Czech PM calls on Trump to introduce obligatory mask wearing to curb COVID-19 spreading

PRAGUE, March 29 (Xinhua) -- Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis on Sunday called on U.S. President Donald Trump to introduce mandatory wearing of the mask in public to help curb COVID-19 spreading.

Babis, in a tweet message, asked President Trump to try to tackle the pandemic the "Czech way." "Wearing a simple cloth mask decreases the spread of the virus by 80 percent! Czech Republic has made it OBLIGATORY for its citizens to wear a mask in the public," he tweeted.

Nearly 20,000 COVID-19 cases confirmed in UK

LONDON, March 29 (Xinhua) -- A total of 19,522 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Britain as of Sunday morning, marking an increase of 2,433 in the past 24 hours, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.

As of Saturday afternoon, some 1,228 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 have died, said the department.

Meanwhile, a letter from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will land on the doorsteps of 30 million households across Britain from next week.

Spain passes China in infections; Trump extends US lockdown

MOSCOW (AP) — Spain has become the third country to surpass China in coronavirus infections after the United States and Italy.

With only a population of 47 million to China’s 1.4 billion, Spain’s tally of infections reached 85,195 on Monday, a rise of 8% from the previous day. Spain also saw 812 new deaths in the last day, raising its overall fatalities from the virus to 7,300.

THIS IS A MAJOR UPDATE. AP’s previous story is below.

Hungary’s PM Orban seeks sweeping new powers in virus fight

BUDAPEST, March 30 (NNN-AGENCIES) — Hungary’s parliament was on Monday expected to endorse a bill giving nationalist premier Viktor Orban sweeping new powers he says he needs to fight the new coronavirus pandemic.

Critics at home and abroad have condemned the “anti-coronavirus defence law”, saying it gives Orban unnecessary and unlimited power in a ruse to cement his leadership rather than battle the virus.

Orban’s government proposed the bill to parliament earlier this month to enable wide rule-by-decree powers to tackle the virus under an extended state of emergency.

102-year-old Italian woman survives coronavirus

GENOA, March 30 (NNN-AGENCIES) — A 102-year-old Italian woman, Italica Grondona, has survived the coronavirus disease or COVID-19 after spending more than 20 days in hospital.

Although the aged are said to be among those highly vulnerable to COVID-19, Grondona recovered from coronavirus in the northern Italian city of Genoa.

“We nicknamed her ‘Highlander’ – the immortal,” said Vera Sicbaldi, the doctor who treated Grondona. “Italica represents a hope for all the elderly facing this pandemic.”

Spanish Princess Maria Teresa dies from COVID-19

Paris; 29 March 2020 (UMM): Spanish Princess Maria Teresa of Bourbon-Parma has become the first victim of the COVID-19 in Paris. She was eighty-six years old.

According to Fox News, the 86-year-old was a cousin of Spain's King Felipe VI. Her brother Prince Sixto Enrique de Borbon, the Duke of Aranjuez, announced on Facebook that she died after contracting COVID-19.

Merkel claimed to reject Israel's medical supply demand

29 Mar 2020; MEMO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel is claimed to have rejected Israeli President Binyamin Netanyahu’s demand for medical respirators, amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak, Anadolu reports.

In a recent phone call between Netanyahu and Merkel, Israel has demanded medical respirators from Germany in the fight with coronavirus, according to Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth’s story.

The news claimed that Merkel rejected the demand, but did not give further details.

Pope backs UN chief's call for global ceasefire to focus on coronavirus

29 Mar 2020; MEMO: Pope Francis on Sunday backed a call by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a global ceasefire so the world can focus on fighting the coronavirus pandemic, reported Reuters.

Speaking at his weekly blessing, delivered from the official papal library instead of St. Peter’s Square because of the lockdown in Italy, Francis specifically mentioned the appeal Guterres made in a virtual news conference on Monday.

Russia’s government acquires Rosneft assets in Venezuela — press office

MOSCOW, March 28. /TASS/: A company owned by the Russian government has acquired Rosneft’s assets in Venezuela, the cabinet’s press office told TASS on Saturday.

"The government of the Russian Federation has acquired assets in Venezuela from Rosneft. A company 100% owned by the Russian Federation has become the owner," the press service said.

Rosneft confirmed the statement, saying that in return it would get a 9.6% share of its equity capital as a settlement payment.

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