9.39pm EDT 21:39 Early voting in South Korea’s parliamentary election kicked off on Friday, with coronavirus patients casting ballots at designated stations and candidates adopting new ways of campaigning to limit the risk of contagion. Polling stations were disinfected on Thursday ahead of opening, and all voters are required to wear a mask, use sanitisers
An unassuming civil servant has become the unlikely hero of New Zealand’s coronavirus crisis, earning thousands of fans online and being nominated for the country’s highest honour.
Dr Ashley Bloomfield is the director-general of health and the public face of the country’s battle against the disease, alongside prime minister Jacinda Ardern.
Since March, Bloomfield has been fronting near-daily televised press conferences and has swiftly become a figure of fascination in a nation that has enjoyed early success in the global fight against coronavirus.
New Zealand writer Anna Connell jokingly changed her Twitter handle to The Ashley Bloomfield Fan Club after repeatedly admiring his cool during press conferences. Overnight, her followers began to grow, and she is now the unofficial leader of the nation’s Bloomfield devotees.
It is no secret that wealthy New Yorkers have fled the city in recent weeks, hoping to ride out the pandemic at their second homes, but it might still come as a surprise to learn one businessman has paid almost $2m to rent a coronavirus hideout.
Property developer Joe Farrell told the New York Post he had rented out a sprawling mansion in the Long Island neighborhood of the Hamptons, a popular, expensive, summer retreat two hours east of New York City, to a “textile tycoon” fleeing the pandemic.
The near $2m may prove to have been ill-spent, given Long Island is now one of the worst-hit areas of New York state, but the unnamed businessman will at least have plenty of room to roam in the gigantic pile.
The big drop-off in aircraft flights due to the coronavirus pandemic has created a problem for weather forecasting.
Aircraft make a vital contribution to forecasts by routinely sending reports of in-flight weather conditions, and more than 1m aircraft observations were collected each day last year around the world.
Thanks to Covid 19 there has been huge decline in these aircraft reports during the past month, and further reductions across the world are expected in the coming weeks. Without these reports, the quality of forecasts is likely to suffer.
Hundreds of UK care home deaths not added to official coronavirus toll
Hundreds of people are dying in care homes from confirmed or suspected coronavirus without yet being officially counted, the Guardian has learned.
More than 120 residents of the UK’s largest charitable provider of care homes are thought to have died from the virus in the last three weeks, while another network of care homes is reported to have recorded 88 deaths.
Care England, the industry body, estimated that the death toll is likely to be close to 1,000, despite the only available official figure for care home fatalities being dramatically lower. The Office for National Statistics said this week that 20 people died in care homes across the whole of England and Wales in the week to 27 March.
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Care homes across globe in spotlight over Covid-19 death rates
Care homes for older people across much of Europe and North America are struggling to cope with the global coronavirus pandemic, prompting allegations of inhumane treatment and calls for high-level inquiries.
Appalling stories have emerged from residential homes, which have emerged as a key location for infections. People aged 70 and older are at higher risk of getting very sick or dying from the coronavirus. And people 85 and over are even more vulnerable, global figures show.
In Spain, the army has reported finding dead and abandoned people in their beds after it was drafted in to help disinfect care centres.
In France almost a third of all coronavirus deaths have been of residents in care homes.
New York sees record coronavirus deaths again as Cuomo warns economic toll ‘worse than 9/11’
New York broke its record for the largest single-day coronavirus death toll for the third consecutive day, the governor announced on Thursday, as he warned the effect of the outbreak on the state’s economy is expected to be more devastating than 9/11.
The grim milestone came as New York City officials hired contract laborers to bury the rising number of dead in its potter’s field on Hart Island, an area which has for decades been used to bury those with no known next of kin.
New York recorded 799 deaths from coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the state’s total death toll to 7,067. New York has lost about the same number of people to coronavirus as the UK.
As the state mourns the loss, there are also signs that social distancing is flattening the curve. Yesterday, the state recorded the lowest number of new hospitalizations since the crisis started. The number of ICU admissions and intubations are also down.
16.8 million Americans – 1 in 10 – have lost their jobs in three weeks