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Coronavirus latest: Germany pledges ‘unlimited’ credit to businesses

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Countries are struggling to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Quarantines, school closures and travel restrictions are all on the agenda as world leaders discuss ways to control the outbreak. Follow DW for the latest.

  • Germany reported six deaths and more than 3,000 confirmed cases.
  • The head of the WHO described Europe as the “new epicenter” of the pandemic.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron proposed enhancing EU external border control.
  • Denmark and Poland plan to close their borders to foreigners this weekend.

Read moreCoronavirus begins shutting down public life across Germany

Updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)

00: 00 This concludes our live updates on the coronavirus outbreak for the moment. More information on the outbreak is available on our page and on DW TV. Thank you for joining us.

23: 45 Gabon and Ghana confirmed their first cases of the virus.

23: 25 The United Nations has asked all staff at its headquarters in New York to work from home for at least the next three weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak.  

According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the plan was “to reduce our physical presence at United Nations Headquarters, while continuing to deliver on our mandates.”

“Your health and well-being remain my greatest concern. Be safe, be smart, be kind,” he said in a message to staff on Thursday. Around 3,000 people work at the UN office in New York City. 

22: 52 The health minister of Mauritania has confirmed the West African country’s first case of the novel coronavirus. 

22: 50 The Southern African country of Eswatini has reported its first confirmed case of the infectious disease, a 33-year-old woman who recently returned from the US. 

22: 30 Four major cruise companies are suspending trips to the US for 30 days, US President Donald Trump said on Twitter. 

22: 22 Ecuador has reported its first death from coronavirus and Argentina has reported its second, bringing the number of fatalities in Latin America to five. 

Uruguay, Guatemala, and Suriname also reported their first cases of COVID-19 on Friday. 

22: 16 Ireland has urged its citizens to reconsider travel to other EU member states. The country had previously only warned its citizens against travel to Italy and non-essential travel to China, Iran, and Spain. 

The updated warning does not apply to Britain, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Twitter. 

22: 10 US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Democrats have reached a More Here with US President Donald Trump on an emergency aid package for coronavirus. 

22: 05 Norway has barred entry to Oslo airport, the country’s main airport, to travelers from countries outside the Nordics. 

“Foreign travelers from countries outside the Nordics arriving at Oslo airport will have to return home,” the municipality of Ullensaker said on its website, citing new government and health authority restrictions.

22: 03 A second person who was at Mar-a-Lago, an estate owned by US President Donald Trump, over the weekend while the president was there has tested positive for coronavirus. 

21: 56 Two players at second-division football club Troyes became the first French soccer players to test positive for coronavirus on Friday.

21: 50 The US coronavirus death toll has risen to at least 47, with most deaths in Washington state and Colorado. 

21: 41 The International Monetary Fund advised all staff at its Washington, DC headquarters to work from home until further notice after an employee was diagnosed with coronavirus, an IMF spokesman said. 

21: 38 Former NATO chief Javier Solana has been hospitalized after testing positive for coronavirus, according to Reuters.

21: 32 Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who apologized for acting carelessly before being diagnosed with coronavirus on Wednesday, will not be fined or suspended by the NBA. 

20: 44 Washington state Governor Jay Inslee said 37 people have died from coronavirus. 

20: 43 The US state of Louisiana’s governor said that he intended to postpone the state’s presidential primaries due to coronavirus fears. That would make it the first US state to do so. 

20: 39 Cyprus announced it would ban entry to non-residents for 15 days to prevent the spread of coronavirus. From Sunday, “entry is prohibited to any citizen who does not fall into the category of Cypriot or legal resident, whether European or a third-country national who works in Cyprus,” Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said. 

20: 38 Kosovo reported its first two coronavirus cases, in a 20-year-old Italian woman and a 77-year-old Kosovar man. 

“Their condition is stable,” Health Minister Arben Vitia said. “We are identifying others that were in contact with the two patients and they are being isolated.”

20: 36 KLM, the Dutch subsidiary of Air France KLM, plans to request government support to cut the working hours of its entire staff of 35,000 by a third starting in April, Dutch broadcaster RTL reporter. 

Their CEO has announced that they will cut 1,500 to 2,000 jobs. 

20: 32 Trump says he is “most likely” going to be tested for coronavirus “very soon.”

“We’re working out a schedule,” he said. Vice President Mike Pence also said the US wants to make drive-through testing available. 

20: 27 Libya’s rival governments both announced a two-week closure of schools and universities over coronavirus fears.

20: 25 The US National Football League is ending in-person visits between teams and draft prospects.

20: 22 “We have ordered a large number of respirators, just in case,” said Trump.

20: 13 Trump has said the US is sharing data with China on coronavirus. He also said the US may include the United Kingdom in the ban on travel from Europe.

20: 08 Trump said he has no coronavirus symptoms whatsoever.

19: 34 US President Donald Trump has announced a national state of emergency. “I am officially declaring a national emergency. Two very big words,” Trump said, adding that up to $50 billion (€45 billion) will be made available to state authorities.

“No resource will be spared, nothing whatsoever,” he said.

The FDA approved a new coronavirus test, he added. “We expect up to half a million additional tests will be available early next week.”

“We will bring on 5 million tests within a month, but I doubt we’ll need that.” 

The order will also give broad authority to the US health secretary to waive certain laws and regulations to give healthcare operators more flexibility. He also thanked several big-name US corporations, and said the US is waiving student loan interest during the coronavirus crisis. 

Vice President Mike Pence also said 46 states have coronavirus and nursing homes will be restricting all visitors except for medical personnel. 

19: 17 Ukrainian authorities will suspend all passenger flights starting on Tuesday, Interfax Ukraine reported, quoting Parliament Speaker Dmytro Razumkov.

19: 03 Poland will ban all foreigners and suspend international air and train links starting on Sunday, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said.

“These are difficult decisions, but they will allow us to avoid even harder times,” he said.

Read more:  Coronavirus, cold, or flu symptoms: Should I see a doctor?

18: 56 Berlin Mayor Michael Müller said pubs, cafes and clubs — including the iconic Berghain — will close in Berlin starting Tuesday.

18: 48 Tunisia suspended prayers in mosques and banned all gatherings concerning cultural, sports and economic activities.

18: 41 Indian authorities reported the second death in India, saying the victim lived in the capital New Delhi.

18: 26 Denmark will close its borders starting at noon on Saturday, said Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.

“All tourists and foreigners who can’t prove they have an important reason for visiting Denmark will not be allowed to enter,” Frederiksen said.

Read more:  Coronavirus: Who is particularly at risk and why?

18: 17 The French government reported 79 coronavirus-related deaths, marking an uptick from 61 on Thursday. The French health ministry said there have been 3,661 confirmed coronavirus cases in the country.

18: 09 US House speaker Nancy Pelosi said the lower house would pass a coronavirus response bill aimed at supporting authorities across the country. Congress and the White House have been at odds as to how best tackle the pandemic.

18: 00 The Robert Koch Institute said the number of confirmed cases in Germany has reached 3,062. However, the figure is likely higher. The German institute has been tasked with publishing an official tally. However, it has clarified that it only counts cases communicated to it via official channels.

17: 53 The US State Department summoned the Chinese ambassador over controversial comments made by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao.

“It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan,” said Lijian. “US owe us an explanation!”

17: 42 Ralph Brinkhaus, parliamentary group leader of the ruling Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union, said that the Bundestag — Germany’s lower house — would continue to function even if several lawmakers needed to be placed under quarantine.

He said that as long as more than half of the lawmakers were present, they would have a quorum. Brinkhaus added that his group is in talks with opposition parties to ensure continuity of parliament in the event that the number of lawmakers falls below that threshold.

17: 34 The Eiffel Tower in Paris is closing down indefinitely, according to its management company. “Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the operating company of the Eiffel Tower is announcing the closure of the tower this evening at 9: 00 pm local time (20: 00 UTC).

17: 27 Italian authorities reported 250 coronavirus-related deaths, the highest in one day. That brings the total death toll to 1,266. 

Italy is the hardest-hit country in Europe, with more than 17,600 confirmed cases.

16: 52 Louisiana has become the first US state to postpone a presidential primary over the coronavirus pandemic.

16: 50 Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told panic shoppers on Friday to stop stockpiling groceries such as pasta, canned food and toilet paper.

“It’s a little annoying for people who have been working hard to combat this crisis and then come home to a local supermarket and find the shelves half-empty,” he said. “Stop it.”

16: 39 Kosovo announced its first two coronavirus cases, a 20-year-old Italian woman and a 77-year-old Kosovar man.

16: 36 The Polish foreign ministry urged citizens to avoid travel due to the outbreak. 

“As at the current stage of development of the coronavirus epidemic no place in the world is risk-free, and in some regions of the world the situation is changing in an unusually dynamic way,” the ministry said in a statement.

16: 32 Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he has not exhibited symptoms of the novel coronavirus after his wife tested positive. The couple has gone into self-quarantine in order to prevent spreading the virus. Trudeau has urged Canadians to avoid non-essential travel.

16: 29 As authorities cope with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, little attention is being given to its knock-on effects. Cybersecurity researcher Lukasz Olejnik told DW that it is prime time for cybercrime, and that companies should take precautionary measures as they roll out work-at-home schemes.

“The threat is very difficult to gauge because this is the first time we experience such a situation at such a massive scale,” Olejnik told DW, citing phishing, scams and other attempts to gain unauthorized entry into a system as likelihoods.

16: 19 “Europe has now become the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva.

15: 59 The British government delayed local elections slated for May to 2021.

15: 55 Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has tested negative for the novel coronavirus, according to a statement published on his official Facebook page. 

Earlier, Brazilian media reported that he had tested positive, a claim rejected by Bolsonaro’s son on Twitter.

On Thursday, Bolsonaro aide and chief government spokesman Fabio Wajngarten tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The White House has taken precautions after both officials met with US President Donald Trump over the weekend.

15: 33 The German government said it would provide financial aid to artists, event companies and private cultural institutions to soften the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

15: 30 French President Emmanuel Macron has proposed enhanced EU border control to curb the outbreak, according to the French presidency.

15: 23 The German football league (DFL) suspended weekend games for the Bundesliga and second-division league. It recommended that games remain suspended until April 2.

15: 14 The European Commission said the bloc’s economy could shrink due to the economic fallout of the pandemic.

It “is very likely that growth for the euro areas and for the EU as a whole will fall below zero this year,” a Commission official said.

15: 10 The Louvre Museum in Paris said it would close by 6: 00 pm local time (17: 00 UTC) and would remain closed indefinitely.

15: 05 Venezuelan officials confirmed the first two cases of coronavirus in the South American country.

15: 01 Eduardo Bolsonaro, the son of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, denied reports that his father had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

“Too many lives and little information,” Eduardo said. “Coronavirus exam done with the team that were with JB in USA has not yet been completed.”

14: 53 The Boston Marathon, the world’s oldest annual race of its kind, is postponed until September 14. The marathon was initially scheduled for April 20.

14: 47 The Canadian House of Commons voted to shut down for five weeks in a bid to curb the outbreak among lawmakers.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife has tested positive, and both Trudeau and his wife have gone into voluntary isolation.

14: 44 The Icelandic government closed schools and banned gatherings of more than 100 people for four weeks.

“This is an extremely important measure that needed to be put in place at the right time, based on the advice of our top scientists, so that we continue to stay ahead of the curve,” said Icelandic Health Minister Svandis Svavarsdottir.

14: 42 Sudan announced its first coronavirus-related death. The victim had recently traveled to the United Arab Emirates, according to the Sudanese health ministry.

14: 40 Mexican authorities are considering limiting travel with the US in order to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Mexico’s deputy health secretary Hugo Lopez-Gatell said.

“The possible flow of coronavirus would come from the north to the south. If it were technically necessary, we would consider mechanisms of restriction or stronger surveillance,” said Lopez-Gatell. “Mexico wouldn’t bring the virus to the United States, rather the United States would bring it here.”

14: 33 Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said authorities cannot rule out that by next week, there could be more than 10,000 cases of coronavirus in Spain.

He said the government is taking all necessary measures to curb the outbreak. A special cabinet meeting slated for Saturday is expected to declare a state of emergency.

14: 26 Pakistan authorities ordered schools, universities and other educational institutions closed across the country. Authorities have also closed all land borders and limited international flights for two weeks.

14: 13 Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to Brazilian media. The results of a second test are expected later today, according to reports.

On Thursday, Bolsonaro aide and chief government spokesman Fabio Wajngarten tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The White House has taken precautions after both officials met with US President Donald Trump over the weekend.

Trump, Bolsonaro and Pence smile at a gathering

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro met with US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence over the weekend

14: 11 Lufthansa is seeking state aid, according to a report from Germany business newspaper Handelsblatt. Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr will be attending a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to government sources.

14: 03 The British government said the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has risen to 798, up from 590 on Thursday.

Read more:  As EU borders are shut, frontier workers feel the pain

14: 01 The German state of Thuringia ordered schools closed. 

13: 52 Armin Laschet, state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, said all conferences taking place in the German state are ordered canceled. He also restricted visitations for people in elderly residences and care homes. 

13: 41 Ukraine reported its first coronavirus-related death. 

12: 23 The German state of North-Rhine Westphalia announced all schools will close starting Monday until the end of Easter break in mid-April.

Germany’s most populous state has had the most COVID-19 cases so far, with more than 680 cases and three deaths, according to the latest estimate by the Robert-Koch Institute. 

12: 10 EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said that the EU will provide flexibility for member states to take action in absorbing the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak. 

This includes a €37 billion initiative to provide liquidity to businesses and support public services to complement actions taken at the national level. 

“We will do whatever is necessary to support Europeans and the European economy,” she said Friday. 

11: 57 Spain has ordered its first mandatory lockdown of a region to stop the spread of coronavirus. Four communities in Spain’s northeastern Catalonia with a total population of 60,000 were cut off from the rest of the country on Friday. The regional government said the movement restrictions will be in place for two weeks. 

11: 48 The German government has promised unlimited credit to businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The measures are part of a €460 billion ($513 billion) stimulus Germany has pledged to help offset the economic consequences of the pandemic.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said there would be no limit to the amount the German government will provide to support individuals and companies of every size to absorb the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. 

“We will use all means at our disposal,” said Scholz.

11: 46 The Czech Republic announced strict border controls on 15 countries it deemed “high-risk”: China, Iran, Korea, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and Great Britain.

People from these countries will not be allowed entry, and Czech citizens are not allowed to travel to the “high-risk” nations. Czech citizens arriving from these countries will have to quarantine for two weeks.

11: 27 DW science reporter Derrick Williams says we’re in uncharted territory when it comes to the sense of closing schools and kindergartens to prevent the pandemic from spreading.

“The general opinion among experts here in Germany, until very recently, was that closing schools and pre-schools would actually be counterproductive as it would also force parents to stay home. You can’t have nurses and doctors and caregivers staying at home with their kids when they need to be in the hospitals helping people who are infected,” said Williams. 

“But, more and more, experts seem to be moving away from this conviction, and they are starting to say that it is a good point in Germany to shut schools for a while to slow down the spread of the virus,” he added.

11: 10 The Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD) has urged mosques to cancel Friday prayer services. 

10: 57 Germany’s state rail operator, Deutsche Bahn, said Friday it will stop running direct service to Italy. The line running from Frankfurt, through southwestern Germany and Switzerland to Milan will be suspended until at least April 13.

Train service from Bavaria to Italy will now stop in Austria.

10: 43 The central European country of Slovakia started imposing border checks on traffic from all neighboring countries except Poland on Friday morning. Those who cannot prove Slovakian residency will be turned back.

On Friday, the EU said any border restrictions inside the Schengen Area of visa-free travel must be coordinated to ensure they are not counterproductive.

10: 08 German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said he supported moving production of pharmaceuticals to Germany to reduce dependence on raw materials from Asia.

In an interview with German weekly magazine Der Spiegel, Altmaier said localized supply chains would help “minimize one-sided dependencies” of strategically important sectors.

09: 45 German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said Germany has earmarked at least 460 billion euros
($513 billion)s of euros in financial aid to assist businesses and employees affected by the outbreak in Germany.

“We are in unusual times,” Scholz told Germany’s Parliament, the Bundestag, on Friday. 

Aid measures could include a delay in tax payments to ease the cash flow of German firms affected by the pandemic. 

09: 44 Airport departure halls in Europe are expected to be packed Friday after US President Donald Trump announced travel restrictions on 26 European nations.

09: 40 The northern German state of Lower Saxony said all schools and kindergartens would close from Monday until the end of Easter break in mid-April. 

09: 30 Germany’s Bundesliga said it would stop first and second division soccer matches from Tuesday until April 2. Matches scheduled for this weekend will go ahead as planned but without fans in attendance. France’s football league has suspended the season “until further notice.” 

Follow DW Sports for more on how the coronavirus is affecting sports around the worldincluding news on UEFA’s Champions League. 

09: 05 The coronavirus is causing disruptions to supply changes around the world. DW spoke the CEO of Hermes-Otto International about the pandemic’s effects.

08: 55 Iranian health officials have confirmed over 1,200 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours. The death toll has risen from 429 to 514. Iran has the highest coronavirus infection rate in the Middle East. 

08: 29 With the elderly among the people most vulnerable to the virus, Bavarian officials said visits to care facilities for seniors would be “massively” reduced. Hospital visits will also be limited. 

08: 24 Officials in Berlin announced Friday the city would begin gradually closing schools and daycare facilities starting next week.  Public transport will also be reduced to a minimum.

08: 06 The west African countries of Ghana and Gabon each reported their first cases of COVID-19. In total, African countries have confirmed 15 cases. 

08: 05 Small and medium-sized businesses with less extensive supply chains will be hit harder by the coronavirus’ economic effects than large multinational firms that can relocate production to other countries, DW business analyst Gerhard Elfers said.

07: 41 Kenya reported its first COVID-19 case on Friday.  Minister of Health Mutahi Kagwe said a woman was diagnosed on March 12 after traveling to Kenya from the US via London. 

07: 02 The southern German state of Bavaria will close all schools starting Monday, government sources told German media. The closures are expected to last until the end of the Easter break in mid-April.

06: 19 The western German state of Saarland has ordered all schools and daycare facilities to close starting on Monday. It is the first German state to order a blanket closure of schools due to the coronavirus outbreak. Saarland state Premier Tobias Hans said the closures were a precautionary measure due to the state’s proximity to France’s high-risk Grand Est region.

Empty chairs in a classroom

Several German states have announced school closures

06: 08 Nepal has closed access to all of its Himalayan peaks, including Mount Everest. The South Asian country’s tourism minister Yogesh Bhattarai said Friday that expeditions to all peaks in the March-May spring season have been suspended.

“Climbing this season has been closed,” Bhattarai told Reuters.

05: 48 Turkish health authorities have confirmed the second case of COVID-19 in Turkey. 

04: 30 Singapore’s Health Ministry issued advisories against all non-essential travel and introduced restrictions for Italy, France, Spain and Germany. 

04: 20 Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued a level three travel warning, meaning only essential travel should be undertaken “regardless of your destination, age or health.”

He also advised that organized non-essential public gatherings of more than 500 people from next week should be canceled, adding it was a “common-sense precaution.”

Morrison suggested there could be further measures put in place in the future. The advice does not include schools, airports or public transport.

04: 01 China’s Vice Industry Minister Xin Guobin said that auto parts makers in Hubei province are resuming production.

03: 50 China reported a total of eight new coronavirus cases on Thursday — its lowest number since daily reporting of infections began seven weeks ago. 

Its National Health Commission counted seven new deaths of patients infected with the virus. Five of the new cases and six of the deaths were recorded in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak.

03: 20 Hong Kong confirmed the death of a fourth patient from coronavirus. Health officials said an 80-year-old man died at 

03: 10 Here’s a summary of schools closures announced by authorities across Europe:

France will close all schools, high schools and kindergartens from Monday. Belgium and Portugal both became the latest countries on Thursday evening to also order school closures, while schools and universities will remain shut across hardest-hit Italy.

Germany appears the exception to the rule in western Europe, with partial school closures in place, but no blanket ban yet. 

Read moreCoronavirus: The psychology behind panic-buying

02: 59 The Mormon Church is suspending all public ceremonies and gatherings worldwide. The suspension will continue until further notice. 

“Where possible, leaders should conduct any essential leadership meetings via technology,” said a letter published by the church to its members.

02: 30 A Philippine diplomat in New York has become the first recorded case at the UN headquarters. The diplomat works at the UN General Assembly’s Sixth Committee, which deals with legal matters.

  • Tinned food (Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images)

    How to combat corona cabin fever

    Get creative with preserved food

    Making tinned food appetizing may take some kitchen wizardry, but it’s certainly not impossible. Why not up the ante when it comes to cuisine and also boost your body’s defenses at the same time? You may be inspired to experiment with a sinus-clearing home made laksa, or whip together a tuna poke bowl with tinned sweetcorn and fresh ginger to give your immune system an extra boost.

  • Yoga (picture-alliance/dpa/K.-D. Gabbert)

    How to combat corona cabin fever

    No gym, no excuse

    There’s plenty that you can do to keep your body in fighting shape if you can’t head to the gym. You can get your blood pumping with work-out or yoga tutorials online, or if you’re looking to step things up a little, those tins of food now lining your pantry can make for great free weights.

  • window cleaning (picture-alliance/Bildagentur-online/Begsteiger)

    How to combat corona cabin fever

    Tackle your spring cleaning

    You could take the opportunity to roll up your sleeves and channel your excess energy into getting every corner of your home sparkling. It’s also never been a better time to ‘Marie Kondo’ your life and clear out all that excess clutter. You might even free up some extra storage space for the year’s supply of toilet paper now sitting in your bathroom.

  • Live streaming (DW/R. Akbar Putra)

    How to combat corona cabin fever

    Pretend you’re in the audience with live-streams

    One club in Shanghai streamed DJ sets on TikTok so that viewers could participate in “cloud raves” from home. If you’re disappointed about cancelled concerts or heated live debates and want to feel like you’re not missing out, keep an eye out for live-streamed events on social media.

  • Chernobyl film still (imago images/Cinema Publishers Collection/HBO)

    How to combat corona cabin fever

    Catch up on binge-worthy TV

    Binge-watching the latest TV shows is a guaranteed way to get your mind off things. Perhaps the mini-series “Chernobyl” may put things in perspective if you’re only feeling the doom and gloom perpetuated by the news. Alternatively, if you’re after something lighter as a pick-me-up, you can just spend 6 hours and 20 minutes a day watching “Friends” to finish all 236 episodes in 14 days.

  • Monopoly board game (picture-alliance/dpa/S. Stache )

    How to combat corona cabin fever

    Distract yourself with a board game

    All this free time may give you the chance to blow the dust off some old board games and challenge your quarantine comrades to a round. It’ll help fend off boredom and lift your spirits while you wait things out. If you’re quarantined solo, most classic games have mobile app versions on which you can play against friends online.

  • Taxes symbol image (Colourbox)

    How to combat corona cabin fever

    Do your taxes

    Still not having fun? This suggestion is sure to change that. By the time we’re all back at work and have caught up with the backlog, tax time will be upon us again before we expect. Take the time to get your ducks in a row to save yourself the stress later on, but feel free to take a rest if it’s all too exciting.

  • People cheering at a laptop screen (Colourbox)

    How to combat corona cabin fever

    Learn a new skill

    These days, you can learn almost anything online. If you’ve been thinking about learning to code, or perhaps even picking up a language like German (hint hint), online providers have made it easy and often free, so there’s no excuse not to put your free time to good use.

  • old lady on the phone (Heike Brauer/Fotolia)

    How to combat corona cabin fever

    Call your grandma

    If your relatives complain about only seeing you during the holidays, it’s a good time to give them a ring. While you may find yourself stuck on the line for an hour or two, they’ll appreciate the surprise check-in. If you haven’t already, it’s also a good idea to make sure that they’re looked after and are staying healthy in what’s a particularly risky situation for older people.

  • Mauritius beach (picture-alliance/dpa/P. Schickert)

    How to combat corona cabin fever

    Plan a vacation

    Holiday planning is a nice way to escape your apartment, even if it’s only imaginatively. Fill your time daydreaming about relaxing in Bali or taking in some clean, virus particle-free air in the alps somewhere while giving yourself something to look forward to once the situation subsides. Just don’t forget to book travel insurance because you never know what the next crisis situation will be.

    Author: Sean Goodwin

02: 15 A dog in Hong Kong thought to be a carrier for the COVID-19 virus has been found not to be infected. The dog’s owner tested positive and officials initially thought that they had found the first transmission from human to animal after the dog showed a “weak positive” after first undergoing a test.

02: 05 The Canadian prime minister’s communications director Cameron Ahmad published a “personal message” from Sophie Gregoire Trudeau in both French and English after it was confirmed she tested positive for COVID-19. 

“Although I’m experiencing uncomfortable symptoms of the virus, I will be back on my feet soon. Being in quarantine is nothing compared to other Canadian families who might be going through this and for those facing more serious health concerns,” wrote Sophie Trudeau.

01: 58 Sophie Trudeau, the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has tested positive for COVID-19. 

Communications director Cameron Ahmad published a statement saying Sophie Trudeau will remain in isolation while the prime minister, who is also in isolation, “will continue to fully assume his duties.”

01: 35 Portugal is closing all schools two weeks before the semester is due to end.

01: 30 South Korea, the country with the fourth-highest number of cases, reported 110 new cases, taking its total up to 7,979 cases. 

Read more:  South Korea church leader apologizes for coronavirus spread

01: 26 Argentina is closing borders to travelers from high-risk areas. Flights from Europe, the US, Japan, China and Iran will be stopped for 30 days, said President Alberto Fernandez. 

Anyone who traveled to the country from epidemic areas during the last two weeks will have to be quarantined for 14 days.

01: 14 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Trump administration are close to an agreement on a coronavirus aid package for workers, families and businesses impacted by the virus. 

Pelosi said she expects the announcement on the package to be announced on Friday.

Read moreUS restricts travel from EU: What you need to know

00: 55 Coronavirus has been bad for sports, with many major sporting events canceled, including the F1 Australian Grand Prix. London-based soccer team Arsenal’s squad are in quarantine after their head coach tested positive for the virus. 

00: 40 Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida and Disneyland Paris will be closed from Sunday until the end of the month. There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in staff at the theme parks.

Disney Cruise Line is suspending all new departures from Saturday.

The Walt Disney Company also delayed the release of movies including “Mulan” and House of Mouse titles “New Mutants” and “Antlers.”

00: 30 Saudi Arabia detected 17 new cases of coronavirus bringing its total up to 45 cases.

Eduardo Bolsonaro and Jair Bolsonaro after being tested

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was tested after his top communication aide was confirmed to have the virus

00: 10 Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is expecting test results back within “hours,” after his senior communications aide tested positive for COVID-19. His son, Eduardo Bolsonaro tweeted that the president is not displaying any symptoms of the disease.

Bolsonaro also told his supporters to refrain from holding political rallies to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A demonstration was planned on Sunday to press for Congress to approve Bolsonaro’s latest legislative agenda.

00: 05  Tokyo stocks opened down more than 5% on Friday after global markets saw their worst day on Thursday since 1987.

kp,wmr,kmm/sms (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)

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