While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 31

G-20 trade ministers back the importance of coordinated trade measures amid coronavirus crisis

The Group of 20 trade ministers met in an emergency video conference on Monday night and backed the importance of coordinated trade and investment measures to counter the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on global demand and supply.

They also affirmed their commitment to restore confidence and continuity of trade by facilitating the flow of goods and services and reducing the risk and disruption to global health supply chains.

Singapore was invited by Saudi Arabia, which holds the 2020 G20 presidency, to participate in the video conference that was also attended by members such as Australia, China, the European Union, Japan, Russia, Britain and the United States, as well as representatives from global organisations.

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said: “The consensus by G20 members to free and open trade during this critical time is a significant boost in our global fight against Covid-19.


France sees worst daily death toll as army ferries critical coronavirus patients

France recorded its worst daily coronavirus death toll on Monday, exceeding 3,000 for the first time, and army helicopters transported critical patients from the east to hospitals overseas as the country battled to free up space in life-support units.

The Grand Est region the first in France to be overwhelmed by a wave of infections that has rapidly moved west to engulf the greater Paris region, where hospitals are desperately adding intensive care beds to cope with the influx.

The number of coronavirus deaths since March 1 climbed by 16% to 3,024, while the number of intensive care cases rose more than 10% to 5,107, rising after two days of falls.


WHO says Italy’s epidemic should stabilise soon, but vigilance needed

Lockdowns and stringent measures in place in Italy for the past two weeks should lead soon to a stabilisation in its coronavirus epidemic, but vigilant follow-up will be required, a senior official of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.

Italy has registered more deaths than anywhere else in the world and accounts for more than a third of all global fatalities from the virus.

In Wuhan, the Chinese city where the virus emerged in December and which is now reopening after two months of lockdown, authorities have maintained physical distancing measures and continue to search for cases, Dr Mike Ryan, WHO’s top emergencies expert, said.


Prince Harry and wife Meghan officially bid farewell to royal roles

Prince Harry and his American wife Meghan posted their last message as working members of Britain’s royal family on Monday before officially embarking on new careers without their “Royal Highness” styles.

“While you may not see us here, the work continues,” the couple said in the last message to their more than 11 million followers on their sussexroyal Instagram page.

“We look forward to reconnecting with you soon. You’ve been great! Until then, please take good care of yourselves, and of one another.”


There will be no World’s Best Restaurant this year

 On Monday, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards entirely abandoned its plans for rankings for 2020, and pledged instead to focus on efforts to help the hospitality industry to face the challenge of coronavirus.

The awards ceremony, scheduled for June 2, in Antwerp, Belgium, will be postponed until next year and the votes for world’s best restaurant, although already completed, will not be announced, even online.

“It was a difficult decision but it doesn’t seem the right time when the hospitality and restaurant sectors are suffering,” said organizer Will Drew, director of content for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants organisation, by phone.


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