News Headlines - 20 March 2020

Queen tells UK to 'focus on the common goal' in coronavirus message | The Guardian

The Queen has urged the country to unite and said every individual has an important role to play in the coming days and months to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
She said the UK is “entering a period of great concern and uncertainty”, but added that the country’s “history has been forged by people and communities coming together to work as one”.
Her message to the nation came as the total number of people who died from coronavirus rose to 137 on Wednesday afternoon. Around four in 10 coronavirus-related deaths in the UK so far have been in London.

Trump to partially close U.S.-Mexico border - POLITICO

President Donald Trump announced Friday that the U.S. and Mexico have agreed to temporarily close the border to nonessential travel to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
U.S. and Mexican officials have been in talks this week over how to work together in responding to the global pandemic while ensuring that bilateral trade and essential travel are not disrupted at the border. It’s a similar move to the U.S. and Canada’s decision on Wednesday to impose travel restrictions at the northern U.S. border... The U.S.' agreement with Mexico and Canada to restrict nonessential travel will go into effect on Saturday.

Malaysia travel ban, virus pushes Singapore closer to first recession in two decades - Reuters

Singapore is edging towards its first full-year recession in nearly two decades as neighboring Malaysia’s travel ban cuts off a key source of labor and the coronavirus pandemic hits the economy, firming the case for the central bank to loosen policy.
The Southeast Asian nation has been widely praised for its response to the outbreak, but spiking cases elsewhere are adding pressure on the small and open economy. It has already signalled a chance of a recession this year and cut its growth forecasts.

Ceremonies to declare Fumihito crown prince cut back over virus : The Asahi Shimbun

Banquets planned as part of a ceremony to formally declare Prince Fumihito’s elevation to the role of crown prince will be cut and the guest list drastically scaled down at the declaration ritual due to the spread of the new coronavirus.
The government’s committee for the imperial ceremonies on March 18 announced the change to prevent the further spread of the infectious disease.
The Rikkoshi-no-Rei series of ceremonies are scheduled to be held in April.
The committee decided to cancel the Kyuchu Kyoen-no-Gi, a stand-up style banquet, scheduled to be held twice at the Imperial Palace on April 21.

Olympic Flame Gets Muted Welcome In Japan As 2020 Tokyo Games Doubts Grow 

The Olympic flame arrived in Japan to a scaled-down welcoming ceremony Friday as doubts grew over whether the Tokyo Games will go ahead on schedule with the coronavirus pandemic causing chaos around the world... Reflecting the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, the flame's arrival at Matsushima Air Base in Japan's north was a muted affair after organisers were forced to cancel plans to invite 200 schoolchildren... The nationwide torch relay begins on March 26, starting from the J-Village sports complex in Fukushima that was used as a base for workers during the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.
But organisers have been forced to scale back the relay, closing daily ceremonies to the public and urging spectators to "avoid forming crowds" along the route.







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