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A 21-year-old woman with no underlying conditions died after contracting coronavirus, says her family.
Chloe Middleton, from Buckinghamshire in England, died last week.
Her aunt called for people to “protect” themselves, saying “please, please adhere to government rules”.
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The world has been given an early indication of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic as Singapore released its preliminary first quarter growth figures.
The southeast Asian nation said gross domestic product (GDP) shrank 2.2% year-on-year while, compared with the previous quarter, GDP fell by 10.6%.
It marks the biggest quarterly contraction since 2009, in the midst of the global financial crisis.
The trade-reliant city state now looks to be heading for its first full-year recession in about two decades.
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Earlier we reported that the US Senate had unanimously passed a $2tn (£1.7tn) coronavirus disaster aid bill. It’s the largest economic stimulus in American history – if signed into law, it will impact millions of Americans and all manner of businesses. But what is actually in the bill?
- American adults with a salary of up to $75,000 a year will be sent cheques for $1,200. The payments will be less for those making over $75,000 – the cap is set at $99,000 per person, or $198,000 for couples
- A $500 billion lending program will be established for businesses, cities and states
- Another $367 billion will go towards an employee retention fund for small businesses
- A further $17 billion is earmarked to help companies deemed crucial for national security
- The airline industry – which has taken heavy losses – will be the biggest recipient of the bill. Passenger airlines qualify for $25bn in loans, and another $25bn in grants. Cargo carriers will be eligible for another $8bn, divided between loans and grants
- Roughly $100bn will be given for assistance to hospitals
UK online clothing store Pretty Little Thing has faced calls to close its warehouse, which has been described as a “breeding ground for Covid-19”.
One worker, identified only as Patrick, said the warehouse in Sheffield had 4ft wide aisles where up to 10 people worked at a time.
Another worker said there were only four small sanitiser dispensers in the warehouse and they were always empty.
“The work we do is not essential, who wants to buy clothes not knowing when you will be able to wear them?” he said.
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The UK government has ordered 10,000 ventilators from Dyson – though they won’t be coming immediately.
The firm says it hopes to build the ventilators from its base in Wiltshire – but it could take a couple of weeks to move from the prototype to actual production.
The NHS currently has just over 8,000. It’s estimated it will need at least 30,000 to deal with the potential flood of virus victims.
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BBC Radio 5 Live
Wake Up to Money
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In response to falls across stock markets seen since the coronavirus pandemic began, many countries and central banks have announced stimulus packages to shore up their economies.
But what was it about the US emergency virus deal, worth more than $1.8 trillion (£1.5tn), in particular that made investors sit up and take notice?
Laura Lambie, senior investment director at Investec, told the BBC’s Wake Up to Money: “It’s the size of it, and the fact that they’re the last major economy to announce such things. But when we get markets opening this morning mind you, a bit of realism might kick in.
“Stimulus packages are all well and good, but what we really need to see is a drop in the virus itself, and there are some concerns about comments made by the US President, a ‘laissez-faire’ attitude about lockdowns, for example in New York and in other major cities.
“We really need to get this virus under control in the US, and any signs that is not happening would have a detrimental impact on markets.”
If you’re a self-employed worker in the UK, here’s a bit of news
that might make you feel a bit better.
The government earlier set out plans for 80% wage subsidises for staff kept on by their employers – Chancellor Rishi Sunak now says he wants similar plans in place for freelancers.
There are currently around one million people that are self-employed in the UK.
But the government also says that drawing up plans for self-employed people has proven “incredibly difficult”. This is because their income can sometimes be irregular and intermittent.
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Indian-administered Kashmir has reported its first death from the virus – a 65-year-old man.
He had recently returned from attending a religious congregation outside Kashmir that included people from Malayasia and Indonesia.
The disputed region has 11 active Covid-19 cases, and more than 5,000 have been quarantined and are being monitored for symptoms.
We’re now shifting our focus slightly to the UK.
The number of coronavirus deaths in the UK has risen to 463, up from 422. That’s a daily increase of 43 – less than half the increase from a day earlier.
Cases are up, with 9,529 cases as of Wednesday compared to 8,077 cases the day before.
Some 97,019 have been tested for the virus – of which 87,490 had tested negative.
To find out specifically how many cases there are in each part of England, check out this tracker by Public Health England.
Russia’s government will stop all overseas flights from the country starting 27 March. The ban will not apply to repatriation flights and flights carried out by “separate orders of the Russian government”, Interfax news agency reported.
It’s worth noting that Russia has comparatively fewer cases than other European countries – just 658, with three deaths.
On Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin postponed a vote on a constitutional change that would allow him to stay in power for two more consecutive terms.
Still have questions about this virus and how it spreads? Our 60-second
video explainer tells you all you need to know.
The number of people with Covid-19 who have died in Germany has increased by 50 to 198, according to official figures.
The number of cases is 36,508 – an increase of 4,995.
It’s one of the most instinctual things to do –
and also something you absolutely shouldn’t be doing right now. Here’s a video
on why we love to touch our faces, and how to overcome that urge.
Any news line about cruise ships nowadays seems to be linked to coronavirus – and this is no exception.
This time it’s the Zaandam, a ship with more than 70 passengers reporting Covid-19 symptoms.
The ship left Buenos Aires on 7 March with around 1,800 people, and was heading for a port in Chile from where everyone would fly home.
But Chile didn’t want to take the risk and said no. All other ports in the region did the same – and so the Zaandam is heading for Florida to reach Fort Lauderdale on 30 March.
Owner Holland America has sent a ship to meet the Zaandam to bring extra supplies – and test kits for the virus.
Lockdowns across the world may be encouraging people to keep in touch or re-connect with old friends, but that’s a luxury for India’s poor.
Most of them rely on pre-paid or pay-as-you-go subscriptions – in fact, these account for 95% of India’s more than a billion mobile phone connections.
Millions of daily-wagers can no longer top up their accounts at street kiosks because these are shut. And many don’t use the internet or have an online bank account, so they can’t go online to top up either.
They are also likely to run out of money as they now find themselves out of work.
It will be devastating because they are stuck in cities, miles away from their families in villages. And they are fast losing the option to contact their loved ones.
Hopefully, mobile phone companies come up with a plan to keep these subscriptions going.
BBC News, Sydney
Last year’s Christchurch mass shooting was the deadliest attack in New Zealand’s
recent history. A total of 51 people were killed in two mosques.
All eyes were going to be on gunman Brenton Tarrant’s trial in June. The families of victims had asked for it to be held after the holy month of Ramadan so they could attend.
But all of this changed today when the 29-year-old Australian pleaded guilty to all charges. Survivors could not be there, however, because New Zealand is in lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The judge said the restrictions were regrettable, but added the killer would not be sentenced until victims’ relatives and survivors could be there in person. Earlier this month, a memorial marking the attack’s anniversary was cancelled.
Aya Al-Umari’s brother Hussein was killed at Al Noor mosque. I met her and her parents in Christchurch two weeks ago. They said they were looking forward to the trial but also dreading it and the prospect of seeing the killer.
“We’re all a bit stunned,” Aya told me today. “It’s a shame we’re stuck at home in this lockdown.”
The number of people with Covid-19 who have died in the US has passed 1,000, according to a running total from Johns Hopkins University.
The most recent total was 1,050 deaths with 69,171 cases.
Authorities in Tokyo have urged people to stay at home on the weekend, warning the city might otherwise see an “explosion” of new infections. Wednesday had seen a record 41 new cases discovered.
The Japanese capital has so far been spared the draconian measures seen in other major global cities, but governor Yuriko Koike said the city was at a “critical stage”.
“We urge people at all costs to refrain from going out this weekend if it’s not urgent,” she said, encouraging residents to work from home during weekdays and refrain from going out at night.
“Starting this week, there are increasing concerns that we could see an explosion of infections,” Koike warned.
Across all of Japan, around 1,200 people have tested positive, including some 200 in Tokyo, and 43 people have died.
Here are the latest developments across the region:
- India enters its second day of a strict lockdown after PM Narendra Modi said there was “a ban on stepping out of your homes”. The country has confirmed over 550 cases and 10 deaths. But concerns over how such a strict ban on a population size of over a billion can be carried out remain
- Pakistan continues to be the worst-hit country in the region as cases have surged to over a 1,000. More than 400 positive cases were reported from Sindh, the worst hit region
- Bangladesh confirmed its fifth death as positive cases climb to 39. But it wasn’t all bad news as the country also said it hadn’t recorded a new case in 24 hours after it suspended all domestic flights and public transport
- Cases in Sri Lanka tipped over to a 102 on Wednesday, as a strict and indefinite curfew remains in place, preventing residents from stepping out of their homes even for essentials
BBC News, Singapore
Feeling bored while self-isolating? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. In fact people (cough, definitely not me) are so bored, they’re turning to social media challenges for ways to pass time.
Probably one of the most common challenges is the nose drawing challenge. It is literally what it sounds like. An Instagram filter tells you what to draw and you have five seconds to do it – using just your nose.
Hey, if it’s good enough for the Jonas Brothers, it’s good enough for us.
Another one you’ve probably seen is the #10for10 push up challenge – complete 10 pushups in 10 seconds – and after you’re done, nominate other people to do the same (don’t even think about nominating us).
And then there’s THAT trendy coffee that has taken over social media. You know what we’re talking about – the Dalgona Coffee.
This iced coffee recipe has gone viral on Instagram, TikTok, and absolutely everywhere – inspired by the South Korean dalgona toffee candy.
We’ll let it speak for itself:
- Confirmed global coronavirus cases pass one million
- Tiger King star in virus isolation, husband says
- Democrats to delay naming 2020 nominee amid Covid-19
- US man pleads guilty to White House terror plot
- The young doctors being asked to play God
- Zoom apologises for security issues, promises fixes
- US sends warships to Caribbean to stop drugs
- Deserted streets at high noon around the world
- How Dua Lipa released an album from isolation
- Record spike in jobless claims may mean Congress has to pass even more stimulus, economists say – CNBC
- Perseverance Mars rover in critical pre-launch testing at Kennedy – NASASpaceflight.com
- News Conference to Feature NASA Astronauts on Space Station – NASA
- ‘Missing link’ black hole discovered by Hubble – CNN
- Remains of 90 million-year-old rainforest discovered under Antarctic ice – Livescience.com
- Cave bear extinction likely due to large sinuses that impaired chewing – Daily Mail
- Dating of Broken Hill skull leads to questions over modern human ancestry – HeritageDaily
- Top US senator warns Saudi Arabia over oil price war with Russia – Al Jazeera English
- Spain sees record rise in unemployment amid virus
- Why Anne Tyler won’t be writing about coronavirus
- Daniel Pearl convict’s death sentence overturned