This is our weekly log of significant Coronavirus headlines in the news.
We started this log in January when we thought that there was something different about Coronavirus and that at some point we would want to look back and trace the story of the pandemic through the newspaper headlines of the day. We were unfortunately right in our assumption but never thought it would get as bad as this.
We encourage others to improve on what we are attempting, and start to record the impact of the virus on them, their families and their communities.
This will be updated throughout the week, with the latest day’s news at the top of the list.
March 22 – March 28 2020
28/03/2020 – The UK has recorded its biggest day-on-day increase in the number of people to die of Covid-19 since the outbreak began, taking the total to 1,019.
Department of Health figures reveal that at 5pm on Friday the toll had increased by 260 from 759 the day before.
28/03/2020 – The US has become the first country to exceed 100,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.
By Friday night there were more than 6,000 hospitalised Covid-19 patients in New York with almost 1,600 in intensive care while the state had logged 519 deaths, the most in the US.
28/03/2020 – UK fashion brand Burberry says it is using its global supply chain to deliver 100,000 surgical masks to the NHS, for use by medical staff.The firm says it is also re-purposing its trenchcoat factory in Castleford, West Yorkshire, to make non-surgical gowns and masks for hospital patients.
28/03/2020 – Lidl is to roll out thousands of reusable protective safety visors to its staff in the UK, to ensure the safety of its workforce and customers.
The safety visors will help create a barrier between staff and customers during conversation at a safe distance. Made to be worn multiple times, they are easy to wipe down and disinfect after wear.
28/03/2020 – If UK death toll is kept below 20,000, “we will have done very well” – NHS England medical director Prof Stephen Powis.
27/03/2020 – UK – A temporary mortuary is being put in place at Birmingham airport with space for up to 12,000 bodies amid growing concern over the speed at which the virus is spreading in the West Midlands.
The hangar facility will initially have space for 1,500 bodies, “but will expand to hold more”, according to the West Midlands and Warwickshire strategic coordination group, made up of police, councils and other agencies.
27/03/2020 – UK to immediately start trialing anti-gen testing of NHS medical staff. with a planned roll-out next week. It is hoped this test will show who has had Coronavirus and do not need to self-isolate, and can return to work, immune and unlikely to pass the virus onto anyone else.
27/03/2020 – The UK are to follow up their Nightingale ‘pop up’ hospital with two additional Nightingale hospitals in Birmingham and Manchester.
27/03/2020 – A stampede for an unproven “cure” for Covid-19 is clearing the pharmacy shelves of a medicine that is vital for up to 5 million people around the world suffering from lupus, as countries bow to populist pressure and abandon the trials that would show whether hydroxychloroquine works against coronavirus infection.
Both Italy and France have said doctors can now prescribe hydroxychloroquine – a less toxic version of the malaria drug chloroquine – even though there is no robust evidence to prove that it is effective against Covid-19.
27/03/2020 – England’s Chief medical Officer is also self-isolating himself due to fears he has Coronavirus. This follows on the heels of the British Prime Minister and Health Minister being tested positive for Coronavirus and also self-isolating.
27/03/2020 – The number of deaths in the UK has risen by 181 in a day, taking the total to 759
27/03/2020 – The number of deaths in Italy due to Coronavirus have leapt by over 900 in one day.
27/03/2020 – Spain has seen a sharp rise in the number of deaths caused by coronavirus but the rate of new infections is stabilising, officials say.
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.
27/03/2020 – US $2.2 trillion stimulus and support package may be held up by a single politician.
Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie, who has voiced his opposition the bill, has threatened to demand a roll call vote, which would hold up passage until most lawmakers return to Washington for a vote, prompting backlash at a time when Americans have been urged to self-quarantine or maintain distance from one another.
“Heading to Washington to vote on pandemic legislation. Because of one Member of Congress refusing to allow emergency action entire Congress must be called back to vote in House,” New York representative Peter King wrote on Twitter. “Risk of infection and risk of legislation being delayed. Disgraceful. Irresponsible.”
27/03/2020 – Germany has offered Italy support in its fight against Coronavirus by accepting 47 Italian patients for treatment in Germany.
27/03/2020 – China has recorded one new homegrown case of Coronavirus.
27/03/2020 – South Africa has reported its first deaths resulting from COVID-19, said Health Minister Dr Zwelini Mkhize. There are now more than 1000 cases in the country.
27/03/2020 – The Belgian government has advised people to wash their hands before touching their pets after a cat was diagnosed as having contracting the coronavirus from its owner, in an apparent world first, writes Daniel Boffey in Brussels.
27/03/2020 – Firefighters, retired police officers and former ambulance workers are being drafted in to stop the UK NHS becoming overwhelmed. It comes as one in five police officers are off sick or self-isolating in areas worst hit by the virus.
27/03/2020 – Spain’s health ministry has just given out the latest figures, which show a new record single-day death toll.
There have been 769 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 4,858. This is a new high – the previous record was 738, between Tuesday and Wednesday this week.
The country now has 64,059 confirmed cases up from 56,188 yesterday.
27/03/2020 – A rescue flight arranged by the German government on Friday picked up hundreds of tourists who had been stranded in Nepal since the Himalayan nation went on lockdown earlier this week, the Press Association reports:
27/03/2020 – UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus. Mr Johnson said he developed mild symptoms over the past 24 hours, including a temperature and cough.
27/03/2020 – The UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has also tested positive for Coronavirus.
He said he will now self-isolate in No 10 but will “continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus”.
27/03/2020 – Food charities in the UK are warning that millions of people in the UK will need food aid in the coming days, as the coronavirus outbreak threatens to quickly spiral into a crisis of hunger.
26/03/2020 – Thirty-nine health workers in Italy have died from coronavirus since the outbreak there began, as medics work relentlessly to try to turn the tide.
In Italy, the virus has infected more than 5,000 doctors, nurses, technicians, ambulance staff and other health employees. The majority were on the frontline in the badly affected northern regions and contracted the illness at the start of the outbreak.
26/03/2020 – The death total for the UK today is ‘only’ 28. This is because there are so many deaths that the NHS is changing its cut-off reporting time to 7:30am instead of 1pm to give them a chance to collate the figures and report the deaths to the families of the deceased before they become public knowledge.
The rate is going up not down. Check here for the latest figures.
26/03/2020 – The UK have stated at the daily Prime Minister’s announcement (17:00 GMT) that they will not give figures or predictions but they believe that the lockdown rules they have applied this week are having an effect on the speed of the spread of Coronavirus.
26/03/2020 – There is a ‘clap for care’ at 20:00 GMT today. People in the UK are being asked to stand on their doorsteps at 8pm tonight and clap for the careworkers.
26/03/2020 – The UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak slipped into his announcement on support for the self-employed that since the self-employed are getting the same support from the government as the employed, there will an alignment of tax and National Insurance policy some time in the future when the dust settles.
26/03/2020 – The UK Crown Prosecution Service has put out a statement today saying that anyone using “coronavirus coughs” to threaten emergency workers could face serious criminal charges. It follows reports that police officers, shop workers and others have been coughed at by people claiming to have the disease.
The CPS says that using coughing in this way as a threat could lead to someone being charged with common assault. And it says that assaults specifically against emergency workers are punishable by up to two years in prison.
26/03/2020 – France has begun evacuating coronavirus patients from Alsace using a specially equipped high-speed TGV train. About 20 patients were taken from Strasbourg to hospitals in the Pays-de-la-Loire and other regions. The move is aimed at relieving pressure on hospitals overwhelmed in the Alsace region.
26/03/2020 – Recently released figures show that the Coronavirus infection rate in Italy has dropped for the fourth day in a row.
26/03/2020 – Egyptian authorities have forced a Guardian journalist to leave the country after she reported on a scientific study that said Egypt was likely to have many more coronavirus cases than have been officially confirmed.
26/03/2020 – In China, no new cases were reported in Hubei province, where the virus emerged.
26/03/2020 – The World Health Organization says it is encouraged by the lower rate of new infection in Italy (see above).
26/03/2020 – Spain has announced a further 655 coronavirus fatalities. As the increase is below the daily rise recorded on Wednesday it offers support to government claims that the rise is deaths in Spain is stabilising rather than an anomaly.
26/03/2020 – More than three million people in the US applied for unemployment benefit last week, according to labour department figures.
The figure breaks the record set in 1982 when unemployment claims hit 695,000.
26/03/2020 – New York state, the worst affected by Coronavirus in the US, says social restrictions are slowing hospital admissions
26/03/2020 – The UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce measure today to support the self-employed.
He set out plans for 80% wage subsidies for staff kept on by employers last week – and the Prime Minister has said he wants similar protection for freelancers.
However, he added he could not promise the UK would beat the virus “without any kind of hardship at all”.
26/03/2020 – NHS field hospital sites in Scotland will be identified this week ahead of a predicted rapid rise in Covid-19 cases, the chief medical officer has said.
Dr Catherine Calderwod said she agreed with a senior medic who expects a coronavirus “tsunami” in coming weeks.
26/03/2020 – UK Banks have been criticised by firms and MPs for insisting on personal guarantees to issue government-backed emergency loans to business owners.
The requirement loads most of the risk that the loan goes bad on the business owner, rather than the banks. This is despite the loan be underwritten by the UK government as guarantor.
25/03/2020 – NHS staff in the UK are being targeted by muggers trying to steal their identity badges so they can use them to obtain the free food and drinks being offered to doctors and nurses tackling coronavirus.
Health service bosses are so concerned by a spate of incidents that they are preparing to warn all hospital staff to hide their NHS lanyards when they are arriving at or leaving work.
25/03/2020 – The UK asked for 250,000 volunteers to help support the National Health Service as it fights Coronavirus. It had over 405,000 volunteers come forward in just over 24 hours!
25/03/2020 – US. New York has reported more than 5,000 new Coronavirus cases in just one day.
25/03/2020 – Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin has postponed a vote on constitutional change that would allow him to stay in power, because of coronavirus concerns.
He said the public vote – previously due to be held on 22 April – would be delayed until a “later date”.
25/03/2020 – Thousands of 15-minute home tests for coronavirus will be delivered by Amazon to people self-isolating with symptoms or will go on sale on the high street within days, according to Public Health England (PHE), in a move that could restore many people’s lives in the UK to a semblance of pre-lockdown normality.
Prof Sharon Peacock, the director of the national infection service at PHE, told MPs on the science and technology committee that mass testing in the UK would be possible by next week.
25/03/2020 – Hundreds of residents of the UK budget hotel chain Travelodge, including homeless families housed there by local councils, have been turned out on to the street after it closed its premises.
This appeared to be in defiance of government guidance that said that hotels looking after homeless families who had been placed in temporary accommodation at in hotels should not close.
25/03/2020 – Some 250,000 people in the UK have signed up in a single day to volunteer with the NHS after a recruitment drive to help the vulnerable amid the coronavirus crisis.
The helpers are needed for delivering food and medicines, driving patients to appointments and phoning the isolated.
25/03/2020 – UK Parliament is to close for Easter a week early amid fears that coronavirus has been spreading fast through Westminster.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the House of Commons, laid a motion saying parliament will adjourn on Wednesday night for a month until 21 April.
The adjournment debate will take place only after emergency legislation has been passed through the Commons and Lords giving the government extraordinary powers to detain people flouting the new curbs on behaviour.
25/03/2020 – The UK has built a ‘pop up’ hospital with 4,000 beds at the ExCel Conference Centre in Docklands, London. it is planned to open in the next few days.
25/03/2020 – Australia’s drugs regulator has been forced to restrict powers to prescribe a drug undergoing clinical trials to treat Covid-19, because doctors have been inappropriately prescribing it to themselves and their family members despite its potentially deadly side-effects.
25/03/2020 – Rabbis in Israel have made an exemption for the upcoming Passover feast, ruling that families and friends do not have to gather around a single table.
Instead, the traditional dinner can be held via the video conference call program, Zoom, to prevent the spread of Covid-19, according to the Jerusalem Post newspaper.
25/03/2020 – Mainland China reported a drop in new confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday as imported infections fell and as well as reporting that there are no locally transmitted infections in China.
25/03/2020 – Global stock markets are rallying as they wait on the US $2 trillion stimulus package to be agreed.
25/03/2020 – People in the UK are still confused what the UK lockdown actually means and not sure what they are allowed to do.
24/03/2020 – UK prisons are put in ‘lockdown’.
24/03/2020 – UK Police chiefs have warned the coronavirus pandemic could “bring out the worst in humanity” after a spate of opportunistic crimes hindered efforts to control the crisis.
The theft of oxygen canisters from a hospital, the puncturing of ambulance tyres and the raiding of food banks by thieves were among the “worrying isolated incidents” in recent days raised by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).
24/03/2020 – US President Donald Trump has asked South Korea for medical supplies to help fight the coronavirus pandemic, according to the presidential office in Seoul.
South Korea has been widely praised for its handling of the Covid-19 outbreak which has involved aggressive use of technology, widespread testing and contact tracing.
24/03/2020 – There have been 87 deaths caused by coronavirus in the UK since Monday, taking the total to 422. This is the biggest one day increase since the pandemic started.
24/03/2020 – Indian PM Narendra Modi has just announced the most wide-ranging lockdown the world has seen yet – with some 1.3 billion people affected.
The key points of his address:
- The lockdown will be “absolute” and in force for 21 days
- No citizen will be allowed to leave their homes during this period
- It will come into force from midnight local time tonight
- Mr Modi said it was the only way to break the cycle of the virus and that if the country could not manage the next 21 days, it would be set back by 21 years
- He also announced a fund of nearly $2bn (£1.7bn) towards health infrastructure in combating the coronavirus
- He called on people not to spread rumours and to follow instructions
- He said he was confident India would emerge from the crisis “successfully”
24/03/2020 – The European Union has been urged to evacuate asylum seekers from overcrowded camps on the Greek islands in order to save lives.
The European parliament’s civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee has called for the evacuation of 42,000 people on the Greek islands as “an urgent preventive” measure to avoid “many deaths” from coronavirus.
24/03/2020 – UK Gamblers are switching from wagers on sport to far riskier online casino and slot games amid lockdown restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19, according to one of the UK’s biggest gambling websites.
A cross-party group of MPs called for online gambling companies to impose a £50 daily cap on bets earlier this week, citing concern that vulnerable people and addicts would be particularly vulnerable during the lockdown period.
24/03/02020 – The Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic games are postponed by a year until 2021.
23/03/2020 – At tonight’s White House briefing on coronavirus, Trump officials kept reminding Americans that the president’s plan to “stop the spread” of coronavirus was only a “15 day challenge” and they were already halfway through. Good luck USA!
23/03/2020 – the UK finally goes into lockdown:
- From tonight, people in Britain will be allowed to leave their homes for only “very limited purposes” – shopping for basic necessities; for one form of exercise a day; for any medical need; and to travel to and from work when “absolutely necessary”
- People are warned not to meet friends or family members who they do not live with
- Shopping is only permitted for essentials like food and medicine, and people are advised to do it “as little as you can”
- Police have powers to enforce the rules, including through fines and dispersing gatherings
- All shops selling non-essential goods, such as clothing and electronic stores, are ordered to close
- Libraries, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and places of worship are to close
- All gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with – are banned
- All social events, including weddings and baptisms are banned
- Funerals are not included in the new restrictions
- Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed
- Restrictions “under constant review” and will be checked again in three weeks. They will be relaxed “if the evidence shows we are able to”
23/03/2020 – The key message today globally is that people are not self distancing and keeping away from others and this behaviour is not helping reduce the spread of the disease.
23/03/2020 – The UK needs a lockdown to enforce social distancing and needs to rapidly to expand testing for coronavirus, Helen Ward, a professor of epidemiology at Imperial College London, has warned.
23/03/2020 – Hong Kong bars entry to all non-residents and the number of confirmed Coronavirus cases is on the rise again.
23/03/2020 – UK London road charging scheme has been suspended.
23/03/2020 – Germany believes that the Coronavirus infection curve in the county is finally start to flatten.
23/03/2020 – The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) says the coronavirus pandemic is “accelerating”.
Speaking at a press briefing in Geneva, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “It took 67 days from the first reported case to reach 100,000 cases, 11 days for the second 100,000 cases, and just four days for the third 100,000 cases.”
23/03/2020 – over 1.5 million of the most vulnerable British residents are being asked to start 12 weeks of self-isolation today. This includes everybody over the age of 70 years old and those with critical underlying health conditions such as Cystic Fibrosis, some cancers and heart disease for example.
23/03/2020 – The British Army has been tasked with helping ensure NHS supply chains operate efficiently and that necessary equipment such as PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) is delivered to hospitals, hospices, nursing homes and GP surgeries.
23/03/2020 – Global stock markets continue their Coronavirus slump.
23/03/2020 – Residents of the Chinese city of Wuhan, the original epicentre of the pandemic are allowed to leave their houses and apartments for the first time in weeks as nearly one third of the American population are told to stay at home.
23/03/2020 – The UK government announces it is effectively taking over the passenger rail services in the UK to ensure that a skeleton scheduled service is run to enable key workers to get to work.
23/03/2020 – There is frustration in the UK that people are not practising social distancing and keeping a gap of at least 2 metres between themselves and others when outside. Newspaper photos are showing large crowds of people at outside markets, on mountainsides and in parks.
The UK government has said that if people do not heed the advice, they will enforce the policy.
23/03/2020 – Canada withdraws its whole team from this summer’s Tokyo Olympics. This throws the games into doubt but the IOC says that no decision on the fate of the games will be made for another month.
22/03/2020 – A prison riot in Colombia’s capital Bogotá left 23 prisoners dead and 83 injured, the country’s justice minister said on Sunday, as detainees protested sanitary conditions amid the global outbreak of coronavirus.
Thirty-two injured prisoners had been hospitalised, justice minister Margarita Cabello Blanco said in a video, while seven prison guards were also injured. Two guards are in a critical condition.
22/03/2020 – Pressure is growing on the UK’s Ministry of Justice to limit criminal court hearings to urgent cases only as restrictions on social gatherings and movement become tougher.
Lawyers, jurors, witnesses and defendants are still required to attend court, although the lord chief justice has postponed trials due to last longer than three days and called for video links to be used where possible.
22/03/2020 – some potentially good stats based news? Germany’s relatively low mortality rate continues to intrigue experts as Covid-19 spreads across Europe, with some questioning the methodology behind its data gathering while others argue the country’s high testing rates allow a more accurate approximation of the threat posed by the novel coronavirus.
While the pandemic has hit Germany with full force, with Johns Hopkins University noting 22,364 confirmed infections by Sunday morning, only 84 people are so far reported to have died.
This means Germany currently has the lowest mortality rate of the 10 countries most severely hit by the pandemic: 0.3% compared with 9% in Italy and 4.6% in the UK.
22/03/2020 – Russian military medics to help Italy.
22/03/2020 – Meetings of more than two people are to be banned in Germany to help stem the Coronavirus tide.
22/03/2020 – There are now 5,018 confirmed Coronavirus cases in the UK
22/03/2020 – From next week, those in the UK who are especially vulnerable to coronavirus will be able to register for government support.
People who have a health condition which makes them extremely vulnerable will be able to receive help, for instance in getting essential supplies. The service is due to go live next week, and people will be able to register online.
22/03/2020 – Hong Kong has reported 44 more cases confirmed over the past 24 hours, the city’s second highest daily increase to date, RTHK reports.
The highest daily toll to date was the 48 confirmed on Friday. The total number of confirmed cases in Hong Kong now stands at 317.
Out of the 44 new cases, 29 had recently come back to Hong Kong from abroad, including nine students who had just returned to Hong Kong, RTHK says.
22/03/2020 –Congo’s Virunga National Park, home to about a third of the world’s mountain gorillas, is barring visitors until 1 June, citing advice from scientific experts indicating that primates, including mountain gorillas, are likely susceptible to complications arising from the Covid-19 virus.
Neighboring Rwanda also is temporarily shutting down tourism and research activities in three national parks that are home to primates such as gorillas and chimpanzees.
Mountain gorillas are prone to some respiratory illnesses that afflict humans. A common cold can kill a gorilla, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature, one reason why tourists tracking gorillas are not normally permitted to get too close.
22/03/2020 – The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, has announced restrictions on businesses but has said schools will remain open. He said that Australians had been disregarding advice on social distancing. In response, he announced that from tomorrow at midday, the following businesses will be closed or restricted in their trade:
- Registered and licensed clubs
- Licensed premises in hotels and pubs.
- Entertainment venues and cinemas, casinos and nightclubs.
- Restaurants and cafes will be restrict to takeaway only.
- Indoor sporting venues.
- Places of worship.
- Enclosed spaces for funerals and things of that nature will have to follow the strict four square metre rule which will be enforced.
22/03/2020 – The UK government is to send letters or text messages to the people most at risk from Coronavirus in the UK, telling them to stay indoors and self-isolate for 12 weeks.