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The Mirror’s must read rundown of today’s news, advice and stories

Replicated from the Mirror, UK

Office staff will NOT have to wear masks at work

Welcome to tonight’s briefing…
Office workers in England will not have to wear face coverings, Matt Hancock has said.
Face coverings will be mandatory in shops and supermarkets from July 24
But the Health Secretary said there were no plans to extend the requirement to workspaces and schools.
“It is something we’ve looked at and rejected,” he said.

He added: “When you’re in close proximity with somebody that you have to work closely to, if you’re there for a long time with them, then a mask doesn’t offer that protection.

“The same logic applies for schools – we’re not recommending masks for schools because if you’re in a classroom with kids all day then a mask doesn’t give you protection.”

In other developments today: 
• Boris Johnson has committed to holding an independent inquiry into the Government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.
• The Queen will attend her first face-to-face public engagement since the lockdown to knight Capt Tom Moore at Windsor Castle on Friday.
• The charity Action on Smoking and Health says more than one million people have given up smoking since the start of the Covid outbreak.
• Starbucks and McDonald’s are among the firms to cut prices after the VAT reduction started today. VAT on food and drink has been cut from 20% to 5%.
• The infection rate in England fell dramatically before the easing of the lockdown in May, according to a study by Imperial College, London. It found the R rate was down to 0.57 – lower than the official estimate of between 0.7 and 1.
• The luxury fashion firm Burberry is to axe 500 jobs from its UK and global workforce.
• DisneyLand Paris reopened today with social distancing rules in place and visitors aged over 11 required to wear face coverings.
• Spanish authorities have closed the Punta Ballena party strip in Magaluf after tourists flouted rules on social distancing and face coverings.

People in Blackburn have been banned from visiting each other in groups of more than two and told they must not shake hands following a spike in new Covid-19 infections.

Health bosses warn that unless the number of new cases goes down, Blackburn with Darwen may have to follow Leicester back into lockdown.

The measures – which also include advice to wear face coverings in all enclosed public spaces – will be in place for the next month.

The authority’s director of public health, Dominic Harrison, said a lockdown similar to that in Leicester is “a real possibility” after the infection rate rose to 47 cases per 100,000 from 31.6 in just seven days.

The authority is third on the list of highest weekly rates, behind Leicester, which has a rate of 118.2 cases per 100,000 and is subject to a local lockdown, and nearby Pendle, with a rate of 76.6.

And here’s how NOT to mask

Discount fashion website Pretty Little Thing has been slammed for selling a “useless” bedazzled face mask

The online retailer was mocked for its Black Diamante Fishnet Mask with shoppers ridiculing the product on Twitter and many branding it “ridiculous”.

Images taken from the Pretty Little Thing Website show the £10 mask as worn by a model and it is made from a fishnet style material, with rhinestones dotted across the front.

The “statement mask” provides absolutely no coverage over the mouth or nose, leading many to criticise the design.

Among those to question, the product was Twitter user Imogen Jayde from Shrewsbury, Shropshire.

Emma Pharoah from Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, retweeted the image saying: “PLT are really f* up atm aren’t they?”

One user named Eden Loise fumed: “Companies who see masks as a trend rather than a necessity in helping prevent thousands of people dying. What is this @OfficialPLT, wise up.”

And another user from Glasgow named Rebekah dubbed it: “The most useless thing I’ve ever seen.”

Thank you for reading The Mirror’s Coronavirus Briefing. We’re proud to campaign seven days a week for a fair and equal society for all. Share your stories at If you were sent this email by a friend and would like to sign up, you can do so here.

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Reverse story of need for negative COVID-19 test certificate to enter Antigua

Reverse story of need for negative COVID-19 test certificate to enter Antigua

by Bennette Roach

We are pleased to say we rush to reverse a story where we hurried yesterday the headline “Travelers to face Negative COVID-19 Test to enter Antigua”, from a Montserrat GIU release.

We dutifully published,While entering Montserrat has taken on visa-styled requirements to enter the island, leaving Montserrat is equally involved as health certificates become necessary to enter Antigua.

The Ministry of Health and Social Services is notifying travelers from Montserrat to Antigua, of the need to have a negative COVID-19 test prior to traveling.

At 1.45 p.m. today Premier Farrell reiterated the information in the Government release which three hours later we discovered the following news from Antigua News Room which completely contradicts the information confirmed by the  Hon Premier Farrell in his press conference where he announced the reduction of conditions resulting in full lockdown and curfews including the closure of the borders of Montserrat to travel in and out of Montserrat.

The Cabinet has agreed to establish what is known as “a travel bubble” that will allow citizens from identified states to travel to Antigua without the necessity to have Covid-19 tests undertaken and certificates presented upon entry.

The citizens of the O.E.C.S. and Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Jamaica will be accorded the privilege of being included in this “bubble”. Reciprocity is also deemed to be a requirement. The number of infected persons in these jurisdictions is deemed sufficiently low so as not to cause a threat, although the citizens of these CARICOM countries, upon entry, will be made to undergo non-invasive temperature tests. Only two of the states have opened their borders since the Covid-19 epidemic.

All other persons of every citizenship who intend to travel to Antigua, after yesterday, July 7, 2020, are required to undertake a Covid-19 test that is no more than 7 days old prior to travel, and to have a certificate showing that they have tested negative.


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COVID-19 forces Visa-styled requirements to enter Montserrat

by Bennette Roach

As the Government of Montserrat continues to remove and amend COVID-19 suppression restrictions, and the phased reopening of the economy continues, a release from the Government Information Unit (GIU) advises:  

“As of Wednesday, July 8, 2020 at 5:00 a.m. the maximum number of persons allowed to gather in a public place will increase from 10 to 50.

  This is outlined in the ‘Public Health (COVID-19 Suppression) (No.4) Order, S.R.O. 44 of 2020’ which will be in effect until August 4, 2020.

Additionally, the categories of persons allowed to travel to Montserrat now “includes a person” who owns a habitable house or home in Montserrat.  However, persons traveling to Montserrat must register by completing and submitting the declaration form on the government of Montserrat website ( no later than three days of their intended date of travel.”

Aircraft owners have seemingly (non-criminalised) responsibilities

The owner of an aircraft or vessel must also ensure that the person has been granted approval to travel to Montserrat prior to departing. All persons arriving on Montserrat must self-quarantine for 14-days commencing on the date of arrival.

The Order also “makes provisions for child care centers, nursery schools, primary schools, secondary school, tertiary school, and any other school(s) to open.”

“However, the Head or owner of the school must submit a sanitisation plan to the Minister of Health for approval, before opening.  The Head or owner of the school must also ensure that staff, students and customers practice social distancing, and comply with any direction or guideline issued by the Minister of Health regarding cleaning, sanitisation, and other precautions. Failure to comply with the directives from the Minister of Health may result in the school being ordered to close.

“As it relates to the operations of gyms and sports clubs, these entities will be allowed to offer services, but must first submit a sanitisation plan to the Minister of Health for approval, before opening.  Once approved to operate, owners of gyms and sports clubs must ensure that customers maintain a physical distance of 6 feet from each other and must comply with any direction of guideline from the Minister of Health regarding cleaning, sanitisation, and other precautions.

“Although the six feet physical distance is specified for gyms and sports clubs, the Order also makes provisions for ‘contact sporting’ activities but individuals must comply with the restriction on the number of persons allowed to gather.” 

The release concludes that all other measures which were previously announced guiding the operations of businesses such as restaurants, cookshops, barbershops, beauty salons, bars, spas and bus, and taxi operators still remain in effect.

For those so able, the full S.R.O may be downloaded at

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, COVID-19, International, Legal, Local, News, OECS, Regional, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments


St. Patrick’s Day festivities abandoned after a ‘rainy’ opening night

by Bennette Roach

Children steelpan players opened the night

From March 14, for the records and because there had been no issue of a newspaper except posts online and on TMR’s Facebook page, we present briefs of matters relating to that as related to Montserrat especially as COVID-19 gripped and crippled activities, be it faith worship, entertainment, all matters relating to the economy, and more.

Ever-present MC Basil Chambers
Ch’man Trixie Duberry welcome addresses
Fr. Vyphius opens with prayers
Festival queens make an appearance and address
Vernare Bass

Some St. Patrick’s Day Festivities events had already taken place. Recall the opening of the St. Patrick’s Festival which kicked off Friday, March 6 to run until Wednesday, March 18. One report stated, “The events selected to run from March 11 to the 18th when most people are slated to be on the island.”

There were several festival entertainment events and shows close to one hundred of them scheduled to take place on March 6 through March 18. See the calendar. Much had taken place through March 13 already, before the action of limiting gatherings as of March 14: To list a few: Mountain a Glow Exhibition, National Museum, Little Bay.

St. Patrick’s Festival Torch Lighting Ceremony – Silk Cotton Tree, Cudjoe Head; Junior Calypso Competition; National Awards – Cultural Centre; MSS Heritage Day; Heritage Bus Tour of Cultural & Historic sites; The Montserrat Action Movement “Together We Strive” – Family Fun Day; St. Patrick’s Lecture – See a special report on page 6.

Bethel School Reunion – Night of Entertainment – Salem Park; Girls Invasion Pt. 2; St. Patrick’s Business Expo –Top Notch Promotions – St. Patrick’s Beach Fete – Old Road Bay

The early shows:

National Trust/ 50th Anniversary Flower Show & Tea Party and Hat Parade – Salem ($20); Bethel School Reunion Banquet & Awards Ceremony – Cultural Centre; Leprechaun’s Revenge & Breakfast Fete – Leprechaun’s Valley; Farmer’s Market – Salem School; Kevin West Water Colour Exhibition & Book Launch; Olde School Ball to Benefit Meals on Wheels – Vue Pointe Hotel.

All of the remaining shows and events were canceled on top of those postponed from even before the start of the festival.

St. Patrick’s Church Annual Dinner, with ‘no gathering law’ -Vue Pointe Hotel (Pick Up – Take away ONLY) with the Church service as were all church services since then canceled.

The symbolic lighted torch at the entrance corner to Cudjoe Head

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World Bank Approves US$11.9 Million Additional Financing for Telecommunications Development in the Eastern Caribbean

WASHINGTON, March 26, 2020 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today, additional financing of US$11.9 million for the Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (CARCIP) underway in Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

This financing will allow the completion of the regional broadband network as well as training activities, business incubation loans, and implementation support. The program has established undersea cables connecting the three countries and is rolling out terrestrial fiber optics. More than half of the office buildings in all three islands have been connected to the internet and over half of schools are connected in two of the countries. With this additional financing, schools in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines will be connected to internet services. Key results include increasing access to regional broadband networks and helping develop an Information and Communications Technology (ICT)-enabled services industry. 

“Development of digital technology is essential for local, national, regional, and global connectivity and it is especially important for the small states in the Eastern Caribbean,” said Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean. “Affordable and good quality high-speed internet is critical and plays a central role in connecting people, creating efficiency in public and private services, enhancing productivity and increasing countries’ capabilities to manage natural disasters and crises.”

The program was developed as part of the Caribbean region ICT strategy—the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Digital Agenda 2025—which was designed to address the challenges of a fragmented market and uneven distribution of resources in this sector.

The ongoing CARCIP program provided financing in the amount of US$25 million. Of the US$11.9 million approved today, US$3 million will go to Grenada, US$4.1 million to Saint Lucia, and US$4.8 million to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. These additional funds will cover financing gaps, including cost increases in infrastructure construction and training activities.


In Washington, Hannah McDonald-Moniz, (202) 250-4498,

For more information, please visit:
Twitter: @WBCaribbean 

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Features, International, News, OECS, Regional, TOURISM0 Comments

St. Patrick's Day - week of celebrations

St. Patrick’s Day – week of celebrations

So, with all the cancellations around the world, tiny Montserrat, though not claiming invincibility from ‘C virus(s), it’s a whole week plus – ten days of celebrations. Don’t miss out on the specials of this growing Festival…

Here is the official list of events for this year’s St. Patrick’s Festival slated to run from March 6 to 18, 2020.


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Friday, March 6, 2020

  • 10 am – 4 pm – Mountain a Glow Exhibition, National Museum, Little Bay
  • 6 PM – St. Patrick’s Festival Torch Lighting Ceremony – Silk Cotton Tree, Cudjoe Head
  • 8 PM – Official Opening of St. Patrick’s Festival – Heritage Village, Salem
  • 9 PM – CZF Promotions Presents Car Clash – Salem Ball Court
  • 9 PM – Rhythm Night – Salem Centre

Saturday, March 7, 2020

  • 6 PM – Junior Calypso Competition – Cultural Centre
  • 10 PM – A1 Promotion presents Fully loaded – Good Life

Sunday, March 8, 2020

  • 6 PM – National Awards – Cultural Centre
  • 7 PM – Road to Revenge DJ Finals, Little Bay Beach (Near Calabash Shanti)

Monday, March 9, 2020

  • 9 AM to 4 PM – MSS Heritage Day – Salem Campus
  • 10 am – 4 pm – Mountain a Glow Exhibition, National Museum, Little Bay
  • 11 AM – until – St. John’s Action Club Lunch – St. John’s Centre
  • 10 PM – Fitz & Fabien presents St. Patrick’s Green & White Launch Party – VIP Club

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

  • 10 AM & 1 PM – Heritage Bus Tour of Cultural & Historic sites – Meet at Brades Arts & Education Ctr Car Park
  • 10 am – 4 pm – Mountain a Glow Exhibition, National Museum, Little Bay
  • 1- 6 PM – The Montserrat Action Movement “Together We Strive” – Family Fun Day – Salem Park
  • 6 PM – DHP – 3×3 Basketball, Sports Centre – Little Bay
  • 6 PM – St. Patrick’s Lecture – Cultural Centre Conference Room
  • 7 PM – Red Cross Fundraising Dinner – Sir George Martin Auditorium – Cultural Centre

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

  • 10 AM & 1 PM – Heritage Bus Tour of Cultural & Historic sites – Meet at Brades Arts & Education Ctr Car Park
  • 6 PM – Rhythm Night – St. Johns Centre
  • 8 PM – Bethel School Reunion – Night of Entertainment – Salem Park
  • 8 PM – Time Out Bar & Grill Live Band Music
  • 10 PM – Girls Invasion Pt. 2 – Cultural Centre
  • Chuch-Gut Ent./ Energy Promo – Sound Clash – Good Life Night Club
    • 5 pm – Pre Lime
    • 12 AM – Clash

Thursday, March 12, 2020

  • 6 AM – Scriber’s Freedom Hike
  • 10 AM – 5PM – St. Patrick’s Business Expo – Brade’s Arts & Education Centre
  • 6 AM – 6PM – Top Notch Promotions – St. Patrick’s Beach Fete – Old Road Bay
  • 10 AM & 1PM Pick Up – Heritage Bus Tour of Cultural & Historic Sites – Meet at Brades Arts & Education Centre
  • 2 PM – National Trust/ 50th Anniversary Flower Show & Tea Party and Hat Parade – Salem ($20)
  • 6 PM – Rhythm Night – Cudjoe Head
  • 5 PM – Bethel School Reunion Banquet & Awards Ceremony – Venue TBA
  • 6 PM – Movie Night – Premiere of No Island Like Home – Cultural Centre
  • 10 PM – Hypnotik Montserrat – Leprechaun’s Revenge & Breakfast Fete – Leprechaun’s Valley

Friday, March 13, 2020

  • Sunrise – Farmer’s Market – Salem School
  • 10 AM & 1 PM Pick Up – Heritage Bus Tour of Cultural & Historic Sites – Meet at Brades Arts & Education Centre
  • 10 AM – 5 PM – Montserrat National Trust 50th Anniversary Flower Show – Salem ($5 Entrance)
  • 3:30 PM – Kevin West Water Colour Exhibition & Book Launch – Montserrat Museum, Little Bay (Runs until March 22)
  • 10 AM – Until – Goat Water, Fish, Coconut Water & Ital Festival – Carr’s Bay Center
  • 1 – 4 PM – Emerald Isle Bush Rum Factory Lime – Piper’s Pond
  • 7 PM – Movie – No Island Like Home – Salem Park
  • 8 PM – 2AM – Olde School Ball to Benefit Meals on Wheels – Vue Pointe Hotel ☘️ Only $50EC
  • 11 PM – All-White Affair – Cultural Centre Parking Lot

Saturday, March 14, 2020

  • 7:30 AM – 6 PM – SPAcation2020 – Isle’s Bay Beach Bar
  • 9 AM – 8th Annual MAPS Invitational Golf Tournament – Collins Park Golf Course, Old Towne
  • 10 AM Until – Trials Reunion – Woodlands Beach
  • 10 AM & 1PM Pick Up – Heritage Bus Tour of Cultural & Historic Sites – Meet at Brades Arts & Education Centre
  • Noon – Nicki’s Seafood Fest – Little Bay
  • 1 PM – Acoustic Sounds of Montserrat & Masquerade Dancing Competition – Marine Village
  • 3 PM – Imperial Entertainment – Wet Dreams – Tropical Mansions
  • 6:30 PM – Movie – No Island Like Home – Venue TBA
  • 7PM – St. Patrick’s Annual Dinner -Vue Pointe Hotel
  • 7:30 PM – House of Refuge Gospel Explosion – Cultural Centre
  • 10 PM – Gold Rush 4 – Salem

Sunday, March 15, 2020

  • 4 AM – 11 AM – Island Diva Mas Leprechaun’s Dust – Leprechaun Valley
  • 9:15 AM – National St. Patrick’s Day Church Service – St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Look Out
  • 10 AM – 4PM – Luck of the Irish – Day Party – Venue TBA
  • 11 AM – Scriber’s Boat Tour and Party – Little Bay
  • 2 – 6 PM – Montserrat Old Times – National Museum, Little Bay
  • 4 PM – Afro Madras Fashion Show – Moose’s Place – Little Bay
  • 3 PM – Emerald City Fest feat Jah Cure and other artists – Salem Park
  • 6:45 PM – Movie Premiere – Wendy – Montserrat Cultural Centre
  • 7:30 PM – Emerald Community Singers – Vue Pointe Hotel, Old Towne

Monday, March 16, 2020

  • 10AM – 6PM – Chess Entertainment presents Boozey Brunch Day Fete – Good Life Parking Lot
  • 3PM to 12AM – Emerald Splash – Pool and Jacuzzi Party – Chez Mango Villa
  • 6:45PM – Movie – Wendy (Sports Centre TBC)
  • 7PM – Matrixx Dancers presents Unveil – Cultural Centre
  • 8PM – Movie – No Island Like Home
  • 10PM – Stratify – Salem Park (Various artists)

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 (National Holiday)

  • 1 AM to 6 AM – Drum Jam
  • 5:30 AM – St. Patrick’s Heritage Jouvert: Powered by Chatter Box – MSS to Salem Centre
  • 5:30 AM – Freedom Run & Walk – Cudjoe Head
  • 8 AM – 5PM – MS Star Pride Cruises in Little Bay Port
  • 12 PM – St. Patrick’s Day Parade – MSS to Heritage Village, Salem
  • 2 PM – Slave Feast, Heritage Village, Salem
  • 4 – 8 PM – Closing Ceremony & Cultural Show, Heritage Village, Salem
  • 10 PM – Squad First Promotions “Illuminate the Night – The Official St. Patrick’s Festival Cool Down Fete, Salem
  • 10 PM – Yellow Fete – Salem Park

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

  • 7 PM – Faith Tabernacle Pentecostal Church “Freedom” Concert – Cultural Centre
  • Black Nice UK Ltd presents Music is “Da Rod” Festival – Road Show, Salem Park
    • 6 am Jouvert
    • 8 pm Concert

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Dublin’s St Patrick’s Day Parade, which is attended by hundreds of thousands of people is set to be cancelled this year in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Coronavirus: Three new Irish cases confirmed as St Patrick’s Day parades cancelled

Reprint from the Irish Times

€2.6bn sick pay measures and business liquidity fund announced; stocks markets plunge

Dublin’s St Patrick’s Day Parade, which is attended by hundreds of thousands of people is set to be cancelled this year in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times
Dublin’s St Patrick’s Day Parade, which is attended by hundreds of thousands of people is set to be canceled this year in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Fiach Kelly, Martin Wall, Paul Cullen Updated: about 15 hours ago

Three newly discovered cases of coronavirus were reported on Monday evening, bringing the total of confirmed cases in the Republic to 24.

 The new cases included three women who had close contact with a confirmed case. Two, including one healthcare worker, are in the south of the country, and one is in the west.

 It has also emerged that one previously reported case involved a person who had traveled from Africa through a European country. This is the only travel-related case not linked to Italy.

Fourteen of the 24 cases are associated with travel from an at-risk zone, seven came from contact with a confirmed case and two have arisen in the health service. Three cases are the result of community transmission for which there is as yet no explanation.

Chief medical officer at the Department of Health Dr. Tony Holohan said Ireland remained in a containment phase, but would “eventually” move to a delay phase and then on to a mitigation phase.

Ireland still has a “relatively small number of mostly isolated, sporadic cases,” he said.

He said it is planned to introduce a number of measures relating to individual and collective behaviour but it was not to start these before they are necessary. “The measures we deploy have to be deployed at the right time,” he said, otherwise people would become “fatigued” and their compliance would drop.

The new cases come after the Government agreed on an aid package of some €3bn  to deal with the public health and economic impact of coronavirus. It has also canceled all St Patrick’s Day Parades in the State in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

Sick pay

People affected by coronavirus are to receive sick pay of €305 per week from their first day of illness under a new initiative announced by the Government. 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the existing conditions surrounding the sick payments, such as having a specific number of contributions, would be waived. 
Payments will also be available to the self-employed.  The Taoiseach said emergency legislation to change the existing rules governing sick pay would be introduced in the Dail next week.  This measure is estimated to cost €2.4bn. 

The decisions were made following a meeting of the new Cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19 and followed advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team.

It says the HSE  is scaling up its actions to deal with a population impact over the coming months which will cost in the region of €435 million in 2020. It says a package for business will include a €200m “liquidity fund”. 

At a press conference in Government Buildings, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “It is possible we are facing events that are unprecedented in modern times”.


Mr. Varadkar said the State’s response has to be “modulated and has to be calibrated” and said decisions on how to react to Coronavirus will not be made “on foot of pressure” from business, politics, the media or social media.

He said the Government will have to make sure “that the interventions that are going to take place have to work” at the right time. He said the spread of Coronavirus cannot be stopped but “it can be slowed” and that it warrants a societal response as well as a medical response.

“If the worst projections come true – come to be the case – if a vaccine and a treatment is not developed then obviously the situation is going to be not like anything that we’ve experienced in our living memory,” he added.

Coronavirus outbreak: Main developments on Monday

In Northern Ireland, two schools have been closed for a deep clean after a student tested positive for coronavirus.  The health minister Robin Swann told the North’s Assembly that the schools are located on the same site.  Northern Ireland currently has 12 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Councilors in Belfast have voted to cancel the city’s St Patrick’s Day parade because of coronavirus. 

The St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin draws nearly 500,000 people and it is the latest in a series of large public events to be canceled. The celebrations were expected to generate  €73 million for the economy.

The last time St Patrick’s Day parades were canceled was due to the foot and mouth restrictions in 2001.

Concerns over the impact of coronavirus on the global economy on Monday prompted some of the biggest one-day stock market falls since the 2008 crash.

US stocks plunged 7 percent after opening on Monday, triggering a 15-minute trading halt for the first time since December 2008.

The France-Ireland Six Nations game which was scheduled to conclude the Guinness 2020 Six Nations in the Stade de France next Saturday was postponed until October.

It has also been confirmed Mr. Varadkar will shorten his St Patrick’s visit to the US to attend further meetings about coronavirus.

Mr. Varadkar is not attending an engagement in New York on Tuesday and instead will begin his trip in Washington on Wednesday.

Ireland’s match against France in the Six Nations has been postponed until October. Photograph: Reuters
Ireland’s match against France in the Six Nations has been postponed until October. Photograph: Reuters

Stock markets were also spooked by the stand-off between Saudi Arabia and Russia which has triggered a 30 percent crash in oil prices.

More than 110,000 people have been infected in 105 countries and territories and 3,800 have died, mostly in mainland China, according to a Reuters tally.


The whole of Italy is to be put on lockdown to deal with Coronavirus, the prime minister Giuseppe Conte announced on Monday.

He will move to extend restrictive measures on travel — currently in force in the north — throughout the rest of the country in a bid to limit the spread of coronavirus after the number of cases soared by 25 percent. He also said all public gatherings will be banned.

The country has also reported 463 deaths from the virus an increase of 97 from Sunday. Italy’s cabinet is expected on Wednesday to approve a €7.5 billion package to help to offset the hit from the crisis.

Five people have died and 319 people have tested positive for the disease, up from 273 at the same point on Sunday, the UK’s department of health said.

All sporting activity at all levels in Italy has been suspended until April 3rd at the earliest, the Italian national Olympic committee (Coni) has announced.

The French government announced on Sunday it was banning all gatherings of more than 1,000 people in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Germany has reported four deaths and has also implemented a similar ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people.

European Union leaders will hold emergency talks soon to discuss a joint response to coronavirus, officials said on Monday, as the bloc’s executive considers relaxing state subsidy rules to allow extra public spending.

In the United States, officials are preparing to receive thousands of people onboard a cruise ship with at least 21 people on board infected by coronavirus.

More than 3,500 people on the ship come from 54 countries, including Ireland. – Additional reporting agencies

See below – more cancellations of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations:

Boston cancels St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston amid coronavirus fears

By Danny McDonald Globe Staff,Updated March 9, 2020, 12:07 p.m. 126

A pipes-and-drum band marches in the St. Patrick's Day parade in South Boston last year.
A pipes-and-drum band marches in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston last year. Nathan Klima for The Boston Globe

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston scheduled for Sunday has been canceled amid rising numbers of coronavirus infections in Boston, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced Monday.

“This decision is being made out of an abundance of caution to ensure that we are doing what is needed to keep the residents of Boston safe and healthy,” Walsh said in a news release that described the decision as a collaboration with state and city representatives and David Falvey of the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council.Related: Mass. coronavirus cases rise to 41 as events are canceled

CANCELED: 169th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival | San Francisco

Saturday, March 14, 2020 – All Day | Cost: FREE
Market Street | Market Street and Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CAFinancial DistrictSan Francisco

David Yu

The 2020 San Francisco Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival has been postponed. The permits for the Parade and the Festival—both scheduled for Saturday, March 14th, 2020—were canceled by the City and County of San Francisco on Friday, March 6th, 2020, as part of a series of measures designed to reduce the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

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Montserrat works with Caribmedevac for air ambulance services

CaribMedevac’s Pilatus PC-12 at JAO airport

The Air Ambulance by St. Barth Executive (St. Barth Executive’s ‘Caribmedevac’ – SBE) made an inaugural landing at the John A. Osborne Airport at approximately 11:35 a.m. on Tuesday, February 4, 2020, in their Pilatus PC-12 (See more on the aircraft at

This was part of an approval process to operate flights from Montserrat, in finalising arrangements for an additional airline to provide medical evacuation services (medevac) from Montserrat to other countries with the Government of Montserrat through the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS). The process is finally to be able to transfer some of the islands critical patients to other regional hospitals, and further afield, as required.

Caribmedevac touches down and taxiing during its tests of landing and taking off exercises at JAirport on Feb 4 20 Caribmedevac

Once they have been approved to operate commercially, Caribmedevac and its medical crew will be available, based on the MOHSS request, to provide medical transportation services from Montserrat to other destinations, including long-range international flights to the USA.

Invited to a Press Briefing and Air Ambulance Tour, MoHSS officials and mostly other staff, nurses, doctors, involved in the process were on hand to witness the first arrival of the Air Ambulance (air ambulance aircraft) by St. Barth Executive Caribmedevac an organisation which has been operating for five years already.

Vincent Beauvarlet, CEO
Minister of Health Charles Kirnon with PS Gerald and CMO Greenaway-Duberry in the background

There was a welcome ceremony for the medical transportation visit opening with a prayer, followed by welcome by Permanent Secretary Mrs. Camille Thomas-Gerald, brief addresses by the Hon Health Minister Charles Kirnon and Chief Medical Officer Mrs. Sharra Greenaway-Duberry,  who at her turn said she was more than excited that the hard work to bring in the SBE to Montserrat had reached this far. She expressed gratitude to the medical staff, officials, fire and rescue and all of those who support the work of the ministry for their unwavering support.

Minister Kirnon noted that this arrangement will add an extra level of resilience in Montserrat’s health sector, and is timely, especially as we are moving towards the goal of a new hospital.

, CEO Vincent Beauvarlet MoHSS officials and staff – above: Veronica Dorsette-Hector and OECS, official

“This air access development for our medical services links with the broader healthcare development and the new hospital, so that we maximize and improve our healthcare services and outcomes, stabilizing our health system now and for the future,” he said, while Mrs. Camille Thomas-Gerald echoing the sentiments and further noted that securing this service is part of the Ministry’s strategic objective.

“The MOHSS has an obligation to ensure that our patients are being provided with optimal healthcare services at all times, and to do this we must continually explore avenues through which we can expand and optimize healthcare delivery, for our patients on the ground and those we are transporting overseas,” Mrs. Gerald said.

Pilots who flew in the Caribmedevac aircraft

Prior to this arrangement with ‘Caribmedevac’, local commercial airline Fly Montserrat, provided air transportation services exclusively for the MoHSS when requested. “I want to also acknowledge the role that Fly Montserrat has played over the years, and will continue to play along with St. Barth Executive’s ‘Caribmedevac’ for our medical air transfers”, added Health Minister, Honourable Kirnon.

Fly Montserrat will continue to provide the short 20-minute trips to Antigua. Minister Kirnon added that it is his hope that the island will become less dependent on the need to fly patients out of Montserrat.

Vincent Beauvarlet, CEO and Director of Operations who also addressed the small gathering, gave details of the French company an air carrier under European Commission Regulation, which boasts Safety, Experience, and services.  ‘Caribmedevac’ is based Guadeloupe, St. Barthélémy and St. Martin, is an EASA-certificated scheduled air carrier servicing the region with urgent air transportation for a medical crew, medical equipment, blood, organs or lab samples. Caribmedevac is a Trademark of St Barth Executive.

Beauvarlet explained that their aim is to offer rates which are about 10% of what many countries presently pay for medivacs. He cited Dominica who may need to send a critical care patient to Trinidad must hire a plane out of Miami at a cost of around US$25,000.  He points out that since St. Barth Executive, will have planes on St. Barths, Guadeloupe and St. Martin it will make it much easier and more affordable to serve the region.

At question time TMR prompted by the sounds of the high costs involved, asked the only question that time allowed before three groups of ten were afforded a tour of the air ambulance aircraft under the guidance of the two pilots. “How do you get paid? Is it going to be done by an insurance company or strictly by the government?”

The CEO did take some time with his answer, continually reminding that his English is not very good. He said: “…most of the time it is the hospital who manages everything, the local hospital, the local hospital call us and says we have this case… then our doctors can study it, this is the first step… then we do a quote the best quote we can with one medics or two medics…”

He gave an example of how the money is raised: “…they share, the insurance put 20 %, the social security put 10% and the family put 50%, sometimes it’s the opposite. Sometimes social security puts 50% sometimes insurance puts 40%, sometimes the insurance calls for 100% if they have full coverage…”

He noted: “very few citizens of Caribbean – full coverage because of the rates… we have no issue on payments everyone is trusting everyone so when we need to, we take off…” suggesting all along that the payment gets worked out.

The idea of that question was to raise the question and propose that the government and people of Montserrat to benefit from the upscaled services, notwithstanding the Minister’s hope that with the new hospital, Montserrat ‘will’ not have a need for too much of that kind of service.

As later explained by the pilots, the aircraft, which is Swiss made, is able to fly to Trinidad in one hour from Montserrat and 55 minutes to Barbados at a height of 31,000 feet.

The CEO in his delivery noted, confirming Minister Kirnon, that they will not replace FlyMontserrat as their services will only provide longer runs. He provided in-depth details of their service. Some of the features of the air ambulance include reduced cabin noise in flight; no vibration; last generation special air medical pressure and the ability to fly around and above any weather disturbance.

He points out that they meet the region’s medivac needs, with trained maintenance technicians and engineers at its various hubs to service the aircraft. The Pilatus PC-12 NG aircraft designed by the Swiss only needs half of the airport runway for takeoffs and landings says the CEO. It also has the ability to maintain the cabin pressure at ground level although it is at 30,000 feet in the air. This allows them to fly quickly like a jet. Doctors are a part of the team and work to ensure the patients are stabilised before they are transported.

To be able to accomplish its goal of serving the region’s medivac needs, the airline has trained maintenance technicians and engineers at its various hubs to service the aircraft.

The Pilatus PC-12 NG aircraft with its single-engined turbine designed by the Swiss only needs half of the airport runway for takeoffs and landings says the CEO. It also has the ability to maintain the cabin pressure at ground level although it is at 30,000 feet in the air. This allows them to fly quickly like a jet. Doctors are a part of the team and work to ensure the patients are stabilised before they are transported.

Posted in CARICOM, Featured, Health, International, Local, News, OECS, Regional, TOURISM0 Comments


5.0 quake hits southern Puerto Rico amid ongoing tremors

A 5.0 magnitude earthquake hit southern Puerto Rico on Saturday at a shallow depth, raising concerns about unstable infrastructure in a region that has been hit by quakes every day for nearly a month.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake occurred at a depth of eight miles (13 kilometres) around the southern coastal town of Guayanilla, located close to the epicenters of most of the recent earthquakes. “We felt it really hard,” town spokesman Danny Hernandez told The Associated Press, saying authorities were patrolling the area to investigate any potential damage.

The newest quake comes a day after hundreds of people in the island’s southern region were evacuated from earthquake shelters that flooded after heavy rains hit the U.S. territory. In the coastal city of Ponce alone, more than 350 people on Friday were moved back into a school that served as the initial shelter when the ground first began shaking, Angel Vazquez, the city’s emergency management director, told the AP.

He said no damage was immediately reported in Ponce, but that crews were out inspecting buildings in areas affected by a 6.4 magnitude quake that hit Jan. 7, killing one person and damaging hundreds of homes. A 5.9 aftershock that hit the same area on Jan. 11 caused further damage. The ground in southern Puerto Rico first began shaking on Dec. 28, and while experts say several local faults are to blame, they are still analyzing data to determine why the earthquakes continue.

U.S. President Donald Trump has approved a major disaster declaration for more than dozen municipalities in Puerto Rico following earthquakes that officials say have caused more than $200 million in damage.

The number of 4,000 people representing nearly the recently declared population of Montserrat, remain in shelters.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Earthquake, Environment, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM0 Comments


CORONAVIRUS spreading from China

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Featured, Health, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments

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