Italy Reports 475 Coronavirus Deaths In One Day, Cases Top 35,000
- All schools in the UK to close starting Friday until further notice.
- Italy reports 475 new coronavirus deaths in a single day.
- The U.S. dispatched the USNS Comfort hospital ship to New York City.
- Australia enforces a level 4 travel ban, preventing Australians from leaving the country.
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UK Closures Schools Until Further Notice
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered all schools in the UK to close starting Friday until further notice. GCSE and A-level exams scheduled for May and June have also been canceled.
Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland announced the closures before the Prime Minister confirmed the move would be nationwide. Johnson said nurseries and private schools would also be asked to close. The news came as COVID-19 deaths in the UK reached 104 after 33 deaths in the past 24 hours. The patients were aged between 59 and 94 years old. There are now 2,626 confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK.
Italy Averaging 3,500 New Cases Daily
Italy is entering the fourth week of its worst national crisis since World War II. The country has reported 475 new coronavirus deaths in a single day, with cases topping 35,000. More than 60 million people are living under strict quarantine.
Stores are closing earlier and police are patrolling in greater numbers, chasing civilians back into their homes. Even with the strictest measures, Italy is seeing the number of coronavirus cases rise at a rate of more than 3,500 new cases every day.
U.S. Sends Hospital Ship To New York
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced that the federal government will be dispatching the USNS Comfort hospital ship to New York City. However, the ship won’t be docked in the New York City harbor for up to two weeks as chief Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman says the ship is still finishing up maintenance.
The USNS Comfort hospital ship is equipped with 1,000 hospital beds. The President and Cuomo are also discussing the possibility of the federal government putting up mobile hospitals in New York to help with capacity. Cuomo said that New York needs to increase its hospital bed capacity by 50,000 to meet the potential need to care for coronavirus cases.
US Senate Approves Coronavirus Relief Measure
The US Senate has approved a House-passed coronavirus relief package that includes provisions for free testing for COVID-19 and paid emergency leave. The revised legislation would provide workers being tested or treated for coronavirus with up to two weeks of paid sick leave.
Those who have been told by a doctor or government official to stay home because of exposure or symptoms would also be eligible. Workers with family members affected by coronavirus and those whose children’s schools have closed would still receive up to two-thirds of their pay.
US And Canada Close Borders
The border between Canada and the U.S. is now closed for nonessential travel. The move was a mutual agreement between U.S. President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. U.S. flights headed to Canada will still fly as scheduled, though passengers will face screening. Those arriving must self-isolate for 14 days, and anyone exhibiting symptoms won’t be allowed to enter Canada.
Australians Banned From Leaving The Country
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has declared a level 4 travel ban, preventing Australians from leaving the country. Morrison said Australians returning from abroad are the greatest risk of spreading the deadly coronavirus. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) recommended Australians abroad who wish to return home to do so as soon as possible via commercial flights. The department warned Australian travelers they may not be able to return home at a later time.
Morrison also announced a nationwide ban on nonessential gatherings of more than 100 people. Restrictions on fourth-year nursing students have also been lifted, providing nearly 20k student nurses available to support the health effort.