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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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New Labour Party leader warned of biggest challenge set to confront them ‘Just difficult’

The new Labour Party leader is to be announced this Saturday after longer than a month and a half of voting among party members. Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer is expected to emerge the winner after facing off with shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey and Wigan MP Lisa Nandy. But former Downing Street adviser Nick Timothy warned Labour will face a huge struggle in winning back voters no matter who is proclaimed their next leader.

Speaking to ITV’s Robert Peston, Mr Timothy said: “Whoever is leader of the Labour Party will find it difficult to bring together the voters that they have retained who are the new core voters for Labour – public sector workers, urban voters, university towns – and the white working classes that they’ve lost in the regions and in Scotland and Wales.

“Those are big structural problems for Labour and I think it will be difficult for any individual to put that right quickly.”

The former adviser claimed Lisa Nandy was so far the only candidate who had shown an attempt to listen to voters lost since 2016.

He continued: “I think Lisa is the most interesting of the three candidates in the Labour leadership campaign to date.

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“She’s at least shown an interest in trying to get the Labour Party to listen to the voters they’ve lost in the period between the Brexit referendum and the General Election in December.

“Keir Starmer is a competent and intelligent person.”

Voting for the challenge is due to end on April 2, with the results set to be announced on Saturday.

Alongside the new leader, a new deputy leader is also due to be announced because of Tom Watson’s early departure from the job in December.

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Rebecca Long-Bailey confirmed all candidates had been asked to record a victory message so the video could be shared with voters as quickly as possible after the results are announced.

She told Sky News: “I think it’s trying to deal with these strange times and have an announcement on the leadership contest so that our members and the public can view from their homes really.

“It’s logistically quite challenging and I think we’ve all been asked to do this victory speech so that it can be sent out over the airwaves as quickly as possible after we win.”

The latest poll produced by YouGov showed Keir Starmer, who ran on a unity platform in the three-month-long contest, in the lead over Ms Long-Bailey and Ms Nandy.

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Hustings had to be cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak and the conference scheduled to announce the winner of the contest also had to be pulled.

Jeremy Corbyn triggered the contest in December after announcing he would step down following Labour’s disastrous performance in the General Election.

Labour lost more than 50 seats, including some traditional constituencies in northern heartlands that turned for the first time to the Conservative Party.

Voters cited continued uncertainty over the party’s stance on Brexit, as well as Mr Corbyn’s leadership, as key reasons pushing them to turn away from the party.

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Heartbreak as baby dies from coronavirus in US – ‘This is your wake-up call’

Illinois governor Jay Pritzker said the baby was among 13 more deaths reported in the state. He said: “I have some terribly sad news to announce. Among the fatalities over the last 24 hours was a state employee, a member of our team at the Department of Human Services and an infant.”

If you haven’t been paying attention, maybe this is your wake-up call

Dr Ngozi Ezike

Mr Pritzker confirmed the latest fatalities in Illinois as the US coronavirus death toll reached 2,460.

He told  press conference:  “May their memories be a blessing.

“I know how difficult this news can be especially about this very young child.

“Upon hearing it I admit I was immediately shaken, and it’s appropriate for us to grieve today.

“We should grieve with our family of state employees, with the many people we’ve already lost to this virus, young and old.”

Officials said the specific cause of death of the youngster was not clear and that an investigation was underway.

The baby’s death will send shivers down the spine of parents across the USA who were told the elderly and those with underlying health problems were most at risk.

Illinois health director Dr Ngozi Ezike urged people to do all they could to precent the spread of the disease.

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She said: “If you haven’t been paying attention, maybe this is your wake-up call.”

The US death toll has now topped 2,460 with more than 141,000 cases, the most of any country in the world.

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Donald Trump has extended his stay-at-home guidelines until the end of April, dropping a hotly criticised plan to get the economy up and running by mid-April after a top medical adviser said more than 100,000 citizens could die from coronavirus.

Mr Trump told a briefing in the White House Rose Garden: “The peak, the highest point of death rate, is likely to hit in two weeks.

“Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won.”

Earlier, Dr Anthony Fauci of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told CNN that the pandemic could ultimately kill between 100,000 and 200,000 people in the US if mitigation was not successful.

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He said: “We feel the mitigation we are doing right now is having an effect.

“The decision to extend this mitigation process until the end of April is a wise and prudent decision.”

The governors of at least 21 states, representing more than half the US population of 330 million, have closed “non-essential businesses” and told residents to stay home.

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Russian experts wipe out COVID-19 in Italian care home as EU stands by and does nothing

Russian medical specialists have been filmed disinfecting a nursing home in one of the worst-hit areas of Italy’s coronavirus pandemic crisis. Incredible video footage released by the Russian Ministry of Defence showed the Russian team working alongside Italians to disinfect the home for Italian old-age pensioners. This has exposed the EU’s failure to help one of its own member-states which has become the hardest-hit country from the coronavirus outbreak.

The clip shows the teams ensuring the Martino Zanchi nursing home in the city of Bergamo in northern Italy’s Lombardy region is safe for the elderly to return to. 

Specialists in protective hazmat suits can be seen spraying the home with disinfectant, after arriving there by a military convoy.

The astonishing effort saw 2,000 square metres of rooms and streets disinfected, according to Russian authorities.

Three disinfection procedures are planned to be performed in Italian medical institutions this week.

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Vladimir Putin agreed to send aid to Italy after speaking with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

Soon afterwards, military planeloads of medical equipment including 600 ventilators, military virologists, and epidemiologists landed in Italy.

This contrasts with the silence and infighting from the European Union, which has failed to agree on a joint economic response to the crisis.

Last week, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria all rejected Italy’s pleas for so-called corona-bonds as a way to cushion the economic blow of the pandemic. 

George Galloway has condemned the EU for its inaction to help embattled Italy. 

The former Labour MP said: “A non-socialist country is now receiving an influx of health workers from socialist Cuba, whose we’re supposed to hate. Whom the West has quarantined this past half-century or more.

“Russia, which may well be on the brink of a major coronavirus crisis itself, is sending its doctors and its medicines to Italy.

“Where is the European Union?”

According to figures from the Johns Hopkins University, Italy has suffered 97,689 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 10,779 deaths.

Last week, an internal document from the European Union seen by Reuters accused Russia of carrying out a “significant disinformation campaign” to worsen the impact of the coronavirus.

In response, Russia attached these claims and denied any such plan. 

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Despite these denials, the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned of “a struggle for influence through spinning and the politics of generosity”.

Senior EU diplomats claim the Russian assistance is a geopolitical move to extend Russian influence.

France and Germany were criticised by Italians after declining their request for medical masks and equipment during the initial outbreak.

Over the weekend, French President Emmanuel Macron warned Italy not to get “intoxicated” with Russian aid.

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Indian Prime Minister Modi begs for forgiveness over ‘difficult’ coronavirus decision

Narendra Modi addressed the afflicted nation in his weekly radio address. He asked for his country’s forgiveness after lockdowns were introduced with less than four hours notice.  The Prime Minister has apologised for the sudden and strict stay-at-home measures.

He has said there was “no other way” to stop the spread of coronavirus.

He continued: ”Especially when I look at my poor brothers and sisters, I definitely feel that they must be thinking, what kind of prime minister is this who has placed us in this difficulty?

“I especially seek their forgiveness, possibly many would be angry at me for being locked in their homes.

“I understand your troubles but there was no other way to wage war against coronavirus… It is a battle of life and death and we have to win it.”

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All Indian citizens are banned from leaving their homes for three weeks.

The “total lockdown” measures were introduced by Modi on Tuesday.

All non-essential businesses have been closed, and all mass gatherings have been banned.

The measures are in line with other countries, who have been forced to impose similar closures on businesses.

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The sudden closure has sparked mass exodus from India’s major cities.

Thousands of migrant workers have been seen leaving cities like Delhi to return to their home villages.

This comes after transport has been closed, leaving many poor workers without cars to walk.

One worker died on Saturday after attempting to walk 168 miles to return home.

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India announced a bailout valued at around £19 billion for the country’s poor on Tuesday, including free food and cash handouts for those left furloughed by the virus.

There are concerns the measures won’t reach those who need it most.

Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo – two of the three winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2019 – wrote in the Indian Express saying aid for the poor was needed.

They wrote: “Without that, the demand crisis will snowball into an economic avalanche, and people will have no choice but to defy orders.”

India has reported 1,024 cases of coronavirus early Monday morning.

So far 27 Indian people have passed away as a result of the virus.

India has one of the lowest testing rates in the world, leading to fears there actual number could be higher.

Officials are concerned that an outbreak in the densely populated country could result in a catastrophe.

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More than 1,000 arrested in Spain for breaking coronavirus lockdown rules

Officers in Europe’s second-worst affected country are cracking down hard on anyone caught flouting the new laws.

Spain’s Interior Minister earlier this week warned of “unsupportive” members of the public who are brazenly trying to get away with ignoring the lockdown.
A total of 1,057 people had been arrested as of Wednesday, according to the country’s Interior Ministry.

Between Tuesday and Wednesday 129 Spaniards were detained.
Earlier this week authorities said Spanish soldiers had found care home residents dead in their beds.

Troops were sent into retirement homes to clean and found many staff members had fled after coronavirus was detected.

Some elderly men and women were still alive while others were deceased.

On Thursday a Spanish radio reported that deaths among nursing home residents made up one third of Spain’s overall coronavirus death toll.

A total of 1,307 elderly residents of Spanish nursing homes have died from the viral disease, radio network Cadena Ser said.

In the Madrid region alone, nursing home deaths totalled 855 since the start of the epidemic.

The radio cited data collected by its local stations across Spain.

Nursing homes, whose elderly residents are highly vulnerable to the disease, have been particularly hard hit by the outbreak.

The Spanish government said it was still collecting data from all regions about nursing home deaths and could not confirm or deny the report.

The Madrid regional government said the report was “not official data”, which it would share when it was are ready.

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Rafael Nadal has issued a rallying cry and called on Spanish athletes to help raise €11 million to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Spain is one of the most badly affected countries in the world with 56,197 confirmed cases.

The parliament voted to extend the coronavirus lockdown to at least April 12 after the death toll rose to 4,154 by Thursday.

Mr Nadal said he spoke with NBA’s Pau Gasol about what they could do to help and came up with the initiative to support the Red Cross in procuring protective equipment and infrastructure to assist vulnerable families in Spain affected by the virus.

The Spanish tennis ace said in a video: “I think that we’re the athletes that we are in large part because of your support and now is that time that your athletes don’t fail you.

“We reached the conclusion that now is the time to launch an initiative which we hope that all Spanish sports come together in a show of solidarity and a good example of unity to align ourselves with the Red Cross Responde.

“The objective is clear, it’s to raise 11 million euros to help 1.35 million people.

“We trust that all of Spanish sport comes on board… Pau and I have already made our donations and we trust in you to make sure that this is our best victory.”

Spain’s neighbour Portugal will go into recession this year as the coronavirus outbreak hits private consumption and investment and exports collapse, the Portuguese central bank has said.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.

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Coronavirus lockdown to save 250,000 UK lives as death rate forecast drastically cut

Strict social distancing measures were brought in by the Government to try and slow the spread of the coronavirus and prevent the NHS from being overburdened. If the UK public sticks to the lockdown rules like the people in China have done, the total number of deaths is expected to be reduced from 260,000 to just 5,700.

Statistician Tom Pike from Imperial College said: “Our work shows that social distancing is working against Covid-19 as an effective parachute across multiple countries.

“That’s no reason for us to cut away our parachutes when we’re still way above the ground.”

Professor Pike used the death figures in China to predict how he believes the UK situation will pan out.

The Government wants to slow the spread of the disease so they can understand it better and prepare the NHS.

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The fatal infection has killed more than 27,000 people around the world and 759 in the UK.

The estimate now is that at its peak the UK will have around 250 deaths in a day, which is far less than Italy is experiencing.

Speaking to The Times, Neil Ferguson, another expert at Imperial College, has said the virus could kill 260,000 people if there were less restrictions on the public and more than half a million if nothing was done at all.

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Researchers believe the peak of the outbreak could be a week on Sunday in the UK.

The number of deaths from coronavirus in the UK has been doubling every three days.

The death count depends on the spread of the virus and the treatment people have access to when they get it.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Jenny Harries said: “There’s some early indication the public are really now heeding that advice and we thank them for that.

“It’s really important that we continue to do that. We do not expect to see a significant change in our numbers for two or three weeks and so we really need people to stick with us.”

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Speaking on Monday, March 23, the Prime Minister announced strict new rules across the UK, which saw non-essential shops, cafe and gyms close.

The public have been told that they may only leave the house to exercise once a day or do their essential food shopping.

Italy is the worst affected country in Europe and the director of a Milan hospital’s intensive care unite has said to Euronews the positive effects of the lockdown are yet to be seen.

Giacomo Grasselli, from Policlinico Hospital, said: “Unfortunately in ICU we’re still not seeing the positive effects of the restrictive measures that have been put in place 12 days ago.”

The country has been in lockdown since March 10.

NHS frontline workers in the UK will begin being tested this weekend so they can know if they have the virus or not.

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New York borders to CLOSE: Donald Trump considers state ‘quarantine’ as cases surpass 52k

As the coronavirus crisis in New York worsens, Donald Trump has suggested that the entire state may have to be quarantined soon. The state has the highest number of cases of COVID-19 in the USA. As of Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that over 500 people from the area had died from the disease.

President Trump told the press: “I just spoke with Andrew Cuomo, I just spoke with Rhonda Sanchez, we’re thinking about certain things.

“Some people would like to see New York quarantined because it’s a hotspot.

“New York, New Jersey, maybe one or two other places, certain parts of Connecticut.

“I’m thinking about that right now.”

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He continued: “We might not have to do it but there’s a possibility that some time today we’ll do a quarantine short-term two weeks.

“On New York, probably New Jersey and certain parts of Connecticut.

“We’ll restrict travel because they’re having problems down in Florida.

“A lot of New Yorkers are going there and we don’t want that.”

The American leader added: “We’re having a really good dialogue with Governor Cuomo.

“We’ve supplied him with a lot of things, we’re giving him an extra four medical centres, tents.

“That’s beyond what we’ve already given him.”

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UK weather forecast: Britons to bask in glorious heat today before bitter snow RETURNS

Toward the end of the week, temperatures will begin to drop, as sleet, hail and even snow will arrive from the Arctic, according to forecaster Net Weather. While the weekend will consist of cold air that will move across the country outwards.

Temperatures will plummet to single digits, as snow begins to fall, it the southern part of the UK, it will drop to -4C.

The Weather Outlook forecaster Brian Gaze said: “Cold Arctic air is expected to sweep southwards by the weekend, with a risk of snow in the North even at low levels, and further south over high ground, and widespread frosts.”

The Met Office has predicted that today will consist of dry spells and warm weather over England and Wales.

Toward the coastline, there will be some soggier conditions with rain and clouds predicted.

But on Saturday showers will arrive in the north, before hitting the eastern part of the UK.

The sudden change in weather will be a dampener to those who have enjoyed sitting in their garden during their coronavirus lockdown, and exercising for their one hour a day.

However, today Britons still have the chance to make the most of warm weather as the UK is set to be hotter than Melbourne today

The sizzling temperatures will make it 8C above average spring climates.

Before the weekend will see the more normal spring temperatures of 9C and -2C nights.

Met Office forecaster Marco Petagna said: “It’s mild south-westerly winds the many – but a cold northerly wind to end the week.”

Another forecaster added: “Maximum temperatures are peaking well above average.

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“But after warm days, it will turn [and] colder air will return with much colder air from the north.

“Saturday has sun and wintry showers, with settled conditions through the end of March bringing plenty of sunny spells across the UK.”

Looking ahead to next week, the Met Office said: “Towards the end of March it will be largely dry.

“However, eastern areas will likely see showers of hail and snow at times, which will accumulate on higher ground and could give some snow and ice to lower levels during the night.

“A northeasterly wind will keep it cold.

“High-pressure conditions should dominate through the beginning of April, bringing plenty of dry, fine weather with bright or sunny spells across the UK, particularly in the west.

“Winds will be predominantly light, with any breezier weather bringing a significant wind chill.

“Indeed it looks likely to remain colder than average with a further chance of snow.

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