COVID-19 Live Updates

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MAR 16, 2020 LISTEN
Mar 16, 2020

Coronavirus: Churches Welcome Akufo-Addo's Directive

Churches in Ghana are enforcing the ban on religious activities in the country.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference, Methodist Church, Ghana, Seventh-Day Adventist Churches among other religious institutions have suspended church activities in response to the directive given by President Nana Akufo-Addo.

While addressing the nation on Sunday, March 15, 2020, President Akufo-Addo announced new public gathering advisories to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Read more....

Mar 16, 2020

Coronavirus: NIA Refuses To Abort Ghana Card Registration

The National Identification Authority (NIA) says it will continue with the Ghana Card registration despite the misgivings from some of its officers of the novel coronavirus.

The NIA has released guidelines for its officers in line with the government’s new directives on public gatherings to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in Ghana.

Ghana has so far recorded six cases of coronavirus.

Some NIA officers who had reached out to Citi News anonymously expressed concern about the absence of protective measures.



Mar 16, 2020

France to mobilise 100,000 police to enforce lockdown

France will deploy 100,000 police officers to ensure that people abide by restrictions on movement to avoid the spread of coronavirus, its interior minister has said.

Christophe Castaner said people who venture outside their homes will have to justify their reason for doing so.

Speaking at a news conference, he said people may be fined if they break the rules.

Exceptions will be made in some circumstances, including for travel between home and work, Mr Castaner said.

"Too many people still disregard the health instructions given," Mr Castaner said.

His announcement comes after French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled a series of drastic new measures designed to stem the spread of coronavirus.

From Tuesday, people should stay at home unless they are buying groceries, travelling to work, exercising or seeking medical care, Mr Macron said.

Mar 16, 2020

Russia bans entry to foreigners until May

Russia has temporarily banned all foreigners from entering the country, following other nations worldwide in restricting travel over the coronavirus pandemic.

The ban will come into effect on 18 March and will remain in place until 1 May, the government said on Monday.

Exceptions will be made for diplomats and permanent residents. Some 93 cases of the virus have been reported so far in Russia.

Russia has been accused of spreading disinformation about the new coronavirus outbreak on social media. It has flatly denied those allegations.

It has also been slow compared to other countries in starting testing. This has led to speculation that the real number of cases is much higher than reported.

Russia's government says up to 100,000 testing kits are being produced daily to start testing in large numbers.

Mar 16, 2020

Postponing US elections 'unnecessary', Trump says

President Trump has rebuffed growing calls for US elections to be postponed, calling such a move "unnecessary".

Four US states - Ohio, Illinois, Florida and Arizona - are scheduled to host primaries for the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday.

Ohio’s Republican governor Mike DeWine has said he will file a lawsuit to postpone the election in his state until 2 June, 2020.

In his news conference at the White House, Mr Trump did not seem open to the suggestion of postponement.

"Postponing elections is not a very good thing," Mr Trump said. "I think postponing is unnecessary."

He suggested elections could be held safely by "spreading people out".

“They have lots of room in lots of electoral places,” Mr Trump said.


President Trump said postponing US elections would be "unnecessary" - Getty Image

Mar 16, 2020

The Netherlands in lockdown deomonstrates Dutch priorities: hoarding cannabis

On Sunday, the Dutch cabinet announced, after a weekend of discussion, that from March 16 through April 6, schools, restaurants bars and clubs will have to close. This also includes the world-famous coffee shops, better known for their provision of cannabis. Soon after the announcement, long queues formed with people hunting to stock up on dope.

Read our main story here.


Mar 16, 2020

Coronavirus spreads to Tanzania, Somalia, as East Africa goes into lockdown

Tanzania and Somalia became the latest East African countries on Monday to confirm their first coronavirus cases, as neighbouring countries shut borders and schools amid fears of contagion.

A 46-year-old Tanzanian woman tested positive for the illness after returning from Belgium on 15 March, where she had been staying with a relative sick coronavirus.

Read our main story here.


Mar 16, 2020

European Union to shut borders - Macron

In his press conference just now, the French president announced that the European Union would be closing its external borders on Tuesday.

We knew this drastic measure was set to be discussed by the EU's 27 leaders but were not expecting Mr Macron to announce it this evening.

It remains unclear if all states have formally agreed to it.

Earlier, the EU Commission chief Ursula Von der Leyen said she was proposing temporary restriction on "non-essential travel to the EU" for an initial period of 30 days.

She said EU citizens and long-term residents and their family members would be exempt, along with workers who commute across borders, those delivering goods and those involved in the fight against the coronavirus.

The UK government would not be obliged to apply the ban, and UK citizens would not be affected by it, says the BBC's Brussels correspondent Adam Fleming.

The UK has left the EU but is currently in a transition period.

Several EU states including Germany and Spain have already announced border closures with EU neighbours.


Mar 16, 2020

US recession could be on horizon - Trump

President Trump has said the US could be heading for a recession due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Reporters at the White House press conference are deliberately putting empty seats between them, in a social distancing effort.

The US government has faced strong criticism for its slow pace of testing. Mr Trump said that before instituting mass testing, South Korea had experienced "tremendous problems and great numbers of death".

"This is something that is an invisible enemy," he said, adding that there was now a cross-party effort to fight it.

"My focus is on getting rid of this problem. This virus problem. After that everything else is going to fall into place."

"We're gonna back the airlines 100 percent. It's not their fault its nobody's fault," he continued, but added: "Unless you go to the regional source."

Read our main story here.

Mar 16, 2020

Coronavirus: Akufo-Addo Urges Pharmaceutical Industry To Help Fight Spread

President Akufo-Addo has urged members of the pharmaceutical industry to help the government fight the spread of the coronavirus.

The president who described the situation as a crisis says all hands must be on deck to help the country fight this novel disease.

Read more..


Mar 16, 2020

Confirmed: Weija-Gbawe Hospital Quarantines One Suspected Victim Of COVID-19

A United Kingdom (UK) based Ghanaian lady, 38, has been quarantined by the Weija-Gbawe Municipal Hospital (Annex) on suspicion of the deadly Coronavirus.

Deputy Director of Nursing Services at the hospital, Madam Cynthia Lamptey, disclosed this to Journalists on Monday, March 16, 2020 when the Parliamentary candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Cleland Ayaa Ayison, went to the hospital to donate hand sanitizers and tissues as part of awareness creation on the deadly pandemic.

Read more....


Mar 16, 2020

UK measures could last months

Asked how long the new advice on avoiding social contact will last for, UK chief medical adviser Prof Chris Whitty says it will be a "minimum of weeks to months".

"Depending how it goes it, it may be longer," he adds.

He says it is important that people realise the measures will need to be in place for the "long haul" if the National Health Service is to be protected.

"We've got to see this as a long game," he adds.


Prof Chris Whitty, PM Boris Johnson and Sir Patrick Vallance take questions from the press

Mar 16, 2020

Germany follows France in closing many public venues

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced a series of sweeping self-distancing measures in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus in the country.

While in the UK, people are being urged not to go to pubs and restaurants and other places of social contact, they are not being forcibly closed.

Germany, like France and other western European countries, is going about things differently.

Speaking at a news conference, Mrs Merkel said said most shops would be closed along with other public venues such as bars, clubs, theatres and swimming pools.

Restaurant opening hours will be limited, with rules setting out a minimum distance between tables enforced, she said.

On the question of travel, Mrs Merkel has said that people in Germany should not undertake personal trips either in or out of the country.

It is not yet clear whether this amounts to a total ban on travel.

Mrs Merkel said the government would attempt to minimise the economic impact of these measures. She said the G7 - the world's seven largest economies - had agreed to cooperate to on this front.


Mrs Merkel announced the measures at a news conference in Berlin, Germany

Mar 16, 2020

'Test, test, test' - World Health Organization

We've been listening in to the World Health Organization's daily press conference.

Here are some key lines:

  • WHO director Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus repeated one simple message to governments - "test, test, test"
  • The WHO has shipped 1.5m tests to 120 countries, he said, but warned the world had not sufficiently escalated testing measures, calling it the "backbone of stopping the spread" of the pandemic
  • He advised countries to test every suspected case of coronavirus, and then isolate positive cases. Anyone in contact with patients two days before they showed symptoms should also be tested, he said
  • In the absence of hospital facilities for mild cases, patients can be cared for at home but patients should not share a bed or a bathroom with uninfected family members, and they should be cared for by just one family member, ideally someone in good health
  • Although those aged over 60 are most at risk, children have also died from Covid-19


Mar 16, 2020

How fast cases are growing outside China

If you look at the chart above, you'll understand why the number of confirmed infections outside China (97 has now exceeded the number in China.

Cases have been rising rapidly in the thousands across the world, with Europe hit particularly hard. Meanwhile, new cases in China have slowed to a trickle - just 16 were announced on Monday.

Italy, so far, has the highest number of confirmed infections outside China, with more than 20,000 cases and more than 1,800 deaths.

See more of our visual guide to the pandemic.


Mar 16, 2020

US Supreme Court shuts for first time since 1918

The US Supreme Court - which had already closed its doors to the public due to the rapidly-spreading coronavirus - has announced that it will not hear legal arguments this month.

The suspension of trial arguments marks the first time since 1918 that the Supreme Court has taken such a drastic move.

In announcing the decision, the court cited previous closures during the Spanish flu in the early 1900s and the yellow fever outbreak in the 18th Century.

There were several major cases set to be argued before the top US court, including one regarding the battle over President Trump's efforts to shield his tax returns and financial records.

Most Supreme Court justices are elderly, putting them among the population most at risk from Covid-19.

Under the US constitution, the Supreme Court and other federal courts make up one of three branches of the federal government. The others are the legislative branch (Congress) and the executive branch (White House).


Mar 16, 2020

Coronavirus: Gov't Approves Law To Punish Flouters Of Akufo-Addo's Directive

The government through the Attorney General is set to seek parliamentary approval for emergency legislation to punish groups or persons who go contrary to the national ban on mass gathering following the outbreak of COVID-19 in Ghana.

Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, says the move is to avert a higher rate of infection among the citizens.



Mar 16, 2020

Coronavirus: Mahama Urges Gov’t To Outline Plans To Protect Economy

Former President John Dramani Mahama has criticized the government for failing to address the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic on the country's economy.

In an address on Facebook, the NDC flagbearer accused the government of the doing little to cushion Ghana from a plunge in economic activities as a result of COVID-19.

Mr. Mahama added that the Government must release its plan on how to keep the economy afloat.



Mar 16, 2020

Germany to shutter most shops, bars, churches

Germany's federal and state governments have agreed sweeping rules shutting everything from non-essential shops to bars, clubs, theatres, museums, brothels and churches in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the federal government said.

In a statement, the government said grocery shops, markets, banks, pharmacies and delivery services would remain open, while restaurants and other eating establishments would generally be allowed to open between 6am and 6pm.

Meanwehile, airlines will temporarily be allowed to take off and land from Frankfurt Airport during the night, the transport minister for the regional government of Hesse said, adding that it was essential Germany's largest airport continued to operate.

Mar 16, 2020

Italy death toll rises by 202: Reuters

The death toll the coronavirus outbreak in the northern Italian region of Lombardy has risen over the past day to 1,420 from 1,218, two sources with access to the data told Reuters New Agency.

The number of new cases in the region, which includes Italy's financial capital Milan, had risen by 1,377 over the past 24 hours - a slower rate of increase than seen recently.

The latest national death toll figures are due to be released later in the day. On Sunday, the country-wide tally stood at 1,809.

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