Everest lockdown hits mountaineering economy | AFP

Hundreds of mountain guides and expedition workers have been robbed of their prime earning season as Nepal shuts down the Himalayas – including Everest – to fight the coronavirus outbreak. Nepal, which is now in lockdown and has four confirmed cases of coronavirus so far, announced it was suspending permits for all mountain expeditions on March 12, just as Sherpas were preparing for the season.

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Indian police dance and get creative to boost coronavirus awareness | AFP

From traffic police dancing and donning coronavirus shaped helmets to painted horses, creative stunts by these Indian police say they are promoting safety and awareness for the coronavirus, urging citizens to stay indoors as a three-week long countrywide lockdown is enforced.

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Myanmar’s disinfects its historic site following coronavirus death | AFP

Myanmar disinfects the Shwedagon Pagoda, one of Yangon’s historical sights, as a preventative measure against the coronavirus pandemic. The country of 54 million people, with one of the region’s weakest health care systems, confirmed its first case of the virus only last week, and the first death on Tuesday.

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Coronavirus: Trump warns US headed for ‘very, very painful two weeks’ | AFP

President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned the US of a ‘very painful two weeks’ as the country wrestles with the coronavirus pandemic that the White House warns could kill as many as 240,000 Americans.

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Coronavirus forces more market closures as Kenyan traders adapt to survive | AFP

Police fire tear gas to shut down the main markets in Kisumu, Kenya. Displaced traders are creating new, improvised, marketplaces on the sides of roads. But these too are under threat of closure by the police as commercial activities face severe restrictions in a bid to hamper the spread of the coronavirus.

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Trump warns US headed for ‘very, very painful two weeks’ | AFP

US President Donald Trump warns Americans that “this is going to be a very painful, a very, very painful two weeks.” He was speaking at a coronavirus briefing at the White House. SOUNDBITE

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Coronavirus: Argentine Patagonia’s daily life unchanged amid lockdown | AFP

For many rural residents in the Argentine Patagonia β€œlife goes on as usual,” despite the spread of the novel coronavirus. Isolated not because of social distancing measures, but thanks to a natural way of life, these locals don’t feel much of a change.

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Theatre artists in Mexico reinvent themselves during pandemic | AFP

The novel coronavirus may have forced theatres in Mexico to close their doors, but the show must go on — some theatre directors, writers, and designers have found new ways to practise their craft, by doing readings on Facebook lives, or using leftover fabric to make fashionable face masks.

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Coronavirus: drastic action could be slowing the spread of the disease in Italy β€” 31st March | AFP

Slivers of hope have begun appearing in virus-stricken Italy. Although the death toll remains high, signs are emerging that drastic action could be slowing the spread of the disease, with the rate of infections slightly declining. But across the Atlantic, Americans are preparing for their darkest days of the pandemic. Three out of four US citizens are now under some form of lockdown. In New York a rapid rise in hospitalisations has left the health system nearly at capacity.

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Pizza trucks, a staple in Marseille, open despite COVID-19 lockdown | AFP

Authorised to stay open during the lockdown, pizza trucks, which are popular in the south of France, have become one of the only lunch options for those who continue to work. In Marseille’s main square, the food trucks are used to lines of regulars and locals, but with the markets closed and residents ordered to stay home, business isn’t what it used to be.

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Coronavirus: France registers “3,523 deaths since beginning of March” | AFP

As France ends it’s 15th day in lockdown the country’s Director of Health, Jerome Salomon, says “3,523 deaths” related to the virus have been recorded since the beginning of March”. He adds that “458 more patients have been admitted to intensive care units” in the past 24 hours. SOUNDBITE

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UK: RAF deploy helicopters to help in coronavirus crisis | AFP

RAF Puma helicopters arrive in Scotland to help in the COVID-19 crisis. Britain reported a record daily coronavirus toll of 381 on Tuesday, more than double the number of nationwide deaths posted in the previous 24 hours. IMAGES

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REPLAY – 31 March​: Downing Street daily​ coronavirus briefing | AFP

Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Jenny Harries and Medical Director of NHS England Professor Stephen H Powis deliver the daily coronavirus briefing to update the population on the latest developments.

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Thailand launches COVID-19 strip test | AFP

Thailand launches a COVID-19 strip test, aiming to circumvent the standard test with a fast-track alternative which can provide results within 10-15 minutes. The test’s main goal is to help expand the capacity of virus testing options within Thailand.

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Londoners get tested for coronavirus at drive-through testing centre | AFP

Londoners get tested for COVID-19 at new drive-through testing centre. Life in locked-down Britain may not return to normal for six months or longer as it battles the coronavirus outbreak, a top health official warned recently. IMAGES

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Pompeo says Maduro, Guaido should step aside for new Venezeula polls | AFP

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Juan Guaido, recognized by Washington as Venezuela’s leader, should step aside along with President Nicolas Maduro for new elections. SOUNDBITE

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Day breaks over a beachside RV park where Covid-19 patients are confined | AFP

Los Angeles County is using an RV park in El Segundo to temporarily house individuals who may have been ordered to isolate or quarantine by the Department of Public Health due to coronavirus. Individuals housed at Dockweiler Beach RV Park are those who cannot self-isolate/quarantine in their own residences and need County support. Images of the RV park at day break. IMAGES

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Coronavirus: French National Assembly salutes population’s “courage” | AFP

The speaker of France’s National Assembly Richard Ferrand pays tribute to the “courage and mobilisation” of the French people as he opens a session of questions to the government on the 15th day of the nationwide confinement. The National Assembly also held a minute’s silence in memory of former minister Patrick Devedjian, who died on Sunday after contracting Covid-19. SOUNDBITE

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Coronavirus: Valencia hospital health workers hit hard by virus crisis | AFP

In Valencia, Spanish health workers and firemen come together to applaud the joint effort of frontline workers in fighting the spread of novel coronavirus. Staff at the Doctor Peset University Hospital say they are “worried and scared”, and psychologists warn of delayed-onset trauma for health workers.

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Central Park field hospital prepares to open and treat first patients | AFP

Samaritan’s Purse, a US-based Christian global relief agency, prepares to open a field hospital on Central Park’s East Meadow lawn, with workers in face masks setting up white tarps and other equipment. The site is right across from one of the facilities in the Mount Sinai hospital group. IMAGES

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Coronavirus: new 30-minute Oxford University test nears validation | AFP

Researchers at Oxford University are waiting to get clinical validation for a 30 minutes coronavirus test they developed in their laboratory. They hope that, “in a matter of weeks”, hundreds of thousands of tests will be produced by manufacturers.

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EU warns virus-era political reforms must be ‘limited’ | AFP

The European Commission says that coronavirus emergency measures by EU countries must be “limited”, after Hungary’s nationalist leader Viktor Orban took on sweeping powers.

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In the Central African Republic, a research project seeks to save the pangolin | AFP

The forests of the Dzanga-Sangha National Park, in the extreme southwest of the Central African Republic, are the last sanctuary for the endangered pangolin. A team of researchers and local Pygmy trackers is carrying out a research project unique on the continent: studying pangolins in their natural habitat in order to better understand and protect them.

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Coronavirus: Italy mourns its dead at end of fateful month with minute of silence | AFP

Italy marks a minute of silence and flies flags at half mast to mourn 11,591 people who have died of the coronavirus pandemic that has altered the Mediterranean country’s life. The nation of 60 million has recorded nearly a third of all fatalities cause by the once-in-a-century disease since first detecting it near Milan in late February. The day of mourning marks a month in which Italy saw more deaths from a single disaster that at any time since World War II.

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