President Trump shied away Wednesday from issuing domestic travel restrictions or a national lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic that, in a best-case scenario, is expected to kill between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans. Asked at a White House briefing if he was considering limiting domestic air travel, Trump said he was thinking about it, a phrase he frequently applies to subjects he wishes to avoid discussing. We're thinking about doing that, but at the same time we just, to start these airlines and to start this whole thing over again is very tough, John [Roberts, Fox News reporter].
Reuters Amazon has implemented a number of social distancing policies amid the coronavirus pandemic, but employees say the reality does not always match the rhetoric. A worker at an Amazon warehouse in Indiana sent Business Insider a photo that they allege shows managers huddled at a table next to a sign that states, "Please work together to ensure social distancing is happening." Amazon told Business Insider that it will investigate the incident.
Iran's parliament speaker has contracted the new coronavirus, the country's highest-ranking government figure yet to catch the disease, while in Israel, several top officials entered quarantine when the health minister tested positive on Thursday. Iran's parliament announced Ali Larijani's illness on its website, saying he was receiving treatment in quarantine. Iran, the regional epicenter of the virus, has been fighting one of the world's worst outbreaks.
California has not seen the surge in coronavirus cases that have overwhelmed cities like New York and Detroit in the past week, which suggests that the state's early and restrictive shelter-in-place orders could be slowing the virus's spread. California implemented one of the earliest and strictest orders to stay at home in the United States in mid-March, and as of Wednesday, there were 8,584 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 183 deaths in the state compared with the 76,000 cases and 1,714 deaths in New York. Dr Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus taskforce coordinator, said on Tuesday that she was “reassured by what California has been able to do” to help control the virus with physical distancing orders.
Wuhan doctor Ai Fen, who expressed early concerns about the coronavirus to the media, has disappeared and is believed detained by Chinese authorities. Fen, the head of emergency at Wuhan Central Hospital, was given a warning after she disseminated information about the coronavirus to several other doctors. The reprimand from her boss came after Fen took a photo of a patient's positive test results and circled the words 'SARS coronavirus' in red.
The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has climbed by 760 to 13,915, the Civil Protection Agency said on Thursday, slightly higher than the daily rise of 727 registered a day earlier. The number of new cases was steady, growing by 4,668 from a previous 4,782, bringing total infections since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21 to 115,242. Thursday was the fourth consecutive day in which the number of new cases remained within a range of 4,050-4,782, seeming to confirm government hopes that the epidemic has hit a plateau, ahead of a hoped-for decline in the near future.
On Wednesday Iran warned the U.S. it was “warmongering during the coronavirus outbreak,” after it deployed Patriot air defense missiles to Iraq.
Migrant workers looking to finally travel back to their jobs in Beijing and other major cities must cope with constantly changing quarantine policies enforced by local officials whose decisions often seem arbitrary. Following Rules The move to end the lockdown in Wuhan -- the city at the epicenter of Covid-19 -- next week could spur even more problems. The opening of surrounding Hubei province last month spurred rare clashes between police from two different forces as authorities in neighboring regions sought to prevent a second wave of infections.
Astronomers have revealed the best evidence yet for an elusive cosmic oddity: the intermediate black hole. These medium-sized black holes are smaller than supermassive black holes, but larger than stellar-mass black holes. Supermassive black holes, it turns out, may form from intermediate-mass black holes.
Because an economy-wrecking pandemic isn't enough to deal with, the Trump administration is making aggressive noises at Iran. "Upon information and belief, Iran or its proxies are planning a sneak attack on U.S. troops and/or assets in Iraq," President Trump tweeted on Wednesday. The White House didn't provide any additional information about Trump's tweet or his claim of a "sneak attack" being planned.
Shenzhen has become the first Chinese city to ban the sale and consumption of dog and cat meat. It comes after the coronavirus outbreak was linked to wildlife meat, prompting Chinese authorities to ban the trade and consumption of wild animals. Shenzhen went a step further, extending the ban to dogs and cats.
California's governor on Thursday said small businesses can keep up to $50,000 in sales tax receipts for the next year as the COVID-19 outbreak has forced people to stay home and many shops to close. The move means businesses with $5 million in sales or less will get up to a year to give the state up to $50,000 in sales taxes they collect from customers. It's essentially an interest-free loan aimed at keeping small businesses afloat in a state where the governor has ordered everyone to stay home to prevent the spread of a virus that has so far killed 233 people.
Border closures and strict lockdowns prompted by the Covid-19 crisis have disrupted the migrant trail through Central America and Mexico, forcing some would-be migrants to postpone their journeys – and stopping many others in their tracks. The result has been a deterrent more effective than any wall Donald Trump could build. Activists across the region have reported a steep decline in the number of migrants coming from Central America since the restrictions were implemented.
Police in Pakistan will enforce a strict lockdown to prevent people from going to mosques to offer Friday prayers and fuel a rise in coronavirus infection, officials said, after failing to prevent large congregations last week. Health experts have warned of an epidemic in South Asia, home to a fifth of the world's population, that could easily overwhelm its weak public health systems. The government in Pakistan's southern province of Sindh, home to the country's largest city, Karachi, will enforce a "curfew-like" lockdown for three hours beginning 12 noon Friday to deter people from coming out of their homes for prayers, officials said.
Thailand will introduce a six-hour night curfew in a bid to control the spread of coronavirus, authorities said Thursday, warning anyone who breached the order faced a two-year jail term. Exemptions will be made for essential staff, including medical workers, food and fuel transport staff, and postal services. The number of infections in Thailand has soared past 1,800 -- up more than 80 percent from a week ago -- and the death toll has nearly quadrupled to 15 as of Thursday.
Singapore will shutter schools and most workplaces as the city-state unveiled a raft of stricter measures intended as a “circuit breaker” to slow the spread of coronavirus. Most workplaces, except for essential services and key economic sectors, will close starting on Tuesday, while the city-state will move to full home-based learning in its schools from Wednesday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in an address to the nation Friday afternoon. The action comes as confirmed cases of local transmission and unlinked infections in the country have risen in recent weeks.
REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Picture Elon Musk was criticized on Thursday for apparently sending BiPAP machines, not the life-support ventilators most-needed to save coronavirus patients, to a New York hospital. New York City Hospitals thanked Musk and Tesla in a tweet for sending "40 ventilators" to a hospital in Queens, but the photo appears to show a BiPAP machine, which is more commonly used for sleep apnea. Some medical experts have warned that CPAP and BiPAP machines could be harmful in treating coronavirus patients by potentially spreading the disease.
Even as states are struggling to process a record number of jobless claims, experts warn that even greater challenges loom: A Labor Department report found that, as recently as February, unemployment insurance trust funds in nearly half the states were underfunded. The staggering 6.6 million jobless claims filed last week call into question even the best-funded states' ability to pay unemployment benefits over a sustained period, said Howard Gleckman, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, making it likelier than not that more federal intervention will be needed. "We're talking about 10 million people filing for unemployment insurance in two weeks.
The U.S. recorded its deadliest day – more than 1,000 fatalities – since the coronavirus outbreak began, more than 215,000 overall infections have been reported, and public health officials may recommend that more Americans wear face masks to combat the pandemic that has brought the global economy to its knees. "Even if you do wear a mask, it can't be at the expense of social distancing," Surgeon General Jerome Adams said. The current U.S. death toll appears to be a tiny fraction of what the nation faces over the next few weeks, public health officials say.
Early this week, the streets of the central Israeli city of Bnei Brak were bustling with shoppers as ultra-Orthodox residents, obeying their religious leaders, ignored pleas to stay home in the face of the coronavirus threat. The city has become a lightning rod for anger and frustration by some secular Israelis who allege insular Haredi communities — with disproportionately high numbers of confirmed cases — are undermining national efforts to contain the virus. The pandemic also has threatened to upend deep-seated customs in the religious world, including blind obedience to religious leaders and the belief that religious studies and traditions take precedence over the rules of a modern state.
Neurologists around the world say that a small subset of patients with COVID-19 are developing serious impairments of the brain. Although fever, cough and difficulty breathing are the typical hallmarks of infection with the new coronavirus, some patients exhibit altered mental status, or encephalopathy, a catchall term for brain disease or dysfunction that can have many underlying causes, as well as other serious conditions. The patient, who had chronic lung disease and Parkinson's, was flailing his arms and legs in jerky movements, and appeared to be having a seizure.
China's decision to lock down the city of Wuhan, ground zero for the global COVID-19 pandemic, may have prevented more than 700,000 new cases by delaying the spread of the virus, researchers said Tuesday. Drastic Chinese control measures in the first 50 days of the epidemic bought other cities across the country valuable time to prepare and install their own restrictions, according to the paper by researchers in China, the United States and the UK, published in the journal Science. "Our analysis suggests that without the Wuhan travel ban and the national emergency response there would have been more than 700,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases outside of Wuhan by that date," he was quoted as saying in a press release.
Indonesia's coronavirus death toll rose to 170 on Thursday as the world's fourth most populous nation passed South Korea as the country with the highest number of recorded fatalities in Asia after China. Indonesia reported a further 13 deaths and 113 new cases, taking its total number of infections to 1,790. South Korea has reported 169 deaths and 9,976 infections, according to the latest figures released there.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin has decided to handle his duties remotely, the Kremlin said Wednesday, after the head of the country's main coronavirus hospital tested positive following a meeting with the president. Denis Protsenko, who met with Putin last week as the Russian leader visited the Kommunarka hospital in Moscow, said Tuesday he had been infected with the coronavirus but was feeling well. "The president prefers these days to work remotely," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists, shortly before Putin was due to hold a cabinet meeting by videoconference.