Boris Johnson & UK Health Secretary test positive for Covid-19

People who are in contact with many others have a greater risk of catching Covid-19, so there’s been quite a few prominent people who have contracted the virus.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock have both tested positive.

BBC: Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus and is self-isolating in Downing Street.

He said he had experienced mild symptoms over the past 24 hours, including a temperature and cough, but would continue to lead the government.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he had also tested positive while England’s Chief Medical Officer, Prof Chris Whitty, has shown symptoms.

Another 181 people died with the virus in the past day, figures showed.

It takes the total number of UK deaths to 759, with 14,543 confirmed cases.

The UK has had relatively low rates of testing which is likely to be keeping their Confirmed case total low.

“So thank you to everybody who’s doing what I’m doing, working from home to stop the spread of the virus from household to household,” he added.

“That’s the way we’re going to win.”

There will be no winners. There will be survivors and victims of the pandemic.

The US House of Representatives has passed a $2 trillion support package padded with pork, and it now has to be signed by Donald Trump.

Meanwhile cases in the US are climbing, and deaths have jumped to 1,438.

  • Total confirmed cases 566,269 (deaths 25,423)
  • USA 94,238
  • China 81,897
  • Italy 80,589
  • Spain 64,059
  • Germany 49,344
  • France 29,591
  • United Kingdom 14,735
  • Switzerland 12,311
  • South Korea 9,322
  • Australia 3,166
  • New Zealand 368

These totals are a snapshot and are changing, in some cases rapidly.

The New Zealand total was 368 as at 9 am Friday (up 85 in 24 hours) – COVID-19 – current cases

The Australian total was 3,166 as at 3 pm  Friday, (up 367 in 24 hours), with 13 deaths – Coronavirus (COVID-19) current situation and case numbers

Italy records 969 coronavirus deaths dashing hopes of turnaround

Italy has recorded its single biggest leap in coronavirus deaths, announcing that 969 people have died from Covid-19 over the past 24 hours.

Seemingly dashing hopes the rate of infection might be flattening there, Italy also became the second country to overtake China in terms of the number of coronavirus infections, reaching 86,498 cases. That included 66,414 current infections, up 4,401 from Thursday.

France extends lockdown by a fortnight

“After these first 10 days of confinement, it is clear that we are just at the beginning of this epidemic wave. It has submerged eastern France and now it is arriving in the Paris region and northern France.”

For this reason, he said, the confinement period would be extended by two weeks from Tuesday next week, and added that the same rules would apply. He added that this period would only be extended again if the health situation required it.

Deaths rise sharply in Spain while infection rate stabilises

Confirmed cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, rose to 64,059, a 14% increase compared with 18% a day earlier and 20% on Wednesday.

In 24 hours, 769 people died, a daily record, taking the total to 4,858.

The Spanish government has extended the state of emergency until at least 12 April. People’s movement are severely restricted and most shops and businesses closed.

India ‘super spreader’ quarantines 40,000 people

Indian authorities in the northern state of Punjab have quarantined around 40,000 residents from 20 villages following a Covid-19 outbreak linked to just one man.

The 70-year-old died of coronavirus – a fact found out only after his death.

The man, a preacher, had ignored advice to self quarantine after returning from a trip to Italy and Germany, officials told BBC Punjabi’s Arvind Chhabra.

Russia no longer has the virus ‘under control’

Russia Covid-19 cases surpass 1,000

Russia on Friday reported 196 new cases of Covid-19 coronavirus, a daily record, taking its official total for those infected with the disease to 1,036.

Russia said one more person had been killed by the virus in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of deaths to four.

Coronavirus in Africa Tracker: How many covid-19 cases & where?

Total confirmed coronavirus cases in Africa: 3,721

Jair Bolsonaro claims Brazilians ‘never catch anything’ as Covid-19 cases rise

President suggests citizens may already have antibodies that help virus ‘not to proliferate’, as cases rise to nearly 3,000

“They never catch anything. You see some bloke jumping into the sewage, he gets out, has a dive, right? And nothing happens to him.”

Without offering any scientific evidence, Bolsonaro continued: “I think it’s even possible lots of people have already been infected in Brazil, a few weeks or months ago, and have already got the antibodies that help it not to proliferate”.

Now 3,027 confirmed with 77 deaths.

Trump touts great success as US becomes world’s worst virus epicenter

As America became the epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump downplayed the escalating national crisis.

His comments at Thursday’s afternoon briefing underscored the growing duality of the fight: While the President is telling a tale of great successes, of a government powerfully mobilizing, front-line health care workers are facing gruesome scenes in hospitals in a growing number of hot spots.

All the evidence of the virus’s advance, seen in rising death tolls and infection figures, suggests the situation is getting worse and that normal life could be weeks or months away. Once, Trump minimized the looming impact of the crisis. Now his assessments conflict with the reality of its deadly march.

On Thursday, a day that saw more reported deaths from Covid-19 than ever before in the United States — Trump bizarrely turned the focus to what he said was a far lower mortality rate than he had expected.

As doctors say they still lack sufficient masks and other protective gear, Trump had earlier in the day read out a list of equipment delivered by federal authorities, giving the impression there was more than enough.

Significant clusters in New Zealand

Last updated 6:00pm, 27 March 2020

Investigations are ongoing.

Clusters under investigation Number of cases
Marist College, Auckland 18 confirmed cases, 1 probable
World Hereford Conference, Queenstown 17 confirmed cases, 1 probable
Private wedding, Wellington 10 confirmed cases, 2 probable
Group travel to US, Wellington 15 confirmed cases, 2 probable
Rest home, Hamilton 11 confirmed cases

And so it goes on.

 

Trump wants UK National Health Service included in trade negotiations

Donald Trump’s visit to the UK was always going to be controversial. He has strongly supported Brexit, something that is dividing the UK. But Trump has upped the ante – he says that when US-UK trade takes start after Brexit (if it ever happens) he wants the UK National Health Service to be opened up to US companies.

Fortune: There’s One Subject in the U.K. That’s as Toxic as Brexit. Trump Just Waded Into It

Once, advocates of the U.K.’s departure from the European Union argued that Brexit would mean more government funding for the country’s National Health Service, or NHS.

Now, President Donald Trump has confirmed the opposite: in trade talks between the U.S. and U.K., which will take place once Brexit has gone into effect, the U.S. wants the U.K. to open up the cherished British public health system to American companies.

“I think everything with a trade deal is on the table… NHS and anything else, a lot more than that,” Trump said at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday, on the second day of his state visit.

The president was responding to a question about whether he agreed with the U.S ambassador to the U.K., Woody Johnson, who said Sunday that he assumed the NHS “would be on the table” in the imminent trade talks, as the negotiations would account for the entire British economy. And his response has already elicited fury among leading politicians from across the British political spectrum.

The public nature of the NHS, which has been free to use for seven decades, is practically seen as sacred in the U.K., and attempts to change that status are politically toxic. A degree of privatization has been taking place in recent years, but NHS bosses want to reverse the process by squeezing out local for-profit contractors such as Virgin Care and Care U.K.

Further opening up the NHS to American contractors would therefore be an explosive political development. The U.S. ambassador’s comment prompted British Health Secretary Matt Hancock—one of the contenders for May’s job, as she is about to step down—to defend the health service in unequivocal terms.

However it’s hard to see much progress being made on US-UK trade talks at this stage. Brexit looks to be far from resolved, and the Prime Minister who Trump is meeting with, Theresa May, is soon stepping down. The NHS is likely to now feature in the contest for leadership of the Conservative party and the country.

RNZ: Trump praises ‘extraordinary’ US-UK alliance on state visit

US President Donald Trump has said the US and UK have the “greatest alliance the world has ever known”.

That’s what you would expect when the current leaders of the US and UK are the greatest the world has ever known.

The US president met Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage at the US ambassador’s residence, Winfield House. Mr Farage tweeted that it was a “good meeting” and Mr Trump “really believes in Brexit”.

Mr Trump also said he turned down a meeting with Jeremy Corbyn, who addressed protesters in Westminster. Mr Trump said Mr Corbyn was a “negative force”. “I really don’t like critics as much as I like and respect people who get things done,” he said.

Mrs May said the scope of trade talks had to be agreed by both countries.

Asked if the NHS would be included in post-Brexit trade talks, Mr Trump said “everything is on the table”.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock was among several Conservative leadership candidates hoping to replace Theresa May who said they would not allow the NHS to become part of any trade talks. “Not on my watch,” he tweeted.

Perhaps the US will play a Trump card – impose tariffs on the UK unless they hand their health system over to US companies.