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US pharmacists are now allowed to order and administer coronavirus tests, as the federal government tries to expand access to diagnostic testing. It was not clear how the samples collected at local pharmacies would be processed to deliver a result.
Germany has carried out more than 1.3m coronavirus tests since the pandemic started, and is now conducting more than than 56,000 every day.
Christine Lagarde has appealed to the eurozone’s bickering governments to “support each other” as they face what the president of the European Central Bank called “one of the greatest macroeconomic cataclysms of modern times” with the coronavirus crisis.
A UN plane carrying 90 tonnes of humanitarian aid has flown to Venezuela, one of the most vulnerable countries in the Americas to coronavirus. Separately, a Russian plane also landed in Caracas on Wednesday carrying aid.
In Turkey, a draft law put forward by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development party would prevent companies from sacking employees for a period of three months, according to Turkish media reports that were confirmed by a government official.
The European Commission has recommended that the closure of external borders be extended for a month until May 15. The recommendation is to the governments of the “EU-plus” zone of 30 countries, including the Schengen agreement states and Ireland and the UK.
Lloyds Banking Group has become the latest major bank to announce that its top executives will give up their annual bonuses in response to the coronavirus crisis. The bonus would have been worth up to £1.8m for chief executive António Horta-Osório.
Another 541 people have died in French hospitals of the coronavirus but the slowing growth of the increase in the total number of people needing intensive care has also continued.
Greece has banned residents from travelling outside the region where they live in order to stem the spread of coronavirus during the Easter holiday break. The ban will take effect on Wednesday evening and stay in force until April 27.