British Airways suspends flights to and from London’s Gatwick airport
Europe’s homeless hit hard by coronavirus response
Homeless people in major European cities are increasingly going hungry during the coronavirus pandemic and suffering in the enforcement of the lockdown, with rough sleepers being issued with police fines for being outside.
A shortfall in protective masks, gloves and hand gels for social workers across the continent has forced the closure of the day centres, food banks and soup kitchens on which people rely to keep themselves healthy and fed.
Meanwhile, efforts to minimise the spread of the disease among those without a home have ranged from instructions for shelters in Amsterdam to be shut during the day, forcing people into the open, to what social workers describe as an “absurd” policy of herding people into gymnasiums in Paris to keep them from gathering outside.
Fears over hidden Covid-19 outbreak in Lebanon, Iraq and Syria
Health and other officials focused on Lebanon, Iraq and Syria fear the numbers of people infected with coronavirus far exceed the official figures disclosed by all three governments, and claim non-state actors are quarantining entire communities of patients in areas outside state control.
Officials, including bureaucrats, aid workers and international observers, who spoke with the Guardian over the past week say parts of Lebanon and Iraq in particular are likely to be holding thousands more infected people, and that a lack of disclosure poses a serious health risk over the next three months.
They also claim coronavirus patients are being housed and guarded by political groups in central and southern Iraq and southern Lebanon.
An even worse scenario is thought to be unfolding in Syria, where weak state structures, an internally displaced population of 7 million, and the fact large chunks of the country remainoutside central government control make controlling the spread of the virus almost impossible.
Ground and air links between all three countries have been largely severed, but there are deepening concerns that large numbers of virus carriers were able to return before borders were sealed in mid-March.
at 12.37am EDT
Karaoke shutdown in Tokyo amid calls for Covid-19 state of emergency in Japan
Still in Japan, the governor of Tokyo has told residents to ditch another national pastime – karaoke – as calls grow for Japan to take tougher measures to stem a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases.
Yuriko Koike said Tokyo’s 14 million people should avoid visits to bars and restaurants, and put karaoke sessions on hold until 12 April, while a senior medical official called on the government to declare a state of emergency before it is “too late”.
Japan has so far avoided the kind of outbreaks that have ravaged the US, Italy, Spain and Iran, but a rise in cases in Tokyo, including some with no known source of infection, along with the virus-related death this week of Ken Shimura, one of the country’s best-known comedians, have sparked calls for more government action.
at 11.55pm EDT
Health workers in Spain have been acknowledging the cleaning staff, who have been working around the clock to keep hospitals and facilities as safe as possible.
Australian economic stimulus package: how much governments have committed to coronavirus crisis
The $130bn support package announced by the Morrison government on Monday is the largest plank in a raft of measures to keep Australians in jobs and support those out of work, unprecedented in its scale.
Every state and territory has announced stimulus packages that, along with the impact of Covid-19-related closures on their revenue, are expected to put them all in deficit.
By the end of March, the measures announced totalled AU$213.6bn (US$132bn) in direct, on-budget spending from the federal government, $11.8bn from the states and $105bn in lending from the Reserve Bank and the federal government.
at 11.09pm EDT