News Daily: More countries in lockdown, UK virus latest and Democrat debate

By Victoria King
BBC News


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World virus latest

Image source, Reuters

The US Central Bank is leading a multinational effort to prevent coronavirus causing a global recession. Interest rates have been cut to almost zero and a $700bn stimulus programme launched as part of a co-ordinated action with the UK, Japan, eurozone, Canada, and Switzerland. The US is also introducing strict controls on public life.

Meanwhile, the list of European countries placing themselves into lockdown is growing. Germany, Portugal and the Czech Republic are among the latest to severely restrict the movement of citizens and tighten borders. Austria is banning gatherings of more than five people and schools will be closed across many European states. On Sunday, the three worst-hit countries in Europe - Italy, France and Spain - reported their highest death tolls for a single day. In all, more than 2,000 people have now lost their lives in those countries.

Things in the coronavirus outbreak are changing by the hour, so the BBC's live page is the number one place to go for the latest. Our dedicated coronavirus index pulls together all of the more detailed information you might need.

UK to hold daily briefings

On Sunday, the UK also saw its biggest daily jump in deaths, up to a total of 35, but it is yet to introduce the sort of restrictions seen elsewhere. The government says it is adopting a staged response, following the advice of experts, but that hasn't staved off from criticism from some quarters.

Downing Street is stepping up its efforts to keep people informed about how the disease is being tackled by introducing daily press conferences. Boris Johnson or another senior minister will take questions. Monday's briefing will follow the latest emergency Cobra meeting at which next steps, such as banning large events, will be discussed. Official advice against all gatherings of more than 500 people has already come into force in Scotland, although the government doesn't have the power to actually impose a ban. England's education secretary will also meet head teachers later to discuss the next steps for schools.

The health secretary has confirmed that every Briton over the age of 70 will be told within the coming weeks to stay at home for an extended period to protect themselves, but isn't advising such moves yet. British manufacturers are being asked to help produce vital medical equipment, such as ventilators, to help with an expected surge in demand. And hospitals are changing their procedures to tackle the pandemic.

Presidential race

The battle for the White House goes on despite the pandemic and Sunday night saw the first head-to-head TV debate between the two men vying to take on Donald Trump in November - Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. BBC North America reporter Anthony Zurcher has dissected it all for you in detail, including Mr Biden's commitment to having a female vice president if he wins. Our correspondent said the candidates' comments on coronavirus illustrated some key differences in their political philosophies.

'I embraced being a feminist boss'

By Anne Cassidy, BBC business reporter

For the first six years running Stitch Fix, Katrina Lake wasn't comfortable with being labelled a female business leader. "I didn't join the women in business clubs, and I just never thought of myself as a quote-unquote feminist," she says. But taking her company public back in November 2017 led to a change of heart. The tech entrepreneur had her then 14-month-old son in her arms when she appeared at the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York for the firm's first day of trading. The images went viral. She was widely hailed as a role model for women, and mothers, in business.

What the papers say

The focus for many papers is on protecting the elderly from coronavirus. The Daily Mail calls on Britons to "pull together" to help them, saying charities are urging people to "get in touch with neighbours". The Daily Mirror says ministers need to explain what support will be put in place for those affected by the loneliness that self-isolation will bring. The Daily Express thinks that should include scrapping plans to remove free TV licences, while according to the Daily Telegraph, free access to Netflix and food delivery services are among the ideas being discussed in government. Looking more broadly at the UK response, the Times says the "piecemeal" way that plans for combating the virus have emerged has "created uncertainty". The Guardian feels Boris Johnson has "shown little enthusiasm for exposing himself to media scrutiny" for most of his time in office, but seems to be accepting the need to change that by introducing daily press conferences.

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