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Pence task force freezes coronavirus aid amid backlash

COVID-19 aid to other countries halted amid backlash

Last week, a Trump administration official working to secure much-needed protective gear for doctors and nurses in the United States had a startling encounter with counterparts in Thailand.

The official asked the Thais for help—only to be informed by the puzzled voices on the other side of the line that a U.S. shipment of the same supplies, the second of two so far, was already on its way to Bangkok.


Tommy the robot nurse helps keep Italy doctors safe from coronavirus

Tommy the robot nurse helps Italian doctorsHe doesn’t wear a mask but he is helping save lives from coronavirus just the same. Meet Tommy, the robot nurse.

Tommy is one of six new robots helping flesh-and-blood doctors and nurses care for coronavirus patients at the Circolo Hospital in Varese, a city in the northern Lombardy region that is the epicenter of the outbreak in Italy.

“It’s like having another nurse without problems related to infection,” said Doctor Francesco Dentali, director of intensive care at the hospital.

The child-size robots with large blinking eyes are wheeled into rooms and left by a patient’s bedside so doctors can look after others who are in more serious conditions.


US surpasses China in official coronavirus deaths

China deaths lower than US

The United States passed a grim milestone on Tuesday as it surpassed China in the official death count from the coronavirus.

The United States now has 3,415 deaths from the virus, surpassing China’s figure of 3,309, according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University.

It's important to note that there are significant doubts about the accuracy of China’s figures.

For example, Bloomberg News reported late last week that social media photos of thousands of urns to hold the ashes of the dead in Wuhan, China, were raising questions about whether the death toll there is much higher.


Russian doctor who met Putin last week diagnosed with coronavirus

Putin with doctor who tested positiveA doctor who gave Russian President Vladimir Putin a tour of Moscow’s main coronavirus hospital last week said on Tuesday he had himself been diagnosed with the virus.

Putin visited the Kommunarka hospital last Tuesday where he chatted to the doctor, Denis Protsenko. Neither man was wearing protective equipment during their conversation, TV footage from the visit showed.

Protsenko, writing on Facebook said: “Yes, I have tested positive for coronavirus, but I feel pretty good. I’ve isolated myself in my office. I think the immunity I’ve developed this month is doing its job.”



Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu self-quarantines after aide tests positive for COVID-19

Netayahu in self-quarantine

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will undergo self-quarantine after an aide tested positive for the coronavirus, his office announced Monday.

Netanyahu, 70, has been tested for the virus and is isolating himself until he gets the results, or is cleared by the Health Ministry and his personal doctor, his office said.

Rivka Paluch, Netanyahu's adviser on the Knesset – Israel's parliament, tested positive for COVID-19, Haaretz reported. Legislators who came in contact with Paluch during her visit to the Knesset last week will also self-quarantine, as will three of the prime minister's top aides.


Italy coronavirus death toll surges past 10,000; lockdown extension likely

Italy coronavirus deaths top 10,000The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy barrelled past 10,000 on Saturday, a figure that made an extension of a national lockdown almost certain.

Officials said 889 more people died in the previous 24 hours, the second highest daily tally since the epidemic emerged on Feb. 21, and that total fatalities reached 10,023.

Confirmed cases rose by about 6,000 to 92,472, the second-highest number of cases in the world behind the United States.


Indonesia volcano erupts 16,000-foot plume of ash

Indonesia volcano erupts

Mount Merapi, Indonesia's most active volcano, erupted a column of ash about 16,000 feet into the air on Friday.

According to Agence France-Presse, there are no reports of damage and officials are encouraging those who live nearby not to panic.

The volcano, which is near the historic city of Yogyakarta, had another big eruption earlier this month, which sent even more ash into the air at 20,000 feet. That eruption covered the nearby city of Solo with ash and forced an airport closure.

Authorities did not raise the alert level for Merapi, which had its last major eruption in 2010, killing 300 people and forcing 280,000 to evacuate.

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