Australia’s embassy in Cambodia is in the advanced stages of organising a flight home for Australians stranded there, while in the UK the Queen sends a message of support to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s family.
This story is being updated regularly. You can also stay informed with the latest episode of the Coronacast podcast.
Wednesday’s key stories:
Plans for Australians to be flown out of Cambodia
The Australian embassy in Phnom Penh is hoping to charter a flight out of Cambodia for citizens, who fear being stranded amid the coronavirus lockdown.
At least 300 people had registered for help to return to Australia, after travel home was plagued by flight cancellations caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
There are 210 seats available on the flight, which will transit through an undisclosed location.
Ambassador Pablo Kang said on Twitter his embassy was in the advanced stages of organising a flight from Phnom Penh via a secondary country to Sydney for Sunday.
Mr Kang urged any Australians wanting to leave Cambodia to contact the embassy or the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade immediately.
Pablo Kang on Twitter: The Embassy is in final negotiations for a Airplane from Phnom Penh to Sydney via a neighbouring country this Sun afternoon, 12 April.
Cambodia is poised to declare a state of emergency, which could make movement inside the country even more difficult.
Meanwhile private contractors say they are also making lists and drawing up flight paths for Australians seeking to leave the country.
Cambodia is one of the few countries in the region that does not have direct flights to Australia, normally transiting through Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok.
Passengers would be required to quarantine in designated hotels in Sydney for 14 days after their arrival.
Queen wishes Boris Johnson a speedy recovery
Queen Elizabeth has wished British Prime Minister Boris Johnson a “full and speedy recovery” and sent a message of support to his pregnant fiance and his family.
“The queen sent a message to Carrie Symonds and to the Johnson family,” Buckingham Palace said.
“Her Majesty said they were in her thoughts and that she wished the prime minister a full and speedy recovery.”
Mr Johnson was stable in intensive care on Tuesday after receiving oxygen support to help him battle COVID-19, and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is currently leading the Government’s response to the outbreak.
The upheaval of Mr Johnson’s personal battle with the virus has shaken the government just as the United Kingdom, now in its third week of virtual lockdown.
The pandemic has so far killed more than 6,100 people in the country, with the death toll rising by over 750 in the last 24 hours.
New York City death toll passes 9/11 attacks
More people have died from the coronavirus in New York City than those who perished in the September 11 terror attack on the World Trade Centre.
The virus has killed at least 3,202 people in the city, according to a new count released by city health officials Tuesday.
September 11, the deadliest terror attack on US soil, killed 2,753 people in the city and 2,977 overall, when hijacked planes slammed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 11, 2001.
The coronavirus has made New York ground zero again in a national tragedy and the centre of a crisis that is reshaping Americans’ lives and liberties.
New York City recorded its first coronavirus death on March 13, less than two weeks after confirming its first infection.
JobKeeper bill expected to pass today
An historic bill to enact a wage subsidy so workers can keep their jobs through the coronavirus pandemic is expected to pass parliament today.
The Government describes it as the COVID-19 plan to save jobs, designed to keep six million Australians employed as measures to suppress the virus continue to crush the economy.
Eligible workers will get a subsidy of $1,500 a fortnight.
The overall cost is $130 billion and counting, as Labor continues to push for more than a million extra short-term casuals to be included.
The legislation is expected to pass in just one day, and the government is resisting pressure to hold more sittings before August.
A parliamentary committee is being set up to scrutinise the mammoth spending measures.
Parisians banned from jogging in the day
French authorities have tightened their lockdown measures in the capital by banning Parisians from outdoors sports activity between 10:00am and 7:00pm.
The move came after many French politicians and doctors expressed dismay at the fact that the streets of Paris still feature people jogging or congregating near markets, despite government orders to get people to stay inside as much as possible.
France has officially registered more than 10,000 deaths from coronavirus infections, becoming the fourth country to go beyond that threshold after Italy, Spain and the United States.
During a news conference Jerome Salomon, head of the public health authority, said the number of people who died from the disease in French hospitals had risen by 9 per cent in a day to a cumulative total of 7,091, versus 10 per cent on Monday
But he added that including partial data about the number of people who have died in nursing homes, the total death toll from the disease rose to 10,328 from 8,911 on Monday, a rise of 16 per cent, versus 10 per cent on Monday and 7 per cent on Sunday.
France has been under lockdown since March 17 to stem the spread of the virus.
Those measures have been extended until April 15, and are likely to be extended again.
Jail for not wearing a mask in Morocco
Wearing face masks is now mandatory in Morocco for anyone allowed to go out during the coronavirus outbreak.
Those who fail to comply face prison sentences of up to three months and a fine of up to 1,300 dirhams ($572), the Government said in a statement on Monday.
The masks will be sold at a subsidised price of 0.8 dirhams ($0.35) per unit.
Morocco plans to increase its daily mask production capacity to near 6 million next week from 3.3 million currently.
Morocco, which has imposed a month-long lockdown, confirmed as of Monday 1,120 coronavirus cases and 80 deaths.
Norway to ease coronavirus restrictions
Norway will lift some of the restrictions it has imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The Nordic country was among the first in Europe to shut down a wide range of private and public institutions to halt the spread of COVID-19, sending the economy into a tailspin and triggering hundreds of thousands of layoffs.
Current restrictions, which are in place until April 13, include the closures of nurseries and schools, refusing entry to foreigners who do not live and work in Norway, and forbidding people to go to their mountain cabins if they have one.
Kindergartens will reopen between April 20 and 27, as well as schools from grade one to grade four from April 27, and Norwegians can go to their chalets from April 20.
“Together we have taken control of the virus, therefore we can open up society little by little,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg told a news conference.
At the same time, working from home must continue and Norwegians must get used against measures against contamination “for a long time”, Ms Solberg said.
Norway currently has 5,866 confirmed cases and 83 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Andrea Bocelli to perform Easter Service
Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli, one of the world’s most famous tenors, will perform a live-streamed concert from Milan’s empty Duomo cathedral on Easter Sunday, intended as a symbol of love, hope and healing amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Bocelli will be accompanied only by the cathedral organist, Emanuele Vianelli, playing one of world’s largest pipe organs and performing a repertoire of sacred works including Pietro Mascagni’s Sancta Maria.
The concert will be streamed on Bocelli’s YouTube channel.
“I’m honoured and happy to answer ‘Si’ to the invitation of the City and the Duomo of Milan,” the singer said.
“I believe in the strength of praying together; I believe in the Christian Easter, a universal symbol of rebirth that everyone whether they are believers or not truly needs right now.”
Italy, which remains in lockdown, has suffered the world’s highest death toll from COVID-19, with 16,523 deaths as of Monday and almost 133,000 cases.
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