Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Coronavirus fears shut bars, borders; WHO urges world to ‘test, test, test’
Bars, restaurants, cinemas and schools were shutting down from New York and Los Angeles to Paris and Dubai in a worldwide effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic, as financial markets tumbled despite emergency action by global central banks. Germans were asked to cancel all vacations as Canada, Chile and other countries closed their borders to visitors. Peru deployed masked military personnel to block major roads while Ireland launched a campaign to recruit more healthcare workers. Airlines slashed flights, shed jobs and asked governments for billions of dollars in loans and grants.
Americans stay home as states urge coordinated federal coronavirus response
U.S. states pleaded with the Trump administration on Monday to mount a coordinated national response to the coronavirus pandemic, as millions of workers and students hunkered down at home to slow the spread of the outbreak. The unprecedented wave of closures and restrictions, which began to accelerate last week, took on fresh urgency as New Jersey "strongly discouraged" all non-essential and non-emergency travel between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., starting on Monday.
Deserted streets, talking drones as Spain imposes state of emergency over virus
Spain's streets were eerily quiet on Monday but for loudspeakers mounted on police cars or carried by drones telling people to go home, as Spaniards spent their first working day under a lockdown forced by the coronavirus epidemic. Spain's 47 million people have been under partial lockdown since Saturday night, allowed to leave their homes only to go to work, buy food or visit a pharmacy or hospital.
Trump urges U.S. to halt most social activity in virus fight, warns of recession
President Donald Trump urged Americans on Monday to halt most social activities for 15 days and not congregate in groups larger than 10 people in a newly aggressive effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in the United States. Announcing new guidelines from his coronavirus task force, the president said people should avoid discretionary travel and not go to bars, restaurants, food courts or gyms.
Fatal crashes might decline with lower legal blood alcohol limits
The blood-alcohol threshold for being considered legally impaired in the U.S. may be too high, according to a study that finds a meaningful percentage of crashes happen when drivers are below that limit. Among the crashes involving drinking drivers with blood-alcohol levels under the legal limit, more than half of fatalities were individuals other than the driver, researchers found.
Special Report: 'All is well'. In Italy, triage and lies for virus patients
The fight against death pauses every day at 1 p.m. At that time, doctors in the intensive care unit of Policlinico San Donato phone relatives of the unit's 25 critically-ill coronavirus patients, all of whom are sedated and have tubes down their throats to breathe, to update the families. Lunchtime used to be for visiting hours at this Milan hospital. But now, as the country grapples with a coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 2,000 people, no visitors are allowed in. And no one in Italy leaves their homes anymore.
Aimmune sees coronavirus slowing down marketing of peanut allergy therapy
Aimmune Therapeutics Inc on Monday warned of a slow launch of its peanut allergy therapy, as its marketing plans take a hit from U.S. authorities' recommendation of social distancing to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The company said its representatives may not be able to provide support to certain clinics administering its therapy, Palforzia, as physicians and patients take precautions to avoid exposure to the virus.
UK closes down social life as coronavirus outbreak accelerates
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday shut down social life in Britain and ordered the most vulnerable to isolate for 12 weeks, ramping up the battle against a coronavirus outbreak just as it accelerates towards it peak. Johnson had faced a backlash after his government took a less stringent approach to tackling the virus than countries such as Italy, France and Spain which have effectively locked down much of Europe.
Italian start-up 3D prints valves to help coronavirus patients
Italian Cristian Fracassi heard about the shortage of valves used in respirators at his local hospital by word of mouth. The founder of Isinnova, a startup with a staff of 14 people, offered his company's services to help ease the shortfall of equipment that has been in huge demand since the coronavirus outbreak struck Italy.
Trials of potential coronavirus treatments start for some existing drugs
Drugs used for treating arthritis are being tested as treatments for COVID-19, the disease caused by a new coronavirus, as researchers rush to find ways of helping patients and slowing the number of infections. Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said on Monday they began a clinical trial of their rheumatoid arthritis drug Kevzara as a coronavirus treatment, while in Spain a separate trial is studying if a combination of two drugs can slow down the spread of coronavirus among people.