Covid-19 wrap: US unveils virus plan, UK PM commits $2.6 billion to improving health during pandemic

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  • A British minister said the government disagreed with the Spanish prime minister's assessment that imposing a quarantine on travellers from Spain was disproportionate.
  • Boris Johnson promised invest in projects seeking to improve public health and capitalise on a shift away from cars during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Jair Bolsonaro took off his mask in public as he greeted supporters in Brasilia, days after saying he had recovered from the coronavirus.


Republicans unveil coronavirus plan, slash emergency unemployment benefit

Senate Republicans on Monday proposed a $1 trillion coronavirus aid package hammered out with the White House, paving the way for talks with Democrats on how to help Americans as expanded unemployment benefits for millions of workers expire this week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the proposal a "tailored and targeted" plan focused on getting children back to school and employees back to work and protecting corporations from lawsuits, while slashing the expiring supplemental unemployment benefits of $600 a week by two-thirds.

The plan sparked immediate opposition from both Democrats and Republicans. Democrats decried it as too limited compared to their $3 trillion proposal that passed the House of Representatives in May, while some Republicans called it too expensive.

McConnell said the package would include direct $1 200 payments to Americans, as well as incentives for the manufacture of personal protective equipment in the United States, rather than China.

It also includes $190 billion for loans to help small businesses, and $100 billion for loans to businesses that operate seasonally or in low-income areas.

Reuters


UK quarantine on Spain is not disproportionate - junior minister

British junior minister Simon Clarke said the government disagreed with the Spanish prime minister's assessment that imposing a quarantine on travellers from Spain was disproportionate.

"We don't agree with that assessment," Clarke, a junior local government minister, told Sky on Tuesday.

Clarke said that Britain's travel advice was guided by science and Spain's infection rate had risen.

"Obviously we continue to work very closely with the Spanish authorities and wish them every success in getting this situation under control as quickly as possible," he said.

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Monday that Britain made a mistake bringing back the 14-day stay-at home rule, arguing that much of the Mediterranean country had a lower coronavirus infection rate than the UK.

Reuters


UK PM Johnson commits 2 billion pounds in cycling and walking health drive

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to spend $2.6 billion on walking and cycling projects in England, seeking to improve public health and capitalise on a shift away from cars during the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier on Monday, Johnson used his own struggle with weight to urge Britons to get fitter as the government announced plans to ban TV and online adverts for junk food before 21:00.

The government wants to reduce demand on the publicly-funded National Health Service, which will have to handle any uptick in coronavirus cases over the winter alongside the annual seasonal pressures of illnesses such as flu.

"From helping people get fit and healthy and lowering their risk of illness, to improving air quality and cutting congestion, cycling and walking have a huge role to play in tackling some of the biggest health and environmental challenges that we face," said Johnson.

Reuters


Brazil's Bolsonaro removes mask in public after coronavirus recovery

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday took off his mask in public as he greeted supporters in Brasilia, days after saying he had recovered from the coronavirus, which he said had not had a serious impact on his health.

The right-wing leader tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this month and went into quarantine at his residence, but said on Saturday that his latest test had come back negative.

"I didn't have any problems," Bolsonaro said on Monday. "For people who have prior health problems and are of a certain age, anything can be dangerous."

Reuters


Chile hospitals ensure patients do not die alone despite pandemic

All over the world, people are dying alone as relatives are barred from visiting them in hospital for fear of catching and spreading the coronavirus. But not in Chile.

Here, special units have been set up where family members and loved ones are able to say their goodbyes even inside public hospitals where the virus is rife.

"Everyone leaves behind a family and we tried to get to know every person in the time we had," Natalia Ojeda, a doctor specialising in palliative care at the Barros Luco hospital in Santiago, told AFP.

This hospital has been one of the most affected in a country where more than 9 000 people have died with Covid-19 and which has seen over 340 000 cases amongst the 18 million population.

AFP


 

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