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Coronavirus death toll passes 7,000 as WHO urges world to ‘test, test, test’

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The head of the World Health Organization has urged countries around the world to test every suspected coronavirus case as the number of confirmed infections passed 182,000.

“You cannot fight a fire while blindfolded,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists. “Test, test, test. Test every suspected case.”

The virus is spreading rapidly, forcing governments to impose restrictions rarely seen outside wartime — closing borders, ordering home quarantine and scrapping public events including major sporting fixtures.

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Tedros said more cases and deaths have now been reported in the rest of the world than in China, where COVID-19 first emerged in December before crisscrossing the globe.

“This is the defining global health crisis of our time,” he told reporters. “Crises like this tend to bring out the best and worst of humanity.”

More than 182,260 people have been infected by the coronavirus across the world and 7,165 have died, with cases and deaths outside China overtaking those in the country where the outbreak began, according to a Reuters tally published on Tuesday.

Infections outside China have been reported by 161 countries.

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There were continuing signs of improvement in China, with only four new COVID-19 cases recorded in Wuhan — where the virus was first detected in December — although imported cases rose.

Europe in lockdown

Governments are scrambling to contain not only the spread of the virus but also the economic fallout, with fears it will catapult the world into recession.

Countries across Europe are on full lockdown, while major US cities have shut bars and restaurants and schools are closing nationwide.

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In the latest restrictions in Europe, France imposed a 15-day lockdown on its population while Germany announced border controls, banned gatherings in churches, mosques and synagogues and said playgrounds and non-essential shops would close.

Spain also announced it would seal off its land bordes as the number of cases edged closer to 10,000, while Britain called for an end to all “non-essential” contact and travel, and Switzerland declared a state of emergency.

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Italy — the hardest hit nation in Europe — announced another surge in deaths, taking its overall toll to more than 2,000.

Iran, the country with the highest number of infections and deaths in the Middle East, closed four key Shiite pilgrimage sites.

‘Never seen shopping like this’

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In the United States, the US Federal Reserve sought again to shore up the economy, announcing another USD 500 billion in cash injections after slashing its key interest rate to virtually zero.

The Bank of Japan on Monday also announced emergency economic stimulus measures for the world”s third-biggest economy.

But stock markets and oil prices went into freefall again as the various central bank moves failed to lift confidence.

Wall Street stocks sank more than 10 per cent after a brief suspension triggered by steep losses, following sharp nosedives in European markets.

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“The biggest concern has to be that the big G7 central banks have exhausted their policy tool kit, especially the biggest and most influential one of them all, the Fed,” said AxiCorp”s Stephen Innes.

Major world airlines on Monday axed almost all flights temporarily, triggering pleas to help carriers survive.

China provided more evidence of COVID-19’s dire economic impact, announcing factory output had contracted for the first time in nearly 30 years.

There have been scenes of panic-buying around the world as anxious people stock up on essentials fearing a lengthy period of enforced quarantine.

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Larry Grossman, manager at a Manhattan supermarket, said he had never seen anything like it in 40 years.

“I have been through Hurricane Sandy… through 9/11, I have never seen shopping like this,” he told AFP as he restocked empty shelves.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)


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‘Angry’ Trump Michigan voters admit they want ‘this nightmare to end’ in November

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President Donald Trump's Michigan supporters are abandoning their 2016 pick for Vice President Joe Biden as the election comes closer.

In a series of interviews on MSNBC Sunday, revisited voters they'd met earlier in the election cycle in Kent County.

Katey Morse and her husband were both working full time, and their kids were in school back in March, but things quickly changed as the coronavirus spread throughout the country. Luckily, she and her husband didn't lose their jobs, but they, like many parents, are struggling to do virtual school for their kids.

"I'm turning into more of an angry person than I've ever been in my life," she said about how she feels politically, noting that it makes her sad. "I've just got a countdown to November now, and I'm hoping we'll wake up from this nightmare we're in."

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Trump abusing the intelligence community in an attempt to keep them quiet about Russia election hacks: Conservative

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The New York Times Magazine piece outlining President Donald Trump's battles with the U.S. intelligence community revealed that Russia is continuing to wage its own cyberwar against the world. According to conservative Washington Post columnist Max Boot, the devastating report explained the extent to which the president is ignoring the threats to the 2020 election.

“The options faced by the intelligence community during Trump’s presidency have been stark: avoid infuriating the president but compromise the agencies’ ostensible independence, or assert that independence and find yourself replaced with a more sycophantic alternative," wrote Robert Draper in his lengthy investigation into Trump's efforts to politicize international intelligence. According to Boot, the most shocking part of the investigation was that the experts in the intelligence community have been banned from speaking honestly about the Russian attacks.

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2020 Election

‘Incompetent moron’ Chuck Todd ripped for letting Trump official claim Democrats want more COVID-19 deaths

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"Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd is under fire -- once again -- after letting Donald Trump's trade adviser Peter Navarro claim on NBC that Democrats want more Americans to die during the coronavirus pandemic to boost their chances at the polls in November.

Instead of pushing back the NBC host known for his lack of follow-up questions let the comment slide by responding, "I take your point."

Todd's failure to call out the Trump aide for what one Twitter commenter called a "disgusting" comment led to an avalanche of criticism for the MBC political director who recently saw his weekday show cut back to make room for more commentary by colleague Nicolle Wallace.

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