What's Happening: No handshakes, elections threatened, empty stadiums and no love at Louvre


Tomoyuki Sugano of the Yomiuri Giants pitches with a backdrop of empty stands during play in a preseason baseball game between the Yomiuri Giants and the Yakult Swallows at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo. Japan's professional baseball league said it will play its 72 remaining preseason games in empty stadiums because of the threat of the spreading coronavirus. - AP

SHANGHAI/HONG KONG: The new virus is entering new territories, from megacities to seaside villages, and casting a fast-growing shadow over the world economy.

Here’s a look at some of the latest developments:

LONELY MONA LISA

The Louvre is a magnet for tens of thousands of visitors every day from around the planet - and workers fear it's a potential magnet for the new virus. So they voted to keep the world's most-visited museum closed Monday for the second day running, and they're holding a string of meetings with management to find a solution. Frustrated tourists stood outside in line for hours, and now have to find another way to spend a rainy Monday (March 2) in the French capital.

Workers who guard Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa” and other treasures of world art want masks or health checks for visitors.

MERKEL SNUBBED

Fear of the coronavirus is changing habits in Germany, where it's common for people to shake hands at every meeting.

Arriving for a meeting with migrant groups Monday morning, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was rebuffed by her interior minister, Horst Seehofer, when she stretched out her hand to greet him. France’s government is telling people to scale back on handshakes - and even on the ubiquitous cheek kiss. In Italy, Europe’s epicentre of the virus, authorities are conflicted about curtailing a cheek-kissing ritual that’s rooted in Italy’s Mediterranean culture as well as its strong family and social structure.

BAD NEWS FOR JAPANESE BASEBALL?

From soccer to cycling and horse races, sports events around the world are being canceled or delayed by the virus. The latest possible victim: Japanese baseball. The season opening is now in doubt because the Japanese baseball and soccer leagues tapped three medical experts as advisers.

Preseason games are being played in empty stadiums, and whether to hold the March 20 opening as scheduled is a delicate decision. And the big worry is the Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to open on July 24. An Irish bookmaker is already taking bets on whether it goes ahead.

VOTING AMID THE VIRUS

Democracy, too, is being disrupted by the virus. As Israelis vote Monday to decide the fate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, authorities had to set up 15 special balloting stations for hundreds of Israelis who have been ordered to remain in home-quarantine after possible exposure to the virus. Fears of virus spreading may hinder turnout, already threatened by voter fatigue as they face their third election in less than a year. And in France, two mayors have come down with the virus as campaigning heats up for nationwide municipal elections this month.

CHINA SEES LIGHT AT TUNNEL’S END

Remember those temporary hospitals China set up in Wuhan? The biggest one may wrap up operations by the end of the month.

That's according to the director of the hospital, set up in an exhibition centre in the Chinese city that's been the epicentre of the virus. Dr. Zhang Junjian told The Associated Press that the workload for its staff of 1,260 remains heavy, but they could discharge all patients by the end of March and complete its "historical mission.” - AP
Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Covid-19 , No Improvement , Bad Times

   

Did you find this article insightful?

Yes
No

Next In Regional

Covid-19: Cases up by 970, bringing total to 59,817 (updated daily)
China demands India rescind app ban
China says no ‘money worship’ in online shopping, live shows
Work from home revolution is a surprise boon for India’s women
Surveillance in China: artist who hides from security cameras in Beijing wants to highlight invasions of privacy
China ready to work with other countries to build global cyberspace community, Xi says
Chinese court orders wildlife park to delete facial recognition data as privacy concerns grow
TikTok maker ByteDance launches a new casual game store and indie publisher to take on Tencent and NetEase
Police: Hong Kong juveniles becoming victims of child pornography, sex crimes amid pandemic
S.Korean delivery workers say coronavirus boom means relentless toil

Stories You'll Enjoy