all news from March 26, 2020


The City of Geneva opens a telephone line for seniors


The City of Geneva is rolling out its 65+ Solidarity Plan to support isolated or vulnerable elderly people. A free telephone line – 0800 22 55 11 – is available to them 7 days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This number is for seniors who need concrete support. It allows them to register to benefit from regular contact by telephone with City employees and to communicate any needs, the Municipality said in a statement on Thursday. The Solidarity 65+ Plan also allows the elderly to request support for the races. This aid is offered by the City in the framework of a partnership with the Geneva Red Cross. The 32,000 people over the age of 65, domiciled in the City of Geneva were informed by post.

Geneva: Positive cases and hospitalizations are increasing but slower

The premises of the effects of the collective effort to fight the coronavirus appear in Geneva. The cases of contamination and hospitalization are on the rise, but the slope is less steep, according to the service of the cantonal doctor. We must absolutely continue to respect semi-containment measures, social distancing as well as hygiene rules, hammered Aglae Tardin, of the cantonal doctor’s service, on Thursday. These are the only effective measures: they are simple but not necessarily easy to apply, she insisted. The figures revealed Thursday show a cumulative 1,743 cases of Covid-19 (+35 compared to Wednesday) in the canton (and 272 hospitalized people (+14) including 52 in intensive care (+2). , 21 people died as a result of Covid-19 (+6) and six additional deaths are very highly suspected.

Good news, according to Ms. Tardin: 144 people were able to leave the hospital. The canton has also received additional screening tests, which means that tests can be carried out again according to the recommendations of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). People in intensive care are not just very old or comorbid patients. Statistics from the cantonal doctor’s service published on Thursday show that 31% of these patients are between 60 and 70 years old, 25% between 70 and 80 years old and 4% are over 80 years old.

Today, intensive care is working at twice its capacity. This can still be doubled, said Adrien Bron, director general of the health directorate. “We have already exceeded by 60% the usual capacity of intensive care, which is 30 beds,” said Jerôme Pugin, chief physician of intensive care, in an interview published Thursday by the Courier. At the staff level, the intensive care team also more than doubled. More than 500 people are mobilized to face this challenge. Healthcare workers living with the virus “represent less than half a percent of our workforce,” said Pugin. Finally, around fifty positive cases have been diagnosed in the EMS, which account for 4,051 places. Nine establishments are affected out of the 54 in the canton.

CovidHeros: boost for vulnerable businesses and independents


The Covid-19 crisis has clouded the future of many independents in Geneva. To help them, the state funded the creation of “CovidHeros”, a website offering economic actors among the most vulnerable in the canton the possibility of partially maintaining their source of income. CovidHeros is an online shopping portal for people to acquire future goods and services. Created in a hurry, it “comes in the form of a pre-order book, which the self-employed or local merchants undertake to honor later, when the constraints related to the coronavirus have been lifted,” explains the Department of economic development (DDE) Thursday in a press release.

People are asked to pay for items or services right away, like yoga classes or a massage, but to take advantage of them later. Their purchase can be consumed within five years of the resumption of activity of the brand concerned. According to the initiators of the platform, a boss of an SME and an independent, it is “a simple and concrete way to support his florist, his hairdresser, his restaurateur, his esthetician, his mover or his favorite photographer. The public can also opt for a gift voucher, to be used in principle until 2025. For the time being, the “CovidHeros” catalog presents the offers of seven Geneva brands.

Always more meals delivered to your home in Geneva

In Geneva, the public home support institution (imad) is running at full speed to ensure a 50% increase in meal deliveries for the past two weeks. Civil protection (CP) was called in as a reinforcement. Twenty PC members arrived on Thursday and are in the process of being incorporated. They will be operational on the ground next week, according to Alexandre Moraga, director of the customer relations department at the imad. These reinforcements are in addition to the imad collaborators who volunteered to help the teams. Field staff were increased by 40% and the order intake and tour organization team by 120%.

This effervescence is particularly visible in the early morning in front of the central kitchens of the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG). The delivery men pick up the meals and prepare their tour. Some people travel by electric bike pulling a trailer that can hold a maximum of 45 kilos. The mask is mandatory in front of customers as well as hand disinfection before and after each delivery. The same applies in the event of contact with potentially infected surfaces such as intercoms or door handles.

One thousand more Covid-19 cases in Switzerland in 24 hours

(KEYSTONE / Jean-Christophe Bott)

The Covid-19 epidemic continues its steady progression in Switzerland. A thousand additional cases compared to the previous day were announced Thursday by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), bringing the total to 10,714 confirmed cases. The death toll reaches 161, the OFSP said in a statement. A Keystone-ATS count based on cantonal indications brings this total to 170. “Currently, 10,714 cases have tested positive, 1002 more than yesterday. (…) To date, 91,400 tests have been carried out, of which 14% were positive, “further specifies the OFSP, which is based on declarations received from laboratories and doctors until morning. This is why the figures may diverge from those communicated the same day by the cantons.

The age of laboratory confirmed cases ranges from 0 to 102, with a median age of 52 (50% of the cases are younger and 50% are older than this age). Regarding the distribution by sex, 49% of the cases concern men, 51% of women. Adults are significantly more affected than children. In adults 60 and over, men are more affected than women, and in adults under 50, women than men. The cantons of Ticino (392.8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants), Vaud (294.2) and Basel-City (292.1) remain the most affected by the epidemic.

Traffic down sharply on Swiss roads

Traffic has decreased significantly in Switzerland since the start of the coronavirus crisis. There are on average one third fewer vehicles on Swiss roads. Compared to the usual figures, traffic is only around 60 to 70% on Swiss roads, show statistics from the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO). The decline concerns all sections, and more significantly motorways. This is the case, for example, in the canton of Vaud on the A1 between Morges and Ecublens. On March 3, there were total traffic of 96,000 vehicles in this sector. Tuesday, there were only 34,250, a decrease of 65%, said the Vaud authorities.

The roads are particularly deserted on Saturday and Sunday, specifies OFROU, contacted by Keystone-ATS. Last weekend, there were half the number of vehicles on the roads of the country than usual. Traffic to leave Switzerland has also been massively reduced. The routes to France, Germany and Austria now only receive 25 to 30% of usual traffic. In the direction of Italy, this drops to 10 to 20%. According to OFROU figures, Alpine transit has also plunged. On the axis of the San Bernardino (A13 motorway) or at the Gotthard tunnel (A2), traffic fell by 60 to 80%.

Montreux Jazz organizers remain confident

(KEYSTONE / Jean-Christophe Bott)

The holding of the next Montreux Jazz Festival (July 3-18) is currently “not compromised,” its organizers said on Thursday. While waiting to be able to unveil their poster, they offer more than 50 free streaming concerts. The Montreux Jazz Festival (MJF) should have released the program for its 54th edition on Thursday. However, the coronavirus crisis forced him to postpone this announcement to a date that has not yet been decided. “The Festival management is constantly analyzing the general context,” writes the MJF in its press release. To keep its fans patient, the Montreux Festival has decided to offer more than 50 free concerts from its previous editions. This offer, valid for 30 days, is available through the music services distributor Stingray. Concerts by Ray Charles, Wu-Tang Clan, Johnny Cash, Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye, Deep Purple and Carlos Santana are among the offerings.

Verbier Festival canceled

The coronavirus will have got the better of the Verbier Festival which was to take place from July 17 to August 2, 2020. It is about preserving artists and music lovers around the world, the festival management said in a statement on Thursday. The cancellation will have financial repercussions for the artists, but also for the Verbier region and the temporary teams that join the festival each summer. “We deeply sympathize with each of them.”

“Everyone knows the importance of the festival for our station. Our priority remains the health of our residents and our visitors as well as the sustainability of this festival which is so dear to our hearts ”, reacted Eloi Rossier, president of the town of Bagnes. Tickets already purchased may be fully refunded or credited for the 2021 edition. The festival also offers to support the event by donating the total or partial value of the purchase. “This support will help cover current expenses. Everyone associated with the festival would be extremely grateful, “said the organization.

Partial unemployment claims continue to rise

Partial unemployment claims continue to increase due to the coronavirus. Some 42,000 companies have asked to benefit from this system for 570,000 of their employees, said Thursday Boris Zurcher, head of the labor division of Seco. This corresponds to 11% of workers in Switzerland, he said to the press in Bern. Ticino is still the most affected canton, with 34% of employees affected. Conversely, Zurich only has requests for 9% of its employees. This still represents 95,000 people, noted Zurcher.

Chancellor of the canton of Nidwald tested positive

The new chancellor of the canton of Nidwalden Armin Eberli has tested positive for the coronavirus. He is in solitary confinement at his home. Coming into office two days ago, Armin Eberli, 55, was infected, said the cantonal chancellery on Thursday. Apart from a little fever, he is doing well. His predecessor is busy preparing for the next government session.

Lausanne: 250 meals distributed each evening by the Popular Soup


The Popular Soup of the Mother Sofia Foundation in Lausanne distributes approximately 250 trays of food and hot soup each evening. Beneficiaries line up outdoors on Place de la Riponne. Since Sunday March 15, the soup kitchen has outsourced to limit the risks of transmission of the coronavirus. Volunteers distribute a full, hot meal each evening. About 250 trays are delivered daily to some 130 people. The latter sometimes take several meals to bring them back to their families. Some, without a home or income, eat more to make up for the meals missed during the day, the foundation said in a statement on Thursday.

In recent weeks, the Mother Sofia Foundation has had to multiply initiatives in order to adapt to an “increasingly dramatic situation”. In particular, it has redesigned its supply chain. She continues to welcome the homeless at night in Le Repit, on rue Saint-Martin. But to avoid too large a gathering of people in a closed place, a second site opened, in the sports hall of the Bugnon gymnasium. Finally, its mobile social service, Ladder, has grown to cover needs. Now, between 4 and 6 full-time people collect unsold and donated items, sort them and make food parcels which are delivered to the homes of around 100 households each week. This aid is limited to people who were already supported by the ladder before the crisis, the statement said.

French hypnotherapists mobilize to help the confined

Different techniques exist to better manage the anxiety generated by the Covid-19 pandemic, including hypnotherapy. A group of French-speaking therapists organized to offer consultations by videoconference. Nearly fifty independent professionals have joined a secure web platform offering meetings. The site was launched on Tuesday and a hundred people have already contacted these specialists, said Thursday Florence Noel, hypnotherapist. In solidarity, consultations are offered at preferential rates.

This action will continue until the end of the restrictive measures decided by the Federal Council. In addition to psychologists, specialists in cognitive behavioral therapy and burnout support, dentists trained in the practice of hypnosis have joined the platform, noted Noel. Certain consultations manage not only anxiety but also pain. Hypnosis is scientifically known to reduce the level of cortisol, the stress hormone. The Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) uses this technique in their daily care practice, in particular to reduce the anxiety of a patient before an intervention or an examination.

Lausanne launches a French-speaking cultural platform

The City of Lausanne is launching the #culturacasa virtual platform. It aims to bring together the different cultural projects in French-speaking Switzerland during this coronavirus period. This platform wants to become a showcase for “many initiatives launched on social networks, websites, media and other digital media,” said Thursday the City of Lausanne in a press release. The focus is on live interventions. Among its next meetings, #culturacasa announces for example Friday evening a talk show with Henri From. The initiators of the project want culture to “invite itself into the living rooms” of the Romans. “It is also a space inviting to support an environment very strongly affected by the current situation,” concludes the press release.

Public transport further reduces its offer

(KEYSTONE / Salvatore Di Nolfi)

Public transport companies further reduced their offer on Thursday. This is the third stage of the program which had been announced by the SBB and PostBus. Before embarking on a journey, it is important to consult the door-to-door timetables online, as regional traffic is also greatly reduced, SBB spokesman Martin Meier said on Thursday from Keystone-ATS. So far, the transition to the reduced schedule has gone well. In the transition schedule, some Intercity and Interregio trains are deleted. The operation will be completed on April 2 with a fourth and final step. These reductions will remain in effect until at least April 26. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, demand has dropped by as much as 80% at SBB.

In order to guarantee the physical distance recommended by the authorities, the trains run, when possible, according to their maximum composition. From Saturday, TGV Lyria will no longer run between Switzerland and Paris. Following the latest French government measures, the last two routes still in operation, departing from Geneva and Basel, are interrupted. SNCF, Lyria’s main shareholder with CFF, announced on Wednesday that it will further reduce its offer from 90 to 40 TGVs per day at national level.

A similar operation is underway at PostBus. Here too, demand fell by 80% on average, with regional differences: in French-speaking Switzerland and Ticino, there are almost no passengers. The operation also takes place in several stages: it started on Monday in Ticino and in Graubunden, continued on Thursday in most regions and is due to end next Monday in Basel-Country, Aargau and Solothurn. The changes will remain in effect until April 26. With a few exceptions for school transport, purely tourist lines or nightly weekend races, all lines should in principle work, but with reduced hours.

Maximum civil protection commitment

Some 5,500 people are performing emergency preparedness services today and the number is expected to increase in the coming weeks. Services are in high demand in French-speaking Switzerland and Ticino. The commitment is of an unprecedented scale in the canton of Vaud. “Civil protection is ready for the marathon,” said deputy director of the Federal Office for Civil Protection Christoph Flury on Thursday. Some 76,000 people can be mobilized in total.

In all cantons, support is needed above all to support the broader health system, from simple care to triage in hospitals and entry control. Many workers also support crisis staffs and operate telephone hotlines. It is mandatory to respond to summons, except for people providing essential services because they work in the health or food sector. In the canton of Graubunden, many people from tourism have volunteered to join, said Flury.

Swiss researchers create geographic data platform

Young researchers have created a platform to collect information on Covid-19 directly from the population. In no time, it should be possible to obtain a regional map of potential hazardous locations. Conducted in collaboration with the Task Force Covid-19 of the EPFZ and the Department of Health, Social Affairs and Integration of the Canton of Bern, this project is aimed at people from all over Switzerland who are potentially infected, but also at those who have no symptoms. The persons concerned can register their place of residence (postal code) and a self-assessment of their state of health. The data are collected anonymously, but allow a differentiated prediction at local level on potential foci of infection, the canton of Bern said on Thursday in a statement.

Such an instrument should make it possible to quickly detect the regions where many potentially infected people live. Foci such as those in Verbier (VS) and Vallee de Joux (VD) can thus be quickly identified before they become uncontrollable. The more people participate in this campaign, the more accurate the information on the spread of Covid-19 in Switzerland. The population is therefore invited to participate in the campaign and also to help the elderly fill out the form.

The army mobilizes new health companies

Requests for assistance from the military continue to increase. This is why the army has decided to mobilize new health companies to help the cantons cope with the coronavirus crisis. The cantons have made 249 requests for aid, Brigadier Raynald Droz told a press conference in Bern on Thursday. Army projections show that as of April 1, only 10% to 30% of the workforce will remain available depending on the region. This is why the army has decided to mobilize more troops.

A first health company was called Thursday, continued the brigadier. Three others will be mobilized on Saturday. The army has also decided to call on those summoned in previous years (up to 2016) and who have decided to do their military service in one block. All will be integrated into the four battalions currently deployed. The first should be operational on March 31, the former on April 6.

Covid-19: new arrests for masks at the multiplied price

The coronavirus crisis is causing dishonest vocations from online mask dealers. Three people have been arrested in German-speaking Switzerland in recent days. Their offer reached tens of times the real base price of the mask. In Zurich, police arrested a 21-year-old Swiss woman on Wednesday evening. His online advertisement offered protective masks at a price multiplied by 20: lots of ten masks for 100 francs, while the base price of the mask is 50 cents. Posing as a buyer, a plainclothes policeman made an appointment with the young Swiss woman in Zurich-Altstetten. On site, the latter repeated her offer orally. The policeman immediately took her to the station. The cantonal police have reported the suspect to the prosecution for usury and seized the masks she held, she said Thursday. Zurich police last week arrested an 18-year-old Swiss boy in the same way in Horgen (ZH). In his online advertisement, he sold protective masks at prices multiplied by 80 compared to the basic price.

Also in Thurgau, police announced on Thursday the arrest of a 37-year-old German man in the border region of Kreuzlingen (TG). In an online shop, he sold protective masks for a price of up to 100 francs per piece. Police were able to get their hands on the seller last week and seize around 300 protective masks from his home. It has transmitted this material to the Thurgovian authorities for the attention of the health sector. The prosecution has opened a criminal investigation against the suspect for usury.

Low-income families’ budgets should not be burdened

Four new dead in Basel-City

Basel-Stadt recorded four additional deaths on Wednesday from the coronavirus. The death toll is now twelve in the canton. The four new victims are three men and a woman between the ages of 71 and 93, the cantonal health department said on Thursday. The four suffered from other illnesses.

Ticino announces seven new deaths from coronavirus

Seven people died in the last 24 hours from Covid-19 lung disease in Ticino. And 47 new cases of contamination with the coronavirus were recorded, announced Thursday the authorities. From Tuesday to Wednesday, the number of infected people had increased by 143 and the number of new deaths was seven. In total, Ticino counted 1401 infected people on Thursday morning and 67 deaths.

Covid-19 spares the asylum sector

(KEYSTONE / Ti-Press / Alessandro Crinari)

The asylum sector was not spared the Covid-19. According to the State Secretariat for Migration, eleven asylum seekers and seven collaborators from federal centers have so far been contaminated. The asylum seekers concerned are isolated and treated in the centers. The authorities are trying if not to implement the hygiene recommendations and observe the rules of social distance, said Thursday to the press Barbara Buschi, deputy director of the State Secretariat for Migration.

This is why the procedural talks have been suspended to reduce contamination. In general, five people take part and it is a question of improving the modalities so that the prescribed distance can be respected. However, there was never any question of suspending the asylum procedures. The centers are not overcrowded. 2,000 places are still available, said Ms. Buschi. The asylum seekers have received information on the disease translated into fifteen languages ​​and are doing everything in their power to avoid contamination.

Art Basel postpones the 2020 edition from June to September

Art Basel, the world’s largest art fair, has postponed its 2020 edition scheduled for June in Basel due to the coronavirus pandemic. It has been postponed until September. The decision was made “in close consultation with a wide range of gallery owners, collectors, partners and external experts,” Art Basel said on Thursday. The purpose of the deferral is “to protect the health and safety of our community”. “The health and safety of our exhibitors, partners, guests and our teams remains our main objective,” said Marc Spiegler, director of the art fair, quoted in the press release. The 2020 edition should take place from September 17 to 20 with preview days on September 15 and 16.

Arrival in Zurich of 231 Swiss returnees from Peru

Switzerland repatriated Thursday 288 people from Peru. The fourth plane chartered by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) touched down in the morning in Zurich. The aircraft was carrying 231 Swiss nationals, 56 people living in Switzerland, as well as two passengers living in other European countries, said the FDFA. The Swiss Embassy has helped many travelers to Peru to get to Lima Airport despite the limited travel possibilities. Embassy staff handled the passengers until the plane could take off for Switzerland. In total, nearly 800 people were brought back to Switzerland as part of the largest repatriation operation ever organized by the Confederation.

In the past few days, three flights have arrived from San Jose (Costa Rica), Casablanca (Morocco) and Bogota (Colombia). Over the next few weeks, the Confederation is planning dozens of flights to Latin America, Asia and Africa, among others. Thursday, a link is scheduled for Dakar, Senegal, Saturday another for Santiago de Chile. The FDFA will reveal the exact destinations once the details have been settled with the airlines and the Swiss missions on site have been informed. Flights are pre-funded by the Confederation, but passengers must share the costs. It is still too early to calculate the cost of the operation. Thousands of Swiss are currently abroad. Some 17,000 people have registered with the Travel Admin app.

The canton of Neuchatel has more control over the workplace

The canton of Neuchatel is strengthening controls at workplaces to enforce health standards against the spread of Covid-19. Companies that fail to comply will be temporarily closed. The Employment Service has intervened almost 120 times in recent days with companies that do not fully abide by the rules, the State Council said on Thursday. In each situation, solutions allowing the continuation of the activity while respecting the safety of the employees were found and implemented. Neuchatel police also support the employment service in its mission, the statement said. The Council of State recalls that economic activity must continue in sectors where it is possible, with the imperative application of health requirements in all situations.

The City of Biel wants to maintain the social fabric

The City of Biel is taking steps to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on sport and culture. It therefore decided to pay the agreed financial aid even if the partners could not provide the expected services due to the pandemic. The objective is to maintain the cultural, sporting and social dynamism which has developed in recent years in Biel and which is essential for recovering from the crisis, said the City Council on Thursday. The authorities believe that cultural and sporting events should not collapse.

As there is sometimes joint funding with the Canton of Bern and the municipalities in the region, the City Council instructed the Directorate of Training, Culture and Sport to draw up directives on how to proceed with these organizations. Like other municipalities before it, the City of Biel has also taken steps to provide financial relief to businesses and individuals. The City Council will grant a payment deadline for the rents and rental of commercial premises belonging to the City for the months of April, May and June. Merchants will also not need to pay fees for the use of the public domain such as the use of the sidewalk surface for outdoor furniture or sales stands for the period from January 1 to June 30. The City will also apply a block of reminders for invoices due to it.

In Europe:

London hospitals face ‘continuous tsunami’ of patients


Public hospitals in London are facing a “continuous tsunami” of serious patients with the new coronavirus while having to compensate for an “unprecedented” proportion of staff suffering, assured Thursday an official of the British public health system. After having “massively” increased the capacity of intensive care in recent weeks, hospitals in the British capital have to face “an explosion” in the number of “seriously ill patients”, “a kind of continuous tsunami”, a said Chris Hopson on BBC Radio 4.

Moscow introduces new restrictions

The mayor of Moscow, at the forefront in Russia in the fight against the new coronavirus, announced Thursday additional measures, including the closure from Saturday of all non-essential restaurants and shops. From March 28 to April 5, “restaurants, bars, cafes and canteens” and “retail businesses” except food stores and pharmacies will be closed, the mayor of the Russian capital announced on his blog. Sergei Sobianin. Since Thursday, the ban on people over 65 or those suffering from chronic illnesses has also come into force.

Russia has officially registered 840 cases of patients with the new coronavirus, including 546 in Moscow, according to data released Thursday. This is a national increase of 182 cases in the last 24 hours. The two deaths from Covid-19 in Russia were patients hospitalized in the capital. While no general containment measures have yet been taken, these new measures are part of a tougher response by the Russian authorities to the coronavirus pandemic. Authorities will suspend all international air travel from Friday and President Vladimir Putin has declared a week off and postponed the vote on his constitutional reform scheduled for April 22. The government has also ordered the closure of most public places in the Russian regions, where little action has so far been taken against the coronavirus.

Over 4,000 dead and 56,000 cases in Spain

The coronavirus pandemic has killed 655 people in 24 hours in Spain, bringing the toll to 4,088, and 56,188 cases of contamination have been confirmed, according to figures from the Ministry of Health released on Thursday. The death toll rose 19% between Wednesday and Thursday, slower than the previous day (27%) when 738 deaths were recorded. Authorities expect to reach the peak of the pandemic by the end of the week and see the numbers drop soon. Spain is the country with the most deaths in the world behind Italy and ahead of China. The Madrid region alone deplores more than half of the deaths (2090), ahead of Catalonia (672). The number of patients declared cured rose to 7,015, an increase of 30% compared to the previous day. And 3,679 patients are in intensive care.

The spread of the pandemic has overwhelmed many hospitals, where staff, some of whom are often contaminated, find it difficult to manage the influx of patients. “The emergencies are overwhelmed at the moment,” Jorge Rivera, spokesman for the Leganes hospital in the Madrid suburbs, told AFP by telephone. The facility “is working beyond its capabilities, virtually the entire hospital is involved in the fight against the coronavirus, intensive care units like other departments,” he added.

Pope tested negative for coronavirus

Pope Francis, who celebrated his morning Mass every day in his hotel residence on Thursday, has tested negative for the coronavirus, according to two Italian newspapers. According to the Vaticanists of Messagero and Fatto Quotidiano, the sovereign pontiff was the subject of a test Wednesday after the discovery the same day of a case of contamination of a prelate who has lived in the same residence for years. This verification was made for all those working in the Maison Sainte-Marthe, especially the Pope’s private secretaries. All tests were negative, the two newspapers wrote, referring to internal Vatican sources.

This information was not officially confirmed by the Vatican which had not commented on that on a first test of the pope, at the beginning of the month when Francois suffered from a cold with cough and had canceled commitments. After his election, the Argentine pope had shunned the isolation of the sumptuous apartments of the Apostolic Palace, preferring to stay more modestly in a 50 m2 of the Sainte-Marthe hotel residence, which also hosts prelates passing through Rome. According to the Vatican Insider de La Stampa, the pope has been surrounded for some time by an “anti-contagion sanitary cordon”, which follows him wherever he goes. He no longer takes his meals in the common living room of the residence but in his apartment and those around him are permanently provided with disinfectants.

In the rest of the world:

Le G20 va injecter 5000 milliards dollars dans l’economie mondiale

Les dirigeants des pays membres du G20 ont annonce jeudi, lors d’un sommet virtuel, leur intention d’injecter « plus de 5000 milliards de dollars » dans l’economie mondiale pour « contrer les repercussions sociales, economiques et financieres de la pandemie » du nouveau coronavirus. « Nous sommes fermement resolus a presenter un front uni contre cette menace commune », ont ajoute les representants des grandes puissances mondiales dans un communique publie a l’issue de la reunion d’urgence presidee par le roi Salmane d’Arabie saoudite.

L’OMS-Europe voit des « signes encourageants » d’amelioration

Il existe des « signes encourageants » de ralentissement du nouveau coronavirus sur le continent europeen en depit d’une situation toujours grave, a dit jeudi le directeur de la branche Europe de l’Organisation mondiale de la Sante. « Bien que la situation reste tres preoccupante, nous commencons a voir des signes encourageants », a affirme Hans Kluge lors d’une conference de presse diffusee en ligne depuis Copenhague. L’Italie, a-t-il note, « vient de connaître un taux d’augmentation legerement inferieur, bien qu’il soit encore trop tôt pour dire que la pandemie ait atteint son apogee dans ce pays ».

157 nouveaux deces en Iran, le bilan officiel atteint 2234 morts

Iran has registered an additional 157 deaths linked to the new coronavirus epidemic, bringing the official death toll to 2,234 among the most affected countries in the world, health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on Thursday. Le nombre de nouveaux cas confirmes est de 2389, faisant grimper le chiffre total a 29’406 cas d’infections recenses, a ajoute ce porte-parole, lors de son point de presse quotidien par visio-conference.

Total curfew extended by two weeks in Iraq

(AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Iraqi authorities announced Thursday that it will extend the total curfew for two weeks after the new coronavirus killed 29 people and infected nearly 350 others in a country with poor health care. Les etablissements scolaires et universitaires ainsi que l’ensemble des aeroports du pays restent egalement fermes en Irak, frontalier de l’Iran ou le virus a deja tue plus de 2000 personnes. Les chiffres annonces par les autorites irakiennes pourraient etre bien inferieurs a la realite car seuls 2000 tests environ ont ete menes dans ce pays de 40 millions d’habitants, ou un nouveau pelerinage chiite est prevu le 8 avril.

Les plus hautes autorites chiites ont interdit les prieres collectives et les rassemblements. Apres avoir refuse la fermeture des lieux saints et appele a maintenir prieres collectives et pelerinages, le leader chiite Moqtada Sadr appelle desormais ses tres nombreux partisans a rester chez eux. En raison des guerres qui ont secoue l’Irak quasiment sans interruption depuis quatre decennies et des violences faites aux soignants par des proches de patients peu satisfaits d’un diagnostic ou voulant venger un deces, de nombreux medecins ont fui l’Irak ces dernieres annees. Quant aux hôpitaux, ils sont dans un etat de delabrement avance, comme en temoignent les nombreuses videos sur les reseaux sociaux y montrant du materiel vetuste ou en panne, une hygiene laissant a desirer ou meme des animaux entrant et sortant sans etre inquietes. Et l’Irak doit gerer la crise sanitaire qui se profile sur fond de marasme politique et social avec un gouvernement charge des affaires courantes qui se maintient faute de remplacant et un ministre de la Sante qui accuse son cabinet de lui refuser des fonds, meme minimes.

Bolivie: l’etat d’urgence pour faire respecter la quarantaine

La Bolivie a decrete mercredi l’etat d’urgence sanitaire afin de « faire respecter la quarantaine » qui etait en vigueur depuis dimanche, dans le cadre de la lutte contre le coronavirus. Le pays de 11 millions d’habitants a repertorie 38 cas officiels de Covid-19. « A partir de demain jeudi 26 mars a minuit [05h00 en Suisse, ndlr] entre en vigueur l’etat d’urgence sanitaire […] qui ira jusqu’au 15 avril », a annonce la presidente par interim, Janine Anez. This implies greater involvement of the army and the police in the control, as well as the closing of the borders, said the leader. Seule une personne par famille a le droit de sortir du domicile pour aller faire des courses en semaine. Le confinement est absolu le week-end. La Bolivie etait entree en quarantaine dimanche, mais une grande partie de la population a desobei au confinement. Les elections du 3 mai, qui devaient permettre aux Boliviens de designer un successeur au president demissionnaire Evo Morales, ont par ailleurs ete reportees sine die.

La Chine impose une reduction drastique des vols internationaux

China will impose from Sunday a drastic reduction in international flights departing or arriving due to the Covid-19, the National Civil Aviation Bureau said on Thursday. A Chinese company will now be able to make only one weekly connection from China to a third country. In the same spirit, a foreign company can only maintain one service per week to China.

Aucun cas local de Covid-19 en Chine

La Chine n’a enregistre jeudi aucun nouveau cas de contamination d’origine locale au coronavirus. Les autorites sanitaires ont toutefois fait etat de 67 cas importes supplementaires. Six deaths were also recorded, including five in the city of Wuhan, the cradle of the epidemic in China, according to the official toll. The country from which the global pandemic started in December has among its priorities today to prevent the Covid-19 from returning to its soil from abroad. Result, anyone entering China is imposed a quarantine of 14 days, regardless of the country from which they arrive. And in Beijing, quarantine must be carried out in specific places and at the expense of new arrivals. Au total, 541 contaminations dites « importees » ont ete recensees en Chine, selon le ministere de la sante, au moment ou le pays semble avoir largement jugule l’epidemie.

Signe de cette amelioration, apres deux mois de bouclage pour cause de coronavirus, la province du Hubei (centre), dont Wuhan est le chef-lieu, a commence mercredi a rouvrir ses portes, fermees depuis la fin janvier. La province, qui compte plus de 50 millions d’habitants, a de loin ete la plus touchee par l’epidemie qui a tue pres de 3300 personnes en Chine, sur plus de 80’000 cas de contamination. Some airports and stations in the province have reopened. But the schools remain closed for the time being. The last transport restrictions will be lifted in Hubei on Friday, except in Wuhan which will have to wait until April 8.

Afghanistan: jusqu’a 10’000 prisonniers liberes a cause du coronavirus

Jusqu’a 10’000 prisonniers seront liberes d’ici dix jours en Afghanistan pour eviter une propagation du nouveau coronavirus dans ce pays ou les infrastructures de sante sont defaillantes apres quatre decennies de guerre, ont annonce jeudi les autorites. Les beneficiaires seront « les femmes, les enfants, les gravement malades et les detenus de plus de 55 ans », a indique le procureur general Farid Hamidi dans un communique. La mesure, prise par decret presidentiel paru jeudi, « n’est pas pour ceux ayant commis des crimes contre la securite nationale et internationale », a-t-il ajoute.

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