Cyprus Mail

Wednesday, March 25: Coronavirus global update

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The United States could become the global epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization said, as India announced a full 24-hour, nationwide lockdown in the world’s second-most populous country.

As of 18.30  more than 446,000 people have been infected across the world and over 19,790 have died but at the same time 112,043 people have recovered.



All the latest news in brief as it happens

20.26 Albania declares 30-day emergency to stop coronavirus outbreak

Albania declared the coronavirus a “natural calamity” on Wednesday, giving the authorities 30-day emergency powers to search houses, stop free movement and ban strikes in an effort to break the chain of an outbreak that has killed five so far.

Albania has forbidden internal travel and confined people to their homes since detecting its first coronavirus infection in a early March in a man who had arrived from Italy.

20.24 Erdogan says Turkey will overcome coronavirus in 2-3 weeks through measures

Turkey will overcome the coronavirus outbreak in two to three weeks through good measures, with as little damage as possible, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, adding that he expected patience, understanding and support from Turks in the process.

“We have preparations for every scenario,” Erdogan told a televised address to the nation. “By breaking the speed of the virus’ spread in two to three weeks, we will get through this period as soon as possible with as little damage as possible.”

20.00 France to close Orly airport on March 31 as pandemic hits traffic

Orly airport south of Paris, which is used mainly for short-haul flights, will be closed from March 31 until further notice because of the coronavirus pandemic, airport operator ADP said in a statement on Wednesday.

Passenger traffic at Orly was down 92% on Tuesday compared to the same day last year and it was down 89% at the French capital’s main international airport Roissy-Charles de Gaulle.

All flights for the Paris region will land and take off at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle, whose activity will also be reduced.

19.52 Ukraine to suspend air, rail links from Friday

Ukraine will suspend all air and rail links with other countries from March 27 in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the Interfax Ukraine news agency cited Interior Minister Arsen Avakov as saying on Wednesday.

He urged all Ukrainians to decide quickly whether to return home or remain abroad, Interfax reported. “Overnight from Friday to Saturday, all air links will be suspended. The same goes for train links,” Avakov was quoted as saying.

18.40 Turkey extends closure of schools until April 30 

Turkey will extend the closure of all schools in the country until April 30 over the coronavirus outbreak and home schooling will continue during this period, Education Minister Ziya Selcuk said on Wednesday.

Turkey had shut schools and set up a home-schooling system for students to continue lessons after the outbreak of the virus two weeks ago. Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, speaking alongside Selcuk, said the closure was not a break, but rather a preventative measure to protect families.

18.37 Palestinians report first death from coronavirus

The Palestinians reported their first death from the coronavirus on Wednesday, a woman in her 60s who lived in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

“The woman had experienced symptoms and was later hospitalised” before succumbing to the illness, said Ibrahim Melhem, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, which has limited self-rule in the West Bank.

The woman was from Bidu, a Palestinian village north of Jerusalem and southwest of Ramallah, Melhem added.

18.29 Swiss coronavirus death toll rises to 103, cases total 9,765
The death toll in Switzerland from coronavirus infections has increased to 103, the Swiss government said on Wednesday.

The number of dead was up from the 90 reported on Tuesday, the Federal Office of Public Health said. Total confirmed cases also increased to 9,765, it said, from just under 9,000 on Tuesday.

18.27 Spain’s El Corte Ingles to temporarily lay off 22,000 department store workers

Spanish retailer El Corte Ingles, one of Spain’s biggest employers, said on Wednesday it would temporarily lay off 22,000 workers at its department stores across the country due to the lockdown triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

The retailer said a further 3,900 would be temporarily laid off at its Sfera fashion chain and Viajes El Corte Ingles travel agency.

18.20 Germany: Medical groups warn disputes loom over coronavirus care

German medical associations have warned that they expect disputes to erupt over who will get intensive medical care due to the coronavirus, despite efforts to increase capacity, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported.

They also said once capacity was limited, doctors should not give intensive care treatment to those who have no prospect of recovery, according to the paper.

In a separate article, the paper also reported that Germans were more pessimistic now than at any time since 1949 due to the coronavirus.

18.05 Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre closed due to coronavirus

Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, revered in Christian tradition as the site of Jesus’s crucifixion and burial, was ordered closed on Wednesday for a week, as a precaution against the coronavirus, church officials said.

“The Church of the Holy Sepulchre will be closed from 5p.m. on Wednesday,” Wadie Abu Nassar, media spokesperson of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, told Reuters.

He said the decision followed a meeting between Israeli police and senior church leaders on Wednesday.

17.38 Tunisia coronavirus cases jump by around 50%

Tunisia has confirmed 59 new cases of the coronavirus, Health Minister Abdelatif el-Mekki said in a televised news conference on Wednesday, taking the total number to 173.

Tunisia has instituted a curfew at nights and a lockdown during the day in which people are only allowed out to buy food or medicine or work in some key sectors.

17.30 Estonia records its first coronavirus death -newspaper

Estonia recorded on Wednesday its first coronavirus death, when an 83-year-old patient died in Tallinn, the daily newspaper Postimees reported, citing a hospital spokesman.

Estonia has so far recorded 404 infected people, according to official statistics

17.22 Coronavirus death toll in Italy’s Lombardy rises by around 296 in a day – source

The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in the northern region of Lombardy, which has borne the brunt of Italy’s contagion, has risen by around 296 in a day to some 4,474, a source familiar with the data said on Wednesday.

The figure is down sharply compared to some 402 deaths on Tuesday. If confirmed, it will be the lowest daily death toll in Lombardy since March 19.

The number of cases in the region, which includes Italy’s financial capital Milan, increased by some 1,643 to roughly 32,346, the source said.

17.21 London City Airport to close until end of April

London City Airport said it will suspend all commercial and private flights from Wednesday evening until the end of April following Britain’s order that people should stay at home and stop travelling.

“At this point in this fast-moving and unprecedented situation, we think this is the responsible thing to do for the safety and wellbeing of our staff, passengers and everyone associated with the airport,” it said.

16.49 Guinea-Bissau confirms first two cases of coronavirus

Guinea-Bissau has registered its first two cases of coronavirus, Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Nabiam said on Wednesday.

The patients are a Congolese U.N. employee and an Indian citizen, and both have been placed in quarantine, he said, adding that public transport would be suspended to limit the spread of the virus.

16.41 Bulgaria bans entry of trucks en route to Turkey

Bulgaria has imposed a temporary entry ban on trucks from more than 65 countries that plan to pass through the Balkan state en route to Turkey, the health ministry said on Wednesday, after Turkey imposed stringent coronavirus restrictions on truck drivers.

A 45 km long line of trucks has already built up at the Bulgarian-Turkish main border checkpoint of Kapitan Andreevo after Turkey banned entry of truck drivers coming from countries with large coronavirus outbreaks.

Many of the drivers, who have to wait more than 72 hours to cross the border into Turkey, do not have protective masks or disinfectants, local Bulgarian media reported.

16.10 India bans export of hydroxychloroquine, Hungary follows suit

India said on Wednesday it had banned the export of hydroxychloroquine and formulations of the malaria drug while experts test its efficacy in helping treat patients infected with coronavirus.

“Chloroquine has demonstrated toxicity in certain patients,” Dinesh Dua, chairman of the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India, told Reuters. “You have to tread with caution because there is no comprehensive data to prove it works.”

The group said India, the world’s largest supplier of generic drugs, was not short of the drug but that companies were acutely short of staff to run operations.

A short while later Hungary also announced banning the export of hydroxychloroquine. “As Hungary is one of the world’s largest exporters of this ingredient, the protection and medical supply of the Hungarian population is now a priority,” the government said in a statement on its website.

16.02 Pakistan cases hit 1,000

Pakistan’s tally of cases rose to 1,000, with seven deaths, its health ministry said.

Authorities have shut down Sindh province, home to its largest city Karachi, even though Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was opposed to a full lockdown because the poor would suffer the most.

Sri Lanka has sealed itself off from the outside world, suspending all flights in and out of the island nation.

16.00 India struggles with coronavirus shutdown

India’s 1.3 billion people were under an immense lockdown on Wednesday to prevent an explosion of coronavirus cases as the government struggled to deliver essential goods and calm nerves.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered everyone indoors for the next three weeks, saying this was the only way to avoid a disaster and effectively shutting down Asia’s third-largest economy.

But with less than four hours before the decree went into effect at midnight on Tuesday, crowds of people thronged shops to stock up on milk, rations and medicines even though Modi said these would be available throughout the lockdown.

The lockdown comes after evidence indicated it was spreading out into India’s countless small towns after a first wave in Delhi, the commercial hub Mumbai, and other big cities.

15.32 Switzerland extends border controls to all Schengen countries

The Swiss government on Wednesday said it was expanding its border controls to include all countries in the Schengen open border zone to help protect people from coronavirus.

The move comes after Switzerland last week introduced controls at its borders with Italy, France, Germany, Austria and Spain and all countries not in the Schengen zone.

“Since midnight, the tightened entry requirements have also been applied to flights from all remaining Schengen states with the exception of the Principality of Liechtenstein,” the government said in a statement.

15.04 Vietnam says 141 confirmed cases of coronavirus in country, no deaths

Vietnam’s health ministry reported an additional seven coronavirus cases on Wednesday, taking the Southeast Asian country’s tally to 141, though it reported no deaths.

Vietnam had said in mid-February that all its then-16 confirmed coronavirus cases had recovered, but it has since been battling an influx of imported cases from overseas citizens and Vietnamese citizens escaping outbreaks elsewhere.

There are 1,596 suspected cases in the country, it said, and 24,311 tests have been carried out in Vietnam.

14.27 UK PM Johnson says support for self-employed coming in “next couple of days”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday the government would set out “in the next couple of days” what support it would be giving self-employed workers to help them through the coronavirus outbreak.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak said on Tuesday the government was working on measures to help self-employed people, many of whom have lost their income due to the outbreak, but that there were issues with the practicality and fairness of doing so.

14.17 Iran warns of second wave of coronavirus

Iran may face a second wave of the coronavirus outbreak, government spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Wednesday, as some Iranians ignored guidance issued by health officials to contain the spread of the disease in the country.

“Unfortunately some Iranians ignored advice from health ministry officials and travelled during the (Iranian) New Year holidays … This could cause a second wave of the coronavirus,” Rabiei said, according to state TV.

14.09 UK intensive care demand to peak within 3 weeks, Ferguson says

If Britain’s measures for tackling the coronavirus outbreak work then intensive care demand will peak in 2 1/2 to 3 weeks time, a top epidemiologist who advised the government said on Wednesday.

“If, and it’s an if, we’re moderately confident as I’ve said but can’t be completely sure, if the current measures work as we would expect them to then we will see intensive care unit demand peak in approximately two and half to three weeks’ time and then decline thereafter,” Neil Ferguson, a professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College London, told a British parliamentary committee.

14.08 Spain asks NATO for coronavirus testing kits, ventilators, protective gear

The Spanish army has asked its NATO partners for coronavirus testing kits, ventilators and protective gear as part of the alliance’s international assistance arrangements, Spanish armed forces chief Miguel Villarroya said on Wednesday.

He said Spain made the request to NATO which would pass it on to the member states’ armies. The aid would be transferred to civilians,

13.48 Ukraine government approves emergency across the country over coronavirus spread

Ukraine’s government approved on Wednesday declaring an emergency across the whole country for the next 30 days over the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said at a televised government meeting.

Previously an emergency had been declared in certain regions and in the capital Kiev.

Ukraine has reported 113 cases as of March 25, including 4 deaths. The ministers, all of whom wore masks, also approved to extend lockdown measures already in place for another month until April 24.

13.35 Tokyo governor urges residents to stay at home at weekend

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike on Wednesday warned of an “overshoot” of coronavirus infections at the weekend and urged residents to stay indoors as much as possible.

Koike made the statements at a news conference where she warned of a “severe” situation after more than 40 new infections were announced in the capital.

13.32 Don’t read too much into our low coronavirus death rate – German ministry warns

It would be wrong to read too much into numbers showing a lower relative rate of deaths from the coronavirus outbreak in Germany compared to other countries, since Germany still stood at the beginning of the epidemic, a health ministry spokesman said.

“We are in a very early stage of the epidemic here in Germany and we were testing very early on,” he said, suggesting that Germany’s figures included more mild cases. “Another possible factor is demographic: so far in Germany we have been dealing with relatively young infected people on average.”

He added: “We are at the beginning of the epidemic and so it is far too early to signal the all-clear. These numbers could change.”

13.03 UK adds estate agents and bingo halls to property tax relief plan

Britain on Wednesday expanded the one-year suspension of property tax payments by businesses to include estate agents, lettings agencies and bingo halls which, like many firms, have been forced to close in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered the shutdown of a swathe of businesses, including all non-essential shops, and said the government would stop all gatherings of more than two people in public unless they live together.

12.50 Spain registers more than 700 deaths from coronavirus overnight

Spain registered 738 fatalities from the coronavirus over the past 24 hours in the steepest increase of the death toll since the epidemic hit the country, the health ministry reported on Wednesday.

The number of reported deaths from the virus rose to 3,434 from 2,696 on Tuesday, the ministry said. The overall number of cases soared to 47,610 from 39,673 on Tuesday.

12.49 Japan foreign ministry to advise against all non-essential travel – NHK

Japan’s foreign ministry will advise nationals to avoid all non-essential overseas travel, national broadcaster NHK said.

The ministry will issue a level-two travel warning for all countries in the world, the broadcaster added.

12.39 EU can cover only 10% of demand for medical gear, ventilators with standard supply

European Union states are able to address only 10% of current demand for personal protective equipment and other medical devices, such as ventilators, against the coronavirus using traditional supply chains, an internal EU document showed on Wednesday.

Internal estimates from the European executive commission “show that the traditional supply will only be able to serve ca. 10% of the demand”,” the Commission said in the document, dated 25 March and seen by Reuters.

12.38 Britain’s Prince Charles tests positive for coronavirus

Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, has tested positive for coronavirus, a spokeswoman said.

12.10 Saudi king approves measures to limit outbreak

The Saudi king has approved of a number of measures to limit the spread of the pandemic.

A curfew will be imposed in Riyadh,Mecca and Medina as of 3.00pm while he has also banned the movement between the kingdom’s 13 regions.

12.05 Lagarde asked euro zone ministers to consider one-off ‘coronabonds’ issue- officials

The head of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde asked euro zone finance ministers at a videoconference on Tuesday evening to seriously consider a one-off joint debt issue of “coronabonds” to help fight the epidemic, two officials said.

“She said that we should seriously think about it, next to the use of the ESM (bailout fund) instruments. The Eurogroup did not discuss debt mutualisation at this stage,” one official involved in the meeting said.

A second official confirmed that Lagarde put forward the idea, but said it ran into opposition from Germany, the Netherlands and other northern European countries that have long been against any joint debt issuance.

“She clearly said it should be a ‘one-off’ issuance,” the second official involved in the meeting said.

11.59 Malaysia’s medical glove makers warn of chronic shortage, cost increases

The rubber glove manufacturers association of Malaysia, the world’s largest maker of medical gloves, on Wednesday warned of a chronic shortage of gloves after a surge in demand from hospitals swamped with coronavirus patients.

The Malaysian Rubber Gloves Manufacturers Association (MARGMA) also said production would be cut because of a virtual one-month lockdown in the country, during which they are allowed to operate with only 50% staff.

“Production costs will increase tremendously by at least 25 to 30% … Fortunately, buyers are aware of this cost factor and have come forward to assist and cooperate to bear the cost as well,” it said in a statement.

11.51 Iran coronavirus toll rises to 2,077 after 143 new deaths

An Iranian health ministry official said on Wednesday that 2,077 people had died so far from the new coronavirus in Iran, with 143 deaths recorded in the past 24 hours.

The total number of people infected with the coronavirus has climbed to 27,017, Alireza Vahabzadeh tweeted.

11.49 Netherlands coronavirus transmission rate slowed, top health official says

The head of the Netherlands’ National Institute of Health (RIVM) said on Wednesday that based on its best estimates, growth in coronavirus transmissions had significantly slowed.

In testimony before a parliamentary commission, Jaap van Dissel said the institute’s best estimate was that currently one infected person was infecting around one other person.

That means “the exponential growth of the outbreak has in all probability been brought to a halt,” Van Dissel said.

11.24 Hanoi to close all non-essential services to curb coronavirus spread

All unnecessary services in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, have been ordered to shut down as part of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the city’s ruling body said on Wednesday.

Hanoi has also called on places of worship not to organise events with large numbers of people, and to limit public gatherings, the Hanoi People’s Committee said in a statement.

11.17 160-year-old Vatican newspaper succumbs to coronavirus

The Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano, which Pope Francis has jokingly called “the party newspaper”, suspended printing for only the third time in nearly 160 years on Wednesday due to the coronavirus.

The paper, which was founded in 1861, will continue publishing online and most of its staff of about 60, including 20 journalists, will work from home, editor Andrea Monda said.

“A newspaper and the paper on which it is printed are inextricably intertwined so it sad that this is happening but the reality is that we are all facing a crisis,” Monda told Reuters.

11.15 Tokyo posts biggest daily jump in coronavirus infections – Japanese media

More than 40 cases of coronavirus infections were reported in Tokyo on Wednesday, Japanese media reported, the biggest one-day increase in Japan’s capital which has overtaken much smaller cities to become the country’s epicentre of the virus.

Wednesday’s infections increases the total cases in Tokyo to around 200.

11.11 Philippines’ coronavirus infections reach 636, deaths up by 3

The Philippines’ health ministry on Wednesday reported 84 new coronavirus cases and three deaths.

The latest information brought total infections in the Philippines to 636, and deaths to 38, the health ministry said in its bulletin.

11.10 Indonesia reports 105 new coronavirus cases, three more deaths

Indonesia has confirmed 105 new coronavirus cases, bringing the Southeast Asian country’s total to 790, Health Ministry official Achmad Yurianto said on Wednesday.

Three more people had died, taking the total number of deaths to 58, he said, adding 31 people had recovered from the virus.

The official said Tuesday’s total had been revised down one to 685 after a patient was counted twice.

10.52 Coronavirus cases in Russia reach 658, record daily rise – government

The number of coronavirus cases in Russia has surged to 658, with new daily cases at a record 163, the government’s official coronavirus website showed on Wednesday.

An earlier report on one of Russia’s coronavirus monitoring websites had said the number of total cases was 516.

10.50 Israelis told to keep within 100m from home for recreation

Israelis hoping for a stroll or jog were instructed on Wednesday to stay within 100 metres (110 yards) of their homes for a week under tightened restrictions to curb the coronavirus.

Israel has confirmed more than 2,000 cases and five fatalities so far.

The new restrictions further reduced public transport, required employers to check workers for fever and set sanctions for people who defy rules.

Israelis have been instructed to stay home where possible, schools have been shut and many businesses have closed, prompting more than 500,000 layoffs so far.

10.48 German minister: We must prevent sale or break-up of our key firms

Germany must protect its economic structure during the coronavirus crisis and prevent the sell-off or break-up of key companies, Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht told the Handelsblatt business daily.

“It is imperative that we protect the economic structure of our country during the crisis and prevent the sale or break-up of important companies,” Lambrecht said.

“To this end, the state is prepared to take stakes in companies, even partially or fully, if this should become necessary,” she added.

10.35 French coronavirus death tally much higher than official data – hospitals chief

The number of people in France who have died from coronavirus is much higher than the official daily government tally, which only accounts for those dying in hospitals and does not include those dying at home or in retirement homes, the head of the hospitals federation said.

“We only know the data provided by hospitals… The increase in the official data is already major, but the absolute numbers would no doubt be effectively much higher if we aggregated what is happening in retirement homes as well as the people who die at home,” Frederic Valletoux, president of the French hospitals federation, said on France Info radio.

10.03 Thai lockdown sparks exodus of 60,000 migrant workers 

About 60,000 migrant workers living in Thailand have fled the country since authorities shut malls and many businesses at the weekend to curb the spread of the coronavirus, a Thai interior ministry official said on Wednesday.

Thailand has closed its land borders, told people to stay at home, and shuttered most businesses in an effort to suppress the virus. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha is set to invoke sweeping emergency powers on Thursday.

09.30 More than 158,000 volunteer to help UK fight coronavirus – ITV

More than 158,000 people have signed up to help Britain’s National Health Service tackle the coronavirus outbreak just hours after a request for a quarter of a million volunteers, ITV said.

The health ministry and National Health Service declined immediate comment.

The death toll from coronavirus in the United Kingdom jumped on Tuesday by 87 to a total of 422 – the biggest daily increase since the crisis began.

09.46 Austrian banks well-positioned to weather crisis – ONB

The Austrian National Bank (ONB) said on Wednesday the country’s lenders are well-positioned to weather the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis and to support the real economy.

“Austrian banks in recent years have built up capital buffers that can be used in the current situation to maintain credit supply for companies and households,” the ONB said in a statement.

09.29 UK parliament set to close for at least four weeks on Wednesday

Britain’s parliament is set to suspend sitting for at least four weeks from Wednesday as part of the government’s efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Parliament was due to close for a three-week Easter break from March 31, but a motion on Wednesday’s order paper proposes that it starts a week early, as fears grow that politicians and staff are being put at risk by continuing to work there.

It had already closed to visitors and reduced the number of lawmakers allowed in the House of Commons chamber to allow them to sit more spaced out in accordance with guidance on social distancing.

08.38 Kazakhstan imports fresh coronavirus cases from Russia, Kyrgyzstan

Kazakhstan’s tally of coronavirus infections rose to 79 on Wednesday, boosted by new cases in its southernmost and northernmost provinces, despite authorities’ efforts to confine the disease to two major cities.

Among those who tested positive were one each in Shymkent, the biggest southern city, the southern province of Zhambyl, and the province of North Kazakhstan bordering Russia.

One had recently arrived from neighbouring Kyrgyzstan, while another returned from the Russian city of Omsk, authorities in the oil-exporting Central Asian nation said.

08.28 Number of coronavirus cases in Germany rises to 31,554 – RKI

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Germany has risen to 31,554 and 149 people have died of the disease, statistics from the RKI health institute showed on Wednesday.

Cases rose by 4,191 while the death toll climbed by 36, the tally showed.

08.24  South Africa’s number of coronavirus cases has risen to 709, from 554 on Tuesday, health minister Zweli Mkhize said on Wednesday.

“We are now at 709 cases,” he said, speaking on local news channel SABC.

08.10 Taiwan reports 19 new coronavirus cases, total now 235

Taiwan’s government announced 19 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, all imported, bringing the total number of infected people on the island to 235.

Taiwan also reported one extra case late on Tuesday, in addition to the 20 new cases it announced earlier that same day.

08.02 Mainland China reports drop in new imported coronavirus cases, no local transmissions

Mainland China reported a drop in new confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday as imported infections fell and no locally transmitted infections were reported, including in central Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak in China.

China is ramping up quarantine and screening rules for all international arrivals due to the risks from imported cases.

07.38 Malaysia extends movement curbs to April 14 as virus cases surge

Malaysia’s prime minister on Wednesday extended a two-week virtual lockdown to April 14 as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the country, which has the highest number of infections in Southeast Asia.

Muhyiddin Yassin said the country had 172 new coronavirus cases as of Wednesday noon, taking the total to 1796, with 17 deaths. The original restrictions were until March 31.

He also said that he will announce a comprehensive people-oriented economic stimulus package on Friday. (Reporting by Rozanna Latiff;

07.15 Japan’s capital becomes centre of its coronavirus epidemic

Japan’s capital of Tokyo is at the centre of its coronavirus epidemic with more cases than any other region after a record number in a single day, data from public broadcaster NHK showed.

Tokyo registered a record 17 new cases on Tuesday, taking its tally to 171, and overtaking the hard-hit northern island of Hokkaido island as the prefecture with the most infections, NHK reported.

The outbreak has infected 1,214 people in Japan as of late Wednesday morning, with 43 deaths linked to the virus, NHK said. That excludes 712 cases from a cruise ship moored near Tokyo last month.

07.14 Agreement on massive U.S. coronavirus response bill – Trump aide

U.S. senators and Trump administration officials have reached an agreement on a massive economic stimulus bill to alleviate the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, White House official Eric Ueland said early on Wednesday.

“We have a deal,” Ueland told reporters after days of negotiations on a stimulus package expected to be worth $2 trillion.

07.24 Thailand records 107 new coronavirus cases, bringing total to 934 – health official

Thailand has recorded 107 new coronavirus cases, bringing total to 934, a health official said on Wednesday.

The new cases consist of 27 patients linked to previous cases, 13 new cases including imported ones, and 67 people who tested positive and are awaiting investigation into how they contracted the disease, Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a Public Health Ministry spokesman said.

Thailand has recorded four death since the outbreak while 70 patients have recovered and gone home. 860 patients are still being treated in hospitals.

05.09 India bans export of key malaria drug

The Indian government said on Wednesday that it is banning the export of hydroxychloroquine and formulations made from the medication, as experts test the efficacy of the drug in helping treat patients infected with COVID-19.

There are currently no approved treatments, or preventive vaccines for COVID-19, the highly contagious, sometimes deadly respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus. Researchers are studying existing treatments and working on experimental ones, but most current patients receive only supportive care such as breathing assistance.

Hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug, is among the medications that are being tested, as a potential treatment for patients with the disease. Earlier this week, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), which maintains a list of drug shortages, said hydroxychloroquine was in shortage.

04.43 Death toll in Peru hits 7 as coronavirus spreads
The death toll from coronavirus in Peru hit 7 on Tuesday after a 38-year-old man died after he contracted the disease while on a trip to Canada, the country’s Ministry of Health said.

The ministry said the man, who recently returned to Peru, died after being admitted to a Lima hospital on Monday for respiratory failure. He was found to be suffering from atypical pneumonia, it added.

The ministry also reported the death of a 66-year-old woman from coronavirus, who had returned from Spain on March 14 and died of acute respiratory failure and pneumonia.

03.21 Mexico reports rise in coronavirus cases to 405, one more death

Mexico has a total of 405 coronavirus cases in the country as of Tuesday, up from 367 a day earlier, the health ministry said, with a total of five deaths. Previously, the country had reported four deaths.

03.20 S.Korea reports 100 new coronavirus cases, total 9,137 -KCDC

South Korea reported 100 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing its total infections to 9,137, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

03.19 New Zealand PM Ardern declares national emergency

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared a state of national emergency as the country prepares to go into a complete lockdown at midnight to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

“Its a state of emergency to preserve our way of life,” Ardern said in a speech in parliament on Wednesday, declaring a state of national emergency. The country will go into its highest level of alert from midnight.

The number of COVID-19 cases in New Zealand rose to 205, authorities announced earlier in the day.

01.39 Panama extends curfew, requires full-day quarantine, 98 new cases

Panama’s President Laurentino Cortizo said on Tuesday he would extend a curfew aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus and require people to be in quarantine at all hours beginning on Wednesday.

He said there would be “logical exceptions” including for health workers and certain businesses such as banks and supermarkets.

The number of cases increased by 98 to reach 443.

00.01 Libya confirms first coronavirus case

Libya’s National Centre for Disease Control, which operates across areas held by both sides in the conflict, confirmed the country’s first case of the coronavirus in a statement on Tuesday.

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