Turkish president suspends all international flights, expands restrictions

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Turkish president suspends all international flights, expands restrictions
Turkish president suspends all international flights, expands restrictions :File Photo

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan announces strict monitoring of travel within Turkey among other measures, calling on Turks to ‘show patience’.

While stopping short of declaring a lockdown, Erdogan on Friday announced the suspension of all international flights to and from Turkey as well as strict monitoring of domestic travel.

The new restrictive measures include seeking approval from local governors before making intercity trips, and the closure of picnic areas, forests and archaeological sites over weekends.

Erdogan did not give a timeline as to when the restrictions would end.

“The duration of these measures will depend on our people’s determination to follow instructions,” Erdogan said, calling on Turks to “show patience and sacrifice”.

“God willing, we will overcome this issue in the shortest time possible if all measures are strictly followed,” he added.

He called on citizens to voluntarily self-isolate if they feel unwell. “We can see from the rest of the world what happens when people don’t abide by the rules. Look at the United States,” he said, referring to the country with the most officially confirmed coronavirus cases.

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Additionally, Erdogan said that a pandemic board would be established in all of the country’s 81 provinces.

Over the last two weeks, most public spaces, schools and universities have been closed and public transportation has been curtailed.

The movement of people aged 65 years or older and those with chronic illnesses has also been restricted.

“When the risk of contagion in some villages or towns is high, such a decision can be made,” Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told the private television on Friday.

The announcement came as the number of people infected with the virus in the United States hit more than 104,000, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally, with deaths surpassing 1,700.

Worldwide, the number of cases has reached more than 600,000, of which more than 131,000 people have recovered. More than 27,000 have died.

The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in the northern region of Lombardy, which has borne the brunt of Italy’s contagion, has risen by around 542 in a day to some 5,944, a source familiar with the data said.

The fatalities are broadly in line with Friday’s tally of 541, which was the second highest since the outbreak emerged on February 21.

The number of cases in the region, which includes Italy‘s financial capital Milan, increased by some 2,117 to roughly 39,415 the source said.

The nationwide tally will be released at around 6:00 pm (17:00 GMT). On Friday, the national death toll stood at 9,134, the highest in the world, with 2,409 new infected cases.

At least 410 people in the United States died of the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to 1,709 in the country, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The total number of cases in the US increased by 18,848 in the last 24 hours, reaching 104,860 in total. The country is on top of the list of highest number of cases around the world, with the death toll and number of cases rapidly increasing.

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States worst hit by the outbreak are New York and New Jersey. In the past 24 hours, 144 people died in New York, 175 in Washington and 119 died in Louisiana.

Dr John Brooks of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that Americans remained “in the acceleration phase” of the pandemic and that all corners of the country are at risk.

“There is no geographic part of the United States that is spared from this,” he said.

The island nation of roughly 21 million has 110 infected cases. So far, all patients who test positive for COVID-19 are being treated at the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) in Colombo.

Speaking to German daily Tagesspiegel, Helge Braun, the head of the Chancellery and federal minister, said the government’s top priority is to not allow the blockage of the health system.

“We are not going to alleviate the extreme measures until at least April 20. We will then re-negotiate the necessary steps to be taken for future,” Braun told daily.

According to data compiled by the US-based John Hopkins University, more than 53,300 cases have been reported in Germany, with the death toll reaching 399 and over 6,600 recoveries.

The measure will come in force at all road, rail and pedestrian checkpoints, and apply to Russia’s maritime borders, the government said.

It will not apply to Russian diplomats and the drivers of freight trucks, among others.

The country, which has already grounded all international flights, has reported 1,264 coronavirus cases.

The country closed its borders with Iran, Afghanistan and India during the past weeks. They will now stay shut for 14 more days, said Moeed Yusuf, the special assistant to the prime minister on national security.

The number of confirmed cases also increased to 13,213 from 12,161 on Friday, it said.

The Alpine country of 8.6 million is deploying army medical units at hospitals to help in crisis regions like Ticino, which borders hard-hit Italy, and has begun tapping its strategic stockpile of pharmaceuticals to cover rising demand.

“That little sacrifice and selflessness can go a long way,” Hunter, 28, told Sports channel. “I’d be willing to do that to make sure there’s still an RFU [Rugby Football Union] and people aren’t having to lose their jobs.”

England‘s RFU faces losses of up to 50 million pounds ($62.3m) over the next year-and-a-half with global sport coming to a virtual standstill due to the pandemic.

“We’re preparing ways to anticipate all possibilities that could happen in the city,” Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan told reporters on a video conference call. “We implore people of Jakarta to not leave Jakarta, especially for their home towns.”

Indonesia confirmed 109 new coronavirus infections, taking the total cases in the country to 1,155, including 102 deaths.

South Korea’s foreign ministry said winning the preliminary approval under emergency use authorisation will allow the products to be sold in the US.US President Donald Trump this week asked his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, to supply the medical devices and promised to help South Korean firms gain US regulator approval.

Swiss firm Roche has also won Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA for its test kits.

The number of infections stood at 72,248, up from 64,059.

Between 200 and 300 people gathered outside a popular grocery store in Yeoville, in Johannesburg’s central business district on day two of a nationwide lockdown.

Kianoush Jahanpour, a health ministry spokesperson, said 3,076 people were confirmed to have contracted the virus, bringing the total to 35,408. He added that more than 3,200 patients were in critical condition.

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However, there are also 546 people who have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of recoveries to 11,679, according to Jahanpour.

The latest count brought total infections in the Philippines to 1,075 and deaths to 68.

Meanwhile, Malaysia, Southeast Asia’s worst-hit country to date, reported 159 new coronavirus cases, taking the total to 2,320, including 27 deaths.

“Will we be in a position on April 12 where life in Ireland can return to normal? Absolutely not. Let’s be honest with each other, these are measures that we are going to need continue to work at,” Harris told national broadcaster.

“Do we hope to be in a position in two weeks’ time to say that we’ve made progress and some of the measures can be tweaked, removed, changed? Absolutely.”

Ireland is in full lockdown with nonessential trips banned for two weeks. People are allowed out for brief exercise, as well as for farming purposes and food production. All public gatherings outside a family household or single unit have also now been prohibited.

In total, Germany has reported 48,582 infections and 325 deaths.

The new measures include implementing fines, closing beaches and threatening stricter measures if people defy pleas to stay at home.

As of midnight on Saturday, all returning citizens from abroad will be put into compulsory quarantine in hotels for two weeks at the government‘s expense. Military personnel will help ensure travellers comply with the new rules.

Sweeping measures were announced as the country reported 137 confirmed cases, including four deaths.

Ghana has already closed schools, suspended public events and banned large gatherings.

“We have realised that we are in the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other,” he said.

In a notice detailing the travel restrictions, the Interior Ministry said all citizens must remain in the cities they reside and would only be allowed to leave with a doctor’s note, in the event of the death of a close family member or if they have no accommodation.

The new infections include 39 patients linked to previous cases, 17 new cases deemed to be imported ones and 53 awaiting investigation, Anupong Sujariyakul, an expert in preventive medicine at the Disease Control Department, told reporters.

The government urged people to stay home and introduced a state of emergency earlier this week, banning foreigners and closing public facilities and businesses in major cities until April 30.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has requested residents in the capital and surrounding regions to avoid nonessential, nonurgent outings until April 12.

The Islamic republic is among the countries worldwide severely affected by the pandemic.

In its latest tally, the country reported a death toll of 2,378 amid 32,332 infections.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said most of the infected staff members were in Europe, but there are also staffers in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the United States that have the coronavirus.

The treaty is considered the cornerstone of global efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and the parties hold a major conference every five years to discuss how it is working. The meeting had been scheduled for April 27-May 22 at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

He also said the WHO was preparing to send a similar amount of protective gear to another 60 countries.

“Even more is needed and this can only be solved with international cooperation and solidarity,” he wrote on social media.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike’s plea for the tens of millions of people in the capital and surrounding regions to avoid non-essential, non-urgent outings until April 12, and particularly this weekend, followed a surge in coronavirus infections this week, which she said puts Tokyo on the brink of a state of emergency.

Koike urged the public to avoid the national pastime of congregating to drink and watch the cherry blossoms as they hit their peak in the capital, saying on Friday, “The cherry blossoms will bloom again next year.”

As of Friday, there were at least 139 deaths reported in the country.

Dr Jerry Bitar, a surgeon, was kidnapped shortly after leaving for work at Hospital Bernard Mevs from his home in an upmarket neighbourhood of the capital, Port-au-Prince, hospital staff said.

Brunei has reported 115 cases of the virus so far, some of which were linked to a religious gathering in Malaysia that authorities said had been attended by about 16,000 people.

The man who died had not attended the gathering, but had a history of travel to Malaysia and Cambodia.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in Spain has increased by almost 8,000 in one day, pushing the total number of cases to 65,700, among whom 9,444 are health workers, according to official data and the Johns Hopkins online monitor.

The Spanish Health Ministry said that the number of infected health workers in the country currently ranks as the highest in the world. Spain has had more than 5,000 fatalities.

China’s National Health Commission said on Saturday that 54 new coronavirus cases were reported on the mainland on Friday, all involving so-called imported cases. There were 55 new cases a day earlier, one of which was transmitted locally.

Medical device maker Abbott announced the emergency clearance of its cartridge-based test on Friday night. The company says that its test delivers a negative result in 13 minutes when the virus is not detected.

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Jordan’s state-run news agency has reported that a woman in her 80s died from COVID-19 the first fatality in the country. Jordan TV reported the woman had underlying medical conditions.

There have been 235 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the kingdom. On March 21, Jordan imposed an indefinite full lockdown after it had shut down its airspace and other border crossings.

Doctors and nurses on the frontlines of the US coronavirus crisis are pleading for more protective gear and equipment to treat waves of patients expected to overwhelm hospitals as the number of known US infections surpasses 100,000, with more than 1,600 dead.

“We are scared,” Dr Arabia Mollette of Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, told Reuters news agency. “We’re trying to fight for everyone else’s life, but we also fight for our lives as well, because we’re also at the highest risk of exposure.”

Physicians have called particular attention to the desperate need for additional ventilators, machines that help patients breathe and that are widely needed for those suffering from COVID-19, the respiratory ailment caused by the highly contagious and deadly virus.

Panamanian health officials have blocked Holland America Line’s MS Zaandam from transiting the Panama Canal, citing sanitary conditions after a coronavirus outbreak on board the cruise ship.

Four passengers have died on board, with more than 130 others suffering from influenza-like symptoms. At least two of them have the coronavirus, the vessel’s operator said.

The ship is carrying 1,243 guests and 586 crew, as well as four doctors and four nurses, the cruise operator said in a statement.

US President Donald Trump said on Friday that the US would produce 100,000 ventilators in 100 days and said he had named White House aide Peter Navarro as the coordinator of the Defense Production Act.

“We’re going to make a lot of ventilators,” Trump said, pledging to take care of US needs while also helping other countries.

Trump said there was a chance the US would not require that many ventilators to fight the coronavirus outbreak, and would then help other countries in need.