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The Latest: South Korea’s central bank to provide aid
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The Latest: South Korea’s central bank to provide aid

The Latest: South Korea’s central bank to provide aid
Photo Credit: Park Dong-joon/Yonhap via AP
A staff member carries plastic buckets containing medical waste from new coronavirus patients at the Dongsan Hospital in Daegu, South Korea, Wednesday, March 25, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (Park Dong-joon/Yonhap via AP)

The Latest: South Korea’s central bank to provide aid

The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

TOP OF THE HOUR:

— South Korea’s central bank to temporarily provide “unlimited” money to eligible banks, financial institutions

— Japan setting up task force to discuss coronavirus measures, emergency responses

— Western Australia wants residents on cruise ship to isolate on resort island

— Alaska Airlines to reduce flights by 70%, cut pay to its CEO and president to zero

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SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s central bank says it will temporarily provide an “unlimited” amount of money to eligible banks and other financial institutions for three months through repurchase agreements as it tries to calm financial markets rattled by the global coronavirus crisis.

The Bank of Korea on Thursday said the measure was unprecedented but didn’t provide an estimate on how much money would be supplied to financial markets through the short-term borrowings.

The bank last week executed an emergency rate cut of 0.5 percentage points to help ease the economic fallout from the coronavirus, which brought its policy rate to an all-time low of 0.75%.

Some experts say it’s unclear whether traditional financial tools to boost money supplies would be effective now when the global pandemic has damaged both supply and demand, decimating industrial hubs in China and Italy and forcing millions to stay at home under tightened quarantines.

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TOKYO — Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is setting up a special task force to discuss coronavirus measures and emergency responses as the government now considers the spread of the COVID-19 virus rampant in the country, officials said Thursday.

The meeting is backed by a special law enacted earlier this month to allow Abe to declare a state of emergency.

Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said ministers in Abe’s Cabinet accepted the latest assessment submitted by a government-commissioned experts’ panel that the coronavirus outbreak in Japan is feared to have been widespread in the country.

Nationwide, Japan had 93 new cases on Wednesday, including 41 in Tokyo alone. The number has doubled from past few weeks, amid a rise of untraceable infections in Tokyo, Osaka and other cities, while a growing number of cases were brought in from abroad, Kato said.

A sharp increase prompted alarmed Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike to hold an emergency news conference Wednesday to ask Tokyo residents to work from home as much as possible and stay home during the coming weekend, suggesting a possible so-called “lockdown” if the infection turns “explosive.”

Japan as of Wednesday has 2,003 confirmed cases, including 712 from a cruise ship, with 55 deaths.

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CANBERRA, Australia — The Western Australia state government says it only wants to isolate its own residents on a resort island for 14 days and wants hundreds of other Australians and foreigners aboard a cruise ship due to dock soon to fly home.

State Premier Mark McGowan said Thursday that dealing with three cruise ships hoping to dock at the port town of Fremantle is “extremely complicated.”

The Vasco da Gama has been asked to delay its arrival at Fremantle from Friday to Monday to allow time to prepare Rottnest Island, a 24-kilometer (15-mile) ferry journey away, as a quarantine center for the 200 Western Australians aboard.

McGowan says he wants the other 1,300 passengers and crew -- including 600 Australians -- to remain on board until they can fly directly home. The state government is dealing with other governments to arrange that.

No cases of the new coronavirus have been confirmed on the Vasco da Gama, but seven COVID-19 cases have been confirmed on another cruise ship off the Australian west coast, Artania. A third ship, Magnifica, is anchored off the west coast and has not reported illness. Magnifica left Fremantle on Tuesday, but has since been told by the United Arab Emirates that it can’t dock in Dubai.

The Artania and Magnifica have almost 3,000 passengers and crew on board but no Australians.

“No one will be disembarking at Fremantle unless a passenger is in a life-threatening emergency,” McGowan said.

McGowan wants any medical cases that must come ashore to be taken to an Australian military base.

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SEATTLE — Alaska Airlines will reduce flights by 70% in April and May and cut pay to its CEO and president to zero through September to conserve cash amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The Seattle-based airline said Wednesday that like other airlines they are seeing demand for flights drop by more than 80% and flight schedules for June and beyond will be based on demand.

"These actions are unprecedented, but these are truly unprecedented times," Alaska CEO Brad Tilden said in a news release.

Additionally, Alaska plans to slash pay by 50% to the president of Horizon Air, and cut it by 20 to 30% for other executives. The company board also will not take their pay. The company has worked with the White House, The Treasury Department, and Congress on a $50 billion aid package for passenger airlines, Tilden said.

“As we more fully understand the impact of these provisions, we will add to our plans to manage through this change," he said.

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SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported 104 new cases of the coronavirus and five more deaths, bringing its totals to 9,241 infections and 131 deaths.

South Korea’s Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention said Thursday that 30 of the new cases were linked to recent arrivals.

Health authorities have been scrambling to prevent the virus from re-entering as an increasing number of South Koreans return from Europe and the United States amid broadening outbreaks and suspended school years.

From Friday, the country will enforce 14-day quarantines on South Korean nationals and foreigners with long-term stay visas arriving from the United States. Similar measures have already been applied to passengers arriving from Europe.

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Se-kyun on Thursday ordered officials to employ a “no-tolerance” policy on those who disobey quarantines, saying that South Korean nationals would be sued and foreigners would be expelled.

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PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad — Trinidad & Tobago is reporting its first death from the coronavirus.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said late Wednesday that the patient was an elderly man with a pre-existing medical condition.

The twin-island nation of 1.4 million people has more than 50 confirmed cases. The oil- and gas-rich nation shuttered its borders earlier this week and has refused entry to everyone, including Trinidadians now stuck abroad.

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MADRID — Spain’s Parliament has voted in favor of the government’s request to extend the state of emergency by two weeks that has allowed it to apply a national lockdown in hopes of stemming its coronavirus outbreak.

The parliamentary endorsement will allow the government to extend the strict stay-at-home rules and business closings for a full month. The government declared a state of emergency on March 14. It will now last until April 11.

Spain’s government solicited the two-week extension after deaths and infections from the COVID-19 virus have skyrocketed in recent days. Spain 47,600 total cases. Its 3,434 deaths only trail Italy’s death toll as the hardest-hit countries in the world.

The parliament met with fewer than 50 of its 350 members in the chamber, with the rest voting from home to reduce the risk of contagion.

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BEIJING — China’s National Health Commission on Thursday reported 67 new COVID-19 cases, all of which it says were imported infections in recent arrivals from abroad.

Once again, there were no new cases reported in Wuhan, the central Chinese provincial capital where the coronavirus emerged in December.

After a months-long lockdown, Wuhan residents are allowed out of the city but cannot leave Hubei province until April 8. China has started lifting the last of the controls that confined tens of millions of people to their homes.

As outbreaks escalate in the United States and Europe, China’s ruling Communist Party has declared victory over the epidemic and is relaxing restrictions to revive the economy.

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WASHINGTON — District of Columbia health officials announced 48 new positive infections from the coronavirus, including a 2-month-old boy, bringing the total up to 231.

Officials also announced Washington’s third death from the virus, a 75-year-old woman.

Officials in Washington have long predicted that infection numbers would spike as testing became more available. Mayor Muriel Bowser has declared a state of emergency, shuttered all schools and ordered all non-essential businesses to close.

White House and Capitol tours have been cancelled and the National Zoo, Smithsonian museum network and Kennedy Center have closed. Police have blocked off dozens of streets, bridges and traffic circles to prevent crowds coming to see Washington’s signature blooming cherry blossom trees.

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WASHINGTON — A U.S. Marine has become the first person stationed at the Pentagon to test positive for coronavirus.

The Marine has been in isolation at home since March 13, when a member of his immediate family began to show symptoms. The Pentagon said his workspace has been cleaned and a contact investigation is underway.

Two other defense workers who had visited the Pentagon have tested positive, but they were not assigned to the building.

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DENVER — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is issuing a statewide stay-at-home order in an attempt to stem the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

Polis said he is taking this “extreme measure,” effective Thursday until April 11 because restrictions taken to date haven't done enough to reduce the spread of the virus. People should only leave home when they absolutely must, he said, for grocery shopping, to seek medical care or to care for dependents. Polis' order comes after six Colorado counties issued stay-at-home orders affecting nearly 3 million people.

More than 1,086 people in Colorado have tested positive for the virus and at least 20 people have died.

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has halted for 60 days the movement of US troops and Defense Department civilians overseas as a further measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The stoppage is expected to affect about 90,000 troops scheduled to deploy abroad or to return from abroad over the next two months. Some exceptions are allowed, and the order by Defense Secretary Mark Esper will not stop the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan as called for in last month’s deal with the Taliban.

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WASHINGTON — The White House says New York residents who have left the metro area in recent days should self-isolate for 14 days, clarifying guidance announced Tuesday which had applied to anyone who had visited New York recently.

Dr. Deborah Birx issued the new guidance Wednesday from the White House press briefing room, saying it applied to “residents of the metro area that may have gone to second homes or other places to reside.”

She says: “We’ve asked all of them to carefully monitor their temperatures and self-isolate from the communities where they went just to ensure their own health and the health of their communities.”

The New York metro area is now the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., accounting for more than 50% of all new infections reported in recent days.

___

UNITED NATIONS — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is welcoming calls by some groups for an immediate ceasefire to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, and says he sees “a clear conscience emerging” that it’s time to concentrate on the war against COVID-19.

He pointed to communist guerrillas in the Philippines announcing a ceasefire from Thursday to April 15 in response to his appeal, and said he was encouraged to see a truce in Libya between the warring parties “holding with difficulties.”

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric also noted the humanitarian truce called for by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in the country’s northeast to deal with the virus. The group was allied with the United States in the fight against Islamic State extremists.

Guterres said at a humanitarian briefing Wednesday that the Palestinian Authority and Israel have also been able to work together on COVID-19, “even if we know the extreme division that exists politically between the two.”

He said U.N. envoys around the world are talking to warring parties about ceasefires and he expressed hope that “it will be possible in Yemen and Syria to make serious progress” to end fighting and tackle the coronavirus.

Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • More than 1.4 million people worldwide -- including nearly 400,000 people in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. Officials are attempting to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. as hospitals brace for unprecedented patient surges. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Wednesday, April 8, continue below:      UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in stable condition amid coronavirus treatment, junior health minister says Update 4:13 a.m. EDT April 8: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains hospitalized in stable condition following a worsening of his novel coronavirus symptoms, junior health minister Edward Argar told Sky News. “I understand the Prime Minister is in a stable condition. He’s comfortable and in good spirits. He has, in the past, had some oxygen, but he’s not on ventilation,” Argar told the network. On Tuesday, Johnson’s spokesperson told CNN the prime minister is receiving “standard oxygen treatment” and is breathing without assistance, a day after he was transferred to intensive care. More than 1K Veterans’ Affairs health workers test positive for coronavirus Update 3:50 a.m. EDT April 8: At least 1,000 health care workers who service veterans through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. According to Task and Purpose, a military and veteran-focused digital media company, 1,007 Veterans’ Health Administration employees have contracted the virus and have been placed in isolation. Read more here. California governor brokers deals for 200M masks per month to fight coronavirus Update 3:15 a.m. EDT April 8: Gov. Gavin Newsom laid out plans Tuesday for his state to acquire more than 200 million protective masks per month for health care workers battling the novel coronavirus. Newsom, who discussed the plans while appearing on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” said action needed to be taken at the state level. 'In the past 48 hours, we have secured through a consortium of nonprofits and manufacturers here in the state of California upwards of 200 million masks on a monthly basis that we’re confident we can supply the needs of the state of California and potentially the needs of other western states,” Newsom said, adding, “We inked a number of contracts in the last few days that give me confidence in being able to say that.” Specifically, he told Maddow he expects to receive more than 150 million N95 masks and more than 50 million surgical masks per month. 2nd US coronavirus vaccine trial administers first dose Update 1:40 a.m. EDT April 8: The first dose of a second experimental novel coronavirus vaccine was administered this week to a subject at the University of Pennsylvania. Biotechnology firm Inovio began its Phase 1 clinical trial with the first dose delivered Monday and the trial expected to enroll as many as 40 healthy adult volunteers in Philadelphia and Kansas City, Missouri, according to a news release.  Dr. Pablo Tebas, an infectious disease specialist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the study’s principal investigator, said in the release his team anticipates “rapid enrollment” in the early-stage trial, expected to continue through late summer.  “There has been tremendous interest in this vaccine among people who want to do what they can do to help protect the greater public from this pandemic as soon as possible,” Tebas said in the release.  Meanwhile, biotechnology firm Moderna launched its Phase 1 coronavirus vaccine testing in March. US coronavirus deaths hit 12,895, total cases near 400K Published 12:28 a.m. EDT April 8: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 398,000 early Wednesday morning across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 398,809 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 12,895 deaths. U.S. cases now nearly triple the 141,942 reported in Spain and the 135,586 confirmed in Italy. Of the confirmed U.S. deaths, 5,489 – or roughly 43 percent of the nationwide total – have occurred in New York, 1,232 in New Jersey and 845 in Michigan.  In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the hardest hit with at least 139,876 confirmed cases – more than three times the next-closest state – followed by New Jersey with 44,416 and Michigan with 18,970. Six other states have now confirmed at least 13,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 17,585, including 450 deaths • Louisiana: 16,284, including 582 deaths • Massachusetts: 15,202, including 356 deaths • Florida: 13,629, including 250 deaths • Pennsylvania: 14,956, including 296 deaths • Illinois: 13,553, including 380 deaths Meanwhile, Texas and Georgia each has confirmed at least 9,000 novel coronavirus infections, followed closely by Washington state with 8,696 cases and Connecticut with 7,781 cases; Indiana and Colorado each has confirmed at least 5,000 cases; Ohio, Maryland and Tennessee each has confirmed at least 4,000 cases; Virginia, North Carolina and Missouri each has confirmed at least 3,000 cases; and Arizona, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Alabama and Nevada each has confirmed at least 2,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown.
  • At least 10 people have died from the coronavirus at one nursing home in Athens, Georgia, officials confirmed Tuesday. The patients were residents at PruittHealth Grandview. WSB-TV′s Justin Gray talked to a nurse who said she was fired for not going back while still symptomatic for COVID-19. She said she got the virus from a patient who died from the illness. She was one of multiple nurses who talked to Gray, but most wanted to remain anonymous to protect their jobs. Nurse Myesha Moore first tipped off Gray to the coronavirus outbreak at Grandview after she was fired. She said the patients at the nursing home were like family to her. “I’m devastated,” Moore said. “I’m a nurse, and I’m a new nurse at that. I thought I was there to take care of people and protect them and be an advocate for them, and yet I’ve been terminated for being an advocate.” Gray reached out the PruittHealth at their Norcross headquarters. The company said in a statement: “We are saddened to share that 10 patients of PruittHealth Grandview who were previously tested presumptive positive for COVID-19 have passed away in the past few weeks. PruittHealth Grandview continues to operate at an alert code red status and has been strictly following enhanced infectious disease protocol.” Moore said she feels terrible for the victims and their families. “I love them, I really do,” Moore said. “And it hurts. It really does hurt.” PruittHealth denies terminating Moore, and said she is still on the payroll and even scheduled to earn hazard pay. They also said they are restricting staff at Grandview to only essential personnel right now.
  • A Florida man is facing allegations that he intentionally coughed on a store employee and said social distancing is “getting out of hand,” according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. Christopher Canfora, 49, of DeBary, was arrested just before 3 p.m. at his home and taken to Volusia County Jail. He is being charged with assault with intent to commit a felony and is being held on $5,000 bond. Deputies responded to the Harbor Freight Tools store on Enterprise Road in Orange County. The employee said Canfora allegedly approached her at the cash register just after 9 a.m. and commented on the social distancing measure the store was taking. Tape markers were on the store to ensure customers stayed six feet apart. The employee told deputies that Canfora said “this is all getting out of hand” and intentionally coughed on her and the register. He then told her he does the same thing to people wearing masks when he sees them, and planned on going to Winn-Dixie and doing the same thing there, deputies said. Deputies said they were able to identify Canfora through a customer rewards system in the store’s database, according to the arrest affidavit. When they arrived at Canfora’s home, he denied coughing on anyone and told them he did not have any symptoms associated with COVID-19, deputies said. Canfora also told deputies that he didn’t expect anyone to understand his sense of humor, and that he couldn’t remember exactly what he said at Harbor Freight, authorities said.
  • Plenty of people across the state have been dealing with issues trying sign up for Florida’s reemployment process, but now CareerSource Northeast Florida has a solution that can help. Eight career center locations in Jacksonville and the surrounding counties are now providing paper applications with pre-addressed envelopes so you won’t have to deal with the website crashing or waiting on hold. The applications will be sent directly to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. “The applications are available for anybody who doesn’t have the ability to print out the paper application from the online site at the state of Florida,” says Candace Moody with CareerSource. She says it’s unclear how many people are going to need the paper applications, so they’ve printed out 10,000 to get started. “It’s important to note that the applications are available outside from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day,” Moody says. After that, they’ll bring the applications inside until the next day, she says. You can go to the following locations to pick up the paper applications: Duval County Downtown: 215 N. Market Street Jacksonville, FL 32202 Gateway: 5000 Norwood Avenue, Suite 2 Jacksonville, FL 32208 Southside: 11160 Beach Blvd., Ste. 111 Jacksonville, FL 32246 Baker County 1184 South 6th Street Macclenny, FL 32063 Clay County 1845 Town Center Blvd., Suite 150 Fleming Island, FL 32003 Nassau County 96042 Lofton Square Court Yulee, FL 32097 Putnam County 400 Highway 19 North, Ste. 53 Palatka, FL 32177 St. Johns County 525 State Road 16, Suite 109 St. Augustine, FL 32084
  • The doors of Jacksonville’s Museum of Science and History were locked Tuesday. MOSH is shut down during the pandemic.  Local mom Lauren Lynch told Action News Jax it’s one of many changes she’s noticed because of coronavirus.  She added that keeping kids entertained is hard while stuck at home.  Lynch said, “That’s tough because she asks about the park everyday. My son, I want him to get out and start walking, and be outside.  In response to COVID-19, MOSH made their content available in all local homes.  MOSH Connect, the museum’s new program, has educational experiments, video demonstrations and downloadable activity sheets.  All of the content is online and free.  One of the posted activities is a catapult built with Popsicle sticks, rubber bands and a plastic fork.  The lesson is designed to demonstrate Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion.  Lynch said she’ll be exploring MOSH Connect with her kids.  She explained it’s an option to keep her kids occupied and safe inside.

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