Video showed three people, dressed in protective gear, spraying the liquid directly on a group of Indian workers as they sat on the ground in the northern city of Bareilly.
Ashok Gautam, a senior officer in charge of Covid-19 operations in Uttar Pradesh, told CNN as many as 5,000 people have been “publicly sprayed” when they arrived before they were allowed to disperse.
“We sprayed them here as part of the disinfection drive, we don’t want them to be carriers for the virus and it could be hanging on their clothes, now all borders have been sealed so this won’t happen again,” he said.
He said the disinfectant used was a solution made from bleaching powder, and was not harmful to the human body.
While chemical disinfectants work on surfaces, they can be dangerous to people. And according to the World Health Organization (WHO), putting disinfectant on your skin will not kill it if the virus is already in your body.
The chemical wash has appalled many in India. Lav Agarwal, senior official at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said Monday that local officials involved in the incident have been “reprimanded,” adding that spraying migrant workers was not a “required” policy in the country.
“This is an overzealous action done by some employees at the field level, either out of ignorance or fear,” he said.
The district magistrate of Bareilly, Nitish Kumar, also tweeted that while the municipal corporation and local fire service were under orders to sanitize buses, they were “overzealous” in spraying the migrant workers directly.
“Orders to launch an inquiry against those responsible have been given,” he said.
Kumar, who is the highest-ranking district official in the city, added that workers affected by the incident are currently under medical surveillance following instructions from the chief medical officer.
Tens of thousands of India’s 45 million economic migrant workers have been making a long, arduous journeys back to their rural villages. Many of them had lost their jobs as businesses’ shut their doors across India’s cities due to the lockdown.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged all states to seal their borders to stop the virus being imported into rural areas. Officials are now scrambling to find millions of migrant workers who had already returned to small towns and villages across the country, in order to quarantine them for 14 days.
A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 36,900 people across the globe.
The new respiratory virus, which causes an illness known officially as COVID-19, has rapidly spread to every continent except Antarctica since first emerging in China in December. There are now more than 775,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Over 164,000 of those patients have recovered from the disease.
With more than 159,000 diagnosed COVID-19 cases, the United States has by far the highest national tally in the world. At least 2,945 people have died in the U.S.
Today’s biggest developments:
GAP, Kohl’s, Macy’s to furlough workers
FDA gives anti-malaria drugs emergency approval to treat COVID-19
Tokyo Olympics will open in July 2021
Navy hospital ship arrives in New York
Pastor arrested for holding services despite ‘safer at home’ order
Here’s how the news is developing today. All times Eastern. Please refresh this page for updates.
11:21 p.m.: At least 5 dead from coronavirus in Mass. veterans’ home
The mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts, said the city is grief-stricken following the death of 11 residents of a local veteran’s home.
Officials said that at least five residents of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke had died from COVID-19 and that authorities were still waiting for test results from five more of the deceased.
Eleven other residents of the Western Massachusetts facility have also been diagnosed with the virus.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced it had placed the home’s superintendent on administrative leave following the deaths.
“To the families who have lost a loved one, know that all of Holyoke shares your grief,” said Mayor Alex Morse, who ordered that flags in the city be lowered to half mast in honor of those who died.
9:38 p.m.: Cuomo calls for “rolling” approach to fighting pandemic
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling on health care workers from beyond New York to help his state through its fight against the coronavirus, so New York will be able to reciprocate.
“[The virus] will happen at different times across the country, and if we’re really smart, we address it in a rolling apex as I call it,” Cuomo told “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir during the “20/20“ special, “America Rising: Fighting the Pandemic.” “When a community really has an intense need, let’s all go help that community. They get past it, and then we move on to the next.”
“New York happens to be the first one — we are the tip of the spear, and I hope people help us,” the governor said. “I’m asking other health care professionals from across the country: Come help New York, and we will reciprocate and will be there to help you when you need help.”
Cuomo said that based on data from “four or five modelers,” the apex of the virus in New York is expected to arrive “anywhere from about one week for the apex, some people saying another 21 days.”
“Every model however, shows it well over the capacity of the health care system,” he added.
8:13 p.m.: More than 100 detainees test positive in Cook County Jail
Administrators at Cook County Jail in Illinois said that 134 detainees have tested positive for COVID-19.
The number is more than triple the 38 detainees who tested positive on Friday. So far, only nine detainees have tested negative, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s office.
Twenty sheriff’s office staff members have also tested positive, according to administrators.
7:07 p.m.: New York City deaths near 1,000
New York City’s Health Department released new figures about its growing COVID-19 cases showing that 914 have died from the virus.
This was a jump of 124 coronavirus fatalities from a Health Department report issued earlier in the day.
Overall, the city has 38,087 confirmed cases, the Health Department said.
6:40 p.m.: First U.S. military member dies from disease
The Pentagon announced that a New Jersey Army National Guardsman passed away from COVID-19 complications, marking the first death of an active U.S. military member.
The unidentified guardsman was diagnosed with the virus on March 19 and had been hospitalized since March 21, according to the Pentagon.
“This is a stinging loss for our military community, and our condolences go out to his family, friends, civilian co-workers and the entire National Guard community,” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said in a statement.
6:13 p.m.: NYPD loses fourth officer to COVID-19
The NYPD announced that it has lost its fourth member to the coronavirus.
School Safety Agent Sabrina Jefferson was a 26-year veteran who was stationed in Queens, according to the NYPD. There are 824 uniformed members and 106 civilian members tested positive for COVID-19, the department said.
The police are awaiting the test results from Senior Police Administrative Aide Gwendolyn King, who died on Monday.
6:04 p.m.: President says national stay at home order ‘pretty unlikely’
President Trump said his administration has mulled a national stay-at-home order, but added, “it’s pretty unlikely I would think at this time,” during his daily coronavirus briefing at the White House.
The president said he would defer such decisions to individual governors.
“Staying at home with respect to what we’re talking about doesn’t bother me at all,” he said. “People should be staying at home. That’s what we want.”
Also at the briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he would anticipate the virus coming back in the fall, but noted that the world may be better equipped to handle it.
He cited the ongoing lab work to develop a treatment, and the search for a vaccine to give the public better protection against the virus.
“If you come back in the fall, it will be a totally different ball game of what happened when we first got hit with it in the beginning of this year,” he said.
5:45 p.m.: Dozens of Marines test positive at boot camp
Between 35 to 40 Marine recruits and staff members tested positive for COVID-19 at its Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina, a defense official told ABC News.
The Marine Corps said it would suspend sending recruits to that boot camp, which is the service’s largest camp in the East Coast.
“Recruit training for individuals already at the Depot will continue as planned, with continued emphasis on personal and environmental cleanliness and social distancing,” the Marine Corps said in a statement
The Marine Corps will continue to send recruits to its West Coast boot camp, but they are receiving a decreased number “to ensure that there is enough space to provide social distancing and adequate staff to safely screen and evaluate incoming recruits,” according to a Marine representative.
4:48 p.m.: GAP, Kohl’s, Macy’s to furlough workers
The GAP is the latest retail giant to announce it will furlough most of its North American employees.
Company officials said the move comes as sales from its clothing stores have dropped due to the pandemic.
The chain said it would continue provide its employees with their benefits during the furlough period, which will last until stores reopen. Sonia Syngal, the president and CEO of Gap Inc., said that corporate leaders will be taking a pay cut as well.
“We are doing everything we can to provide support during this time, and we are intensely focused on welcoming back our store teams and customers as soon as we are able,” she said in a statement.
Kohl’s also announced that it would furlough store and store distribution center associates, as well as some corporate office associates as its locations remain closed. Those employees will still receive benefits during the store closures, according to the company.
Earlier in the day, Macy’s announced it would furlough the majority of its workforce starting this week.
Nordstrom said last week it was furloughing a portion of its corporate staff, and the company that operates DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse said it was furloughing 80% of its workers, according to the Associated Press.
3:45 p.m.: Renowned doctor dies from coronavirus
Dr. James Goodrich, a world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon and director of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at New York City’s Montefiore Medical Center, died of COVID-19 complications on Monday, according to the medical center.
Goodrich specialized in children with complex neurological conditions and created an approach for separating twins who are fused at the brain and skull, according to the medical center, where he worked for three decades.
In 2016, he famously led a team of doctors in a 27-hour-long procedure to separate 13-month-old twin boys.
Goodrich was not only a “pioneer” in his field, but also “a humble and truly caring man” remembered for baking holiday cookies and delivering them to the Children’s Hospital nurses each year, Montefiore Medical Center officials said in a statement.
“Dr. Goodrich was a beacon of our institution and he will be truly missed,” Montefiore Medicine CEO Dr. Philip Ozuah said in a statement. “His expertise and ability were second only to his kind heart and manner.”
“Dr. Goodrich was admired by his Montefiore Einstein colleagues and adored by his patients and Montefiore Einstein will not be the same without his presence,” Ozuah said.
Tune into ABC at 1 p.m. ET and ABC News Live at 4 p.m. ET every weekday for special coverage of the novel coronavirus with the full ABC News team, including the latest news, context and analysis.
3:25 p.m.: Pastor arrested for holding services despite safer at home order
A Florida pastor has been arrested after he allegedly held two large services on Sunday despite a safer at home order issued in the state.
Tampa-area pastor Rodney Howard-Browne “intentionally and repeatedly chose to disregard the order set in place by our president, our governor, the CDC, and the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said at a news conference Monday.
He was arrested on a charge of unlawful assembly in violation of a public health emergency order.
Chronister said the pastor’s “reckless disregard for human life put hundreds” of congregants and thousands of residents at risk.
Since Friday, the sheriff’s office was in contact with The River at Tampa Bay Church and received an anonymous tip that Howard-Browne refused the request to stop large gatherings, the sheriff said.
Officers went to the church to speak with Howard-Browne, but according to the sheriff, the pastor would not speak with them. Attorneys for the church told the sheriff’s office that they refused to cancel services, according to Chronister.
The church could have opted for livestream services, but instead disobeyed the safer at home order and even provided bus transportation for parishioners, the sheriff said.
Howard-Browne told congregants Sunday, “I know they’re trying to beat me up about having the church operational, but we are not a nonessential service.”
2 p.m.: Maryland governor worried pandemic will soon escalate in DC area
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is warning that medical experts say the coronavirus pandemic could escalate within two weeks in the Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland region, where it could resemble the current level of cases in New York City.
Hogan issued a “stay-at-home” executive order on Monday that directs state residents to stay at home unless they have an essential job, need to leave buy food or medicine, or get medical attention.
The governor warned that violators would be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000.
He also said that residents should not travel out of state unless absolutely necessary.
Maryland has now surpassed 1,400 cases of COVID-19.
Stay-at-home orders were also issued Monday in Virginia and Washington, D.C.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office said “any individual who willfully violates the stay-at-home order may be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, subject to a fine not exceeding $5,000, imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both.”
1:30 p.m.: Over 1,000 dead in New York state
At least 1,218 have died from coronavirus in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.
“We’ve lost over 1,000 New Yorkers. To me we’re beyond staggering already,” Cuomo said. “The only point now is do everything you can to save every life possible.”
Only one county in New York state has no diagnosed COVID-19 cases, Cuomo said.
Over 66,000 people have tested positive in the state, including 9,500 patients in hospitals, Cuomo said. Of those in hospitals, 2,300 people are in intensive care units.
Over 4,200 people have been hospitalized and discharged, he said.
In New York City, over 36,000 have tested positive and at least 790 people have died.
New York City still has too much density, Cuomo said, threatening to close down playgrounds if people do not stay inside or maintain effective social distancing while going outside for fresh air.
12:40 p.m.: Cruise lines extend suspensions
After the coronavirus outbreak quarantined thousands of passengers on massive cruise liners, Carnival Cruise Line said Monday it will continue to suspend operations in North America through May 11.
Holland America, a subsidiary of Carnival, said it will extend its suspension of global ship operations through May 14.
Royal Caribbean has currently suspended global operations through May 11 and Princess Cruse Line has suspended trips until at least May 10.
Norwegian Cruise Line currently plans to lift its suspension on April 12.
12:26 p.m.: Italy now has over 100,000 reported cases
Italy — by far the hardest-hit when it comes to fatalities — has now reached 101,739 total coronavirus cases, according to the country’s Civil Protection Agency.
As of Monday, 11,591 people in Italy have died, officials said
But Italy — which went on a country-wide lockdown on March 9 — is seeing some positive news as the total number of active infected patients rose by only 2.2% over the last 24 hours. There were 1,648 new cases in the last day, as opposed to 3,815 from the day before.
Also, the number of patients reported as having recovered from the illness as of Monday is the highest daily total reported so far with 1,590 no longer infected.
11:50 a.m.: USNS Comfort arrives in New York
The USNS Comfort hospital ship arrived in the harbor of hard-hit New York City Monday morning.
The ship will treat non-coronavirus patients on board to try to lighten the burden on the city’s hospitals where doctors are focusing on combating the pandemic.
At least 776 people have died in New York City.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the ship’s arrival a “major moment in this long battle.”
“Our nation has heard our plea for help,” he said. “There could not be a better example of all of America pulling for New York City than the arrival of the USNS Comfort.
The mayor called the ship a “big boost” in the city’s need to triple hospital bed capacity by May.
To all New Yorkers, the mayor said, “we are not alone. Our nation is helping us in our hour of need.”
As the death toll climbs in New York, the mayor warned, “the toughest weeks are still ahead.”
Another hospital ship, the USNS Mercy, has opened for business in the port of Los Angeles, where it’ll be treating non-coronavirus patients on board.
At least 37 people have died in Los Angeles County.
What to know about the novel coronavirus:
How it started and how to protect yourself: coronavirus explained
What to do if you have symptoms: coronavirus symptoms
Tracking the spread in the US and worldwide: coronavirus map
8:21 a.m.: Tokyo Olympics will open in July 2021
The opening ceremony of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo has been rescheduled for July 23, 2021, Japanese organizers announced Monday.
The closing ceremony will now be held on Aug. 8, 2021.
The Paralympics were rescheduled to open on Aug. 24, 2021, and close on Sept. 5, 2021, organizers said.
The Tokyo Games were originally slated to kick off this summer on July 24, but the International Olympic Committee and Japanese organizers announced last week that the event would be postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
8:05 a.m.: ‘Urgent action’ needed to counter major threat to life in conflict zones, ICRC warns
The International Committee of the Red Cross warned Monday that it will be nearly impossible to fight the novel coronavirus in countries already devastated by conflict, unless a concerted response by governments and humanitarian organizations is launched immediately.
“Our fear is that unless urgent action is taken to curb the spread of the virus, it will devastate some of the world’s most vulnerable communities,” Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said in a statement.
Governments around the world have implemented social distancing guidelines and other measures in an effort to contain the spread of the virus, but physical distancing is not possible in displacement camps and prisons. Health systems in conflict-torn regions such as Afghanistan, northeast Nigeria, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen are not prepared to handle a flood of COVID-19 cases without a surge in support. It’s also difficult to trace and isolate suspected cases when people are fleeing their homes due to violence, as warfare carries on despite the pandemic.
“Our work helping victims of conflict is still needed even amid an increased response to the virus. This work is made extra difficult because of the scale of this current pandemic, and the necessary and vital measures countries are now taking to contain it, such as movement restrictions of people and goods,” Maurer said. “To avoid a catastrophe, governments and other armed actors in conflict theaters must facilitate the work of humanitarians as a priority. Viruses know no borders: this is a global problem which will only be solved by global action.”
7:19 a.m.: ‘We will lose more people,’ Dr. Fauci warns
The United States can expect to see more fatalities from the coronavirus pandemic, even if the nationwide social distancing guidelines are extended, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“Even if these guidelines are extended, we will lose more people. Exactly how many more we would lose is uncertain, depending upon the efficiency of the mitigation methods,” Fauci told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview Monday on “Good Morning America.”
The 15-day guidelines were set to expire Monday. But President Donald Trump announced during a press conference Sunday that he had decided to extend the guidelines for another 30 days, after suggesting over the past week that he wanted to relax them reopen the country for business by Easter.
“None of us felt that 15 days was adequate,” Fauci said, adding that they had “intensive conversations” with Trump and that they ultimately “convinced him.”
“To pull back the mitigation methods before you reach the peak and turned the corner I think really would have been imprudent because that would have merely regenerated the spike to go up,” Fauci said. “If we prematurely did it, it would likely rebound and that’s one thing you do not want to happen.”
Fauci said they think “April might do it” but it’s possible the guidelines will have to be extended even further.
When asked about the clinical trials on potential therapeutics to treat COVID-19, Fauci said he hopes by late spring or early summer they’ll “get a signal in one of those drugs to see whether it works or not.”
“And if it does, we’ll widely distribute it,” he added. “And if it doesn’t, we’ll just get it off the shelf, get it off the table, because it wont be useable.”
Fauci said a vaccine will take longer.
“We’re in the phase one trial. We went into it as quickly as we possibly could, the fastest ever,” he said. ” But still the process at rocket speed takes about a year to a year and a half. So if we cycle with this outbreak and it comes back next fall and winter, we might have the early components of a vaccine ready to counter that outbreak likely next winter.”
At least 189 people aboard a Holland America Line cruise ship are suffering flu-like symptoms, a cruise line spokesperson told ABC News.
Four people have died aboard the MS Zaandam, Holland America Line announced Friday. At least two people tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Thursday, according to the cruise line.
The MS Zaandam set out from Buenos Aires for a South America cruise on March 7, with 1,243 guests and 586 crew on board. The voyage was supposed to end in San Antonio, Chile, on March 21 but the vessel has remained at sea since the Chilean government refused it permission to dock and disembark.
The ship began passing through the the Panama Canal late Sunday night after being moored off the coast of Panama for several days. The country’s government wouldn’t allow the ship to disembark passengers. The ship exited the canal on Monday morning.
In a video message from Holland America Line president Orlando Ashford, which was broadcast to MS Zaandam passengers on Sunday, he apologized that the cruise “turned out to not be the exact the vacation that you initially signed up for,” calling it a “safety and a humanitarian effort.”
Holland America Line on Friday announced plans to move “healthy” people from the MS Zaandam to another one of its ships, the MS Rotterdam. Ashford said he wanted to dispel the myth of a healthy ship versus a sick one, explaining that the intention is for the two cruises to work in tandem so that they can reduce the workload on each vessel, “create maximum flexibility” and move passengers that have been stuck self-isolating in inside cabins for a week to cabins that have access to light and fresh air.
Holland America Line previously said the MS Zaandam would travel to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and dock at Port Everglades after transiting through the Panama Canal. But in Sunday’s video message, Ashford told passengers to self-isolate on both the MS Zaandam and the MS Rotterdam “while we figure out where it is that we’re going to take you.”
In a statement to ABC News on Sunday night, the U.S. Coast Guard said: “We are aware of the Zaandam and Rotterdam situations and are monitoring them. The Coast Guard is a member of, and coordinating with, the Port Everglades Unified Command on this situation. Further action may be taken if or when either ship crosses the Panama Canal into our area of responsibility.”
5:11 a.m.: EasyJet grounds all flights due to pandemic
EasyJet, one of Europe’s largest airlines, said it has grounded all aircraft due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“As a result of the unprecedented travel restrictions imposed by governments in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the implementation of national lockdowns across many European countries, EasyJet has, today, fully grounded its entire fleet of aircraft,” the airline said in a statement Monday morning. “At this stage there can be no certainty of the date for restarting commercial flights. We will continuously evaluate the situation based on regulations and demand, and will update the market when we have a view.”
In recent days, the British budget carrier has helped repatriate more than 45,000 people on over 650 rescue flights. The last of those rescue flights were operated on Sunday.
“We will continue to work with government bodies to operate additional rescue flights as requested,” the airline added.
3:00 a.m.: FDA gives anti-malaria drugs emergency approval to treat COVID-19
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a limited emergency-use authorization for two antimalarial drugs to treat those infected with the novel coronavirus.
In a statement released Sunday night, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced it had received 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate and one million doses of hloroquine phosphate donated to a national stockpile of potentially life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, which are oral prescription drugs used primarily to prevent and treat malaria, are both being investigated as potential therapeutics for COVID-19.
The statement noted that the FDA had issued an emergency-use authorization to allow both donated drugs “to be distributed and prescribed by doctors to hospitalized teen and adult patients with COVID-19, as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible.”
Federal agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, are working together to plan clinical trials.
ABC New’s Gio Benitez, Clark Bentson, Dee Carden, Mina Kaji, Aaron Katersky, Amanda Maile, Elizabeth McLaughlin, Kelly McCarthy and Phoebe Natanson contributed to this report.
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The private treaty sale of a 160ac West Limerick farm on the outskirts of Newcastlewest and not far from Castlemahon, caused me to drift down memory lane to a time when the only escape from farming was dancing.
s a young lad growing up in West Limerick, Newcastlewest was our Mecca when it came to socialising, glamorising and making a nuisance of ourselves.
The youth of the county would flood into the town on Sunday nights. After slaking our thirst in the local hostelries, we would invariably end up in the Olympic ballroom dancing the night away.
On a good night, you might find someone to ‘stay on’ after a fast set.
On a very good night, the slow set might lead to another and a superb night would see you both sharing a seat at the back of the bus as it snaked its way through Askeaton, Ballysteen and the outer reaches of Pallaskenry.
In summer, the nearby town of Castlemahon held its annual festival where the marquee played host to glitzy showbands and the wandering youth of West Limerick, North Kerry and North Cork.
There was no bus to Castlemahon, but there was always a lift available in a Ford Escort or Hillman Avenger arrayed in spoilers, tail-fins and go-faster stripes. Lights, indicators and brake pads were optional extras.
This 160ac holding situated near the celebrated nightspots of West Limerick is on the market with a guide price of between €1.1m and €1.2m.
Located at Shanrath, outside Newcastlewest on the R222 Dromcollogher Road and not far from the village of Castlemahon, the farm is accessed by a private laneway. It includes a substantial house with an extensive yard at the heart of the holding.
The grass farm is bounded by the river Deel at the northern and eastern sides, and laid out in 15 good-sized fields. According to Tom Crosse of selling agents GVM, the farm is suitable for dairy, beef or equestrian.
The holding has not been farmed for some time and needs tidying and some attention in terms of fertility. But it is surrounded by excellent farms and there is no reason why this holding should not match them, says Mr Crosse.
The substantial yard includes a five-column haybarn with a lean-to, a cubicle house, a holding pen and crush, and a range of useful sheds. While the yard is somewhat dated, it nevertheless has the basic facilities for a good livestock or dairy farm.
The residence is a traditional two-storey farm house in good condition, surrounded by a nice garden. The accommodation indoors includes a hallway, dining room, sitting room, kitchen and utility, while on the first floor are five bedrooms and a bathroom.
The dwelling is heated by oil-fired central heating and the finish includes double glazed PVC windows. While structurally sound, it will need some renovation.
Kildimo farm sale
Closer to my own home sod, a 70ac farm at Knockroe, Kildimo, Co Limerick, is for sale by private treaty with a guide price of €700,000 or €10,000/ac. Located less than 1km from the village, the property is about 10km from Adare and 13km from Limerick City.
All in one block, it is described by Mr Crosse as a holding with some excellent limestone grazing ground and some rougher grazing.
There is good road frontage, particularly on to a side road west of the village of Old Kildimo adjacent to the local GAA grounds.
Kildimo is within striking distance of Limerick city and while home to a strong farming community, it is also commuter territory. In that regard, Mr Crosse expects interest from farmers, from the business sector, and from people or companies with an eye to residential development.
This account of the past two weeks inside the White House is based on interviews during that period with staffers and outside advisers, as well as prior POLITICO reporting. Collectively, staffers described a time of uncertainty and reassessment as the West Wing reoriented itself around a singular mission. They witnessed historic moments from the center of power — the biggest one-day plunge ever for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and then its biggest one-day gain since 1933. They wondered what it would all mean for the 2020 elections — would there even be in-person voting in eight months? Is campaigning as we know it over?
Meanwhile, Americans everywhere grappled with their changing realities: Will the way we celebrate, congregate and pray change forever? Will we become a more isolated society, connected by video conferences rather than in-person gatherings?
“Should I even be here?” a White House official said squeamishly after multiple high-level staffers were exposed to the virus and forced to stay home.
On Tuesday, the White House’s “15 Days to Slow the Spread” initiative will come to an end. The country will look to Trump to tell people how much longer daily life will be paralyzed, how much longer they’ll be out of a job.
What he will say, though, is still unknown.
THE BEGINNING: JAN. 2
U.S. cases: 0
U.S. deaths: 0
Stock Market: 28,868.80
As with many Americans, the magnitude of the situation didn’t initially set in at the White House.
As early as Jan. 2, the Robert Redfield, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, contacted the National Security Council to discuss a developing situation in China regarding a respiratory illness they had yet to confirm as a novel coronavirus, according to a White House timeline reviewed by POLITICO. Ten days later, China reported its first death from the virus.
Then, like a dry brush fire, it spread.
The first case of the novel coronavirus in the U.S. was confirmed on Jan. 21. Days later, the president developed a task force to address the potential spread. But publicly, the president and his advisers maintained that the situation was under control, as the president cut off most travel from China at the start of February.
Internally, some White House officials monitoring the situation abroad felt frustrated the virus was being shrugged off by senior officials, including the president. Reducing travel from China was not enough, they argued. They pressed for Trump to take more aggressive action, citing forecasts that indicated the United States could face a trajectory of cases mirroring places like Italy, which saw a spike in mid-February.
Trump came around in late February during an 18-hour trip back from India, where he had spent two days amid cheering throngs, miles from coronavirus concerns. On the flight, he saw the round-the-clock media coverage of the disease. According to his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, Trump didn’t sleep on the entire ride back.
Minutes after landing on the morning of Feb. 26 in Washington, D.C., Trump tweeted that he would be holding a briefing to address the situation. He hastily tapped Vice President Mike Pence to oversee the coronavirus task force and predicted the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. would soon be “close to zero.”
The opposite happened.
In early March, the president and his team recognized the writing on the wall, besieged by concerns from allies across the country. There were now more than 1,000 cases in the U.S. The World Health Organization declared a pandemic. The stock market plummeted, even halting trading for 15 minutes on March 9 to avoid a market-crashing slide.
Trump and his team scrambled to address the nation’s concerns in an Oval Office address — only the second one Trump had ever made.
“If tonight isn’t Trump saying, ‘This is bad and could get very worse, you need to take every precaution necessary,’ then he can kiss a second term goodbye,” an administration official said at the time.
He didn’t say that. Instead, the president, in hastily arranged remarks, said he was barring all travel from Europe and promised that health insurers had agreed to cover all coronavirus treatments. Investors panicked — would necessary cargo still be allowed to come into the U.S.? Insurers were taken aback — they had only agreed to cover coronavirus tests, not all treatment.
The White House rushed to clarify. Stocks tumbled further.
Morale bottomed out in the White House.
One White House official said that was the week it all changed. In addition to the president’s prime-time remarks and the stock trading pauses, the virus unexpectedly overturned America’s collective culture. In a span of several minutes that Wednesday night, Hollywood star Tom Hanks announced he had tested positive for the virus, the NCAA canceled its national basketball tournaments, and the NBA suspended its season.
“That week made the Democrats’ BS impeachment seem trivial,” another White House official quipped.
Daily life was not going to be the same.
Within a week, most of the U.S. would be shut down.
A week later, Congress would pass the largest economic recovery bill ever assembled.
Here’s what those two weeks felt like inside the White House.
DAY 1: MARCH 16
U.S. cases: 6,400
U.S. deaths: 83
Stock market: 20,188.52
The president and his team decided dramatic action was needed to blunt the spread of the virus.
They had seen horrifying new projections from the Imperial College in London that showed millions dying if more extreme measures were not taken. Chastened by the new data, the president’s demeanor changed.
On March 16, a Monday, the president announced new recommendations that Americans should not gather in groups larger than 10 — five times as extreme as guidelines introduced by the CDC just the day before.
It was the start of the White House’s “15 Days to Slow the Spread.”
“With several weeks of focused action, we can turn the corner and turn it quickly,” Trump said. “Our government is prepared to do whatever it takes.”
Dr. Deborah Birx, a global health specialist tasked with leading the coronavirus task force’s efforts, made a direct plea to the American people to heed the guidelines.
“We really want people to be separated at this time, to be able to address this virus comprehensively that we cannot see, for which we don’t have a vaccine or a therapeutic,” she said.
The president dispatched Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to hammer out a stimulus bill with Congress to boost the economy. Mnuchin gave a dire, but prescient, warning to Senate Republicans during a lunch on Capitol Hill: Act now or the U.S. could see double-digit unemployment numbers.
DAY 3: MARCH 18
U.S. cases: 13,700
U.S. deaths: 150
Stock market: 19,898.92
On Wednesday, streets in major cities like San Francisco and New York began to empty.
At the White House, the president had a new message: The country is at war.
“To this day, nobody has seen anything like what they were able to do during World War II,” Trump said at a news conference. “And now it’s our time. We must sacrifice together because we are all in this together and we’ll come through together.”
He invoked a wartime law — the Defense Production Act — granting him broad authority to direct manufacturers to make the equipment needed in a crisis. But he said he would only use the law in a “worst-case scenario.”
America was facing an encroaching, lethal, “invisible enemy,” Trump said.
At the White House, the enemy was already within.
Members of the president’s inner circle kept getting exposed to people with coronavirus. Several top staffers, including Ivanka Trump and acting chief of staff Mulvaney, had to isolate themselves.
Members of Congress closest to the president — including his incoming chief of staff, Mark Meadows — were forced to self-quarantine. And even as the president began to use the press briefing room day after day, his own press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, was conspicuously missing. She, like others in the White House who were exposed, were following the very same advice being dished out from the podium: stay home.
TEHRAN, IRAN —
Iran’s president on Sunday lashed out at criticism of the country’s lagging response to the worst coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East, saying the government has to weigh economic concerns as it takes measures to contain the pandemic.
Hassan Rouhani said authorities had to consider the effect of mass quarantine efforts on Iran’s beleaguered economy, which is under heavy U.S. sanctions. It’s a dilemma playing out across the globe, as leaders struggle to strike a balance between restricting human contact and keeping their economies from crashing.
“Health is a principle for us, but the production and security of society is also a principle for us,” Rouhani said at a Cabinet meeting. “We must put these principles together to reach a final decision.”
“This is not the time to gather followers,” he added. “This is not a time for political war.”
Even before the pandemic, Rouhani was under fire for the unraveling of the 2015 nuclear deal he concluded with the United States and other world powers. President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the agreement and has imposed crippling sanctions on Iran that prevent it from selling oil on international markets. Iran has rejected U.S. offers of humanitarian aid.
State TV on Sunday reported another 123 deaths, pushing Iran’s overall toll to 2,640 amid 38,309 confirmed cases.
Most people suffer only minor symptoms, such as fever and coughing, and recover within a few weeks. But the virus can cause severe illness and death, especially in elderly patients or those with underlying health problems. It is highly contagious, and can be spread by those showing no symptoms.
In recent days, Iran has ordered the closure of nonessential businesses and banned travel between cities. But those measures came long after other countries in the region imposed more sweeping lockdowns. Many Iranians are still flouting orders to stay home in what could reflect widespread distrust of authorities.
Iran has urged the international community to lift sanctions and is seeking a $5 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.
Elsewhere in the region, Qatar reported its first death from the new coronavirus late Saturday, saying the total number of reported cases there was at least 590.
The tiny, energy-rich nation said it flew 31 Bahrainis stranded in Iran into Doha on a state-run Qatar Airways flight. But since Bahrain is one of four Arab countries that have been boycotting Qatar in a political dispute since 2017, Doha said it could not fly the 31 onward to the island kingdom.
“Bahraini officials have said they will send a flight for them at some undefined point in the future,” the Qatari government said in a statement.
Bahrain said it planned a flight Sunday to pick up the stranded passengers. The kingdom said it had its own repatriation flights scheduled for those still stuck in Iran and warned Qatar that it “should stop interfering with these flights.”
In Egypt, at least 1,200 Sudanese are stranded at the border after Sudan closed all its crossings, according to Egyptian officials at one of the crossings. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media.
Sudan, which is still reeling from the uprising that toppled President Omar al-Bashir last year, has five confirmed cases, including one fatality. It’s one of several countries in the region where the health care system has been degraded by years of war and sanctions. Authorities closed the borders to prevent any further spread.
Sudan’s Information Minister Faisal Saleh said Sudanese authorities are looking for lodging in Egypt for the stranded passengers. He said authorities have quarantined at least 160 undocumented migrants who were sent into Sudan from war-torn Libya earlier this month.
Residents in Egypt’s southern city of Luxor say they are providing shelter to the stranded Sudanese.
“We have provided food and medicine to the Sudanese brothers,” said Mahmoud Abdel-Rahim, a local farmer. “People hosted women, children and elders in their homes.”
Egypt, which has reported 576 cases and 36 fatalities, imposed restrictions on cash deposits and withdrawals to prevent crowding at banks as payrolls and pensions are disbursed. Authorities began imposing a nighttime curfew last week.
Associated Press writers Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Samy Magdy in Cairo and Joseph Krauss in Jerusalem contributed.
As the province announced more than 150 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, new social distancing measures are now in effect.
All social gatherings and events over five people are prohibited according to a press release issued Saturday evening.
Exceptions include private homes of five people or more, and authorized childcare facilities serving families of first reponders or front-line healthcare workers — provided it doesn’t exceed 50.
Funerals will also be permitted, but limited to 10 people.
Organized public events include parades, weddings, social gatherings and worship services.
This new order replaces a previous one limiting gatherings to no more than 50 people.
The new cases were reported by the province on Saturday, morning bringing the total to 1,144, including 8 cases deemed resolved and 18 more where the patient died.
The current death toll includes 2 cases awaiting official laboratory confirmation from a nursing home in Bobcaygeon, Ontario where three other residents have tested positive and 35 have shown symptoms.
The province remains on a mostly upward trajectory — there have been 453 new cases since Thursday.
Against the backdrop of an increasing number of cases and strain on hospitals, the province announced they were taking control of purchasing all key medical supplies needed in the COVID-19 fight.
Items such as ventilators, masks and swabs will now go through central purchasing and distribution to ensure adequate supplies arrive where and when they are needed.
“COVID-19 is impacting supply chains across Canada, and around the world,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Government and Consumer Services.
“That’s why we are proclaiming the Supply Chain Management Act to make sure we can deploy critical supplies, equipment and services to where they are needed most.”
Ford also announced the province would take aim at those attempting to make extreme profits off the crisis.
“I have zero tolerance for this kind of nonsense,” Ford said of the province’s new anti price gouging legislation.
“It’s un-Canadian, it’s wrong.
“If you’re selling face masks, protective gloves, cold medicine, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes and you’re hiking the price five times, ten times what it should be — you’re done, you’re gone because we’re coming after you.”
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Fines range from $750 for an individual to $500,000 for a company director, while corporations could face penalties of up to $10 million.
Jail time is also possible.
The premier encouraged anyone who spots price gouging to report it through the provincial hotline at 1-800-889-9768.
The premier said that the government understands the difference between a convenience store charging a couple more dollars for a product than large retailers, and said they would listen to all sides during investigations — including finding out if wholesalers are the ones responsible for gouging retailers.
Ford also ripped into a young woman facing charges for faking a COVID-19 diagnosis to get out of her shift at a Hamilton McDonalds.
After presenting her manager a forged doctor’s note, the restaurant sent all its employees home to self-isolate and engaged in an extensive and expensive cleaning.
“It’s disgusting,” Ford said.
“What human being would do stuff like this? We’re in a crisis and they’re going out there and lying and putting people in jeopardy.”
The 18 year-old woman now faces fraud, forgery and mischief charges.
In this world where families send their love through glass divides and locked doors, due to coronavirus, a virtual hug has to be good enough.
Now a family from Northern Ireland are sharing their story, in a bid to boost emergency funds for Marie Curie.
It is one of the biggest charities caring for terminally-ill patients in Northern Ireland.
But it has said it is deeply concerned about the impact coronavirus restrictions will have on its fundraising efforts.
The charity is backing an urgent appeal to the chancellor for financial support.
The toughest part
Kate Sloan, 64, has cancer and is currently in the Marie Curie Hospice in Belfast.
She and her husband, Paddy, from Loughinisland, County Down, have been together for 35 years.
Coronavirus has been the toughest part of their hospice journey, said Paddy.
When coronavirus meant their children and grandchildren would be unable to hug Kate on Mother’s Day, they figured out a way to be there for her – no matter what.
“They just want to see their mummy and nanny, however, they know that what they’re doing by distancing themselves is vital to the health of Kate and other patients,” he said.
But on Mother’s Day, they made “an amazing effort” to make it special.
‘Part of the family’
“Our son, Aidan, and his wife brought their four children down to see their nanny – and although it was looking through a window holding up a ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ sign, it most definitely helped make the day that much easier.
“Our daughter, Roisin, also arrived with a little bag of essentials, waving and smiling through the window, and even that little bit of interaction put a big smile on Kate’s face,” he said.
“It’s difficult, and with present circumstances I know that not being able to hug their mum, or just sit at her bedside and hold her hand, is hard on them but they are glad the facilities at the hospice have enabled me to stay with her and be here for her.”
Mr Sloan said Marie Curie had become “an extension of our family” and were there not only for Kate, but for all of them.
“Due to her illness, Kate is unable to eat or speak, but that hasn’t stopped her personality shining through and the care from the Marie Curie nurses has been so good.
“As I’m able to stay with Kate overnight there is no need for me to leave her side, which is the only place I want to be.”
‘Devastating loss of income’
The network of Marie Curie hospices and community nurses rely on donations to cover the £200,000-a-week running costs.
But its ability to generate this money has been seriously compromised by the pandemic.
It is backing an urgent appeal to the chancellor for financial support.
“We are facing a devastating loss of income,” said Ciara Gallagher, head of partnerships and philanthropy.
She said the charity has had to make “tough decisions locally” to postpone and cancel a number of fundraising events.
“We estimate this will be a loss of approximately £350,000 from these events alone,” she added.
One night in late January, Canadian Jacob Cooke found himself in Jiangsu province in China, desperately trying to find seats on a plane leaving the country and promising his brother, Joseph, he’d make it to Vancouver.
For more than a decade, they had run a business called WPIC Marketing + Technologies with an ocean between them, helping brands from Canada and, eventually, all over the globe launch e-commerce operations in China.
But that night, panic was washing over China after news channels started reporting on the highly contagious outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan province. There was little information about who was most vulnerable, how the virus spreads or what symptoms to expect, but fears were aroused. Soon, trains were shutting down, hotels were closing their doors and slowly, but surely, ways out of the country were disappearing.
“There was definitely not enough information,” Jacob said. “You didn’t know what to believe, you just wanted to get far enough away from it.”
Jacob also worried about his family, including his wife and their two young sons, aged five and nine, who had travelled from their home in Beijing to visit her family in Jiangsu for Chinese New Year, since it looked like they might be stuck there. After spending hours on the phone, he secured seats on a plane leaving Shanghai for Vancouver, and then tracked down a driver to make the six-hour trek to the airport.
Seven weeks later, after Jacob and his family made it safely back to Vancouver, the situation has in many ways reversed: Canada, and most of the western world, are desperately trying to stop the spread of coronavirus, with new measures being announced almost on an hourly basis that shut down parts of the economy, while China is in recovery.
It’s still not clear how the deadly virus will be contained, or what its ultimate toll will be, so the horizon in Canada and elsewhere remains too dark to look for silver linings.
Yet if the worst does not come to pass, the Cooke brothers and others who hold deep business ties to China can see how the global connectivity of our economies may help both countries.
An economic recovery is now taking shape in China. Self-isolation is starting to end, people are returning to offices and work in factories has largely resumed its pre-coronavirus level of activity.
FedEx Corp. on a March 17 conference call said 90 to 95 per cent of large manufacturers in China are now open, as are about two-thirds of small manufacturers. The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong and Shanghai SE Composite Index both ended the week on a positive swing after brutal declines since the start of the year.
But as supply chains and demand for goods ramps up in China, they’re slowing elsewhere. Yet there were signs of life even in the depths of China’s outbreak.
Joseph Cooke, president of WPIC, said it’s been a strange year in China. Online sales usually dip during the new year celebration, but they remained steady this year, perhaps because people in self-isolation indulged in “retail therapy,” he said.
As the weeks in lockdown progressed, online sales in China accelerated as brick-and-mortar retail stores stay closed. That also provided a lifeline for many Canadian companies, particularly those that need to move seasonal inventory, WPIC chief executive Jacob Cooke said.
“China coming back online is great for Canadian companies,” he said. “With retail closed here, for example, and a lot of stuff being seasonal, it’s got to move somewhere or it’s going to become useless.”
Some companies’ quarterly earnings reports are already bearing that trend out.
China coming back online is great for Canadian companies
For example, Nike Inc. chief executive John Donahoe on Wednesday reported that his company’s e-commerce sales in China increased more than 30 per cent during the last quarter, even as it had closed 5,000 stores in the country during most of that time.
Other parts of China’s economy appear to be returning to normal as well, offering a potential lifeline to companies from Canada and elsewhere needing to sell their goods.
“I was talking today to someone who was in Beijing and she said, ‘Here’s the thing, there was a traffic jam and I had lunch with someone, and it’s the first time I’ve had lunch with someone in weeks,” said Sarah Kutulakos, executive director of the Canada China Business Council.
She said the key to China’s resumption of regular business activity is that everyone has been “incredibly conservative about social distancing and people are taking that very seriously.”
That has benefited Canadian companies with operations in China as well.
For example, Toronto-based Neo Performance Materials Inc., which turns rare earth and rare metal-based materials into magnets and other products used in cars and high-tech devices, operates four factories in China, all of which are now operating and shipping goods again.
None of its 1,100 employees there have contracted COVID-19, but the company has said it implemented precautionary measures including temperature checks of its workers.
On a March 12 earnings call with analysts, chief executive Geoff Bedford said the supply chain is largely functional again, with his factories able to procure all the raw materials they need.
Still, it’s not all good news. China is still experiencing the repercussions from the lockdown period, including declining demand.
“We are seeing signs of slowing downstream demand from our customers, particularly for supply chains that are located within China,” Bedford said on the call.
He noted that more than 60 per cent of Neo Performance’s sales are related to the automotive industry, including vehicles manufactured for the Chinese domestic market, which is one particular area where demand is softening. But he also noted that trend was already happening the previous year.
Aurora, Ont.-based auto-parts manufacturer Magna International Inc. on Thursday reported that it expects softening demand in China, though its customers there are ramping up again after extended downtime throughout February. Meanwhile, many of its customers in North America and Europe have reduced production rates or temporarily closed.
Overall auto sales in the world’s biggest vehicle market dropped 79 per cent in February, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, which does not expect demand to normalize until the third quarter.
WPIC’s Jacob Cooke said Canada’s economy is intricately linked to China’s economy, even if diplomatic spats and trade wars are decoupling the two countries on cultural and political levels.
“They are completely intertwined,” he said. “If either of those pieces go down, it just creates huge problems for the global economy.”
Jacob was in China as it entered the peak of its outbreak and now he’s back in Canada as the coronavirus takes hold here, giving him some insight into how conditions are progressing in both countries.
“This has sort of been the whole process for me,” he said. “You’re basically experiencing it in cycles: you’re either cycling to further and further lockdowns or you’re opening up.”
Right now, Canada and the United States are still cycling to further lockdowns as the number of new cases detected continues to grow daily. But Jacob and his brother Joseph both said it only takes a bit of good news to swing momentum in the other direction.
“I’m feeling like it’s very quiet in Vancouver, and people are staying home,” said Joseph. “Let’s hope we curb the spread.”