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tv   BBC News  BBC News  March 19, 2020 2:00am-2:31am GMT

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welcome to bbc news, i'm mike embley. our top stories: italy registers the biggest daily increase in deaths from the coronavirus anywhere in the world, 475 in the past day. the us closes its border with canada and invokes a wartime law to increase supplies of vital equipment. we're going to defeat the invisible enemy, i think we're going to do it even faster than we thought, and it will be a complete victory, it will be a total victory. world markets still plunging, as the european central bank says it will launch a multi billion dollar emergency package to ease the impact of the pandemic. and the rise of the virtual
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gig, artists across the world come together to beat the blues, in self—isolation. italy has reported the highest number of deaths from the coronavirus in a single day of any country since the outbreak began in china last december. another 475 people have died, bringing the total in italy to nearly three thousand. our rome correspondent, mark lowen, has the details. today's figures take the number of deaths here just below that of china, the worst—hit country, and likely to overtake it tomorrow, but the real total may be even higher, because in some nursing homes, virus—related deaths are not being recorded because the sick there are not being tested.
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now, in terms of the number of cases, well, that is rising by about 13% every day compared to 23% a week ago, so the rate is slowing but there's an urgent need to flatten the curve to help ease the pressure on hospitals. the worst—hit area remains by far the north, where in some small towns, mortuaries are being used to store coffins and crematoria are working 2a hours a day. now, in terms of the restrictions across the country, italians are, on the whole still, abiding by them but the government is considering whether to extend them even further, banning all outdoor activities, including for example going for a run or riding a bicycle. you see those pictures and videos of british supermarket aisles virtually empty, that is simply not happening in italy. there is virtually no panic—buying despite the fact that italy's outbreak is far more advanced at the moment than that of britain. italians are so numb with shock but they're behaving generally remarkably calmly. president trump says the united states and canada
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have agreed to close their border to non—essential traffic, as all 50 american states register coronavirus cases for the first time. mr trump also said that he was sending a us navy hospital ship to new york, the city worst hit, so far. our north america correspondent nick bryant reports. in new york right now, the rush—hour is no more. companies have been ordered to keep at least half of their employees at home. a city known for its infectious energy, a city that likes to boast it never even has to sleep, is experiencing a form of enforced hibernation. it's now ringed with drive—through test centres, as america's largest conurbation has also become a home to the country's largest coronavirus outbreak. and this hospital ship will soon be setting sail for new york harbor.
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as the city's medical facilities are overwhelmed in the coming weeks, it will desperately need extra beds. today, donald trump described himself as a wartime president... thank you very much. ..and continued to label covid—i9 as "the chinese virus", something he's been forced to defend. reporter: why do you keep using this? because it comes from china. a lot of people say it's racist. it's not racist at all, no. not at all. it comes from china, that's why. it comes from china. i want to be accurate. the virus is paralysing the american economy. this was wall street tonight, and as part of a mammoth $1 trillion stimulus package, the us government wants to give immediate cash payments to all americans to help them through the crisis. the trump administration has warned congress that unemployment could reach 20% if it fails to act quickly. that's almost double what it was during the great recession that started in 2008, and approaching the figure from the depths of the great depression in the 1930s. at the 9/11 memorial, there are no fresh flowers any more. this sacred place, inscribed
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with the names of those who lost their lives on september 11th, has also been sequestered. this has fast become a global convulsion that looks like being even more consequential, another 21st—century crisis that separates the past and the future into the before and the after. nick bryant, bbc news, new york. in spain, the outbreak is spreading rapidly, despite severe limits on personal movement and public gatherings. there are now nearly fourteen thousand confirmed cases, a sharp increase from just 2a hours ago. and as our europe correspondent damian grammaticas reports from madrid, the virus has begun spreading through old—people's homes. inside this madrid care home are 120 frail residents — and, also, now, the virus. in just a week, it has taken a terrible toll here.
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every day, a hearse is called each time another resident has succumbed. from his home across the street, miguel campos says he has watched the vans come and go. 17 of them now. translation: from my window, i have seen them, they put the body bags inside and go directly to the crematorium. they are trying to avoid any risk of contamination. so the care home has been sealed off — relatives, too, not allowed inside, even as their parents or grandparents have been dying. what's happening now in spain is the scenario many fear, covid—19 spreading among the most vulnerable. today, we watched as carlos fuentes tried to get in to see his mother. the last he'd heard, she has no symptoms. this is her, jesusa, 89 years old, celebrating last christmas with a staff member. "i couldn't get inside," he says. "i don't know what's going on in there. "i just want news about my mother. " when he tries to phone,
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it is constantly engaged. volunteers at the care home say there has been little assistance for the staff trying to fight the virus here. translation: we are worried because no—one has yet come to sanitise this place. in the surrounding streets, people are hunkered down, part of what is now a nationwide confinement. so, this is what you find now, all across spain, people shuttered inside their houses, communities that have fallen silent because everyone now is acutely aware of the dangers posed by the virus and only venturing out if it's absolutely necessary. spain only imposed these measures from last weekend, but, given the virus‘s incubation period can be up to two weeks, cases continue to rise fast. another 2,500 confirmed today. so police are now enforcing the lockdown more vigorously. in madrid, they've begun handing out fines to people
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who are outside without a valid reason. it all means a strange quiet has fallen over the spanish capital. a city stilled by the outbreak here. damian grammaticas, bbc news, madrid. let's get some of the day's other news: german chancellor angela merkel has given an unprecedented televised address regarding the virus. she said the pandemic is the country's greatest challenge since the second world war, and the number of loved ones lost will depend on how strictly people follow the rules. portugal has also declared a national state of emergency for the first time in 46 years. as well as restricting people's movements, the measures may include suspending the right of workers in essential sectors to strike. portugal has 6112 confirmed cases of the virus so far, with two reported deaths. bangladesh has reported its first death from the coronavirus. concern is growing amongst aid agencies in the country about a possible outbreak in refugee camps which are home
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to hundreds of thousands of rohingyas. a unhcr representative told the bbc they were setting up temporary isolation areas. to the markets now, and after another chaotic day on wednesday, asian markets have seemingly stabilised on thursday, with tokyo stocks opening more than two percent higher. at the close of markets in new york, the dowjones finished more than 6% down, and at one point, the dow slipped lower than when president trump took office in january 2017. joining me now is betsey stevenson, former member of the president's council of economic advisers and professor of public policy and economics at the university at the university of michigan. thank you very much indeed for your time. what are you thinking about the picture right now? the first priority is obviously stemming the outbreak so the pandemic is the first priority, but also a problem with the economy. when we ask everybody to stay home, people are spending money. and
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a you aren't spending money that mean somebody else and getting money, so lots of people have suffered a very large income loss, and that income loss has a secondary effect, which means a lot of people needing to borrow money in order to be able to pay their bills so it's creating giant liquidity problems for businesses and for households. and that could mean businesses permanently shutting down, that could potentially mean recession, couldn't it? there is no doubt that the us is going through a recession, the system will be how deep it goes and how long we stayed at. the goal is to be able to bounce back quickly after the pandemic passes, but in order for that to happen, we need the nurses to happen, we need the nurses to stay in business and that means we're going to to help them through this crisis because when revenue is not coming and a lot of them won't be able to pay rent, won't be able to pay for equipment or other cost that they face and they could end up filing for
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bank the. if a bunch of businesses fail for bank the they are not going to be there when it is time for us to recover. how would you be advising president ronald reagan now? i think the advice —— how would you be advising president trump right now? we need to make sure we don't see a wave of default and closures and ruined credit scores that make it difficult for consumers to go back to normal life, normal spending patterns when the pandemic passes and we need to do what we can to inject a lot of liquidity into the system. we have seen central banks playing a big role there but there is a role for this or fiscal policy as well. the central bank has launched a bond buying scheme, what do you think about that? i think what
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they are trying to do is trying to keep liquidity in the system, making sure that there are supportive financial conditions that allow families and businesses to try to absorb this kind of shock, so what they are working to do is keep interest rates low and that is what all the central banks are trying to do, and they are pulling up the measures that we re pulling up the measures that were last used in the financial crisis, because i think what people see is that this pandemic, this loss of income could easily build into a financial crisis if we don't act appropriately. professor stevenson, thank you very much for your time. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: the artists giving virtual gigs to beat the self isolation blues. today, we have closed the book
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on apartheid and that chapter. more than 3,000 subway passengers were affected. nausea, bleeding, headaches and a dimming of vision — all of this caused by an apparently organised attack. the trophy itself was on the pedestal in the middle of the cabinet here. now, this was an international trophy, and we understand now that the search for it has become an international search. above all, this was a triumph for the christian democrats of the west, offering reunification as quickly as possible, and that's what the voters wanted.
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this is bbc news — the latest headlines: italy records a huge rise in the number of deaths from coronavirus, with 475 people dying in one day — bringing the total to almost 3,000. president trump is closing the border with canada and invoking the wartime law to produce equipment, fighting what he calls the invisible enemy. scientists across the world are racing to find a vaccine. but they're warning it won't be ready for some time. 0ur science correspondent, richard westcott, has had special access to a team at cambridge university trying to find the key to beat the disease. the race to find a vaccine for coronavirus didn't start in a lab, it started on a computer. so this is the dna of coronavirus? yes, it is. within weeks of the outbreak, the coronavirus dna had been read and put online for scientists across the world to access. like many others, the cambridge team has been using it to find out exactly
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what they are up against. the sequence helps us to understand how the virus actually looks, in terms of its physical properties and that is really important because the spike protein that you see around the edge of the virus, that is what we need the antibodies to attach to in order to prevent the virus from entering our cells. that is interesting, so these letters give you a picture of what it looks like? yes. things then move into a tightly sealed lab. they haven't got the actual virus in here yet. early tests are done on safer, man—made copies of parts of the virus. this is a highly restricted lab, very few people are allowed inside, and we aren't allowed inside, but we are going to be able to talk to jonathan who is leading the research, using a bit of technology to get hold of him. jonathan, hi, can you hear me? nice to see you, are you collaborating with other people around the world? are all experts like
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you chatting online and sharing ideas about what to do next? absolutely, this is a huge global effort, i was in australia, i was in british columbia, i was in the us and we had teleconferences daily about the state of the situation, the variability, the transmission dynamics, i really tried to get as much information from the epidemic that will help us develop a vaccine as quickly as possible. have you ever known anything like this and in your career, in terms of the speed? no, this is really, really unique. it has certainly spread globally very quickly and it has caught everybody off guard. they have already begun testing possible coronavirus vaccines on animals. but to be sure it is safe and effective, it could be next summer before a human version is finally approved. 139 people have now died from coronavirus in the us. joining me now from florida is dr dena grayson, infectious disease expert and viral pandemic doctor. what are you making of the surge in american cases? u nfortu nately, surge in american cases? unfortunately, i've been predicting this for at least a
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month. we are obviously seeing a surge in part due to the fact we are starting to wrap up testing in this country woefully late u nfortu nately testing in this country woefully late unfortunately but also this is just part of the exponential viral spread and u nfortu nately, we exponential viral spread and unfortunately, we are really just at the beginning of this massive surge of coronavirus infected patients. do you welcome what president trump has announced today, though? certainly, it's a good start. u nfortu nately, we certainly, it's a good start. unfortunately, we are behind the eight ball and look, when you are dealing with these viral pandemic, especially with this highly contagious deadly virus, you really want to be out in front and we are 6— eight weeks behind in testing, we still have only tested well under 30,000 patients in this country so that is just woefully inadequate and certainly pleased to see that
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mrtrump is certainly pleased to see that mr trump is mobilising the naval ships. these are hospital ships, the us navy ship, the mercy, as well as the comfort, these are ships that have 1000 beds that can go to new york city and the west coast of the united states to provide surge capacity, not for coronavirus patients but actually for other patients but actually for other patients who have emergencies. 0ur hospitals in emergency rooms can focus 0ur hospitals in emergency rooms can focus on 0ur hospitals in emergency rooms can focus on dealing with coronavirus patients. these ships will be docked so people who have other medical issues can be safely seen aboard these ships and not be infected by coronavirus but also help to alleviate this massive surge in patients. what's happening with testing kits? countries are saying they don't have enough, they had advanced warning, they could see what was happening in southeast asia weeks ago. you are absolutely right and
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experts like me have raised the alarm several months ago and have been hollering for test kits in what we call point—of—ca re, kits in what we call point—of—care, right kits in what we call point—of—ca re, right patients are and in fact, trump's own former fda commissioner, doctor scott gottlieb, close to three, four weeks ago, he wrote an op—edin four weeks ago, he wrote an op—ed in a major newspaper here calling for testing and u nfortu nately, calling for testing and unfortunately, these calls from experts fell on deaf ears. u nfortu nately, experts fell on deaf ears. unfortunately, the administration was really treating this coronavirus emerging pandemic is a public relations issue rather than the public health crisis that it is. briefly if you could, a lot of people talking about drug reportedly approved in japan, reportedly approved in japan, reportedly effective. i'm familiar with this drug because i developed a drug that was
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similar. the weight works is to inhibit the virus‘s ability to copy its genetic material. the virus uses rna, we use dna as humans. in order to weigh —— make new particles it needs to make new particles it needs to make a copy of this rna so this drug and it inhibits the activity so it appears it may have some activity in a study that was revealed by the chinese doctors and also has been confirmed at least by a published media reports that this is now being used injapan and appears to be at least modestly effective in patients that have more mild or moderate infection but unfortunately once patients are critically ill, at least the japanese scientists and researchers are reporting, but unfortunately the drug doesn't appear to be effective there but it's certainly promising and i think there are some other potential
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antiviral drug candidates that are also going to be rapidly tested in the near future and are also going to be rapidly tested in the nearfuture and i think that really holds some near—term hope as we wait anxiously of course or a vaccine to come ——to become available. thank you so much. in the uk all schools are to shut from friday, under new measures announced by the government to stop the spread of the coronavirus. exams in england and wales will not go ahead this academic year; scotland and northern ireland are yet to decide whether to follow suit. 0ur political editor laura kuenssberg reports from westminster. home time — notjust until the morning, but maybe for many months. the school bell on friday will signal the end of normal life for millions of families for the foreseeable future. i think it's good for the children, right, but i think it's going to be hard for the parents who've still got to go to work. i'm very worried. why? because it's scary, it's scaring the people. i'm kind of a stay—at—home dad. it's not such a problem —
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my wife is the kind of main breadwinner, so it's not too bad. it's perhaps not the last resort for the government, but certainly closing school gates was one of the measures ministers were desperate to avoid. after schools shut their gates from friday afternoon, they will remain closed for most pupils, for the vast majority of pupils until further notice. now, i know that these steps will not be easy for parents orfor teachers, and, for many parents, this will be frustrating and it will make it harder for them to go out to work. families will wonder maybe more than anything else tonight how long these closures might last. can you give us any indication? 0urjudgement right now is that this is the moment to provide further downward pressure. i wish i could give you an answer about how long it will be, laura, but we've got to do it right now. for the children of key workers, it could mean school as usual, but, for teenagers, that means exams off for now.
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we've worked so hard, and the past two years, it's always had that long end goal, gcses, and it's just got to the point where that's in sight, and now it's not any more. school closures could make business even trickier for firms struggling to stay afloat. if she can get them for mother's day, that would be brilliant. sally field, a florist in bristol, has plenty of orders for mother's day, but, despite the government's promise to prop up the economy with hundreds of billions of pounds of loans, she is uncertain, deeply uncertain, about what might come next. if the staff were to have to not come in, look after their children, if we don't get the orders in, i wouldn't be able to pay the rent up the shop. it's a massive worry. there are still moments of hope and positivity around the world. 0ur reporter, freya cole, takes a look at how some people are helping out others, including some big names in the music industry.
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so what songs do you want to hear? virtual gigs are a new craze. the music is live, in real time and you can watch on the safety of your own home while getting a sneak peek into the homes of megastars like us singerjohn legend was later joined by his wife chrissy and daughter luna. millions of people around the world are logging into social media to watch their ire —— idols. cold day's chris martin was one of the first big names to start the first big names to start the trend. country music star keith urban also jumped the trend. country music star keith urban alsojumped on board. his wife, nicole kidman, made a cameo, perhaps the one and only audience member in person. and with a slightly
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different approach, pop sensation lizzo spent half—an—hour with her 8.4 million fans sharing meditation tips to beat the blues. all around the world, communities are finding new ways to connect. this tightknit neighbourhood in dublin has arranged a daily exercise break for people who don't have symptoms. it's social but at a safe distance. everybody is getting fed up with each other in houses so we are all out here doing dancing and exercise. balcony bonding sessions are taking off globally. trend started in italy and spain and has spread across europe, providing much—needed relief from stress and a chance to smile. freya cole, bbc news. please do your best to stay healthy and protect everyone else as well.
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think you were watching. hello, there. yesterday it was scotland that had the best of the day's bright weather, with some spells of sunshine coming through, for example in this weather watch picture from the aviemore area. it was not like that everywhere though. for england and wales, we've had a slow—moving weather front with us for a couple of days now, and that's been bringing some murky weather and outbreaks of light rain and drizzle. that front is this stripe of cloud you can see here. and it is this weather front that separates the mild but rather murky weather to the south, to the clearer, sunnier conditions, but colder conditions that we have across the north of the uk. now, over the next few hours,
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that weather front is still with us, bringing cloud and rain, murky as well across parts of the midlands, wales and southern counties of england, with some hill fog patches. but it is the cloud that stops it from getting too cold, so it's actually quite mild. temperatures for some at around 8 celsius over the next few hours. further north, with those clearer skies in place, yes, it is cold enough for a few bits of frost, although quite windy for the northern isles, and that will keep temperature from dropping too far. it will though bring a few showers into shetland and 0rkney as we start the day. there will be a few more showers coming and going into the north—west of scotland later on as well. but the winds will be getting lighter all the time. further south, we've got our weather front, that's not really moving very far through the day. if you start off with outbreaks of rain, chances are they will still probably be there, even into the latter part of the afternoon. temperatures for most around 8—10 degrees. but on the northern edge of this front, it could be quite chilly for one or two areas, with temperatures around 5 degrees in one or two spots. for friday, well, our front is a still there but it is moving a little bit further southwards so the cloud still thick enough for an odd patch of rain. we'll have these cold winds,
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gusty winds, particularly around the headlands of south—west england, the hills and coasts of south wales and the wind will make you feel quite chilly even though there will be a little bit more of that sunshine to go around. looking at the weather charts into the weekend — this area of high pressure setting up for quite a prolonged dry spell of weather for the uk, but the amount of cloud we see is likely to vary from place to place. on saturday, we could see some areas of cloud come across the north sea. that may well affect some of our eastern coast. but the best of any bright or sunny weather, well, probably west of scotland, north—west england, western wales, the favourite areas for seeing some lengthy spells of sunshine. that cool wind knocks the edge off those temperatures around these eastern coasts. temperatures just 6 in aberdeen — that's not particularly warm for that time of year. the second half of the weekend also looks like it'll stay dry with occasional bright or sunny spells and the fine weather looks set to last for many of us into the first part of next week as well.
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this is bbc news, the headlines: italy has reported nearly 500 extra deaths from coronavirus, the highest—one—day toll of any nation. it brings the country's total to nearly 3000. more than a third of all coronavirus fatalities now originate from the country. world markets are continuing their downward spiral, with new york stocks plunging off the back of european losses. the european central bank has announced an $820 billion emergency package to try to reduce the impact of the pandemic, as analysts warn the virus could send the world economy into recession. the us has ramped up its response to the coronavirus. president trump has closed his country's border with canada and invoked a wartime law to increase supplies of vital equipment to fight what he's called the ‘invisible enemy'.

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