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What you need to know about the coronavirus right now - Metro US

What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

FILE PHOTO: The global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Los Angeles

(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

Trump suspends immigration

U.S. President Donald Trump effectively achieved one of his long-term policy goals by announcing on Twitter on Monday that he would suspend all immigration into the United States temporarily through an executive order.

He said he was taking the action to protect the U.S. workforce. The White House declined to offer further details about the reasoning behind the decision, its timing, or its legal basis.

Trump takes this step as protesters demanding an end to stay-at-home restrictions have spilled out into the capitals of several states, labelling mandatory lockdowns “tyranny”.

Widespread business closures have thrown at least 22 million people out of work, a level of unemployment not seen since the Great Depression.

Assertive China

As the coronavirus crisis eases in China and rages elsewhere around the world, it is becoming increasingly assertive in the region.

In a significant strike against democracy activists in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong, police in the city arrested 15 people on Saturday, just days after a senior Beijing official called for the local government to introduce national security legislation “as soon as possible.”

China has also been flying regular fighter patrols near Chinese-claimed Taiwan and has sent a survey ship flanked by coast guard and other vessels into the South China Sea.

Coronavirus complicates Afghan peace moves

Another of Trump’s efforts, to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, threatens to be derailed by the coronavirus pandemic if Taliban and government prisoners die in custody before they can be exchanged, four sources familiar with the matter said on Monday.

While other U.S. envoys have been grounded, Special Representative Zalmay Khalizad flew to Doha and Islamabad last week following a March 23 trip by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Doha and Kabul.

“The fact that they came to the region is a clear sign that the president under no circumstances wants this deal to collapse,” said a Western diplomat on condition of anonymity.

Virus set to music

From tinkling harmonies as the virus disarms cells to clashing and stormy as it replicates, U.S. scientists have translated the novel coronavirus’ spiked protein structure to music in an effort to better understand the pathogen.

Researchers assigned each amino acid – the building blocks of the protein – a unique note. An algorithm then converted these notes into music.

Professor Markus Buehler at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology believes the tune offers a more intuitive way for people to comprehend the protein.

The composition runs nearly an hour and 50 minutes and has been uploaded to the SoundCloud website.

(Compiled by Karishma Singh)

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