World News

Mexican government to suspend activities from Thursday

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s federal government will suspend all non-essential activities beginning on Thursday, Mexico’s deputy health minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell told reporters.

Mexico registered 475 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, up from 405, and six deaths overall.

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Merkel's second coronavirus test came back negative: spokesman

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel has tested negative for coronavirus for a second time and will undergo another test at the beginning of next week, a government spokesman said in a statement on Wednesday.

Merkel has been self-quarantining and working from home after receiving a vaccination from a doctor on Friday who was later found to have the virus.

“The chancellor continues to work from home quarantine,” the spokesman added.

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Coronavirus: Students to get GCSE and A-level grades with no exams

Students whose exams have been cancelled to stop the coronavirus spread will be given grades so they can still go to college or university, the education secretary has confirmed.

Gavin Williamson told Sky News the full details including who would decide those GCSE and A-level grades and what appeals process would be available would be revealed on Friday.

Pupils are going to be “out of school for quite a considerable time” because it has the “best opportunity” to stop people transmitting COVID-19, he said.

All schools acorss the UK will close their doors from the end of Friday – apart from to children of key workers and the most vulnerable.

As of 9am on Wednesday, there are 2,626 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK – a rise of 676 in the last 24 hours.

Mr Williamson said schools will only re-open when it becomes clear that “is not going to have and impact in terms of spread of the pandemic”.

And he explained plans to cancel exams for around 5 million young people but still grade them so they can “have the best opportunities in terms of progressing their education, or going into work or on to college”.

“We’ve already had discussions of outlines with Universities UK and the headteachers’ unions, giving a clear indication of the route we are looking at going down,” he told Kay [email protected]

“We want to make sure that we get any of the concerns from these bodies and take them on board, and make sure we give the best advice to schools and colleges when we issue that tomorrow.”

He added: “There will have to be an appeals process.”

For trainee teachers who will not have reached the number of mandated days in schools to qualify expecting to start in September, Mr Williamson said the government would be prepared to waive this.

He added “key workers” whose children can still go to school includes “all the people within the NHS and within the schools”.

When asked if universities could be bailed out to stop them closing, Mr Williamson said he was looking at making sure they were still “viable” to operate even if they couldn’t open in September or October.

Damian Hinds, a former Tory education secretary, said headteachers he’s spoken to have been “thinking ahead of time” about how to respond to the crisis.

He told Sky News’ All Out Politics that vulnerable children – such as those at risk of abuse or who have a social worker – “will still be able to go to school”.

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Adidas joins Nike in announcing store closures over coronavirus

MUNICH (Reuters) – German sportswear maker Adidas (ADSGn.DE) on Tuesday joined rivals in announcing store closures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Adidas and Reebok-owned stores in Europe, North America and Canada will be closed temporarily, the company said in an emailed statement. Stores will be closed March 18-29 in Europe. In the United States and Canada they will be closed March 17-29.

“At Adidas, the health and safety of our employees, customers and partners have the highest priority,” the group said, adding that affected staff would be paid for their planned working hours despite the closures.

Rivals Nike (NKE.N), Lululemon Athletica (LULU.O) and Under Armour Inc (UAA.N) on Sunday said they would close stores in the United States and other markets, joining a growing list of major retailers moving to help to limit the spread of the virus.

Adidas last week said that it expected first-quarter sales to drop by up to 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) in greater China and to fall more than 10% overall because of the pandemic, including a drop of about 100 million euros in Japan and South Korea.

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Jordan bars entry from West Bank, Israel, Iraq, Egypt due to coronavirus

AMMAN (Reuters) – Jordan on Tuesday closed border crossings with Israel and the Israeli-occupied West Bank and its seaports to shipping from Egypt as well as barred overland passenger traffic from Iraq to protect the kingdom from coronavirus, the health minister said.

The government has also banned travel to Lebanon and Syria and from Monday will bar entry to travelers from France, Germany and Spain, Saad Jaber told a news conference.

Jordan announced earlier this month that a man who had arrived on a flight from Italy had tested positive for coronavirus, the first case confirmed in the country. Jordanian authorities have not announced any new cases.

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