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Michelin-starred takeout: French chef Guy Savoy turns to lockdown deliveries

PARIS (Reuters) – It’s not your typical takeout menu, even in Paris: raw trout in a sour cream followed by quail confit with a cauliflower and almond sauce. Then again, in normal times three-star Michelin chef Guy Savoy doesn’t do delivery.

One of the world’s most celebrated chefs, Savoy opened one of his four Paris restaurants, Le Chiberta near the Arc de Triomphe, for takeaway after France partially relaxed some coronavirus lockdown restrictions earlier this month.

“We wanted to do this to show people that we’re still here, still here to help them keep up their spirits,” said Gilles Chesneau, executive chef at Savoy’s restaurants.

On the abbreviated three-course menu are simplified takes on some of Savoy’s signature dishes. While the set menu’s fixed price of 55 euros may for some be eye-wateringly expensive compared to regular takeout fare, it is for others an affordable way to discover the culinary touch of a masterchef.

Le Chiberta is delivering about 35 meals a day, Chesneau said, and will continue doing so even after the 70-cover restaurant reopens to compensate for the reduced seating.

“It’s tough for restaurants right now,” said legal secretary Pauline Bakomera as she bought one of Savoy’s meals for a client.

France tiptoed out of lockdown on May 11, allowing schools to slowly reopen and shops and manufacturing plants to resume operations. But it kept restaurants, cafes and bars closed.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe will announce measures to further unwind the lockdown on Thursday. Restaurants across the country on Wednesday dressed empty tables in an appeal to government to revive the struggling industry.

“We’ve got to get things up and running,” said Chesneau. “Otherwise it’s not the virus that will kill us but the economy.”

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Mexico reports another single-day record for coronavirus deaths

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico on Friday registered a record for coronavirus deaths on a single day, posting 479 more deaths along with 2,960 new infections, according to data from the health ministry.

Authorities have now reported 62,527 total cases of the coronavirus and 6,989 deaths since detecting the first cases in Mexico in late February.

The previous peak in fatalities was May 20, when authorities reported 424 deaths.

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Coronavirus pushes Swedish deaths to highest since 1993 in April

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – More Swedes died in April than in any one month since 1993, figures from the Statistics Office showed on Monday, as the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pushed the death toll higher.

Sweden, which has stopped short of the strict lockdown measures enforced by many countries, has suffered a higher death rate during the coronavirus pandemic than its Scandinavian neighbours.

In Sweden, the pandemic has caused around 3,700 deaths since the first reported fatality in March, but has not been as deadly as some seasonal flu over the last three decades, when the toll in December 1993 and January 2000 was higher, the Statistics Office said.

The toll for all deaths in December 1993 was 11,057 compared to 10,458 in April this year.

In terms of fatalities in relation to the size of the population, in January 2000, 110.8 people died per 100,000 of the population, higher than the 101.1 people in April this year.

The death tolls in both 1993 and 2000 were high as a result of outbreaks of seasonal influenza, the Statistics Office said.

In total, 97,008 Swedes died in the whole of 1993, the deadliest year since the outbreak of the Spanish flu in 1918.

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Business

AT&T names new CEO as Trump gloats over changes at CNN owner

(Reuters) – Veteran John Stankey will take over as AT&T (T.N) chief executive officer, the company said on Friday, as the U.S. telecommunications and media giant grapples with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and its late entrance into the global streaming wars.

Stankey will take over on July 1 from Randall Stephenson, who said on Friday he will retire from the CEO position but will serve as executive chairman of the board until January 2021.

The announcement, made during AT&T’s virtual annual shareholder meeting, drew a sharp response from U.S. President Donald Trump, who tweeted it was “great news” that Stephenson was leaving.

“Anyone who lets a garbage “network” do and say the things that CNN does, should leave ASAP. Hopefully replacement will be much better!” he wrote.

Stankey oversaw WarnerMedia after AT&T’s $85 billion purchase of media company Time Warner, as well as the creation of HBO Max, the new streaming service that will launch May 27. He was also promoted to COO last year.

The success of HBO Max will be a big test of Stankey’s role as AT&T hopes to compete with streaming giants like Netflix Inc(NFLX.O) and Walt Disney Co’s(DIS.N) Disney+.

AT&T, which faced some criticism from HBO fans and the creative community, is betting the service can achieve wider appeal with hit shows like “Friends” while hanging onto more sophisticated audiences with “Succession” and similar shows.

AT&T’s board reviewed both external and internal candidates for the CEO role as part of a succession planning process started in 2017, Stephenson said.

“After an extensive evaluation, it was clear that John Stankey was the right person to lead AT&T into the future,” he said.

New York-based activist investor Elliott Management called for a shake-up at AT&T last fall, urging the company to end its buying spree and improve its operating businesses. The hedge fund also questioned Stankey’s leadership skills and AT&T’s desire to promote him to the top role.

By late October, AT&T struck a truce with Elliott and unveiled a three-year plan that included selling up to $10 billion worth of businesses, paying off debt and adding two new board members.

Elliott said Friday it supports Stankey’s appointment to CEO.

“We have been engaged with the company throughout the search process, which was a robust one, including a range of highly qualified outside candidates and overseen by independent directors,” said Jesse Cohen, a partner at Elliott Management. “We look forward to working with John as he begins his term as CEO.”

A continuing challenge for Stankey will be to stitch together AT&T’s media business with its phone, TV and internet products, to create an advertising powerhouse. Brian Lesser, who led AT&T advertising unit Xandr, resigned last month.

“My commitment is, you’ll get my best from me every day,” Stankey said.

His appointment should come as no surprise, one investor said. “Stankey has been running the company for at least the past few months. This has been well telegraphed to the market,” said Sam Hendel, president and a co-portfolio manager at investment firm Levin Easterly, which owns 1.93 million AT&T shares.

On Wednesday, AT&T pulled its financial forecast for the year and said the coronavirus pandemic clouded its view for the foreseeable future.

AT&T shares were down marginally at $29.45 in afternoon trading.

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Business

AT&T takes on $5.5 billion loan to boost 'financial flexibility'

NEW YORK (Reuters) – AT&T Inc. (T.N) on Tuesday announced a $5.5 billion term-loan agreement, which it said would give the company “financial flexibility” during the coronavirus outbreak.

The U.S. telecoms and media giant also reaffirmed its commitment to pay a dividend, which helped send its shares up 2.8% in morning trading.

AT&T has been targeted by shareholder activists over its large debt load, accumulated over a buying spree that transformed it into a media and telecoms conglomerate. It said on its investor page that the new loan agreement, with five banks, would “provide additional financial flexibility to an already strong cash position.”

AT&T spent $85 billion on Time Warner in 2018. It bought satellite TV service DirecTV for $49 billion in 2015, but the unit has continued to bleed customers.

Under pressure from shareholder Elliott Management, AT&T announced a strategic plan in October to sell up to $10 billion worth of businesses in three years. AT&T closed 2019 by reducing its debt by $20.3 billion.

AT&T currently holds about $151 billion in long-term debt at the end of 2019.

Last month, AT&T stopped its $4 billion share repurchase plan as it re-evaluated the impact of the coronavirus on its business.

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World News

France's coronavirus death toll jumps as nursing homes included

PARIS (Reuters) – The coronavirus death count in France surged to nearly 5,400 people on Thursday after the health ministry began including nursing home fatalities in its data.

Jerome Salomon, head of the health authority, said the pandemic had by Thursday claimed the lives of 4,503 patients in hospitals, up 12% on the previous day’s 4,032. A provisional tally showed the coronavirus had killed a further 884 people in nursing homes and other care facilities, he added.

This makes for a total of 5,387 lives lost to coronavirus in France – an increase of 1,355 over Wednesday’s cumulative total – although data has not yet been collected from all of the country’s 7,400 nursing homes.

“We are in France confronting an exceptional epidemic with an unprecedented impact on public health,” Salomon told a news conference.

More than two thirds of all the known nursing home deaths have been registered in the Grand Est region, which abuts the border with Germany.

It was the first region in France to be overwhelmed by a wave of infections that has rapidly moved west to engulf greater Paris, where hospitals are desperately trying to add intensive care beds to cope with the influx of critically ill patients.

The care sector has called for blanket testing for all staff, with the virus often entering these homes through employees. More than 1 million people live in France’s care homes.

“We have to limit the impact on old people as we know that they are the most fragile,” said Romain Gizolme, head of an association for the care of the elderly.

Click tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in a separate browser for GRAPHIC tracking the global spread of coronavirus.

ON THE FRONTLINE

In early March, health authorities asked nursing home staff to toughen entry protocols, wear gloves and masks and isolate suspected cases.

However, one worker in the Lyon region said that as of last week in her nursing home, residents were still dining together and staff were not wearing masks. Since then two workers had tested positive and four residents had fallen sick, she said.

It is still not clear when the epidemic will reach its peak in France and hospitals in Paris are still scrambling to add more intensive care beds. France has already boosted their number to 9,000, from about 5,000 before the start of the crisis.

Salomon said the number of coronavirus patients requiring life support rose by 6% on the previous day to 6,399.

With France now in its third week of lockdown, the number of patients going into intensive care should in the next few days show how effective the government’s unprecedented measure is proving in slowing the rate of spread.

In the Paris region, intensive care units are more or less saturated. Health authorities in the capital are trying to add 200 beds.

In Neuilly, a wealthy Paris suburb, one intensive care nurse told Reuters TV it was the wild swings in the condition of some patients that was among the most difficult aspects to deal with.

“You can go from a state wherein he’s doing well one minute and the next he’s not,” the nurse at the Ambroise Pare clinic, who gave his name as Martin, told Reuters TV.

Some 100 patients are being transferred from the capital to other less-affected regions to ease congestion in the wards, while medics are being relocated in the opposite direction.

Respirators are also being put into people’s homes to save space at hospitals with patients monitored remotely.

“We really now are on the frontline of the battle,” said an official at the Paris region’s health authority.

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Coronavirus deaths keep climbing in France

PARIS (Reuters) – French health authorities reported 319 new deaths from the coronavirus on Saturday, up 16% on the previous day and taking the total to 2,314, as the government scrambled to increase the number of intensive care beds nationwide.

The daily government tally only accounts for those dying in hospital but authorities say they will be able to compile data on deaths in retirement homes from next week, which is likely to result in a big increase in registered fatalities.

The number of known cases of infection rose to 37,575 on Saturday from 32,964 a day earlier, the health authority said.

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These companies can bring you food with Tesco and Sainsbury’s delivery so busy

As coronavirus continues to spread Brits are being told to stay at home and only go out for a very limited number of reasons.

One of those reasons is to go to shop for “basic necessities, as infrequently as possible”.

But supermarket shelves are still looking increasingly bare, and many are opting for online supermarket delivery services, such as Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

As the demand for online supermarket delivery surges, it can be hard to get a delivery slot booked in.

Here we have compiled a list of alternatives so you can get fresh food straight to your door with no stress.

Note: Some of these companies are unable to take on new customers currently, but there are options to sign up to be alerted as soon as they are.

Eversfield Organic

Eversfield is a family-run food business, which has been delivering high quality organic and grass fed meat and vegetables to homes since 2004.

You can still order off its website, but it is unable to take orders over the phone.

It has also altered its services to cater for the high demand, including a minimum spend of £40.

Mindful Chef

Mindful Chef is a healthy focused food delivery service that delivers seven days a week nationwide.

Founders Myles and Gyles said on its website: “At this point in time, COVID-19 hasn’t had an impact on the service we provide you.”

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Which means you can still order 100% gluten and dairy-free boxes, with vegan options.

Abel & Cole

Abel & Cole delivers boxes of organic fruit and veg, as well as bread, milk, meat and more to homes across the country.

Due to the “unprecedented level of demand”, Abel & Cole is only allowing existing customers to access the site.

However, they are “working really hard behind the scenes to keep up with the demand” and they are “hoping this will change very soon”.

  • Aldi, Lidl, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons: Supermarket coronavirus rules, restrictions and opening times

AmazonFresh

AmazonFresh is a service for Prime members to have their groceries delivered within a specific delivery window, on same-day or next-day service.

This is if they spend over £40 on their groceries.

Due to the increased demand, you may need to keep an eye on the Amazon website for delivery slots to free up.

On the Amazon website it currently says: “Inventory and delivery may temporarily be unavailable due to increased demand.

“Order modifications currently unavailable.”

Hello Fresh

Hello Fresh is the UK’s largest recipe box company, sending you recipes and all the fresh ingredients you need to cook them.

The company has been “working closely with our suppliers to make sure we have plenty of ingredients available for our customers”.

Hello Fresh CEO, Laurent Guillemain, said: “We’re in constant conversation with our courier partners to ensure your deliveries remain reliable and consistent.

“As a reminder, your boxes can be delivered straight to your front door or safe location chosen by you.”

Gousto

Gousto is also a recipe box company, which sends fresh ingredients straight to your door.

The only way you will be able to order with Gousto at the moment is if you are an existing customer.

On its website, it says: “Due to the coronavirus situation, we are currently experiencing extremely high demand. Because of this, we have taken the tough decision to stop accepting orders from new customers at this time.”

However, you can leave your details on the website, and they will be in touch when they can take on new customers.

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Taiwan reports six new coronavirus cases in largest single-day rise, all imported

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan reported six new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, all imported and marking the biggest daily rise in infections, in people who had returned to the island from countries including Spain and Japan, bringing its total tally to 59.

The government is working on tracking down all the people who had contact with the new cases, it said in a statement.

The other countries those infected had traveled to were Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Thailand, while two of the patients had transited in Dubai, the government added.

While Taiwan has won plaudits from international experts for its early prevention measures to stop the spread of the virus, it has now stepped up measures to stop cases being brought back to the island from other countries.

On Saturday the island said it would begin requiring a 14-day quarantine for all people arriving from Europe’s Schengen border-free travel zone as well as Britain and Ireland.

Taiwan has only reported one death from the virus, while 20 have recovered and been released from hospital. The other cases are all in stable condition.

Taiwan’s health minister has advised people not to travel at all and to stay in Taiwan.

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Europeans scramble across borders as coronavirus restricts travel

WARSAW (Reuters) – Tom Holmes, a 34-year-old British primary school teacher living in Poland, had expected to welcome home his twin babies and his wife in Warsaw on Monday upon their return from a holiday in Britain.

Instead, on Saturday, he jumped on a bus to travel 570 km (355 miles) from Warsaw to Berlin, in hopes of catching a flight to London to meet up with his family, now stranded in Britain by coronavirus-related travel curbs.

Like many others across Europe, Holmes was caught unprepared as governments shut borders to contain the spread of the infection, forcing him to take drastic action.

“People are worried. I understand that, but I want to get back to my family,” Holmes told Reuters.

Poland, which has reported 103 cases of coronavirus and three deaths, announced on Friday it will ban foreigners from entering the country from Sunday and impose a 14-day quarantine on its citizens returning home.

Those with a residence permit, like Holmes and his British wife, would also be allowed to enter, but no international inbound flights or trains would be allowed from 0000 CET on Sunday, except for some charter flights bringing Poles back from holidays.

That meant his wife could no longer fly to Poland alone with the twins, and his British mother-in-law would not be allowed in and would be unable to fly on Monday to accompany her daughter.

“It’s a very difficult situation at the moment and I’m trying to go back and see them so we can eventually try to get back home here as a family together,” Holmes said.

He may have a chance eventually, as the Polish government announced plans on Saturday to charter flights via the flag LOT carrier for those stranded abroad.

Flights will be scheduled initially from a handful of countries, including Britain, the United States and holiday destinations such as Cyprus. LOT will operate a sign-up procedure online.

Blazej Szuman, 49, a delivery driver living in Slough in Britain, flew to Poland for five days on Thursday to book a wedding with his fiancee in his native town of Wagrowiec in northwestern Poland.

His return flight was booked for Tuesday but, since the border closures, he decided to borrow his fiance’s son’s car to drive the 1,432 km (890 miles) home immediately, taking a Channel ferry back to Britain.

“Everything looks like it’s in some sort of horror movie. I feel like I have to escape the country in which I was born from who knows what,” Szuman told Reuters.

The wedding, he said, will likely be postponed.

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