UK mobile firms asked to alert Britons to heed coronavirus lockdown
Scenes from a packed underground service in London, UK
UK – Michael Gove gives more detail on UK lockdown
At a glance
Here are the most important recent developments in the coronavirus pandemic:
- UK wakes up to lockdown. Police in Britain will enforce new coronavirus restrictions, which only allow people outside to buy food or medicines, exercise alone once a day, or to travel to work if absolutely necessary.
- Donald Trump vows to reopen US economy, despite coronavirus. President Trump said he will not shut the economy down for months to stop the coronavirus, suggesting such a shutdown could be “worse than the problem itself”.
- Around 20% of global population under lockdown. Around one in five people around the globe have been ordered to stay home. The first 100,000 cases took 67 days to appear, while the most recent 100,000 just four days, noted the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
- China to lift travel restrictions in Hubei province. All travel restrictions in and out of Hubei province, the centre of the pandemic, will be lifted on Wednesday, except for in the city Wuhan, which will have to wait until 8 April. Movement will be conditional on people having a health code clearance. Wuhan has been under lockdown since 23 January.
- Australian states close borders. Queensland joined four other Australian states in announcing it would close its borders, as the national death toll rose to eight. The woman in her 70s had been a passenger on the Ruby Princess, which docked in Sydney on Thursday. Its 2,700 passengers left the ship without tests and more than 130 are now known to be infected.
- Markets rise on Fed’s promise of dollar funding. Asian stocks rebounded sharply on Tuesday as the US federal reserve’s promise of bottomless dollar funding eased painful strains in financial markets. Japan’s Nikkei rose 7%, Shanghai was up 1.75%, Korea’s Kospi rose 7%, and Australia’s ASX200 finished more than 4% up.
- Olympics speculation. Japanese Olympics minister Seiko Hashimoto told reporters the world needed to put an end to the coronavirus before the Olympics could be held in their “complete form”. There is no official confirmation that the Games will be postponed, but Canada and Australia have said they will not send athletes, and Paris 2024 Olympic Games president Tony Estanguet says a delay of the Japan games is likely.
British nationals stuck on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali are calling on the government to bring them home, saying they face the prospect of being trapped for months due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
A Facebook group, set up to help stranded Britons there, had more than 130 members on Tuesday, with many sharing the same stories of being turned away from flights because they transited through places such as Hong Kong, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, all of which do not accept passengers from Indonesia.
Among those sharing their stories in the group were key workers including NHS staff, teachers, a prison custody officer, firefighter, pharmacist, food distribution worker and army reservist.
Several said they had been told by airline Emirates that they might have to remain in Bali for three months.
In Australia, Amnesty International wants state and territory governments to release children who are on remand and are detained in adult watch houses.
“We’re talking about kids as young as 10 in adult prisons,” Amnesty International Australia Indigenous Rights Lead, Lidia Thorpe said.
“Most of these kids are later released without conviction, only underlining that it’s totally unacceptable to leave them in prison when they would be safer at home with their family.
Thorpe said under the Convention of the Rights of the Child, detention of a child before trial or after sentencing must be used only as a measure of last resort, for the shortest time possible, and separate from detained adults wherever possible.
“Given that the spread of COVID-19 is a particular public health concern in custodial environments, the authorities should urgently release these children and seriously consider the same for other groups at special risks,” Amnesty said.
Earlier today the NSW government announced new emergency powers aimed at keeping the justice system functional, including giving the corrections minister power to early release or parole certain prisoners on a case by case basis.
The UK front pages as Britons wake to coronavirus lockdown
Here is how newspapers on the morning of Tuesday, 24 March have covered Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s historic announcement.
The Guardian says today that Boris Johnson will order police to enforce a strict coronavirus lockdown, with gatherings of more than two people banned. The headline: “PM: Stay at home, this is a national emergency”.
Around 20% of global population under coronavirus lockdown
One in five people around the globe are under lockdown, ordered or asked to stay home as the world enters a critical week in responding to the accelerating coronavirus pandemic.
As of Tuesday there have been at least 378,679 confirmed cases of people with the virus across the world. More than 16,500 people have died while almost 101,000 have recovered.
The first 100,000 cases took 67 days to appear, while the most recent 100,000 just four days, noted the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. But “we are not helpless bystanders”, he said.
An estimated 1.7 billion people have been ordered to remain at home as governments take extreme measures to protect their populations.