While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 18

Coronavirus: Leaders shut Europe’s borders to fight outbreak

The European Union will impose an entry ban on travellers from outside the bloc for 30 days to battle the spread of the coronavirus, European leaders decided on Tuesday.

The decision is most significant emergency measure yet from the EU, which has scrambled to come up with a unified response to the deadly epidemic that is sweeping the continent.

The 27 leaders met by videoconference to agree the ban on non-essential travel to the bloc – an idea strongly backed by France, hoping to persuade member states that they need not close doors to each other.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen had proposed the bloc’s Schengen passport-free zone impose the measure, a drastic and unprecedented move, and that fellow EU states outside the zone follow suit.

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Coronavirus: Global powers unleash trillions of dollars to stem spiralling crisis

The world’s richest nations prepared more costly measures on Tuesday to combat the global fallout of the coronavirus that has infected tens of thousands of people, triggered social restrictions unseen since World War II and sent economies spinning towards recession.

With the highly contagious respiratory disease that originated in China racing across the world to infect more than 196,000 people so far, governments on every continent have implemented draconian containment measures from halting travel to stopping sporting events and religious gatherings.

While the main aim is to avoid deaths – currently at over 7,800 – global powers were also focusing on how to limit the inevitably devastating economic impact.

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Covid-19 bug can persist in air for hours and on surfaces for days, study shows

The highly contagious novel coronavirus that has exploded into a global pandemic can remain viable and infectious in droplets in the air for hours and on surfaces up to days, according to a new study that should offer guidance to help people avoid contracting the respiratory illness called Covid-19.

Scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the US National Institutes of Health, attempted to mimic the virus deposited from an infected person onto everyday surfaces in a household or hospital setting, such as through coughing or touching objects.

They used a device to dispense an aerosol that duplicated the microscopic droplets created in a cough or a sneeze.

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Coronavirus: Avoid taking ibuprofen for Covid-19 symptoms, says WHO

The World Health Organisation recommended on Tuesday that people suffering Covid-19 symptoms avoid taking ibuprofen, after French officials warned that anti-inflammatory drugs could worsen effects of the virus.

The warning by French Health Minister Olivier Veran followed a recent study in The Lancet medical journal that hypothesised that an enzyme boosted by anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen could facilitate and worsen Covid-19 infections.

Asked about the study, WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told reporters in Geneva the UN health agency’s experts were “looking into this to give further guidance.” “In the meantime, we recommend using rather paracetamol, and do not use ibuprofen as a self-medication. That’s important,” he said.

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Golf: PGA Championship postponed over coronavirus concerns

The PGA Championship scheduled for May 14-17 has been postponed over coronavirus concerns, the PGA of America said on Tuesday.

The PGA Tour, a separate body which runs the game’s biggest weekly circuit, has cancelled its schedule until at least May 10.

The PGA Championship was due to be held at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, and the PGA said in a statement it hoped to reschedule the event at the same venue in the summer.

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