The cruise ship Rotterdam entered the home port for the very last time on Monday morning. “Simply beautiful, goosebumps”, beams cruise enthusiast Mariëlle de Vries. Like many others, she came to the Wilhelminapier in Rotterdam especially to welcome the ship.
“I come to see how she sails into Rotterdam for the last time. I think this is so beautiful. We have no World Port Days now and can still see this piece of history. I love the port and Rotterdam”, beams Mariëlle. “The water. The chemistry. It’s just beautiful.”
The MS Rotterdam has been sold. On Tuesday morning she will sail for the last time in her current form on her way to her new owner. An appropriate farewell to the ship that was the flagship of the Holland America Line (HAL) for many years, should therefore not be missed, according to the spectators.
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“It started in 1873 with the Rotterdam I. This is now the Rotterdam VI. The Rotterdam for the last time in the city is of course a very special moment,” says Nico Bleichrodt of the HAL. “Not just for us, but also for fans of the Holland America Line and the ship.”
“I was almost with tears in my eyes this morning, let alone tomorrow,” says Bleichrodt. “This is the ship where I was the first to sail from Rotterdam myself. That was a very special moment. I think it was not only for me and my colleagues, but also for many here in Rotterdam and for many who sailed a ship is an emotional moment. I hope to keep it dry. “
Still, there is something to look forward to for HAL and fans. There will simply be a new Rotterdam. “It should be launched in the third quarter of next year,” says Mai Elmar of Cruise Port Rotterdam. “Then we will have a new flagship Rotterdam, which will be the seventh in the line of the Holland America Line.”
The ship will sail on Tuesday morning to Damen Shipyard for maintenance and will then go to the new owner.
“Today we are going to say goodbye to one of our icons,” said Nico Bleichrodt, vice president of Holland America Line (HAL). “It’s an emotional moment. This is the flagship of our company.”
HAL is in the process of renewing the fleet. In recent months, that process has accelerated due to the corona crisis. Ships go out of service earlier, because there is no sailing anyway.
Holland America Line has had several ships with the name Rotterdam since 1872. By far the best known is Rotterdam V, also known as The Grande Dame, which is now located on the quay of Katendrecht and is used as a hotel.
Next year, another ship from HAL Rotterdam will be christened. That cruise ship is still under construction in Italy.
Z.Two weeks after the cancellation of all cruises, some scattered ships are still looking for open ports to disembark their passengers and fly home. Meanwhile, anchorages and berths for decommissioned cruise ships are becoming scarce. And the crew is mostly stuck on the ships.
There has never been a comparable situation before the corona virus crisis: the cruise almost came to a standstill within a few days. An industry that typically plans months to years in advance is faced with conditions that change arbitrarily and repeatedly within a few hours. Tens of thousands of passengers had to be flown home as soon as reports of further closings, flight cancellations and rigid travel restrictions arrived every hour.
At least 15 ships are still traveling with passengers. For example, the Albatros from Singapore goes straight to Bremerhaven for weeks. The Queen Mary 2 also has passengers on board and is on its way from Australia to Southampton. The situation on Artania, which is anchored with 831 Germans on board off Fremantle in Australia, has become dramatic. Some passengers previously infected with Covid-19 in Sydney, so that the actually planned 28-day sea trip to Hamburg has become impossible. Despite the warlike rhetoric of the governor of Western Australia that no one should be put ashore, the passengers should be allowed to fly home this weekend.
Cycle around cheap berths
Bringing vacationers home safely is a priority for shipping companies. But the tasks that arise afterwards are hardly less complex: where to put the ships temporarily out of service? And how is the crew coping with the new situation?
Even large cruise ports such as Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Dubai, Barcelona or Civitavecchia do not have enough berths to accommodate all ships – or do not want to. It is like a game of chess: Every shipping company tries to anticipate when the ships could go back into service and where exactly they will be needed. At the same time, they run around safe and inexpensive berths.
Cruise ship density is particularly high in Florida and the Bahamas. Because most ships were in the Caribbean for the winter season and have now first looked for a place nearby. Especially at Freeport in the Bahamas there are several anchorages, each with ten to twelve ships within sight of each other. The nine berths in the Port of Miami are fully occupied. They are also in demand because the port initially suspended the rather steep mooring fees for 30 days.
Again and again another ship is allowed to the pier, for example to load provisions. Something is always moving at the anchorages in the Bahamas. Many shipping companies call their private islands there once a week so that the crew can stretch their legs a little on land. Because on board, apart from calling home, she is currently isolated from the outside world.
Where to go with the crew?
The ships of the major German shipping companies are spread over half the world: TUI Cruises has ships in the Canaries, the Caribbean and on the way home to Europe. Aida has anchorages or berths in Dubai and Cape Town, the Canary Islands, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Hamburg and Bremerhaven as well as some ships on the way to Europe. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises keeps Europa 2 in Marseille. Europa is on the way to Barbados and gets company there through the Hanseatic Inspiration. Bremen lies in Auckland, New Zealand, and Hanseatic Nature comes to Hamburg. In addition to Artania, the ships from Phoenix Reisen are still on the long way back to Germany with their passengers.
The shipping company has to solve the trickiest task for the ship crew. Most ships are free of Covid 19 infections and therefore a very safe place. At the same time, the crew cares for their families, some of whom live in countries with high infection rates. In any case, a flight home is only conceivable after 14 days of foreclosure – if home flights are possible at all. In the Caribbean, there is hope in Cuba of all places, where the authorities are cooperative. Even Covid-19-infected passengers on the British cruise ship Braemar let them disembark and fly home.
On the other hand, it does not necessarily make sense for the shipping companies to fly the crew home, for example to the Philippines or Indonesia. On the one hand, a minimum number of crews is required for safe ship operation during the cruise break even without passengers. On the other hand, the crew would be needed if the cruise operation started again in a few weeks. Exactly when that will be “in the stars”, as an industry insider put it. But would global travel restrictions allow hundreds of thousands of crew members to fly back to the cruise ships?
Meanwhile, shipping companies and crew are happy with optimistic campaigns. The ten to twelve ships at an anchorage near Freeport, for example, blow the ship’s horn at the same time every evening, across shipping lines. In the evening, Carnival ships light up the cabin lighting of the ships in the port of Miami with the words “We will be back”.
The corona virus was found on the Holland America Line (HAL) cruise ship Zaandam, which is currently off the coast of Panama. Four passengers died. That writes the cruise organization Friday in one statement.
The Zaandam was on a cruise along the coast of South America and left March 7 from Buenos Aires in Argentina. The intention was to dock in Chile on March 21, but due to the global coronavirus outbreak, no one has disembarked since March 14.
There are 1,242 passengers and 568 crew members on the ship. 53 passengers and 85 crew members have already reported flu-like symptoms. These persons are all self-insulated in their cabin. Testing for a number of passengers revealed on Thursday that two of them have the COVID-19 virus. It is not known whether the four deceased passengers, who were elderly, died from the effects of the virus.
Healthy passengers transferred to cruise ship Rotterdam
Zaandam is currently off the coast of Panama. The HAL has the plan to start Friday with the transfer of healthy passengers to sister ship Rotterdam, which is also located there.
The priority is given to passengers over the age of seventy. Before the transfer, every passenger will undergo a medical screening. Passengers who are already in isolation on the Zaandam will remain on that ship. Once arrived at Rotterdam, all passengers must also remain in their cabin.
The HAL is working with the authorities of Panama and the United States to move both ships through the Panama Canal to the port of Fort Lauderdale in the US state of Florida after the transfer.
Follow the latest developments around the virus in us live blog.
The coronavirus in short
The coronavirus mainly spreads from person to person via sneezing and cough drops. The chance of becoming infected through surfaces such as door handles is small. This chance decreases if you wash your hands often.
You can considerably reduce the chance of spreading by keeping at least 1.5 meters away from others.
An infected person infects two to three others on average. Precautions are necessary to contain this.
The vast majority of patients have mild (flu-like) complaints.
Almost all deaths involve the elderly or other vulnerable persons, such as heart, lung or diabetes patients. If everyone complies with the measures, this reduces their risks.
An On board a German cruise ship anchored off Australia, at least seven people have contracted the corona virus. The Bonn tour operator Phoenix said it was five passengers and two crew members of the “MS Artania”. None of the infected people are in a critical health condition. All guests should be flown out of Australia on Saturday with specially chartered planes. “We hope that it will work out that way. Talks with the German embassy and the Australian authorities are still ongoing, ”said a Phoenix spokeswoman on Thursday.
According to the company, the ship offers space for 510 crew members and 1200 – mostly German – passengers. The crew had asked the Australian authorities for help because several people had complained of breathing difficulties. As a result, Western Australian officials from the health authority boarded Fremantle on the west coast and examined them.
All passengers should stay in their cabins
The head of state of Western Australia, Mark McGowan, said on Thursday that the ship should leave Australian waters immediately. “His home port is actually in Germany.” If the seven sufferers had to come ashore for treatment, they would be taken to a facility of the defense forces, for example. The Australian government and Germany could then arrange a return flight after treatment.
According to the Phoenix spokeswoman, all passengers were asked to stay in their outside cabins. There the crew would provide them with food and drinks. “The captain informed everyone on board about the situation right from the start. The guests reacted with understanding and behaved sensibly. “
According to Roger Cook, Minister of Health for Western Australia, an elderly man was taken to a hospital aboard the ship for a life-threatening emergency – but it had nothing to do with the corona virus. As a precaution, he would be treated in a vacuum room at Fiona Stanley Hospital. “The ship remains under the captain’s control. We are only on site for medical assistance when needed, ”said Cook.
The advice to Australians not to travel abroad will become a travel ban, starting tomorrow.
Announcing a series of new measures and restrictions designed to curb the country’s coronavirus epidemic, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced tonight that Australians would no longer be able to leave the country.
“Previously we received a warning not to travel for smart travelers in terms of all overseas travel, which will turn into a ban,” said Morrison.
“People shouldn’t be doing it right now, that’s the advice. Nobody should get on a plane and go abroad. We have clarified the point for some time.
“Management is being processed overnight. As soon as the direction is signed by the Minister of Health, it will come into force then and it will happen tomorrow. “
He said the directive includes exceptions that include people who provide aid to the Pacific, compassionate travel and essential business travel.
Morrison said the ban is needed because of a small number of Australians who challenge the council. He said he was impressed by how many Australians were still going overseas, even though the number had “shrunk dramatically”.
“The number of people and the number that are leaving Australia is now very, very low. However, I am struck by the fact that there are people who challenge that advice and try to go abroad for leisure travel, “said the Prime Minister.
“They can’t, because when they come home they put Australians at risk. I thought he would be fully respected and the Australians are good enough, but we have to put the agreements in place.”
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Morrison also had harsh words for Australians returning to the country who were breaking self-isolation rules.
“All those who are coming – and the numbers that are coming, are falling every day – all are required to isolate themselves from the public health order at the state level. They are required to do it. It’s the law, “he said.
“That’s where they have to go. That’s where they have to move immediately, don’t go through the shops, don’t go in and see a friend on the way home, don’t go for a walk in the park.
“Go straight home and isolate yourself for 14 days. This is the law. This is the greatest protection we have. This applies to every institution, every Australian, returning citizen or resident. “
Professor Brendan Murphy, Chief Medical Officer, echoes Morrison’s disappointment, calling for the return of Australians to “stay home”.
“Don’t go anywhere on the road from the airport or cruise ship or wherever you come,” said Professor Murphy.
“It is so important. The other important thing, if you are identified as a case contact and you are told by a state and public official, and you are told to isolate for 14 days, you must isolate. “
The professor. Murphy said some people were told they had tested positive for the virus, but they were still stopping at the supermarket or chemist on their way home.
“If you are isolating yourself because you are a positive case or you are a contact, go home and isolate yourself and respect these rules. This is a very, very important part of the control,” he said.
The federal government has been asked to rescue over 200 Australians stranded on a cruise ship bound for Italy that has just registered its first coronavirus case.
Passengers on board the Costa Victoria were told to stay in their rooms
Australian passengers include an 87-year-old woman
DFAT fears that the ship may dock in Italy, the country most affected by COVID-19
Costa Victoria passengers were ordered to stay in their rooms while the ship sails to Venice, where it was due to dock this weekend.
“We are terrified, we are absolutely terrified. It is obviously very stressful, we simply don’t know what is going on,” said passenger Simone Jacques of Victoria.
Ms. Jacques and her husband Brett joined the cruise in late February.
They said the captain had not been willing or unable to dock anywhere in the past two weeks due to the closure of European ports in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
On Monday night, news came that a passenger had tested positive for COVID-19.
“We are doing well at the moment, but there are many older people on this cruise, most of whom are over 70 years old,” said Ms. Jacques.
Jacques said there were no hand sanitizers in their rooms and that passengers were desperate not to land in Italy, the country most affected by the virus.
“We are hearing screams from the outside, listening to people on the balcony, discussing different languages, so the tensions are high and will increase,” he said.
The couple’s daughters look helplessly at the crisis taking place at home.
“They are literally trapped in a room on a boat with no communication and practically they have been told that they will go to Italy, which from what we know in Australia is one of the worst places in the world [for coronavirus]”Said Elise Jacques.
Fear for 87 years stuck on a floating “disaster story”
Marilyn Rose Veil, of St Kilda, said her 87-year-old sister and mother were aboard the ship.
He said he had “a good cry” when he learned that a passenger had had coronavirus.
“My mom’s husband passed away last year,” Veil said.
“She was very stressed and my sister and mom thought it would be a good idea to go on a cruise.
Elise Jacques said the federal government needs to do more to help Australians stranded on the ship.
“Where are these Australians going, who is helping them? Will the embassy come in and take care of them? Or will they be completely blocked?” she said.
Stay up to date on the coronavirus epidemic
The Department of Foreign Affairs said it monitors more than 30 cruise ships with over 3,000 Australians on board.
The department was particularly concerned about the prospect of the Costa Victoria docking in Venice.
“We raised our concerns about the suitability of Venice as a port for Australians to land at this point in time, given the serious problems associated with the impact of the coronavirus in that part of Italy,” said a spokesman.
“We are therefore working with the Italian authorities to identify an alternative port where passengers can safely disembark and return to Australia.”
Drive-thru sites have been opened in the United States to make testing the new coronavirus faster and safer. But just like the rest of the United States’ response to the pandemic, the system has been characterized by inconsistencies, delays and shortcomings. Many people who have symptoms and a doctor’s order have waited hours or days for a test.
More than a week after President Donald Trump promised that states and retail stores such as Walmart and CVS would open drive-through test centers, few sites are active and are not yet open to the public. Some states are leaving the test sector open to the private sector; others are coordinating efforts through state health departments.
Patients complained that they had to jump through bulky red tape and wait for days to get tested, then wait even longer for a result. The test centers were opened in some places to be closed shortly afterwards due to the shortage of supplies and staff. And while the drive-through test centers that have been opened are generally sorted, in some there have been long lines.
The slow increase in COVID-19 tests and the unpredictable nature of the system make it difficult for public health officials to track the spread of the disease and bring it under control.
“We need to do more extensive testing to fully understand the scale of the public health situation we are facing,” said Joseph Wendelken, a spokesman for the Rhode Island Department of Health.
Dr Brett Giroir, the federal health officer in charge of overseeing the tests, said on Saturday at a White House briefing that approximately 195,000 people have so far been tested in the United States. This figure does not include some people who have been tested in private laboratories.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more serious illnesses, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness can take anywhere from three weeks to six weeks to recover.
Drive-through test sites have sprung up in places in over 30 states: in state parks and parking lots, near medical centers and universities, the Mississippi state fairgrounds, and near where the Jacksonville Jaguars play. The governor of Maryland last week ordered the stopping of vehicle emission inspection programs across the state, so that the offices could be used as drive-thru centers to test the virus.
But as of Friday, there were no open drive-through tests available in Maryland inspection centers.
The Utah health department said it is not responsible for the sites and is not monitoring them. The North Carolina health director said the state is leaving the tests to the private sector and declined to say how many sites there are. In contrast, in Rhode Island, health organizations manage the sites in collaboration with the state health department.
On Thursday, cars lined up for more than a mile outside a hospital in Houston when the first drive-through test site was opened. U.S. representative Sheila Jackson Lee said she administered fewer than 200 tests in the first six hours.
Elsewhere, at various sites visited by Associated Press reporters, the scenes were well controlled and sometimes quite silent.
Dozens of people waiting by car in a downtown Homestead, Florida on Wednesday waited for their turn to speak with a screener who was wearing a suit and mask and carrying notes. Some were apparently removed. Others were stirred, checked their temperatures, and swabbed for the samples.
But the shortage of supply has stopped the thrusters in several states, including Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, North Carolina and Utah. A Las Vegas site was shut down because it didn’t have enough workers.
New York state opened several centers with great fanfare on Tuesday. By Friday, however, the New York City health department issued a warning saying that only people requesting hospitalization should be tested, due to a shortage of protective equipment such as face masks. Drive-thru sites in New York State remain open, but only to people who meet certain criteria.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak said he had asked the federal government for additional test kits and supplies, but the state received a warning Thursday that all of its requests for drive-through test pods and test kits “are undefined arrears, without any estimate of a timeline for delivery. “
“This is our unfortunate Nevada reality. It depends on us, “he said.
The sites themselves are dotted with tents and traffic cones. The most important features are medical personnel who wear masks, gloves and protective vests or other clothing. They take nose and throat swabs from people sitting in their cars or help people get in for the test.
Some states have only one drive-thru site. Montana’s only site is in Billings, the largest city in the state. Others have a dozen.
Security guards have been reported on many sites, but an AP survey of states did not reveal any security concerns. In Rhode Island, the National Guard was on hand to set up the state’s three drive-thru sites and even to buffer patients.
The vast network of drive-thru sites in retail chains that Trump claimed was coming over a week ago has not materialized yet. CVS has opened a site in Massachusetts that defines a “test model”. Walmart launched two sites on Sunday and Walgreens said it will launch one, all three in Illinois. Only healthcare professionals and first responders are allowed, and Walmart said that a maximum of 150 tests per day could be performed on its federal sites.
The patchwork of approaches has caused confusion for patients. Caroline Mauldin was sentenced to get tested by her doctor in Charleston, South Carolina on Tuesday after suffering from pain and chills for several days.
To make an appointment at a center in a medical center, she had to fill out a long online questionnaire and spent two days calling a number that went to voicemail and did not answer messages. He resorted to tweets in the hospital several times just to get things going.
Finally, on Thursday, he had an appointment for Monday. And she was told that the results would not return until after 4-5 days. The visit will cost you $ 25, he said. Complicating things, he doesn’t have a car and has to borrow it from a friend.
“Here we have a lot of older, low-income people who don’t have Internet access and who don’t have access to transportation. And since they’re the highest risk population, how are we testing for them?” She asked.
In urban areas such as New York and Philadelphia, some sites offer “walk-up” dating for people without cars.
At the Penn Medicine test site in West Philadelphia, two security agents were late on Thursday to make sure that people arriving by car or on foot had an appointment. For about 40 minutes that evening, the line of cars never grew to more than six or seven. But Patricia Sullivan, Penn Medicine’s quality manager, said every morning last week, 25-35 cars were lined up and six or seven standing patients were 6 feet apart on a porch waiting to be seen.
The 20 sites in Greater Philadelphia are testing around 1,000 people a day, but that hasn’t eliminated pent-up demand.
Rosanne Tanner’s 79-year-old mother has been suffering from fever and chest pain since returning from a visit to Tanner’s brother and wife, who had recently been on a cruise ship.
His doctor ordered a test on Tuesday, but when he tried to make an appointment at a drive-through site in a hospital outside of Philadelphia, he was told that “they are overloaded, they are bogged down,” Tanner said.
Medical staff told her that they are scheduling 15 minutes apart, so there are no bottlenecks on the test site.
Finally on Thursday his mother made sure of an appointment for the following Tuesday. Then, he will have to wait another five days for a result.
“The delay in these tests is putting people at risk,” said Tanner.
In Rhode Island, state officials said they are testing 100 to 200 people per day at all test sites, including three drive thrusters.
Governor Gina Raimondo said they want to perform 500 to 600 a day, but they don’t have the supplies they need.
“It is our top priority to reach a place where everyone who needs it can be tested and you will get results very quickly,” said Raimondo during a press conference held on Facebook Live on Friday on Friday. “So if you’re positive, we can quarantine you.”
Associate press writers Michelle L. Price in Las Vegas, Lynne Sladky in Homestead, Florida, Claudia Lauer in Philadelphia, Chris Ehrmann in Hartford, Connecticut, Brady McCombs in Salt Lake City and Jonathan Drew in Raleigh, North Carolina and Anne D ‘Innocenzio and Mike Sisak in New York contributed to this report.
The Associated Press receives support for health and scientific coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
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The Northern Territory is closing its borders after the UK has closed its restaurants and gyms. New York has joined California by telling millions of residents to stay home. Bondi beach and other Australian beaches are also closed.
Starting at 16:00 on Tuesday March 24, anyone arriving in the Northern Territory will be forced to quarantine for two weeks.
Prime Minister Michael Gunner said that strict border controls apply to all NT access points: roads, airports, railway stations, ports and airports.
“Whether you are local or not, this applies to you,” said Gunner.
The quarantine will be enforceable by law.
People arriving in the NT will have to engage in quarantine and tell officials where they will stay.
The quarantine will not be applied to essential personnel, such as medical officers, flight crews, freight workers and Defense workers.
Travelers may also request exemptions for compassionate reasons.
PRESSURE ON AUSTRALIA TO SAVE WORK
It comes when the treasurer Josh Frydenberg will be under pressure to further activate the economic holds after the United Kingdom has guaranteed 80% of the workers’ wages to save millions of jobs.
British Chancellor Rishi Sunak made the unprecedented announcement this morning that the government would cover the payroll of millions of workers while they were out because of the coronavirus.
It arrived when Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the latest drinks across the UK, with pubs, bars, restaurants, gyms and leisure centers to close tonight.
The dramatic interventions, which have been mirrored in other European countries, will provide a model for Australia as the virus will inevitably skyrocket.
Johnson pleaded with people to stay home tonight, saying that contact with people must decrease by 75% for the measures to work.
“You may think you are invincible, but there is no guarantee that you will have mild symptoms and you can still be the carrier of the disease and pass it on to others,” he said.
The pub ban will be in effect for at least a month, but could extend longer, with Johnson looking to offer some hope that the UK would be able to turn the tide in 12 weeks.
Mr. Sunak, who has the equivalent role in the United Kingdom of Mr. Frydenberg in Australia made history by making the wages insurance policy this morning.
Sunak, who took office only in February, said that “our planned economic response will be one of the most comprehensive in the world”.
“To all those at home, right now looking forward to the days ahead, I say you won’t face it alone,” he said.
Workers will be paid up to $ A5000 a month while being shut down due to coronavirus.
There were nearly 1 million hospitality job losses this week after Mr. Johnson asked people to stop going to pubs and cafes.
British unions said that this measure would save another two million in the sector, with guaranteed liquidity for three months.
The UK is actually putting its money on black on the economic roulette wheel that was caused by the virus, which killed 177 people in the UK.
They believe that paying an “unlimited” wage guarantee would be cheaper than devastating millions of job losses.
The world has witnessed an increase in the death toll in Italy, with another 627 deaths in a day, bringing its total to over 4000.
The European country now has almost 25% more deaths than China where the virus started.
The world has tried to test as a way to resolve the crisis, but the World Health Organization has said that over 100 million would be needed.
To date, WHO has distributed 1.5 million test kits.
NSW GOVERNMENT CLOSES THE BONDI BEACH
The government of New South Wales closed Bondi Beach after the filming of people packing up its famous sand has led to worldwide convictions.
NSW police David Elliott announced the drastic measure in Bondi Beach.
Waverley’s board confirmed that the board is also immediately closing the beaches of Bronte and Tamarama.
Thousands of people poured into Bondi Beach on Friday amid temperatures in the 1930s, ignoring measures of social estrangement.
Bathers’ photos have been severely criticized by foreign media and social media as the world tries to slow the spread of the deadly virus. On Saturday, the mayor of Waverley Paula Masselos launched a public appeal for people to stay away from Bondi amid the coronavirus pandemic and away from the beaches.
“The public should always maintain a minimum safety distance from each other in public places and if it is not necessary to be out in public, please consider staying at home,” said Masselos.
“We all have a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and I am frustrated that people continue to ignore health advice regarding social distancing as observed yesterday in Bondi Beach.” Masselos asked people to follow the health advice of New South Wales, including the practice of social distancing and compliance with hygiene rules.
“Nobody is immune to COVID-19 and irresponsible behavior puts the whole community at risk,” said Masselos.
Health Minister Greg Hunt told Melbourne reporters that local councils were to ensure that people observed health and safety measures.
“What happened in Bondi was unacceptable and the local council must take steps to prevent this from happening,” said Hunt.
“Each of us as individuals, as families, as groups, as councils, as state governments, as a national government has responsibility.
“Where something like this is happening, the local council must take action and that message is absolutely clear.”
The Gold Coast beaches will remain open despite the decision to close Sydney’s famous Bondi beach due to the COVID-19 threat.
JAPAN’S INFECTIONS ABOVE 1000
Japan has 1,016 coronavirus cases reported nationwide as of Saturday, according to public broadcaster NHK.
Although the number of cases is still on the rise, Japan has started to scale back some measures to combat the spread of the virus.
On Friday, Japan said it will not close schools because it faces increasing pressure on whether to host the Tokyo Olympics.
THE QUARANTINE OF COLOMBIA, THE FIRST DEATH OF SINGAPORE
Colombia will enter a national quarantine from Tuesday night, said President Ivan Duque. The quarantine in the country, which has 158 confirmed cases of viruses, will last for 19 days, Reuters reports.
“In the coming weeks, we have the opportunity to collectively take the virus out of speed,” said Duque.
Singapore reported today of two coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday.
A 75-year-old Singaporean woman and a 64-year-old Indonesian died.
NEW YORK ORDERS NON-ESSENTIAL WORKERS FOR STAY AT HOME
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is ordering workers from non-essential companies to stay home and by banning meetings across the state.
“Only essential companies can have workers traveling to work or the workplace,” said Governor Cuomo of an executive order he will sign on Friday.
Non-essential meetings of people of any size or for any reason are canceled or postponed.
“We need everyone to be safe, otherwise nobody can be safe,” said Governor Cuomo. “So we’re going to issue an executive order today: New York State on hiatus: policies that ensure uniform security for everyone.”
Civil fines and mandatory closings will be applied for companies that fail to comply with the new mandate, Governor Cuomo announced.
“These provisions will be applied,” he said. “These are not useful suggestions. This is not if you really want to be a great citizen. These are legal provisions. They will be applied. There will be a civil penalty and mandatory closure for any non-compliant business. Again, your actions may affect my health. That’s where we are. “
It comes when New York has seen a spike in coronavirus cases. New York State now has 7102 confirmed cases, 4408 of those in New York City.
ITALY BECOMES ZERO LAND AS AUXILIARY DEATH
Italy has become zero for coronavirus as it exceeds China’s death toll.
COVID-19 has killed more than 4000 people in Italy compared to China’s death toll of 3248.
The army was called to move the coffins from the Lombardy region to northern Italy because the burial services were submerged.
Italy has announced 627 coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours, the largest daily increase during the outbreak.
The global death toll has exceeded 10,000.
Lombardy in Italy sent the army to impose the blockade of the coronavirus today, while other 380 people died only in that region and doctors in Italian hospitals in crisis have described an “infinite flow” of sick patients.
The Northern Italy region hired 114 soldiers to keep people in after some Italians challenged the country’s quarantine rules – hindering its efforts to stop the world’s deadliest epidemic.
Meanwhile, a passenger of the Costa Victoria cruise ship that was sailing to Venice told News Corp that Australia had landed on the ship after it had been diverted from the Italian port.
Previously terrified passengers feared that they would be left to die if they were unloaded there.
“At first there was some panic from some to go home before Australia closed the borders, but Costa assured us that everything will be fine,” he said.
“To be honest, many think that this cruise should never have gone on to begin, we had to leave from the Maldives, but the day before we left we received the call to say that the Maldives are blocking us and now we had to change our flights to Dubai.
“It started before we left, but we weren’t given any chance of a refund or reprogramming, we just had to go where we were told or we would all get lost and lose our money.”
The ship crossed the Suez Canal and was between Egypt and Cyprus when Ms. Mapelsden spoke to News Corp Australia.
Previously, Sydney woman Lauren Petrovic had claimed that her mother-in-law Susan Morgan – who is also on the cruise ship – was terrified of being left in Venice.
“This is obviously a death sentence if they are to be released here without assistance or any Ave to return home safely to Australia. They will potentially be left to die, “he said.
Gold Coast woman Joanne Martin-Blakey is on the ship with her husband Iain to celebrate her 50th birthday. He said on Facebook: “H.E.L.P. Now we are stuck on this ship (Costa Victoria) until we reach Italy. Which country will accept us after being in Italy? Emirates canceled our return flight from Venice and offered no alternatives.
“We are forced to enter the epicenter of COVID-19 and we are all in good health on this ship but now we are put at risk.”
The cruise, which reported no coronavirus cases, continues for at least eight more days.
Passengers were told to avoid social contacts and all activities were canceled.
The Italians will remain en bloc indefinitely as it now becomes the deadliest place on the planet to contract the disease.
The ban on opening stores, which will expire on April 3, has now been extended.
“Use your common sense and act with the utmost caution,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said to the Italians.
“We don’t underestimate anything and we always act on the worst case scenario.”
The Republic the newspaper, the main outlet in Italy, reported that 94% of Italians remained in favor of bans, despite the imposition on their lives.
Residents who wander the streets who don’t go to grocery stores or pharmacies or who travel for work have been threatened with fines of $ A385.
Iran has become the next major critical point for the virus with a person dying there every 10 minutes bringing the nation’s already fragile health care system to its knees.
French President Emmanuel Macron has lashed out citizens for violating his country’s blockade, with the beaches now closed, despite the warning that his tough measures will be in place for a month.
Prince Albert II of Monaco became the first head of state to come up with the disease, amid concerns that Prince Charles had recently encountered.
FRANTIC SCENES AS AUXILIARIES TENSE AT HOME
A group of Australian teenagers captured one of the last planes outside London after the coronavirus robbed them of their sabbatical, while a cruise ship carrying up to 240 Australians is now heading to Greece instead of Italy.
There were frenzied scenes at Gatwick airport in London early Saturday in Australia as people ran back to their home countries.
However, some couples have been separated as those without a passport to their destination country have been rejected by flights since Europe has strict travel bans.
Staff from the budget airline Easyjet said they had dealt with frustrated and tearful passengers, as many travelers wore masks and some even wore protective goggles when passing security checks.
Daisy Meehan, 18, from Armidale, Sydneysiders Eliza Ewington, 18, Olivia Edwards, 19, Cate von Behr, 18 and Sascha Wilson, 18, from the central coast of New South Wales, have just scraped the UK .
They were working in a private school in Oxford, but were forced to make plans to return to Australia quickly, as their parents urged them to leave quickly.
“My mom wrote a frantic text message and said you have to put on your big girl’s pants and go home,” said Miss Meehan. “It is so uncertain that it is so disturbing.”
Miss Wilson said she wanted a “Hamish and Andy” style sabbatical, but now she is returning to uncertainty.
Miss Ewington said she was troubled by having to leave her students, who had become part of her family.
The hasty departure meant that he wore three pairs of pants and three jackets to avoid violating the weight limit of his bag on the Emirates flight.
“It’s not like we can go home and find work,” he said.
Miss Edwards said she lost her travel bucket list. There have been trips across the continent, including Portugal, Spain and Amsterdam during the itinerary.
“This week she has been on a roller coaster. I could have held on for about three weeks, but it hit us when nothing would have been open if we had stayed in Oxford, “he said.
“This is the first time we have been independent and were looking forward to it.”
The teenagers were also planning to attend a music festival in Budapest.
RECORD NUMBER OF DEATH IN SPAIN
Spanish authorities are planning to transform a Madrid convention center into a giant military hospital for coronavirus patients, as the second worst outbreak in Europe has caused 235 more victims.
Spain’s worst one-day death toll brought the country’s total casualties to over 1000 on Friday.
Spain quickly followed Italy to become the second European country where hundreds of people are killed daily by the coronavirus. The death toll shows few signs of slowing down.
About 5,500 hospital beds, including intensive care units, will be set up inside the 240,000-square-foot IFEMA conference center on the outskirts of the capital to meet growing demand expected in the coming days, the Madrid region said in a tweet.
“The most difficult days are coming now,” said emergency chief Fernando Simon at a press conference.
The capital has become the epicenter of the disease in Spain. With nearly 20,000 cases reported on Friday, Spain overtook Iran to become the third hardest hit country in the world after China and Italy.
The Madrid region has 628 deaths and 7165 cases.
Health Minister Salvador Illa said that Spanish hospitals are conducting numerous clinical trials to treat severe and mild cases of coronavirus, while the ministry of science said researchers were working on potential vaccines and detection tests.
On Thursday the government promised measures to protect the elderly and nursing home staff after a large number of deaths.
About 30 firefighters were involved in an extensive disinfection operation in one nursing home in Madrid, and one military team was working in another. The government said on Friday that providing more face masks would be a priority and could even do more to help vulnerable groups.
The ministry of justice said that 1000 doctors and forensic technicians would be reassigned to deal with the epidemic.
The country stepped up efforts to curb the spread of the disease over the past week, ordering a nationwide 15-day state of emergency on Saturday that excludes people from all but essential exits.
Bars, restaurants and most stores have been closed and limited transportation.
CALL FOR BOOKS VULNERABLE PRISONERS
Criminal law experts recommend Australian governments to free senior, young and minor offenders from prisons and detention centers to avoid a COVID-19 outbreak.
More than 370 legal experts have signed a letter coordinated by the Australian National University and the University of Technology in Sydney calling for urgent reforms to protect the prison population from the global health pandemic.
“Australian prisons and detention centers will become epicenters for COVID-19 transmission if governments do not act now,” said ANU criminology program leader Professor Lorana Bartels.
Experts are urging the early release of vulnerable prisoners and detainees who are at high risk of damage from COVID-19, such as those with pre-existing conditions, elderly and young people.
They also believe that detainees for crimes such as illegal driving, property crimes and those who could be released in the next six months should also be released.
Ulia Professor Thalia Anthony said urgent measures, including the release of prisoners, have been taken in the United States, the United Kingdom, Southeast Asia and the Middle East in response to the virus.
He said that Australian governments must provide a coherent approach to protect prison populations.
“It is only a matter of time before COVID-19 explodes in prisons and detention centers for young people. This will therefore have a significant flow effect for the community, “he said.
Professor Bartels said that most people entering prison are not sentenced and that almost a third should serve less than 12 months.
“Tens of thousands of people are likely to be released into the community later this year, making them potential carriers of coronavirus in communities,” he said.
Judicial action coordinator Brett Collins said earlier this week the unrest observed in Italian prisons would have been replicated in Australia if the authorities were unable to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks.
He also argued that older prisoners are at high risk of death and should be released and that no one should share cells to ensure adequate social removal.
“COULD KILL YOU”: WHO IS NOTICE TO YOUNG PEOPLE
Geneva UN health chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says young people around the world face the reality that the new coronavirus attacks them in large numbers, not just the older generations.
“You are not invincible. This virus could put you in hospital for weeks or even kill you, “the director of the World Health Organization (WHO) said in Geneva.
The pandemic, which resulted in over 210,000 confirmed infections and 9,000 reported deaths, requires not only cooperation between countries, but also between generations, stressed Tedros.
“I am grateful that so many young people are spreading the word and not the virus,” said the head of the WHO, praising the young people who protect the elderly by protecting themselves.
Tedros also sent a message to the millions of people who are forced to stay at home as their authorities have imposed various forms of blockades.
Confined people should pay particular attention to eating healthy foods, avoiding tobacco and alcohol and taking care of their body and mind.
“If you can’t leave the house, find an exercise video online, dance to the music, do some yoga or walk up and down the stairs,” said the head of the Ethiopian United Nations health.
Staying in touch with family and friends and reaching out to neighbors is another way to protect your well-being, according to Tedros.
Last Friday, United Nations agencies warned that the pandemic creates risks for billions of people who are unable to wash their hands properly and for hundreds of millions of children who have to cope without school lunches because the educational facilities are closed.
Three billion people around the world do not have adequate access to water or soap to wash their hands, the United Nations said in Geneva, citing data from the WHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF ).
POOL TRIPS UBER AXIS
Coronavirus hit the ride-sharing market in Australia today when Uber announced that it would close all Uber Pool races in the country and start telling all users to “travel only when needed.”
Technology giant suspended its group tour mid-morning on Saturday, with Uber Global riding senior vice president Andrew Macdonald on Twitter who will remove the Uber Pool driving option in Australia, Latin America and India after suspending the service in London and Paris on Wednesday.
Uber Pool had allowed up to four cyclists to share a ride in one place and share costs.
Nonostante la chiusura, altri servizi di condivisione dei giri, tra cui UberX e Uber Eats, rimarranno aperti in Australia, ha detto un portavoce, ei ciclisti inizieranno a ricevere messaggi nell’app Uber che li avvertono di prendere solo i viaggi necessari.
“Il nostro obiettivo è quello di aiutare ad appiattire la curva di diffusione della comunità nelle città che serviamo”, ha detto.
“Con questo in mente, stiamo sospendendo l’Uber Pool in tutte le città in cui è disponibile: Sydney, Melbourne e Perth.
“Lavoriamo sempre per aiutare a proteggere tutti coloro che utilizzano la piattaforma Uber e continueremo a condividere i consigli delle autorità sanitarie con coloro che utilizzano l’app Uber.”
La chiusura arriva alcuni giorni dopo che Uber ha rivelato i piani per pagare i conducenti che sono costretti a mettere in quarantena o isolarsi per 14 giorni.
Didi ha anche istituito un fondo da 10 milioni di dollari per pagare i conducenti con diagnosi di COVID-19.
TEST DI IVANKA NEGATIVI DOPO L’INCONTRO DEL DUTTON
Ivanka Trump è tornato alla Casa Bianca dopo essere risultato negativo per il coronavirus e aver ottenuto “risultati chiari”, ha detto una persona che ha familiarità con i risultati.
Il consigliere senior e la figlia del presidente degli Stati Uniti Donald Trump lavoravano da casa da quando erano venuti in prossimità del ministro degli affari interni australiano Peter Dutton, che era risultato positivo per COVID-19.
Si è incontrato con Ivanka Trump pochi giorni prima di essere risultato positivo per il coronavirus, in un incontro tra il procuratore generale William Barr, Kellyanne Conway e un altro assistente senior.
Ivanka Trump e Jared Kushner erano anche a Mar-a-Lago con la delegazione brasiliana, dove almeno un membro si è rivelato positivo per il virus, nel fine settimana.
L’avvocato della prigione Debbie Kilroy e l’attivista Boneta-Marie Mabo, nipote di Eddie Mabo, si sono dimostrati entrambi positivi per il COVID-19 dopo essere stati sullo stesso volo del signor Dutton diversi giorni fa.
GLI INSEGNANTI DICONO DI NON INDOSSARE LE MASCHERE A SCUOLA
In tutta l’Australia gli insegnanti delle scuole pubbliche stanno lottando per insegnare le loro lezioni normali, gli viene detto di prepararsi per l’insegnamento online e anche di fornire compiti scolastici agli studenti che si isolano da soli.
In un promemoria visto da News Corp in Australia, agli insegnanti viene detto che verranno immediatamente rimandati a casa se indossano le maschere a scuola e per ricordare agli studenti di chiamare immediatamente l’importanza del distanziamento sociale, poiché pochissimi studenti aderiscono alle regole.
Le scuole del NSW stanno chiudendo i blocchi di servizi igienici per preservare il sapone e nel Queensland agli studenti viene chiesto di portare il proprio disinfettante per le mani, a causa delle scarse forniture.
A Victoria gli insegnanti sono frustrati perché lavoreranno mentre il Victorian Institute of Teaching ha chiuso i battenti e la linea diretta non è più attiva.
Arriva come una hotline del Dipartimento della Pubblica Istruzione del NSW viene sopraffatta dalle chiamate degli insegnanti che chiamano per segnalare le preoccupazioni del coronavirus in materia di salute e sicurezza, pulizia, igiene e questioni relative al distanziamento sociale.
Fonte: Organizzazione mondiale della sanità, Johns Hopkins, altri media
Gli insegnanti sono invitati a segnalare le loro preoccupazioni alla hotline del Dipartimento dell’Istruzione per la salute e la sicurezza, ma News Corp Australia comprende che la linea dovrebbe essere utilizzata solo per presidi e non ha le risorse per gestire il carico delle chiamate in arrivo.
Gli studenti HSC sono particolarmente preoccupati su come gestire i loro studi e News Corp Australia è stato informato che ci sarà una riunione dell’Autorità per gli standard di istruzione del NSW questo martedì dopo la quale verranno forniti ulteriori consigli su come gestire gli studenti senior che si autoisolano.
Martedì, il Ministro della Pubblica Istruzione Dan Tehan incontrerà anche la direzione dell’Australian Education Union (AEU) per discutere della crisi.
“I membri dell’AEU sono in prima linea nella crisi COVID-19. Non solo hanno i loro bisogni e quelli delle loro famiglie, ma continuano a fornire un’istruzione di alta qualità ai loro studenti in periodi molto difficili “, ha dichiarato la presidente federale dell’AEU Correna Haythorpe.
The AEU expects that Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy or his representative will also attend the meeting and Ms Haythorpe described the meeting as a welcome step forward in responding to the National Cabinet’s decisions in relation to preschools, schools and TAFE.
NEW INDOOR GATHERING LIMITS AS FEDERAL BUDGET DELAYED
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a new indoor gathering limit for Australians.
There is now a four square metre rule for gatherings of less than 100 people.
“What we are now moving to is an arrangement for gatherings of less than 100, is that they would be four square metres provided per person in an enclosed space, in a room. So that’s 2m by 2m,” he said.
“So for example, if you’ve got a room, if you’ve got a premises, if you’ve got a meeting room or something like that, that’s 100 square metres, then you can have 25 people in that room.”
“I know these rules will take some time for people to get used to, but I would ask people to move as quickly as they can.
“I know it means a lot of change for a lot of venues, whether they be cafe‘s or restaurants or clubs or any of these other places of public gathering, including at this building here, we will be working to ensure that people know how many people can be in the various meeting rooms at this place.”
He said Australians should continue to practise wherever possible the 1m or 1.5m of healthy distance to limit contact.
The Federal Budget will also now be delayed until October. It is traditionally handed down on the first Tuesday in May. States would be postponing as well.
“Putting budgets together at this time, with the great uncertainty that exists, is not something that any Commonwealth or state government should be doing,” Mr Morrison said on Friday.
“As a result, we have already decided that we will not be … handing down a Budget until the first Tuesday in October, on the 6th of October.
“All other states and territories will be working to similar timetables.
“The idea that you can actually put together any sort of forecast around the economy at this time is simply not sensible.”
The federal debt limit will also be raised by a whopping $250 billion to combat the COVID-19 crisis.
In a joint statement, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the ceiling would be lifted from $600 billion to $850 billion to ensure the government “has the capacity to deal with the ongoing economic impact of the coronavirus.”
And because of the decision announced earlier today to postpone the Budget until October 6, supply bills would be moved in parliament next week “to ensure the continuity of government in 2020-21.”
Mr Morrison said schools will remain open and anyone considering school holiday travel should reconsider the need for unnecessary travel.
He said the biosecurity act was being used to ban all non-essential travel into indigenous communities.
Mr Morrison said that next week, “advanced measures” would be considered to deal with future localised outbreaks and “what needs to be done wherever possible to shut that down”. He did not provide specifics.
“What we’ve asked for advice on is the density of those cases, how many cases in a particular area, that triggers actions over and above what these general rules that apply to those areas, and that would be staged up according to the level of that outbreak and what needs to be done wherever possible to shut that down,” he said.
“Now, the reason I say that is we need a consistent approach to how this would scale-up in the event of outbreaks in particular parts of particular areas.
“Because that means just because you might see, under those rules, something being done in Tuggeranong or somewhere else, that rules don’t necessarily apply … somewhere else.
“There will be advanced measures that would need to be put in place and we need a clear set of rules across states and territories to make those rules and that advice will be coming forward on Tuesday evening.”
He also flagged moves to protect renters from being turfed out of their homes during the coronavirus crisis.
Mr Morrison said the NSW and Western Australian government would lead work to “identify how relief can be provided for tenants in both commercial tenancies and residential tenancies, to ensure that in hardship conditions, there will be relief that will be available, and ensuring that tenancy legislation is protecting those tenants over the next six months at least.”
And he announced additional funding $445 million of extra funding for aged care facilities. About half will be spent on a “retention bonus”.
Professor Brendan Murphy then told people to stop gathering in their homes, without practising social distancing.
“You should be distancing yourself from every fellow Australian where possible,” he said.
“That’s why we have guidelines for people in gatherings of less than 100. There’s no point having a gathering of 20 people if it’s in tiny room and you’re altogether.
“You’ve got to practise social distancing. Keep that metre-and-a-half away from each other, practise good hand hygiene all the time, and stay away from work or the community if you are unwell.”
CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS TOLD TO STAY HOME
California’s 40 million residents should stay home indefinitely and venture outside only for essential jobs, errands and some exercise, Governor Gavin Newsom said, warning that the coronavirus threatens to overwhelm the state’s medical system.
The move, the most sweeping by any state so far, was an exclamation point at the end of a week of increasingly aggressive moves meant to keep the virus in check by forcing people to stay away from each other as often as possible.
“I can assure you home isolation is not my preferred choice, I know it’s not yours, but it’s a necessary one,” Gov. Newsom said at an evening news conference streamed on social media.
He assured residents that they “can still take your kids outside, practising common sense and social distancing. You can still walk your dog.”
Restaurant meals can still be delivered to homes.
The announcement came after the release of a letter to US President Donald Trump where Gov. Newsom warned the virus was spreading quickly and eventually could infect more than half the state’s population. A spokesman later clarified that the figure did not take into account the aggressive mitigation efforts that have been made.
The governor said he doesn’t expect police will be needed to enforce his stay-at-home order, saying “social pressure” already has led to social distancing throughout the state.
“I don’t believe the people of California need to be told through law enforcement that it’s appropriate just to home isolate,” he said.
The Democrat who is barely a year into his first term also called up 500 National Guard troops to help distribute food.
There are at least 1030 confirmed cases in California and 18 people have died, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Meanwhile, New York’s total number of coronavirus cases reached 3954 — a significant jump (9.4 per cent) from the 3615 cases that were reported earlier on Thursday.
A total of 26 city residents have now died from the illness.
Brooklyn continues to be the borough with the most infected, at 1195 cases, according to the new tally. In Queens there are 1042 cases; 1038 in Manhattan; 496 in the Bronx; and 179 on Staten Island.
TRUMP CLOSES US-MEXICO BORDER
US President Donald Trump also announced an effective closure of the US border with Mexico, prohibiting most travel except for trade. This aligns it with the restriction on the Canadian border earlier this week.
It came as the president invoked the Defence Production Act to get needed medical supplies on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak, mobilising the federal government to marshal the private sector to combat the pandemic.
Mr Trump had said earlier in the week he would tap the act as needed.
He said he has put that “in gear.”
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said he implored Mr Trump during a phone call to invoke the Korean War-era act immediately to order the manufacture of ventilators and other critically needed medical gear.
The president told Sen. Schumer he would, then could be heard on the telephone making the order.
Mr Trump also sparred with NBC News reporter Peter Alexander who asked whether Americans should feel scared.
Trump has an epic meltdown and goes on a screed about the media when he is asked what he would tell people who are scared. Trump called NBC’s Peter Alexander a terrible reporter and started yelling and ranting. pic.twitter.com/dko6pIHrUt
“I would say that you’re a terrible reporter, that’s what I’d say,” MR Trump erupted. “I think it’s a very nasty question.”
“The American people are looking for answers and they’re looking for hope. And you’re doing sensationalism,” Mr Trump said.
He wagged his finger for emphasis and said: “That’s really bad reporting.”
“Let’s see if it works. I happen to be fine. Who knows? I was very right. Let’s see what happens,” Mr Trump said.
YOUTUBE JOINS NETFLIX IN LIMITING VIDEO STREAM QUALITY
YouTube has joined Netflix in agreeing to limit video stream quality in an effort to ease pressure on internet providers during the coronavirus outbreak. Internet service providers are braced for increases in internet traffic as people in the UK resort to working from home and self-isolation, while other parts of Europe are subject to lockdowns.
The scheme to ease the strain on providers has come from the European commissioner for internal market and services, Thierry Breton, who urged platforms to help infrastructure handle any potential usage increase.
On Thursday, Netflix said it expects its limit – which will last for 30 days – to cut network traffic by around 25 per cent. Y
ouTube said its scheme will see video quality limited to standard definition, also for a period of 30 days.
The company said it had so far seen little change in the peaks for usage, instead mostly seeing changes in usage patterns with more people at home, with usage expanding across longer hours.
“People are coming to YouTube to find authoritative news, learning content and make connections during these uncertain times,” a spokeswoman for the video platform said. “While we have seen only a few usage peaks, we have measures in place to automatically adjust our system to use less network capacity.
“We are in ongoing conversations with the regulators (including Ofcom), governments and network operators all over Europe, and are making a commitment to temporarily default all traffic in the UK and the EU to standard definition.
Google said its chief executive Sundar Pichai and YouTube boss Susan Wojcicki discussed how the technology giant could help further during the coronavirus pandemic with Mr Breton.
YouTube also confirmed it was introducing a new area on its homepage dedicated to news about COVID-19 from trustworthy sources.
TAIWAN SAYS WHO FAILED TO ACT ON CORONAVIRUS WARNING
Taiwan has accused the World Health Organisation of failing to communicate an early warning about transmission of the coronavirus between humans, the Financial Times relationships.
Health officials in Taipei said they alerted the WHO at the end of December about the risk of human-to-human transmission of the new virus but said its concerns were not passed on to other countries.
“While the IHR’s internal website provides a platform for all countries to share information on the epidemic and their response, none of the information shared by our country’s (Centres for Disease Control) is being put up there,” said Chen Chien-jen, Taiwan’s vice-president. “The WHO could not obtain first-hand information to study and judge whether there was human-to-human transmission of COVID-19. This led it to announce human-to-human transmission with a delay, and an opportunity to raise the alert level both in China and the wider world was lost,” said Mr Chen, an epidemiologist by training who was health minister at the time of the SARS outbreak.
China’s health ministry only confirmed human-to-human transmission on January 20, after the WHO said in mid-January there might be “limited” human-to-human transmission but stepped back from this view on the same day.
Taiwan is excluded from the WHO because China, which claims it as part of its territory, demands that third countries and international bodies do not treat it in any way that resembles how independent states are treated.
ANOTHER DOG HAS CORONAVIRUS
A second dog in Hong Kong has contracted the coronavirus in a likely case of human-to-animal transmission, according to a report on Thursday.
The two-year-old German Shepherd — owned by an COVID-19-infected 30-year-old woman in the Pok Fu Lam area — was quarantined at a government facility, according to the South China Morning Post.
Another pooch from the same home, a four-year-old mixed breed, was also placed on lockdown but tested negative, Hong Kong’s animal welfare authority said.
The sick puppy’s diagnosis came just three days after the first known dog to test positive for the coronavirus — a 17-year-old Pomeranian — died in Hong Kong after returning home from quarantine.
“It is very likely that the two positive cases (in Hong Kong) are examples of human-to-dog transmission,” Professor Malik Peiris, a public health virologist at the University of Hong Kong told the outlet.
But there’s no evidence that pets can transmit the virus to humans, a spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said.
In the case of the German Shepherd, the pooch was given oral and nasal swabs and placed in a different kennel than its mixed-breed housemate. Neither dog showed any symptoms.
“The department will continue to closely monitor both dogs and conduct repeated tests on the animals,” the spokesman said.
Along with the canines, four cats are also under quarantine. Their health status wasn’t immediately known.
PORNHUB OFFERS PREMIUM SERVICE TO SELF-ISOLATORS
Second The sun, Pornhub saw a spike in viewers after it offered its premium service for free to people stuck at home due to the coronavirus.
The porn site has offered free premium membership to viewers in Italy and has now extended this to adult users in France and Spain.
The company said on its Twitter feed: “In light of expanding quarantines, we are extending Free Pornhub Premium for the month to our friends in France! Pornhub will also donate this month’s sales from Modelhub … Courage France!”
It had a similar message for its Twitter followers in Spain.
The premium package offers no ads, faster streaming, high-speed downloads and better video quality as well as “discreet billing” and anytime cancellation.