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Italy experts say reliable coronavirus antibody test may be ready soon

ROME (Reuters) – A reliable antibody blood test to find out who has already had the coronavirus would give a better picture of the extent of Italy’s epidemic and could possibly be identified within days,...

Two young American doctors spend honeymoon fighting coronavirus

(Reuters) – She’d picked her dress, they’d booked their honeymoon and the wedding was set for the end of March. Then, the coronavirus pandemic hit. So the two young American doctors, Kashif Chaudhry and Naila Shereen, whose whirlwind courtship spun them between New York City and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, cancelled their big plans. Two weeks...

IMF, WHO urge leaders to focus on health spending to get virus under control

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The IMF and the World Health Organization on Friday urged leaders of developing countries to prioritize paying medical staff, buying protective gear and other health expenditures in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a joint column in the UK’s Telegraph newspaper, the heads of the two institutions said getting the new...

TC Harold forecasted to intensify further

The Fiji Meteorological Service will continue to monitor Tropical Cyclone Harold as it is forecasted to become a Category 3 system when it approaches Vanuatu by tomorrow. Yesterday, TC Harold had intensified to a Category 2 system, with winds of up to 160kph, as it made its way between Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. “For today,...

EU to fly home another 250,000 nationals stranded by coronavirus

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – More than 250,000 European Union citizens are still trying to get home, as the number of people stranded by the coronavirus outbreak remains high even after the EU has repatriated some 350,000 people, its top diplomat said on Friday. While the repatriation of EU nationals since mid-March was moving swiftly, the number...

Grounded planes insured for more than $160 billion – report

LONDON (Reuters) – Aeroplanes with a total insured value of more than $160 billion are grounded around the world, presenting risks for insurers, a report said on Friday. Singapore has the largest number of planes standing idle at airports, at 205, with Hong Kong second at 178, the report by insurance broker Gallagher said. There...

British PM Johnson stays in coronavirus isolation with mild symptoms

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday he was remaining in isolation with mild symptoms of COVID-19, including a high temperature, seven days after he first tested positive for the new coronavirus which causes the respiratory disease. “Although I’m feeling better and I’ve done my seven days of isolation, alas I...

Google data shines light on whether coronavirus lockdowns worldwide are working

OAKLAND, California (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s <GOOGL.O> Google has published charts showing how the coronavirus has brought hard-hit Italy to a standstill, led to runs on grocery stores around the world and prompted a stark drop in going-out between Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day. The analysis of location data from billions of Google users’...

COVID-19: Fiji’s five latest confirmed cases

Our case number eight is a 39-year-old female of Natokowaqa in Lautoka. She is a close contact of our case number five. She developed symptoms on March 31 and had presented to the Lautoka Hospital and has since been in isolation. She is in a stable condition and under the care of the health team....

COVID-19: Father of seventh case could have spread virus via land, sea and air – PM

The father of the seventh confirmed case of COVID-19 is suspected to have contracted the virus during a religious gathering in India. This has been confirmed by Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama during a press conference in Suva this afternoon. He said they had a strong suspicion of how the seventh and sixth case contracted...

COVID-19: PM commends Nadi woman

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has commended the 20-year-old woman from Nadi who had tested positive to COVID-19. The woman is the first in Nadi to test positive to the virus. Mr Bainimarama said her case was not related to any of the cases recorded earlier. He said the patient had immediately entered into self-quarantine after...

COVID-19: Sister of fifth case tests positive

The 39-year-old sister of Fiji’s fifth confirmed case of COVID-19 has tested positive for the virus. Fiji’s fifth case is a woman who shared a hug with the 27-year-old flight attendant who was the first to contract the virus in Fiji. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said she developed symptoms after she was placed in quarantine....

COVID-19: 30,000-plus people in Lautoka lockdown zone screened

More than 30,000 people in the Lautoka confined area have been screened and checked by medical officials this week, says Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. “In Lautoka, for example, thanks to the ongoing efforts by our medical teams on the ground, over 30,000 Fijians have been screened for fevers through temperature checks and in-person outreach,” Mr...

COVID-19: Fiji PM – Case of interest failed to follow quarantine measures

Fiji’s Ministry of Health and Medical Services contact tracing team is tracking down people who made contact with an elderly man in Labasa who has been tested positive for COVID-19. At a press conference in Suva this hour, Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said the man failed to follow the Government quarantine measures after returning...

COVID-19: Fiji records five new cases

Fiji has recorded five more confirmed cases of COVID-19. This brings Fiji’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 12. In making the announcement, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said this was the highest recorded cases overnight. Nadi also recorded its first confirmed case of COVID-19 – a woman who recently  returned from New Zealand.

Volunteer disinfectant sprayers help Wuhan prepare for a return to work

WUHAN, China (Reuters) – Volunteers in hazmat suits have been spraying Wuhan with disinfectant to help the Chinese city where the coronavirus first took hold get back to work as the number of new cases in China drops. Wuhan, where 11 million people live, had been paralysed by containment efforts imposed by authorities, who shut...

Coronavirus could trigger biggest fall in carbon emissions since World War Two

LONDON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Carbon dioxide emissions could fall by the largest amount since World War Two this year as the coronavirus outbreak brings economies to a virtual standstill, according to the chair of a network of scientists providing benchmark emissions data. Rob Jackson, who chairs the Global Carbon Project, which produces widely-watched annual emissions estimates,...

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth to make rare address to nation over coronavirus

LONDON (Reuters) – Queen Elizabeth will make an extremely rare address to the nation on Sunday as Britain grapples with the increasingly deadly coronavirus outbreak. The government has put Britain into a virtual lockdown, closing pubs, restaurants and nearly all shops, while banning social gatherings and ordering Britons to stay at home unless it is...

Do social distancing better, White House doctor tells Americans. Trump objects

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House task force on the coronavirus, had a message for Americans on Thursday: do better at social distancing. President Donald Trump didn’t like the message. At what has become a daily briefing by the president and his advisers, Birx, a highly respected expert in...

Istanbul mayor says time running out to halt coronavirus spread

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Europe’s largest city, Istanbul, is running out of time to impose a lockdown and stop a surge in coronavirus cases as around two million people are still going out into the streets every day, its mayor Ekrem Imamoglu said on Thursday. Compounding the problem, revived tensions between his opposition CHP municipality and...

COVID-19: Church pastor among 123 arrested for breaching national curfew

Fiji’s Commissioner of Police Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho says the high number of arrests made during the curfew hours from 8pm to 5am this morning is a shocking sign of disobedience in a time where everyone is needed to listen, obey and comply. Brig-Gen Qiliho made this comment as he reported the arrest of 123 people...

Crisis haunts British banks in coronavirus relief effort

LONDON (Reuters) – With the future of many coronavirus hit firms in their hands, British banks, still scarred by the financial crisis, are worried that they are being asked by a desperate government to make loans that will never be repaid. This caution, combined with the challenges of an unprecedented demand for loans, is testing...

COVID-19: 37 fever clinics in operation nationwide

There are 37 fever clinics now in operation throughout Fiji. The Ministry of Health and Medical Services has encouraged members of the public to visit a fever clinic if they feel that they are developing any symptoms of COVID-19. A Government statement said that at the fever clinic, Fijians will have their temperature taken and...

In Taiwan, anger at China over virus drives identity debate

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Anger at being confused with China amid the coronavirus outbreak and Beijing’s stepped-up efforts to assert sovereignty is stirring heated debate in Taiwan about how to further distance itself from its giant and often threatening neighbour. At its core is a debate about whether to drop “China” from the island’s official name,...

Business booms for coffin-makers in coronavirus-hit France

JUSSEY/PARIS (Reuters) – Two hauliers load their lorries with what is fast becoming a precious commodity in France as the coronavirus pandemic takes its dreadful toll – coffins. While most businesses have shut their doors as part of a national lockdown designed to slow the spread of the disease, the coffin-making factory in the sleepy...

Dutch end-of-life debate flares as coronavirus tests healthcare limits

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Doctors in the Netherlands have been advising elderly patients to think twice before agreeing to COVID-19 treatment in hospital intensive-care units, drawing criticism that they are attempting to ration scarce ICU beds. The affluent Netherlands is rapidly approaching the capacity of its healthcare system just over a month into the crisis,...

TC Harold intensifies into Category 2 cyclone

Tropical Cyclone Harold has intensified into a Category 2 cyclone, moving south-southeast of Vanuatu. According to the Fiji Meteorological Service, Vanuatu is currently under a tropical cyclone and severe weather warning. With the current track, TC Harold is expected to track to the southwest of the Fiji group by Wednesday or Thursday, next week. For...

National committees have final say on qualified athletes for Tokyo Games

ATHENS (Reuters) – Athletes already qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will need to be picked again by their respective National Olympic Committees to compete at the postponed Games in 2021, the International Olympic Committee said on Thursday. The IOC and Japanese government succumbed to intense pressure from athletes and sporting bodies around the world...

Packed with refugees, Palestinian camps face grave threat if coronavirus spreads

BETHLEHEM, West Bank/AMMAN (Reuters) – Malka Abu Aker has seen her crowded refugee camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank swell year upon year since fleeing there over 70 years ago, with the arrival of new generations and those escaping successive Mideast conflicts. But with the coronavirus spreading locally, the 73-year-old worries that her congested Palestinian...

Romanian doctors will get 500 euro a month coronavirus bonus

BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Romanian doctors, nurses and other personnel dealing with coronavirus cases will receive a monthly bonus of about 500 euros (439 pounds) a month, President Klaus Iohannis said on Thursday. “I demanded the government to reroute European (Union) funding, to give a monthly bonus of 500 euros to front line personnel dealing with...

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