Japan declares state of emergency over coronavirus

Japanese leader Shinzo Abe announces month of restrictions and unveils record stimulus package

Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has declared a month-long state of emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and unveiled a record stimulus package aimed at steering the world’s third-largest economy through its biggest crisis since the war.

Abe told a televised news conference a recent sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in Tokyo and other urban areas had forced him to rethink Japan’s approach towards stemming the outbreak.

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India releases hydroxychloroquine stocks amid pressure from Trump

US president called Modi and threatened ‘retaliation’ if country kept full export ban

India has approved some exports of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug being touted as a possible coronavirus treatment, after apparent pressure from Donald Trump, who has been urging Americans to take it.

The tablets are used to prevent and treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis but over the past week the US president has been aggressively promoting the drug as a treatment for coronavirus, despite there being no conclusive medical evidence to prove its efficacy.

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Primark announces wage fund for garment workers

Pledge comes in response to claims that order cancellations to minimise Covid-19 losses have hurt millions of workers in the developing world

Primark, one of the UK’s most popular retailers, has announced it will create a fund to help pay the wages of the millions of garment workers affected by its decision to cancel tens of millions of pounds worth of clothing orders from factories in developing countries across the world.

The pledge followed sustained criticism of the fashion retailer after data from the Bangladeshi and Garment Exporters Association (BGMEA) revealed it had cancelled all orders already placed with suppliers.

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China reports zero daily deaths from coronavirus for the first time since January

Milestone comes as nation struggles with ongoing outbreaks, including in Wuhan where dozens of residences have been locked down again

China has reported zero new Covid-19 deaths for the first time since January, despite struggles with ongoing outbreaks including in Wuhan where dozens of residential blocks have been locked down just one day before travel restrictions were set to be lifted.

On Tuesday, the National Health Commission reported 32 new cases across China, all of which were arrivals from another country. There were also 30 new asymptomatic cases reported.

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Vietnamese airlift orphans land in the UK – archive, 7 April 1975

7 April 1975: Flight organised by the Daily Mail sees 105 orphaned children evacuated from Saigon

The mercy airlift of 105 Vietnamese orphans landed at Heathrow Airport-London early today among growing doubts about the wisdom of future operations of a similar nature.

The flight – in a British Midlands Airways Boeing 707 – had been organised by the Daily Mail. A fleet of coaches stood by at the airport to take the children to a special centre at Haslemere, Surrey, set up by Project Vietnam Orphans.

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‘We are very afraid’: scramble to contain coronavirus in Mumbai slum

Fears disease could ‘spread like wildfire’ in the incredibly congested slum of Dharavi

It was the news that many in India had feared. A 56-year-old man who lived in Dharavi, India’s largest slum, where almost 1 million people are densely packed together in a 2 sq km area in Mumbai, had tested positive for coronavirus. He died shortly after.

It has prompted a scramble by local authorities to halt the virus before it takes hold in this overcrowded, unsanitary enclave, which was the inspiration for Danny Boyle’s film Slumdog Millionaire.

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New Zealand health minister demoted after beach visit broke lockdown rules

David Clark called himself an ‘idiot’ for driving his family 20km to the beach on the first weekend of the national stay-at-home measures

New Zealand’s health minister has been demoted after he ignored national lockdown rules and drove his family to a beach 20km from his home.

Last week Dr David Clark was photographed going for a mountain bike ride 2km away from his Dunedin home. He apologised for the incident, saying it showed poor judgment at a time when all New Zealanders were being urged to stay at home and only exercise in their local area.

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Bored and anxious New Zealanders turn to exercise shaming as lockdown grinds on

Lack of clarity from the government on how far people are allowed to walk from their homes has led to confusion and abuse

New Zealanders are usually pragmatic people who don’t put much stock in strict adherence to rules. But almost a fortnight into restrictive nationwide lockdown measures intended to halt the spread of Covid-19, a bored and anxious public has developed an obsession with the single grey area in the shutdown rules: going outside to exercise.

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern activated a four-week lockdown on 25 March that requires New Zealanders to stay in their homes unless they are accessing essential services – such as groceries or medical help – or heading outside for fresh air.

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Coronavirus live news: Boris Johnson in intensive care as Japan declares state of emergency

UK foreign secretary to lead country; China reports no deaths from Covid-19

On Monday I reported that dozens of doctors were arrested in Quetta, Pakistan, after fighting with police during a demonstration about the lack of safety equipment available to them for treating patients with the coronavirus.

Today the Pakistani military has promised that it is to dispatch an emergency shipment of medical supplies to the city, the Associated Press reports.

The UK could see as many as 66,000 Covid-19 deaths during the first wave of the current pandemic, more than a third of the expected death toll across Europe, according to modelling by a US university.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine estimated that approximately 151,680 people were likely to die from the virus across the continent. The institute estimates 81,766 deaths for the whole of the US.

We are expecting a foreboding few weeks for people in many parts of Europe. It seems likely the number of deaths will exceed our projections for the United States

The death toll in many countries is compounded by demand for hospital resources well in excess of what is available. For example, peak demand in the UK is expected to total 102,794 hospital beds needed compared to 17,765 available, 24,544 ICU beds compared to 744 ICU beds available, and 20,862 ventilators needed (with data currently unavailable on ventilators available).

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