Cabinet minister Michael Gove said the UK government is “very concerned” about the rising number of deaths and infections.

Gove told Sky News that Britain is now carrying out 10,000 tests per day to diagnose whether a person is infected, adding the government was doing “all that we can” to “accelerate” the numbers of tests.

Qatar Airways will continue to operate flights as long as necessary to get stranded travellers home but might run out of cash soon, Reuters reported.

The airline’s chief executive, Akbar al-Baker, said: “We have enough cash to take us through a very short period of time,” adding that it would eventually have to seek support from its owner, the Qatar government.

Qatar Airways is one of few global carriers to continue operating after the coronavirus outbreak reduced global travel demand drastically over the past weeks.

at 9.23am BST

Domestic abuse victims are allowed to leave home to seek help despite the lockdown rules, the home secretary has said.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Priti Patel said restrictions imposed on the population by the government to stay indoors were even more challenging for people whose “home is not the safe haven it should be”.

Police and campaigners had previously said the instruction to stay indoors poses risks for domestic abuse victims.

“I am acutely aware that the necessary guidelines about social distancing and self-isolation may leave the victims of hidden crime, such as domestic abuse and child sexual abuse, feeling especially isolated, vulnerable and exposed,” Patel wrote.

“But my message to every potential victim is simple: we have not forgotten you and we will not let you down.

“And my message to every perpetrator is equally as simple: you will not get away with your crimes.”

at 9.23am BST

Here my colleague Harriet Sherwood’s story on how the Covid-19 outbreak is driving midwife shortages in the UK.

The NHS shortage of midwives has doubled since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, she reports, with one in five midwifery posts now unfilled, raising concerns about the safety of pregnant women, new mothers and newborn babies.

The world’s largest glove maker, Malaysia’s Top Glove Corporation Bhd, which makes one in every five gloves globally, expects a product shortage as demand from Europe and the United States is exceeding its capacity, Reuters reports.

The company has extended shipping times to cope with the demand surge, according to executive chairman Lim Wee Chai.

Lim said orders received in the past few weeks, mainly from Europe and the United States, were almost double the company’s production capacity. Top Glove can produce 200 million natural and synthetic rubber gloves a day.

A 33-year-old member of staff of the Louisiana governor, John Bel Edwards, has died from complications with Covid-19, CNN reports.

April Dunn served in the governor’s Office of Disability Affairs.

“It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of our dear April,” Edwards said. “She brightened everyone’s day with her smile, was a tremendous asset to our team and an inspiration to everyone who met her.

“She lived her life to the fullest and improved the lives of countless Louisianans with disabilities. April worked hard as an advocate for herself and other members of the disability community.”

at 9.01am BST

My colleagues Patrick Greenfield and Erin McCormick have written a story about the crisis-stricken cruise liner Zaandam, which is trying to reach Florida.

Hi all, I am taking over the blog from my colleague Helen Davidson.

If you want to get my attention with an update on the Covid-19 situation, please flag either on Twitter @JedySays or email me at [email protected]

Here’s a wrap of today’s developments, leading on the news that the US infectious diseases authority, the CDC, has urged millions of residents in three states touching the New York City region to avoid non-essential travel, citing extensive spread of coronavirus among the population.

Japan has reported a record daily increase in cases, with 68 mew confirmed diagnoses on Sunday.

Infections in Japan have climbed to more than 1,700, with 55 deaths as of early Sunday, excluding those from a cruise ship quarantined last month, broadcaster NHK reported.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has asked the tens of millions of people in the city and surrounding regions to avoid non-essential, non-urgent outings until 12 April, particularly this weekend.

There has been enormous concern about efforts taken – in multiple countries – to protect inmates from the virus, including in the US.

On Saturday the federal bureau of prisons announced Patrick Jones, a 49-year-old prisoner in Louisiana who was serving a 27-year prison term for a drug charge, had become the first federal inmate to die from Covid-19.

According to the BOP’s website on Saturday, there were five inmates who have tested positive for Covid-19 at Oakdale, Reuters reports.

Criminal justice advocates and prison union officials have in recent days called on the Justice Department to do more to try and prevent the spread of the virus.

Critics have said the Justice Department should fast-track the release of non-violent offenders who qualify based on age and pre-existing conditions.

In Australia, group of more than 100 lawyers in Victoria have called for the release of some prisoners during the pandemic, focusing on those who are vulnerable, close to parole, or with fewer than six months to go on their sentence.

“The prison system is not an island and is not immune from the ravages of COVID-19,” they wrote to government.

“It will enter into the system creating intense hotspots, presenting extreme risk to prison and wider communities. Prisoners will be subject to lockdown, social isolation and isolation from their families. Their mortality rates will be higher in custody than if they were in the community.

Allowing this unnecessary exposure to a potentially deadly infection to the listed classes of prisoner will be such as to amount to torture.”

From Reuters:

Cambodia reported one new case of the coronavirus on Sunday, bringing the total to 103 as the country prepares to tighten entry requirements for foreign nationals to try to curb the spread of the virus.

The new case is a 30-year-old woman who worked in a karaoke club in Cambodia’s northwestern Banteay Meanchey province, the Ministry of Health said in a statement. A total of 21 patients have recovered since January, the ministry said.

Cambodia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said on Friday it cancel visas on arrival for foreign nationals for one month, effective midnight of March 30, to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Foreign nationals wishing to travel to Cambodia must obtain a prior visa abroad and they must have medical certificate “certifying that he/she has not tested positive” with the virus, the ministry said.

In addition, the must show proof of medical insurance with coverage of at least $50,000, the ministry said.

Singapore has reported its third death from Covid-19.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said a 70 year-old male Singapore citizen with no recent travel history to affected places, died on Sunday.

According to Channel News Asia, the man had a hypertension and hyperlipidaemia, and was admitted to hospital on 29 February, and had been in intensive care since 2 March.

70 new cases in Singapore were reported on Saturday, bringing the total to 802.

Singapore recently introduced new restrictions on social gatherings and services, after concerns about a rise in imported cases and potential community complacency.

Thailand has 143 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total of cases since the outbreak to 1,388, the spokesman of the government’s Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said on Sunday.

It also reported one new fatality, bringing Thailand’s since the outbreak started to seven.

CDC urges no domestic travel in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut

Following Trump’s decision not to propose a quarantine over New York and neighbouring states, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued a warning against non-essential travel in the region instead.

“Due to extensive community transmission of Covid-19 in the area, CDC urges residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately,” said the warning issued late on Saturday, local time.

It said employees of trucking, food supply, financial services and some other industries were exempt from the measure, and governors of the three states had full discretion over how to carry out the advisory.

Mike Pence

At the recommendation of the Coronavirus Task Force & after consulting with @NYGovCuomo, @GovMurphy, & @GovNedLamont, @CDCgov issued a Domestic Travel Advisory urging residents of NY, NJ, & CT to refrain from non-essential travel for the next 14 days.

March 29, 2020

The first of up to 10 flights to be sent to China to pick up medical equipment for Ireland is on its way back.

More than €225m had been spent on personal protective equipment for Irish health workers, said the minister for health, Simon Harris. Usually around €15m is spent in a year.

Ireland’s Health Service Executive would begin distributing around €20m worth of equipment from Sunday, after warnings that stocks were running low.

One group of doctors told the Irish Times they had procured €6,000 worth of PPE on their own after losing patience with the HSE.


The @AerLingus A330 is now on its way back to @DublinAirport from Beijing with medical equipment.

March 29, 2020

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