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Japan confirms 70 new coronavirus cases from cruise ship

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Toky, Another 70 people aboard the virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Japan’s Yokohama have been tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the total to 355 cases, Health Minister Katsunobu Kato confirmed on Sunday.

The health ministry said that the 70 new cases came out of 289 people tested, bringing the total number of those who have undergone tests to 1,219, Japan Times reported.

The cruise ship arrived in Japan earlier this month with more than 3,700 passengers and crew members from more than 50 countries and regions.

With global attention increasingly focused on the situation, the US Embassy sent a letter on Saturday to Americans aboard saying that a chartered aircraft, set to arrive in Japan on Sunday, would repatriate those who wished to leave the ship.

The US aircraft is set to depart from Haneda Airport in Tokyo on Monday, according to Japanese official japan will also cooperate with other countries that make similar arrangements to evacuate their citizens on the ship, Japanese government officials said.

More than a week has passed since the cruise ship was put under a two-week quarantine at Yokohama port after a passenger who disembarked in Hong Kong was found to be infected with COVID-19, the pneumonia-causing coronavirus.

Japan’s health ministry had initially planned to keep all of the passengers and crew confined on the vessel until Wednesday, when the quarantine is scheduled to end.

But the ministry decided last Thursday to let passengers 80 and older, as well as their traveling companions, leave before the end of the quarantine after they were screened for infection.

Those with pre-existing conditions or who were staying in cabins without windows were prioritized for disembarkation.

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UK lockdown could be extended into May: Report

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London, April 9 (IANS) Ministers were said to be preparing to extend the UK lockdown into May, with advisers insisting the coronavirus peak could still be 10 days away, a media report said on Thursday.

In Wednesday’s Downing Street briefing, Indian-origin Chancellor Rishi Sunak refused to give any hints on if the restrictions would be eased, adding there would be a Cobra meeting to review the situation on Thursday, chaired by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is currently deputising for the coronavirus-stricken Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said the Metro newspaper report.

Johnson was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital on Sunday, on the advice of his doctor, after continuing to have a cough and high temperature 10 days after testing positive for the virus.

The Prime Minister was given oxygen before being taken to intensive care on Monday. He was currently “responding to treatment” and remained clinically stable.

The government has reportedly been told that the country’s deadliest day could be April 18, meaning that Britons will be told to stay inside until at least next month, according to the newspaper.

The news comes after the UK death toll jumped by 938 people in just one day, taking the total number of fatalities to 7.097, while the number of confirmed coronavirus cases increased to 61,474.

In the press briefing on Wednesday, Sunak claimed that the government was currently focusing on the “here, the now and the present” rather than when the restrictions will end.

When pressed on the issue by journalists, he responded: “What really matters is that people stay at home.”

Also On Wednesday, the Downing Street said a review of lockdown rules would go ahead next week, but the public must “stick with” the measures at what was a “critical time”, the BBC reported.

A ban on public gatherings of more than two people and the closure of shops selling non-essential goods were among the series of restrictions announced by Johnson on March 23 to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

Downing Street said a relaxation of the rules would be considered “on or around” the three-week mark on April 13.

Speaking to the BBC, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “I think we’re nowhere near lifting the lockdown.

“We think the peak – which is the worst part of the virus – is still probably a week and a half away.”


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Islamic State launches rocket attack on Bagram air base in Kabul

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New Delhi/Kabul, April 9 (IANS) The Islamic State Khorasan Province launched yet another rocket attack on Bagram air base on Thursday, making it their third such assault this year in Afghanistan.

The ISKP claimed the responsibility for the early morning rocket attack on the base in Parwan, Afghanistan.

Sources said though four to five BM1 rockets were fired at the airfield using a vehicle parked in the village of Dasht-e-Ufian, no casualties were reported. The vehicle was blown up, either by the Islamic State or the Afghan forces in retaliation.

A rocket attack on the Bagram air base last month was the first on NATO forces since the signing of the US-Taliban peace deal.

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Over 800 people stranded in virus-hit Wuhan return to Beijing

More than 61,000 people who work or live in Beijing have returned from Hubei Province since March 25.

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Beijing, April 9 : The first batch of 866 people stranded in virus-hit Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei Province, has arrived in Beijing by a train after Wuhan lifted its outbound travel restrictions on the same day.

Beijing residents who were stranded in Wuhan are required to apply for a return through a mini-program on instant messaging app WeChat. Statistics showed that more than 11,000 people asked for a return to the national capital, said Chen Bei, deputy secretary-general of the Beijing municipal government, at a press conference on Wednesday, reported Xinhua news agency.

Starting Wednesday, around 1,000 stranded people are expected to return to Beijing from Wuhan each day via train or car. They should undergo nucleic acid testing (NAT) in Wuhan within seven days before departure, Chen said.

The transport of the people will be carried out in a well-organized and spot-to-spot way, and all returned personnel will be brought under closed-loop management, with a two-week mandatory quarantine, either at home or at a designated venue. Another round of NAT is required after the quarantine, Chen noted.

More than 61,000 people who work or live in Beijing have returned from Hubei Province since March 25.

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