Coronavirus cruise ships including one that was at sea for two WEEKS finally dock in Florida after four die on board – The Sun

TWO cruise ships full of coronavirus cases were allowed to unload passengers in Florida on Thursday after four people died on one of the vessels.

The MS Zaandam of the Holland America Line had been at sea for two weeks and barred from South American ports before being allowed to dock in the US.

Sister ship the Rotterdam, sent to help the Zaandam, was also given permission to settle at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.

County officials and the cruise line announced a deal had been made shortly before the ships arrived in port.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was originally opposed to the ships’ arrival, but had a change of heart after realizing many passengers were US citizens and about 50 were Floridians.

The state has been hit especially hard by the coronavirus with 9,000 cases.

“I think the accommodations have been made, and I think that things are going to be done very thoughtfully,” he said.

“It’s going to be a very controlled exit from these ships.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of President Trump's chief advisers on the pandemic, had urged the governor to change his mind.

"You have to take care of the people who are ill," Fauci told CBS News before the deal was struck.

"You just have an obligation to do that. And as quickly as possible.

"You've got to get the people who are not sick, who are not infected, off the ship."

Four elderly passengers died on the Zaandam, at least two from COVID-19.

An official said nine people had tested positive for the coronavirus, and 250 people reported flu-like symptoms, including 17 aboard the Rotterdam.

The cruise line gained access at two local hospitals for 13 passengers and a crew member who needed medical care.

Most of the remaining passengers were expected to begin disembarking on Friday and would then be allowed to fly home.

"Out of an abundance of caution, these guests will be transported in coaches that will be sanitized, with limited person-to-person contact and while wearing masks," the cruise line said.

There were 442 guests and 603 crew on the Zaandam, and 808 guests and 583 crew on the Rotterdam.

The Rotterdam was sent to take some of the Zaandam passengers and provide assistance since the Zaandam was denied permission to dock at multiple ports.

Guests have not left the Zaandam since March 14 and have self-isolated in their staterooms since March 22.

“People greeted us, came out to their balconies, blew air horns and shouted, ‘Welcome home!’” said Virginia resident and  Emily Spindler Brazell.

“It was surprising. We went to many countries that said, ‘We are not going to talk to you.’”


The Zaandam had set sail from Buenos Aires on March 7.

It was stranded off the coast of Panama after it was not allowed to dock in Chile and other ports.

More than a million people have contracted the coronavirus around the world, and experts fear 200,000 may die in the US.

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‘Covidiot’ blogger Arielle Charnas may have ruined her brand

Using her personal connections might have just cost her future ones.

Arielle Charnas, the influencer who sparked outrage after using her hookups to get tested for COVID-19, posted a weepy video to her Instagram stories Thursday of herself apologizing through tears for the faux pas — while claiming her family has received death threats.

“Just wanted to come on here and say I’m sorry,” Charnas, 32, said while wiping a tear with the back of her hand. “Um, I never in a million years wanted to hurt anyone and, um, we’re not bad people.”

However, the Something Navy blogger’s decision to uproot her family after the positive diagnosis has the internet seething, with some reaching out to Nordstrom, the retailer she had a splashy collaboration with last year.

“Our partnership with Arielle Charnas ended in 2019, and we have no foreseeable collaborations,” Nordstrom tweeted to an angry fan Wednesday. The brand also responded to several others noting the relationship has since ended.

Charnas first started documenting her illness to her 1.3 million followers on March 16 and announced in her stories that she had tested positive for the coronavirus, thanks to her friend Dr. Jake Deutsch providing the test.

Critics slammed the New York City-based blogger for using her “privilege” to obtain one of the treasured tests — even after she had said she didn’t meet the criteria.

“I’m sorry for anyone I’ve offended or hurt over the last couple of weeks,” Charnas continued in the latest video. “We’re just trying to navigate through this difficult time as I’m sure so many people are. And, um, I’m just sorry I let down my community in any way.”

Charnas said that she’s trying to focus on her family, claiming, “We’ve been receiving horrible threats and I just felt like it was time for me to share my truth, which I did.”

Wearing a red, white and blue Champion jacket, Charnas tells her fans that she made “every effort to do the right thing through this process.”

“I hope you all can see that despite the mistakes I made,” she said. “Anyway I’m thinking of you all and I hope everyone stays safe and healthy.”

The tearful video come hours after Charnas posted a lengthy letter to her fans on Instagram as well as her website.

“I am not writing this to make excuses and I am not searching for validation; I want to share the truth behind the story and above all else, express my sincerest remorse,” Charnas wrote.

Charnas says in the letter that news headlines made her “experience the same fear, panic and worry the entire country has been feeling ever since.”

“You’ve likely read stories about my recent life choices in the media and other social channels over the past few weeks. And I get it,” she wrote. “I’m in the public eye and I’ve built my career on letting people into basically every part of my life.”

After Charnas tested positive, the social media star posted a picture of herself outdoors in front of a pool in the Hamptons with the caption “fresh air.” She also attended her 4-year-old daughter’s preschool classroom days before testing positive, reporter Sophie Ross tweeted.

“Critics’ voices have been very loud, hurtful and largely misinformed,” she wrote. “I’ve been accused of falsifying my own test results which is unequivocally untrue. I’ve also been receiving death threats against my entire family including my two young daughters.”

Charnas continues her letter to explain what led to her decisions, including giving her fans descriptions of the symptoms for their own benefits.

“When I started to share my personal health updates, it was done with the intention to keep a sense of normalcy during a time where everything felt upside down,” she wrote.

Charnas said that she first began tracking her symptoms on March 13 and spoke with her pediatrician on March 19, who reportedly told Charnas that the symptoms sounded like the flu.

“Being the anxious mother I am, I wasn’t comfortable with a single opinion,” she wrote. “In desperation, I reached out to a doctor I had previously met to ask his advice”

The influencer added that since she tested positive, her husband and her childrens’ nanny have since tested positive as well. Her nanny has chosen to quarantine with the family instead of return home.

“We count ourselves incredibly fortunate to have had such prompt access to medical care and understand that is far from the reality for the vast majority of people in this country,” Charnas wrote.

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Dead chick is tied to railings on road named in honour of WWI soldiers

Investigation launched after dead chick is tied to railings on road named in honour of WWI soldiers

  • WARNING: Article contains images some readers may find distressing  
  • The bird was found on the Road of Remembrance in the town of Folkestone, Kent
  • RSPCA not able to establish if the bird was dead or alive when it was tied there
  • Charity said it’s ‘shocking and disrespectful’ to place it at the ‘poignant’ location

An investigation has been launched after a dead chick was found tied to the railings of a road named in honour of World War One soldiers.

Upsetting pictures showed the chick tied close to a knitted poppy that was also on the railing on the Road of Remembrance in Folkestone, Kent.   

The discovery was made by a member of the public on Tuesday who informed the RSPCA. 

In World War One hundreds of thousands of troops marched down the road to Folkestone Harbour from marshalling camps to board ships bound for France and the Western Front.

The dead chick (pictured above) was found tied to the railings next to a knitted poppy that can be seen on the left of the photo

The Road of Remembrance leads up to the town’s 1922 war memorial, which faces out to sea and features a bronze female figure holding a cross in her left hand and a laurel wreath in her right. 

RSPCA officers say it not possible to establish if the chick was alive or dead when it was tied to the railing.

RSPCA Inspector David Grant was called to collect the chick’s body and said: ‘I was actually a bit speechless when I saw this, I just don’t understand why anyone would do this.

‘It’s upsetting on so many levels – to have an animal strung up in such an undignified way and then to do it at such a poignant location next to a poppy and as it is almost Easter, it’s shocking and disrespectful.’

The RSPCA is now appealing for witnesses.

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University of Wisconsin-Madison doctor, husband found dead in suspected homicide

A University of Wisconsin-Madison doctor and her husband have been found dead in what cops are calling a targeted double homicide.

A jogger discovered the bodies of doctor Beth Potter, 52, and Robin Carre, 57, in a ditch at the campus arboretum — a popular research and recreation area with more than 1,200 acres of forests and prairies — around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, authorities said.

Carre was pronounced dead on the scene, and Potter was transported to a local hospital where she also died, according to police.

The pair died of “homicidal related trauma,” according to the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office.

UW-Madison Police said there was nothing arbitrary about the slayings.

“Through our police investigation, we reached a point where we were confident in that this was not random and this couple was targeted,” department spokesman Marc Lovicott said. ”Beyond that, I can’t provide any further details as this is a very active police investigation.”

Potter worked at the Wingra Family Medical Center, operated by the UW-Madison Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and Access Community Health Centers.

She also served as medical director of UW Health’s Employee Health Services and spoke both French and Spanish, according to a tribute on the medical school’s website.

“Words cannot express our grief,” Dr. William Schwab, interim chair of the family medicine department, said in the tribute.

“In addition to being a wonderful family physician and highly respected teacher, Beth was a dedicated leader at the Wingra clinic and in our health system. She was wise, warm, and always supportive. There are so many in our department whose lives have been touched by Beth; her loss will weigh heavily within us.”

Dr. Patrick McBride, a retired former associate dean at the medical school, told the Wisconsin State Journal that Potter was a “doctor’s doctor.”

“Other doctors had her see their kids,” he said, adding that she was “dedicated to treating the underserved at the highest quality of care, with dignity.”

Carre worked as an independent educational consultant, helping high school students and their parents with the college admissions process, his Linkedin page says.

He previously served as a coaching director at the Regent Soccer Club, a Madison-based youth soccer organization.

“He cared far more about how players learned the game than he did about their record that season, and he was always calm and even-tempered,” Chris Murphy, whose daughter was coached by Carre for several years as a child, told the Journal.

Potter and Carre had three children, the paper reported.

No one is in custody in connection to the crime, and the motive is unclear.

With Post wires

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Thousands of people across UK join in to applaud NHS

Poorly looking Boris Johnson takes to his doorstep from coronavirus quarantine in Downing Street as he joins thousands of people across UK clapping, cheering and setting off fireworks to applaud the NHS and keyworkers for second week in a row

  • Many across the country joined in for the Clap For Carers campaign this evening at 8pm to celebrate workers
  • The campaign was launched online in order to show those working in the NHS how grateful Britons are 
  • Follows similar moves in Italy and Spain which have some of the world’s highest death tolls from coronavirus
  • ITV paused programming in order to encourage people to open their windows and doors and clap for the NHS

A sickly-looking Boris Johnson tonight took to his doorstep amid his coronavirus quarantine in Downing Street to applaud NHS workers up and down the country.

Stepping out in a suit, the Prime Minister made sure he showed his support after he himself was forced to self-isolate after he tested positive for the coronavirus last Friday. Downing Street today said he would be coming out of self-isolation tomorrow.

Britons also flocked to their doorways, balconies, gardens and windows to give a heartwarming round of applause as the country came together for the NHS. 

People up and down the country joined in for the Clap For Carers campaign this evening at 8pm, with many seen cheering and voicing their gratitude for the workers who have been dealing with the coronavirus fight.

The Clap For Carers campaign, which started online, has been staged because ‘during these unprecedented times they need to know we are grateful’, the organisers said.

It follows similar moves in Italy and Spain – which have the world’s highest death tolls – which created astonishing scenes over the last month as they applauded from terraces in the countries’ cities.

This is while in New York, many people have made the clapping part of their every day routines, with social media videos showing people clapping every night at 7pm local time for key workers. 

Tonight the tip of the Shard in London was also lit up in blue as were the arches at Wembley. Kensington Palace also released a statement thanking the workers.

Members of the public in Kensal Green, North West London take part in Clap For Our Carers by applauding NHS workers, carers and key workers from their windows, balconies and doorsteps

People are seen applauding from flats in Riverlight Quay during the Clap for our Carers campaign in support of the NHS

Prime Minister Boris Johnson opened the doors at Number 11 this evening and also stood outside to clap for key workers across the UK

NHS workers applaud on the streets outside Chelsea and Westminster Hospital during the Clap for our Carers campaign in support of the NHS as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues

People in Stockton, Teesside joining in for the national clap to recognise the work of our NHS Staff and Careers. This couple were seen in their window where they had placed pictures for the NHS

The family on the left didn’t let being in their pjs stop them from thanking key workers up and down the country while the couple on the left even took their dog outside

Just before the clock struck 8pm this evening Kensington Palace released a statement where it told workers how proud the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was of key workers across the UK

One man was seen leaning out of his window in Windsor as the nation took to the streets to clap for key workers helping to fight the coronavirus

In Sunderland people were seen standing on their balconies at this apartment block as the nation thanked the NHS and other key workers

Just before the clapping started this evening Kensington Palace posted the below message to its Twitter page: ‘The whole country is proud of you, so thank you for everything you’re doing and all the hours you are putting in.’ — The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to staff at Queen’s Hospital Burton and University Hospital Monklands’. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also opened to door at Number 11 this evening and emerged to show his support for key workers. 

Last week Britons were praised by NHS workers after many took time out of their evenings in isolation to say thank you to those workers who are risking their lives day in day out for others who have been struck down by the coronavirus.

So far in the UK 2,921 people have died for the illness and there have now been over 33,000 confirmed cases up and down the country. 

People were seen up and down the country and NHS workers tonight took a small break from their duties at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London to enjoy the round of applause and to also clap for their colleagues working alongside them. 

Doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals from the hospital were seen outside in their scrubs and uniforms, smiling as they joined in with the campaign. 

Broadcaster ITV said it would pause programming tonight in order to encourage the nation to open their windows and doors and clap for the carers. 

As normal programming ceased it displayed messages to key workers up and down the country, encouraging others to donate to the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 fundraiser. 

NHS workers applaud on the streets outside Chelsea and Westminster Hospital during the Clap for our Carers campaign in support of the NHS as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues

In Belfast families gathered at the front of their homes and waved hand made signs to show their support to the NHS and key workers 

Signs in a street in Brentford in support of NHS staff and carers. This evening people from up and down the country came outside to thank key workers

Just around the corner from St George’s Hospital in South London and people were seeing lining the pavements clapping for key workers 

Broadcaster ITV paused its programming this evening in order to encourage viewers to get outside and applaud the health and care workers across the country

On another tumultuous day of coronavirus developments: 

  • Another 569 deaths have been declared in the UK today, taking the total death toll to 2,921
  • Business groups say firms have ‘furloughed’ half of their staff with concerns the government’s bailout will need to be massively bigger than thought;
  • A poll for MailOnline has found more than half the public think Boris Johnson imposed lockdown too late, and some 40 per cent want a special medal to be awarded to NHS staff;
  • Overdraft customers will be able to request zero-interest buffers of up to £500 over three months to help ease the financial impact of coronavirus, under new proposals from the City regulator;
  • The ONS has revealed costs of cough and cold medication have risen by nearly 11 per cent over the last fortnight, amid fears of profiteering;
  • British Airways will put 36,000 employees – 80% of its workforce – on leave after grounding thousands of flights as it attempts to weather the coronavirus storm;
  • Almost a million people in the UK have applied for Universal Credit benefits since March 16 and officials are facing calls to allow people to claim it even if they have up to £16,000 in savings;
  • British Medical Association guidelines have revealed elderly patients should be lower priority than otherwise- healthy younger ones when it comes to rationing ventilators in intensive care.

One healthcare worker tonight told Sky News that the campaign was also important to recognise not only doctors or nurses but also people like porters who work in the hospitals. 

The money raised by the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 fundraiser will go towards providing well-being packages for NHS staff and volunteers.

It will also help provide items that have been requested by various NHS Charities in response to health care practitioners who are dealing with patients who have Covid-19. 

Carolyn McCall, Chief Executive at ITV, said: ‘ITV is joining the rest of the country in thanking everyone in the NHS and carers who are doing such a vital and fantastic role – so we will pause our programming at 8pm to applaud the heroes within the NHS for the remarkable efforts they are making, and raise as much money for NHS charities as we can thanks to our viewers’ generosity.’ 

This is while Annemarie Plas, creator of the Clap For Carers movement in the UK, said: ‘I am really delighted that ITV is backing the initiative to clap for all who there are out there taking care of us, and helping keep that Thursday 8pm moment alive.’

NHS Charities Together chief executive Ellie Orton said: ‘Joining the wonderful wave of support for the NHS to say a massive thank you together with Clap For Our Carers is already making such a difference and today, and because of the brilliant British people, we have already raised nearly £17 million for our Covid-19 Urgent Appeal.

‘Now with ITV’s generosity to give free air time to remind everyone of the opportunity to express their love and thanks and to also give back, we are even more grateful so thank you.

‘We are distributing funds to over 140 NHS charities who are the legal way that the NHS receives, holds and spends charitable funds.

‘These funds are above and beyond the funds that the Government has provided and together we help provide the very best care for NHS patients.’

Clap For Carers is also part of the #lightitblue campaign which has been organised by members of the events and entertainment industry as a way to say thank you. Last week major landmarks such as Blackpool Tower and Wembley Stadium lit up blue to thank the NHS.

Tonight marks the second night Britons have clapped for carers and it comes after health secretary Matt Hancock declared the UK will be conducting 100,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of the month as finally signalled a U-turn on the UK screening regime. 

Matt Hancock said he was ‘delighted to be back’ after being diagnosed with coronavirus and having a week of self-isolation

Emerging for the first time since being struck down by the disease himself, the Health Secretary said he ‘gets’ why there has been criticism as he abandoned the previous centralised approach and urged the wider science industry to help boost capacity.

Defending the government’s response, a querulous and at times emotional Mr Hancock said that Public Health England had been ‘working round the clock’ and could be ‘proud’ of what it had done.

Taking the press briefing in No10 this evening after a week in isolation recovering from the virus, he listed five ‘pillars’ for the new strategy.

Swab tests at PHE labs will be increased dramatically to 25,000 a day; research institutions and private sector firms like Boots and Amazon will be brought into the screening system; antibody tests will be introduced if they can be proved effective; community testing will be bolstered; and the overall UK diagnostics industry will be enlarged.

Mr Hancock rejected comparisons with huge testing numbers in Germany, saying the UK was building from a ‘lower base’ when it came to biotech capacity.

He said some of the prototype tests he was being urged to buy had failed trials. One missed three out of four cases, he said.

But he admitted that even with his new ‘five point plan’ testing capacity will not hit 100,000 per day until the end of the month – by which point he guaranteed that all frontline NHS staff will have access to checks.

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Single mum, 36, charts her harrowing descent into death from coronavirus while looking after her two kids – The Sun

A SINGLE mum-of-two, whose coronavirus infection was misdiagnosed, chronicled her gradual death in harrowing posts.

Anastasia Petrova, 36, first suffered a fever on March 23, and died just eight days later – one of Russia's youngest victims so far.

The Russian business magazine editor had been working from home in Perm while caring for her two beloved sons Ilya, 12, and Yaroslav, ten.

Located close to the Ural Mountains, Petrova "cheerfully trained for an online lecture” during her first day in lockdown, March 23.

She attacked “Covidiots” who gathered in a crowd of more than 150 in the city.

But, later that day the editor noticed her temperature had suddenly soared, and she was suffering from a sore throat and serious cough.

Phoning her doctor, she was asked about contacts who might have recently returned from abroad.

Petrova explained that several had been away, but had returned home "more than 14 days ago".

She was advised to take her temperature every 20 minutes and take paracetamol to lower her temperature.

“You can see how it drops from 38.4C to 37.3C,” she wrote hopefully.

Petrova dismissed her symptoms, posting: “I believe it’s just ARVI (Acute Respiratory Viral Infection), by the way (not Coronavirus).”

That evening, her "favourite" doctor arrived, and spoke with her "from a metre away".

"She promised they would come and take a test [for Covid-19] and asked me not to leave home for 14 days, or at least until I had a negative test," the mum added.

But, Petrova wasn't worried, as the doctor said she doubted it was the killer bug.

She posted: "We giggled about issuing me a sick note for ARVI – she had visited 32 sick people today.”

Keeping an eye on the pandemic's deadly impact on Italy, Petrova noted that “thousands” were dying there while Russia “had everything under control".

Her health took a dramatic turn within a day, however, and she was in hospital by March 24, just one day after experiencing initial symptoms.

“The resuscitators came with a ventilator, very cool and professional,” she wrote from her intensive care bed.

“They wear masks for snorkelling, by the way. In addition to masks for their mouth and nose.”

The editor was ordered to continue breathing the oxygen supplied, while help was readily available "if I feel worse".

Petrova later updated that hospital staff “cursed the ambulance crews for not using full protection when on emergency calls.

“My temperature was brought down to 38C.”

Later, Petrova posted to her friends: "Neither I nor the doctors think that it is coronavirus".

Her symptoms suggested she was suffering from "ordinary flu".

But, doctors decided to keep her in hospital, because of "the state of my lungs and very high temperature."

Petrova added that she had "no strength, I sleep 90 per cent of the time.”

Worryingly, on March 27, she posted that her test was negative for coronavirus.

But later, her pal revealed that the ill woman messaged her the following day: "Yulia, my second test was positive. I feel very bad."

This was her last communication and she died on March 31.

Petrova’s two sons have reported to be negative for the coronavirus and will be raised by her mum, Marina, also an editor.

Paying tribute, one of her friends, Tatyana Cherepanova posted on social media that she was "unusually gifted, talented, with such a fine mental abilities”.

However, people in Perm expressed concerns that her passing was being listed as something other than coronavirus.

This prompted acting governor of Perm region, Dmitry Makhonin, to tell reporters: “The death of journalist Anastasia Petrova has caused a great public outcry.

“If it was known that she had coronavirus, why are they [authorities] silent about this?

“It is unacceptable to hide information from the public.

“We must not lie to the people.”

Moscow is Russia's epicentre of the pandemic, and strict measures are in place to prevent the disease from spreading.

The Moscow Times reported that more than 3,500 people have been infected in Russia, and that 30 have officially died from the new bug.

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Pedo, 54, who repeatedly raped boy, 12, ‘could be freed because he is scared of catching coronavirus’ – The Sun

A PEDOPHILE who raped a 12-year-old boy could be freed from jail as he's scared of catching the coronavirus.

Glenn Christie, 54, was on a 10-year probation period after completing a prison term for repeatedly raping a 12-year-old boy in Massachusetts.

However, the sex offender has now been granted a motion to argue that he should be released, after being sent back to jail for committing a series of probation violations.

The felon is currently facing between one and two years in prison for breaking his parole.

Christie has underlying health conditions, including kidney disease, spinal stenosis which has left him in a wheelchair and possible thyroid cancer, which may make him vulnerable to COVID-19, Salem News reported.

The decision, that enables Christie to appeal his incarceration, was released on Wednesday.

Speaking about the reasoning for Christie's appeal, Chief Justice Ralph Gants said: "Incarcerated individuals often bunk in the same cell or unit and cannot realistically maintain adequate social distancing.

"The health risks to a person in custody caused by the pandemic constitute changed circumstances.

"We also conclude that, in conducting that (new) review, a judge must give careful consideration not only to the risks posed by releasing the defendant – flight, danger to others or to the community, and likelihood of further criminal acts — but also, during this pandemic, to the risk that the defendant might die or become seriously ill if kept in custody."

Following the ruling, David Rangavis, Christie's lawyer, tweeted: "I’m cautiously optimistic that the court will see him as a perfect example of the sort of vulnerable person in need of release."

The news comes as the US death toll currently stands at 5,110.

The number of confirmed cases in the country has now soared to at least 215,300.

The social distancing guidelines for America have now been extended until April 30 to try and curb the spread of the virus.

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100-year-old NJ man arrested for alleged quarantine violation at funeral

A 100-year-old man was among 15 people who were arrested during a funeral in New Jersey for allegedly defying the state’s ban on public gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report.

The incident in Ocean County late Wednesday was the fourth time in as many days that Lakewood police had to respond to a prohibited public event — this time a funeral where between 60 and 70 people gathered, reported.

“This gathering was in violation of (Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order), which bans gatherings of individuals, whether they be at weddings, parties, celebrations, or other social events including funerals,” Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer and Police Chief Gregory Meyer said in a statement.

“As officers tried to disperse the crowd, the crowd became unruly and argumentative,” they added about the incident at Eighth Street and Madison Avenue, near a Jewish temple and cemetery.

Backup police were called to assist in the arrests of 15 people for violating the order, including the centenarian, Nossom Strulovic of Lakewood, according to the news outlet.

Also charged were three Brooklyn residents, including Samuel Manheim, 27, who was accused of refusing to identify himself and was charged with hindering his own apprehension and violating Murphy’s executive order.

The other Brooklyn men were Joel Jakubowitz, 36, and Shimon Hus, 18.

Earlier incidents included a bat mitzvah attended by about 50 people, a group of 35 men gathered at a yeshiva and an engagement party attended by at least 16 people, including a 99-year-old man who was charged along with seven others.

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We will stop at nothing to get protective gear to NHS front line staff, says Matt Hancock – The Sun

THE Government will "stop at nothing to get protective gear to NHS front line staff", according to the Health Secretary.

Matt Hancock, who has today ended his own self-isolation after suffering Covid-19 symptoms, committed to getting medics "the right equipment".

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Speaking at the Downing Street press conference, Mr Hancock said: "I come back redoubled in my determination to fight this virus with everything I’ve got.

"I’ll stop at nothing to make sure that frontline staff have the right equipment so they are safe."

It follows an outcry over a lack of personal protection equipment (PPE) – including masks, gloves, gowns and goggles – on the NHS frontline.

There have even been cases where medics, care facilities and hospitals have been forced to buy their own PPE due to the international shortage.

Some say they have even been threatened with reprisals if they speak out about concerns.

It prompted 5,000 doctors to sign a letter saying they feel like "lambs to the slaughter" and "cannon fodder" due to the shortage.

New guidance

In response, the Government has today strengthened its PPE guidance covering NHS workers in hospitals, GP and dental surgeries, and those working in care homes and delivering care to people's homes.

It says that when staff are providing direct patient care within two metres to somebody with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, they should wear appropriate kit.

Previously, the kit was only required if staff were working within one metre of a confirmed or suspected case.

The guidance stresses that when "the potential risk to health and social care workers cannot be established" before caring for a patient, then aprons, surgical masks, eye protection and gloves should be worn.

In primary care, the guidance stops short of recommending GPs use PPE for all patient contacts but suggests this may be necessary depending on "local risk assessment".

GP receptionists talking to people within two metres are urged to wear a disposable mask.

The guidance makes no changes to the actual kit to be worn in hospitals, stressing that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has approved the guidance as meeting its standards.

The new guidance says that while gloves and aprons should be disposed of after a single use, masks and eye protection can be used for a session of work.

Gowns can also be worn for a session of work in higher risk areas, it says.

The UK-wide guidance has been agreed by the UK's four chief medical officers, chief nursing officers and chief dental officers in the UK.

It says WHO recommends the use of FFP2 masks for aerosol-generating procedures, such as dental drilling, intubating patients and surgery, but "the UK has gone further and recommends the use of FFP3 masks".

But FFP2 masks can be used if FFP3 masks are unavailable.

Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England said: "Protecting our NHS colleagues on the frontline is vitally important.

Our standards are amongst the highest in the world and in line with what the WHO recommends

"This updated guidance provides a greater degree of clarity so that NHS clinicians caring for patients feel confident in the PPE they need to wear.

"Our standards are amongst the highest in the world and in line with what WHO recommends in circumstances and settings with the highest risk of transmission."

Protection levels

As part of the review, the Health and Safety Executive concluded that aprons offer a similar level of protection to the gowns recommended by WHO and that FFP2 respirators offer protection against Covid-19.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said: "We cannot underestimate the loss of confidence among key frontline staff on this issue – today's guidance is badly needed and we very much hope this will be an important step towards rebuilding trust.

"Apart from the detail, two points are critical – it has the support of WHO, and it has been produced with input from infection control experts across the UK, and from the medical royal colleges, trade unions and professional organisations."

But he said "guidance is not the whole answer," adding "there have been real problems with distribution, and we have been assured they are being addressed and, to be fair, in many places that is happening.

"But any remaining supply chain problems need to be dealt with without delay.

"We have been promised Amazon-style distribution will be up and running in days, enabling every GP surgery, care home and hospital to order what they need and receive their delivery fast."

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA), said: "It is four days since the minister Robert Jenrick gave the assurance that no frontline staff should be working without the right protective equipment.

"Yet this week the BMA has received concerns from doctors in over 30 hospital trusts about inadequate PPE supplies and GPs across England who are yet to receive eye protection.

"Doctors are being put in a harrowing position. Faced with a national emergency, they stand committed to meet the immense challenges that lay ahead and to save lives.

"However, the lack of PPE provision is not only risking the health of doctors but also of them becoming vectors of infection and potentially turning them into super-spreaders, carrying the virus to non-Covid 19 patient after patient."

Death toll

It comes as 2,921 people were confirmed to have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Wednesday.

The youngest person who died without underlying health conditions was aged 25.

The total is up by 569 from 2,352 the day before and is the biggest day-on-day increase so far, just above the 563 reported the day before.

Coronavirus testing: What is the difference between antigen and antibody tests?

Coronavirus tests are key to getting a clearer idea of the scale of the outbreak in the UK and grasp a handle on it.

In recent days, there's been a lot of talk about the two different types of tests that the government are ramping up.

The government refers to them as the 'have you got it' antigen test or the 'have you had it' antibody test.

Here we explain the difference between the two…

What is an antigen test?

Antigens are found on the surface of invading pathogens, including coronavirus.

Testing for antigens can determine whether someone is currently carrying the virus and are actively infectious.

The NHS is currently using antigen tests in hospitals to determine if someone is currently infected with Covid-19.

Samples are taken using a swab – which resemble a large cotton bud – from deep inside the nose and throat before being sent off to a lab for testing.

Most labs use a method called the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which takes several hours to get a result.

It can take days for labs to run the tests and tell people their result.

Several companies are working on ways to fast track this type of testing.

What is an antibody test?

When a person gets infected with antigen, the body starts making specially designed proteins called antibodies in response – as a way to fight the infection.

After they recover, those antibodies float in the blood for months, maybe even years.

That's the body's way of defending itself in case it becomes infected with the virus again.

So an antibody test specifically looks for antibodies which will be able to tell whether you've already been exposed to Covid-19.

Anyone who has already had the illness is presumed to be immune to getting it again – at least, in the intermediate term.

This would allow them to go back to work safe in the knowledge that they are unlikely to become infected again or pass the virus on.

The check that has been developed for Covid-19 is a finger-prick blood test, with the samples sent to laboratories and results available within a few days.

Dr Hilary Jones, a GP and resident doctor on Good Morning Britain, explained that it works "almost like a pregnancy test, except you need a drop of blood".

These tests are being developed by several different firms and Public Health England (PHE) is also working on its own test.

They still need to be validated to ensure they give accurate results.


Meanwhile, Number 10 said work was ongoing with nine potential suppliers on developing an antibody test which would show whether people have had the virus.

Such a test would enable people to get back to work quickly and some experts say this type of testing is the quickest way out of the current lockdown.

The Prime Minister's spokesman said: "We are working as quickly as we can on that and as soon as a test is approved then we will announce it publicly."

He said the Government had previously been offered tests that had not met the required levels of accuracy "and therefore would not have been safe to use".

It was also suggested that immunity certificates to identify people who have had coronavirus are being considered by the Government.

The Prime Minister's spokesman said this had been discussed in other countries and the UK was watching what happened closely.

This follows fierce criticism of the policy on testing, with the UK only hitting a target of 10,000 tests per day in the last few days.

The latest testing figures show 10,657 tests were carried out on Tuesday, the Department of Health tweeted.

Some 2,800 NHS staff have now been tested for coronavirus at drive-in facilities.

Professor Paul Cosford, former medical director of Public Health England (PHE), admitted "everybody involved is frustrated" by the low number of tests being carried out.

He pointed to ongoing capacity issues and said the "core priority" until now has been testing hospital patients with suspected Covid-19.

PHE's focus has been on NHS testing laboratories, while other work is now being led by the Office for Life Sciences to collaborate with universities and non-PHE labs, he said.

Prof Cosford said five drive-through NHS staff testing hubs are up and running, with "another four to come on stream this week".

Testing will hit 15,000 per day "imminently", he said, adding: "It will be 25,000 by the middle of April."

Work being led by the Office for Life Sciences "to look at a much broader set of universities, industry and other laboratories" will "give us another 100,000 or more tests per day", Prof Cosford continued.

"We've certainly not refused any help from any laboratories and we've talked to many about what might be possible, he said, but added: "We need to be very careful to make sure that the tests we use are tests that work."

Asked why it is taking so long to increase testing, Prof Cosford told Good Morning Britain: "This is an incredibly complex operation to put in place in a very short period of time."

He added that there is "24/7 work" going on to overcome "a whole range of issues" in ensuring testing is rolled out properly.

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Trump says Saudi Arabia, Russia could cut oil production to boost prices

President Donald Trump said Thursday that he spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who had earlier spoken with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, and that he hoped they would cut oil production to boost prices.

“Just spoke to my friend MBS (Crown Prince) of Saudi Arabia, who spoke with President Putin of Russia, & I expect & hope that they will be cutting back approximately 10 Million Barrels, and maybe substantially more which, if it happens, will be GREAT for the oil & gas industry!” Trump tweeted.

“Could be as high as 15 Million Barrels. Good (GREAT) news for everyone!” he added in a second post.

The tweets came after the Saudi Arabian regime and Russia suggested Thursday they were ready to cooperate to help stabilize the oil market after calls with Trump to discuss the slump in prices triggered by the end of their deal to curb output.

After the deal collapsed, Russia and Saudi Arabia both said they were ready to raise production, but Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak also told Reuters on Thursday it had no plans to crank up its crude output.

A senior Gulf source familiar with Saudi thinking, meanwhile, told Reuters that Saudi Arabia supported cooperation between oil producers to stabilize the market but it was Russia’s opposition to a proposal last month to deepen oil supply cuts that caused the market turmoil.

Trump had earlier touted the drop in oil prices, comparing it to a tax break for Americans because they were paying less for gasoline because of the cut in production and less demand because of the coronavirus pandemic.

US oil futures soared by about 25 percent on the news.

With Post Wires

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