Coronavirus: Daily COVID-19 deaths in Spain, France and Italy continue to fall

The number of coronavirus deaths in Spain has fallen for the third day in a row – a glimmer of hope in the hard-hit country where more than 12,400 have died.

The fall is part of a pattern in other European countries which imposed a stringent lockdown several weeks ago, with France and parts of Italy also seeing falls in the number of daily deaths.

France on Saturday saw its daily death toll fall to 441 from 588 on Friday.

Italy, on the same day, registered 681 deaths having reported 766 deaths the day before.

Sky’s Alex Rossi, in Madrid, said there was “muted optimism” as a result of the Spanish figures.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told the nation on Saturday: “We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

The number who have died in Spain now has reached 12,418. The number reported as having died in Italy on Saturday was 15,362 with 7,560 in France.

Despite the lockdown appearing to reduce the number of deaths, authorities have made it clear they have no immediate intention of lifting the restrictions.

Mr Sanchez said on Saturday he would ask parliament to extend his country’s lockdown by 15 days until 26 April.

He added a team of experts was also studying how restrictions could be gradual loosened to reactive the country’s economy.

Meanwhile, Italy’s virus-ravaged Lombardy region is now requiring residents to wear a protective mask when they go outside.

It follows similar orders in recent days in two other northern regions, hard-hit Veneto and Alto Adige, which require protective masks for residents if they go shopping in stores and markets.

All of Italy is under a nationwide lockdown and Lombardy has passed particularly tight restrictions on movement and business operations.

It comes amid a growing appreciation that the official death toll may be masking the true number dying.

Interviews by Reuters with families, doctors and nurses in Lombardy indicate that scores are dying at home as symptoms go unchecked and medical professionals are unable to visit the sick before they pass away.

In Bergamo province, where Sky News witnessed horrific scenes in the main hospital and where the mayor told Stuart Ramsay he was convinced the death toll was higher than that being reported, a recent study of death records found the true number could be more than double the official tally of 2,060, which only tracks hospital fatalities.

In France, the centralised state has allowed authorities to take extraordinary measures in an attempt to save lives.

Europe’s biggest food market, in Rungis, south of Paris, is being transformed into a morgue.

The country’s high-speed train network has been whooshing critically ill COVID-19 patients and the breathing machines to locations where they can be looked after better.

TGV trains are just one part of France’s nationwide mobilisation of trains, helicopters, jets and even a warship, to relieve congested hospitals.

Nearly 7,000 patients are in intensive care in France, pushing hospitals to their limit and beyond.

In Germany, which has been reporting a lower fatality rate than other European countries, the official toll rose by 184 to 1,342.

But, health authorities reported that the number of new infections rose by 5,936 in the past 24 hours to
91,714 on Sunday, the third straight drop in the daily rate of new cases.

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Melania and Donald Trump clash over coronavirus masks as crisis intensifies

The First Lady is urging the public to follow the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation for face masks to be worn in public. It came after her husband said that they were not mandatory and he would not be wearing one.

Melania tweeted to her followers that anyone who could should use the equipment when in public.

She wrote on Friday: “As the weekend approaches I ask that everyone take social distancing & wearing a mask/face covering seriously.

“COVID-19 is a virus that can spread to anyone.

“We can stop this together”.

The CDC issued their recommendation of face mask usage on Friday.

JUST IN: Coronavirus bombshell: Study finds ‘origin of virus that enabled take-off’

The First Lady is urging the public to follow the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation for face masks to be worn in public. It came after her husband said that they were not mandatory and he would not be wearing one.

Melania tweeted to her followers that anyone who could should use the equipment when in public.

She wrote on Friday: “As the weekend approaches I ask that everyone take social distancing & wearing a mask/face covering seriously.

“COVID-19 is a virus that can spread to anyone.

“We can stop this together”.

The CDC issued their recommendation of face mask usage on Friday.

JUST IN: Coronavirus bombshell: Study finds ‘origin of virus that enabled take-off’

Her tweet came shortly after President Trump announced that his administration was recommending Americans wear homemade masks or face coverings.

He emphasized that the measures are “voluntary” and has said he won’t wear them, undercutting his wife and the CDC.

Trump said: “From recent studies we know that the transmission from individuals without symptoms is playing a more significant role in the spread of the virus than previously understood.

“I just don’t want to do it myself.

“Sitting in the Oval Office… I somehow don’t see it for myself.”

Americans are now advised to use clean cloth or fabric to cover their faces whilst in public.

Public use of masks can primarily help by preventing asymptomatic patients from unknowingly spreading the virus to others.

The World Health Organization previously advised that ordinary face masks are only effective if combined with careful hand-washing and social distancing.

Masks may also help lower the risk of individuals catching the virus through the droplets from another person’s sneeze or a cough.

Officials have stressed that medical masks remain in short supply, and should be left for healthcare workers.

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Officials have also cautioned that face masks should not be viewed as an “artificial sense of protection”.

Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said this week: “The most important thing is the social distancing and washing your hands.

“We don’t want people to get an artificial sense of protection because they’re behind a mask. Because if they’re touching things — remember your eyes are not in the mask.

“So if you’re touching things and then touching your eyes you’re exposing yourself in the same way.”

The guidance comes after worldwide coronavirus cases have reached 1,201,476.

The US has the highest number of these cases, it has seen 311,357 since the outbreak began.

As of Sunday morning, it’s death toll from the virus has reached 8,452.

Government officials have warned that the next two weeks will be critical, likely seeing a sharp rise in cases and deaths.

Her tweet came shortly after President Trump announced that his administration was recommending Americans wear homemade masks or face coverings.

He emphasized that the measures are “voluntary” and has said he won’t wear them, undercutting his wife and the CDC.

Trump said: “From recent studies we know that the transmission from individuals without symptoms is playing a more significant role in the spread of the virus than previously understood.

“I just don’t want to do it myself.

“Sitting in the Oval Office… I somehow don’t see it for myself.”

Americans are now advised to use clean cloth or fabric to cover their faces whilst in public.

Public use of masks can primarily help by preventing asymptomatic patients from unknowingly spreading the virus to others.

The World Health Organization previously advised that ordinary face masks are only effective if combined with careful hand-washing and social distancing.

Masks may also help lower the risk of individuals catching the virus through the droplets from another person’s sneeze or a cough.

Officials have stressed that medical masks remain in short supply, and should be left for healthcare workers.

DON’T MISS
Coronavirus: Is this PROOF China’s been lying about outbreak? [REVEALED]

‘A stitch-up!’ Scotland braced for 20% MORE funding than England [EXPLAINED]

Coronavirus vaccine to take ‘over 10 years’ as cases surge [ANALYSIS]

Officials have also cautioned that face masks should not be viewed as an “artificial sense of protection”.

Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said this week: “The most important thing is the social distancing and washing your hands.

“We don’t want people to get an artificial sense of protection because they’re behind a mask. Because if they’re touching things — remember your eyes are not in the mask.

“So if you’re touching things and then touching your eyes you’re exposing yourself in the same way.”

The guidance comes after worldwide coronavirus cases have reached 1,201,476.

The US has the highest number of these cases, it has seen 311,357 since the outbreak began.

As of Sunday morning, it’s death toll from the virus has reached 8,452.

Government officials have warned that the next two weeks will be critical, likely seeing a sharp rise in cases and deaths.

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N.L. minister out of cabinet after being served with warrant, premier says

The premier of Newfoundland and Labrador confirmed Saturday he had removed a member of his cabinet after the minister revealed she had been served with a police warrant alleging a breach of trust involving cabinet confidences.

Premier Dwight Ball told a news conference that Sherry Gambin-Walsh’s role in cabinet as the minister responsible for Service NL would be assumed by Finance Minister Tom Osborne.

The Liberal premier did not disclose the nature of the allegations against Gambin-Walsh, but he confirmed her actions were under investigation by the RCMP.

Ball said Gambin-Walsh will continue to represent Placentia—St. Mary’s in the provincial legislature and he confirmed she had not been removed from the Liberal caucus.

The premier said he learned about the RCMP’s general warrant on Friday when he received a call from Gambin-Walsh.

Ball admitted he felt frustrated having to deal with removing a cabinet minister at a time when the country is facing a health-care crisis.

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Alberta RCMP searching for man believed to have fired shots into home filled with people

Police are asking for help locating a man accused of firing shots into a home on the Louis Bull First Nation in the early morning hours of Jan. 26, 2020.

In a news release Friday, RCMP said 19-year-old Travis Roasting is believed to be one of two suspects identified and charged connected to the incident.

“None of the residents were hit, but multiple people including children were inside the home at the time,” said police.

According to the release, “Roasting has been evading police since the shooting.” He is believed to be in the Maskwacis area.

Roasting is described as 6-feet-tall with black hair and brown eyes and weighs between 160 to 170 pounds.

Anyone with information is warned not to approach Roasting but rather contact their local police department.

The Maskwacis RCMP can be reached at 780-585-3767. Anonymous tips can be made through Crime Stoppers online or by phone at 1-800-222-8477.

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France knife attack leaves two dead

Two people have been killed and at least four others wounded in a knife attack in south-east France, officials have said.

Initial reports said the attacker entered a tobacconist in the town of Romans-sur-Isère, near Grenoble, and stabbed the owners and a customer.

He then went to a nearby butcher’s shop and attacked more people.

Police said a suspect had been arrested. The motive for the attack is not clear.

Anti-terror police have not taken over the investigation, but said they are monitoring developments.

The suspect is a 33-year-old man who told police he was born in Sudan.

One of the wounded is said to be in a critical condition.

Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron tweeted: “My thoughts are with the victims of the Romans-sur-Isère attack – the injured, their families.”

He promised light would be shed on “this odious act”.

France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner will reportedly travel to the town later today, arriving at around 16:00 local time.

France is currently in lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. People are only allowed out to buy basic necessities or for exercise.

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Trump fires official who triggered impeachment

US President Donald Trump has fired a senior official who first alerted Congress to a whistleblower complaint that led to his impeachment trial.

Mr Trump said he no longer had confidence in Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community.

Democrats said the president was settling scores during a national emergency caused by the coronavirus.

They also accused him of trying to undermine the intelligence community.

Last year, Mr Atkinson informed Congress of the complaint that President Trump had allegedly abused his office by pressuring Ukraine to open an investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son.

In letters to Congress, Mr Atkinson described the complaint as “urgent” and “credible”.

The Democratic-majority House of Representatives voted to impeach the president, but a trial in the Republican-led Senate later acquitted him of all charges.

On Friday, Mr Trump notified Congress that Mr Atkinson would be removed from his post within 30 days. Sources told the Associated Press the official had been placed on administrative leave and would not serve out his 30 days.

“It is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as inspectors general,” Mr Trump wrote. “This is no longer the case with regard to this inspector general.”

He said he would name a successor “at a later date”. Officials quoted by Reuters said Thomas Monheim, a career intelligence professional, would serve as acting inspector general in the meantime.

Democrats reacted angrily to the move.

“In the midst of a national emergency, it is unconscionable that the president is once again attempting to undermine the integrity of the intelligence community by firing yet another intelligence official simply for doing his job,” said Senator Mark Warner, the most senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Congressman Adam Schiff, who chaired the House impeachment hearings, said “the president’s dead of night decision puts our country and national security at even greater risk.”

“President Trump’s decision to fire intelligence community inspector General Michael Atkinson is yet another blatant attempt by the president to gut the independence of the intelligence community and retaliate against those who dare to expose presidential wrongdoing,” he said.

Last month President Trump replaced his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, who was perceived to have implicated the president in the impeachment inquiry with an off-the-cuff remark at the White House podium.

Mr Trump has recently come under fire for his handling of the coronavirus outbreak in the US which has so far claimed more than 7,000 lives.

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Belly dancers to florists: Six African coronavirus heroes

People in Africa are doing exceptional and surprising things to help others during the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are just six uplifting stories of everyday heroes.

1) From fashion frocks to medical gowns

A Libyan fashion label has switched from making chic garments to medical gowns.

Six women are sewing scrubs for doctors and nurses at Fashion House’s clothing factory in Libya’s capital, Tripoli.

They have all volunteered for the work and some are even sleeping in the factory.

They have made 50 medical outfits so far and they’re now working on a second batch.

Medical staff at a Tripoli hospital gave them a thumbs up when they modelled their efforts earlier this week.

“The idea started when a doctor at the al-Jalaa Hospital in Tripoli reached out to various businesses for help,” Fashion House co-founder Najwa Taher Shokriy, 26, told BBC North Africa correspondent Rana Jawad.

She started the clothing brand a year ago but has put her ambitions of expansion on hold to address the medical crisis.

She and her tailors want to produce more medical outfits, but face obstacles getting hold of more material and sewing machines in the conflict-hit city.

2) Florists flower-bomb care home

The pandemic has led to a lot of weddings being postponed and as a consequence a lot of flowers have been left to wilt.

But a group of florists in Paarl, a town in the heart of South Africa’s wine-growing region, got together to make the best of a bad situation.

With 600 flowers donated from Adene’s Farm Flowers, they decorated the outside of Huis Vergenoegd Old Age Home.

Residents at the home had been in lockdown since mid-March, but were allowed to come out on to the empty pavement to “smell the roses”, the farm’s official Facebook page said.

They also got a lot of appreciation from passers-by.

“We had cars hooting, many [with] necks turning, pedestrians and passers by stopping – these flowers bought so much joy,” the flower grower said.

3) ‘Dream’ landlord waives rents

A landlord in Kenya has told his 34 tenants that they do not need to pay their rent for March and April because he understands the coronavirus pandemic has put them in a difficult financial situation.

Michael Munene owns 28 apartments in the western county of Nyandarua for which he charges 3,000 Kenyan shillings ($30; £23) a month.

He also has six commercial units rented out for 5,000 Kenyan shillings a month. If none of his tenants pay, he will lose more than $2,000.

Mr Munene won plaudits since telling Kenya’s private NTV news channel that he would rather children were fed.

He was once a tenant and was locked out of his house for not paying, the landlord explained.

“They have been my tenants for a while and the rent they pay has helped me do a lot of things,” he said.

“So I decided this was the time to work with them and help each other.”

He has been hailed by one paper as the landlord “with a big heart”.

4) Belly dancer performs for people online

Tunisian belly dancer Nermine Sfar has been showing off her moves in order to keep people at home during the lockdown in the North African nation.

She has been live-streaming a dance from her home every night and millions of people have watched her videos on Facebook in the last week.

It started before the lockdown began – which was Sunday 29 March for Tunisians – though people at the time were already being encouraged to stay at home.

She dubbed her campaign on social media: “Stay at home and I’ll dance for you”.

It seems to have worked – typically hundreds of thousands tune in each evening but a video from last week has been viewed almost two million times.

5) Pop star donates house as quarantine centre

An Ethiopian pop star has donated a villa for use by people who have to go into quarantine.

Last month, Ethiopia’s government ordered everyone arriving in the country to be quarantined in a hotel at their own expense for 14 days.

Hamelmal Abate, who shot to fame in the 1990s with Amharic and Afaan Oromo songs, told BBC Ethiopia reporter Kalkidan Yibeltal that this was fine for foreigners who had the money.

“People needing to be quarantined are also our own,” she said.

“Some, who are coming from abroad, can afford to stay in hotels assigned for this purpose. But there are those who can’t afford that. They have to be treated in the same manner.”

More inspiring stories:

The property Hamelmal has loaned is adjacent to her residence in the capital, Addis Ababa.

She is among a growing number of Ethiopians donating their houses to become quarantine centres as concerns mount about a shortage of space for those needing to be isolated.

6) Goalie pays for fans’ food

A footballer in Nigeria’s premier division has given four of his fans money to make sure they could eat during the coronavirus outbreak.

Plateau United goalkeeper Chinedu Anozie gave each of the four fans 5,000 naira ($14; £11).

It may not sound like much, but to put things into perspective, most players in Nigeria’s premier league probably earn about $88 a week (about $4,600 a year), says the BBC’s Nduka Orjinmo in Lagos.

As well as giving hand-outs, Nigerian newspaper Vanguard points out that Anozie has also been incredible at sticking out his hand to stop goals.

The goalkeeper hasn’t conceded in 10 games – and his team is top of the league, though it has now been suspended because of the pandemic.

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In Communist-run Cuba, the private sector helps the needy as coronavirus spreads

HAVANA (Reuters) – Upmarket restaurants are delivering free meals to the elderly, while a fashion firm donates face masks. A business consultancy calls on its clients to donate hygiene products and artisanal soap shops gift their wares to low income households.

In Communist-run Cuba, the fledging private sector is rushing to set up solidarity initiatives for those most vulnerable to the coronavirus outbreak, demonstrating the state no longer has a monopoly on helping the neediest.

Sometimes the two are even joining forces to combat the common invisible enemy.

Saverio Grisell, the Italian co-owner of restaurant Bella Ciao, which usually teems with expats, tourists and affluent Cubans, says he discussed how he could help with the local Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR).

“The president of my CDR gave me a list of 29 elderly people and I decided to give them a meal for free every day,” he said.

Cuba, which has so far confirmed 269 cases of the new virus, has one of the oldest populations in Latin America. The virus appears to be particularly deadly for the elderly, who throughout are the world are seeking ways to stay safely at home rather than go outside and risk contagion.

The CDR now helps Bella Ciao deliver its pizzas and pastas directly to the homes of the elderly.

“It’s a small gesture of solidarity,” Grisell said, noting that it paled in comparison with the help Cuba sent to his home country of Italy last month in the form of medical staff.

Cuba has also long provided subsidized food at eateries for the elderly nationwide, and is now dishing out free meals for those on low incomes.

“It’s admirable,” said Ines Perez, 75, digging into a plate of donated Bella Ciao spaghetti. “Let’s hope everyone comes onboard and cooperates in the same way to overcome this difficult moment.”

SOLIDARITY: A CUBAN VALUE AND GOOD POLITICS

Private restaurants, bed-and-breakfasts, beauty salons, gyms and shops have flourished in Cuba since former President Raul Castro started inching open the economy with market style reforms a decade ago.

However, fears those reforms went too far and have fostered too much inequality have prompted a crackdown in recent years on the sector, which now employs around 600,000 people.

As such, Cuban private businesses likely demonstrate more solidarity than elsewhere not just because it is a value embedded in the culture but also “because it is good politics to exhibit a ‘socialist’ or ‘cooperative’ orientation,” according to Cuba expert Ted Henken at Baruch College in New York.

Whatever their motivation, the solidarity initiatives are going down well – state-run website Cubadebate even did an article on the Bella Ciao project – and show no sign of abating as the number of coronavirus cases slowly mounts.

These days, for example, fashion brand Dador is putting its sewing machines to an altogether different task than their usual one of conjuring up limited edition garments for the runway and its Old Havana store.

Now they are making face masks out of colorful and often patterned cloth.

Co-founder Lauren Fajardo said they had already collaborated with one group that provides assistance to the elderly, donating 160 masks.

“We’d like to focus on getting people masks who need them most,” she added. “Elderly people for example, people in neighborhoods that are very crowded and those who don’t have the option to just stay home because they have to work or find food.”

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RCMP arrest man, seize cash, guns and meth in Dieppe, N.B.

RCMP have arrested a 30-year-old man from Dieppe, N.B., and seized cash, guns and crystal meth after an incident earlier this week.

Police say officers were called to a home on Copp Street Wednesday for a report of a man with a firearm threatening to harm himself.

RCMP say the man remains in hospital and their investigation is ongoing.

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Man arrested in connection with homicide of woman in Hammonds Plains

A 45-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the homicide of a woman in Hammonds Plains, N.S.

Nova Scotia RCMP say they were called to the home on Glen Arbour Way at around 2:40 p.m. on Thursday.

Police say a woman was found dead inside the home and the suspect was arrested at the scene.

The investigation is being led by the special investigation section of the Integrated Criminal Investigation Division with assistance from the RCMP forensic identification section.

The suspect’s identity has not been released.

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