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Coronavirus cases above 100,000 worldwide as outbreak wreaks financial havoc

The number of people infected with coronavirus surpassed 100,000 across the world on Friday as the outbreak reached more countries and intensified economic damage, with business districts beginning to empty and stock markets tumbling.

An increasing number of people were asked to stay home from work, schools were closed, large gatherings and sports and music events were cancelled, stores were cleared of staples like toiletries and water, and face masks became a common sight.

The outbreak has killed more than 3,400 people and spread across more than 90 nations, with six countries reporting their first cases on Friday.

The World Health Organisation said every country should make containing the epidemic its top priority, pointing to Iran’s national action plan to combat one of the worst outbreaks after a slow start.


Bernie Sanders says Joe Biden could beat Donald Trump in 2020

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said his competitor, Joe Biden, could beat President Donald Trump in November, but added that he would be the stronger general-election candidate.

“We are the stronger campaign to defeat Donald Trump but you have not heard me say that I think that Biden cannot defeat Trump,” Sanders told reporters in Phoenix, Arizona, as he boarded a plane to campaign in Michigan.

The question for voters, he added, is “which campaign is best positioned to defeat” the president.


London Heathrow airport baggage handlers test positive for coronavirus

Coronavirus has reached Europe’s busiest airport, after two British Airways baggage handlers at London Heathrow tested positive for the disease.

The affected workers are recovering in isolation at home, British Airways parent IAG said on Friday in an email.

A small number of the luggage handlers’ colleagues are also being tested, a person familiar with the matter said.


Cautious Fed quarantines US dollars repatriated from Asia

The greenback faces the same fate as many travellers returning home from China and other coronavirus hot spots.

The US Federal Reserve has begun quarantining physical dollars that it repatriates from Asia before recirculating them in the US financial system as a precautionary measure against spreading the virus, a Fed spokeswoman told Reuters.

She said regional Fed banks that help manage the money supply will set aside shipments of dollars from Asia for seven to 10 days before processing and redistributing them to financial institutions.


Tennis: Players banned from handing towels to ball-kids in Indian Wells

Players will be banned from handing their towels to ball-kids at next week’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, organisers said on Friday.

The exchange of sweaty towels between players and ball-kids between points has long been a source of contention in the sport due to hygiene reasons.

Tournament officials said players will have to place and fetch towels themselves – a chair will be placed at the back of the court for their use. Ball-kids will also wear gloves.


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