Latest coronavirus news as of 5.30PM on 18 March
Travel bans come into effect around the world
Germany joined France, Spain and Italy in closing schools, closing non-essential shops and urging its citizens to stay at home as much as possible. As the EU’s new 30-day travel ban came into effect today, thousands of passengers were stopped at Germany’s largest airport, Frankfurt Am Main. Traffic was backed up for more than 60 kilometres on the motorway at the German-Polish border as Poland introduced border controls. The FT reports that London could be “locked down” imminently with similarly strict rules on being outdoors to that seen in Spain and Italy.
Several countries in Africa have also announced travel bans, including Nigeria, and, in South America, Brazil has closed its border to Venezuela. The US-Canada border will also close temporarily.
Other coronavirus developments
The UK has announced that it is closing schools from Friday, except for the children of key workers in the NHS, police and supermarkets. Schools will be asked to make provisions for the children of these key workers and to look after the most vulnerable children. Exams have also been cancelled for the year.
The Trump administration has outlined a $1 trillion package to support the US economy. This follows the UK government announcement of a £330 billion stimulus package yesterday. Despite this, share prices in Europe, the US and Asia continue to fall.
Several foreign countries have cancelled or postponed their national team training camps for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games which are still scheduled to take place in July. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) told the BBC they are committed to finding a solution with the least negative impact for the athletes, while protecting the integrity of the competition and the athletes’ health.
A drug used in Japan to treat new strains of influenza appears to be effective at treating the coronavirus, but it doesn’t appear to be effective in more severe cases, medical authorities in China have said.
Following confusion over the use of ibuprofen by people with suspected or confirmed covid-19, the UK’s National Health Service has now advised people to take paracetamol to treat coronavirus symptoms, unless their doctor has told them otherwise. In a statement, they said “there is currently no strong evidence that ibuprofen can make coronavirus (covid-19) worse.”
Neil Ferguson, the Imperial College London scientist who led research that is reported to have influenced changes to the UK’s coronavirus policy, has developed covid-19 symptoms and is self isolating.
The worldwide death toll has passed 8000. The number of confirmed cases is now over 200,000, according to the map and dashboard from Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.
Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist
Coronavirus vaccine: Researchers are racing to develop a vaccine against covid-19 within 12 to 18 months. This will mean relying on untested techniques – and that comes with its own risks.
Travel restrictions: Australia has announced major restrictions on overseas travel, large gatherings, and visits to aged care homes in an effort to limit the spread of covid-19. The country is still in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.
Essential information about coronavirus
What to read and watch about coronavirus
The Rules of Contagion is about the new science of contagion and the surprising ways it shapes our lives and behaviour. The author, Adam Kucharski, is an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, and in the book he examines how things spread and why they stop.
Contagion: The BBC Four Pandemic is a sober and serious documentary about the progression of a hypothetical pandemic which the BBC simulated in 2017. Fronted by science journalist and TV presenter Hannah Fry, and made with the support of some of the country’s best epidemiologists and mathematical modelers, it’s very relevant to today’s covid-19 pandemic.
Source Website Coronavirus: Latest news about the covid-19 pandemic