(JAMAICA OBSERVER) – AUSTRIAN Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said religious leaders have agreed to cancel weddings, baptisms, funeral services and other ceremonies in the coming weeks to help prevent spread of the novel coronavirus.
Kurz said yesterday that the measures were part of efforts to enforce “social distancing” that also includes closing middle schools and high schools, beginning Monday, and postpone local elections set for March 22 in the state of Styria. Burials are still allowed.
He added that further measures would be announced today. Austria has 302 confirmed cases of the virus.
Oregon bans gatherings of more than 250
Oregon has banned all gatherings of more than 250 people statewide for four weeks to try to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.
The order was issued by Governor Kate Brown, who said, “It’s time for us all to do what we can to slow its spread.”
Officials assume that thousands of Oregonians will get the new coronavirus. Brown, who was to speak at a news conference yesterday in Portland, said all non-essential school gatherings and activities should be cancelled — such as parent meetings, field trips, and competitions.
She also recommended businesses increase the physical distances between employees, limit travel, and stagger work schedules.
No travel to, from capital of Philippines
The Philippine president has suspended domestic travel to and from the Manila area for a month and authorised sweeping quarantines in the region to fight the new coronavirus.
President Rodrigo Duterte also banned large gatherings in the capital, suspended most government work, and extended the suspension of classes by a month in new restrictions announced Thursday in a nationwide TV address.
He warned that violators and officials who refuse to enforce the restrictions would face possible imprisonment. But he insisted, “This is not martial law.”
Health officials in the Asian nation have confirmed 52 infections and two deaths from the virus.
Singapore mosques closed
Singapore’s Islamic Religious Council says all mosques in the city state will close, beginning today, for at least five days for disinfection.
It says all activities, religious classes and lectures will also be halted for two weeks. The council says the move is intended to minimise the spread of the virus after two men, out of 90 Singaporeans, who attended a recent mass religious gathering in Kuala Lumpur, were diagnosed with the virus.
With the suspension of obligatory Friday prayers for Muslim males at mosques, it said sermons will be carried online. Malaysian authorities say 10,000 people, half of them foreigners, participated in the four-day religious event in late February at a mosque in a Kuala Lumpur suburb.
Malaysia has reported 149 infections.
Dutch Government has banned gatherings of more than 100
The Dutch Government has banned gatherings of more than 100 people until the end of the month in an effort to control the spread of the new coronavirus.
Health and Sports Minister Bruno Bruins said the far-reaching measure would cover events and venues such as sports clubs, museums, and theatres. He also urged people to stay home if they have symptoms and to work from home if possible.
The Netherlands has 614 confirmed cases of the virus and five deaths.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the Government had decided not to close schools yet.
Canada’s PM stays at home after wife’s flu-like symptoms
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is quarantining himself at home after his wife exhibited flu-like symptoms.
Trudeau’s office said yesterday that Sophie Grégoire Trudeau returned from a speaking engagement in Britain and had mild flu-like symptoms, including a low fever late Wednesday night.
She is being tested for the COVID-19 disease and is awaiting results.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the prime minister is opting to self-isolate and work from home until receiving Sophie’s results,” the statement said.