European nations step up coronavirus measures as cases rise

  • The United Kingdom says all arrivals from France and the Netherlands will be subject to a 14-day quarantine starting on Saturday, prompting Paris to warn of a “reciprocal measure”.

  • An inquiry report into the virus-infected Ruby Princess cruise ship allowed to disembark in Sydney found Australian health officials made a “serious and material error”.

  • Worldwide coronavirus cases surpass 20.9 million, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 12.9 million people have recovered, and more than 759,000 have died.

    Friday, August 14

    18:45 GMT – Baseball-Cardinals to resume play Saturday after two-week COVID-19 hiatus

    The St. Louis Cardinals will return to action this weekend after having a total of 14 games postponed while they dealt with a COVID-19 outbreak within the club, Major League Baseball has said.

    The Cardinals, who last competed on July 29, will end their two-week hiatus when they play a doubleheader at the Chicago White Sox on Saturday before concluding the three-game series on Sunday.

    18:30 GMT – Argentina sticks with COVID-19 lockdown focused in and around Buenos Aires

    Argentina has extended until August 30 restrictions taken against the coronavirus, President Alberto Fernandez said, affirming that the country’s lockdown would continue in its current form in an around capital city Buenos Aires.

    The measures, which are more relaxed in less densely populated areas, had been scheduled to expire on Sunday. “The only medicine we have found so far is to limit the movement of people and the face-to-face meeting of people as much as possible,” Fernandez said.

    “The plan worked and it is working, but the risk always exists.”

    18:15 GMT – UK secures 90 mn more doses of potential virus vaccine

    The United Kingdom has secured access to 90 million doses of two “promising” coronavirus vaccines, the government said, taking its total orders of potential COVID-19 vaccines to nearly 350 million doses.

    The country has struck agreements to buy 60 million doses from US biotech firm Novavax, and another 30 million doses from Janssen pharmaceuticals, which is part of US giant Johnson & Johnson.

    18:00 GMT – Virus lockdown gives South Africa ‘crime holiday’: minister

    Crime-plagued South Africa posted a drastic drop in criminal offences, including sexual assaults, during the first three months of its coronavirus lockdown, the police minister has said.

    The latest quarterly statistics showed crime dropping by up to 40 percent between April and June, when the country was placed under strict stay-home restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the virus.

    “These statistics show major decreases in all crime categories compared to the same comparative period last year,” said Police Minister Bheki Cele.

    17:45 GMT – Trump says ready to push out coronavirus aid, blames Democrats for holdup

    President Donald Trump has said he is ready to act to pump stimulus money into a US economy hard hit by the coronavirus crisis, a week after his negotiating team failed to reach a deal with congressional Democrats.

    The Republican-controlled Senate and Democratic-controlled House of Representatives have gone into an informal recess after last week’s talks ended with the parties $2tn apart. However, the leaders of both parties said they could recall their members with 24 hours notice if a deal emerged.

    In a series of posts on Twitter, Trump said he was prepared to take unilateral action, this time to provide Americans with direct payments as well as money for small businesses and state and local governments. “DEMOCRATS ARE HOLDING THIS UP!” the president wrote repeatedly in the series of tweets.

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