The Latest: Confusion over Britain nonessential activity ban

The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 382,000 people and killed over 16,500. The COVID-19 illness causes mild or moderate symptoms in most people, but severe symptoms are more likely in the elderly or those with existing health problems. More than 101,000 people have recovered so far, mostly in China.

TOP OF THE HOUR:

—Confusion ripples through Britain after nonessential activity ban.

— Indonesia reports biggest daily jump in coronavirus cases.

— Thailand decrees state of emergency to control the coronavirus.

— China lifting lockdown of Hubei province.

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LONDON — Confusion rippled through Britain on the first morning after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a three-week halt to all nonessential activity to fight the spread of the new coronavirus.

The government has told most stores to close, banned gatherings of three or more people and said everyone apart from essential workers should leave home only to buy food and medicines or to exercise.

But photos showed crowded trains on some London subway lines Tuesday, amid confusion about who is still allowed to go to work.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted: “I cannot say this more strongly: we must stop all non-essential use of public transport now. Employers: please support your staff to work from home unless it’s absolutely necessary. Ignoring these rules means more lives lost.”

The government says police will have powers break up illegal gatherings and fine people who flout the rules. But some expressed doubts about whether the lockdown could be enforced.

“There is no way really that the police can enforce this using powers. It has got to be because the public hugely support it,” Peter Fahy, former chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, told the BBC.

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JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia reported its biggest daily jump of 107 new COVID-19 cases to bring the country’s total to 686 on Tuesday, as some 125,000 rapid test kits have been distributed across the archipelago nation. The government also reported 55 deaths from the coronavirus.

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HELSINKI — Martti Ahtisaari, the former Finnish president, UN diplomat and recipient of the 2008 Nobel Peace Price, has tested positive with the coronavirus.

The office of the Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said Tuesday Ahtisaari, 82, was confirmed with the new coronavirus on Monday and he was doing fine “under the circumstances.”

No details were provided of how Ahtisaari became infected, but his wife was confirmed positive with coronavirus on Saturday.

Ahtisaari served as the Finnish head of state for one six-year term from 1994 until 2000.

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BANGKOK — Thailand’s prime minister says his government has agreed to declare a state of emergency to implement stricter measures to control the coronavirus outbreak.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said his Cabinet agreed Tuesday at its weekly meeting to put a one-month state of emergency into effect on Thursday. It will give the government enforcement powers not normally available to it.

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NEW DELHI — Indian authorities have cleared a demonstration site that has been continuously occupied by Muslim women since December to protest a new citizenship law that fast-tracks naturalization for some foreign migrants from neighboring countries but not Muslims.

Authorities cleared Shaheen Bagh early Tuesday amid a citywide stay-at-home order imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Indian health officials say there are 446 active cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and seven people have died from it. Thirty-six people have recovered.

More than 200 million of India’s 1.3 billion people have been on lockdown since Monday, including the metro areas of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai.

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BEIJING — Chinese authorities are lifting the tight lockdown of Hubei province that was imposed to halt the spread of the new coronavirus.

People who are cleared to do so will be able to leave the province after midnight Tuesday.

The city of Wuhan, where the outbreak started in late December, will remain locked down until April 8. China barred people from leaving or entering Wuhan starting Jan. 23 and expanded it to most of the province in succeeding days.

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CANBERRA, Australia — Prisoners regarded as vulnerable to the new coronavirus and low risk to society in Australia’s most populous state would be eligible for early parole under emergency legislation being introduced to the New South Wales Parliament.

It is unclear how many of the state’s 14,000 prisoners could walk free under the legislation proposed by New South Wales Attorney General Mark Speakman.

The emergency legislation includes a raft of reforms that Speakman said will provide public authorities with the powers they need to respond appropriately to this once-in-a-century crisis.

“The threat posed by COVID-19 is rapidly evolving, and the needs of families, businesses, workers and governments are changing every day,” Speakman said in a statement.

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A provincial education minister in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province says he has tested positive for the coronavirus, although he did not visit any hospital where infected persons are being treated.

Saeed Ghani urged people to follow the policy of social distancing to avoid the disease. He said he still had no symptoms of the infection and he has isolated himself at home.

Ghani’s appeal came after authorities in Pakistan imposed a lockdown to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

The lockdown also has been extended to Pakistan’s part of disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir after a person was tested positive there.

Roads in many parts of Pakistan were deserted as police and troops started keeping people away from streets.

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WASHINGTON — Top congressional and White House officials negotiating the $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package say they expect to reach a deal sometime Tuesday.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer say they spoke by phone with President Donald Trump as they met late into the night at the Capitol. While the sides have resolved many issues in the sweeping package, some disagreements remain.

Washington has been straining to respond to the worsening coronavirus outbreak, and tempers in Congress have flared at times. Meantime, Trump is musing openly about letting a 15-day shutdown expire next Monday.

Categories: National & International News