Ford will produce 50,000 ventilators over the next 100 days at a plant in Michigan, in the USA, the company has said.

Working in cooperation with General Electric’s healthcare unit, another 30,000 units can then be made per month, the Ford Motor Company says. The firm adds that the simplified ventilator design has been cleared by the US’s Food and Drug Administration, can meet the needs of most Covid-19 patients and relies on air pressure without the need for electricity.

Survivors of domestic violence will be housed in hotel rooms paid for by the state, the French gender equality minister, Marlène Schiappa, says. She has announced that pop-up counselling centres will also be set up after figures showed the number of abuse cases has soared during the first week of the country’s lockdown.

Schiappa has said about 20 such centres will open in shops around the country so women could drop in for help while getting groceries, according to a report by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. The French government also announced an extra €1m (about £890,000) for anti-domestic abuse organisations to help them respond to increased demand for services.

British officials took part in four meetings where EU projects to bulk-buy medical kit were discussed – the earliest in January, according to official minutes that heap doubt on government claims of missing an email.

Last week Downing Street claimed that it failed to take part in an EU scheme to source life-saving ventilators and other kit to treat coronavirus because it accidentally missed the deadline.

No 10 initially said it did not take part because the UK was no longer a member of the EU and was “making our own efforts”. After critics accused Boris Johnson of putting “Brexit over breathing”, Downing Street clarified that missing out was an error and it would consider participating in future. It is understood the UK claimed not to have received an email from the EU asking it to participate.

EU minutes seen by the Guardian show that a British official joined eight out of 12 EU health security committee meetings dedicated to the Covid-19 outbreak since the group was set up earlier this year, shortly before China’s Hubei province was put into lockdown.

In the UK, an NHS nurse working during the coronavirus outbreak in the UK received a standing ovation from her family as she returned home from a shift.

Her son shared a video on Twitter and said: “We as a family have been welcoming our mum home from work as a hero. She is a nurse in the NHS in Britain and is working so hard every day! We will continue to do this every time she returns home from work”

NHS nurse applauded by family as she returns from work amid coronavirus crisis – video

Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, Pope Francis’ vicar for the archdiocese of Rome, has become the highest-ranking Catholic official known to have tested positive.

De Donatis’ office has said he was tested for the virus after feeling unwell and has been admitted to a Rome hospital. His closest aides had gone into voluntary quarantine as a precaution.

A pope is also the bishop of Rome but appoints someone to act as his vicar to administrate the diocese. De Donatis, 66, is not believed to have had personal contact with Pope Francis recently.

Updated
at 8.30pm BST

The lockdown imposed upon Italians is being extend at least until Easter, the country’s health minister Roberto Speranza says. Italy’s been under lockdown for three weeks and the restrictions were due to end on Friday.

Montenegro becomes the latest nation to introduce lockdown measures to curb the spread of the virus as it tells citizens to stay indoors from 7pm to 5am on working days and from 1pm to 5am on weekends.

Barring key workers who will be issued with special permits, Montenegrins who ignore the restrictions face fines or detention.

The nation, a Nato member and EU membership candidate, has reported 91 cases and one death. It has already introduced an array of measures to fight the contagion, including the closure of borders, ports and marinas, a ban on public gatherings and a shutdown of schools.

Botswana has recorded its first three cases, Reuters quotes they country’s health minister, Lemogang Kwape, as saying. According to the news agency, Kwape has told state television the three people who have tested positive are in quarantine and had recently travelled to Britain and Thailand.

Over in Greece, political figures have been prompted to volunteer half of their salaries over the next two months to help the cash-strapped state combat the novel virus.

Katerina Sakellaropoulou, the country’s first female president who assumed the post this month, says she will be handing over 50% of her wage to a special fund created to deal with the economic fallout from the virus. Bank of Greece governor Yannis Stournaras followed suit.

The prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, had called on his cabinet and MPs in his ruling centre-right New Democracy party to do the same.

Greece was among the first European countries to enforce tough measures to stop the virus spreading; closing schools, restaurants and shops. The country’s tourist industry – on which much of its economy depends – has been devastated, insiders say, with holiday packages cancelled and hotels shut.

The Greek health authorities announced that confirmed cases had risen to 1,212, although the rate of new infections had dropped markedly from 95 cases on Sunday to 56 on Monday. The death toll now stands at 43 people. Of that number, 32 are male; reflecting the higher mortality rates among men who fall victim to Covid-19.

In the UK, a Conservative MP has reported a pub in his constituency to the police, alleging they were allowing people in to drink despite the ban. Lee Anderson wrote on Facebook:

Madness. On Saturday I was told the Blue Bell pub had been having lock-ins. I reported this to the police. Swift action caught them in the act and the culprits are being dealt with. I told you I would shop you and anyone else thinking of doing the same the think on.

The British poet Michael Rosen is ill in hospital having suffered from flu-like symptoms. His family says he’s spent the night in intensive care but is now stable:

Michael Rosen
(@MichaelRosenYes)

From Michael’s family: Michael is very poorly at the moment. Having spent a night in ICU, he is now doing “ok, stable, alert” and was able to go to a ward yesterday. Thank you very much for all your kind concern. Emma x @underthecranes @J0e_R0sen


March 30, 2020

It’s not clear whether his condition is related to coronavirus. A week ago, he tweeted:

Michael Rosen
(@MichaelRosenYes)

Day 8
Have had no chest pains
No persistent cough
So all along it could have been a heavy flu and not corona.
Today the fevers are ebbing.
In their place a deep muscle exhaustion. In every corner.


March 23, 2020

Updated
at 7.36pm BST

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has tested negative, his spokesman has said.

Ofir Gendelman
(@ofirgendelman)

PM Netanyahu’s, his family’s and staff’s #coronavirus tests all came back negative. However, he will remain quarantined until further instructions are issued by the ministry of health.


March 30, 2020

Israel’s health ministry regulations generally require 14-day self-isolation for anyone deemed to have been in proximity to a carrier, with the duration reduced for the number of days that have passed since the suspected exposure.

Finland is extending its measures to contain the outbreak by one month until 13 Mayits prime minister, Sanna Marin, has said.

In the past weeks, Finland has closed roads from Helsinki to the rest of the country, restricted traffic across its borders, banned public meetings of more than 10 people, closed schools for most pupils and urged people to stay at home as much as possible. Local authorities have confirmed 1,313 Covid-19 cases and 13 deaths.

France sees its worst daily death toll

French health authorities have reported 418 new deaths, taking the total to 3,024. The country has become the fourth to cross the 3,000 fatalities threshold after China, Italy, and Spain.

The daily government tally only accounts for those dying in hospital but authorities say they will very soon be able to compile data on deaths in retirement homes, which is likely to result in a big increase in registered fatalities.

The health agency director, Jérôme Salomon, told a news conference the number of cases has risen to 44,550, an increase of 11% in 24 hours. Salomon said 5,107 people were in a serious condition needing life support, up 10% compared to Monday, an increase speeding up again after slowing for two days.

Global cases pass three quarters of a million

Johns Hopkins University researchers, who have been keeping track of the spread of the virus, say the global number of cases is now at least 755,591.

The institution collects figures from the World Health Organization and other international bodies, as well as media reports, national governments and other sources. Given the differing levels of testing capacity and concerns that some countries are understating their cases, the true scale of the outbreak is likely to be even greater.





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