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While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Oct 15

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Macron orders curfew in Paris and other major cities to curb Covid-19 spread

French President Emmanuel Macron ordered a third of France’s population be put under nightly curfew on Wednesday to tackle a surging second wave of the coronavirus, saying now was not the time for conviviality.

The virus was spreading at parties and private gatherings, the president said, and action was needed now in Paris and eight other big French cities to slow the rate of infection or else hospitals risked being overwhelmed.

Macron said the curfews were to put a temporary halt to “the parties, the moments of conviviality where there are 50 or 60 people, festive evenings because, unfortunately, these are vectors for the acceleration of the disease.”

Macron announced the curfews, which will take effect from Saturday and run nightly from 9pm to 6am local time the following morning, hours after the government declared a new state of emergency.

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UK’s Johnson resists national lockdown over Covid-19 but rules nothing out

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday resisted a short lockdown for all of England but said he ruled nothing out in the face of calls to shut the country down for two weeks as a “circuit breaker” in order to save lives.

With cases rapidly rising, the British government opted this week for a three-tier system of local measures. The Liverpool area in the northwest became the first part of the country in the highest category, requiring bars, gyms and other businesses to shut, perhaps for months.

Johnson said he would stick to this localised approach, responding to opposition leader Keir Starmer’s demand for a temporary national lockdown.

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Melania Trump says she and son Barron tested negative for Covid-19

US President Donald Trump’s 14-year-old son, Barron, tested positive for Covid-19 but exhibited no symptoms, after both of his parents contracted the virus, first lady Melania Trump said on Wednesday.

“Luckily he is a strong teenager and exhibited no symptoms,” Melania Trump said in a statement. She said she and Barron had since tested negative for the virus.

Melania Trump said her symptoms were “minimal” and that she hoped to resume her duties as first lady “as soon as I can.”

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Trump administration to consider adding China’s Ant Group to trade blacklist

The US State Department has submitted a proposal for the Trump administration to add China’s Ant Group to a trade blacklist, according to two people familiar with the matter, before the fintech arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba is slated to go public.

It was not immediately clear when the US government agencies that decide whether to add a company to the so-called Entity List would review the matter.

But the move comes as China hardliners in the Trump administration are seeking to send a message to deter US investors from taking part in the initial public offering, worth up to a record US$35 billion.

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Duterte wants entire population vaccinated for Covid-19

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday his government has the money to procure coronavirus vaccines but he would need more as he wants to inoculate the country’s entire population.

The government aims to get vaccines to all Filipinos, which Duterte said now number around 113 million, but priority will be given to the poor, the police and military personnel.

“All should have the vaccine without exception,” Duterte said in a late-night televised address.

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