Vladimir Putin's army in sexism storm after holding beauty pageants to celebrate International Women's Day

VLADIMIR Putin’s military is under fire for holding “ridiculous” beauty contests to commemorate International Women’s Day.

One outdated parade run by the Russian Black Sea fleet marks the achievements of female naval personnel “of the weaker sex”.

Another pageant called ‘Beauty of the Airborne Forces’ is staged by the country’s hardcore paratroopers in Tula.

“In the course of the contest girls will take part in several trials in which they will demonstrate their beauty, aesthetic excellence, intelligence, moral and spiritual properties,” states the official description.

“Girls will show their skills in cooking and serving in a Magic Chef contest,” it reveals.

Female paratroopers are also put through a ‘couturier contest’ in which they "demonstrate their sewing skills."



The Russian missile forces – in charge of the country’s nuclear arsenal –  also have a beauty contest called 'Makeup Under Camouflage.'

Women participants must “show their skills and experience in "tactical, special, technical, and firing” as well as “physical training”.

In addition, “special attention is paid to cooking”, according to the rules.

The female troops “should show their talents and make at least three low-calorie meals with a basic set of products”.

Police forces around Russia are also holding beauty contests ahead of or on March 8 , one of the most important public holidays in Russia's calendar.



A police spokesperson defended the event saying: “The girls were awarded points for well-aimed hits from a Makarov pistol, performing strength exercises and methods of detention.

“All these are part of the police officer’s profession.

“In order to make it interesting for the participants to compete, the organisers came up with various other creative tasks.”

Elsewhere the annual 'Omsk Police Lady' contest is underway in Siberia.

There participants were required to pose in uniform ahead of voting to find the most glamorous cop.



In another such pageant, Anna Khramtsova beat 1,000-plus entrants to win a 'Russian National Guard' contest, a force which reports directly to Kremlin strongman Putin.

“I find it all incredibly ridiculous and absurd,” she later said.

“Even women who are paid to defend our country and who professionally use weapons must ‘be beautiful’ and prove to someone that they can sew and make low carb meals.

“Male service personnel do not have this kind of contest. This is nothing but sexism.”

She said: “I do get to hear those old jokes about blondes in service. But I ignore them – and just serve stylishly.”

She is from a military and law enforcement family, with her father in the army and police for 30 years and her mother also in uniform.

“I am proud to continue the dynasty,” said Anna, from Yekaterinburg, revealing she had previously served in the police and has a law degree.

Source: Read Full Article

Five more coronavirus cases are confirmed in Britain

Another 42 coronavirus cases are confirmed in Britain bringing the total number of infections to 206 in the biggest daily increase yet – as leading microbiologist warns the outbreak could peak at Easter

  • Lanarkshire has seen 2 new cases while Lothian, Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Grampian have all seen 1 
  • The grandfather died at Milton Keynes Hospital after he was admitted on March 3 with suspected pneumonia 
  • Cause of death is believed to be that he took off his oxygen mask and asphyxiated in Milton Keynes Hospital
  • The man was left ‘coughing excessively’ on a shared ward as patients warned hospital workers to run the test 
  • Elderly should be prepared for ‘social distancing’ policies, which will announcement by ministers next week
  • Advice include elderly staying at home which the Department of Health warned could leave people ‘cut off’ 

Another 42 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Britain, bringing the total number of infections to 206.

It comes as an expert microbiologist warned the deadly coronavirus outbreak could peak at Easter and last for six months – with millions set to be infected. 

Two people have died from coronavirus in Britain so far, a grandfather in his 80s in Milton Keynes and a woman in her 70s in Reading as 21,460 Britons rush to be tested.

The family of the male victim who died yesterday have hit out at the hospital for not testing and isolating him soon enough.

He was left ‘coughing excessively’ on a ward for six hours leaving family fearing he could have passed on the infection to others.

The man died at Milton Keynes Hospital after he was admitted on March 3 with suspected pneumonia having recently returned from a Caribbean cruise where he had visited several countries. His cause of death is believed to be asphyxiation after he took off his oxygen mask. 

Scotland has confirmed five more cases of coronavirus with two new cases in Lanarkshire while Lothian, Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Grampian have an extra one.

Another 42 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Britain, bringing the total number of infections up to 206. Pictured: A graph shows the number of tests (blue), number of positive results (red) and the drastic increase in the amount of coronavirus tests on worried Britons (green)

Two Liverpool fans can be seen wearing face masks in the stands ahead of the Premier League match at Anfield against Bournemouth today

A bouncer at a bar in London’s The Shard checked the temperature of guests last night as they entered amid the coronavirus outbreak panic

Friday night revellers waited at the entrance before going up to the bar and restaurant area after having the test. Pictured: the bouncer holds the equipment up to one woman’s forehead 

The device is equipped with an infrared sensor that can quickly measure surface temperatures of the skin to determine if someone is unwell

Guests wait in the entrance to the swanky bar in London Bridge that is based in The Shard building as bouncers take their temperature

Microbiologist Peter Piot – known as the ‘Mick Jagger of microbiology’ – said the coronavirus threat has not been overhyped and that there are probably already a few thousand people in the UK infected, as cases appear to roughly double each week.

It comes as elderly people are to be told to stay at home under new government guidelines to tackle the outbreak of the virus as health officials urge Britons to check in on their relatives. 

The elderly should be prepared for ‘social distancing’ policies, which are to be announcement by ministers next week, government sources said. 

Relatives of the latest victim were told he had the disease – which has a mortality rate of 15 per cent in those over 80 – just an hour before he died on Thursday evening.

The man was left ‘coughing excessively’ on a shared ward for six hours as patients warned hospital workers to check him for the deadly virus.

One of the man’s family members, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Guardian: ‘Our concern is that the hospital were too slow to detect that our relative had symptoms similar to those of coronavirus and too slow to move him from a ward into isolation, and that that may have put a lot of people – fellow patients on the ward, staff who were looking after him and visitors who came to see him – at risk of contracting the virus from him.

‘We think they should have put him into isolation right away, as soon as he arrived, given his symptoms.’

They added: ‘Despite that, he was put on a ward with lots of other sick patients for six or seven hours before he was moved into isolation.’

He is the second person who died from the virus on British soil so far as experts warn the killer virus can be caught ‘from anyone, anywhere, any time.’

A woman in her 70s was the first UK victim after being diagnosed with coronavirus while at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. 

The woman – who had ‘underlying health conditions’ – tested positive for the killer infection on Wednesday before succumbing to the illness the following day. 

England’s deputy chief medical officer Jennie Harries told The BBC that Britain is ‘teetering on the edge’ of staying on top of coronavirus spreading.

A man is seen wearing a protective face mask at Waterloo Station, London. There have been two deaths from coronavirus in Britain so far

The family of the grandfather in his 80s who died of coronavirus yesterday – the UK’s second fatality – fear he could have passed on the infection after he was left ‘coughing excessively’ on a ward at Milton Keynes Hospital (pictured) for six hours

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Managing Director of the European Stability Mechanism Klaus Regling bump fists instead of shake hands in Athens, Greece

It comes as elderly people are to be told to stay at home under new government guidelines to tackle the outbreak of the virus as health officials urge Britons to check in on their relatives. Pictured: Liverpool fans wear face masks during the Premier League match against Bournemouth today

The elderly should be prepared for ‘social distancing’ policies, which are to be announcement by ministers next week, government sources said. Pictured: Mask-clad fans in the stands at Anfield today

New advice from officials will include the elderly staying at home and avoiding crowded areas which the Department of Health warned could leave people ‘cut off’. 

Iran’s coronavirus death toll rises by 21 to reach 145 including second politician to die from the infection

By Chris Pleasance for MailOnline and Harry Howard for MailOnline

The number of deaths caused by coronavirus infections in Iran rose by 21 over the past 24 hours to reach 145 on Saturday, a health ministry official said.

The number of people testing positive for the virus increased by more than 1,000 over the past 24 hours, reaching 5,823 on Saturday, he said in a televised briefing.

The number of deaths caused by coronavirus infections in Iran rose by 21 over the past 24 hours to reach 145 on Saturday, a health ministry official said. Pictured: A firefighter disinfects a shopping center to help prevent the spread of the virus in northern Tehran

The figure comes after Iranian authorities warned yesterday they may use ‘force’ to limit travel between cities in the hope of containing the virus.

Speaking at a news conference, health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour did not elaborate on the threat to use force, but acknowledged the virus now was in all of Iran’s 31 provinces.

The threat may be to stop people from using closed schools and universities as an excuse to go to the Caspian Sea and other Iranian vacation spots.

The number of people testing positive for the virus increased by more than 1,000 over the past 24 hours, reaching 5,823 on Saturday, he said in a televised briefing 

And in another sign coronavirus is spreading within state institutions, it was announced that female lawmaker Fatemah Rahbar, an MP, had died.

Her death came after the reported death of Mohammad Mirmohammadi, a member of the Expediency Council.

The council exists to resolve disputes between parliament and the Guardian Council, a governmental body that vets electoral candidates among other duties.

Iran’s deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, and another member of parliament, Mahmoud Sadeghi, also said they have contracted the virus.

It comes as members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard wore gas masks to spray down streets and hospitals with disinfectant. 

Guidelines also state that households should decide how their food will be delivered in case they have to self-isolate.

The deputy chief medical officer, Jenny Harries, said that discussions about how to help older people are ongoing.

She told Sky News: ‘One of the important parts of that is not just about the recommendation or not to isolate, but actually ensuring that they have all of the supplies and care that they need.’

Yesterday, two baggage handlers at London Heathrow tested positive for the killer infection.

Fears have been raised the virus could have passed onto passengers’ luggage, where it could survive for up to three days.

Talking about the UK’s second fatality, a source told The Sun: ‘He was coughing excessively. Another patient complained to a nurse that they should be checking him for coronavirus.

‘The nurse told him not to worry about it and that he was being dealt with.’

Senior lecturer at the University of Exeter Dr Bharat Pankhankia yesterday warned that coronavirus could be caught anywhere, making preventative measures even more vital.

Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in the world and tens of thousands of travellers pass through the airport every day.

Science minister Amanda Solloway told The Daily Telegraph that Britons should keep in touch with their elderly friends and neighbours as they could be feeling isolated and ‘cut off’ from others. 

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said there may reach a point where the elderly would be told to stay indoors and keep away from busy areas, but this is not yet necessary.

Drastic measures are expected to be introduced as the Government continues with its four-stage plan to deal with a mass outbreak of the bug as the number of confirmed cases rockets across the country. 

Such measures could also include banning concerts and closing schools in a bid to stop the killer disease exploding across the country. 

British passengers are stuck on board a coronavirus-hit cruise ship off the coast of California have pleaded for them to be evacuated before they become seriously ill.

So far, 21 people on the Grand Princess have tested positive for Covid-19 – just under half of all those who have been tested – although nineteen of those diagnosed are crew members.

And California’s Governor, Gavin Newsom, has refused the liner permission to dock over fears the virus could not be contained.

The Government earlier revealed its four-stage plan earlier this week that includes a raft of socially and economically costly contingency moves as a last resort.   

The 28-page ‘action plan’ was agreed at the first emergency Cobra meeting to be chaired by the PM on Monday in which it was explained there are four stages – contain, delay, research and mitigate – to dealing with the virus.

Families of British passengers stuck on board a coronavirus-hit cruise ship off the coast of California have pleaded for them to be evacuated. Pictured: The Grand Princess cruise ship passes the Golden Gate Bridge as it arrives from Hawaii

Passengers Neil and Victoria Hanlon from Bridgwater in Somerset, have said they are ‘fed up just sitting and lying around and getting no exercise’ while politicians remain at a standstill over how to deal with the boat

So far, 21 people on the Grand Princess have tested positive for Covid-19 – just under half of all those who have been tested – although nineteen of those diagnosed are crew members. Pictured: An interior view of the cruise ship’s lobby on March 5

 A woman wears a protective face mask on Oxford Street in central London as fears over the spread of deadly coronavirus escalate

British Captain John Harry Smith was on Thursday at the helm of the liner while its passengers and crew waited to discover if they had been infected

In other developments: 

  • Iranian authorities warned Friday they may use ‘force’ to limit travel between cities as the virus has killed 124 people amid 4,747 confirmed cases in the Islamic Republic
  • Doctor spearheading the search for a coronavirus vaccine said it is the most frightening thing he has ever encountered and far more deadly than flu – as he revealed fighting it will be like a war
  • Facebook closed its London office for deep cleaning after a Singapore-based employee who had visited tested positive
  • Scottish Government official Professor June Andrew said a coronavirus pandemic would be ‘quite useful’ as it would take out hospital bed blockers, even though it was a ‘horrific’ thing to say
  • Dr Mike Ryan, from the World Health Organisation (WHO), said it was ‘a false hope’ that coronavirus would disappear in the summer like flu
  • A 43-year-old British businessman was confirmed with coronavirus in Thailand, and the Vatican confirmed its first case
  • A church in Devon closed after a parishioner was diagnosed with coronavirus, while the Bhaktivedanta Manor Hare Krishna temple, near Watford, closed its doors after a member tested positive
  • Yesterday, two baggage handlers at London Heathrow tested positive for the killer infection
  • Globally, the number of coronavirus cases has passed 100,000, including five new confirmed cases in Ireland, bringing the state’s total to 18. There have been 3,400 deaths worldwide
  • The Royal College of Emergency Medicine cancelled its spring conference on continuing professional development in Bournemouth at the end of March

Workers disinfect the ground around the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque, in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Beauty queens put on protective face masks during a rehearsal for transgender beauty competition Miss International Queen 2020 in Thailand

Premier League considers banning over 70s from attending football matches due to fears over coronavirus 

The Premier League is considering banning over 70s at its matches over coronavirus fears – as the outbreak continues to have an impact on the sporting schedule.

Sports authorities and broadcasters will meet on Monday to discuss contingency plans to cope with the killer disease as the number of people who have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK hits 206.

Sports authorities and broadcasters will meet on Monday to discuss contingency plans to cope with the killer disease (pictured the Emirates Stadium)

Measures expected to be discussed at the meeting include playing fixtures behind closed doors – as has been done in other European leagues like Italy and Morocco – or postponing matches until after the virus has peaked. 

Sky News’ sports correspondent Martha Kelner also revealed other ideas. ‘The league is also considering other possible contingency plans,’ she said.

‘That may include advising against, or even a possible ban, on over 70s – the demographic considered to be at highest risk from the spread of coronavirus – coming inside stadiums.’  

Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty told MPs on Thursday: ‘We are now basically, mainly in delay, but we are maintaining some elements of contain, we are mainly in the second stage at this point.’

Should the Government press ahead with its plans and further mitigate the spread of the virus stricter measures could be introduced.  

The UK Government’s four stages are a condensed version of the European Union’s five scenario mode – which documents the likely progress of an outbreak, reports to The Daily Telegraph.

Britain is currently on around a scenario two, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Under this scenario there are an increasing number of cases and more widespread reports of localised human-to-human transmission in country and the goal is to contain contain and slow down transmission of the infection to reduce the burden on the healthcare system and other sectors.

But should we move to a scenario three, as we are expected to, localised outbreaks of the virus will start to merge across the UK, becoming indistinct. And there will be sustained human-to-human transmission and pressure on health systems. 

The goal under this scenario would be on mitigation and decreasing the burden on healthcare systems and protect populations at highest risk – including adopting measures such as social distancing. 

Boris Johnson earlier this week made clear that ‘draconian’ coronavirus measures such as closing schools and cancelling sports events are on the table – but had stressed they are not needed yet. 

France has already adopted certain social distancing measures. It last week cancelled all public ‘gatherings of more than 5,000 people’ in closed spaces, as it sought to curb the spread of coronavirus amid a surge of cases in the country.

In France on Friday, where there are 613 confirmed cases and nine people have died, President Emmanuel Macron urged people to limit visits to the elderly. 

Coronavirus outbreak could peak in the UK at Easter and last for another six months

By Amelia Wynne for MailOnline

Britain’s deadly coronavirus outbreak could peak at Easter and last for six months – with millions set to be infected.

A big increase in British diagnoses is expected as the virus is now being transmitted in the community and testing is being ramped up.

Expert Peter Piot – known as the ‘Mick Jagger of microbiology’ – says that the threat has not been overhyped and that there are probably already a few thousand people in the UK infected, as cases appear to roughly double each week.

Speaking to The Times he said that we will reach a peak of the epidemic somewhere around Easter.

It comes as two people have died from the virus – which has a mortality rate of 15 per cent in those over 80 – on British soil so far, both of whom were elderly.

Even once it reaches its peak, coronavirus chaos could last for another six months – infecting millions of people as the UK is ravaged by the disease.

Dr Piot added: ‘If it goes down in April or May it could come back again in November,’ adding that there is currently no vaccine and that ‘medieval ways of containment’ are being used so far.

The expert said that due to the likeliness the illness will return next winter it is vital to plough resources into making a vaccine.

His comments come as Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government, warned Britain was at the start of an outbreak. 

Figures from the World Health Organization and Chinese scientists revealed the elderly and infirm have also been found to more at risk of coronavirus, with 10.5 per cent of heart disease patients expected to die if they catch the deadly virus.

They also revealed that men are 65 per cent more likely than women to die from coronavirus, according to statistics. 

Some experts have put the higher risk among men down to higher smoking and drinking rates – both habits weaken the immune system, making people more likely to get ill. 

Death rates among people with diabetes – of which there are four million in the UK and 34m in the US – are expected to be around 7.3 per cent, while six per cent of patients who have high blood pressure might die if infected.  

Some 5.6 per cent of cancer sufferers infected with the coronavirus would be expected to die along with 6.3 per cent of people with long-term lung diseases. 

In the US, at least 233 people have now been confirmed to have the coronavirus, and 12 have died from it, while in the UK there has been one death among 116 cases.

Almost 6,000 cases and 160 deaths have been confirmed across Europe, with Slovenia, Hungary and Poland becoming the latest countries to detect their first cases of the deadly coronavirus.

On Friday, European health chiefs greeted each other with elbow bumps and by placing their hands on their heart instead of the traditional handshake, as coronavirus fears continue to rise across the continent.

Ministers from Croatia, France, Greece and Cyprus took precautions by raising their elbows instead of shaking hands at an emergency meeting in Brussels to try and contain the escalating crisis.

In the UK, thousands of Freemasons have been told to avoid their so-called ‘special handshakes’ over fears that the mysterious practice could leave elderly members at risk of catching the deadly coronavirus. 

A further 47 coronavirus cases have been diagnosed in the UK on Friday – 36 in England and 11 in Scotland – bringing the total to 164 from just 51 on Wednesday

Doctor leading search for coronavirus vaccine says it’s the most frightening disease he’s ever encountered 

A doctor spearheading the search for a coronavirus vaccine today said it is the most frightening thing he has ever encountered and far more deadly than flu – as he revealed fighting it will be like a war.

Dr Richard Hatchett, who heads up the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, said governments need to adopt an ‘aggressive’ response to tackle the virus as he revealed it could take between 12-18 months to develop a vaccine and cost £1.5bn ($2bn).

Dr Hatchett said that what we are seeing is a virus that is ‘many many times more lethal than flu’ and a population that is ‘completely vulnerable to it’ as he fears it might explode further across the globe and the UK.

He cited a quote from a World Health Organisation official who returned from China and described the situation as ‘like a war’.

Dr Hatchett said: ‘I don’t think it is a crazy analogy to compare this to World War II. The World Health Organisation is using those kinds of terms. They have seen what this virus is capable of doing.’

Speaking to Channel 4 News, he said: ‘I’ve been working on epidemic preparedness for about 20 years and completely dispassionately without elevating the temperature or speaking hyperbolically.

‘This is the most frightening disease I’ve ever encountered in my career, and that includes Ebola, it includes MERS and it includes SARS.

‘I think the most concerning thing about this virus is the combination of infectiousness and the ability to cause severe disease or death.’  

It comes after US Vice President Mike Pence yesterday bumped elbows with Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and other top state officials, in a meeting to discuss the state’s efforts to combat the fast-spreading coronavirus.  

Fearing a possible shortage in protective equipment, health ministers from the European Union are holding an emergency meeting to try to improve their collective response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

While Italy is the hardest-hit country in Europe, 5,923 confirmed cases have been recorded across the 27-nation bloc.

The epidemic has been spreading at a quicker pace over the past two weeks, leading the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) to raise the risk of coronavirus infection from moderate to high.

The last time EU health ministers met, on Feb 13, no deaths had been reported in Europe.

According to the latest figures released by the ECDC, 112 people have now died from the virus on the continent.

‘Today is about solidarity, preparedness, and about coordination,’ said Stella Kyriakides, the European Commissioner for health.

In the US, the government is reportedly considering imposing travel restrictions on cruise passengers, after the Grand Princess became the second ship to suffer a suspected outbreak

Fears have been raised for 142 Britons on board the Grand Princess cruise ship after 21 people were diagnosed with coronavirus.

Vice President Mike Pence, who is in charge of the US response to the crisis, revealed that 19 crew members and two passengers had the virus on Friday.

President Trump subsequently raised the prospect that all 3,500 passengers and crew could now be quarantined on board – despite a failed quarantine on board the Diamond Princess last month which sickened 700 people and led to six deaths. 

Horrified passengers only learned that nineteen crew members and two tourists aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship had tested positive for coronavirus when Mike Pence announced the cases at his press conference.  

The Premier League is also considering banning over 70s at its matches over coronavirus fears – as the outbreak continues to have an impact on the sporting schedule.

Sports authorities and broadcasters will meet on Monday to discuss contingency plans to cope with the killer disease as the number of people who have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK hits 164.

Two BA baggage handlers have been infected with coronavirus, it was confirmed on Friday. Pictured is a file photo  

Passengers wear surgical masks as they board a British Airways flight from Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport on Friday

The man is the second person who died from the virus on British soil so far, both of whom were elderly. Pictured: A pharmacy on Oxford Street selling face masks

Measures expected to be discussed at the meeting include playing fixtures behind closed doors – as has been done in other European leagues like Italy and Morocco – or postponing matches until after the virus has peaked. 

Sky News’ sports correspondent Martha Kelner also revealed other ideas. ‘The league is also considering other possible contingency plans,’ she said.

‘That may include advising against, or even a possible ban, on over 70s – the demographic considered to be at highest risk from the spread of coronavirus – coming inside stadiums.’

An NHS spokesperson said: ‘The NHS is ramping up the number of testing centres across the country, in response to significant and increasing demand in response to this new virus, so that 4,000 tests can be analysed every single day, while additional investment means that more call handlers will be recruited to NHS 111 to give expert advice to callers with concerns about the virus.’

It comes as Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust confirmed on Friday night that a man in his early 80s died shortly after testing positive for coronavirus.

In a statement, the trust said: ‘His family has been informed and our thoughts and condolences are with them at what is undoubtedly a difficult and distressing time.

‘The hospital continues to work with Public Health England to isolate any patients or staff who had contact with the patient.’

The grandfather was admitted on March 3 with suspected pneumonia after he had recently returned from a cruise where he had visited several countries. The trust said all services and appointments at the hospital were ‘running normally’ and that it was following advice to minimise the risk of the virus spreading. 

Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said work was already under way to establish who the man had come into contact with.

He said: ‘I offer my sincere condolences to their family and friends and ask that their request for privacy is respected.

PROFESSOR HUGH PENNINGTON explains how Covid-19 spreads, what its ‘aggressive strain’ is and whether it will die down in the summer 

WHAT EXACTLY IS CORONAVIRUS?

‘Coronavirus’ is the name given to a family of viruses that we have known about since the mid-1960s. Covid-19, the cause of the current outbreak, is a new strain of coronavirus.

In total, we know of seven coronaviruses that can infect humans. They include certain strains of the common cold and the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome).

SARS, MERS and Covid-19 are coronaviruses that evolved from animals to infect humans.

At the virus’s core is a bundle of RNA (ribonucleic acid), one of the two main types of genetic material underpinning all life (the other being DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid).

This is protected by a protein coating that assists the virus in its sole aim in life: to replicate and pass on its genes.

To do this it must invade the cells of other organisms, using long tendrils on its protein coat which reach out like fingers to grasp on to protein molecules on the surfaces of the cell it is trying to infect.

These tendrils have knobs on the end which make the virus look like a crown – corona in Latin, hence its name.

HOW IS IT PASSED BETWEEN PEOPLE?

The virus’s preferred home is in the mucous membranes of the lungs. Each package of newly-replicated viral RNA is wrapped in a protective coating of its own and can be passed on in various ways: most commonly being coughed out of the airways in the form of airborne droplets and then inhaled by other people.

Alternatively, it can be transferred manually – for example, if you touch a hard surface onto which the droplets have fallen, hence the importance of current advice to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly. 

From the hands, coronavirus can get into the body when you touch your mouth, your nose or your eyes – the latter being connected to the throat via tear-ducts – and then breathed back down into the lungs.

The virus can also be found in human stools. This is a theoretical method of transmission – poor sanitation caused many SARS infections – but there is no evidence yet that Covid-19 has been passed on like this.

HOW DOES IT MAKE US ILL?

By forcing the lung cells of the infected person to replicate its RNA, Covid-19 disrupts normal respiratory functioning. This includes the constant waving motion of cilia: tiny hair-like projections in the lungs which sweep out mucus and dirt or particles that have been breathed in from the air around us.

With this vital defence mechanism impaired, the lungs are more vulnerable to potentially deadly infections like pneumonia.

We know that our immune systems are strongest when we are younger, so it is not surprising that children appear to be the least vulnerable to developing the worst symptoms of coronavirus.

The opposite is true of elderly people, especially if their lung function is already compromised – for example, by life-long smoking or conditions like COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

In people of all ages, the symptoms can be worsened when the body’s immune system goes into overdrive in its response to infection. White blood cells dispatched to fight the virus and reduce the inflammation in the lungs can damage healthy cells in the process.

The fever experienced by many victims is another immune response, with the body raising its internal temperature to a level at which the virus can no longer operate.

The majority of people infected with Covid-19 will experience symptoms so mild that they will not even know that they have had the disease.

WHAT IS THE VIRUS’S ‘AGGRESSIVE’ STRAIN?

Viruses mutate all the time and what the Chinese scientists have identified is a minor variation (known as L-type) to the existing Covid-19 (S-type) rather than a new and insidious new virus.

The word ‘aggressive’ is being used to describe it but the facts are less alarming. The S-type which kicked off the epidemic in China appears to be milder and less infectious; L-type seems to be more infectious – it currently accounts for 70 per cent of cases – but does not appear to be causing symptoms that are any worse.

Bear in mind that new strains of influenza are evolving constantly. That is why our annual flu jabs contain two or three different vaccines which change year on year.

Any future vaccine against Covid-19 will similarly take account of the different strains out there.

WILL IT DIE DOWN OVER THE SUMMER?

Respiratory infections are certainly more common in winter. There is no simple explanation for this, but one theory is that viruses can survive longer in colder weather when there is less UV radiation (which can kill microbes) from sunlight bearing down on the hard surfaces on which they linger.

Or it may be that people get together in confined spaces more often in winter.

Whatever the explanation, there is no way of knowing what warmer weather will bring for the coronavirus. During the 2009 swine flu pandemic, UK cases peaked in July.

CAN YOU COMPLETELY PROTECT YOURSELF?

Short of wearing a spacesuit, or stopping the people around you from breathing, the answer is no.

But public health control measures proved highly effective in eradicating SARS in 2002/2003.

Even if we are not completely rid of Covid-19, it may eventually evolve into different strains of the common cold – a recurring winter infection which many of us build immunity to, having caught it once.

That said, there is no room for complacency. And if we can draw anything positive from the spread of Covid-19, it’s as a reminder that we cannot skimp on funding if science is to keep pace with the ever-evolving threats to our health both now and in the future. 

‘The patient, who was being treated at the Milton Keynes University Hospital, was an older patient who had underlying health conditions. Contact tracing is already under way.’ 

Last week, a British tourist who had been on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined in Japan, became the first UK citizen to die after testing positive for the virus. 

Mr Johnson is due to chair a meeting of the government’s Cobra civil contingencies committee on Monday as it is now ‘highly likely’ the infection will spread in a ‘significant way’, a No 10 spokesman said.

‘Officials will therefore accelerate work on the delay phase of the Government’s plan,’ the spokesman added.

Meanwhile, sports governing bodies and broadcasters have been called to a Government meeting to discuss how to deal with the outbreak’s possible impact on the sporting calendar.

The meeting is part of the Government’s long-term contingency planning and will cover various possibilities, such as holding events behind closed doors, should the virus continue to spread and gatherings of large numbers of people are banned.

It will be hosted by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on Monday morning.

New blog posts from Public Health England (PHE) suggested people may need to get supplies for loved ones if social-distancing measures are brought in and more people are told to stay at home.

The posts urged people to ‘plan ahead’, adding: ‘Everyone has a part to play, and we’re asking people to think about what they do in a typical week, how they could limit contact with others if asked to, and how they could help people in their community who might need support if certain social-distancing measures were put in place.

‘This might include helping older relatives and neighbours to get some food in, so that they would have supplies for a week or so if required, ensuring someone would be available to go shopping for them, or arranging for online delivery if they needed it.’

Prof Whitty has said half of all coronavirus cases in the UK are most likely to occur in just a three-week period, with 95 per cent of them over a nine-week period.

Last night, a doctor spearheading the search for a coronavirus vaccine on Friday said it is the most frightening thing he has ever encountered and far more deadly than flu – as he revealed fighting it will be like a war.

Dr Richard Hatchett, who heads up the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, said governments need to adopt an ‘aggressive’ response to tackle the virus as he revealed it could take between 12-18 months to develop a vaccine and cost £1.5bn ($2bn).

It comes as Boris Johnson urged Britons to brace for ‘substantial disruption’ that could last months as he pumped £46million into a coronavirus vaccine and testing kits as a second Briton is confirmed dead. 

Dr Hatchett said that what we are seeing is a virus that is ‘many many times more lethal than flu’ and a population that is ‘completely vulnerable to it’ as he fears it might explode further across the globe and the UK. 

He cited a quote from a World Health Organisation official who returned from China and described the situation as ‘like a war’. 

Dr Hatchett said: ‘I don’t think it is a crazy analogy to compare this to World War II. The World Health Organisation is using those kinds of terms. They have seen what this virus is capable of doing.’

Speaking to Channel 4 News, he said: ‘I’ve been working on epidemic preparedness for about 20 years and completely dispassionately without elevating the temperature or speaking hyperbolically. 

‘This is the most frightening disease I’ve ever encountered in my career, and that includes Ebola, it includes MERS and it includes SARS.  

‘I think the most concerning thing about this virus is the combination of infectiousness and the ability to cause severe disease or death.’

Dr Hatchett leads the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations — a partnership of governments, industry and charities, created three years ago to fight emerging diseases that threaten global health — is already sponsoring four coronavirus vaccine projects .

He praised the Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and says he and his colleagues are doing a good job in the circumstances. But what concerns him the most is the infectiousness of coronavirus combined with its mortality rate. 

He added: ‘We have seen very lethal viruses, we have seen certainly Ebola or Nipah or any of the other diseases that CEPI, the organisation that I run, works on. 

‘These viruses have high mortality rates, I mean, Ebola’s mortality rate in some places is greater than 80%. But they don’t have the infectiousness that this virus has. They don’t have the potential to explode and spread globally.’

He said we had not seen a virus like it since the 1918 Spanish flu which is estimated to have killed between 50 million and 100 million people.

Dr Hatchett said coronavirus has the ‘potential to cause a global pandemic if we’re not already there’.

He added: I do think the virus has demonstrated that it has a lethality that is likely many fold higher than normal flu.’

Looking at how it has spread across the world, he said: ‘Singapore and Hong Kong did not shut themselves down but they have mounted very aggressive responses. Contact tracing is very important. The voluntary quarantine of contacts is very important. The isolation of cases is important. I think there may be a time to close schools.’ 

His comments come as a funding boost – which is coming from the UK’s international development aid budget – brings the British Government’s commitment up to a total of £91million. 

However, Mr Johnson warned that even with the extra resources a vaccine will not be ready for another year.  

Speaking on a visit to a research lab in Bedfordshire, Mr Johnson said: ‘It looks to me as though there will be a substantial period of disruption when we have to deal with this outbreak.

‘How big that will be, how long that will be, I think, is still an open question.

‘But, clearly, it is something we are going to have to deal with for quite a while in the UK.’ 

A man wears a protective mask as he shops in a supermarket in Hanoi, Vietnam, after a 26-year-old Vietnamese woman recently back from Europe tested positive for coronavirus

Indian security personnel wear facemasks as preventive measures against the spread of coronavirus in Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata

Three health workers in protective suits wait to check a motorist at a drive-through testing centre for coronavirus in Seoul

Shelves which normally stock hand gels and soaps are seen stripped bare at Asda in Chandler’s Ford, Southampton – companies producing the sanitisers say they are ramping up production because of ‘exceptional demand’

Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s chief scientific adviser, said a vaccine would not be ready to use during the course of this outbreak. Pictured: Empty pasta shelves in Asda in Chandler’s Ford, Southampton

Scientists at Imperial College London, and at pharmaceutical companies in the US, have revealed they’re planning to start human trials as early as next month.

But the Government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said one won’t be ready before the current global outbreak is over. 

The money will also go towards developing on-the-spot tests for the coronavirus, which will allow people to be tested at home, saving time and NHS resources. 

Global human trials of eight possible vaccines could start later this year, but firms would then face the task of mass-producing and distributing them.

Public Health England has developed methods of testing for coronavirus, but more rapid tests are needed as these currently rely on samples being sent to a lab.

At present it takes more than a day for someone’s test result to be confirmed and they have to be analysed in high-profile laboratories. Tests have to be done multiple times to avoid false positives. 

The package announced by the PM comes under the ‘research’ phase of the Government’s four-stage ‘battle plan’ to contain, delay, mitigate and research coronavirus.

Downing Street said the UK’s investment into coronavirus vaccine research is now worth £65 million, with £91 million in total for international work to stop the spread of the virus.

Chief scientific adviser to the Government, Sir Patrick Vallance, admitted there isn’t time to make and distribute a vaccine during this outbreak, but that developing one would be useful for the future.

Some scientists expect the virus to become a regular fixture in human health – potentially a seasonal illness like flu – now that it has spread so widely.     

Sir Patrick said: ‘Rapid testing is going to be key to managing this outbreak, but ultimately vaccines are going to provide the long-term protection we need.

‘The UK has some of the world’s leading scientists and this money will help in our fight to tackle this new disease.’

But, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he added: ‘I don’t think we will get the vaccine for this outbreak.

‘I don’t think we’ll get something in time or at scale for this outbreak.’

Discussing the new cases in an interview with Sky News he added: ‘This is a global epidemic and we would expect to see more cases in the UK. This is the start of an outbreak clearly. 

‘We are in the position now where we have got person-to-person transmission of this in the UK and therefore we can expect more cases.

‘This is now outbreaks in the community where we have got some individuals that we don’t know where it has come from.

‘That tells you that something is circulating, we are definitely in that phase.’

Mr Johnson spoke to scientists at the Mologic lab, which is ramping up efforts to provide more testing in people’s homes.

This will mean patients can receive treatment more quickly at home, reducing the risk of them passing the virus to others by going outdoors.

Any rapid diagnostic test could also be sent to other countries with no lab capability or whose medical facilities are not as advanced.

A new test will therefore be jointly manufactured in the UK and Senegal.

In a statement, Mr Johnson said: ‘Keeping the British people safe is my number one priority, and that’s why I’ve set out our four-part plan to contain, delay, mitigate and research coronavirus.

‘We are ensuring the country is prepared for the current outbreak, guided by the science at every stage. But we also need to invest now in researching the vaccines that could help prevent future outbreaks.

‘I’m very proud that UK experts – backed by government funding – are on the front line of global efforts to do just that.’

Speaking to reporters, Mr Johnson added: ‘What we are announcing today is a £46 million package of investment in UK science which will in time deliver a vaccine – some say in about a year – but also help us to have rapid test kits that anyone can use quickly and effectively to tell whether they have coronavirus.’

The UK has committed to spending 0.7 per cent of national income – around £14billion a year – on foreign aid.

But many Tory MPs believe the funding should be targeted at home, and complain that fixing the level of spending encourages waste.

There are international rules that dictate what can be classed as aid spending, but the government believes developing a vaccine falls within them.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Thursday night faced demands to say how the government plans to stop coronavirus panic buying – as members of the public told him it is a real problem.

The Health Secretary tried to reassure the public on BBC Question Time after an audience member complained that supplied of toilet roll, pasta and paracetamol were running short in supermarkets.

But Mr Hancock appealed for people not to engage in ‘herd behaviour’ and insisted the government is ‘absolutely confident’ there will be no shortages of food or essential items.

There are mounting fears of a major outbreak in the UK as the number of cases continues to grow. 

Experts have warned the virus is now being transmitted between Britons, with the government’s focus shifting to delaying the spread rather than preventing it altogether.  

On the flagship programme on Thursday, a woman voiced her concerns about the situation in the shops, asking ‘how do we stop shortages?’ 

Mr Hancock said: ‘There is absolutely no need for individuals to go around buying more than they need.

‘And in fact, part of the response of this has to be about us coming together.We are, after all, a herd. It’s the biology that is causing the problem.

‘Obviously, the very, very strong advice from the scientists, the medics, is that people should not go about buying more than they need.’

However, the woman interrupted to say that panic buying was really happening, saying she had been to the supermarket and found no dry pasta or toilet rolls.

‘People are panic buying,’ she said. ‘There is no paracetamol that you can get in the supermarkets.’

However, Mr Hancock replied: ‘I understand that but what I will say is the Government has supplies of the key things that are needed and within the food supply we are absolutely confident that there won’t be a problem there.

‘And crucially we are working with the supermarkets to make sure that if people are self-isolating then they will be able to get the food and supplies that the people need.’

Travellers were on Friday left fearing they may have unknowingly caught the coronavirus after two baggage handlers at London Heathrow tested positive for the killer infection. 

After health officials confirmed two British Airways baggage handlers were infected, one anxious traveller asked: ‘How many passengers have been infected?’

Fears have been raised the virus could have passed onto passengers’ luggage, where it could survive for up to three days. Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in the world and tens of thousands of travellers pass through the airport every day.  

Public Health England said neither patient worked while showing any symptoms but it is not clear if they had handled luggage before becoming ill. Scientists fear patients who don’t have a cough or fever – tell-tale signs of the infection – can still be contagious but it has not yet been definitively proven. 

Anxious Britons have resorted to wearing gas masks and blankets on public transport in desperate attempts to protect themselves as the coronavirus continues its rampant spread across the UK, while supermarkets up and down the country have again been left bare amid rushes to stockpile household goods such as hand soap, nappies and dried foods like pasta and rice. 

Facebook has closed its London offices for the weekend because an employee from Singapore was diagnosed with the coronavirus after visiting the English headquarters between February 24 and 26.

Furious doctors have warned the lack of spare beds in the NHS ‘will end in death’ and an ex-government worker claimed a coronavirus crisis in the UK ‘would be quite useful’ in killing off NHS bed blockers.

It comes just days after the NHS started testing thousands of intensive care patients for coronavrus amid fears it is already spreading through NHS wards.

In a dramatic ramping up of efforts to detect the virus, hospitals were ordered to test any seriously ill patient with a cough or breathing difficulties. Medics were told to screen patients even if they had not been abroad or had any contact with anyone from high-risk countries. 

In a New York Times article that was scathing of the NHS, British clinicians sounded the alarm about there not being enough ventilators or intensive care beds to cope with the crisis.  

Dr George Priestley, an intensive care doctor in Yorkshire, said: ‘If we haven’t got ventilatory support to offer them, it’s going to end in death. I don’t want to be alarmist. I just want someone to pay attention.’

Experts have said that up to 80 per cent of the entire British population could fall ill with coronavirus in a worst-case scenario. Dr Priestley added: ‘If we get those kinds of numbers, nobody knows how we’d possibly cope.’

Professor Whitty clarified that the virus spreads when somebody who already has it coughs or sneezes onto their hand, then touches something or someone.

Anyone who touches something the patient has contaminated is at risk of catching the virus if they then touch their face, he said.

The virus can enter the body through the eyes, nose and mouth, but not through the skin, Professor Whitty explained.

Already booked – or planning a trip? As the coronavirus crisis grows, our crucial guide to the question every traveller’s asking… Should I stay or should I go?

Here’s the easy bit. The advice is against ‘all but essential’ travel to mainland China, parts of South Korea and ten towns in northern Italy, due to the coronavirus, while some countries, such as Israel, have started to impose their own travel bans.

But what about a holiday in other parts of Italy or if you’re booked on a cruise? Or about to take a long-haul flight? What are the risks for worldwide travel? And is your travel insurance primed for the unexpected?

Here, we come up with the answers… 

The advice is against ‘all but essential’ travel to mainland China, parts of South Korea and ten towns in northern Italy, due to the coronavirus

Where is safe to go?

Make the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice website your first port of call as it is regularly updated. Go to gov.uk and search for the country you are considering visiting or check the coronavirus section at gov.uk.

None of Italy’s ski resorts are off limits at the moment.

Also check the National Travel Health Network & Centre website, travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries.

If flights are axed can I get a refund?

Flights to affected areas are being cancelled based on FCO advice and some are solely due to a downturn in bookings.

If you booked directly with an airline, you are eligible for a refund or to rebook free of charge (although you may still have to pay any fare difference incurred).

If you booked through a third party, i.e. a travel agent, you will need to contact them to find out your options.

Hotel cancellations owing to the virus are mainly centred around mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan with groups, such as Four Seasons, Hilton and Marriott wavering cancellation or change of booking fees.

What about any flight bookings?

Some airlines are offering incentives to travel, with flexibility on new bookings, including BA, which has waived its alteration fee on bookings made between now and Monday, March 16, and on pre-booked trips to Hong Kong and northern Italy.

Virgin Atlantic is waiving any penalties on changes to bookings issued throughout March.

What if I’m too scared to travel?

Airlines, tour operators and insurers are under no obligation to offer refunds based on panic.

So if you decide not to travel to anywhere outside the FCO travel risk list, you are unlikely to get anything back, although it’s worth checking because some providers may allow you to move the booking as a gesture of goodwill.

Airlines, tour operators and insurers are under no obligation to offer refunds based on panic about the coronavirus 

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) says: ‘Travel insurance is not designed to cover ‘disinclination to travel’ where the FCO advice has not changed to advise against travel.’ 

The only chance of claiming without your holiday being cancelled is on medical grounds, but this is done on a case-by-case basis and will require a letter from your GP.

What about our package holiday?

Tour operators, namely those that are ABTA or ATOL members, will offer an alternative holiday if yours is cancelled due to FCO advice, but if it is of significant difference to your original booking you are under no obligation to accept it. In these cases, a full refund will be offered.

A spokesperson for TUI says: ‘In the event that we’re unable to operate a holiday due to changes in travel restrictions, we will contact customers directly to discuss their options, including an amendment or full refund.’

If your trip isn’t imminent, it’s unlikely it will be cancelled yet, so speak to your tour operator to check.

Should I hold off on insurance?

The general consensus on travel insurance is to book it at the same time as you book your trip

No, definitely not. The general consensus on travel insurance is to book it at the same time as you book your trip.

If you don’t have it in place and your destination is later added to the FCO risk list, then you will not be eligible for compensation.

Am I insured for cancellations?

Speak directly to your airline, hotel or tour operator to see what they can offer.

If they can’t help, you will most likely need to have travel disruption cover included in your policy.

AA, Co-op, LV and Virgin Money all have policies that will cover for cancellations based on FCO advice, and hotel costs should your flight be cancelled. You also have protection using a credit card if your booking was more than £100. 

What if I end up in quarantine?

You will have to follow the rules of local authorities, which will probably involve a 14-day quarantine. It is unclear who will cover the cost of your journey home: either the UK Government could arrange a rescue flight or your travel insurance could cover your return.

Most insurance policies will cover medical costs should you become ill onboard, but make sure you check the small print.

If you’ve booked and simply don’t want to travel because you’re worried, you won’t have grounds for compensation.

Should I book my holiday now?

If you’re under 50 and healthy, you should remain positive about a well-deserved break. Summer holidays are still four months away

It’s up to you. If you’re medically vulnerable, you may be at higher risk and not wish to fly.

If you’re under 50 and healthy, you should remain positive about a well-deserved break. Summer holidays are still four months away, but it’s worth remembering that if you feel less keen nearer departure, you could lose your trip and money if your destination isn’t on the FCO list.

Is it risky to go on a cruise?

Cruise ship quarantines and outbreaks onboard have caused a ripple effect across the industry, forcing liners to implement immediate precautions, including cancellations to restricted areas, alterations to schedules, and far more stringent screening of all passengers when boarding and disembarking.

Currently, sailings to mainland China and east Asia are the only ones that have been cancelled.

A spokesperson from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the governing body, says: ‘Onboard, cruise ship crew are very experienced in sanitation protocols, and hand sanitisers are located in various locations throughout the ship which guests and crew use frequently.

‘Cruise ships have strict protocols to clean, disinfect and decontaminate during and after each cruise.’ Some, such as Saga and Fred Olsen, are removing cancellation fees on new bookings.

Is there any silver lining?

Possibly. Given that bookings for holidays have stagnated, cheaper tour operator packages and flights are likely later in the year, rather than now.

According to TravelSupermarket.com, ‘Package holiday prices are holding steady, overall’ but they are ‘seeing discounts across long-haul destinations such as Thailand, St Lucia, Mauritius, Barbados and the Maldives’.

Ten nights at a four-star resort in Phuket, Thailand in June, including flights from Gatwick, costs from £449 pp, room only (travelsupermarket.com).

First Choice (firstchoice.co.uk) has some good savings, too, with a week in Tenerife in May, including flights and half-board accommodation, from £429pp, down from £672pp.

What about the Flybe collapse? 

The tipping point for Flybe was said to be a drop in demand thanks to the coronavirus

Passengers won’t get an automatic refund if they booked directly with Flybe as the airline is not covered by ATOL, although passengers whose flights were part of an ATOL package holiday should be entitled to a full refund.

Passengers who have travel insurance with a ‘scheduled airline failure’ clause should also be covered.

Anyone who booked using a credit card may be entitled to a refund under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Those who paid on debit card can request a refund from their bank under so-called charge back rules, although this is not guaranteed.

How safe are other airlines?

The tipping point for Flybe was said to be a drop in demand thanks to the coronavirus.

And, with experts predicting a lull in people flying for fear of catching it, the aviation industry stands to lose more than £80 billion, which means we could see other carriers collapse in the coming weeks.

Rumours are swirling around Alitalia, with others said to follow.

Should I be scared of flying?

Most commercial aircraft have HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters to remove airborne contaminants.

David Powell, a medical adviser to IATA (International Air Transport Association), says: ‘The virus can’t survive long on seats or armrests, so physical contact with another person carries the greatest risk of infection on a flight.

‘Masks and gloves do a better job of spreading bugs than stopping them.’ 

Stockpilers pushing trolleys piled high with toilet rolls form enormous queues at Costco while shelves are stripped empty in Asda in coronavirus panic 

By Katie Weston for MailOnline

Shocking footage has emerged of frantic stockpilers pushing trolleys piled high with toilet rolls and forming huge queues at Costco.

A video shows checkouts flooded with shoppers at the wholesale warehouse chain near Chingford, London, amid panic over the coronavirus outbreak.

The store was said to be ‘running short’ on water with shoppers ‘fighting’ over toilet rolls and being ‘limited’ to one each.

Lee Kennedy, who filmed the footage of stockpilers in Costco, said: ‘It was all very over the top, people were fighting over toilet rolls and being limited to one per person. They were talking about putting restrictions on the bottled water as well.’ 

He added: ‘There were hardly any toilet rolls left and the water was running short.

‘The queues were sneaking around the aisles and people were arguing about pushing in front of each other.

‘It was okay, very hectic in there. One worker said it was worse than Christmas.’ 

A separate clip shows shelves in an Asda supermarket in Sutton, Surrey, stripped bare.

The video was posted onto a Facebook group, captioned: ‘Where has all the food, toilet paper and water gone?’

It comes as a grandfather in his 80s became the second person who died from coronavirus on British soil yesterday.


Shocking footage shows shoppers with trolleys stockpiled high with toilet rolls flooding checkouts at the Costco store in Chingford, London 

A woman in her 70s was the first UK victim after being diagnosed with coronavirus while at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.

The woman – who had ‘underlying health conditions’ – tested positive for the killer infection on Wednesday before succumbing to the illness the following day.

Elderly people are to be told to stay at home under new government guidelines to tackle the outbreak of the virus as health officials urge Britons to check in on their relatives.

The elderly should be prepared for ‘social distancing’ policies, which are to be announcement by ministers next week, government sources said.

Advice will include the elderly staying at home and avoiding crowded areas which the Department of Health warned could leave people ‘cut off’.


A separate clip shows shelves in Asda in Sutton, Surrey, stripped bare. It comes as a grandfather in his 80s was the second person who died from coronavirus on UK soil yesterday

Guidelines also state that households should decide how their food will be delivered in case they have to self-isolate.

In total, 164 people in the UK have tested positive for coronavirus, up from 115 cases reported at the same time on Thursday as Norther Ireland confirmed its fourth case on Friday evening.

The Government revealed its four-stage plan earlier this week that includes a raft of socially and economically costly contingency moves as a last resort.

The 28-page ‘action plan’ was agreed at the first emergency Cobra meeting to be chaired by the PM on Monday in which it was explained there are four stages – contain, delay, research and mitigate – to dealing with the virus.

MailOnline has contacted Costco for comment.   

Kensington Palace ‘is considering cancelling William and Kate’s trip to Australia over coronavirus fears’ 

By Claudia Poposki for Daily Mail Australia

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s trip to Australia to visit bushfire-affected communities may be cancelled due to coronavirus fears.

The royal couple are in talks with Prime Minister Scott Morrison to negotiate the details of the trip before he extends an official invitation, it was announced last month.

However the trip could be delayed due to coronavirus fears, according to the Herald Sun.

Kensington Palace declined to comment when contacted by Daily Mail Australia.

The Prime Minister’s office is not believed to have any official word about changes to the plans but said it doesn’t comment on arrangements considered by potential guests.

The royal couple are in talks with Prime Minister Scott Morrison to negotiate the details of the trip before he extends an official invitation, it was announced last month, but the trip could be delayed due to coronavirus

The Prime Minister’s office is not believed to have any official word about changes to the plans but said they don’t comment on arrangements considered by potential guests

The royals have not given much away about their trip, which has not been officially announced, but it is believed they will visit bushfire ravaged communities in Victoria and the New South Wales coast.

Despite the concerns surrounding coronavirus, the Duke and Duchess continued with their tour of Ireland this week.

In January the couple gave their heartfelt condolences to everyone impacted by the fires that raged since September 2019. 

A total of 66 Australians have been diagnosed with coronavirus, prompting concerns from locals 

In January the couple gave their heartfelt condolences to everyone impacted by the fires that raged since September 2019. Pictured: Bushfires in East Gippsland in January

‘We continue to be shocked and deeply saddened to hear about the fires that are destroying homes, livelihoods and wildlife across much of Australia,’ the couple wrote on Instagram.

‘Our thoughts and prayers are with all the people and communities who are affected by this devastating event.

‘We send our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who have tragically lost their lives, and the brave firefighters who continue to risk their own lives to save the lives of others.’

The Queen and Prince Philip issued similar sentiments.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted the Prime Minister’s office for comment. 

British Airways cabin crew fear they are at increased risk of catching coronavirus because planes are ‘deep-cleaned once a month’ and only get a ‘quick wipe’ after most flights – after two Heathrow baggage handlers catch the infection 

By Jemma Carr and Rory Tingle for MailOnline and Tom Payne Transport Correspondent for the Daily Mail

British Airways cabin crew fear they are more at risk of catching coronavirus because planes were are not deep-cleaned after every flight.

In fact, jets are only deep-cleaned monthly with some just getting a ‘quick wipe’ before jetting off again. 

Yesterday, two baggage handlers at Terminal 5 of London’s Heathrow Airport tested positive for the killer infection raising fears that the virus – that has infected 164 people in Britain and killed two – could have passed onto passengers’ luggage, where it could survive for up to three days.

A BA crew member, who asked not to be named, said: ‘They’re given a basic clean by cleaners who use the same cloths to wipe down galleys and surfaces.

‘A plane comes from Hong Kong, it gets a quick wipe and then it goes straight to New York.

‘Cabin crew get a small bottle of hand sanitizer. If someone was to show symptoms there are masks, but you’re in a confined space at 40,000ft, so it won’t do much good.

‘Everybody has raised concerns. But you can’t do anything about it. You can’t refuse to do any flights.’

British Airways cabin crew fear they are more at risk of catching coronavirus because planes were are not deep-cleaned after every flight (stock image)

Yesterday, two baggage handlers at Terminal 5 of London’s Heathrow Airport tested positive for the killer infection raising fears that the virus – that has infected 164 people in Britain and killed two – could have passed onto passengers’ luggage, where it could survive for up to three days. Pictured: A passenger in Heathrow Terminal 5

A BA spokesman said every aircraft was given a ‘regular clean’ after every short-haul flight and a thorough one each evening.

Long-haul flights get a thorough clean after every flight, including seats, seat pockets, tray tables, galleys, toilets, floors, the aircraft interior and surfaces generally.

Monthly deep-cleans of all aircraft return them to a ‘like new’ standard, and involve everything from ceilings to air vents.

Heathrow has introduced a strict hygiene regime since the outbreak of coronavirus in January and staff have been cleaning baggage carousels regularly. 

A spokesman said baggage handlers working for all airlines had been given gloves, masks and hand sanitizers, as well as lessons in good hand hygiene.

A BA crew member, who asked not to be named, said: ‘They’re given a basic clean by cleaners who use the same cloths to wipe down galleys and surfaces’ (stock image)

PHE staff at the airport are also advising staff on how to prevent infection and monitoring inbound passengers for signs of symptoms.

Heathrow is still accepting arrivals from Milan, Hong Kong and Singapore. Travellers who return from these areas must self-quarantine if they develop symptoms.

On Thursday evening a woman in her 70s became the first person in the UK to die after being diagnosed with coronavirus while at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.

The woman – who had ‘underlying health conditions’ – tested positive for the killer infection on Wednesday before succumbing to the illness the following day.

And on Friday a grandfather in his early 80s died at Milton Keynes Hospital after he was admitted on March 3 with suspected pneumonia having recently returned from a cruise where he had visited several countries. 

His family fear he could have passed on the infection after he was left ‘coughing excessively’ on a ward for six hours as patients warned hospital workers to check him for the deadly virus. 

After health officials confirmed two British Airways baggage handlers were infected, one anxious traveller asked: ‘How many passengers have been infected?’ 

Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in the world and tens of thousands of travellers pass through the airport every day. 

Public Health England said neither patient worked while showing any symptoms but it is not clear if they had handled luggage before becoming ill. Scientists fear patients who don’t have a cough or fever – tell-tale signs of the infection – can still be contagious but it has not yet been definitively proven. 

It comes as elderly people are to be told to stay at home under new government guidelines to tackle the outbreak of the virus as health officials urge Britons to check in on their relatives. 

The elderly should be prepared for ‘social distancing’ policies, which are to be announcement by ministers next week, government sources said.

Advice will include the elderly staying at home and avoiding crowded areas which the Department of Health warned could leave people ‘cut off’.

Guidelines also state that households should decide how their food will be delivered in case they have to self-isolate. 

The UK’s chief scientific adviser confirmed that the virus is spreading uncontrollably between people inside Britain. Sir Patrick Vallance admitted: ‘This is the start of an outbreak clearly… we can expect more cases.’

Anxious Britons have resorted to wearing gas masks and blankets on public transport in desperate attempts to protect themselves as the coronavirus continues its rampant spread across the UK, while supermarkets up and down the country have again been left bare amid rushes to stockpile household goods such as hand soap, nappies and dried foods like pasta and rice. 

Facebook has closed its London offices for the weekend because an employee from Singapore was diagnosed with the coronavirus after visiting the English headquarters between February 24 and 26.

Furious doctors have warned the lack of spare beds in the NHS ‘will end in death’ and an ex-government worker claimed a coronavirus crisis in the UK ‘would be quite useful’ in killing off NHS bed blockers.

And Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged an extra £46million to rush through a coronavirus vaccine, after the scientific adviser, Sir Patrick, said a jab will not be ready during this outbreak – researchers hope one could be ready to use by the end of the year. 

Mr Johnson even said it looks like the UK will face a ‘substantial period of disruption’ from the new coronavirus outbreak and the government plans to put aid for affected businesses in the national budget.

Travellers have today been left fearing they may have unknowingly caught the coronavirus after two baggage handlers at London Heathrow tested positive for the killer infection

In an interview with ITV news, Mr Hancock said: ‘I’m very sorry to hear the news of a second death here in the UK of somebody with coronavirus. Again, it was was somebody who was older and had underlying health conditions.

‘My condolences go out to the family and to his loved ones. We are working round the clock to keep people safe and to make sure we get the best possible response in this country.’ 

The unidentified man in his 80s who had underlying health conditions passed away at Milton Keynes University Hospital after testing positive for the killer coronavirus.

He tested positive for the virus this morning. Further tests confirmed he had the infection. 

Fellow patients and hospital staff on his ward were isolated and a deep clean has been carried out. Health officials are now tracking down anyone who had been in contact with the patient. 

The first death on British soil, a woman in her 70s who also had long-term health troubles, was recorded last night at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. 

The first Briton to die was an elderly patient who caught the virus on the doomed Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined off the coast of Japan after hundreds of holidaymakers tested positive. 

The elderly and those with chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease are believed to be the most vulnerable from the virus because they have weakened immune systems, meaning the virus is more likely to cause complications and attack their organs. 

It comes after British Airways confirmed two baggage handlers tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the deadly infection. Both are in isolation at home. 

Both men worked at London Heathrow airport, which said ‘the welfare of our passengers and colleagues is our top priority’. Bloomberg reports some of the handlers’ colleagues are also being tested. 

Coronavirus fears have already prompted BA to cancel all of its flights to China until April, slashed the number of its services to Europe and New York, and scrapped fees for customers to change bookings at the start of March. 

After BA confirmed two cases in baggage handlers – who it is feared could have unwittingly spread the virus onto luggage – the Department of Health in England announced 47 more patients had been struck down, including five in Scotland.  

BA did not reveal where the baggage handler worked, but Heathrow said in a statement: ‘The welfare of our passengers and colleagues is our top priority. Pictured are passengers at Terminal 5 wearing masks today 

Fears may now be raised that the BA baggage handlers could pass on the virus, which England’s chief medical officer said can stay contagious on plastic for three days 

No further details about where they caught the virus were given. However, England’s chief medical officer yesterday admitted the infection was definitely spreading on British soil.

Of the 163 cases already confirmed in the UK, 147 are in England, 11 in Scotland, three in Northern Ireland and two in Wales. Leading scientists have repeatedly warned there are likely to be more cases. 

It comes after Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England and Wales, said people can catch the illness by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching their face.

And the coronavirus may stay contagious on hard metal or plastic surfaces like door handles or rails on buses or trains for as long as three days, he added. Some scientists have even suggested the virus may be more likely to spread on the hands than it is through the air. 

Speaking at a meeting with ministers in Parliament, Professor Whitty said the virus would ‘largely gone by 48 hours and almost completely gone by 72 hours on a hard surface’.

It comes just days after the NHS started testing thousands of intensive care patients for COVID-19 amid fears it is already spreading through NHS wards.

In a dramatic ramping up of efforts to detect the virus, hospitals were ordered to test any seriously ill patient with a cough or breathing difficulties. Medics were told to screen patients even if they had not been abroad or had any contact with anyone from high-risk countries. 

In a New York Times article that was scathing of the NHS, British clinicians sounded the alarm about there not being enough ventilators or intensive care beds to cope with the crisis.  

Dr George Priestley, an intensive care doctor in Yorkshire, said: ‘If we haven’t got ventilatory support to offer them, it’s going to end in death. I don’t want to be alarmist. I just want someone to pay attention.’

Experts have said that up to 80 per cent of the entire British population could fall ill with coronavirus in a worst-case scenario. Dr Priestley added: ‘If we get those kinds of numbers, nobody knows how we’d possibly cope.’

Professor Whitty clarified that the virus spreads when somebody who already has it coughs or sneezes onto their hand, then touches something or someone.

Anyone who touches something the patient has contaminated is at risk of catching the virus if they then touch their face, he said.

The virus can enter the body through the eyes, nose and mouth, but not through the skin, Professor Whitty explained. 

His counterpart, scientific adviser Sir Patrick, said an outbreak has now begun in the UK. 

He told Sky News: ‘This is the start of an outbreak clearly. We are in the position now where we have got person-to-person transmission of this in the UK and therefore we can expect more cases.’ 

It came as an unnamed man is thought to have succumbed to coronavirus at Milton Keynes University Hospital last night.

He had tested positive for the killer virus once already but the NHS must carry out further tests to confirm the case and rule out a false positive, MailOnline understands. 

The Prime Minister shaking hands with Tory peer Byron Davies as he arrives at the Welsh Conservative Party conference in North Wales

If the case is confirmed he would become the second Briton to die from the illness in the UK. 

Fellow patients and hospital staff on his ward have been isolated this morning and a deep clean has been carried out. 

It comes after a child at Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital tested positive for the virus yesterday.

The first death, a woman in her 70s who also had long-term health troubles, was recorded on Thursday at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. 

Latest figures show there have been 163 cases in the UK out of nearly 21,000 people tested.

The elderly and those with chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease are believed to be the most vulnerable from the virus.

The latest death comes just days after the NHS started testing thousands of intensive care patients for COVID-19 amid fears it is already spreading through NHS wards.

In a dramatic ramping up of efforts to detect the virus, hospitals were ordered to test any seriously ill patient with a cough or breathing difficulties.

Medics were told to screen patients even if they had not been abroad or had any contact with anyone from high-risk countries.

It comes after it was revealed half of Britain’s coronavirus patients are being treated at home amid mounting fears the NHS does not have enough beds to cope with the outbreak. 

The government – whose chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance today admitted the world is unlikely to get a vaccine in time for the outbreak – is also ‘looking at’ possibly isolating entire households as part of its four-stage ‘battle plan’ if the crisis continues to escalate and cases become more widespread.

Speaking on BBC Question Time last night, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told coronavirus patients caring for themselves at home to shut themselves away in their room and avoid their loved ones. 

He said: ‘People should try to self-isolate from their families, not only go home, try not to go out shopping, definitely don’t use public transport, but within your own home you should also try to self-isolate.’

Mr Hancock added that, as the father of three children, he understood that ‘can be difficult and some people have caring responsibilities’, but people should try to keep to themselves as much as possible. 

Meanwhile, supermarkets up and down the country have again been left bare amid rushes to stockpile household goods such as hand soap, nappies and dried foods like pasta and rice. 

Despite the panic surrounding the virus the Government has urged people not to bulk buy products, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock vowing that supermarkets would not run out of food and Prime Minister Boris Johnson claiming that it was ‘business as usual’ after the first confirmed death of a UK patient with the virus.

But customers don’t seem to be taking much notice of the reassurances and bosses at online supermarket Ocado told customers they would have to place orders early due to a ‘higher than usual demand’. 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock claimed the Government was ‘working with the supermarkets’ to make sure that people who are told to self-isolate – who must stay at home for at least two weeks – will be able to get regular food deliveries. 

The Competition & Markets Authority yesterday warned that firms taking advantage of the panic by hiking prices of products could be prosecuted or fined. 

It has emerged that fraudsters are cashing in on the coronavirus crisis and have fleeced panicked people in the UK out of £800,000 already.

One person has reportedly lost £15,000 buying face masks over the internet after the products never arrived.

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has already identified 21 reports of fraud where coronavirus was mentioned since February.

Police warn the number of scams is expected to rise as the deadly virus continues to spread and people look to make a quick buck.

People have been caught charging for hygiene products they never deliver, price-gouging the products, setting up websites with fake information to try and get people’s personal details, or sending phishing emails about coronavirus which are designed to trick people into opening malicious attachments.

A common tactic used by scammers is to send messages purporting to be from research groups linked with the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), officials said.

They claim to be able to provide a list of people infected with COVID-19, which links to a malicious website or ask the victim to make a payment in Bitcoin.

The City of London Police advised: ‘Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details.’

Source: Read Full Article

Met Office predicts three inches of rain to fall in just 24 hours

More flooding misery is on the way for Britain as the Met Office warns up to three inches of rain is set to fall in just 24 hours with 136 flood alerts in place – as receding waters reveal devastation of recent weeks

The UK is set to be lashed by wet weather and faces potential flooding misery as some areas experiences a month’s worth of rain in 24 hours.

136 flood alerts have been put in place – mostly in the South – while the north has large yellow rain warnings for today before some respite on Sunday.

Downpours will be heaviest in west Scotland throughout the day, with the Met Office warning up to 70mm (2.8 inches) of rainfall could be possible over some regions.

In March, the usual UK average rainfall is 64mm, or 2.5 inches. 

Following this will be lashings of showers across the country overnight, before people will wake up to clearer skies on Sunday.

The UK is set to be lashed by wet weather and faces potential flooding misery as some areas experiences a month’s worth of rain in 24 hours

136 flood alerts have been put in place, mostly in the South as well as areas of Yorkshire and on the Welsh border affected by Storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge

The Met Office has placed two large yellow rain warnings for today before some respite on Sunday

There are warnings that bus and train services will probably affected with journey times taking longer due to spray and flooding on roads probably making journey times longer.

There is a possible risk that a few homes and businesses could be flooded in more vulnerable areas.

Traffic Scotland warned: ‘Outbreaks of rain will become persistent and occasionally heavy through Saturday across much of Western Scotland and parts of Southern Scotland.

’20-30mm will fall widely across the warning area in 15-18 hours with 50-70mm building up on some hills. This, in combination with a partial thaw of lying snow is likely to lead to some flooding in a few places.’

The weather reports follow two months of misery for people in the north of England, who have seen their homes flooded by three consecutive storms: Ciara, Dennis and Jorge.

An average of 202.1mm rainfall fell in February, breaking records set back in 1990, when 193.4mm fell.

People in parts of the UK have had to be evacuated from their homes as a result of the latest storm, Jorge, after the River Aire in East Yorkshire over-flowed. 

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said that initial estimates show the industry expects to make payments of £363 million to customers who have been affected.

People in parts of the UK have had to be evacuated from their homes as a result of the latest storm, Jorge, after the River Aire in East Yorkshire over-flowed (pictured: Flooding in Goole on Humberside)

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said that initial estimates show the industry expects to make payments of £363 million to customers who have been affected

More than £7.7 million in total was spent on emergency payments to get home owners and businesses back on track in the immediate aftermath of the flooding and wind damage, including paying for temporary accommodation when homes were uninhabitable. 

But with the waters only beginning to recede now, the true toll of the damage is yet to be fully accounted for.  

Extra rain which fell last week also affected areas of the West Midlands including Shropshire and Worcestershire along the River Severn. 

The Met Office have however also warned of a risk of showers in nearby western areas, especially in south Wales and south-west England.

Rain, heavy and persistent over hills in north Wales, Cumbria and western Scotland. Windy too with coastal gales. Largely cloudy elsewhere with some bright spells to the east of high ground. Mild.

An average of 202.1mm rainfall fell in February, breaking records set back in 1990, when 193.4mm fell

More than £7.7 million in total was spent on emergency payments to get home owners and businesses back on track in the immediate aftermath of the flooding

Rain sweeping southeast to affect the rest of England, followed by blustery heavy showers across Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and western England.

Rain clearing the far southeast during the morning. Elsewhere, sunny spells and blustery showers, heaviest in the west with a risk of thunder. Feeling cold in the wind.

After a dry, chilly start on Monday, wet and windy weather spreads to all parts. This clears Tuesday to leave it colder with showers, some of these heavy and wintry.

Met Office forecaster Alex Deakin said: ‘Any extra rain falling after such a wet February could cause some extra problems.

But with the waters only beginning to recede now, the true toll of the damage is yet to be fully accounted for

‘There will be more rain this weekend particularly in the west on Saturday. That rain is likely to pep up on Saturday night and its also going to turn windy during the day and night on Saturday.’

He continued: ‘Its blustery into Sunday with some sunshine but also some heavy showers.

‘Showers are likely to be heavy and blustery with the wind swinging in from the west.

‘Chiefly there’ll be rain and possibly hail at times, but it will be blustery so at least the showers will be moving through.’

Rainfall forecast for the next few days is hoped to mark the end of a difficult few weeks for people in the Midlands and Yorkshire.

Source: Read Full Article

Please, sit down. It’s time for good coffee and great history

Venice: One of my golden rules has been to avoid writing about myself at all costs. Journalists should tell the story but never be the story. I have been determined to deploy the word ''I'' sparingly and using it twice in this very sentence makes me shudder.

But how else to tell you about Caffe Florian without sharing the details of my recent visit? It was such a joyful, restorative experience that the rule book is briefly being put to one side in the hope of convincing you to one day walk through its historic doors.

Venice’s Caffe Florian has been trading for 300 years.

The two main things you need to know about visiting Caffe Florian are that it is really old, and that it is not cheap. You won't walk out having spent less than €10 ($17) on a single coffee.

But who cares? You're in one of the world's most beautiful cities, and sitting inside an institution that has witnessed some of Europe's most turbulent moments and played host to renowned figures such as Casanova, Lord Byron, Madame de Stael and Marcel Proust. This is no time to scrimp.

No, this is a time for good coffee. And great history.

The cafe was originally named Alla Venezia Trionfante (Triumphant Venice) when it opened under the imposing arches of Procuratie Nuove in St Mark's Square in 1720, but locals affectionately dubbed it "Florian's" after owner Floriano Francesconi and the name stuck.

Caffe Florian was serving coffee for 50 years before Captain Cook landed in Botany Bay.

It has been in the same spot for three centuries, earning it the title of the world's oldest continuously operating cafe. To put its longevity in context, Florian was serving coffee for 50 years before Captain Cook landed in Botany Bay. Even more remarkable is that it has managed to retain its unique identity despite all the social, economic and political upheaval that would unfold on the square outside and sometimes inside the cafe's own 24-carat gold-leafed walls.

It was no different when I visited. Coronavirus had broken out in northern Italy and Caffe Florian was again witnessing history as tourists scrambled from Venice. Some locals said their island city had never been so quiet.

I arrived at the cafe slightly drained from a week on the road covering the outbreak and distressed by the obvious economic damage being inflicted on the people of Italy.

Caffe Florian’s Coppa Bella Elena is served to the author.Credit:Bevan Shields

But walking through the mahogany double doors was an instant tonic. A beaming waiter dressed in an impossibly white jacket welcomed me like I was family and showed me to a table with a great view of St Mark's Square. If he was worried about the coronavirus-induced downturn, he wasn't prepared to show it.

I ordered a double espresso and the Coppa Bella Elena (vanilla ice cream, pear in syrup and a small side of Florian hot chocolate that is poured over the whole ensemble). It's seriously good. And, in a nice touch, arrives on a silver tray carefully placed on a marble table that has been in that same spot since 1858.

The whole experience was a reminder that sometimes there are few things better than good hospitality.

I took out my phone to do some research but there was no need: the cafe's assistant director, Anna Rita Panebianco, walked by and struck up a conversation.

"This place has seen world wars and high tides," she said. "This was where people used to meet and organise themselves during the revolution.

"This is an institution, a place of resilience. It's something that Venetian people feel is their heritage and feel is part of their home."

Clarke Gable also drank at Caffe Florian.

Panebianco took me through the history of the building and the cafe's unique layout. It is split into multiple ''rooms'': the Chinese Room, the Hall of the Senate, the Oriental Room, the Hall of Seasons and the Liberty Room. Each has a distinctive decor that is remarkably well preserved in spite of the ravages of time and a temperate Adriatic Sea. In summer, hundreds of guests sit on tables and chairs outside in St Mark's Square as an orchestra plays.

Panebianco gave me the perfect answer when I asked a cliched question: What's the secret to staying in business for 300 years?

"When Floriana Francesconi first opened there were maybe 200 coffee houses in Venice. What made the difference then was the human factor, the way he could welcome people and the way people felt in these walls inside.

"Today is the same. It is all about the human factor. We feel we are part of history and want to welcome people to that story."

If you're ever in Italy, make sure you share in it too.

Source: Read Full Article

Sex shop uses a Wall of Shame to embarrass thieves

Adult store owners left reeling after a spate of thefts use a ‘Wall of Shame’ to embarrass shoplifters who have stolen sex toys – forcing them to pay up

  • Sex shop in New Zealand setup a ‘Wall of Shame’ to embarrass alleged thieves 
  • The ‘Peaches and Cream’ string of adult stores says the tactic is working well 
  • One of the store managers said they employ someone to trawl through CCTV 
  • Mel Vogel said tactic gives thieves chance to pay up before they go to the police 

The owners of an adult store that experienced a spate of sex toy thefts have set up their own ‘Wall of Shame’ in an effort to embarrass thieves into paying for what they stole. 

The Facebook page of the Peaches and Cream chain of sex shops in New Zealand shares CCTV pictures of people they allege have stolen from their stores.  

The adult store has shared photos of more than 28 people they claim have stolen sex toys – pocketing items such as dildos and fake vaginas. 

The owners of an adult store that experienced a spate of sex toy thefts have setup their own ‘Wall of Shame’ in an effort to embarrass offenders into doing the right thing 

The business Facebook page of the Peaches and Cream string of sex shops in New Zealand now posts CCTV pictures of people they allege have participated in sex toy heists  

One of the alleged thieves was surprised to find her image on the business’s page 

Other people speculated about what motivated the robbers 

Peaches and Cream have been using the method since January 2019 – saying the tactic has the dual advantages of crowdsourcing information such as names and also embarrassing offenders into paying up. 

Manager at one of the franchise’s 12 stores, Mel Vogel, who has been with the company for six years said thieves will try and nab anything not nailed down or behind glass. 

This includes the display items and, it gets weirder, items from the trash. 

‘We actually had to start cutting the toys that we threw away in half because people would go through the rubbish bins at least five times a day trying to retrieve stuff,’ Vogel told okwhatever. 

She said after working in the store for so many years there is not a particular type of person she could spot as a thief. 

The images from the business’s ‘Wall of Shame’ show this to be the case with pictures of grey haired academic types with glasses, hipsters with man-buns, young ladies with expensive jewelry, and surfer dudes in board shorts splashed on the page.  

In October 2019 an Elvis Presley impersonator was caught on CCTV pocketing a plastic vagina and prompting a police investigation. 

He had tried to purchase the item a month earlier but his card had been declined. 

An Elvis impersonator was caught on CCTV allegedly stealing from the store in 2019 

Staff member at that store Kat Maher said the Auckland shop had been robbed about once a week with the discerning thieves targeting high-end items. 

She said in another incident a woman stole vibrating sex toys and bolted out of the store into a waiting getaway car.  

Maher said the woman acted so quickly that she must have been planning the caper for a while. 

In another incident the store in the town of Petone was targeted by two women described as ‘rugged-looking’ who stole more than $1,000 worth of items including leopard printed clothing. 

‘I think when people rip places off, they don’t actually think that it’s a person they’re doing it to, you know? They just look at it as a business and they don’t see that there are actually lots of people behind it who get affected,’ Ms Vogel said. 

She said the company discourages staff from chasing down offenders but does employ a person whose only job is to trawl through CCTV footage and identify possible thieves. 

She said the stores approach gives the thieves a chance to return to the store and pay up – they don’t want the items back – before they hand the matter over to the police. 

‘A lot of people do own up and pay, The people we’ve shamed on social media also don’t seem to come back and do it again, so that’s good.’ Ms Vogel said. 

One of the store managers at ‘Peaches & Cream’ says the tactic is working well 

Source: Read Full Article

O.J. Simpson dons face mask and panic buys amid coronavirus fears

If the mask fits! O.J. Simpson dons a face mask for a trip to Costco where he panic buys toilet paper and water amid coronavirus fears

  • O.J. Simpson posted a photo of himself on Twitter early Friday morning wearing a face mask outside a Costco with a trolley full of emergency supplies
  • The caption read: ‘Coronavirus? Who’s afraid?’
  • Simpson’s post sparked a lot of attention on social media, with users comparing his suspected ‘death rate’ to that of coronavirus 
  • ‘I may have a better chance of being killed by you than the virus,’ one tweeted
  • Simpson was accused and controversially acquitted of murdering Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman back in 1995 in a trial that divided America 
  • Shoppers across the US are stockpiling amid coronavirus fears
  • Long lines continued to form outside Costco stores across the country on Friday 
  • The US death toll from coronavirus rose to 17 Friday, after three new deaths were recorded in Washington state and Florida recorded its first two 

O.J. Simpson donned a face mask for a trip to Costco where he panic bought masses of toilet paper and water as coronavirus fears continued to sweep the US and the death toll mounted. 

Anxious shoppers have been racing to stock up on essential items, lining up outside Costco stores on Friday morning as they waited for doors to open, amid concerns the outbreak could worsen. 

And it seems the virus is scaring everyone – even Simpson, the one-time felon who was sensationally acquitted of the brutal murders of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman before serving nine years in prison for robbery and kidnapping.

The ‘Juice’ posted a photo of himself on Twitter early Friday morning wearing a face mask outside a Costco with a trolley full of emergency supplies.

O.J. Simpson posted a photo of himself on Twitter early Friday morning wearing a face mask outside a Costco with a trolley full of emergency supplies

The caption read: ‘Coronavirus? Who’s afraid?’   

Simpson’s trolley included 60 toilet rolls, 12 kitchen rolls, paper party cups, and at least three cases of water bottles. 

His post sparked a lot of attention on social media, with 11,400 retweets and 61,400 likes as of Friday night. 

Several Twitter users commented on the post comparing Simpson’s suspected ‘death rate’ to that of the deadly disease. 

‘Statistically I may have a better chance of being killed by you than the virus,’ one user tweeted. 

Another commented: ‘Deaths in the U.S. from Coronavirus: 14. Deaths in the U.S. from OJ Simpson: 2.’ 

‘What kind of a person buys only paper towel and water bottles,’ one person tweeted, before someone else replied: ‘Someone trying to clean blood off their shoes.’ 

His post sparked a lot of attention on social media, with 11,400 retweets and 61,400 likes as of Friday night. Several Twitter users commented on the post comparing Simpson’s suspected ‘death rate’ to that of the deadly disease

Simpson was at the center of the ‘Trial of the Century’ when he was accused of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman back in 1995. 

Represented by a legal ‘Dream Team’, he was acquitted by a jury in a controversial verdict that split the country along racial lines.

However, in a civil trial, Simpson was unanimously found responsible for the wrongful deaths of Nicole and Goldman and ordered to pay $33.5 million to the Goldman and Brown families. 

Much of the criminal trial hinged on a glove found on Simpson’s estate and soaked in the victim’s blood.

However, the prosecution unraveled when Simpson was asked to put on the gloves and they were too small for him.

Many social media users poked fun at the glove saga, asking if the former American footballer was shopping for a new pair. 

Simpson was at the center of the ‘Trial of the Century’ when he was accused of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman back in 1995

Much of the criminal trial hinged on a glove found on Simpson’s estate and soaked in the victim’s blood. However, the prosecution unraveled when Simpson was asked to put on the gloves and they were too small for him (above). Many social media users poked fun at the glove saga, asking if the former American footballer was shopping for a new pair

‘He’s at Costco getting a new pair of gloves. His old ones are doused in a red liquid,’ one person tweeted. 

Another posted a link to some black gloves to buy from the superstore.  

Simpson is far from alone in his stockpiling for what many fear could be a mass quarantine over the coronavirus outbreak. 

Many Costco outlets have begun to tighten rations that they had put on products in a bid to spread supply.

Several stores reduced the number of packets of flour, sugar and rice each customer is allowed to buy from five to two per customer.   

It comes as the US death toll from coronavirus rose to 17 Friday, after three new deaths were recorded in Washington state and Florida recorded its first two.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Hundreds of anxious customers lined up for hours outside a Costco in Burbank on Friday morning as they waited for the outlet to open its doors. Shoppers are showing no signs of slowing down as they race to stock up on essential items amid fears the coronavirus outbreak could worsen

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Despite rations being put in place, this shopper managed to secure large amounts of bottled water. The lucky customer also managed to secure paper towels and toilet paper 

MIAMI, FLORIDA: Some customers shopped with friends as they stocked up together at a Miami customer. This woman pushes a pallet laden down with bottled water for her and her pals 

ATLANTA, GEORGIA: One shopper struggled to balance her bulk buy packets of toilet paper as she rushed into a restocked Costco outlet in Atlanta 

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK:  A Duane Reade in the heart of New York City had run out of popular cleaning products

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK:  Locals crowded into the Brooklyn Costco where the store has put up signs limiting the amount water customers were able to buy

EXTON, PENNSYLVANIA: A woman lifts a one of the remaining cases of water into her cart at a Walmart store in Exton on Friday morning 

NORWALK, CONNECTICUT: Empty shelves are pictured in the Norwalk Costco, which had run out of toilet paper

MARIETTA, GEORGIA: A local loads his pickup with bath tissue and paper towels at a Sam’s Club wholesale store on Thursday evening

On Thursday it was reported that Costco sales for the month of February were up a whopping 12.4% on last year. 

‘Members are turning to us for a variety of items associated with preparing for and dealing with a virus,’ Costco CFO Richard Galanti told analysts Thursday, according to KTLA-TV.   

The profits are expected to push over into March, with an analyst from investment bank UBS stating: ‘As consumers prioritize a dwindling number of trips to stores, [Costco] will likely be at the top of the list. Over the long-term, we think the stock-ups will help accelerate [Costco’s] share gains.’ 

Shoppers in all 50 states fear they could be quarantined due to the coronavirus, prompting them to load up on essential items – and boost Costco profits in the process.  

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Customer lined up around the block for hours outside a Costco in Burbank on Friday morning to stock up on supplies 

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Overnight, employees had worked around the clock to restock in-demand items including toilet paper, bottled water, and Clorox wipes and Burbank shoppers were eager to get their hands on supplies

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Shoppers lined up for hours waiting for Costco doors to open, and later faced lengthy queues for the cash register 

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Even as Costco limits toilet paper and water cases to two items per member, customers continue to flood the stores and clean out supplies as panic buying fear over coronavirus continues to sweep America

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Despite the rations, the cases of bottled water were soon depleted 

TARZANA, CALIFORNIA: Rations were also put in place at a CVS in Tarzana, California. Several residents in the area have tested positive to coronavirus after returning from a ski trip in Italy 

California

On Thursday, cops were called to The Chino Hills Costco for a disturbance after the store ran out of bottled water and toilet paper. 

But elsewhere in the state, other Costco customers were keeping calm as they waited in line to pay for their supplies. 

Lines for the cashier snaked back deep into a Costco outlet in Los Feliz, with carts full of bottled water, toilet paper and paper towels. 

Many customers wore face masks in a bid to protect themselves from coronavirus – a day after California declared a state of emergency after a resident died in relation to the illness. 

As of Friday night, over 60 Californians had tested positive to COVID-19 and one person had died.  


LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Anxious customers at a Los Feliz Costco were taking no precautions Wednesday, loaded up on bottled water, toilet paper and paper towels 

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Two women waited in line to check out their groceries at a Costco in Los Feliz. Like all the others in line, their cart was full of bottled water and toilet paper 

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Relieved that they had secured items in scare supply, customers waited patiently in line to pay for the items and take them home at a Los Feliz Costco

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Canned foods, such as Spam, were a popular choice for shoppers at the Los Feliz Costco. In just hours, the store’s stocks were low

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Sales for the month of February up 12.4% on last year at Costco stores, and the boost is likely to push through into March

NOVATO, CALIFORNIA: One shopper pushed a pallet full of supplies out of a store in the state’s northwest 

NOVATO, CALIFORNIA: Shoppers are pictured at a Costco in Novato, near San Francisco. The northern part of California has been hard hit by the coronavirus 

NOVATO, CALIFORNIA: One lady struggled to keep her items contained in her cart as she left a Novato Costco and headed to her car

Miami and Georgia 

While the northwest may be the part of the country currently hardest hit by the coronavirus, state’s in the southeast have also been affected.  

Video showed long lines at a Costco in Miami, where one worker confirmed to the DailyMail.com they only get two palates a day of Clorox Disinfecting wipes per store.

Meanwhile, residents in Georgia were seen loading up their pick-ups with toilet paper and bottled water.  

Sales of hand sanitizers alone were up 73 percent in the four weeks ending February 22 compared to the same period a year ago, according to market research firm Nielsen.

Most if not all pharmacies and supermarkets have been out of face masks for more than a month, with little hope of restocking anytime soon as the US faces a shortage. 

Florida recorded its first two deaths from coronavirus late Friday. 

MIAMI, FLORIDA: At a Miami Costco, stocks were replenished overnight, but rations were put in place in a bid to spread the supply 

MIAMI, FLORIDA: Signs limiting the amount of water, rice, sugar, hand soap, baby wipes, gloves, paper towels and toilet tissue were plastered around this Costco

MIAMI, FLORIDA: Disinfectant wipes were limited to two per customer Friday morning at this Miami Costco 

ATLANTA, GEORGIA: Some cautious customers donned face masks as they made their way through the bustling stores to stock up

ATLANTA, GEORGIA: A customer at this Costco, in Atlanta closely inspects this box of hand sanitizer

ATLANTA, GEORGIA: One woman picks up stocks of cleaning products for her work place. In the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, employers have been taking extra precautions, making sure offices are thoroughly wiped down

ORLANDO, FLORIDA: Lysol disinfectant spray was flying off the shelves at a BJs Club Store in Orlando, Florida 

ORLANDO, FLORIDA: Customers at a BJs Club Store in Orlando faced long lines on Friday 

New York City

Meanwhile in New York City, stores and supermarkets were also selling out of hand sanitizer and face masks on Friday. 

Many who managed to secure the masks were seen wearing them as they commuted around Manhattan. 

Many residents took subways to stock up on supplies Friday, and appeared to be taking all precautions, with several also seen donning gloves or using tissues to hold on to the train’s poles. 

City residents have been left shaken after a Midtown lawyer tested positive to coronavirus and infected more than a dozen other people before he realized he was afflicted with the illness.   

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK: Employees at a CVS store in Manhattan put up a sign for customers, who have been constantly asking about the whereabouts of masks and sanitizer 

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK: Empty shelves of cleaning supplies at a CVS store in Manhattan are pictured on Friday morning 

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK: At bustling Penn Station- one of Manhattan’s largest commuter hubs – a well-protected employee helped a resident with directions. Many locals are on the way to load up on supplies as the number of coroanvirus cases skyrockets across the country 

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK: In the heart of Manhattan, residents were taking precautions as they took the subway to the store to stock up on supplies Friday morning

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK: A commuter donned a protective mask as he made his way through the 14th Street subway station in Manhattan Friday morning. Many residents are forced to take the subway to visit stores and load up on supplies

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK: Panic buying continues at the Brooklyn Costco (above) where the store has put up signs limiting the amount of high turn over items that customers have been buying in bulk

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK: A pallet of disinfecting wipes was being depleted inside a Brooklyn Costco Thursday 

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK: A sign that says ‘DUE TO CURRENT SUPPLY ISSUES EACH WATER ITEM WILL HAVE A LIMIT OF 5’ is posted on the shelves of cases of bottled water as shoppers load their shopping carts with water and other supplies in Teterboro, New Jersey

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK: Despite rations for bottled water, several pallets were empty at the Brooklyn Costco Thursday

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK: A mask-wearing shopper inside Brooklyn Costco battled against the crowds as she tried to fill up her cart 

New York State  

With more diagnoses confirmed in New York Thursday, shoppers flooded a Costco in Brooklyn. 

The store warned customers there would be a limit to amount of water and rice they could buy Thursday. Amazon is also warning same-day grocery customers that delivery may be limited. 

At least 44 people have tested positive to coronavirus across New York State, with most linked to a Manhattan lawyer who lives in Westchester.  

LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK: After a man tested positive for coronavirus on Long Island, shoppers descended on stores across Suffolk Count. In Target, shelves that used to house toilet paper, were empty

LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK: Empty shelves at  a Target in Suffolk County, Long Island, that used to house disinfectant wipes

LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK: Only a few boxes of latex gloves remained at a Walmart in Suffolk County late Thursday

LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK: 44 people have tested positive to coronavirus across New York State

In neighboring Connecticut, a Costco in Norwalk was bustling Thursday, despite the state having no residents test positive to coronavirus. 

One man purchased Red Bull, Gatroade, zip lock bags and tinned tomatoes, appearing to anticipate the fact he may soon be quarantined in his home and unable to make it to the local grocer. 

Meanwhile, shoppers in New Jersey made a dash to Costco, after a resident tested positive to COVID-19 in their state. 

As in New York, popular items were rationed in a bid to ensure there was enough for each customer.   

Elsewhere in the Northeast, a Costco store at King of Prussia mall in Pennsylvania was low on supplies, after customers raided the shelves. 

NORWALK, CONNECTICUT: One Costco shopper looked ready to bunker down,with Gatorade, Red Bull and large tubs of peanut butter

NORWALK, CONNECTICUT: Women’s sanitary items have also been flying off the shelves, with shoppers fearing they’ll be quarantined inside their homes  and unable to make it to the local grocery store due to the threat of coronavirus 

NORWALK, CONNECTICUT: An elderly customer tired to protect himself with a face mask, as he prepared to head into the Norwalk Costco and fill up his cart with essentials 

NORWALK, CONNECTICUT: the line for the cashier at the Costco is pictured

KING OF PRUSSIA MALL, PENNSYLVANIA: At a Costco at King of Prussia, Pennsylvania ashopper walks past a sign above bags of sugar limiting purchase of 5 units per day

KING OF PRUSSIA MALL, PENNSYLVANIA: Despite the rations, the shelves were stripped of stock in Pennsylvania

PLYMOUTH MEETING, PENNSYLVANIA: A woman examines the meager supplies at a Target in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania on Thursday 

EXTON, PENNSYLVANIA: Stocks were still low at a Walmart in Exton, Pennsylvania on Friday morning. Campbell’s stocks are up as many people snap up canned soup 

Everything you need to know about coronavirus

By Natalie Rahhal, Acting US Health Editor for DailyMail.com  

HOW DANGEROUS IS CORONAVIRUS?

About 14 percent of people who contract the Covid-19 coronavirus are taken to hospital – with severe symptoms including breathing problems and pneumonia. About 5 per cent need intensive care.

But the majority who get the virus suffer nothing more than a cough and may never know they are infected.

So far, some 51,000 people around the world have already recovered from coronavirus – and that just includes the numbers who received a diagnosis. 

HOW MANY PEOPLE DIE?

Officially, the death rate so far has been just over three percent. But experts believe the true mortality rate is probably between one and two percent. This is because most mild cases have not been picked up by doctors or reflected in the official numbers – so the death rate is inflated. 

HOW DOES THIS COMPARE WITH OTHER DISEASES?

Seasonal flu kills roughly 0.1 percent of people. So Covid-19 is between 10 and 20 times more fatal.

But it is far less dangerous than SARS – the virus that ripped across China in 2003 – which killed 10 percent of patients.

BUT DOESN’T CORONAVIRUS SPREAD MORE EASILY?

Yes, but not dramatically. The best estimates suggest every person with Covid-19 passes it on to 2.6 people, on average. For flu that number is 1.5. 

CAN IT BE SPREAD WITHOUT SYMPTOMS?

Initially scientists feared carriers who had no symptoms could pass it on. That is now in doubt.

What is likely, however, is those who have mild symptoms are putting it down to a cold and going about their normal lives – which puts others at risk.

HOW LONG IS IT BEFORE SYMPTOMS APPEAR?

Again, unclear. Initially scientists said this could take up to two weeks.

But recent evidence suggests the incubation period could be as long as a month – particularly among children.

The average, however, is much shorter. A Chinese study said the average period of symptom onset was 5.4 days for adults and 6.5 for children. 

WHO IS AT RISK?

The virus can affect anyone – with a study of the first 41 infected people revealing two thirds did not suffer from any pre-existing condition. But the middle-aged are most likely to get it – 78 percent of those infected in China have been aged 30 to 69.

WHAT ABOUT THE OLD?

Only 3 percent of people infected so far have been over 80 – but if they get it they are more vulnerable. Analysis of 72,000 cases in China suggests for over-80s the death rate is 15 percent. For those in their 70s the death rate is 8 percent and for those in their 60s, 4 percent.

WHO ELSE IS VULNERABLE?

Those with other conditions – such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and kidney problems – are likely to suffer severe complications if they become infected.

WHAT ABOUT CHILDREN?

Children seem to be low-risk. Less than 1 percent of the Chinese cases have been under the age of ten – and if children do get the virus it’s often a mild form.

They do, however, retain the virus for longer than adults.

A study last week found the virus was still present in the stools of some children for a month after they contracted it.

DOES GENDER MATTER?

Men are marginally more likely to get the virus than women. It is not clear why this is.

HOW DO DOCTORS TEST FOR COVID-19?

Anyone who has symptoms –particularly if they have travelled to an at-risk area – are told to call ahead to their health care provider, local emergency department or clinics.

This way, health care providers can be prepared, wearing masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment when they meet the possible patient and escort them to isolated areas of the facility.

They are tested using a cheek swab which is sent off for analysis at one of 12 Public Health England labs, a process that takes between 24 and 48 hours. Any positive test is double-checked at the main PHE lab in Colindale.

WHAT TREATMENT DO PATIENTS GET?

There is little doctors can do to tackle the virus, but they can treat the symptoms – such as fever and respiratory problems. Antivirals and antibiotics are also used, mainly to keep secondary problems at bay.

In the most serious cases patients are put on life-support equipment.

There are several clinical trials for potential coronavirus treatments ongoing worldwide, including one in Nebraska, where at least 13 patients are in quarantine, including two in biocontainment units. 

WHAT ABOUT A VACCINE?

Even though the Wuhan virus appeared only a few weeks ago, 20 teams around the world are already manufacturing vaccines.

Chinese authorities provided the DNA code for the virus early on in the outbreak, enabling scientists to get to work straight away.

At least 30 companies and research institutions in the US are racing to make a vaccine.

Last week, one of these companies, Moderna, shipped its candidate vaccine to the US, signalling the shot was ready to begin clinical trials.

Even so, US health authorities say it will likely be upwards of a year before a vaccine is actually ready.

 

 

 

Source: Read Full Article

South by Southwest festival canceled over coronavirus fears

SXSW is CANCELED amid coronavirus fears: 400,000 people were set to attend legendary tech and movie festival which contributes $355.9 million to the local economy

  • City officials in Austin issued the order cancelling the festival there this month  
  • The festival was supposed to take place between March 13 and March 22
  • Last year’s festival contributed $355.9 million to the local economy 
  • Health officials say the risk of such a gathering is too great due to coronavirus
  • There are no cases in Austin, but attendees would’ve flocked from virus hotspots
  • Major companies such as Facebook, Netflix and Twitter had already backed out 
  • US now has more than 250 confirmed coronavirus cases and 15 deaths 
  • SXSW began in 1987 and was attended by more than 200,000 people in 2018

Officials have canceled the South by Southwest festival that was set to take place in Austin, Texas, over coronavirus fears. 

Austin Mayor Steve Adler said on Friday he was issuing a state of emergency that effectively canceled the event, based on the recommendation of public health officials. 

The festival, known as SXSW – set to take place between March 13 and March 22 – had resisted pressure to cancel or postpone up until this point. 

An economic impact report found that last year’s festival, attended by more than 400,000, contributed $355.9 million to the local economy, making the cancellation a devastating blow to Austin businesses. 

It also could be a major financial hit for SXSW itself, a private company that organizes the festival, depending on its insurance coverage and how it opts to handle refund requests.  

Officials have canceled the South by Southwest festival that was set to take in Austin, Texas, over coronavirus fears. Pictured: Amazon Music’s Nathan Brackett (right) moderates a keynote with The Beastie Boys’ Michael Diamond (left) and Adam Horovitz (center) at the 2019 South by Southwest music festival, March 15

The festival, known was SXSW, was supposed to take place between March 13 and March 22. Pictured: Festivalgoers attend DNES Marketing during the 2019 SXSW Conference, March 15

Mayor Steve Adler said he was issuing a state of emergency that effectively canceled the event

It is just the latest cancellation of a major festival or conference due to coronavirus fears, following the cancellation of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last month, as well as Facebook F8 and Adobe Summit.

All told, the economic cost of tech events cancelled due to coronavirus has surpassed $1 billion, according to an estimate from ReCode.  

The SXSW cancellation comes just hours after several major companies including Amazon Studios, Netflix,  Facebook and Twitter dropped out of the festival.  

Several appearances had also been canceled by Ozzy Osborne as well as Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of the band Nine Inch Nails.

Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt, the county’s top elected official, said no one in the Austin area has been found to have the COVID-19 virus. 

However, South by Southwest was expected to have drawn an international audience into close quarters, posing a serious threat of contagion, particularly as many attendees flock from the virus hotspots of California and Seattle.

Festival organizers said in a statement that they were ‘devastated’ by the necessity of the move.

‘The show must go on’ is in our DNA, and this is the first time in 34 years that the March event will not take place. We are working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation,’ the organizers said in their statement.

SXSW 2020 has been canceled by the city of Austin amid concerns over the novel coronavirus. The crowd on 6th street in downtown Austin is seen during the 2015 festival

Previously, local health officials said there was no evidence that shutting down the festival would prevent the spread of the virus. 

The festival organizers noted that Austin Public Health had stated as recently as Wednesday that ‘there’s no evidence that closing SXSW or any other gatherings will make the community safer.’

‘However, this situation evolved rapidly, and we honor and respect the City of Austin’s decision,’ the organizers added. 

The announcement comes days after several high-profile companies, including Netflix, tech news outlet Mashable, video-based social media platform TikTok and U.S. chip maker Intel, pulled out of the festival.

More than 50,000 people had signed a petition seeking to get the festival cancelled.

Major companies such as Facebook, Netflix and Twitter all backed out of the festival over coronavirus fears. Pictured: SXSW Registrant Lounge is seen during the 2019 SXSW Conference, March 11

 

Actor Kumail Nanjiani, who had been scheduled to attend the festival to promote ‘The Lovebirds,’ said he was disappointed but that he understood.

‘Sxsw is one of my favorite festivals,’ he tweeted. ‘Canceling it was the responsible thing to go. I know this sucks for many people for whom this was a massive opportunity. But we’re kind of in an unprecedented situation here and caution is key. Thank you for the making the right decision.’

The festival drew 73,716 attendees last year, 19,166 of whom came from outside the U.S. 

Combined with SXSW’s gaming expo and education conference, the 2019 event drew 417,400 attendees, organizers said. 

The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus has climbed to 14, with all but one victim in Washington state, while the number of infections swelled to over 200 scattered across at least 18 states, including at least six cases in the Houston area.

South by Southwest, a collection of music, film and interactive conferences annually held in Austin began in 1987.

Source: Read Full Article

HUGO VICKERS: Cecil Beaton and Greta Garbo had an affair, book reveals

HUGO VICKERS: British photographer Cecil Beaton and bisexual Hollywood megastar Greta Garbo had an all-consuming affair fuelled by jealousy, cruelty and obsession, a startling new book reveals

Dressed in the height of Edwardian elegance, photographer and theatre designer Cecil Beaton, widely assumed to be homosexual, had fine features, a high nasal voice and exaggerated mannerisms.

His favourite posture, according to one observer, was to stand with his left foot turned out, like a dancing master.

Few knew that, aged 25 on a trip to America, he’d had sex for the first time with a woman — two, in fact, in the space of a week.

The first had taken him on as a one-night challenge, while the second — the sister of dancing legend Fred Astaire — had lasted a little longer.

Screen beauty: Garbo as Mata Hari in 1931 film of the same name. Long before Cecil had even set eyes on the Swedish-born actress, she’d become a full-blown obsession

Indeed, Adele Astaire claimed to be enraptured, though she couldn’t resist telling friends that as he approached the bed, he was demurely holding a towel in front of his private parts.

Given Cecil’s gay background, it was all rather unexpected. Henceforth, Cecil would be bisexual, though of the three great loves of his life, two would be men — arts patron Peter Watson and American art historian Kin Hoitsma — and only one would be a woman.

And not just any woman, but the most celebrated and mysterious of all Hollywood’s stars: Greta Garbo.

Long before Cecil had even set eyes on the Swedish-born actress, she’d become a full-blown obsession.

In 1929, he’d arrived in Hollywood to gather photos for his latest project, The Book Of Beauty, determined to engineer a meeting.

But although major stars from Gloria Swanson to Joan Crawford agreed to pose for him, Garbo remained elusive, even when he persuaded several intermediaries to beg her for an audience.

Beaton is pictured above with another of his conquests, Adele Astaire, in 1933. Adele Astaire claimed to be enraptured, though she couldn’t resist telling friends that as he approached the bed, he was demurely holding a towel in front of his private parts

‘She is the only person with glamour,’ moaned Cecil in his journal. 

‘Women send orchids to her every day, men telephone on long-distance calls to try and hear her voice. She doesn’t give a damn — and the fact that she doesn’t give a damn and will not come out of hiding only increases the frenzy and, as with me, they are almost driven insane with desire to see her.’

For two years, her rejection continued to rankle. But he remained determined to meet the woman he considered the epitome of beauty.

His chance came in 1932, when he returned to Hollywood, this time staying with an English couple who knew Garbo.

They asked her round one Sunday, and she came — on the strict condition that she wouldn’t have to meet their guest.

Cecil was incensed. Dressed in a white kid coat, snakeskin shorts and white shoes, he crept down to the drawing room, pretended to be surprised at Garbo’s presence, and sharply left the room.

As he’d hoped, his hosts called him back. It turned out to be a magical evening. 

Finding himself in New York again for work, he called Garbo — and to his delight, she agreed to visit his hotel suite. Excited, he filled it with flowers and her favourite cigarettes. She arrived late, and they chatted about inconsequential matters. The pair are pictured above

Garbo complimented Cecil on his beauty, his shoes and his youth (though he was two years older than her), and they shared a kiss.

‘You are like a Grecian boy. If I were a young boy, I would do such things to you,’ she purred.

At one point, she gave him a yellow rose she’d filched from a vase. He pressed it in his journal, had it framed and hung it above his bed.

At dawn, Garbo left in her big car. ‘Then this is goodbye,’ Cecil cried plaintively. ‘Yes, I’m afraid so. C’est la vie!’ she replied.

He wrote in his journal: ‘I could hardly believe what had happened. The only concrete proof was the yellow rose she had kissed.’

Garbo, had he but known it, was bisexual, and involved with a lesbian playwright called Mercedes de Acosta.

Cecil didn’t see Garbo again for 14 years. Then, walking into a New York party in 1946, he bumped into her.

He was so taken aback by her beauty that he had to grasp the back of a chair.

To Cecil, now famed for his photographs of both the Royal Family and exquisite beauties on both sides of the Atlantic, she seemed nothing less than a goddess.

She was 41 and, true, there were lines when she smiled, he noted, but she remained as dazzling as ever.

Seizing his chance, he whisked her up to the roof terrace for a long conversation, after which she promised to call him.

When they met again, Garbo told him she hated wearing underclothes or being restricted in any way.

On their third encounter, Cecil asked her to marry him — to which she evasively replied: ‘Good heavens. I don’t think you should speak so frivolously’.

But she continued to see him, and asked if he’d take her passport photo. He did more than that, snapping away then sending some pictures to Vogue.

A few weeks later, when Garbo left for California, he cried. To his chagrin, however, she was chilly when he called her.

She was furious that Vogue had printed more than one of her pictures — though Cecil always maintained she’d pencilled a cross on those she’d approved.

Whatever the truth, Garbo refused to answer his calls, letters and telegrams. 

‘You cannot dismiss me like a recalcitrant housemaid,’ he protested. At other times, he poured out his love in long letters he never sent.

By then, in any case, Garbo was enmeshed in a bizarre relationship with a Russian émigré, George Schlee, who also acted for many years as her closest adviser.

They’d met when she went to his wife Valentina’s New York boutique — and stripped nude in front of him while trying on dresses.

Before long, a curious menage was established, with Schlee seeing his wife and Garbo on alternate nights. Into this web stepped Cecil in the winter of 1947.

Finding himself in New York again for work, he called Garbo — and to his delight, she agreed to visit his hotel suite. Excited, he filled it with flowers and her favourite cigarettes.

She arrived late, and they chatted about inconsequential matters. Each time he asked her a question, she replied: ‘I’m not going to tell you.’ Then she did something unexpected.

‘She suddenly drew the mustard velvet curtains,’ he recalled.

‘I was completely surprised. Within a few minutes of our reunion, after these long and void months of depression and doubt, we were suddenly together in unexplained, unexpected and inevitable intimacy.

‘I had to throw my mind back to the times when in my wildest dreams I had invented the scenes that were now taking place.’

After that first sexual encounter, for the next few weeks, he took her for walks in Central Park.

She was usually late, and his nose would go mauve with cold waiting. Back at his suite, they drank tea and she reminded him not to ask questions.

Once, he recalled: ‘Suddenly, as if it were the most ordinary question in the world, she stretched out her arm towards the other room and asked with disarming frankness: ‘Do you want to go to bed?’ At other times, she’d say: ‘I must be going’ — which was inevitably a prelude to sex.’

He soon found himself expected to bend to her whims and never entirely sure when he’d see her again. Cecil also sensed he was being used for his body.

When he confided in a friend, Mona, she told him to play Garbo at her own game — never hanging around waiting, but leaving his lover dangling.

Fine and dandy: Beaton in his pomp. Cecil’s heart was breaking, but he could no longer envisage a future with Garbo

He ceased contact with Garbo for four days. Fearing he’d been unfaithful, she came charging round on the fifth — only to be told he was taking Mona to a party. 

‘Damn that cocktail party. Why do you go? I want you to stay here,’ said Garbo, no longer cool and in control.

Cecil went anyway, and continued his phone silence. When she rang him, he deliberately waxed lyrical about Mona’s beauty.

‘I cannot feel pity, for the battle is still too desperate,’ he wrote in his diary. ‘But it is quite remarkable what a difference the change of tactics has made.’

One day, he went away for the weekend without a word of explanation. This worked a treat: when they met on his return, Garbo asked many jealous questions —then drew the velvet curtains.

Another evening, at the theatre, she paid no attention to the play, staring at him throughout. ‘I think I’ll have to propose to you,’ she said. With assumed nonchalance, Cecil replied: ‘Oh no, that wouldn’t work any more.’

That night, he wrote, he had to ‘hold onto myself to prevent myself from being devoured.’ 

The tables had turned: Garbo told him over and over that she loved him, and he began to think they might marry.

She was even letting him make love to her at her own apartment, though never letting him stay all night.

One Sunday morning, Garbo showed up unexpectedly. ‘In the brilliant light, she was as beautiful as ever,’ he wrote.

‘The eyes like an eagle’s of pale mauve blue. The skin on the neck and chest of the finest grain and as shiny as marble. Her legs long and like a young girl of 15. The skin is deep apricot in colour. We were very happy in our mutual ecstasy.’

Later, her hair tied with a yellow ribbon, she shared a bath with him. ‘We laughed a lot and I felt very happy.’

Aware he had a sexual hold on Garbo, he attributed this ‘to the fact that I am so unexpectedly violent and have such unlicensed energy when called upon. It baffles and intrigues and even shocks her. May this last a long time!!’

Meanwhile, he was learning about Garbo’s idiosyncracies. She hated her Christian name, she told him.

She adored sculpture, though her appreciation lacked finesse — ‘yum, yum, yum’ she’d say, gazing at the nipple of a female figure by Michelangelo.

He told her about his homosexual past. For her part, she told him about a stranger who’d somehow found her number during the war and called her. She decided to go to see him, and discovered he was going into the forces the next day.

As he showed her round, she thought ‘why not?’ and asked about the view from his bedroom — with predictable results.

At the end of 1950, Cecil again asked Garbo to marry him. ‘I probably will,’ she said, ever the tease. The following year, he begged her to visit him in England, adding: ‘I feel my life very empty and lonely. I really want very much to get married.’

Given Cecil’s gay background, it was all rather unexpected. Henceforth, Cecil would be bisexual, though of the three great loves of his life, two would be men — arts patron Peter Watson and American art historian Kin Hoitsma — and only one would be a woman

She came finally that October to stay for two months at his Queen Anne house near Salisbury, and met several of his friends.

Author James Pope-Hennessy recalled: ‘She has the most inexplicable powers of fascination which she uses freely on all and sundry. She is only explicable as a mythological figure.’

As for Cecil, he’d later describe Garbo’s visit as ‘a long and emotional autumn’ which ‘had reduced me to a jellied pulp’.

Part of the strain was keeping everything to do with her a dark secret, as she loathed publicity.

Months later, Cecil called her immediately after arriving in New York, but she petulantly refused to see him for a few days.

When they finally got together, Garbo said she was livid because he’d written a few lines about her in a book 15 years before.

True, his words hadn’t been flattering — he’d speculated that she was selfish and incapable of love — but they’d been written long before he really knew her.

To his dismay, the affair cooled. But when they quarrelled again over what he’d written about her, he exploded. Contrary as ever, Garbo tried to kiss him — and when he blocked her, crooned seductively: ‘Don’t you want to come and live in this apartment when we’re married?’

Their relationship resumed, but Cecil kept his feelings in check. Predictably, Garbo tried to worm her way under his skin again. ‘I do love you and I think you’re a flop,’ she wrote to him. ‘You should have taken me by the scruff of the neck and made an honest boy of me.’

Was there hope for Cecil after all? In 1956, Garbo came to see him in London, but soon became restless and decided to leave.

‘I was terribly dejected. I had hoped that we might get married,’ Cecil wrote. ‘I [reminded] her that she had blamed me for not taking her by the scruff of the neck and marrying her. How could I now prevent her from making another mistake?’

‘Oh! I always make mistakes,’ was her insouciant response.

Finally, he gave up. For a while, he toyed with the idea of marrying an attractive English widow. When he told Garbo, she reacted with fury: ‘I’ll come over to cut her head off.’

As always, when she sensed his interest waning, she tried to reel him back. ‘Give me another chance,’ she said in a sad little voice during one of their calls.

Cecil’s heart was breaking, but he could no longer envisage a future with Garbo. In the 1960s, he became famous for designing lavish sets and costumes for the film My Fair Lady, and photographed everyone from Twiggy and the Queen to Barbra Streisand and Mick Jagger.

He also fell in love again — with male American art historian Hoitsma, who was half his age, but the relationship didn’t last.

In 1965, he and Garbo met again when both were guests on a yacht in the Greek islands. They hadn’t seen each other in two years.

She was demanding, tiresome, spoilt and selfish, he observed.

In 1974, at the age of 70, Cecil had a stroke which affected his memory and his right hand.

Amazingly, Garbo came to visit him the following year. He was delighted to see his former lover, her hair now grey and tied with a bootlace. She sat on his knee and snuggled up to him like a child.

But as Cecil made his slow progress to the dining room, she turned to his secretary and said: ‘I couldn’t have married him, could I? Him being like this!’

Garbo never saw him again. Cecil slipped peacefully away in his own bed in January 1980.

Friends who couldn’t attend his simple country funeral sent wreaths. From Garbo, there was nothing.

Adapted by Corinna Honan from Cecil Beaton: The Authorised Biography by Hugo Vickers, published by Hodder & Stoughton at £14.99. © 2020 Hugo Vickers. 

To order a copy for £11.99 (20 per cent discount, P&P free) go to mailshop.co.uk or call 01603 648 155. Offer valid until March 20, 2020.

Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things is at the National Portrait Gallery from March 12 to June 7.

Source: Read Full Article

Lewis Capaldi to provide safe spaces for fans at his concerts

Lewis Capaldi to provide safe spaces for fans suffering anxiety at his concerts after revealing his own struggle with panic attacks that forced him to cut a gig short

  • Scottish star has set up the initiative after suffering a panic attack last year
  • His organisation, Livelive, will also offer an email helpline and gig-buddies
  • It will also lead to trained medical and mental health professionals being on site 

Lewis Capaldi’s concerts are to provide safe spaces and an email helpline for fans suffering from anxiety alongside a gig-buddy system for those arriving alone.

The Scottish star has set up the initiative, known as Livelive, after revealing his own struggles with panic attacks that have previously forced him to leave the stage. 

Several American and British celebrities are thought to already be in touch with the trendsetter about having Livelive at their concerts, in a move that is thought to signal more mental health provisions being made in the industry.

Scottish star has set up the initiative, known as Livelive, after revealing his own struggles with mental health (Pictured in Manchester on March 2 this year)

Capaldi’s organisation LiveLive, which he co-founded with Jack Williamson, has been set up to provide support to fans at his concerts.

It will have a help desk in the foyer where music-lovers can seek assistance and the 23-year-old artist will also post meeting points on Instagram to let solo attendees to the concert know where they can meet others also on their own.

Trained mental health professionals and medical staff will also be on site to provide extra care. 

‘This influx of support and shared experiences of anxiety convinced Capaldi that coming up with an initiative for his biggest shows to date was essential,’ co-founder Jack told The Guardian.

‘People were saying, “thank you – I feel less alone”. Or, “I have social anxiety and that’s stopped me from coming to your shows”. One in ten people has anxiety and we saw there was an opportunity to provide support.’

When Capaldi performed in Glasgow on Thursday night Livelive was already in action, providing classes on how to stay centred in a crowded space.

The 23-year-old has also opened an email helpline and gig-buddy system for fans

Capaldi has revealed his own struggle with mental health in candid interviews.

He walked off the stage halfway through a gig in Manchester last year after suffering a panic attack. 

‘Very sorry to everyone tonight,’ he wrote on Twitter at the time, ‘Had a panic attack and had to cut my set short. Thankfully I’ve got it on good authority that it won’t effect my fee and I’ll still be paid in full x’.

Fans have repeatedly praised his openness. One wrote on social media: ‘It’s refreshing that you’re here just being honest about your panic attack when you didn’t have to share that at all. Makes those of us with mental health issues and anxiety feel less alone.’

Another wrote: ‘This made me like you ten times more than I already did. I love that you are so open about it. I struggle with anxiety and panic attacks as well.’

The Scottish artist’s next concert is in Dublin tomorrow evening as part of a busy schedule of shows across the UK and Ireland until October 4.

Source: Read Full Article

Missing cat reunited with its owner after disappearing nearly ELEVEN years ago – The Sun

A CAT has been reunited with its owner after going missing for nearly 11 years.

Missy escaped from Eve McDonnell’s car on April 23, 2009.


Despite a search, Missy could not be found and Eve, 72, gave up hope of seeing her pet again.

So she was stunned when a cat rescue centre got in touch to say the black and white moggy had been found living on the streets eight miles away from her home.

Residents in Hall Green, Birmingham, had spotted the stray living among rubbish and sleeping on top of a bin.

Eve, a retired hairdresser, said: “I never stopped thinking about her.

“You just don’t forget your pets — they are irreplaceable. I can’t believe she’s alive.”

Missy escaped when Eve drove to the shops without realising her pet was asleep on the back seat after sneaking into the car.

She was recently spotted by Ali Shah and his mum Salma, who fed and sheltered her for several days. The pair then took her to Little Haven Rescue in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands.

Rescue centre owner Clare Davis, 46, took the emaciated cat, now aged 17, to an emergency vet where a microchip was discovered and traced to Eve.

Clare said: “I’ve returned cats that have been missing for two or three years but 11 years is pretty unbelievable."



Source: Read Full Article