Austria: Wearing masks in supermarkets now compulsory

A new measure introduced by Austria’s conservative government designed to curb the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus will require shoppers to wear face masks at the supermarket.

Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced earlier this week that basic face masks would be handed out at the entrances of supermarkets and that shoppers must wear them to help halt the spread of the virus, Reuters news agency reports.

The 33-year-old Austrian head of state also noted that the measure was also crafted to get people to wear the masks in public more generally. 

Thus far, to stop the proliferation of the virus, Kurz’s government has closed schools, cafes, bars, other gathering places, and all non-essential work. Citizens have also been ordered to stay home and to work remotely, if at all possible.




Evidence, that OSCE High Representative Harlem Désir responds to media cases, based on ideology!

Yesterday, the editor-in-chief of magazine Demokracija, Joze Biscak, published an open letter to Mr Harlem Désir, the OSCE's High Representative for Freedom of the Media, where Biscak warned him, that the OSCE's reputation was shamed by him without critical distance. (MORE HERE: It should be recalled also that a similar case occurred in Northern Macedonia when OSCE High Representative for Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir was informed about the prosecution of Infomax journalist Alexander Mitovski by Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, when Mitovski leaked out evidence in the media of Zaev's corrupt dealings.

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Trump says US will not pay for Prince Harry, Meghan Markle’s security

President Trump says the United States will not foot the estimated $1 million-a-year bill for security for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after the couple jetted to California amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Page Six reported on Friday that the couple left their $14 million bolthole in Canada and took a private jet to the Los Angeles area after Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the borders were closing amid the coronavirus crisis.

There were reports the pair — who have both criticized Trump — may need to ask him for “special help” for security protection because the UK taxpayers will no longer fund their guards following their decision to step down as senior royals.

However, Trump tweeted on Sunday, “I am a great friend and admirer of the Queen & the United Kingdom. It was reported that Harry and Meghan, who left the Kingdom, would reside permanently in Canada. Now they have left Canada for the U.S. however, the U.S. will not pay for their security protection. They must pay!”




Coronavirus: Spain and Italy demand for more help from EU as death tolls soar

Spain and Italy have demanded more European help as they fight still-surging coronavirus infections amid the continent’s worst crisis since World War II. In the U.S., authorities urged millions around New York City to stop travelling to keep the virus contained.

From Milan to Madrid to Michigan, medics are making tough choices about which patients to save with the limited breathing machines they have.

The confirmed global death surpassed 31,000 and new virus epicentres emerged in key U.S. cities like Detroit, New Orleans and Chicago.

Even rural America has not been immune, as virus hotspots erupt in Midwestern towns and Rocky Mountain ski havens.

Spain and Italy alone account for more than half of the world’s death toll, and are still seeing over 800 deaths a day each.



Sweden: Coronavirus spreading rapidly in Somali community

Sweden’s Somali community is being hit particularly hard by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, with at least 6 of the 15 victims who have died of the disease so far in Sweden being of Somali background.

Somalis in Sweden are complaining that they received information from the authorities too late to act on it, and that the material was inadequate.

Most of the warnings were only distributed in Swedish and English.

The government is now issuing updated information in 15 other languages besides Swedish.

The Swedish national television network, SVT, as well as several Swedish newspapers are beginning to add Arabic translations to their dispatches in an effort to disseminate information to immigrants more effectively.




Spain: Police Called on Brothers Playing Soccer in Their Own Back Yard

Police were called after a neighbor spotted two brothers playing soccer in their own back yard in another example of how the country’s lockdown is being ruthlessly patrolled.

Philipp Bagus of the The Mises Institute writes about a case of “When two brothers were seen playing soccer in the garden of an acquaintance’s apartment block, the police were called.”

“People denounce playing children, who are regarded as harmful to public health, and put up posters saying “Quédate en casa” (stay at home),”

he adds. “This is a block warden mentality. The most worrying thing is the high number of willing state collaborators. The parallels with the past are unnoticed. No one seems to care, and it is not even discussed.”

Spain has enacted similar draconian lockdown measures to Italy and France in an effort to fight the spread of coronavirus, with people banned from being outside in apartment block gardens even if only one family at a time uses them.




Coronavirus: Man Arrested for Licking Handrail, Ticket Machines of Munich Subway

A man in Munich, Germany who claimed to have tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus, has been arrested after filming himself licking ticket machines and handrails on the city’s subway.

The 33-year-old posted a video of himself licking objects on social media as part of a so-called “Corona Challenge” on Instagram and the video was also reposted on Twitter.

The man was seen licking the touchscreen of a ticket machine in the now-deleted video and then goes on to lick the handrail of a subway car, the handrail of an escalator, and then proceeds to eat a five euro note.

The man was briefly arrested by Munich police, according to a report from German tabloid Bild, and is now under investigation on charges of dangerous bodily harm.

A police spokesman said the man had been tested for coronavirus but did not elaborate as to whether he tested positive or negative.




Coronavirus: Sicily governor 'shuts off' island

Only cops, soldiers, health workers and commuters allowed.

(ANSA) - Palermo, March 23 - Sicily Governor Nello Musumeci on Monday shut off entry to the island across the Messina Strait.

Only police, the army, health workers and commuters will henceforth be allowed over the strait that separates Sicily from mainland Italy, he said.

"No one can enter Sicily any more, the interior minister knows that, Premier Conte knows it, Minister Boccia knows, everyone in Rome knows," he said.

"In Sicily the measures speak clearly".




Germany: Borders are closed due to the coronavirus epidemic — except for migrants

If you’re an American, British, French, or Swiss tourist who wants to take in some of the sights in Germany, you’ll have to wait a while before you can go because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic. But if you’re a migrant from Asia, the Middle East, or Africa who has entered Europe illegally? No problem!

Last week, Germany closed its land borders to all foreign citizens except for those providing essential services coming from France, Luxembourg, and Switzerland in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

However, the German Ministry of the Interior has confirmed that “asylum-seekers” are still welcome in Germany in spite of the ban, according to a report by Junge Freiheit.

In practice, this means that if a migrant were to illegally enter the European Union’s Schengen Zone via Italy or Greece and make it to France or Switzerland, he can still demand asylum in Germany, and thus must be allowed to traverse these countries so that he can formally request it on German territory. 

“At Germany’s EU external borders [airports and seaports], there has been no change in the [asylum]  procedure,” a representative of the Ministry of the Interior told Junge Freiheit. When asked if this also applies to Germany’s internal Schengen borders, she confirmed that this was also the case there.




Migrants in Paris Refusing to Comply With Quarantine Order

Video footage out of Paris shows migrants violating the country’s quarantine order by being outside without good reason as they squabble with and shout at police.

The clip appears to show a man being arrested and bundled into a police car by officers.

A group of migrants then immediately forms a crowd around the police officers and begins loudly remonstrating with them.

As we highlighted earlier, French citizens are being forced to fill out paperwork every time they leave the house to explain why they are breaking quarantine.

It doesn’t look like migrants in France’s troubled areas are being treated the same way.




Balkan countries fight coronavirus amid lack of doctors and medical supplies

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — The main Serbian hospital treating patients infected with coronavirus looks like an abandoned building, but it isn’t.

With its rundown facade, peeling walls and rooms crammed with metal beds, the downtown Belgrade clinic for infectious diseases has for decades been a symbol of Serbia’s depleted health system that now has to cope with a major virus outbreak.

“If coronavirus doesn’t kill you, that hospital surely will,” said Bane Spasic, a middle-aged man who recently visited the place for a minor infection. 

Although the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t hit Eastern and Central Europe with such a force compared to Italy, Spain and France, health officials throughout the region are sounding alarm about the lack of medical staff, facilities, equipment and enough hospital beds to handle several virus outbreaks simultaneously.

The COVID-19 illness causes mild or moderate symptoms in most of those infected, but severe symptoms are more likely in the elderly or people with existing health problems. The vast majority of those infected recover




Coronavirus: Spain's lockdown will 'last more than 15 days'

Spain's streets have turned eerily empty since the government declared the state of emergency and imposed a nationwide lockdown for two weeks - aiming to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

However, the Spanish minister for transport, José Luis Ábalos, warned on Monday (16 March) that the lockdown will "last more than 15 days" since this period would not alone be enough for the country to "win the battle" against the coronavirus.

As of Monday, 7,988 cases of Covid-19 and 294 deaths were registered in Spain, the second-most affected country in Europe after Italy - overtaking the larger nations of France and Germany.

Following the measures taken by Italy - the most affected country in Europe - Spain declared a state of emergency on Saturday which places tight restrictions on movement with exceptions for primary needs or professional requirements.




Coronavirus: US volunteers test first vaccine

The first human trial of a vaccine to protect against pandemic coronavirus has started in the US.

Four patients received the jab at the Kaiser Permanente research facility in Seattle, Washington, reports the Associated Press news agency.

The vaccine cannot cause Covid-19 but contains a harmless genetic code copied from the virus that causes the disease.

Experts say it will still take many months to know if this vaccine, or others also in research, will work.

The first person to get the jab on Monday was a 43-year-old mother-of-two from Seattle.




New York City closes all schools until at least April 20

New York City closes all schools until at least April 20

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday evening that he is ordering all schools in New York City to close until at least April 20.

The mayor said the city will make every attempt to reopen schools on April 20, but that it's possible that they could remain closed for the rest of the school year.

De Blasio further said that the city will institute "remote learning," which will start on March 23, and that they are working on ways to provide meals to children in families who depend on school breakfasts and lunches.

The New York City public school system is the largest in the United States, with more than 1.1 million students attending over 1,700 public schools.





The Entire Western World Is Starting To Shut Down As Authorities Brace For “Millions” Of Coronavirus Cases

Since the end of World War II, have we ever seen the entire globe gripped by so much fear?

This week, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. and Europe has absolutely exploded, and authorities all over the western world are rushing to shut down public gatherings of all kinds. 

The NCAA has banned fans from upcoming tournament games, the NBA just suspended the entire season because a Utah Jazz player tested positive, and dozens of other sporting events have been canceled all over the planet. 

In both the U.S. and Europe, schools are being shut down for weeks, some universities are telling their students not to come back for the rest of the semester, and a whole host of concerts, conferences, festivals and religious gatherings are either being postponed or canceled altogether. 

We have never seen anything like this before, and the implications are staggering. 




2 mn masks, 1,000 ventilators coming from China

(ANSA) - Rome, March 10 - Over two million face masks and some 10,000 pulmonary ventilators are set to reach Italy from China under contracts about to be signed, after a phone call between Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and Chinese counterpart Wang Yi Tuesday.

Wang assured Di Maio that Italian orders for the ventilators would be made a priority by Chinese firms after similar requests were made by other European countries.

Wang also told Di Maio that the Chinese government had instructed its firms to export two million medical masks.

To start with, China is ready to send 100,000 high-tech masks and 20,000 protective suits, along with 50,000 swabs. 




Merkel Expects 60-70 Per Cent of Germans to be Infected With Coronavirus

Angela Merkel says she expects around 60-70 per cent of Germans will be infected with the coronavirus, which equates to about 53 million people.

Reportedly, the German Parliament fell completely silent when Merkel stated the number.

News outlet Bild reported the German Chancellor’s comments, which echoed numbers forecast by Berlin virologist Christian Drosten, who added that such a total could take 2 years or longer to reach.

Given the fact that coronavirus has a mortality rate of around 1 per cent, this could equate to over half a million deaths, although new methods of fighting the virus could reduce this number.

The World Health Organization’s director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus claimed that the death rate was higher at 3.4 per cent, although this has been disputed.




Ireland cancels all St. Patrick’s Day parades amid coronavirus outbreak

The nation of Ireland has canceled all St. Patrick’s Day parades, including the massive Dublin festivities, over concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

The decision to nix large gatherings for the March 17 holiday was made Monday by a new government subcommittee on the virus, national broadcaster RTE reported.

The celebrations are known for kicking off the country’s tourism season with 500,000 revelers from around the world flooding the country of 4.8 million each year for the various parades in its towns and villages.

The popular Dublin parade alone has been responsible for more than 73 million euros ($83.5 million) in revenue.

 But a leading expert called on government officials last week to cancel the parade, arguing that the possibility of the virus spreading was high with visitors traveling from all over the globe.




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