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Hong Kong extends social distancing restrictions to contain coronavirus

Hong Kong said on Wednesday social-distancing restrictions including the closure of some bars and pubs and a ban on public gatherings of more than four people would be extended until April 23 as it battles to halt the spread of coronavirus.

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Australia’s parliament set to pass huge stimulus plan as S&P lowers ‘AAA’ outlook

Australia’s coveted ‘AAA’ rating came under a cloud on Wednesday as the country’s parliament returned to pass an emergency A$130 billion ($80 billion) stimulus package to help cushion the blow to the economy from the coronavirus pandemic.

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Court throws out rape, trafficking charges against leader of Mexico-based church

A California appeals court on Tuesday threw out criminal charges including rape and human trafficking against the leader of a Mexico-based church, ruling he was denied his right to a speedy preliminary hearing in the high-profile case.The ruling appears to mean that Naason Joaquin Garcia, head and self-styled apostle of the Guadalajara-based evangelical church La Luz del Mundo (Light of the World), must be released from custody.

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Two Peruvian women diagnosed with COVID-19 give birth to healthy babies – doctor

Two pregnant women diagnosed with the new coronavirus in Peru have given birth to babies who have tested negative for the disease, a hospital in the capital Lima said on Tuesday.

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China’s new coronavirus cases double as imported infections surge

Mainland China’s new coronavirus cases doubled in 24 hours as the number of infected overseas travellers surged, and new asymptomatic infections more than quadrupled, pressuring authorities to tighten measures to stem local transmissions.

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People allowed to leave China’s Wuhan as coronavirus lockdown eases

The central Chinese city of Wuhan began allowing people to leave on Wednesday for the first time since it was locked down 76 days ago to contain the novel coronavirus, despite fears of a second wave of infection if such restrictions are eased too soon.

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Mexico registers 2,785 cases of coronavirus and 141 deaths

Mexico has registered 346 new cases of coronavirus infection, bringing the country’s total to 2,785, as well as 141 deaths, the health ministry said on Tuesday.

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Ecuador builds emergency cemeteries due to coronavirus outbreak

Ecuador’s government is preparing an emergency burial ground on land donated by a private cemetery in Guayaquil, the country’s largest city, to address a shortage of burial plots as the novel coronavirus hits the Andean country hard.

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In Queen’s calm voice, a memory of war: Harold Evans

It’s 1940. The winter evenings are getting colder. I’m huddled with my parents around the radio listening to future Queen Elizabeth calm us with her promise that “the world of tomorrow will be a better and happier place.” It’s much more effective than Neville Chamberlain’s woeful announcement months before in 1939 that we were at war with Germany. “He feels more sorry for himself than he does for us,” said my mother at the time. Elizabeth cheers us.

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China’s Wuhan city further eases coronavirus lockdown

The central Chinese city of Wuhan began allowing people to leave on Wednesday for the first time since it was locked down 76 days ago to contain the novel coronavirus, despite fears of a second wave of infection if such restrictions are eased too soon.

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Australia’s parliament set to pass huge stimulus plan

Australia’s parliament will return on Wednesday in a slimmed down version to pass an emergency A$130 billion ($80 billion) stimulus package as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on the country’s economy.

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U.S. immigration officials evaluate vulnerable detainees for possible release amid pandemic

U.S. immigration officials said on Tuesday they are considering releasing some detainees at high risk for coronavirus infection as detainees and workers have tested positive for the resulting COVID-19 illness.

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Brazil looks to China for coronavirus help as cases rise quickly

Brazil’s health minister said the country faced a “serious problem” getting enough mechanical ventilators and had spoken to China to try and ensure it would be able to fill an order for face masks as coronavirus deaths accelerated.

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United States deports Haitians despite coronavirus fears

The United States, the new epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic, deported 61 Haitian migrants on Tuesday despite fears of further spreading the deadly disease in the poorest country in the Americas.

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Ex-Vatican treasurer Cardinal Pell acquitted of sex offences, leaves jail

Australia’s highest court acquitted former Vatican treasurer George Pell on Tuesday of sexually assaulting two teenaged choirboys in the 1990s, freeing the 78-year-old cardinal after 404 days in jail.

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Fire strikes house of former ECB chief Draghi in Italy’s Umbria region: local media

A fire struck the house of former European Central Bank President Mario Draghi in the small town of Citta della Pieve, in the central Italian region of Umbria, local media said on Tuesday.

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First patients arrive at London’s new coronavirus hospital

The first patients have been admitted to the new Nightingale Hospital in London, which has been set up in just nine days at the Excel Exhibition Centre to handle the coronavirus crisis.

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Canada to press U.S. further on medical supplies, Trudeau says

Canada will keep up efforts to persuade the United States not to block the export of medical supplies to fight the coronavirus, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday, while the energy-producing province of Alberta warned of an economic disaster.

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North Korea testing, quarantining for COVID-19, still says no cases: WHO representative

North Korea, one of only a handful of countries not to have reported confirmed cases of COVID-19, has said that it continues testing and has more than 500 people in quarantine, the World Health Organization (WHO) told Reuters on Tuesday.

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Factbox: Latest on the spread of the coronavirus around the world

The number of confirmed infections of the novel coronavirus exceeded 1.34 million globally and the death toll crossed 76,000, according to a Reuters tally as of 1400 GMT.

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Uruguay to repatriate 112 Australians, New Zealanders from coronavirus-hit cruise ship

Uruguay said on Tuesday it has agreed to repatriate 112 Australians and New Zealanders from a cruise ship that has been stranded in the La Plata River near Montevideo since March 27, with most of the 219 passengers infected by coronavirus.

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Brazil says China will help ensure medical supplies for coronavirus

Brazil’s Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta said he spoke to China’s ambassador to Brazil on Tuesday and the embassy will help ensure fulfillment of Chinese medical supplies to fight coronavirus.

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Coronavirus patients, families exchange virtual kisses in Italy hospital

It is just a kiss blown over a video call on a computer tablet to a loved one miles away.

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Messages from above: Colombia’s army takes to the skies to enforce quarantine

From helicopters blasting messages over densely crowded areas to issuing fines, Colombia’s military is deploying all kinds of methods to ensure compliance with a national quarantine to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

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Ecuador’s former president found guilty of corruption

An Ecuadorian court sentenced former president Rafael Correa on Tuesday to eight years in prison after finding him guilty of corruption charges.