US White House and Senate reach deal on $2 trillion stimulus package
In the US, the White House and the Senate have agreed an economic stimulus package worth more than $1.8 trillion to combat the economic fallout of Covid-19.
Full details of the deal will not be published until later on Wednesday. However, it is expected to cprovide support to workers laid off due the virus and increase unemployment assistance.
The package also includes money to bail out industries that have been affected by the coronavirus crisis and provide emergency loans to small firms.
US markets had risen on Tuesday in anticipation of the deal. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index closed 8% higher on Wednesday and the FTSE 100 index had risen more than 1%.
New Zealand declares national state of emergency over Covid-19
New Zealand has declared a state of national emergency over the Covid-19 outbreak as cases continue to rise.
The National Emergency Management Agency announced that anyone “not working in essential services must stay at home and stop all interactions with others outside of your household.”
Essential services will continue, including food and healthcare shops, however schools will close and all public events are banned. Public transport and domestic flights will be restricted to those working in essential services.
India under lockdown for 21 days from midnight of 24 March, says PM Modi
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a televised address today announced that the entire country will be under lockdown for the next 21 days starting midnight tonight.
PM Modi said: “There will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes.”
He also announced an emergency financial package of Rs150bn ($1.97bn) for healthcare.
So far, over 500 coronavirus cases and ten deaths have been reported in the country, according to the figures released by the Union Health Ministry.
UK Government announces closure of non-essential businesses
Last night, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced more stringent, semi-lockdown measures for the UK to encourage social distancing.
These included only allowing people out of their homes to shop for basic necessities, exercise once a day, any medical appointments and to go to work if absolutely necessary.
To the end of discouraging people from leaving their houses for any other reasons, the UK Government closed all non-essential shops, including clothing and electronics retail stores, hair and beauty salons, and markets, except those selling food.
The police and other relevant authorities will be given powers to enforce these social distancing rules, including issuing out fines.