Trinidad and Tobago now has 74 confirmedcases of the COVID-19 virus. In a statement, the Ministry of Health said as of Saturday morning, 487 samples have been submitted to the Caribbean Public Health Agency for testing for COVID-19. Seventy-four samples have tested positive, while two deaths have been recorded. One person has been discharged. The Ministry said of the total number of positive cases, 49 of these positive cases came from the group of nationals who recently returned from a cruise: ·46positive cases from the group of 68 nationals who returned from the cruise together · three positive cases from the group of nationals who returned from the same cruise separately from the other 68 nationals. The Ministry of Health is reminding the public that placing your hands on your face increases the risk of contracting the virus. It said the virus can transfer from your hands to your noseand mouth, and then enter your body. It urgedcitizens to protect themselves by washing their hands often with soap and water or by using an alcohol-based sanitizer that contains at least60% alcohol, if soap and waterare not available. The public is also advised to take the following personal hygiene measures to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19: 1. Coveryour nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze 2. Disposeof tissue immediately after using 3. Coughand sneeze into the crook of your elbow if you do not have a tissue 4. Stayhome if you are ill 5. Sanitizehard surfaces (e.g. table tops, handrails, doorknobs and trolleys) as often as possible. 6. Avoidclose contact with people who have flu-like symptoms 7. Practisesocial distancing 8. Maintainat least 2 metres (approximately 6 feet) distance between yourself and others, especially anyone who is coughing or showing signs of flu-like illness. The Ministry said it is also advised that all public transportation vehicles should operate with windows open and limit their occupancy. It added that it will continue to provide accurate information to the public in a timely fashion. Thepublicis therefore urged to disregard and avoid sharing all unconfirmed, misleading and/or false information about COVID-19 (formerly Novel Coronavirus).

Chef Billups' Sunshine Salad with Lion's Mane. (Photos: Contributed)

Detroit Foodlab Alumna, Reneil Billups and her “everything partner and husband”, Charles are set to open their little slice of Jamaica in Pontiac, Michigan. An eatery, aptly called Flavours Of Jamaica, is now openand serving authentic Jamaican dishes from a 406 North Telegraph Road address. There was an official Jamaican Brunch ribbon-cutting and christening of the new space planned for April 4. But, the unexpected COVID-19 crisis has brought all celebrations to a halt. Not one to dwell on misfortunate, Billups and the team have decided to open sooner and save the fanfare for a later date. Chef Reniel told Loop Lifestyle that Flavours Of Jamaica passed health inspection administered by the Oakland County Health Division. [image_gallery] Billups, in an interview with Eater, shared how disappointing the last few days have been. “I literally had 12 events in March and all 12 of them were cancelled,” she said. Due to health and safety concerns with the coronavirus, Flavours Of Jamaica opened this week, but only for take-out and deliveries. “We’re rescheduling the celebration to a later date,” she told Loop Lifestyle. “I am a little disappointed about the cancellation as I had an uncle who was planning to visit for the grand opening and so many others. “It was supposed to be a surprise.” There were plans to fly one of Billups’ biggest inspiration and other family members out to Michigan for the event, but those have since been cancelled. “I’ve heard stories about pandemics and epidemics, but this is different, a new experience for us.” Billups will not be deterred, a credit to her “Jamaican determination”. A native of Westmoreland, Jamaica, Billups moved to the United States at the age of 9. “I might’ve lost my accent a little bit, but I still love the culture and still love my people. I’m here in the United States, and I’m trying to represent Jamaica well and make Jamaicans proud. “I’ve always been in the culinary industry and have always been around people who are passionate about food.” “Another thing is,” she added. “I love for food to not only taste good but also look appealing.” Billups does not play by the rules, either. “I take lessons from everybody and add my own twist ’til it’s perfected.” And for the fun part, the menu brims with Jamaican favourites and quite an extensive list for vegans, too. A total of 13 items like jerk-fried cauliflower and waffles are dedicated to vegan customers. The non-vegan offerings include Jerk chicken, Oxtail, curried goat, brown stew or escoveitch snappers, Curried shrimp, stuffed lobster tail, and more. A Jamaican brunch on Saturday mornings provides Ackee and saltfish run down, Jerk-fried chicken and waffles, Escoveitch shrimp/snapper and grits, among other light bites. The next step for Chef Reneil is updating her YouTube cooking channel with behind the scenes cooking demos, tutorials, updates, and recipes like this one... One follower on Instagram @jc20998 commented: “I live in Flat Rock and I will drive to Pontiac for you guys! Can’t wait until you open!!” When a Google search revealed that Pontiac is approximately an hour away from Flat Rock, we realised this must be love. Billups also mentioned that there are quite a few Jamaican or Jamaican-owned restaurants in Detroit, and that there’s a stigma that few of them are not so inviting. She intends to lighten the mood and create a space for residents to “realise that Jamaicans are actually kind”. “I didn’t realise the Caribbean diaspora was so strong over here, so I wanted to provide something very authentic and Jamaican.”


In this Friday, Feb. 27, 1998 file photo, John Callahan of "All My Children" kisses his award after winning Outstanding Lead Actor at the Soap Opera Digest Awards. (AP Photo/Rene Macura)

Actor John Callahan, known for playing Edmund Grey on "All My Children" and also starring on other soaps including "Days of Our Lives," "Santa Barbara" and "Falcon Crest," has died. He was 66. His ex-wife and former "All My Children" co-star Eva LaRue announced his death on her social media account on Saturday. The two, who played a married couple on the show, shared a daughter, Kaya, "May Flights of Angels Wing You to Your Rest my Dear Friend. Your bigger than life, gregarious personality will leave a hole in our hearts forever. We are devastated-My great friend, co parent partner, and loving father to Kaya," she wrote on Instagram. "Kaya and I are beyond broken hearted, so stunned, sorry that my thoughts are a mess. You gave the best most beautifully written tributes, and I am at a complete loss for words right now for you." Callahan starred on "All My Children" from 1992 to 2005.

When Lyrikal entertained thousands via his first virtual live concert on Thursday night, he did so with a heavy heart and mind. While he was providing cheer to those of us stuck at home, he couldn’t stop thinking about his friends in New York who contracted the coronavirus, one of them who has been hospitalised. “Thursday morning when I got up, I call a brethren to send me some acoustic riddims. And when I call him for that, he told me he has it, he just found out. A next brethren in hospital with a mask on his face, hook up on his bed. I performed with that in my head,” he told Loop from his home in Atlanta. Lyrikal, real name Devon Martin, said he thought about cancelling but his bestie Nadia Batson convinced him to do it stating that even his friends would be watching. “And one of them was watching the live and commenting. He say I lift him up…what I did for my friend was lift up his spirits and that was my concern, people who were sad in their house and needed uplifting.” Lyrikal’s soca concert drew thousands to his Instagram and Facebook accounts. During his set, there were over 8000 people on his Instagram Live while on Facebook Live there were over 70,000 views. “I feel amazing. I feel ecstatic, it is a great, great feeling to see how much love the people have for me not just physically but for somebody to sit by their phone or computer and watch you for over an hour, I am lost for words,” he said, stating that rising numbers gave him the energy to keep going. “I not seeing anybody in front of me, I am seeing a phone. Sometimes it is not easy to perform for a crowd right there but you performing for a phone, if you are not passionate about your craft there is no way you could do that. If you aren’t a real artist you can’t do that.” Lyrikal isn’t the first soca artist to entertain fans with live online performances. Nailah Blackman does a weekly show where she takes requests from fans and performs acoustic versions of her songs and Kees Dieffenthaller recently surprised fans with a brief, stripped-down performance of some of his songs via IG. Lyrikal’s show, however, was pure pace and energy which had people partying in their homes as evidenced by the videos people have been sending him. “When it first came up, somebody tagged me on IG in my stories, a guy by the name of Fly Kid, he said is time for some of these artistes to give a virtual concert and he tag me alone. I was cooking and when I saw it I reposted it and people reacted to it and said do it. I was in the kitchen and God say do a virtual concert so I went on my phone and post it, then I called my manager and my cousin. I got 1200 comments and every comment was yes, please, do it. “The comments were expressing how much they really need it at a time like this so I said if I doing something virtually I want to do something that would uplift them. People could listen to music on their own but the word concert is energy for me. I am giving you a show like you came to Estate 101 to see me. Lyrikal’s vibe is energy, is vibes, I don’t know how to do anything halfway,” he said. Lyrikal’s set included some of his big hits such as ‘Cloud 9’, ‘24/8’, ‘Criminal Wine’. ‘Loner’ and, of course, his 2020 mega-hit ‘Rukshun’. It also included songs from his early days that only his New York, Baltimore and Miami fans would know. “When we do shows in New York, Canada, London, Trinidad, the most I have on stage is 25 minutes to half an hour. I can’t sing all them songs in that time. In this virtual thing, you can’t talk too much, you have to keep people interested. You can’t interact with the crowd so you have to use everything you have. I wanted to show the people is not just these songs I have that allyuh know. I wanted to show people where I really start from. I doing this thing long time,” he explained. His set also included his own reggae single ‘No Friend’ and some of his faves from other artistes. “I wanted to show them versatility as well. I wanted to touch on my favourite songs like ‘Dingolay’ and Million Voice. I wanted to show them what Lyrikal is made of musically. Even for the producers to show them I could do anything so when they sending beats they could send me anything,” he said. Reflecting on his musical journey, he said: “I started performing in Trinidad in 2012 with ‘Ramajay’ and I started to get that lil attention. The next year, 2013, it really kicked off with ‘25/8’. I did 82 shows that year, all the big stages, I was in everything. That was the kick-off year and from then to now, I have been on a consistent flow on my journey. Sometimes I just have to rock back sit back and say boy look at your body of work.” Still basking in the overwhelmingly positive feedback from his concert, Lyrikal said it just felt real and organic, like Trinidad Carnival all over again. He is grateful to all the soca artistes, DJs and producers from all over the world who tuned in among them Voice, Iwer George, Preedy, Skinny Fabulous, Nadia Batson, Bunji, Private Ryan, Back to Basics and Dr Jay. Lyrikal might do another online concert but for now, he is busy in studio recording and organising dubplates he didn’t get time to do before. “The music don’t stop. I don’t ever stop recording. I am writing every night, working on soca. I am working on six or seven projects, wrote four songs so far, recorded three already. Every day I am in studio. I have time now,” he said. He also spends some of his time cooking, a skill he learned from his mother, who he described as a general in the kitchen. As he reflects on the pandemic and worries about his mother who lives in New Jersey and his friends in NYC, Lyrikal said he is just happy to put a smile on people’s faces. His message to the world: “Stay positive, stay clean. We can’t wait to see each other again. I am sending shoutouts to everybody worldwide, we in it together, everybody equal right now.”


A member of the Iranian army walks past rows of beds at a temporary 2,000-bed hospital for COVID-19 coronavirus patients set up by the army at the international exhibition center in northern Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Iran's president on Sunday lashed out at criticism of the country's lagging response to the worst coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East, saying the government has to weigh economic concerns as it takes measures to contain the pandemic. Hassan Rouhani said authorities had to consider the effect of mass quarantine efforts on Iran's beleaguered economy, which is under heavy US sanctions. It's a dilemma playing out across the globe, as leaders struggle to strike a balance between restricting human contact and keeping their economies from crashing. “Health is a principle for us, but the production and security of society is also a principle for us," Rouhani said at a Cabinet meeting. “We must put these principles together to reach a final decision." “This is not the time to gather followers,” he added. “This is not a time for political war.” Even before the pandemic, Rouhani was under fire for the unravelling of the 2015 nuclear deal he concluded with the United States and other world powers. President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the agreement and has imposed crippling sanctions on Iran that prevent it from selling oil on international markets. Iran has rejected US offers of humanitarian aid. State TV on Sunday reported another 123 deaths, pushing Iran's overall toll to 2,640 amid 38,309 confirmed cases.

Set your alarm clocks to go dark at 8:30 pm your local time.

Since the recent Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, many memes and messages have flooded the interwebs. Several of which are from the point-of-view of environmentalists that, in a nutshell, think the earth is in rebellion mode. Some memes have the phrases “Mother Nature is furious” or “the Earth is crying”, one post even had a photo of the earth with a closed sign, truly reflecting the current state of affair. Some may find this humorous, others are still uncertain what to make of it, but many green thumb-ers and environmentalists are in full support. WATCH this inspiring #EarthHour twomi from the official Earth Hour webpage. Started by the World Wildlife Fund and partners as a symbolic lights-out event in Sydney in 2007, Earth Hour is now one of the world's largest grassroots movements for the environment, engaging millions of people in more than 180 countries and territories. It has become a catalyst for positive environmental impact, driving major legislative changes by harnessing the power of the people. Earth Hour activations around the world... South Africa is launching a digital Power to the People campaign for a renewed focus on clean and reliable sources of energy. Singapore will be going fully digital for the first time ever – Earth Hour 2020 – Live & Unplugged Earth Hour Qatar is partnering with AYCM Qatar, Global Shapers Doha Hub and online platform AmpUp Videos that will allow people to record videos with Earth Hour filters and upload them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Nepal will see youth from all over the country come together digitally for Earth Hour to raise their #VoiceForThePlanet and share their thoughts, art and photography on the need to protect and appreciate nature. Australia is going unplugged and online via an #EarthHourLive stream with music acts, comedians and experts, in addition, Gold Coast – Reef Check Australia and Yogaventures are holding Switch off to Switch Off: Lights off in a Candlelight Yoga Nidra relaxation session to mark Earth Hour. Turkey will be hosting a digital campaign where they will prepare a declaration calling for action for nature. Here’s how you can join the movement and help place the spotlight on nature. Join the Earth Hour activities on Saturday, March 28 at 8:30 pm your local time to help place the spotlight on nature – the world is watching.


UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has acknowledged the 2019-20 season across Europe would likely be lost if football is unable to restart by the end of June. The 2019-20 season has been suspended indefinitely across most of Europe due to the coronavirus pandemic, with Euro 2020 also pushed back to 2021. While leagues are hoping to restart between the end of April and the beginning of June, there is as yet no definite return date and Ceferin has conceded it may be impossible to finish the season at all. In that case, UEFA's president has suggested the campaign would have to be considered as null and void. "If we don't succeed in restarting, the season will probably be lost," Ceferin told Italian publication La Repubblica. "There is a plan A, B and C. The three options are to start again in mid-May, in June or at the end of June. "There is also the possibility of starting again at the beginning of the next [season], starting the following one later. We will see the best solution for leagues and clubs." Some matches on the continent, including Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund, were played behind closed doors earlier this month, and Ceferin stated playing games without fans in attendance may be the only solution in order to complete the season. "It's hard for me to imagine all the matches behind closed doors, but we still don't know whether we'll resume, with or without spectators," he said. "If there was no alternative, it would be better to finish the championships."

Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

Maurizio Sarri and the Juventus first team, including Cristiano Ronaldo, have agreed to a temporary pay cut amid the coronavirus pandemic that will save the club around €90million. Juve have not played since beating Serie A title rivals Inter behind closed doors on March 8. Italy's top-flight will not return until at least May 3, a date that could be pushed further back, with the nation recording the highest number of deaths at over 10,000 as a result of COVID-19. Defending champions the Bianconeri have therefore moved to reduce players' wages. Fellow Champions League giants Barcelona filed to make cuts after their squad reportedly refused an initial proposal, but Ronaldo and the rest of Juve's stars - plus head coach Sarri - were able to reach an agreement. "[The club has] reached an understanding with the players and the coach of the first team regarding their compensation for the residual portion of the current sport season," a statement read. "The understanding provides for the reduction of the compensation for an amount equal to the monthly payments of March, April, May and June 2020. "In the coming weeks, personal agreements with the players and the coach will be finalised, as required by the current regulations. "The economic and financial effects of the understanding reached are positive for about €90m for the 2019-20 financial year. "Should the current season's matches be rescheduled, the club will negotiate in good faith with the players and the coach conditional increases of compensations according to the actual resumption and finalisation of official competitions. "Juventus would like to thank the players and the coach for their commitment at a difficult time for everyone."


Put at least six to ten feet of space between you and others as your country works to stop the spread of COVID-19. This is social distancing. But why is social distancing so important? Loop asked Barbados' COVID-19 Czar Richard Carter this questionbecause some persons are still refusing to stay home, still gathering and in a panic to shop while ignoring personal boundaries as they shove to get into supermarkets or line up to go in the banks. How does theSARS CoV-2 coronavirus which causes the coronavirus disease 2019 spread? Carter explained: "The virus requires either close proximity or touching a surface that somebody else contaminated in order to spread. "So you can reduce your risk of getting the disease by maintaining distance between yourself and other persons, so that if they sneeze or cough you're not inhaling the droplets or the droplets are not going on your body and then being transferred either to your eyes, nose or mouth as a result of your touching where the droplets have gone." Why can't we hug, shake hands, go school, go church, play in the playgrounds,lime on the block or chill at the rum shop anymore? Recognising that for many, this calls for a whole shift in behaviour from greeting with handshakes andhugs or even chatting while standing close to each other, he stressed: "The basic principle between social distancing is not to scorn anybody, it is to protect yourself and your relatives from getting infected." Why stay six-feet to 10-feet away from persons? For those who are wondering why social distancing is asking persons to stand six-feet apart, Carter said: "If I am 10 feet away from you and I sneeze then you are safe even if I have COVID-19. You are safe, because that sneeze is not going to travel 10 feet. However, if I sneeze directly into your face then your risk of getting anything that I have that comes out in that sneeze is great. That's the basic principle."

Like many hotels all over the world, Sandals Resorts International announced that it will be closing its doors - fromMarch 23to May 15,2020 -as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, Sandals in St Lucia is joining its sister resorts all over the Caribbean to provide care packages to all of its employees. In a statement, General Manager of Sandals La Toc indicated that the employees are what makes the brand. ‘’Sandals is a brand that takes care of its team members. Any great brand out there believes in their team members that work for them. We are all in this together. The team members are what makes the brand strong. Sandals is all about the people, all about the team members that work here.’’ [image_gallery] In order to soften the economic fallout Sandals will be paying team members 40% of their salaries during the closure and will also ensure that all their benefits, including medical, remain intact, as well as two weeks of paid vacation. The care packages contain a number of essential food items including rice, sugar, flour, milk, juice, eggs, fruits and vegetables and other items. 1200 employees from all three Sandals locations in St Lucia received care packages.