. Anthony Fauci said on CNN Sunday.


Pelosi: Trump's downplaying of coronavirus has cost American lives
Posted 1 day 23 hours ago

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sharpened her criticism of President Trump’s early dismissal of the coronavirus, saying the delay cost American lives. She criticized the president's initial response to the virus during a Sunday morning interview on CNN.

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