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Surgeon General, Trump sound alarm as U.S. cases top 300,000

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: Palm Sunday during coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Turin
A woman wearing a protective face mask prays in Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Turin, Italy, on Sunday.Massimo Pinca / Reuters

On Sunday, Surgeon General Jerome Adams called on U.S. governors who haven't issued statewide stay-at-home orders to at least "give us a week" of restrictions, as health officials warn of an accelerating rate of coronavirus cases and deaths. This week is going to be "our Pearl Harbor moment," Adams said.

The warning comes after President Donald Trump said "there will be a lot of death" as the U.S. faces its "toughest week" in the fight against the pandemic.

The total number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose to 333,000 on Sunday, with the number of deaths at more than 9,000, according to NBC News' tally. Globally, the death toll is more than 65,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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Governors plead for food stamp flexibility

858d ago / 4:40 AM UTC

Yvonne Knight, who has respiratory problems that make her especially vulnerable in the coronavirus pandemic, can't buy groceries online with her food stamps, even though each trip to the store is now a risky endeavor.

Going out to buy food terrifies the 38-year-old woman with cerebral palsy, but she is one of millions of people who receive food aid through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that can't be used in flexible ways. “Every time I go out, I put myself at risk — and other people,” said Knight, who lives in Erie, Pennsylvania. 

Buying groceries online — which many Americans are doing to reduce how often they leave their homes — is only open to SNAP recipients in six U.S. states, and Pennsylvania is not one of them.

Now, state governments and food security activists across the country are imploring the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make the program more flexible and easier to access at a time when so many people are losing their jobs and turning to the government for support.

Duran Duran's John Taylor reveals coronavirus recovery

858d ago / 4:34 AM UTC
John Taylor
John Taylor of Duran Duran, shown last year, said Sunday he is recovering from COVID-19.Amy Harris / Amy Harris/Invision/AP

LOS ANGELES — Duran Duran bassist John Taylor took to Facebook on Sunday to reveal he had tested positive for coronavirus and is on the mend. Taylor was diagnosed with COVID-19 "three weeks ago" and has been self-quarantining.

"I am speaking out to answer to the enormous amount of fear being generated by the pandemic, some of it entirely justified, and my heart goes out to everyone who has had to deal with real loss and pain," he wrote. "But I want to let you know that it isn't always a killer, and we can and will beat this thing."

The entertainment community has been rocked by the virus, having recently lost Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger, country star Joe Diffie and jazz musician Ellis Marsalis Jr., among others.

Stocks appear set to jump, with Dow futures up more than 500 points

858d ago / 3:19 AM UTC

U.S. stock futures rose Sunday night as Wall Street tried to recover from another decline last week while investors shook off rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures traded 531 points higher, implying a gain of about 565 points at the Monday open. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also pointed to Monday opening gains for the two indexes.

Last week, the major averages posted their third weekly decline in four. The Dow slid 2.7% while the S&P 500 lost 2.1%. The Nasdaq Composite closed last week down 1.7%. Stocks are also deep in bear-market territory as concerns over the coronavirus outbreak have virtually shut down the global economy and have dampened sentiment around corporate profits. 

Read the full story here. 

A thanks to those on the front lines

858d ago / 2:53 AM UTC
A handmade sign hangs outside a home in Oakland, California, on Sunday.
A handmade sign hangs outside a home in Oakland, California, on Sunday.Cyrus Farivar / NBC News

California county orders people to wear face coverings outside

858d ago / 2:42 AM UTC

Public health officials in Riverside County, California, made it mandatory Sunday for people who go outside to wear face coverings to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the county's public health officer, said people could use bandanas, scarves and other items without visible holes in them to shield their faces. He cautioned against using industrial and surgical masks, saying they should be reserved for first responders.

The order came after 30 patients and staff members at a local nursing home tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to NBC Los Angeles. Two deputies have also died from the disease, Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said in a statement.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans on Friday to wear face coverings to keep people who may not be showing symptoms of the disease from spreading it to others.

American Airlines suspends more flights to NYC

858d ago / 2:06 AM UTC

American Airlines said Sunday that it is suspending more flights to three New York City-area airports in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, the company said that while it had already "significantly" reduced travel to John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport, demand for flights to the region is "evaporating."

Beginning Tuesday, American will operate a handful of flights between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. from Boston, Miami, Dallas-Fort Worth and other cities, the company said, adding it will try to protect its 9,000 employees by operating these limited flights with crews based outside New York.

American is one of nine United States-based airlines that have suspended flights in response to the outbreak, according to an ongoing tally by TODAY.

After Bronx Zoo tiger tests positive, veterinary group says stay away from animals if you're sick

858d ago / 1:39 AM UTC
Nadia, a Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York, has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Nadia, a Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York, has tested positive for the coronavirus.JULIE LARSEN MAHER / AP

A veterinary association said Sunday that a tiger’s positive COVID-19 test reinforced its guidelines that call for people infected with the disease to cut contact with animals.

The American Veterinary Medical Association said in a statement that until more is known about how the virus affects animals, ill pet owners should have others care for their dogs and cats.

The group added that there had been no reports of pets or livestock developing the disease in the United States. In other countries, four cats and dogs have tested positive for COVID-19, the association said.

Nadia, a 4-year-old Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo, is believed to have contracted the virus from a person who had cared for her, officials at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory said Sunday. Six other big cats at the zoo are also showing symptoms, the lab said.

858d ago / 1:30 AM UTC

Texas to screen drivers from Louisiana to enforce two-week quarantine

and

858d ago / 12:18 AM UTC

Authorities in Texas will begin screening drivers traveling across state lines from hard-hit Louisiana to enforce a mandatory two-week quarantine, officials said Sunday.

The screening stations will be set up on high-volume, interstate roads and highways, the Texas Department of Public Safety said in a statement. Drivers will be asked to fill out a form that includes personal information, as well as a “designated quarantine location.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order March 29 mandating the quarantine. Louisiana has recorded 477 coronavirus-related deaths and more than 13,000 confirmed cases. Texas has documented 127 deaths and roughly 6,800 cases.

858d ago / 11:42 PM UTC

858d ago / 11:28 PM UTC

Death toll in New York City approaching 2,500

858d ago / 11:08 PM UTC

About 2,500 New Yorkers have died from complications connected to COVID-19, City Hall reported on Sunday. 

The virus-related death toll stood at 2,472 as of 5 p.m., according to the Health Department's nightly report.

That newest figure marks 218 more fatalities from the death toll of 2,254 reported 24 hours earlier.

California pastor resigns from city council as church's communion plan draws criticism

858d ago / 10:53 PM UTC

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — A church pastor resigned from the local city council Sunday after coming under criticism for holding communion on Palm Sunday despite coronavirus stay-at-home rules.

Rob McCoy, senior pastor at Godspeak Cavalry Church in Thousand Oaks, California, said in a video posted to the church's website that he would hold the communion even though it's not listed as an essential service.

"We want to respect social distancing. We want to respect everything that’s requested of us, but we still want to have access to what is a sacrament," McCoy said in the video. "We will not violate a single CDC ordinance. No one is going to touch anything. No one is going to handshake, no one is going to hug."

He was elected to the Thousand Oaks City Council in 2015.

Philadelphia economy hit hard, over 1 million file for unemployment in Pennsylvania

and

858d ago / 10:46 PM UTC

With 25 hotels closed, nine major conventions cancelled, and dozens of restaurants closed or scaling back due to the spread of coronavirus, Philadelphia — which leans heavily on the tourism and hospitality industries — is seeing a loss of $163 million.

While some of the hotels are being used to house medical staff and the Liacouras Center is switching out its sporting events and concerts for temporary hospital beds, the workers typically employed in the hospitality industry — nearly 200,000 people in the region — are unable to work from home, instead faced with sudden lay-offs and some losing their health insurance. 

“Basically I’m on hold until all of this is over,” former bartender Tina Bolger told NBC News. She worked at the Philadelphia airport until last week, when she was laid off and told her health insurance expired as of April 1. She’s since had to file for unemployment, the check only amounting to half of what she’d normally make.

Pennsylvania is ranked second in the nation when it comes to unemployment claims, with more than one million in the state filing. 

Scotland's top medical officer resigns after flouting stay-home rules

858d ago / 10:11 PM UTC

Scotland’s chief medical officer resigned Sunday after she failed to follow her government’s coronavirus stay-at-home rules.

The resignation came after a local newspaper published photos of Dr. Catherine Calderwood at her second home in the coastal town of Fife. Calderwood had warned Scots that they should only leave home for essential travel.

Before her resignation, Scotland’s Chief Constable, Iain Livingstone, issued a warning to Calderhead, saying that police officers were putting themselves in harm's way to explain and enforce the rules the government had put in place. “Individuals must not make personal exemptions,” he said.

In a statement, Calderhead apologized for not following the rules and said she didn’t want to distract from the government’s response. "It is with a heavy heart that I resign as Chief Medical Officer," she said.

Queen Elizabeth II calls for 'good-humored resolve' as coronavirus deaths rise in U.K.

858d ago / 9:23 PM UTC
We apologize, this video has expired.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II urged her subjects to show the same “self-discipline” and “quiet good-humored resolve” that characterized previous generations in a rare address to the nation about the coronavirus epidemic on Sunday.

The monarch acknowledged the grief, financial difficulties and “enormous changes to the daily lives” felt by many families during “a time of disruption” in a pre-recorded televised address meant to rally the nation.

Read the full story here. 

Tiger at Bronx Zoo tests positive for coronavirus

858d ago / 9:14 PM UTC

A tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York City has tested positive for coronavirus and six other big cats are showing symptoms, the zoo said in a statement.

Nadia, a 4-year-old Malayan tiger, along with her sister, two Amur tigers and three African lions "had developed a dry cough," the zoo said. All seven animals are expected to make a full recovery, and seem to only be experiencing some decrease in appetite.

"We tested the cat out of an abundance of caution and will ensure any knowledge we gain about COVID-19 will contribute to the world’s continuing understanding of this novel coronavirus," the zoo said, adding the test result was confirmed by the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory.

The cats were infected by "a person caring for them who was asymptomatically infected with the virus or before that person developed symptoms," the zoo said.

Other big cats are not showing symptoms and the zoo said it has put "appropriate preventive measures" in place for the staff caring for the sick animals.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson taken to hospital due to persistent coronavirus symptoms

858d ago / 8:35 PM UTC

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was taken to the hospital for tests on Sunday, more than a week after he tested positive for coronavirus

Johnson's doctor advised he be taken to a hospital since Johnson experienced persistent symptoms ten days after testing positive, according to a statement from Number 10 Downing Street. His office insisted this was a precautionary measure. 

“The Prime Minister thanks NHS staff for all of their incredible hard work and urges the public to continue to follow the Government’s advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives," the prime minister's statement said. 

The news of Johnson's hospital visit comes a day after his pregnant partner, Carrie Symonds, said on Twitter that she was in recovery after a week of being bedridden with symptoms. Symonds said she was not tested for the virus. 

Ex-NFL kicker, Saints hero Tom Dempsey dies while battling coronavirus at 73

858d ago / 7:42 PM UTC
Image: Kicker Tom Dempsey
Kicker Tom Dempsey of the Philadelphia Eagles kicks a field goal during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Three Rivers Stadium, on Nov. 3, 1974 in Pittsburgh, Pa.Focus On Sport / Getty Images

NEW ORLEANS — Former NFL kicker Tom Dempsey, who played in the NFL despite being born without toes on his kicking foot and made a record 63-yard field goal, died late Saturday while struggling with complications from the coronavirus, his daughter said. He was 73.

Ashley Dempsey said Sunday that her father, who has resided in an assisted living home for several years after being diagnosed with dementia, tested positive for the coronavirus a little more than a week ago.

The Orleans Parish coroner has yet to release an official cause of death.

Read the full story here. 

Americans stranded in Russia as last passenger flight to U.S. is cancelled

858d ago / 7:26 PM UTC
Photo showing group of passengers waiting at Moscow Sheremetyevo International Airport after their flight was canceled.
Photo showing group of passengers waiting at Moscow Sheremetyevo International Airport after their flight was canceled.Grace Mitchell

A teacher whose father is suffering from cancer is one of scores of American citizens trapped in Russia after the last passenger flight to the U.S. was canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Grace Mitchell, 26, told NBC News she had no plans to leave her home in the city of Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia, until she got a phone call from her mother saying her father’s cancer had taken a turn for the worse.

“All we could do really was try to get the last flight out of Russia because if I don't get a flight soon then I probably won't see my dad ever again,” Mitchell said.

Read the full story here. 

Employees at a Los Angeles McDonald's strike after coworker tests positive

858d ago / 6:49 PM UTC

Employees at a Los Angeles McDonald's went on strike Sunday after their coworker tested positive for coronavirus. "We’re terrified for ourselves and our families," Bartolome Perez, one of the striking workers, said in a statement provided by Fight for $15 and a union representing the workers.

The group of workers at the Crenshaw Boulevard location is demanding a two-week quarantine period with full pay. They say the company has not provided them with personal protective equipment despite multiple requests.

"We’ve been pleading for protective equipment for more than a month now, but McDonald’s is putting its profits ahead of our health," said Perez, who has been working for the company for 30 years. "We don’t want to die for McDonald’s burgers and fries."

The workers say the drive-through and the tight quarters in the kitchen make it impossible to adhere to social distancing guidelines. "McDonald’s calls us essential workers, but it's not just our work that is essential,” one of the striking workers Maria Rodriguez said in a statement. “Our lives are essential, too."

In a statement to NBC News, the owner of the franchise, Nicole Enearu, said the location was closed and sanitized immediately after the worker tested positive.

"We are committed to paying both the infected employee and the other employees who need to quarantine," Enearu said, adding she believes the location has "an ample supply of gloves available to our employees."

Photo: India's Prime Minister calls for show of unity and solidarity

858d ago / 6:08 PM UTC
Image: India
Dibyangshu Sarkar / AFP - Getty Images

Residents release a paper lantern outside their home to observe a nine-minute vigil called by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a show of unity and solidarity in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in Kolkata on Sunday.

Coronavirus pandemic a perfect storm for LGBTQ homeless youth

858d ago / 5:40 PM UTC
Illustration of hand turning off lightbulbs in the colors of the LGBTQ flag.
Anke Gladnick / for NBC News

Finding a secure place to live has not been easy for 23-year-old Nez Marquez, who has experienced homelessness for the past five years. Born in Mexico and raised in New York, he said he left home at 18 because his family did not accept his gender identity and sexual orientation.

Marquez is now staying at Sylvia’s Place, an emergency shelter for LGBTQ young adults located on the bottom floor of a Manhattan church. He said shelters that specifically cater to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people are safer for him, because he has been subjected to homophobic attacks at general-population shelters. But now, in addition to anti-gay violence and the inherent dangers of life on the streets, Marquez has another fear: the coronavirus and its ripple effects.

Read the full story here. 

Woman needed stitches after anti-Asian hate crime attack on city bus, NYPD says

858d ago / 4:27 PM UTC
Image: anti-Asian bus attack
The unidentified female was in the company of three other females when they approached a 51-year-old female while on board an MTA bus.NYPD

Police are seeking a suspect after an Asian woman was injured in a hate crime attack on a city bus last week.

A 51-year-old Asian woman was on an MTA bus in the Bronx on March 28 when an unidentified woman and three teenage girls began making anti-Asian comments to her, according to the NYPD. The suspect then allegedly attacked her, hitting her on the head with an umbrella before fleeing the bus.

Read the full story here.

Porch portraits: Families pose during a pandemic

858d ago / 4:10 PM UTC
The Roderick family on their porch in Leesburg, Pa.
The Roderick family on their porch in Leesburg, Pa.Natriya Rampey

Families cooped up in their homes want something to do. Photographers want to take pictures.

From those twin desires is born a practice popping up around the country and across the border in Canada that some call "porch portraits."

People step outside their homes to pose. Photographers, keeping social distance, take photos."For the few minutes it takes to complete each shoot, spirits are lifted and attention averted, on both sides of the camera," she said.

Read the rest and see the portraits here.

Virus deaths slowing in hard-hit southern Europe

858d ago / 4:06 PM UTC

Fauci: 'We are struggling to get' the coronavirus outbreak 'under control'

858d ago / 3:51 PM UTC
Image: Dr. Anthony Fauci
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci takes part in the daily coronavirus briefing in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House on April 1, 2020.Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday the U.S. is "struggling" the get the novel coronavirus outbreak under control and warned Americans to prepare for the upcoming week "to be a bad week."

"So on the one hand, things are going to get bad and we need to be prepared for that," Fauci said. "It's going to be shocking to some. It's certainly is really disturbing to see that. But that's what's going to happen before it turns around. So just buckle down, continue to mitigate, continue to do the physical separation because we've got to get through this week that's coming up because it is going to be a bad week."

"I will not say we have it under control, that would be a false statement," he added. "We are struggling to get it under control. And that's the issue that's at hand right now. The thing that's important is that what you see is increases in new cases which then start to flatten out."

Read the full story here.

Deaths in New York state top 4,000

858d ago / 3:33 PM UTC

A total of 122,031 people in New York State have tested positive for COVID-19, up from 113,704 on Saturday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says — bringing the total number of cases in the tri-state to 161,431.

New York State has now seen 4,159 coronavirus-related deaths, up from 3,565 on Saturday, Cuomo said at a news conference on Sunday morning. New York City has seen 67,551 of the total novel coronavirus cases, including 4,245 new ones, according to the governor.

The state could be near or at its apex of new cases, but it will take a few more days of data to know for sure, Cuomo noted.

Read the full story here. 

Image: Paramilitary organization makes face masks in Iran

858d ago / 3:11 PM UTC
Image: Iran
Atta Kenare / AFP - Getty Images

Iranian women, members of paramilitary organisation Basij, make face masks and other protective items at a mosque in Tehran amid the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday. The spread of the virus in Iran has slowed for the fifth day in a row, according to official figures released today by authorities, who also announced plans for a gradual resumption of certain economic activities starting on April 11.

'The next week is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment,' surgeon general warns

858d ago / 3:00 PM UTC

WASHINGTON — Surgeon General Jerome Adams Sunday called on U.S. governors who haven’t issued statewide stay-at-home orders that combat the spread of coronavirus to at least “give us a week” of restrictions, as health officials warn of an accelerating rate of infections and deaths.

“The next week is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, it’s going to be our 9/11 moment, it’s going to be the hardest moment for many Americans in their entire lives. And we really need to understand that if we want to flatten that curve and get through to the other side, everyone needs to do their part,” he said during an interview on “Meet the Press.”

Read the full story here.

Biden suggests Democrats may hold 'virtual convention' amid coronavirus crisis

858d ago / 2:51 PM UTC
Image: Joe Biden
Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden speaks about COVID-19 in Wilmington, Delaware, on March 12, 2020.Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images file

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential frontrunner, said Sunday he thinks the Democrats may have to have "a virtual convention" later this summer amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"Well, we're going to have to do a convention, may have to do a virtual convention," Biden told ABC's "This Week" days after the Democratic Party postponed the event until mid-August. "I think we should be thinking about that right now. The idea of holding the convention is going to be necessary, but we may not be able to put 10, 20, 30,000 people in one place. That's very possible. Again, let's see where it is."

Read the full story here. 

Daily death toll in Spain drops for third day in a row

858d ago / 2:37 PM UTC
Image: Maria Porcel cries on the coffin of her mother, Concepcion Molero, who died at the age of 80 after contracting coronavirus in Spain on April 4, 2020.
Maria Porcel cries on the coffin of her mother, Concepcion Molero, who died at the age of 80 after contracting the virus in Spain on Saturday.David Ramos / Getty Images

The number of virus deaths has fallen for the third day in a row in Spain — showing some hope in the hard-hit country where more than 12,400 have died as of Sunday. On Saturday, the country reported 809 news deaths, and on Sunday it reported 674.

While Spain is second only to Italy in number of deaths and behind only the U.S. in number of reported infections, both Italy and Spain have recently seen a slowing of infections after weeks of lockdown.

Despite this, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Saturday in an address that he would ask parliament to extend lockdown measures by 15 days until April 26.

1st federal inmate to die of virus wrote heartbreaking letter to judge

858d ago / 1:43 PM UTC

In the months before the coronavirus infiltrated the U.S., a 49-year-old inmate began drafting a letter inside the walls of a federal prison in Louisiana. The man, Patrick Jones, had been locked up for nearly 13 years on a nonviolent drug charge. He hadn’t seen his youngest son, then 16, since the boy was a toddler.

He was now writing the judge in the hope of receiving a sentence reduction through the newly-signed First Step Act, which offered relief to some inmates convicted of nonviolent drug crimes.

“My child having his own experience of raising his own child would validate my life experience and give meaning to my existence in this world, because 83582-180 has no meaning,” he wrote, referring to his federal inmate number.

The judge denied the request on Feb. 26, 2020. Twenty two days later, Patrick Estell Jones was dead, the first federal inmate to die of the coronavirus.

Read the whole story here.

Iran's president says 'low risk' economic activity to resume next week

858d ago / 1:13 PM UTC

Iran recorded 2,483 new cases from the past 24 hours, the country's Health Ministry said Sunday. This brought the total to 58,226 confirmed cases in the worst-hit country in the Middle East

While more than 22,000 of those people have recovered, another 151 people died from the respiratory illness in the country bringing the total number to 3,603 which is up by 151 from the day before, the ministry said. 

However, Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani said in a TV address on Sunday that “low-risk” economic activities would resume on April 11, but that schools, universities and religious venues will remain closed until April 19.

CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings or masks: what you need to know

858d ago / 12:47 PM UTC

Queen to call for 'good-humoured resolve' as virus deaths rise in U.K.

858d ago / 12:01 PM UTC
Image: Queen Elizabeth after recording her annual Christmas Day message at Windsor Castle in England on Dec. 23, 2019.
Queen Elizabeth normally only speaks to the nation during her annual Christmas Day message, which she is pictured doing here in December.Steve Parsons / AFP - Getty Images file

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II will urge her subjects to show the same “self-discipline” and “quiet good-humoured resolve” that characterized previous generations in a rare address to the nation about the coronavirus epidemic on Sunday.

The monarch will acknowledge the grief, financial difficulties and “enormous changes to the daily lives” felt by many families during “a time of disruption” in a pre-recorded televised address meant to rally the nation.

"I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge. And those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any," the 93-year-old will say, according to extracts released by Buckingham Palace.

Her speech comes as the number of deaths from the respiratory illness in the U.K. climbed over 4,300 on Saturday.

Read the full story here.

Pandemic means Palm Sunday and Holy Week will be held at home

and

858d ago / 11:18 AM UTC

On Palm Sunday, the pandemic has challenged Christian churches around the world to find socially distant ways to begin the Holy Week and to mark the final week of Lent.

Pope Francis — the center of the Catholic church — will be celebrating Mass for Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and Easter in a near-empty St. Peter’s Basilica, instead of the huge square outside filled with Catholics due to Italy's lockdown.

In Argentina, the archbishopric of La Plata encouraged the faithful to use any type of plant at home for a “virtual” blessing during a livestream of Palm Sunday service.

Millions of American Christians will observe Palm Sunday at home this weekend, as the vast majority of U.S. churches have moved services online to comply with stay-at-home rules.

Residents told to wear masks outside at all times in Italy's Lombardy region

858d ago / 10:43 AM UTC
Image: Protective masks bearing the names of medical staffers and nurses are pictured pinned to a wall
Protective masks bearing the names of medical staffers and nurses are pictured pinned to a wall on April 2 at the operative field hospital for coronavirus patients in Lombardy, Italy.Miguel Medina / AFP - Getty Images

Residents in Italy's virus-ravaged Lombardy region will be required to wear masks at all times when they go outside until at least April 13, government officials said Sunday.  

They added that an additional 180 police officers will be deployed to patrol the streets of Milan — Italy’s financial hub and one of the region's main cities. 

The decree was issued as new figures showed 25 nurses and 80 doctors died across Italy as of Sunday, health officials said.

Italy has reported a national death toll of more than 15,000 as of Sunday. However, it has started to see the number of infections leveling off after weeks of nationwide shutdown.

Dubai extends around the clock lockdown for two weeks

858d ago / 10:01 AM UTC

Dubai entered an extended two-week lockdown late Saturday night as Gulf states work to limit the virus outbreak. The emirate had been under an overnight curfew along with the rest of the UAE since March 26 but the lockdown will now continue to run around the clock, officials said. The UAE has more than 1,500 reported cases as of Sunday.

In a city known for luxury and a lively nightlife scene, people will only be able leave their homes except for essential purposes and just one family member is permitted to go out at any one time. People working in vital sectors will not be affected.

In neighboring Saudi Arabia, the authorities also announced a lockdown and a partial curfew also starting this weekend, the interior ministry said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia is the country worst hit by the pandemic in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council group of Arab oil monarchies. It has reported more than 2,000 cases.

U.K. PM Johnson’s fiancee says she is ‘on the mend’ from virus symptoms

858d ago / 9:09 AM UTC

Carrie Symonds, fiancee of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said she is “on the mend” Saturday, after a week suffering from symptoms of COVID-19. 

“Being pregnant with Covid-19 is obviously worrying,” she wrote on Twitter although she admitted she had not been tested for the respiratory illness. She went on to offer the latest medical guidance to other pregnant women.

Britain's Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says babies are unlikely to be exposed to COVID-19 during pregnancy, and as of now there is also no data suggesting an increased risk of miscarriage.

Johnson himself tested positive for the virus on March 26 and remains quarantined until further notice.

858d ago / 8:26 AM UTC

Tokyo governor urges Japanese government to declare state of emergency

859d ago / 8:04 AM UTC

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has once again urged the central government of Japan to declare a state of emergency, after 118 new cases of the virus were confirmed on Saturday.

“Until now, I have ‘asked’ everyone to exercise ‘self restraint.’ But we really need to be able to issue a ‘demand’, or even ‘instructions’ with firm legal foundation,” she said at a press conference on Saturday.

In order to do that, the national government needs to declare a state of emergency, she said.  

The number of cases in Japan is on the rise — particularly in its capital city — with more than 3,000 cases in the country. The government's “slow” reaction to the pandemic has also caused unease among business owners in Japan.

Massachusetts prisons locked down after inmate deaths

859d ago / 5:02 AM UTC

Massachusetts prisons are on lockdown following the deaths of multiple inmates, the state's Department of Corrections said Saturday.

Beginning Friday, the corrections department is strictly limiting movement within its facilities to allow for greater social distancing. Staff have also been instructed to use personal protective equipment if they need to be within 6 feet of an individual or in an area with inmates who have tested positive for coronavirus. Inmates will eat meals in their units.

Previously, screening areas were implemented throughout the state's 16 prisons. People seeking to enter the facilities must have their temperatures taken and "surveyed for risk factors," according to the corrections department.

An inmate in his 50s died earlier this week from COVID-19, NBC Boston reported. On Saturday, another inmate died from the virus, according to Boston radio station WBUR.

Italians told to keep staying home as infections level off

859d ago / 4:23 AM UTC
An almost deserted Piazza del Popolo in Rome on Saturday.
An almost deserted Piazza del Popolo in Rome on Saturday.Sipa USA via AP

ROME — The government is demanding Italians stay home and not take the leveling off of new coronavirus infections as a sign the emergency is over. The demand follows evidence that more and more Italians are relaxing restrictions.

Top government and regional officials took to national television Saturday after photos were published in leading daily Corriere della Sera and La Stampa showing huge crowds of people out shopping in Naples, Rome, Genoa and even the Veneto city of Padua.

Lombardy vice governor Fabrizio Sala claimed cell phone date showed 38 percent percent of the region’s people were out and about. That’s the highest figure since March 20.

First case confirmed in Falkland Islands

859d ago / 4:10 AM UTC

LONDON — The first case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in the Falkland Islands, a remote British territory in the South Atlantic.

The islands’ government says the patient was admitted to a hospital on Tuesday from the Mount Pleasant Complex, a Royal Air Force base. The patient was in stable condition and  not on a ventilator. The Falklands’ chief medical officer Dr. Rebecca Edwards, said authorities were working with the British military on tracing people who may have come into contact with the patient.

The U.K., which maintains a permanent military presence on the islands, has sent in extra army medics to help with the fight against the new coronavirus.

The islands have a population of about 3,000 and lie off the coast of South America. Britain and Argentina fought a 1982 war over the islands, known to the Argentines as the Malvinas.

NY gets 1,100 ventilators with help from China, Oregon

859d ago / 2:59 AM UTC

New York secured a planeload of ventilators from China on Saturday, and Oregon was sending a shipment of its own to battle the coronavirus pandemic at its U.S. core, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. But the governor's startling plan to force hospitals elsewhere in the state to give spare ventilators to the fight in New York City apparently hadn't yet materialized, a day after he ordered them to surrender 20 percent of any unused supply to the National Guard for temporary redistribution.

The state got 1,000 ventilators after the Chinese government facilitated a donation from billionaires Jack Ma and Joseph Tsai, the co-founders of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, Cuomo said. He added that the state of Oregon had volunteered to send 140 more breathing machines.

The influx offered some hope after the governor repeatedly warned that the state’s supply of the vital machines would be exhausted in days if the number of critically ill coronavirus patients kept growing at the current rate.

“It’s going to make a significant difference for us,” Cuomo said.