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Coronavirus: Chinese tourist dies from infection in France, health minister confirms | World News

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Coronavirus: Spain surpasses China COVID-19 cases as deaths rise to 7,340 | World News

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Spain has become the third country to confirm more cases of coronavirus than China – as its number of deaths rose by 812 in a day to reach a total of 7,340.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases have increased by 6,398 since Sunday to reach 85,195 in total, Spain’s health ministry said.

The country has now joined the United States and Italy in having more cases than China, which had confirmed 82,156 cases as of Monday.

Monday’s figures for those who have died in Spain were slightly less than Sunday, when 838 people died – the highest number yet for the country.

Spain’s government has ordered that flags be flown at half-mast and a minute’s silence be observed every day to pay respects to those who have died.

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Coronavirus: Elderly couple stuck on virus-hit cruise ship ‘just want fresh air’ | UK News

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An elderly couple from Northamptonshire has issued a plea “just to get some fresh air” after spending the past nine days stuck in a cramped cabin on a coronavirus-infected cruise ship.

Jenni and Tony Wills, aged 74 and 80, have run out of toothpaste, are running low on toilet paper and only received a change of bed sheets on Sunday after a 10-day wait.

“It has been pretty tough so far,” Mrs Wills said in a video message shared with Sky News from aboard the Zaandam cruise liner off the coast of Panama.

The couple inside their cabin
Image:
The couple inside their cabin

“To have only half an hour’s fresh air in 10 days, that is the thing that is killing us all, just to get some fresh air.”

She is among more than 1,200 passengers, including around 225 Britons, split between the Zaandam and its sister ship the Rotterdam after four patients on the Zaandam died.

The cause of death has not been made public, but two others tested positive for COVID-19.

Both vessels have spent the past few days in limbo, with their final destination in doubt after a Florida mayor suggested he did not want the Zaandam “docking in my community”.

Over the weekend, hundreds of guests were transferred from the Zaandam to the Rotterdam after passing temperature checks.

Mr and Mrs Wills, who live in the village of Earls Barton, say they had been made to believe they would be among those moved.

Jenni and Tony Wills aboard the Zaandam
Image:
Jenni and Tony Wills aboard the Zaandam

The couple had already packed their bags, but Mrs Wills’ mention she had suffered a mild cold over a week ago appears to be the reason they have remained on the Zaandam, where at least 130 passengers and crew have flu-like symptoms.

In a positive step, Holland America Line – which operates the ships – announced on Sunday night the Panamanian government had finally granted permission to both ships to pass through the Panama Canal towards Florida, where they hope to dock.

Permission had initially been denied because of health concerns.

“We know this has been a bumpy road and a bumpy ride but you guys have been great in terms of being supportive of the crew, being supportive of one another,” said Orlando Ashford, president of the company, in a video posted on its Facebook page.

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He said the vessels “can make our way through the canal and work our way towards the next part of our journey, which is getting you to a place where you can make your way home”.

Mr Ashford did not specify where on the US coast the Zaandam and the Rotterdam would be allowed to come alongside.

The plan had been for the Zaandam to head to Fort Lauderdale but its mayor, Dean Trantalis, said over the weekend he found this to be “deeply troubling” and suggested the vessel should instead go to a Navy base elsewhere on the eastern seaboard.

“Until I am fully briefed by the Trump administration and am comfortable with their plans, I cannot support the Zaandam docking in my community,” he said.

The couple say they have barely had any fresh air in a week
Image:
The couple say they have barely had any fresh air in a week

The elder daughter of Mr and Mrs Wills has been closely tracking her parents’ plight.

They have been at sea since 7 March, where they caught the cruise ship from Argentina.

“My father has regular medication,” said Beccie Atkinson, 49, from Wandsworth, London. “They did manage to send him some generic tablets.”

However, she said her parents feel as though they are not receiving clear information from the captain of the ship.

Unable to leave the cabin, the couple’s meals are left outside their door, though the food is not particularly appetising, the daughter said.

One of the meals provided to Jenni and Tony Wills
Image:
One of the meals provided to Jenni and Tony Wills

There is also little to keep them occupied. The air conditioning has made their eyes dry, which makes reading difficult. They have run out of paper to do puzzles on and only one of their two pens work.

“They have dice and try to play Yahtzee,” Mrs Atkinson said.

Also, friends they had made in nearby cabins have transferred to the Rotterdam so they no longer have anyone to speak to – other than the odd phone call home.

“It is like they are on a desert island,” Mrs Atkinson said.









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“They are very stoic, very stiff-upper-lip people generally and morale has been good. Of course they have not laughed it off, but they have been very accepting,” she said.

“I think suddenly the realisation that [they] have been a week without any fresh air and without any sign of getting fresh air… Repatriation and everything else, that seems the least of their worries.

“In terms of the here and the now, [they] want to be able to speak to people, [they] want information and [they] want air.”

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Coronavirus: Oil costs hit 2002 low as markets digest surge in infections | Business News

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The cost of Brent crude oil has hit its lowest level since November 2002 as financial markets eye deepening economic damage from the coronavirus crisis.

The price fell more than 5% overnight to hover just above $23 a barrel.

Market experts said it reflected concerns that demand would remain muted for longer as a growing number of countries globally enter lockdown conditions in a bid to slow COVID-19 infections – with the UK warning of likely restrictions for up to six months.



Ashley Jay, easyJet cabin crew member who will help medics at Nightingale hospital







An easyJet crew member who has signed up to become an NHS volunteer says

Donald Trump has also backtracked on his hope that the US could start to go back to work after the Easter holiday.

The oil price collapse is linked too to a bitter price war between major producers Russia and Saudi Arabia, following Moscow’s failure to back output cuts in support of prices – bolstering fears of a renewed supply glut.

At the same time, a sharp reverse on world stock markets has seen an estimated $15trn erased from values in the year to date.

Asian stocks were mostly lower on Monday – the Nikkei in Japan almost 4% lower at one stage – though Australia’s main index made tentative gains on the back of a AUS$130bn (£65bn) wage support package announced by the government.

A wave of stimulus from central banks and national governments has had only a limited effect on market confidence given the unprecedented nature of the crisis and uncertainty over its economic consequences.

The FTSE 100 in London – 27% down on where it started the year – was forecast to open flat on Monday.

Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank, said of the implied open: “The hesitation suggests that we may see a soothed volatility across the equity markets, although the energy-heavy FTSE 100 will likely remain under the shadow of a 5% drop in oil prices as a result of the cancellation of whatever was left from the Easter holiday plans.”

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