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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Princess Eugenie is turning 30

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Princess Eugenie is turning 30 The Queen's granddaughter, Princess Eugenie, is turning 30 on Monday. The milestone birthday of the youngest daughter of the Duke of York and Sarah, Duchess of York, will no doubt be very low-key as the nation is urged to stay at home to halt the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Spirited, art-loving Eugenie, who often entertains royal fans by posting amusing images of herself as a youngster on Instagram, is 10th in line to the throne. The princess has shared a campaign on her Instagram Stories, urging people to give a national round of applause to NHS workers from their doors, balconies and windows at 8pm on Thursday. Eugenie married tequila brand ambassador Jack Brooksbank in a glittering royal wedding in 2018. She has been looking forward to the wedding of her sister, Princess Beatrice, to millionaire property tycoon Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in May. But Beatrice's wedding plans have been thrown into disarray. Her wedding reception in the Buckingham Palace gardens has been cancelled because of the Covid-19 outbreak, and churches are limiting those attending marriage ceremonies to just the priest, the bride and groom and two witnesses. Eugenie's mother Sarah has said the past six months have been hard on her and her daughters with the scandal that has engulfed Andrew. The duke retired from public royal duties in November after his disastrous Newsnight interview about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Andrew has strenuously denied claims by Virginia Giuffre that he slept with her when she was 17 after she was trafficked by Epstein. The duke is facing calls to talk to the FBI and US prosecutors, but has previously been accused of having "completely shut the door" on any co-operation. Princess Eugenie Victoria Helena of York was born on March 23 1990 at the exclusive Portland Hospital in London. In a week-long name game, Andrew and the duchess kept the nation guessing as to what they would call their daughter. Their unusual choice generated much surprise and was inspired by the Victorian era. It was the second name of one of Queen Victoria's granddaughters. Eugenie was born sixth in line to the throne, but moved down to 10th following the arrival of the three Cambridge children and Archie Mountbatten-Windsor. She became the first royal baby to have a public christening when in 1990 she was baptised during morning service at St Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham. Two years after she was born, Andrew and Sarah announced they were to separate. The duchess, nicknamed Fergie in the press, was responsible for sparking a major scandal in 1992 when she was snapped topless having her toes kissed by her financial adviser John Bryan. Andrew and Sarah divorced in 1996, amicably had joint custody of Eugenie and Beatrice, and have remained close. When she was 12, Eugenie underwent a successful operation to straighten her spine, having been born with the rare condition of scoliosis. She is now patron of the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, and her wedding dress was specifically designed with a low back to show her surgery scar. Eugenie explained: "I believe scars tell a story about your past and your future and it's a way of getting rid of a taboo." Her teenage years were relatively well-protected from the media and she was said to be caring, considerate and cheeky. As an 18-year-old, she was reprimanded by her boarding school after she was reportedly caught running around naked. It was reported that a senior staff member was woken by playful shrieks and found about a dozen young women dancing around without any clothes in the college grounds. Eugenie took combined studies of English, history of art and politics at Newcastle University, lived in £96-a-week halls and then in a student house and graduated with a 2:1. She is now is a director at the contemporary art gallery Hauser & Wirth in London, and is passionate about art, citing Jean-Michel Basquiat, the pioneering prodigy of the 1980s New York art scene, as a hero. The princess posed for fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar in 2018, and shared the secrets of a day in her life, revealing that she shops at Waitrose, does her make-up in the car, finds heels tricky to walk in and likes to watch zombie drama The Walking Dead. She listed chips, Diet Coke and cashew nuts as her indulgences, and vodka with soda and lime as her favourite tipple. Her romance with Stowe-educated Mr Brooksbank, a brand manager for George Clooney's tequila firm, began after they fell in love at first sight on a ski trip. Eugenie is close to both her parents, calling them Mumsy and Papa, and saying: "They are the best divorced couple I know. They just always went out of their way to make us feel loved and secure." In her Instagram posts, she pokes fun at herself through family photos including one of her as a youngster "stifling a yawn on the steps of St Paul's in a full pink suit". She is very close to her sister, whom she calls "Bea" or "Beabea". "Like all sisters we have silly arguments about unimportant stuff, but we do love each other to death," she has said. The princess is not a full-time working royal, but is a regular at Ascot and Trooping the Colour and also puts in appearances at royal garden parties and major celebrations and jubilees. Eugenie is also patron of several charities including the Elephant Family, the Teenage Cancer Trust, the Coronet Theatre and the European School of Osteopathy. Published: 23/03/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Covid 19 Nurse and mother of three 36 in critical condition

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Covid-19: Nurse and mother-of-three, 36, in critical condition A 36-year-old nurse and mother-of-three is on a ventilator in intensive care after contracting coronavirus. Areema Nasreen is being treated at Walsall Manor Hospital in the West Midlands where she works and is in a critical condition. Her sister, Kazeema Nasreen, who works as a healthcare assistant at the same hospital, said the family thinks she could have picked it up "virtually anywhere". The 22-year-old said her sister, from Walsall, was on annual leave when she first started showing symptoms and does not think she picked it up at work. She confirmed her sister is currently in a critical condition and on a ventilator, but "making tiny little progress". Kazeema Nasreen has urged everyone to "take coronavirus seriously". She said: "My sister who is an amazing nurse on the front line and who always helps so many has now caught this virus. "She is critically ill in ICU (intensive care unit), on a ventilator and fighting for her life. "I want everyone to know how dangerous this is. My sister is only 36 and is normally fit and healthy. "People are not taking this seriously enough. She is young - it is not just the elderly who are at risk." She said the family are "heartbroken" but she praised the staff at Walsall Manor Hospital who have gone "above and beyond" in their care for her sister. "Areema loves the NHS," she said. "Her colleagues are like a second family and they have been truly amazing with her - and us. "They are keeping us all strong and doing everything they can for her." Published: 23/03/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Olympics facing postponement as virus hits markets worldwide

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Olympics facing postponement as virus hits markets worldwide As infections soar in Europe and the United States and the world economy spirals downwards, Japan has hinted at the next possible victim of the globe-spanning coronavirus: the Tokyo Olympics. Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe acknowledged that a postponement of the world's greatest sporting event could be unavoidable. Canada and Australia then added to the immense pressure that has been steadily mounting on organisers by suggesting that they would not send athletes to Tokyo this summer. The Games are set to begin on July 24 in Tokyo. "If it is difficult to hold in a complete way, a decision of postponement would be unavoidable," Mr Abe said. The massive headache of changing the logistics of an event that has taken years to prepare for - not to mention the huge cost involved and the blow to national pride - would simply be the latest example of something once unthinkable becoming reality as the spread of the virus dismantles the normal structure and activities of human life. The accumulation of cancelled events, lost or altered work and a general, widespread shrinking in spending and interaction has led to global economies suffering. In the US, politicians were negotiating an enormous rescue package that could be worth nearly two trillion dollars (£1.71 trillion). A surge in infections has caused a critical shortage of medical supplies in many places. Spain erected a field hospital in a convention centre, while US president Donald Trump ordered mobile hospital centres be sent to Washington, California and New York. A number of politicians and celebrities also announced they have tested positive or were taking quarantine precautions. Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky became the first US senator to announce he was infected. Opera superstar Placido Domingo also announced he has Covid-19, while German chancellor Angela Merkel put herself into quarantine after a doctor who gave her a vaccine tested positive. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever or coughing. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. Italy's infections continued to spike on Sunday, hitting 59,000 cases and 5,476 deaths, and India's prime minister asked his nation of 1.3 billion people to stay at home. In Australia, a ban began on bars, gyms, cinemas, nightclubs, restaurants and a host of other places where large groups of people gather. Japan has apparently dodged, so far, the unchecked spread of the virus which some had earlier foreseen. But for many there, the fate of the 2020 Olympics has been a daily worry. The International Olympic Committee announced a plan to examine the situation over the next few weeks and make a decision that could include the option to postpone. Australia issued a statement saying it was advising its athletes to prepare for an Olympics in 2021. The Australian committee's executive board agreed unanimously that "an Australian Team could not be assembled in the changing circumstances at home and abroad". Mr Abe ruled out the possibility of a cancellation and said he hoped the IOC will make a decision early if the games are postponed, because the process would involve a lot of work and officials would need to start making changes as soon as possible. The Olympic torch arrived in northern Japan last Friday ahead of the March 26 start of the torch relay, though officials are looking to keep crowds low. As of Sunday, Japan had 1,719 confirmed cases of the virus, including 712 from a cruise ship, with 43 deaths. Japan has so far managed to slow the acceleration of the outbreak, but experts say they have found a growing number of clusters in urban areas with untraceable origins. While other countries struggled to contain the virus, the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus outbreak emerged last year, said it is now allowing for limited movement, both within the city and out of it, as its months-long lockdown gradually eases. Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, has 67,800 cases, the bulk of China's 81,093 total. The first infections were reported there, and Wuhan was also the first city to be locked down. There was less promising news in business circles. Singapore Airlines said it will cut 96% of its capacity until the end of April as international travel continues to be hit by tightening of border controls to battle Covid-19. South Korea's low-cost airline Eastar Jet said it is temporarily shutting down its all domestic flights, days after it halted its last remaining international flights. In New York, everything from play dates to picnics in the park and games of basketball were shut down as officials set up dramatic restrictions to slow the virus. There are worries the state could become one of the world's biggest coronavirus hotspots. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered all non-essential businesses in the state to close and non-essential workers to stay at home starting on Sunday night, tightening previous restrictions. New York City hospitals are just 10 days from running out of "really basic supplies", Mayor Bill de Blasio said. Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, promised on CBS' Face The Nation that medical supplies are about to start pouring in and will be "clearly directed to those hot spots that need it most". But efforts for a quick aid package from US congress faltered. The senate voted against advancing a nearly two trillion-dollar economic rescue package. Democrats had argued it was tilted toward corporations rather than workers and health care providers. The delay shook investors, as futures for US stocks fell sharply at the start of trading on Sunday. Futures for the S&P 500 fell by 5%, triggering a halt in trading shortly after opening. Wall Street is coming off its worst week since 2008, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 17%. Worldwide, more than 335,000 people have been infected and more than 14,600 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. There were more than 33,000 cases across the US and more than 400 deaths. Worldwide, some 97,800 people have recovered, mostly in China. Published: 23/03/2020 by Radio NewsHub

NHS workers given round of applause and flowers by Tesco staff

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NHS workers given round of applause and flowers by Tesco staff NHS healthcare workers have received a round of applause and flowers from staff at Tesco in a nod to their work during the coronavirus outbreak. Tesco said that staff at stores across the country independently decided to make the gesture as part of the NHS hour it introduced today. The new measure, introduced after some workers found shelves emptied by stockpiling, allows healthcare workers to arrive one hour before the usual store opening times every Sunday to buy supplies. Workers in Belfast were greeted with a warm reception at the Tesco Extra on Knocknagoney Road, in a gesture which appears to have been mirrored by various outlets across the UK. Video of the moment NHS workers entered the Northern Ireland shop, which is just a 10-minute drive from Ulster Hospital, shows people being handed bouquets as they enter the shop. The footage has been shared widely on social media after being filmed by Tesco worker Michaela Osborne - who posted it to Facebook with the caption: "Showing our appreciation for our amazing NHS staff." Elsewhere many more similar stories were shared from Tesco stores in Llansamlet, Swansea, Kidsgrove in Staffordshire and Twickenham in London among others. Sharing an image of one of the bouquets, the Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust tweeted: "A huge thank you to Tesco and other stores who have opened this morning for #NHS staff. "NHS workers were handed flowers at Twickenham Extra and the staff gave everyone a round of applause. "And the lovely Sheila from our Immunisations team led a round of applause for Tesco staff who are all working so hard for everyone affected by the pandemic." In a statement on its new Sunday opening policy, Tesco said: "We know that those working for the NHS may be finding it hard to find time to shop for their groceries at the moment. "They can come to our large stores one hour before the usual store opening time every Sunday, and will be able to browse the store and select their shopping before the checkouts open. "All we ask is that they bring a form of ID with them to store, such as an NHS staff card." Published: 23/03/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Johnson under pressure to bring in tougher measures

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Johnson under pressure to bring in tougher measures Boris Johnson is under mounting pressure to order a widespread lockdown after thousands of people ignored calls for "social distancing". The Prime Minister said he will be thinking "very, very actively" about what steps to take if people continue to gather in large numbers in defiance of calls to stay apart. There was anger among MPs at scenes over the weekend of crowds flocking to parks, markets, beaches and beauty spots. Conservative former Cabinet minister Julian Smith said he would support "any measure" the Government brought forward to force people to comply with the guidance. For Labour, shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said ministers should be making "immediate preparations" for the "next stage" while learning from other European nations. The calls came as an 18-year-old was thought to have become the youngest victim of the virus in Britain as the number of deaths in the UK rose to 281. There are growing fears that Britain is on a similar trajectory to Italy - scene of the world's worst outbreak - where the death toll passed 5,000 over the weekend. The Italian government was one of a number of European countries to announce new or extended restrictions - with Germany banning public gatherings of more than two people not from the same household. Mr Johnson warned that the NHS could be "overwhelmed" in the same way as the Italian healthcare system has been, if the the spread of the virus in the UK is not curbed. But at his daily No 10 press conference on Sunday, Mr Johnson indicated he was reluctant to ban people from going outside for a walk or to exercise because of the physical and mental health benefits, as long as they acted responsibly. The Government later issued updated guidance making clear that essential travel did not include visits to "second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar, whether for isolation purposes or holidays". However among some MPs there was a clear mood for firmer action amid fears that further delay would cost lives. Mr Smith, the former Northern Ireland secretary, said: "Many people have recklessly ignored government advice this weekend. "I will support any measure the Government needs to force people to follow the guidelines designed to protect NHS staff and UK citizens' lives." For Labour, Mr Ashworth said: "We urge the Government to make immediate preparations for the next stage and learn lessons from other European nations. "If voluntary social distancing measures are not adhered to, the Government must bring forward their plans for stronger action." Labour MP Rosena Allin-Khan, who also works as an A&E doctor at St George's Hospital in south London, also bitterly attacked the Government's approach. She said her latest shift had been a "deeply, deeply eye-opening" experience with previously fit and healthy people in their 30s and 40s "attached to machines, fighting for their lives". "The Prime Minister has been blase about this from the start, waiting for others to make decisions so he doesn't have to. It is costing lives," she said. "Enough is enough. The NHS cannot cope and it won't be long before doctors have to choose between who lives and who dies." While people were heading to open spaces, there were signs that city and town centres were closing down with McDonald's, John Lewis, Primark and Timpson among the high street chains to announce they were closing their doors. Meanwhile letters are going out to 1.5 million people with underlying health conditions who are considered to be the most vulnerable to the coronavirus telling them to stay at home for the next 12 weeks. The Government said it would ensure those without families and friends to support them would continue to receive food and medicines, with the military helping to organise deliveries. Schools across the country will be opening their gates only to the children of key workers considered essential to the running of the country, with apparent confusion over how many will be admitted. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson appealed to parents to keep their children at home unless their job is "critical" in the response to the coronavirus. "This will help to halt the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and save lives," he said. "We will be closely monitoring what is happening in schools and will ensure they get the support they need in the weeks and months ahead." Published: 23/03/2020 by Radio NewsHub

McDonalds to close all restaurants from Monday amid coronavirus outbreak

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McDonalds to close all restaurants from Monday amid coronavirus outbreak All McDonald's restaurants in the UK and Ireland will close by 7pm on Monday to protect the safety of its employees and customers, the company said. The fast-food company, which has 135,000 employees in the UK and Ireland, said it has taken the "difficult decision" in a statement posted to Twitter - adding that stores will close by that time on Monday "at the latest". The decision comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for pubs, clubs and restaurants to shut on Friday, although he stressed they could continue with a takeaway service. "This is not a decision we are taking lightly, but one made with the well-being and safety of our employees in mind as well as in the best interests of our customers," McDonald's said. "We will work with local community groups to responsibly distribute food and drink from our restaurants in the coming days. "Thank you to our brilliant employees for their hard work during this incredibly challenging time. "We look forward to seeing you all again as soon as it is safe for us to reopen." Paul Pomroy, chief executive of McDonald's UK & Ireland, said: "Over the last 24 hours, it has become clear that maintaining safe social distancing whilst operating busy takeaway and Drive Thru restaurants is increasingly difficult." He added: We have not taken this decision lightly and know that our restaurants have been playing an important role in the community providing hundreds of thousands of free drinks to frontline health and social workers and emergency services personnel. "But I have been clear throughout this that we would only continue to operate whilst it was safe for our people and together with our franchisees, we feel now is the time to make this decision to temporarily close. "We will be working closely with community groups across the UK and Ireland to distribute food from our restaurants to those most in need, and ahead of closing tomorrow evening, will ensure frontline health workers and emergency services personnel do not have to pay for any food or drink in our restaurants on sight of their work pass. "I want to thank every single one of our 135,000 employees. I am so proud of them all for adapting so quickly to a constantly evolving work environment, taking every step to keep our customers, couriers and teams safe and looking after each other so very well." Published: 23/03/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Up for the Cup Soccer fans brew up a new game

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Up for the Cup? Soccer fans brew up a new game Football fans in Scotland have found a novel way to feed their appetite for the sport during its postponement by the coronavirus outbreak. The #TeabagVolleyChallenge was coined by Hibernian Women footballer Siobhan Hunter and the game is simple - film yourself kicking a teabag into a mug on the volley. Hunter told the PA news agency: "It was a competition I had done in my own kitchen with myself... I'm happy that other people are giving it a go as it's actually a very fun competition. "It's a great way to stay busy, have a competition in the house with family members and create a good atmosphere. "There are also different ways of putting it in the mug so there's a fun way to increase the standard." Scotland international Amy Muir, Hunter's team-mate, added: "She challenged us as a team to try it so then we put it out to challenge the public with the #TeabagVolleyChallenge." Hunter's alternative way of tea-making method is now proving thoroughly popular in Scotland, where many are sharing their attempts on Twitter. Donna McQueenie, from West Lothian, filmed her 10-year-old daughter Eve, who plays for Hibs' Under-13s, taking part in the challenge. "Eve loves these sorts of challenges at the best of times but for her heroes to start the trend was fantastic, which meant she was keen to impress them," Ms McQueenie, 40, told PA. "She is doing all she can to stay sharp and fit, so these challenges mean a lot at this difficult time." Hibernian analyst Emma Crawford, from Edinburgh, said the challenge is particularly welcome amid the current crisis. "It's nice to have lighthearted challenges like this to take our minds off the situation that's going on at the moment," she said. The trend could also be found in Glasgow, where Leah Robinson described it as "a way to cure the boredom for a while". "Promise it wasn't a fluke," said Ms Robinson of her header into a teacup. Published: 22/03/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Hints at help for self employed over coronavirus crisis

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Hints at help for self-employed over coronavirus crisis Chancellor Rishi Sunak is considering further measures to protect the self-employed from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, a Cabinet minister has signalled. Mr Sunak has been criticised that his plan to underwrite the wages of millions of workers who face being laid off as activity dries up does nothing for the country's five million freelancers, contractors and other self-employed workers. Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said other emergency measures put in place by the Government will help them, but he added ministers are now looking to see what more can be done. He told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show: "We appreciate this isn't perfect and the Chancellor is going to keep reviewing the situation and see if there are further measures we can take. "It isn't easy, it's not as simple as supporting those who are in employment. "The purpose of our employment mechanism is to help continue the connection between employees and their business so once this is over - and it will be over - those individuals can return to their usual work and that link isn't broken. "It is operationally very difficult to create a scheme akin to that for the self-employed but we are reviewing this. If there are further steps we need to do, we will take them." Published: 22/03/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Coronavirus death toll in Wales reaches double figures

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Coronavirus death toll in Wales reaches double figures A further seven people have died in Wales after contracting coronavirus - taking the total number of deaths during the pandemic to 12. Public Health Wales said five of the deaths were at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport, one in Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny, and one at the Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil. All those who died were over 70 and had underlying medical conditions. On Saturday, health officials said another 89 people had tested positive for coronavirus in Wales, taking the total to 280. Dr Frank Atherton, Chief Medical Officer for Wales, said: "It is with deep sadness I can confirm a further seven deaths of patients in Wales who tested positive for coronavirus. This takes the number of deaths in Wales to 12. "My thoughts are with their families and friends, and I ask that their privacy is respected at this very sad time." Previously announced deaths included a 75-year-old at Singleton Hospital in Swansea and a 98-year-old at Ysbyty Gwynedd hospital in Bangor. One person in their 60s, and two others aged 71 and 96 died in hospitals in Swansea, Bridgend and North Wales. Public Health Wales said the seven deaths had not happened overnight but have occurred in the past week. Meanwhile, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price has said self-isolaters should be banned from travelling to rural parts of Wales during the Covid-19 crisis. Mr Price has written to First Minister Mark Drakeford demanding he stops people travelling to caravan parks, second homes and tourist accommodation across the country. He said there are concerns about an influx of people into rural communities - putting even more pressure on local health and social care services. Mr Price spoke out as would-be tourists are being urged to avoid beaches and other holiday destinations in the UK to limit the spread of the virus. The continuing rise in deaths came as the Welsh Government announced a series of measures aimed at tackling the crisis, including bringing doctors and nurses out of retirement and increasing testing. Mr Price is urging the Welsh Government to immediately order the closure of caravan parks, holiday parks and other holiday accommodation and use them, if necessary, to house frontline health staff. He also wants to see people banned from using their second homes during the pandemic and urged people not to travel. "In the interest of ensuring a consistent approach and controlling demand on local services in these areas, I believe that the time has now come for the Welsh Government to give direction," Mr Price said. "I am asking that urgent steps are taken to avoid unnecessary additional pressure on our health and social care system at this difficult time. "This should clearly be done in consultation with other governments, acting in co-ordination where possible, but independently if necessary." Published: 22/03/2020 by Radio NewsHub

Earthquake hits Croatia

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Earthquake hits Croatia A strong earthquake shook Croatia and its capital on Sunday, causing widespread damage and panic. A 15-year-old was killed and there were other injuries, media reported. The European seismological agency, EMSC, said the earthquake measured 5.3 and struck a wide area north of the capital, Zagreb, at 6.23am (0523 GMT). The epicentre was four miles (7km) north of Zagreb at a depth of six miles (10km). Many buildings in the city cracked, and walls and rooftops were damaged. Streets were littered with debris, with concrete slabs falling on cars and chimneys landing in front of entrances. Inside homes, residents shared photos of belongings falling off shelves, broken bottles and glass. Croatian media said a 15-year-old died. Officials said there were other injuries, but gave no immediate details. The earthquake struck amid a partial lockdown of the capital because of the spread of the coronavirus. People were told to avoid public areas, such as parks and public squares, but had no choice as they ran out of their apartments. Up to five people keeping distance are allowed to be together. Zagreb's famous cathedral was also damaged, with the top of one of its two spires collapsing. The cathedral was rebuilt after it toppled in the 1880 earthquake. Power was cut as people ran out of their homes. Several fires were also reported. At least two other tremors were recorded later. Published: 22/03/2020 by Radio NewsHub