While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 17

Singapore has robust strategy to ensure it doesn’t run out of essentials: Chan Chun Sing

The Republic has a robust multi-pronged strategy that will ensure the country does not run out of the essentials it needs, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing on Monday night.

This is on top of building up the country’s inventory of food and essential supplies, he said on Facebook.

He gave this assurance following concerns among  Singaporeans over the implications of Malaysia’s announcement earlier on Monday that it will restrict all movement throughout the country from Wednesday until March 31 to prevent further spread of the coronavirus within the country.

All Malaysians will be barred from travelling abroad. For those who are returning from overseas, they must undergo a health inspection and undergo self-quarantine for 14 days.


G-7 leaders vow to do what it takes to fight coronavirus, support economies

Leaders of the Group of Seven (G-7) wealthy democracies said on Monday they were committed to doing “whatever is necessary” to battle the coronavirus pandemic and to work together more closely to protect public health, jobs and growth.

After a call on Monday, the leaders issued a statement promising to address the health and economic risks of the Covid-19 pandemic and set the stage for a strong recovery of economic growth and prosperity.

“We resolve to coordinate measures and do whatever it takes, using all policy tools, to achieve strong growth in the G-7 economies, and to safeguard against downside risks,” they said.


EU chief proposes shutting down bloc’s external borders for 30 days over coronavirus

The European Union’s executive on Monday proposed a 30-day ban on incoming travel for foreigners to the bloc to battle the spread of coronavirus.

“The less travel, the more we can contain the virus. Therefore … I propose to the heads of state and government to introduce temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU,” said European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen.

“These travel restrictions should be in place for an initial period of 30 days, but can be prolonged as necessary.”


British PM says coronavirus spreading faster in London than rest of UK

Coronavirus in spreading faster in London than in other parts of Britain, with the capital a few weeks nearer the peak of the epidemic than elsewhere, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday as he stepped up the response to the crisis.

He said by this weekend it would be necessary to shield those with the most serious medical conditions from social contact, and the government was now advising against mass gatherings that required the presence of emergency workers.

“Now is the time for everyone to stop non essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel,” Johnson said at a news conference in Downing Street.


Wall Street plummets as Fed rate cut amps up investors’ virus fears

US stocks suffered their biggest one-day drop since 1987 on Monday as the Federal Reserve’s surprise move to cut interest rates to near zero fueled anxiety over a potential deep recession because of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to initial closing data, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2,997.1 points, or 12.93%, to 20,188.52, the S&P 500 lost 324.89 points, or 11.98%, to 2,386.13. 

The Nasdaq Composite dropped 970.28 points, or 12.32%, to 6,904.59.


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