Government and policy update from the New Statesman

15 April 2020 (Last Updated April 15th, 2020 09:00)

US: President Donald Trump has suspended US funding to the World Health Organisation over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. He accused the organisation of spreading “disinformation” about the virus.

“The WHO failed in this basic duty and must be held accountable,” he told a White House news conference on Tuesday. This is despite the WHO declaring a global health emergency at the end of January – a month later, Trump was still calling the pandemic a “hoax”. 

Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel will chair a meeting with the nation’s 16 states to discuss whether to ease coronavirus restrictions, which will expire on Sunday.  

UK: All care home staff and residents with symptoms of Covid-19 will be tested for coronavirus, the government has pledged. Currently, only the first five residents in a care home with symptoms are tested, but the Health Secretary Matt Hancock promised to expand tests to anyone with symptoms, including new residents being discharged from hospital into care. 

Singapore: All Singaporeans must now wear a face mask if they leave their home. Anyone caught without a mask faces a fine of 300 Singapore dollars (£168), and repeat offenders could be prosecuted.   

New Zealand: Ministers, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, have vowed to take a 20% pay cut in solidarity with frontline workers facing financial hardship because of coronavirus. The cut will reduce Ardern’s salary by NZ$47,104 (£22,577). 

Japan: Japan’s coronavirus death toll could reach 400,000 if the country does not take measures to slow the spread of the virus, according to a health ministry projection reported by local media. 

Australia: A 35-year-old Perth man became the first Australian to be jailed for breaking emergency coronavirus laws. The man was arrested more than a week ago after sneaking out of his hotel room. 

 

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