Thursday briefing: Trump cuts US off from EU countries over virus – The Guardian,

Thursday briefing: Trump cuts US off from EU countries over virus – The Guardian,

Top story: Britain to move from ‘contain’ to ‘delay’ strategy

Good morning. Warren Murray bringing you the latest on what is now being called a pandemic – some big developments overnight – and selected other matters of moment.

Donald Trump has closed the US to travelers from the European countries in the Schengen zone (which excludes Britain and Ireland) , declaring: “We made a life-saving move with early action on China. Now we must take the same action with Europe . ” He made a point of drumming up nationalism by calling it a “foreign virus” . Markets have found Trump’s announcement less than reassuring as losses continue to Mount and one top economist warns a global recession has become “highly probable” .

In Washington the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, unveiled an economic assistance plan that was gaining bipartisan backing, with votes possibly taking place today. The NBA has suspended its basketball season .

Trump announces travel ban from Europe to the US in bid to stem coronavirus – video ) In Britain, Boris Johnson is poised to move Britain from the “contain” phase of coronavirus to “delay”, focused on mitigating the spread and paving the way for “social distancing” and “population distancing ”. The PM will chair a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee at lunchtime. The number of coronavirus patients in the UK rose by (to on Wednesday, while the number of deaths rose to eight, and the World Health Organization officially called the spread of Covid – a pandemic. The the latest developments are at our live blog .

The actor couple Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have announced they have tested positive to coronavirus while on the Gold Coast in Australia, where Hanks is due to film a Baz Luhrmann movie about Elvis. Hanks wrote: “Well, now. What to do next? The medical officials have protocols that must be followed. We Hanks ’will be tested, observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires. Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no? ”

Those are the big developments – let’s plunge into some other news for the moment. More on the Covid – pandemic further down … and here’s where you can find all our coverage of the coronavirus outbreak – from breaking news to fact checks

Women and girls ‘still at risk online’ – Women and girls face a growing crisis of online harms with sexual harassment, threatening messages and discrimination making the web an unsafe place to be, the web’s founder, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has warned. A year ago he launched the Contract for the Web, a global action plan to clean up the web, but now warns that without tackling misogynistic abuse the aims of the contract cannot be achieved. “That requires the attention of all those who shape technology, from CEOs and engineers to academics and public officials.” Berners-Lee is calling on companies and governments to strengthen laws and tackle online abuse as a top priority this year, and for the public to speak up if they witness abuse online.

Dom’s new toy – An £ m “blue skies ”science research agency has been announced as part of Rishi Sunak’s first budget as chancellor. The , brainchild of Boris Johnson’s closest political adviser, Dominic Cummings , it will fund “high-risk, high-reward science” and model itself on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) in the US. In other help for business, Sunak will expand a tax allowance on new structures and buildings; cut business rates; and increase employment allowance to reduce employers ’national insurance bills. To save money the Treasury has scrapped plans to cut corporation tax. The national living wage will rise to more than £ an hour in (compared with £ 8.) at present. On coronavirus, Sunak promised to do “whatever it takes” to support households and businesses. Treasury is making £ bn of emergency spending firepower available , with Sunak warning the virus will have a dramatic short-term impact on families, jobs and growth. There is an initial £ 5bn to help the NHS, local authorities and the public sector cope with the outbreak.

Courts not done with Weinstein – After Harvey Weinstein was handed a – year prison sentence for rape and sexual assault , details from unsealed court papers reveal how he He wrote in an email that Jennifer Aniston “should be killed” after a reporter asked him about her allegations of sexual assault. The documents also revealed that actor-director Ben Affleck was one of many industry figures on a “red flag list” compiled by Weinstein . Harvey Weinstein: how a Hollywood mogul was undone – video explainer (When it became clear in October) that the board of the Weinstein Company was about to fire him, Weinstein sent a string of emails to powerful corporate figures, including Michael Bloomberg, Jeff Bezos, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos and Apple’s Tim Cook, asking for their intervention and “a private letter of support”. Weinstein, who throughout has appeared bewildered at his downfall , has been hit with a further blow: the district attorney in Los Angeles has announced extradition proceedings on two charges relating to two more west coast accusers.

Coronavirus extra

Our Science Weekly team received a great response to their Covid – 30 episode last week – and they’re back with another special, this time exploring what exactly happens once someone is infected. While scientists are racing to figure that out, insights can be gleaned from other viruses like influenza .

Science Weekly

What happens when someone gets coronavirus?

Sorry your browser does not support audio – but you can download here and listen / / – – gnl.scie. . ms.covid 47 _ once_infected.mp3



There is talk – with some basis in evidence – that spring in the northern hemisphere should slow the spread of coronavirus. The health secretary, Matt Hancock, has affirmed this but science journalist Kate Ravilious writes that no one knows exactly how this particular strain will behave

. Researchers in many fields are working furiously on all aspects of the pandemic, and there are early findings that containment measures such as early detection, isolation of the infected and travel restrictions are having a big impact. But it would have been been better had china acted sooner . Science writer Philip Ball says that in terms of how to get the response right, Britain should look to Hong Kong and Singapore .

In the US, things are edging towards shutdown – there are already more than 1, 0 schools closed, some airlines are cutting routes amid a travel downturn, various locations are banning large gatherings and St Patrick’s Day festivities are being called off . Election campaigns are in disarray – Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden will hold their next TV debate without a studio audience. But Donald Trump, fresh from announcing emergency measures, is still due to summon thousands to a “Catholics for Trump” rally next week, as if it were business as usual.

In countries including Hong Kong and the US, there are human rights concerns as prisoners are pressed into service making hand sanitiser and protective masks – seen as “ironic and exploitative” when they are among populations most susceptible to the spread of the virus . Wall Street’s record-breaking -year “bull market” came to an end on Wednesday as fears about the pandemic hit stock markets again . That could herald a “bear market” – enter Steven Poole to Explain the origin of the term .

Today in Focus podcast: The never-ending prison sentences

A spate of deaths of people serving indeterminate prison sentences has led to calls for such sentences to be revoked . The Guardian’s Jamie Grierson investigates. Plus: Larry Elliott on Rishi Sunak’s coronavirus budget.

Today in Focus

The never-ending prison sentences

Sorry your browser does not support audio – but you can download here and listen (/ 10 / 23 – TIFIPP.mp3


: 84

Lunchtime read: ‘A fun movie, I promise’

Craig Zobel, the director of The Hunt – a controversial schlocky satirical thriller about liberals hunting Trump voters –

talks to Benjamin Lee

) about intention, assumptions and how it feels when the president tweets about you.


The basketball world was in shock after the NBA announced it was suspending the season as the coronavirus outbreak tightened its grip on the United States. Two more Formula One team members

Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid a completed heist at Anfield to end Liverpool’s Champions League defense after (the holders squandered a 2-0 lead in extra-time . In Paris, goals from Neymar and Juan Bernat saw PSG overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit against Borussia Dortmund and reach the quarter-finals for the first time since . The Juventus defender Daniele Rugani has tested positive for coronavirus , while the knockout stages of the Europa League have been thrown into disarray after two of the last – 30 fixtures were postponed the day before the first legs were scheduled to take place. But Olympic organizers have insisted the Tokyo Games will go ahead as planned in July despite the sharp spike in Covid – (cases across the globe.)

England’s SheBelieves Cup campaign crawled to a close after a thumping header from Alexia Putellas gave a rising Spain team a 1-0 win. Tiger Roll put in a tame display in the cross-country race at Cheltenham , in which he ceded his crown to the French raider, Easysland, without much of a scrap. Danny Care has come to the defense of Joe Marler by suggesting he would not be (facing a season-ending suspension had Alun Wyn Jones ended up on the winning side last weekend . And the England and Wales Cricket Board has softened its recreational drugs policy and dropped the clandestine – day ban that led to Alex Hales missing out on the World Cup last year.


There’s more trouble ahead for the British high street after retail experts warned that the big retail chains, which are closing stores and shedding jobs, had been overlooked by the budget’s emergency business rates cuts. Wall Street entered bear market territory on Wednesday, but stocks still look like they have further to fall after Donald Trump’s swingeing ban on European travel to the US heightened fears of a global recession . Shares in the Asia-Pacific were pulverized once more overnight and the FTSE is set to drop nearly 5% this morning. The pound is worth $ 1. 583 and € 1.

The papers

If there’s one thing some editors are happy to see spread around today, it’s your pound. “Nerves of steel”, says the

Express , oddly and inexplicably … going on to say, “Rishi’s £ bn war on virus ”. The

The Metro

calls him “Rishi Rich” and the Mail declares “Dr Feelgood to the rescue”. Even the

Times jumps in: “Sunak’s road to riches.” The

The FT opts for a prosaic: “Sunak Budget takes aim at coronavirus.”

Rishi Sunak hopefully wiped down the handle before he picked up that red briefcase that he thrusts forward, as if fending off a super-spreader, on the Guardian front. “Tories splash the cash”, says the Guardian, going on to question whether it will “hit the right targets”. The

The Mirror

calls it a “£ 43 bn virus booster ”, showing less enmity towards the Conservatives than customary.

The Telegraph throws forward from the budget – “Virus can now only be delayed” – and so does the (i) – “UK escalates virus response amid global pandemic.” The

The Metro

‘s downpage lead, by the way, is “PM: I did not go near her”. Tad cheeky – it’s actually about Nadine Dorries, one of Boris Johnson’s ministers who has contracted the virus.

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