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Prince Charles self-isolating after testing positive for Covid-19

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Housebuilders Bellway and Persimmon are shutting construction sites despite being allowed to stay open amid the lockdown to help protect workers from coronavirus.

Newcastle-headquartered Bellway said it was closing its 200 building sites by the end of Friday, with site managers only allowed onto developments to maintain security or to hand over keys to buyers.

Charles Church builder Persimmon confirmed it is also starting an “orderly shutdown” of its construction sites.

It said it would continue with essential work only, making partly-built homes safe, where otherwise customers could be left in a vulnerable position.

“We weren’t convinced we could police the social distancing or keep workers two metres apart at sites,” a statement said.

Bellway has already shut its sales offices and Persimmon is closing its sales network from Thursday, offering telephone and online-only customer support.

Bellway chief executive Jason Honeyman said the decision to shut its construction sites in spite of being exempt from the Government-imposed lockdown came as a result of fears for worker safety.

He said: “We weren’t convinced we could police the social distancing or keep workers two metres apart at sites.

“There’s always some people who ignore it.”



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Coronavirus live updates: Trump projects at least 100,000 deaths in U.S.; China begins counting asymptomatic cases

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From the coronavirus epicenter of Wuhan comes a heartwarming story of triumph over adversity, of love and loss. But this tale — which is ricocheting around Chinese social media — is not a human story but a feline one.

It centers on Lele, a two-year-old British shorthair cat who lived with a big family in Wuhan and who happened to be pregnant during the epidemic.

Seven members of one family became infected with the coronavirus and, one by one, were hospitalized. But the family members were reluctant to ask a neighbor to look after Lele, worried about exposing them to risk of infection.

So, they set out two big bags of cat food, and a trough of water for her. They also built her a comfy nest in which to have her babies.

Some 40 days later, the matriarch of the house came home. She found Lele, much thinner but still alive. Also alive: four healthy kittens. She called her husband, still in hospital, and told him the kittens were big enough to run now.

“When a new life was born, I felt there’s hope, I haven’t been discharged at the time [when my wife called me], they were weaned when I came back,” the man told local website Pear Video. The couple wasn’t named, but the man posted on China’s version of TikTok under the name “Wuhan Cat Strong.”

There was still some cat food left on the floor, but Lele had clearly had a hankering for something a little more fresh. The fish tank in the apartment had been cleared of its inhabitants.

The tale lit up China’s Internet, with commenters on Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, noting the fishes’ sacrifice.

“The fish didn’t get coronavirus but still died because of it,” said one person using the screen name of Mr. Lemon. Another said this was a welcome tale of survival — by the cats, if not the fish: “Compared with these reports of deaths, this is touching.”



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Coronavirus Live Updates: Grim Models Project High U.S. Toll

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When María José Rodríguez heard on local television that her town in northeastern Spain would be locked down within hours, she knew she had to leave or risk losing her family’s business.

She grabbed a bag of groceries, a fresh change of clothes and her car keys, said goodbye to her husband and drove to her son’s apartment in a nearby village, above the family bakery. For more than two weeks, she has been locked out of the town, Igualada. Her husband has been locked in, and they have no way of knowing how long it will go on.

“Had I not moved out to keep running the bakery, we would have had to close it,” Ms. Rodríguez, 63, said at her shop in the village of La Pobla de Claramunt. “But we’ll be fine, and I call my husband 50 times a day. At the very least.”

Many European countries have imposed various forms of lockdowns to contain the epidemic, but Igualada, an industrial town 30 miles northwest of Barcelona, stands out. Even as Spain has imposed a nationwide lockdown, it has cut Igualada off from the rest of the country — a lockdown within a lockdown.

After its hospital was identified as a hub of a regional outbreak that has reached nearly 20,000 coronavirus infections and more than 2,500 deaths, officials sealed off Igualada and three smaller neighboring towns, at midnight on March 12, stranding about 65,000 people.

Police forces guard every access point, allowing only essential workers to enter and leave. The barriers have divided families like Ms. Rodríguez’s, put people out of work and thrown households into uncertainty for weeks, if not more.

“We are in a cage, and we are learning how to stop trying to control everything,” said Gemma Sabaté, a 48-year-old physical therapist stranded there.

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Boy, 13, dies in London after testing positive for coronavirus | World news

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A 13-year-old boy with no apparent underlying health conditions has died after testing positive for coronavirus, his family has said.

Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab from Brixton, south London, died in hospital in the early hours of Monday. He had tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday, a day after he was admitted to King’s College hospital, his family said.

Mark Stephenson, a family friend, said the boy’s mother and six siblings are now awaiting the results of a postmortem.

A spokesman for King’s College hospital NHS foundation trust said: “Sadly, a 13-year old boy who tested positive for Covid-19 has passed away, and our thoughts and condolences are with the family at this time.

“The death has been referred to the coroner and no further comment will be made.”

Following the release of the latest official figures, a 19-year-old was believed to be England’s youngest victim to have died in hospital with no existing medical issues.


Ismail’s family said they were “beyond devastated” by his death, in a statement released through Stephenson.

“Ismail started showing symptoms and had difficulties breathing and was admitted to King’s College hospital,” the family said.

“He was put on a ventilator and then put into an induced coma but sadly died yesterday morning. To our knowledge he had no underlying health conditions. We are beyond devastated.”

Stephenson, college director at the Madinah College where Ismail’s sister works, has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for funeral costs. The page says: “Sadly he died without any family members close by due to the highly infectious nature of Covid-19.”

By Tuesday evening more than £28,000 had been raised, far exceeding the £4,000 target.

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