25.03.2020 Live Reporting

Coronavirus updates As it happens (2020-03-25)

Coronavirus updates As it happens (2020-03-25)
LISTEN MAR 25, 2020
Mar 25, 2020

Canada backs $57bn coronavirus relief bill

Canada's multi-billion-dollar relief package to respond to the coronavirus slowdown has passed in the House of Commons.

It allows the government to spend C$82bn ($57bn, £48bn) in emergency aid and economic stimulus.

The bill received approval on Wednesday with support from all parties.

It must now go to the Senate for approval.

Legislators passed the package, worth about 3% of the country's GDP, after a debate that went into the early morning hours.


The number of MPs in the House of Commons was kept at a minimum to allow for social distancing - Reuters

Mar 25, 2020

Prince Charles 'not contagious until 13 March'

By Jonny Dymond BBC royal correspondent

Royal doctors advise that Prince Charles would not have been contagious up until 13 March - a day after his last public engagement.

They are working on presumably his symptoms, the date he has taken the test and their understanding of where he is now in the virus' path.

We are waiting to see if there will be further statements or broadcasts from the Royal Family.

Our understanding is that the Queen will speak to the nation - only extraordinary circumstances prompt that and this is exactly that circumstance.

But the feeling is that the palace does not want any message from the Royal Family to get in the way of the more urgent messages from the government.

Any broadcast will be fairly carefully timed.

Mar 25, 2020

Coronavirus in Latin America - latest updates

By BBC News

As the virus continues to spread across the continent, here are the latest updates from the region:

  • Colombia begins a period of “mandatory preventive isolation” today meaning people all over the country will have to stay in their homes. Exceptions include medical appointments, shopping for essential goods like food, medicine and cleaning products, and going to the bank.
  • Paraguay is the latest Latin American country to close its borders. The government announced on Tuesday that they would remain sealed until Sunday following a second death in the country from coronavirus.
  • Mexico has called on businesses to stop employment that involves the movement of people from their homes to their workplaces. The country has entered the second stage of coronavirus transmission, meaning it has detected a case that has been passed from person to person locally, rather than coming from abroad.
  • Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro has criticised the media for "fear-mongering" and has called on mayors and governors to roll back restrictions they have introduced to curb the spread. Mr Bolsonaro added that people aged over 60 were at risk, but most people - including himself - had nothing to fear. Over 2,200 cases of the virus have been reported in the country. The president has been accused of having a cavalier attitude to the pandemic.


Mar 25, 2020

Putin postpones public vote on constitution

By Sarah Rainsford BBC Moscow Correspondent

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said a vote on constitutional reform – which would allow him to stay in power for another two terms – will be postponed to a later date for health and safety reasons, due to the coronavirus crisis.

Mar 25, 2020

What's the latest in the US?

As the US wakes up, here's a quick summary of the latest headlines from around the country:

  • And after 802 deaths and 55,225 confirmed infections, America is more than midway through a 15-day attempt to slow the spread of the virus through social distancing
  • Earlier, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that it could become the new epicentre of the virus


Mar 25, 2020

Holland reports 80 more deaths

Dutch authorities have confirmed 80 more virus-related deaths in the country during the last 24 hours. They also confirmed 852 additional cases.

This latest figures bring the total to 6,412 cases and 356 deaths in the country of 17 million.

The Netherlands' health ministry stressed the actual number of infections will be higher because not everyone has been tested.

A ban on public gatherings has been extended until 1 June to help fight the Netherlands' outbreak.


Mar 25, 2020

COVID-19: China Told To Share Experience

China has been urged to share with Ghana and the rest of the world its experience on how it managed to combatand subdue the coronavirus outbreak.

This is crucial to achieving the complete eradication of the virus, which has been declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a global pandemic.



Mar 25, 2020

Nursing homes warn France's coronavirus mortality higher than reported

France registered 1,100 deaths due to Covid-19 as of Tuesday, but nursing homes in regions most affected by the coronavirus say the official figures are missing many cases and that real mortality is much higher. 

In reading his daily tally of new cases and deaths of Covid-19 in France, director general for health Jérome Salomon said Tuesday evening the 1,100 deaths recorded to date reflected those cases who had died in hospital.

He acknowledged nursing homes were a site of high mortality due to the new coronavirus and that "deaths in hospital probably represent a small part of the overall mortality." 



Mar 25, 2020

Sierra Leone announces year-long state of emergency despite no confirmed coronavirus

Authorities in Sierra Leone on Tuesday declared a 12-month state of emergency to help deal with the spread of the coronavirus. The West African country, which was ravaged during the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak, has yet to record a confirmed case of Covid-19, but President Julius Maada Bio said Sierra Leone needed to take "effective measures". 

“The coronavirus disease is a highly infectious disease that constitutes a public emergency of international concern," said Maada Bio during an address on television, highlighting the risk to human life and potential economic disruption. 

Sierra Leone's neighbours Guinea and Liberia have both reported confirmed cases of Covid-19 and Maada Bio had already outlined measures to restrict the spread of the virus as well as provide testing and treatment. 


© AFP - Kola Sulaimon© AFP - Kola Sulaimon

Mar 25, 2020

'Who will feed us?': viral shutdown hits N. Africa's precarious workers

In Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, workers in informal jobs fear not only the novel coronavirus, but how they will survive emergency measures that have cut off their livelihoods.

"We are stuck at home, with no work and no pay," said Hakim, a 30-year-old father who until last week worked in a bar-restaurant in the Moroccan capital Rabat.

His boss told employees he wouldn't pay them for the month of March, but Hakim said they can't do anything about it.


The Moroccan military has deployed personnel in the streets to instruct people to remain at home.  By FADEL SENNA (AFP)The Moroccan military has deployed personnel in the streets to instruct people to remain at home. By FADEL SENNA (AFP)

Mar 25, 2020

South Africa prepares for coronavirus lockdown as cases spike

South African health authorities said on Wednesday that coronavirus cases had jumped by 155 over a 24-hour period, although the country has yet to record any deaths. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases said it had confirmed 709 cases of Covid-19 with Gauteng and Western Cape provinces the hardest hit.

“We are expecting that there is still going to be quite an increase in the numbers of cases and we also expect that a lot of work has to be done by South Africans to contain this infection,” South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize told the SABC state broadcaster on Wednesday morning. 

South Africa is expected to go into lockdown at midnight on Thursday with restrictions in place for three weeks.  


© AFP - Phill Magakoe© AFP - Phill Magakoe

Mar 25, 2020

COVID-19: Security Analyst Laments His Mandatory Quarantine Without Information

Security Analyst Colonel Festus Aboagye, who is under mandatory quarantine after landing in the country three days ago, says the government is failing to provide them with relevant information as to the conditions with which they are to live in isolation.

After President Nana Akufo-Addo announced that the government will begin a mandatory quarantine of all travellers arriving in Ghana, this directive was immediately put into action with military personnel escorting all travellers who landed at the Kotoka International Airport to various hotels to observe a 14-day isolation period to test for the virus.



Mar 25, 2020

Coronavirus: Sales Drop In Assin South, Central And North

Players in the funeral industry in Assin North, Assin South and Assin Central areas have bemoaned low sales since President Akufo-Addo's directive banning all social gatherings to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

They described the low level of sales as unprecedented and a serious drain on their income – affecting their investments and business expansions.



Mar 25, 2020

COVID-19: Noguchi Gets Support

Sunda International Group, a Chinese multinational trade enterprises, and its partner, Keda Ceramics, have donated detergents to Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research.

The items include softcare, Dr X Medicated Soap, Kleesoft, Dr K Savon Medical Soap, Athene Beauty Soap, among others.



Mar 25, 2020

Coronavirus: Ghana Receives Jack Ma’s Medical Supplies To Combat Spread

Ghana has taken delivery of its share of medical supplies including Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) donated to African countries by businessman Jack Ma and his Alibaba Foundation to help fight the Coronavirus spread.

The Minister of Health, Kweku Agyeman Manu who received the items at the Kotoka International Airport on Wednesday said they will be distributed to the relevant health facilities.



Mar 25, 2020

COVID-19 And Ghana My Motherland...

Coronavirus also known as COVID-19 is affecting 197 countries and territories around the world. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.



Mar 25, 2020

Colonial-era treaties are to blame for the unresolved dispute over Ethiopia's dam

Disputes over the filling and operation of Ethiopia's Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam have, once again, threatened security in North-East Africa.

The dam – a huge project on one of the River Nile's main tributaries, the Blue Nile in Ethiopia – is designed to generate 6,000 megawatts of electricity. Its reservoir can hold more than 70 billion cubic metres of water. That's nearly equal to half of the Nile's annual flow. Filling the immense reservoir will diminish the flow of the Nile.

Tensions have been particularly acute between Egypt and Ethiopia because more than 80% of the water reaching Egypt comes from the Blue Nile.


Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy Seleshi Bekele (C) attends a meeting with his Egyptian and Sudanese counterparts, in Khartoum, Sudan, 21 December 2019. 
 - Source: EPA-EFE/MARWAN ALIEthiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy Seleshi Bekele (C) attends a meeting with his Egyptian and Sudanese counterparts, in Khartoum, Sudan, 21 December 2019. - Source: EPA-EFE/MARWAN ALI

Mar 25, 2020

US agrees $2 trillion Covid-19 rescue plan, the largest in American history

The White House and Senate have reached agreement on a $2 trillion stimulus package for the US economy. With over 44,000 cases, the US is now the third most affected country in the world after China and Italy.

"At last, we have a deal," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, hailing the massive "wartime level of investment into our nation" reached after five days of arduous and tense negotiations.

"We have a bipartisan agreement on the largest rescue package in American history," top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said shortly after McConnell spoke.


© REUTERS/Jim Bourg© REUTERS/Jim Bourg

Mar 25, 2020

Nearly 1.4 billion people in India now under lockdown as Covid-19 cases soar

With India declaring a three week lockdown to break the coronavirus transmission chain, the government is bracing for the worst.

As the biggest shutdown in the world began Wednesday, people across cities and towns in India were scrambling to markets, pharmacies and stores to stock up their supplies.

A logistical nightmare
Although most of these services were exempt from the lockdown, pandemonium was prevalent across the country.  Restrictions were placed on commerce and movement across the country with police manning state borders to prevent vehicular traffic.


325202013720-ptkwn0y442-2020 03 25-india-under-lockdown© RFI

Mar 25, 2020

Coivd-19 lockdown brings cleaner air to Paris region

A virtual halt in road and air traffic due to confinement measures to fight Covid-19 has made for drastic improvements in air quality and reduced greenhouse gas emissions in the Paris region, an air quality monitor said Tuesday.

Even if they have limited opportunities to enjoy it at the moment, Parisians have rarely breathed cleaner air.

The air in the Paris region was 20 to 30 percent cleaner in the first days of nationwide confinement last week, compared with usual levels the same period, air quality monitor Airparif reported Tuesday. 



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