UK health minister tests positive for coronavirus

first_imgSix people have died in Britain from the virus, with more than 370 confirmed cases.Dorries, who helped craft the legislation to fight the bug, is the first British politician to be diagnosed with COVID-19.The Times reported that she had been in touch with hundreds of people, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson.She fell unwell on Friday while signing the document that declared coronavirus a notifiable disease, meaning companies could obtain insurance cover, said the paper, adding she was now believed to be on the road to recovery. “I would like to thank… the wonderful NHS staff who have provided me with advice and support,” she said, referring to Britain’s National Health Service.The shock news is likely to increase calls to suspend parliament, despite the government’s reluctance to do so in the middle of a health crisis.Her boss Matt Hancock, who is leading Britain’s response, tweeted that he was “sorry to hear Nadine has tested positive for coronavirus.”She has done the right thing by self isolating at home, and both NHS and PHE staff have been brilliant. We all wish her well as she recovers,” he added. PHE refers to Public Health England.”We will do all we can to keep people safe, based on the best possible science.”Finance minister Rishi Sunak will on Wednesday unveil the government’s first post-Brexit budget, with all eyes on emergency government measures to ease the economic pain from the coronavirus outbreak.He is expected to give the state-run National Health Service whatever it needs to help combat the virus and promise temporary support for businesses hit by cash flow issues.The Bank of England’s incoming chief Andrew Bailey last week said UK-based companies would need help in the face of disruption to supplies caused by the virus.Budget airlines Ryanair and EasyJet said they will cancel all Italian flights until early April after the government ordered the entire country locked down because of the virus, leaving thousands of people unable to return home.Topics : British MP Nadine Dorries, a minister in the health department, has tested positive for coronavirus, she said in a statement on Tuesday, raising concerns about whether senior government figures have been infected.”I can confirm I have tested positive for coronavirus… and have been self-isolating at home,” said the Conservative MP.Health officials are now trying to trace where she contracted the virus and who she has been in contact with, she added.last_img read more

Indonesian stocks fall to 4-year low following Wall Street crash

first_imgRead also: Another black Monday as coronavirus response upends Wall StreetThe infrastructure sector led the plunge as it nosedived 5.14 percent, followed by the basic industry that fell 3.59 percent and consumer sector that slid 3.22 percent.The rupiah, in the meantime, depreciated further on Tuesday as it fell 0.55 percent against the greenback to Rp 15,015 per dollar, breaking the psychological level of Rp 15,000 for the first time since October 2018, Bloomberg data shows.“The increasing number of COVID-19 cases globally has raised concerns among investors despite the Fed’s rate cut and injection to the financial market,” Indonesia Equity Analyst Association (AAEI) Edwin Sebayang wrote in a research note on Tuesday, projecting the index to move around 4,456 to 4,731 in the day. Read also: Selling spree drags stocks a further 4.4% as global market rout continuesWall Street suffered its biggest drop since the crash of 1987 on Monday following unprecedented steps taken by the Federal Reserve, United States lawmakers and the White House to slow the spread and blunt the economic hit of the coronavirus failed to restore order to markets. The Fed cut rates to a target range of zero to 0.25 percent and said it would expand its balance sheet by at least $700 billion in the coming weeks.The investors’ panic triggered another circuit breaker in Wall Street’s three main stock indexes for 15 minutes shortly after the open as the S&P 500 index fell 8 percent, Reuters reported.On Tuesday morning, Asian markets were also deep in the red. Tokyo slid 2.79 percent, Seoul was down 3.2 percent, Singapore slipped 0.92 percent, Shanghai lost 0.55 percent, while Hong Kong gained 0.1 percent.”Market conditions are highly volatile and there is still great potential for the index to continue weakening,” Artha Sekuritas analyst Dennies Christopher said. He said he was not advising investors to buy stocks during the continued stock market rout.  Indonesian stocks continued their steep fall on Tuesday morning, crashing to a level unseen since January 2016, following Dow Jones’ worst decline since 1987’s Black Monday.The Jakarta Composite Index (JCI) slipped 0.33 percent upon opening to 4,675.34 as foreign investors dumped Rp 5.53 billion (US$365,658) worth of Indonesian stocks. As of 10:04 a.m. in Jakarta, the main gauge widened its loss and fell 4.09 percent, moving closer to the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) circuit breaker limit of a 5 percent fall.Forty-eight stocks started the session in the red with animal feed producer PT Charoen Pokphand Indonesia recording the steepest decline of 6.86 percent, nearly hitting the auto rejection limit of a 7 percent decline in prices.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Non-coronavirus patients grow wary as hospital crisis looms

first_imgThe outbreak has escalated rapidly since then, with the country recording more than 1,500 cases and 136 deaths.Gilang and many others with underlying medical conditions are deemed the most at risk if infected by the virus as it could lead to complications requiring intensive care.There is no data available to the public on the preexisting illnesses most frequently found in deceased COVID-19 patients in Indonesia. But various findings by health authorities abroad, like in cases in China, find that coronavirus patients with underlying conditions such as cardiovascular disease have higher fatality rates.The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s morbidity and mortality report published on March 31, meanwhile, shows that 78 percent of ICU patients with COVID-19 in the US had at least one of underlying health problem — diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung disease, long-term kidney disease and a weakened immune system. As the COVID-19 pandemic grows, non-coronavirus patients are worried about getting sidelined, while fearing that visiting hospitals might expose them to the highly contagious disease.In December last year, 24-year-old freelance TVC producer Gilang Prabu was diagnosed with grade two brain tumor. It took him months on the waiting list of two cancer hospitals in Jakarta to start chemotherapy in early March, in addition to separate and more frequent general and blood check-ups.Unfortunately for him, early March also marked the announcement of the country’s first two confirmed COVID-19 cases, although experts believe local transmissions occurred way earlier. “I’m terribly afraid of going out because my immune system is in a very bad shape. If I get infected, I will certainly not survive,” Gilang told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.But it is almost impossible for him to suspend his treatment as chances are high for his cancer to develop into advanced stage three.Many hospitals in Indonesia have enforced health screenings for visitors and limited the number of visitors to ensure physical distancing. The Health Ministry has also suggested that those with mild symptoms self-isolate instead of seeking hospital treatment to avoid exhausting the country’s healthcare system.Some experts believe Indonesia’s hospitals, unevenly spread across the country, with most in Java, are not prepared for the outbreak. Data collected by the World Bank shows that in 2015, the country only had 1.2 hospital beds per 1,000 people and four doctors per 10,000 people in 2017.Health Ministry data, cited in modeling by the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) and the University of Indonesia’s (UI) public health experts, shows that there are 276,458 hospital beds in the country, 40,829 of which are owned by the 132 COVID-19 referral hospitals.As of March, there are 1,063 ICUs with isolation facilities, 157 isolation rooms with ventilators, 1,477 isolation wards, 4,155 oxygen tubes, 8,158 ventilators and 2,032 emergency rooms with isolation capability.Read also: Bappenas, UI modeling shows grim projection of COVID-19 spread in IndonesiaGilang said booking a bed in a ward at regional hospitals had always been difficult, and following the outbreak, reserving a bed in a ward and booking an appointment with specialist doctors at private hospitals had also become harder as people grew worried about their health.”Everyone may be cautious about COVID-19, but there are millions of other people with illnesses as dangerous [as COVID-19]. They are as deserving of hospital treatment [as COVID-19 patients] because they also want to continue on living, or at least to extend their life expectancy,” he said. “There are millions of us.”Indonesia has seen a growing prevalence of noninfectious chronic illnesses, according to the latest report of the five-yearly Basic Health Research (Riskesdas). The prevalence of cancer increased to 1.8 percent in 2018 from 1.4 percent in 2013, diabetes to 8.5 percent from 6.9 percent, stroke to 10.9 percent from 7 percent and chronic kidney disease to 8.5 percent from 6.9.Dina Maharani, 24, who takes her 62-year-old father to undergo hemodialysis twice a week at Soedono General Hospital in Madiun, East Java, is worried that her father might contract the virus at the hospital — now a COVID-19 referral hospital and currently treating nine positive patients, mostly from neighboring regions.She said she was now pinning her hopes on the government to impose restrictions on the upcoming Idul Fitri exodus, which will see many people returning to their hometowns, prompting fears that the virus might spread further to smaller regions such as Madiun and take a toll on their limited healthcare systems.”My father’s hospital can still handle its patients […] but God forbid, when Madiun starts seeing more cases later, the hospital will have to be selective […] Patients like my father have to be prioritized as well as they can’t live without hemodialysis,” Dina said.Public health expert at the Padjajaran University, Panji Hadisoemarto, said ensuring that non-COVID-19 patients could still receive their treatment was a “very important issue that doesn’t earn enough attention”.He said that apart from applying triage to separate patients of infectious and non-infectious diseases, flattening the curve of COVID-19 infections must be done so as to not overwhelm the healthcare system and disrupt services.”This doesn’t necessarily mean that [all] COVID-19 should be prioritized, but there can be many people who will be infected by COVID-19, some of whom will need various degrees of hospital care. COVID-19 patients will take up hospitals’ capacity,” he said.The Health Ministry’s disease control and prevention director general, Achmad Yurianto, who is also the government’s spokesperson for COVID-19 affairs, said that some hospitals, such as Jakarta’s Sulianti Saroso Infectious Diseases Hospital and Persahabatan General Hospital, have been appointed to treat COVID-19 cases only. The two hospitals are among the 132 COVID-19 referral hospitals nationwide.While the former athletes village in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, which has been turned into an emergency hospital to treat COVID-19 cases, has a capacity of 3,000 people and has so far been filled with some 300 people, according to Yurianto.Some of the referral hospitals can still treat non-COVID-19 patients, while there are also hospitals, like the state-run Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital (RSCM), which currently do not accept COVID-19 patients at all, he said.He, however, did not provide the exact number of hospitals treating COVID-19 patients nor comment on whether COVID-19 cases had overrun hospitals’ capacity.The number of COVID-19 cases needing hospital care could exceed hospitals’ capacity by April — in this case 50 percent of the beds at the 132 referral hospitals and 50 percent of the beds at class A and B hospitals — without high degree of intervention that include mass testing and mandatory physical distancing, according to the Bappenas-UI modeling.Read also: Vigilance key to avoid healthcare battle on two frontsThe outbreak has not only put a strain on hospitals but also demotivated people from donating blood. Indonesia has seen a decline in blood donors by 20 to 50 percent, while demand for blood persists, particularly for illnesses such as hemophilia, thalassemia and dengue fever, said Lilis Wijaya of the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI).” The PMI is calling people to donate their blood. There’s nothing to be afraid of because we routinely disinfect our facilities, use sterile tools and conduct health screening on every donor while providing hand sanitizer in our rooms,” she said.Topics :last_img read more

NU, Muhammadiyah advise public to skip ‘mudik’ in time of coronavirus

first_imgTwo of Indonesia’s largest mass Muslim organizations, Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, have advised people against participating in the annual Idul Fitri mudik (exodus) in May, arguing it would exacerbate the spread of COVID-19 throughout the country.Muhammadiyah chairman Haedar Nashir said that although mudik was an otherwise positive tradition under normal circumstances, returning to one’s home region was simply not advisable during the pandemic.“Religious activities have been limited in accordance with the established religious laws. So, of course, mudik, as a social activity, should also be stopped,” Haedar said in a statement on Sunday. He went on to urge Muslims to refrain from carrying out activities that might put themselves and others, including their loved ones, in danger during these challenging times.“Now is the time for us to [postpone] all kinds of activities including mudik. It may be postponed until after the disaster has abated,” Haedar said.The organization hoped the government would also issue a more stringent restriction to clear up any confusion among the public as to whether mudik was advisable during the pandemic, he said.“We wouldn’t want it to be a case where mass organizations and religious figures are instructed to advise the public against going on mudik, whereas the government refuses to [impose any restrictions],” Haedar added. Read also: COVID-19: Muhammadiyah advises Muslims to not perform mass ‘tarawih’, Idul Fitri prayersNahdlatul Ulama chairman Robikin Emhas, who also is also an expert staff member to Vice President Ma’ruf Amin, has also urged Muslims to refrain from participating in mudik this year.“The current state of emergency requires careful consideration. Therefore, let’s break the chain of COVID-19 infection by not participating in mudik during this Idul Fitri holiday,” Robikin said on March 28.He called on Muslims to remain in touch with their relatives through alternative channels of communication instead, such as video calls.“We should still keep in touch [with our family members] on Idul Fitri. We can do so online, by making video calls from our own homes,” Robikin said.Scientists have predicted that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country could rise to over 70,000 during the Idul Fitri break if holidaymakers are still allowed to travel across the country.President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo previously said the government would not ban people from leaving Jakarta, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, for Idul Fitri, instead asking community heads in the other regions to enforce quarantines and cater to the needs of the vacationers soon after their arrival.It is unclear how many people are expected to participate in the annual mudik this year. In 2019, as many as 19.5 million people across Indonesia returned to their hometowns during the exodus.Indonesia had recorded a total of 2,491 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 209 deaths as of Monday afternoon.Topics :last_img read more

Putin, Xi slam attempts to blame China for late virus response

first_imgSince emerging in China at the end of last year, the pandemic has turned the world upside down, forcing half of humanity indoors and sending the global economy into freefall.Putin and Xi also stressed the two countries’ “strategic partnership” and said Russia and China were ready to help each other during the pandemic by exchanging specialists and supplying medical equipment, protective gear and medicines, the Kremlin said.”The two leaders expressed confidence that our countries will be able to successfully overcome the pandemic-related challenges by continuing to closely cooperate,” Putin’s office said. The Kremlin said that during phone calls with Xi on Thursday, Putin praised “consistent and effective actions” of the Chinese “which allowed the epidemiological situation in the country to stabilize.”The leaders did not refer to the White House directly but stressed the “counterproductiveness” of attempts to blame China for not informing the world quickly enough about the appearance of a dangerous new infection.Xi called attempts to politicize the pandemic “detrimental to international cooperation,” according to a Chinese readout of the call reported by state-run Xinhua.Xinhua also reported that Putin had called “attempts by some people to smear China” over the virus “unacceptable.” Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Thursday rejected as counterproductive attempts to blame Beijing for delaying informing the world about the coronavirus, the Kremlin said.Putin and Xi spoke after US President Donald Trump’s administration berated China for not sharing data more quickly. Washington is also investigating the origins of the coronavirus — which has killed more than 140,000 people worldwide — saying it doesn’t rule out that the disease came from a laboratory researching bats in Wuhan, China.center_img Topics :last_img read more

‘Severe red zone’: East Java scrambles to contain COVID-19 spread at Islamic boarding school

first_imgOn Wednesday evening, officials from Magetan and the East Java COVID-19 task force were informed that 31 of 312 santri at Al Fatah pesantren in Temboro had tested positive for the disease following the rapid testing.Read also: East Java boarding school undergoes rapid COVID-19 testing after Malaysia reports imported casesKohar said his team had taken swab samples from students that were found to have contracted the disease during the rapid testing. The samples would be tested using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method to get a more reliable result.Although faster and more affordable compared to the PCR, the rapid testing is deemed less accurate in detecting COVID-19 as it only detects antibodies against the coronavirus in blood samples. He went on to say that authorities would need several days to complete surveillance and contact tracing, as the team had to examine many more students.The surveillance would focus on students living in the same housing complex where the 43 Malaysian students lived. The complex, located within the pesantren, was occupied mostly by foreign students.Al Fatah, located about 11 kilometers north of the center of Magetan, has more than 22,000 students; 2,000 of which are foreigners, mostly from Southeast Asian countries.The boarding school is also known as the base for an Islamic group known as Jamaah Tabligh, which has held events in Malaysia, India and South Sulawesi that have been linked to several COVID-19 cases in the respective regions. It is unclear whether any Al Fatah santri attended those events.Kohar said authorities expected more students to test positive as examination and contact tracing was still under way.Read also: In shadow of coronavirus, Muslims face a Ramadan like never beforeMagetan Regent Suprawoto told The Jakarta Post on Thursday that the Malaysian government had urged the remaining Malaysian students to return home, although they initially wanted to stay and spend Ramadan in the village.Officials from the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta were preparing the necessary documents so the students could return to their home country as soon as possible, he went on to say.“However, we want those who tested positive during the rapid testing to stay and undergo treatment here in Magetan, while waiting for their PCR test result,” said Suprawoto.East Java has recorded 664 COVID-19 cases as of Thursday, with 60 fatalities and 112 recoveries. Fourteen of the confirmed cases were found in Magetan. (kuk)Topics : More people tested positive during COVID-19 rapid testing conducted at a pesantren (Islamic boarding school) in Temboro village, Magetan regency, East Java, which the provincial task force has declared a red zone.Authorities declared the village a red zone after 43 santri (students of an Islamic boarding school) tested positive for COVID-19 in Malaysia. They also put the village under quarantine, restricting people from entering and leaving the village.“I had to wear full personal protective equipment upon briefing the santri and other residents in the pesantren, because I know the area is a severe red zone with high virus transmission,” said Kohar Hari Santoso, an official from the East Java COVID-19 task force.last_img read more

Indonesia to carry out large-scale trials of blood plasma therapy for COVID-19 patients

first_imgPresident also added that trials on stem cells to endogenously treat COVID-19 patients with severe pneumonia would also be done alongside the blood plasma trials.He also lauded the advancement in genome sequencing by Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology’s laboratory as part of the initial stage for vaccine development.“I urge all sectors to fully support these research and innovation programs. Licensing should be done faster and integrated,” he said.A team of researchers from Eijkman Institute and Pharmaceutical holding company PT Bio Farma, alongside a number of international partners, has been working to develop convalescent plasma that contains antibodies at Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital.  Topics : Indonesia is gearing up for a large-scale trial on convalescent plasma treatment for COVID-19 patients amid a global rally to find a cure for the fast-spreading novel coronavirus, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has said.The blood plasma, extracted from recovered patients, would be donated to severely ill COVID-19 patients to give their immune systems a boost. Researchers have claimed the method effective in treating COVID-19 patients since the convalescent plasma from the novel coronavirus survivors produced antibodies that could combat the virus.“I have seen significant progress in blood plasma treatment trials. The treatment would be clinically tested within a large scale in several hospitals,” President Jokowi said in a virtual limited meeting on Monday.center_img Doctors have been using convalescent plasma transfusions to help patients fight diseases since the 1918 Spanish Flu and recently the procedures also worked on patients with SARS, Ebola, and H1N1. The Jakarta administration also plans to provide hospitals with supplies of the plasma in the capital city, with the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) in charge of distribution. Researchers have urged COVID-19 survivors who are symptom free for 28 days to donate their blood plasma to help the those who are severely ill. (trn)last_img read more

Government to delay dividend collection from SOEs as pandemic hits businesses

first_imgThe government expects this year’s dividend collection from SOEs to reach Rp 43.8 trillion, revised down from Rp 49 trillion eyed initially, as the COVID-19 pandemic is projected to hit business activity. As of March, state-owned banks had paid almost Rp 24 trillion in dividends to the government, according to Finance Ministry data.Read also: Government issues regulation on economic recovery program, focuses on SOEs, MSMEsThe SOEs rescue plan is part of the government’s national economic recovery program worth around Rp 318 trillion (US$21.28 billion), according to a Finance Ministry document presented in a meeting with lawmakers recently, a copy of which was obtained by The Jakarta Post. More than Rp 152 trillion of the funds has been allocated to the SOEs rescue plan.However, Febrio said the government would not provide the support for all SOEs but only to those with financial and supply-demand problems caused by the pandemic. “We should be careful as the government will not help all of the ailing SOEs,” he said.The eligible SOEs, Febrio added, should play a strategic role for the public, have a special assignment from the government or have significant exposure to the country’s financial system.Read also: State-owned enterprises scramble to repay debts in timeThe presentation material revealed that national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia would receive a government investment for working capital worth Rp 8.5 trillion, steelmaker PT Krakatau Steel will get Rp 3 trillion and the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) Rp 13 trillion.Around Rp 25 trillion will be channeled through state capital injection for SOEs such as electricity company PLN and construction company PT Hutama Karya as well as Rp 94.23 trillion in the form of accelerated compensation payments to PLN and energy giant Pertamina.Febrio declined to provide details or confirm how much money the government would disburse to the said SOEs, saying the policy would need first to be approved by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in a Cabinet meeting.Topics : The government is finalizing a plan to delay dividend collection from state-owned enterprises (SOEs), among other measures, to rescue businesses severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, a top official has said.The Finance Ministry’s fiscal policy agency (BKF) head Febrio Kacaribu said the government would lend a hand to SOEs through various measures, adding that the government would finalize the measures in a Cabinet meeting.“The government will support [the SOEs] by delaying dividend collection, injecting state capital, providing compensation payments and working capital investment, among other things,” Febrio told reporters during a streamed news conference on Wednesday. “Other forms of support include bill repayment, covering payments for national strategic projects and providing loan guarantees.”last_img read more

‘Selfish and proud,’ declare US anti-lockdown protesters

first_imgA few hundred people demonstrated Friday against the coronavirus lockdown in the US state of Pennsylvania, an AFP reporter said, with many carrying signs declaring themselves “Selfish and proud”. The demonstration in the state capital Harrisburg was held despite plans already being in place for an initial easing of restrictions starting May 22 in most of the state.Few of the demonstrators wore masks or respected social distancing. Many were Trump supporters, with several calling for his re-election in November.  Those who do not wear masks are regularly called “selfish” in the US, where the debate over stay-at-home orders has become highly politicized.  So far Pennsylvania, which says it has seen more than 60,000 infections and 4,300 deaths from COVID-19, has been less afflicted by the pandemic than the neighbouring states of New York and New Jersey.”I’ve been affected. My wife has been affected. My friends have been affected. Everybody in Pennsylvania has been affected by this lockdown,” said Matthew Bellis, one of the protest leaders.”I went four to six weeks without any income for my own bills. And now I signed up for the mortgage protection stuff, but now my mortgage company is telling me they’re giving me a foreclosure notice … I don’t know what this is about,” said demonstrator Amy Graff.Anti-lockdown demonstrations have increased in the US in the last month, especially in the states most contested for the presidential election.They have been encouraged by President Donald Trump, who wants to revive the economy quickly. Pennsylvania is one of these states, along with Michigan and Wisconsin.Topics :last_img read more

Reopening of Saint Peter’s marks first step for Italy’s Catholics

first_imgMost, however, opened shortly thereafter, with entry reserved for prayer only.”I share the joy of those communities who can finally reunite as liturgical assemblies, a sign of hope for all society,” Francis said on Sunday during his live-streamed prayer. Italy’s lockdown not only extinguished most business activity in the country, but radically disrupted Italians’ personal lives, including attending mass.Francis has been livestreaming mass from a chapel at his residence inside the Vatican City. Saint Peter’s Basilica throws its doors open to visitors on Monday, marking a relative return to normality at the Vatican and beyond in Italy, where most business activity is set to resume.Public masses also resume throughout the predominantly Catholic country after a two-month hiatus, while restaurants, bars, cafes, shops and hairdressers, among other businesses, are all expected to reopen.In the face of much opposition, including from Pope Francis, churches in Rome were shuttered at the beginning of the coronavirus emergency in early March. The Argentine pontiff is not yet expected to lead any public religious ceremonies either in the basilica, which can accommodate 60,000 people, or in Saint Peter’s Square, as the Vatican seeks to avoid crowds.Francis will, however, celebrate a private mass on Monday, broadcast by video, in front of the tomb of John Paul II, on the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Polish-born pontiff.In Milan, the Duomo cathedral will conduct mass at 10:30 GMT. On Friday, the cathedral said it had introduced gadgets worn around the neck that beep softly, flash and vibrate if visitors approach too closely to one another. Disinfection In preparation for the reopening of Saint Peter’s, the largest Catholic church in the world was disinfected on Friday, with workers in full protective suits and masks spraying down the surface of the 23,000-square meter site.The Vatican State, an independent enclave in the heart of Rome, has applied the same anti-virus measures as Italy, where the official death toll from the virus stands at nearly 32,000.The basilica, as well as three other papal basilicas, is expected to follow a recommendation from Italy’s interior ministry limiting attendance at religious celebrations in enclosed places of worship to 200 people.Across Italy’s tens of thousands of churches, Catholics will be able to attend not only masses but also weddings and funerals, provided they abide by a series of measures, including wearing masks and sitting or standing well spaced apart.More than 800,000 commercial activities which have been under lockdown since Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte imposed restrictions on March 9 should be able to reopen on Monday, said Confcommercio, Italy’s largest business association. Topics :last_img read more