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UK to introduce 14-day quarantine for international arrivals: minister

SYDNEY: Australia’s most populous state said on Friday restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus will be eased to allow cafes, restaurants and pubs to have up to 50 seated patrons as efforts to revive the stalled economy pick up pace.New South Wales (NSW) said the easing of the restrictions which previously limited cafes…

SYDNEY: Australia’s most populous state said on Friday restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus will be eased to allow cafes, restaurants and pubs to have up to 50 seated patrons as efforts to revive the stalled economy pick up pace.New South Wales (NSW) said the easing of the restrictions which previously limited cafes and restaurants to 10 customers at a time, will begin on June 1. “Losing 221,000 jobs in April was a disaster,” state premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney, referring to state-wide job losses. “We don’t want to see that continue.”Australia’s hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit by social distancing restrictions imposed in March to slow the spread of coronavirus, with restaurants and cafes only able to offer takeaway services until earlier this month.Nationally, nearly 600,000 people were in April forced out of work by the coronavirus restrictions.Seeking to avoid a prolonged economic depression, Australia said it would spend A$130 billion between March and September to subsidize the wages of around 6 million people. About half the country’s workforce is on the JobKeeper scheme. NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said about 7 percent of those on the scheme are from the country’s hospitality sector, so relaxing restrictions would allow thousands of people to return to work.“This is about keeping people in jobs and businesses in business. We want to breathe life into the New South Wales economy,” said Perrottet.NSW — which has recorded about half of Australia’s near 7,100 COVID-19 cases — has moved quickly to reopen compared to other states.Australia earlier this month agreed a three-step plan to remove the remaining restrictions by July, though implementation is down to state and territory leaders, who have argued over the pace of reopening state borders.Fitch Ratings on Friday downgraded its outlook on Australia’s coveted ‘AAA’ rating to “negative” from “stable,” citing the hit to the country’s economy and public finances from the COVID-19 pandemic.“Our measures are temporary, targeted and proportionate to the challenge we face and will ensure Australia bounces back stronger on the other side,” federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in an emailed statement.

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Coronavirus: Kuwait confirms 692 Covid-19 cases, 640 recoveries

Three more patients also died from the virus in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll up to 175. The Kuwaiti Ministry of Health Wednesday announced the infection of 692 more people with the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, raising the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 23,267.Three more patients also died from…

Three more patients also died from the virus in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll up to 175.

The Kuwaiti Ministry of Health Wednesday announced the infection of 692 more people with the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, raising the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 23,267.Three more patients also died from the virus in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll up to 175, Kuwait News Agency, KUNA, quoted the ministry’s spokesman, Abdullah Al-Sanad, as saying in his daily briefing on the virus situation in the country.Earlier in the day, Health Minister Sheikh Dr. Basel Al-Sabah confirmed the recovery of 640 additional novel coronavirus patients, bringing the total number of recoveries to 7,946.

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Kvitova ‘pretty gutted’ by Wimbledon cancellation

PRAGUE: Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova said Tuesday she had been “pretty gutted” by news that her favorite tournament was canceled over the coronavirus pandemic. “Of all tournaments that have been canceled, the news about Wimbledon was the most upsetting for me,” the 30-year-old, who won the grass court major in 2011 and 2014, told…

PRAGUE: Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova said Tuesday she had been “pretty gutted” by news that her favorite tournament was canceled over the coronavirus pandemic.

“Of all tournaments that have been canceled, the news about Wimbledon was the most upsetting for me,” the 30-year-old, who won the grass court major in 2011 and 2014, told AFP.

“I’m not saying I cried when I heard it, but I was pretty gutted on that day. I guess the reason is clear,” added the current world No.  12.

Kvitova is playing at an all-Czech tournament in Prague, where eight men and eight women are competing behind closed doors and under stringent measures to prevent the virus from spreading.

Hygiene is key at the event where no one will hand the towel to the players who must also wear face masks at press conferences. The ball boys and ball girls are wearing gloves, though the players share a set of balls.

Instead of shaking hands at the end of each game, they do a “racquet bump” to avoid infection.

Organizers canceled the Grand Slam scheduled for early July on April 1, for the first time since World War II.

“I will miss the atmosphere of the tournament of course, besides the experiences and memories of last year,” said fellow Czech Barbora Strycova, who made the singles semifinals and took the doubles honors with Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-Wei in 2019.

“I always like to get back to Wimbledon because when I’m there it feels special. For me it’s the most important and greatest tournament of all,” saidthe 34-year-old.

“When the time comes it will be sad for me, but that’s how it is and we can’t change anything about it.”

Karolina Muchova, the 23-year-old world No.  26, made it to the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2019, a year that saw her climb from 145th to 21st in the world.

“I guess Wimbledon is the greatest tournament so I’ll really miss everything about it,” she said.

“I had my best result there last year, so it was special, and I was looking forward to the grass season, that’s kind of specific and I enjoyed playing there,” Muchova told AFP.

“But it’s not only Wimbledon, the other Grand Slams are in jeopardy now and we all know the chances (of playing them) are fairly thin.”

Kenin, Stephens to play  WTT season before fans at resort

Reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and 2017 US Open winner Sloane Stephens will compete in a 2020 World TeamTennis season played at a mountain resort with spectators starting July 12.

The nine-team US circuit will stage its 45th campaign at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, from July 12-Aug. 2, the league announced Tuesday.

With the WTA and ATP tours shut down into August due to the coronavirus pandemic, the move makes the WTT the first pro tennis circuit to resume play after the global outbreak of the deadly virus shut down the sport.

“All of us are extremely grateful to be able to play the 45th World TeamTennis season and present professional tennis to our sports-starved and tennis-starved audiences,” said WTT chief executive Carlos Silva.

“The overwhelming feedback from our players is that they want to play WTT and are comfortable in doing so in a safe environment, which is our No. 1 priority. West Virginia has among the nation’s fewest cases of COVID-19.”

The WTT plans at least three matches a day at the resort’s 2,500-seat outdoor stadium with an indoor court to be installed as a backup option.

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Germany extends distancing rules to end of June

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday warned Local Government Units (LGUs) that they would face sanctions if they failed to accept Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) returning to their hometowns as part of government measures to help nationals leave coronavirus-hit countries. “I am ordering you to accept them, open the gates of your territories and allow…

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday warned Local Government Units (LGUs) that they would face sanctions if they failed to accept Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) returning to their hometowns as part of government measures to help nationals leave coronavirus-hit countries.

“I am ordering you to accept them, open the gates of your territories and allow the people  … to travel wherever they want,” Duterte said in an address aired late on Monday night. 

The government on Monday began to facilitate the return of some 24,000 repatriated OFWs to their home provinces after they were lodged at quarantine centers in Metro Manila for weeks, with some staying at the facilities for almost two months.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that the 24,000 OFWs had completed the mandatory quarantine period and tested negative for coronavirus.

To reiterate his seriousness about the order, the president has given government agencies a week’s time to ensure that the OFWs can return to their families, but Bello assured Duterte that the task would be completed within three days, from May 25 to 27.

The president’s palace said that Duterte was exasperated by the delay in the release of the OFWs and wanted authorities to speed up the processing of their test results so that those who were cleared could go home.

In his message on Monday night, Duterte warned that local officials who refused to take in the OFWs could face charges, stressing that everyone’s right to travel and to return home was guaranteed under the constitution.

“It is the constitutional right of people to go home — to travel and go home,” Duterte said.

“Do not impede it. Do not obstruct the movement of people because you run the risk of getting sued criminally,” he said.

Duterte said that only the national government could impose travel restrictions because it was the only body that could declare an emergency based on national interest.

 As the power to declare an emergency solely lay with the national government and was not shared with any other body, the imposition of quarantine measures should dovetail with national policy, he said.

If LGUs wanted to implement measures at local level, they should ask the permission of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), the president said.

Duterte said that it was cruel for LGUs to shut the doors on returning workers. He added it was ironic that while the government considered them modern day heroes, they faced abandonment in times of distress.

To bring home the OFWs who were stranded in Manila, Duterte ordered the use of all government assets to transport them by air, sea or land.

If possible, Duterte said that the OFWs should be “delivered to their families.”

Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano also ordered policemen manning quarantine control points to ensure the smooth passage of the workers who had been allowed to go back to their hometowns.

“Starting today up to Wednesday, (we have) 24,000 OFWs returning to their provinces using buses, airplanes and ships. All these OFWs have undergone RT-PCR testing and all turned out negative,” Ano said on Monday.

“They have a certificate of quarantine so we are informing the public on this as we can see various movements in the next three days,” he said.

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