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Thursday, March 26: Coronavirus global update

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

As of 18.30 more than 503,000 people have been infected across the world and over 22,340 have died but at the same time 121,227 people have recovered.

Summer is unlikely to stop the spread of the virus, and every country in Europe is forecast to run out of intensive care beds by mid-April unless it acts fast. The European Union states it need 10 times as much personal protective equipment and other medical devices than traditional supply chains can provide, an internal EU document showed on Wednesday.

New York, experiencing more coronavirus deaths and infections than any other U.S. state, is showing tentative signs of slowing the spread of the virus, as U.S. senators were set to vote on Wednesday a $2 trillion bipartisan package of legislation to alleviate the devastating economic impact of the pandemic.

CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK IN NUMBERS (updated continuously)

TRACKING THE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS


All the latest news in brief as it happens

21:14 Italy suffers setback to hopes its coronavirus epidemic might be in retreat

Hopes that Italy’s coronavirus epidemic might be in retreat suffered a setback on Thursday when data showed that both the number of new cases and deaths had ticked higher, underscoring how hard it is to halt the disease.

Officials said 712 people died of the illness in the last 24 hours, pushing the total tally to 8,215, well over double that seen in anywhere else in the world, while new infections rose by 6,153 to 80,539.

The number of cases is nudging close to the more than 81,000 infections recorded in China where the pandemic began.

20:36 Coronavirus deaths in UK jump to 578 as recording method changes

Another 115 people have died in the United Kingdom after testing positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths to 578, the government said on Thursday.

The number of confirmed cases rose to 11,658 on Thursday from 9,529 on Wednesday, the health ministry said on day three of a nationwide lockdown ordered by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

19:50 Turkey could impose stay-at-home order if coronavirus outbreak worsens

Turkey could order the public to stay at home if coronavirus infections continue to spread, the government said on Thursday as it clamped down further on medical equipment leaving the country.

The government announced such a measure for people older than 65 over the weekend, but not for the general public as some other countries have done.

19.47 Britain’s lockdown measures might last 6 months and are working – health official

Some lockdown measures which restrict the social interactions of Britons could be in place for six months, but the steps are bearing fruit in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, Britain’s deputy chief medical officer said on Thursday.

Jenny Harries declined to say when the peak in the epidemic would be, saying that the effects of new measures to enforce social distancing were only just being seen but signs were promising.

19.28 Italy coronavirus deaths rise by 662 in a day, lifting total death toll to 8,165

The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has grown by 662 to 8,165, the Civil Protection Agency said on Thursday.

However, there appeared to be an error in the agency’s data because it reported no deaths on Thursday in the third-worst-affected region, Piedmont, which would be unprecedented in recent days.

Separately, Piedmont authorities said their death toll had risen by 50 in the last 24 hours.

On Wednesday 683 people died. That followed 743 deaths on Tuesday, 602 on Monday, 650 on Sunday and a record of 793 on Saturday — the highest daily figure since the contagion came to light on Feb. 21.

19.25 Britain will pay self-employed people 80% of average monthly profit

Britain’s finance minister Rishi Sunak said on Thursday that self-employed people will receive a taxable grant of 80% of their average monthly profits as part of the government’s coronavirus support package.

“The government will pay self-employed people who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last 3 years up to 2,500 pounds per month,” Sunak said at the government’s daily news conference.

19.23 Afghanistan to release 10,000 prisoners to slow spread of coronavirus

Afghanistan will release at least 10,000 prisoners above the age of 55 in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, officials said on Thursday.

“The president has issued a decree that several thousand prisoners will be released soon due to coronavirus,” said an official in President Ashraf Ghani’s office.

19.22 WHO chief urges G20 to boost production of protective gear against virus

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) told the Group of 20 wealthy nations on Thursday that the coronavirus pandemic is “accelerating at an exponential rate” and urged them to ramp up production of protective gear for health workers.

“We call on all of your nations to increase production, remove export bans and ensure equity of distribution,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, told G20 leaders, according to a text of his speech made public by the U.N. agency.

19.08 Nursing home deaths make up a third of Spanish coronavirus toll-local radio

A total of 1,307 elderly residents of Spanish nursing homes have died from coronavirus, roughly a third of the country’s total death toll, radio network Cadena Ser said on Thursday in an update of its analysis that earlier pointed to 397 deaths.

In the Madrid region alone, nursing home deaths totaled 855 since the start of the epidemic, the radio network said. The radio network cited data collected by its local stations across Spain.

Nursing homes, whose elderly residents are highly vulnerable to the disease, have been particularly hard hit.

18.38 Canada reports 3,409 coronavirus cases, 35 deaths as of Thursday

18.37 Honduras registers first death in country from coronavirus

Honduras has registered its first death from the coronavirus outbreak, said on Thursday Francis Contreras, spokesman for the National Risk Management System.

There are 52 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Honduras.

18.33 Trump expected to send US troops to Canada border to support operations amid coronavirus crisis

U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to send troops to the border with Canada to support border operations amid the growing coronavirus crisis, two U.S. government officials told Reuters.

Under the plan, the Pentagon would send less than 1,000 troops to the U.S. northern border to support U.S. Customs and Border Protection efforts and several additional hundred troops to the border with Mexico, one of the officials said.

18.28 Kenya confirms first coronavirus death

Kenya confirmed its first coronavirus death on Thursday, government spokesman Cyrus Oguna said, without providing further details.

Earlier on Thursday, the ministry of health reported three more cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of infected people in the East African country to 31

18.22 Lopez Obrador urges Mexicans in US not to visit Mexico

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Thursday urged Mexicans in the United States to avoid visiting Mexico except in emergencies in order to avoid spreading coronavirus.

18.02 Coronavirus death toll in Italy’s Lombardy rises by more than 385 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 more than 385 in a day to around 4,860, a source familiar with the data said on Thursday.

The figure is up steeply compared to 296 deaths on Wednesday.

The number of cases in the region, which includes Italy’s financial capital Milan, increased by some 2,543 to roughly 34,890, the source said. On Wednesday, 1,643 new cases were registered.

17.58 New York says hospitals will be overwhelmed under almost any coronavirus scenario

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told a news conference on Thursday that almost any realistic scenario in the coronavirus outbreak will overwhelm the state’s existing hospital capacity and that it was adding to capacity wherever it could.

Cuomo said the goal was to get to 140,000 hospital bed capacity from the current 53,000 available and that authorities were scouting new sites to build temporary facilities.

“The goal is to have 1,000 plus bed overflow facility in each county,” Cuomo said.

17.46 Portugal announces new measures to help firms, families through coronavirus crisis

Portugal’s government announced on Thursday a set new measures to help families and companies cope with the coronavirus outbreak, including a six-month suspension of the payment of loan installments.

The country’s economy minister Pedro Siza Vieira also announced that all loans expiring in the next six months will be suspended until September 2020.

17:42 Cheap antibody test sent for validation

A British company behind a 10-minute coronavirus antibody test, which will cost about a $1, has begun sending prototypes to laboratories for validation, which could be a game-changer in the fight against the pandemic.

Health technology firm Mologic, which created one of the first at-home pregnancy tests, is aiming for the test to be rolled out by as early as June if the trials are successful.

17:14 Turkey struggles to ramp up tests amid critical phase

A week after sending half a million coronavirus test kits to the United States, Turkey is struggling to ramp up its own testing for the disease as doctors warn the country has reached a crossroads in containing the fast-growing outbreak.

Turkey reported its first infection just over two weeks ago. Since then, a surge in cases to 2,433 has outstripped rates in most other countries and the government has so far fallen well short of its target to conduct 10,000 tests per day.

17:10 EU struggles to unite over virus response

European Union leaders wrangled over how far to go on rolling out emergency aid for their economies hit by the coronavirus on Thursday, with Germany and the Netherlands opposing calls by Italy to issue joint debt.

The EU is struggling to present a united front on economic stimulus, the sharing of medical equipment and safeguarding of essential supplies now that borders have been tightened or closed to try to curb the spread of the pandemic.

16:54 Lebanon extends lockdown by two weeks

Lebanon is extending a lockdown by two weeks until April 12 to combat the spread of the coronavirus, Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad said on Thursday.

Under the lockdown, declared under a state of medical emergency on March 15, people can only leave their homes to buy food and medicine and all non-essential businesses have been closed, along with Beirut airport.

16:24 US Senate sends House 2tn dollar virus bill

The U.S. Senate’s unanimous passage of an estimated $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill sent the unprecedented economic rescue legislation to the House of Representatives, whose leaders hope to pass it on Friday.

The plan will speed direct payments on their way to Americans within three weeks, once the Democratic-controlled House passes it and President Donald Trump has signed it into law, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

16:09 US virus death tolls tops 1,000

The U.S. coronavirus death toll topped the 1,000 milestone as the pandemic’s mounting economic burden was illustrated by government data on Thursday showing a record number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits and hospitals struggled to treat a surge of infected patients.

Roughly half the United States was under “stay at home” orders to try to curb the spread of the virus, with the side effects of strangling the economy and unleashing a wave of layoffs. Help may be on the way as the U.S. Congress neared approval of a $2 trillion economic stimulus package.

15:29 Dutch cases rise by 1,019, 16%

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Netherlands rose by 1,019, or 16%, to 7,431, health authorities said on Wednesday.

The Netherlands National Institute for Health (RIVM) said in its daily update on the outbreak there were 78 new deaths registered in the past day, bringing the total to 434.

15:04 Australia enters 4,000 in trial for virus vaccine

Thousands of Australian healthcare workers will begin a trial to see if a century-old vaccine for tuberculosis can fight off the new coronavirus, researchers said, joining a global test of the unorthodox solution underway in several countries.

The vaccine bacillus Calmette-Guérin, or BCG, is given to more than a million children a year in countries with tuberculosis, but researchers say it may also combat the new coronavirus because of its ability to power up the immune system broadly.

14:39 British firm says antibody test being validated

Prototypes of a coronavirus antibody test which could be a game-changer in the fight against the pandemic are being assessed and are ready to be optimised, the developer of the technology said on Thursday.

Antibody tests are designed to establish whether people have previously been infected, as opposed to antigen tests which show if someone actually has the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus.

14.11 Pilots’ union criticises UK’s coronavirus job retention scheme

The union representing British pilots has described the government’s scheme to retain jobs through the coronavirus outbreak as confusing, lacking detail and taking too long to help those who are being laid off now.

The British Airline Pilots Association said there were serious technical issues with the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme that needed to be fixed now.

“From the scant details we have now, it seems like a terrible mess,” BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton said.

14.02 Swiss coronavirus cases top 10,000, with 161 deaths

Switzerland has 10,714 confirmed coronavirus infections and 161 people have died of the disease, the Federal Office of Public Health said on Thursday.

The numbers were up to date as of 0715 GMT, it said.

13.44 Swiss army joins frontline in battle against coronavirus

The Swiss army, which has not been mobilised since World War Two and then only in defensive mode, has been deployed to help healthcare workers on the frontline of Switzerland’s war against coronavirus.

13.38 Fed’s Powell: U.S. may be in recession, control of virus to dictate timing of economy reopening

The U.S. “may well be in recession” but progress in controlling the spread of the coronavirus will dictate when the economy can fully reopen, Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said Thursday in an interview on NBC’s Today Show.

“We are not experts in pandemic… We would tend to listen to the experts. Dr. Fauci said something like the virus is going to set the timetable, and that sounds right to me,” Powell said, in reference to Anthony Fauci, head of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “The first order of business will be to get the spread of the virus under control and then resume economic activity.”

13.21 UAE announces overnight curfew for weekend deep clean

The United Arab Emirates will impose overnight curfews as a temporary measure this weekend when it will carry out a nationwide disinfection campaign starting Thursday to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

The regional business hub, which has confirmed 333 cases of the virus with two deaths, has not announced an official curfew or work suspension but has increasingly clamped down on movement.

12.48 UK flight brings back stranded citizens from Peru

The first British-government chartered British Airways flight from Peru landed on Thursday, bringing back stranded citizens, Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said.

12.46 Spain’s coronavirus death toll surpasses 4,000

Spain registered 655 fatalities from the coronavirus over the past 24 hours – down from over 700 on Wednesday, the health ministry reported on Thursday as the total death toll from the epidemic in the country rose to over 4,000.

The overall number of coronavirus cases soared to 56,188 from 47,610 on Wednesday. The number of reported deaths from the virus rose to 4,089 from 3,434 on Wednesday, the ministry said.

12.35 Turkey hints curfew could come if coronavirus spread worsens

Turkey can resort to the “highest measure” of adopting a complete curfew if coronavirus infections continue to spread, the government said on Thursday as it clamped down further on medical tools leaving the country.

Turkey had announced a partial curfew for senior citizens older than 65 over the weekend, but not for the general public as some other hard-hit countries have done.

The highly contagious respiratory disease has killed 59 in Turkey after cases surged in two weeks to 2,433, the world’s nineteenth highest https://graphics.reuters.com/CHINA-HEALTH-MAP/0100B59S39E/index.html count.

12.32 Ireland’s economy could shrink by more than 7% this year – research

Ireland’s economy could contract by more than 7% in 2020 and unemployent could soar to around 18% as a result of measures taken to slow the spread of the coronavirus, research showed on Thursday.

In its latest quarterly assessment, the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), an independent think tank partly funded by Ireland’s finance department, said the current restrictions on economic life will lead to “a significant reversal” of Ireland’s recent economic trends.

Ireland’s GDP has outperformed everywhere in the EU each year since 2014, and before the onset of the virus the ESRI expected the economy to grow by up to 4% this year. It now expects a recession with output contracting by 7.1%.

12.30 Mass testing explains Germany’s relatively low death rate from coronavirus- virologist

Germany’s relatively low rate of deaths so far from coronavirus is largely due to the high number of tests being carried out in the country, meaning authorities are simply aware of more cases, including milder ones, a senior virologist said.

Speaking at the launch of a government-backed alliance to promote research into the virus, Christian Drosten – a Berlin research virologist – said on Thursday that Germany was carrying out “extremely high numbers” of tests, averaging around 500,000 a week.

12.01 German economy could shrink by 10% this year due to coronavirus – IW

The German economy could shrink by 10% this year due to coronavirus in a worst case scenario whereby the lockdown continues until the end of June, the German Economic Institute (IW) predicted on Thursday.

“The industrial sector would be hit harder with an 18% decline. In this case, the crisis could continue until the end of the year,” IW said.

11.57 China’s Shanghai orders all incoming travellers to undergo 14-day quarantine

The eastern Chinese city of Shanghai will make all incoming travellers undergo 14 days of quarantine and observation from Thursday in a bid to prevent coronavirus transmission, the local government announced.

Shanghai had previously required travellers to go into quarantine only if they had visited 24 badly hit countries in the two weeks before their arrival in the city.

11.47 Iran’s death toll from coronavirus climbs to 2,234 – ministry

Iran reported 157 new coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours, Iranian Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur told state TV on Thursday, taking the death toll to 2,234 in the Islamic Republic with 29,406 infected people.

“The number of new infected cases was 2,389 in the past 24 hours,” Jahanpur said, calling on Iranians to stay at home.

11.44 Uzbekistan locks down two more cities due to coronavirus

Uzbekistan is locking down the cities of Namangan and Andijan to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the two cities’ municipal authorities said on Thursday.

Uzbekistan, which has already locked down its capital Tashkent, has reported 65 cases of the disease, including some in the densely populated Fergana valley where Namangan and Andijan are located.

11.41 Hungary wants EU to scrap duties on imports that help fight virus

Hungary will ask Brussels to scrap all duties on products imported from outside the EU that are used for protection against the coronavirus, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff said on Thursday ahead of a video summit of the bloc’s national leaders.

Gergely Gulyas also told an online news conference that Hungary rejected criticism of its draft legislation that would extend its emergency powers to tackle the coronavirus crisis.

11.26 Lebanese defence council urges 2 week extension of shutdown – radio report

Lebanon’s supreme defence council has advised the government to extend by two weeks a countrywide shutdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Voice of Lebanon radio reported after the council met on Thursday.

A two-week extension would keep the country closed until April 12. Lebanon has recorded 333 cases of coronavirus and six deaths. A decision was expected to be taken at a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

11.16 Malaysia reports 235 new coronavirus cases in biggest daily jump

Malaysia on Thursday reported 235 new coronavirus cases in its biggest daily jump, bringing the total number of cases to 2,031.

The number of deaths from coronavirus rose to 23, the health ministry said.

Malaysia’s total number of cases has now doubled in a week. On Wednesday, the government extended curbs on travel and movement to until April 14th to contain the spread of the virus.

10.49 Indonesia reports 103 new coronavirus cases, 20 more deaths

Indonesia has confirmed 103 new coronavirus cases, bringing the Southeast Asian country’s total to 893, Health Ministry official Achmad Yurianto said on Thursday.

The number of new deaths due to coronavirus rose by 20, taking the total number of deaths to 78, he said, adding a total of 35 people had recovered from the virus.

10.48 Romanian health minister resigns as coronavirus outbreak advances

Romanian Health Minister Victor Costache has resigned and will be replaced by his deputy Nelu Tataru, the prime minister said on Thursday without elaborating.

The European Union member state, which has recorded 906 coronavirus infections and 13 deaths, declared a state of emergency on March 16. Hospital across the country have complained about a lack of protective gear for personnel.

10.43 UK will see steady flow of extra ventilators in coming weeks -junior minister

The British healthcare system will see a steady delivery of 8,000 more ventilators over the coming weeks, junior health minister Edward Argar said on Thursday.

Argar told BBC radio Britain already had around 8,000 ventilators and another 8,000 on order.

“There will be a staggered delivery time for those depending on when we ordered them, we are expecting deliveries to come through over the coming week, two weeks, three weeks,” he said.

10.40 Vietnam quarantines tens of thousands in camps 

Vietnam has sent tens of thousands of people to quarantine camps as waves of overseas citizens return home to escape a coronavirus pandemic spreading in Europe and the United States.

By Thursday, those quarantined in military-run centres numbered 44,955, down about 15% from Monday’s figure, official data showed, as many among the first influx to return home early in March were discharged.

Meanwhile Vietnam has limited gatherings to 20 people.

10.30 “Nobody will starve,” in UK during coronavirus crisis, says Ocado chairman

The chairman of British online supermarket Ocado said on Thursday there was no shortage of food in the country.

“Nobody will starve,” Stuart Rose told BBC radio.

10.28 European flights down 60% this week – aviation data firm OAG

Flights in Europe are down 60% this week, equal to 92,000 fewer services, compared with the same week last year, aviation data firm OAG said on Thursday.

Middle East flights are down 45% and there are 30% fewer services in the Asia Pacific region, according to an OAG presentation.

The global coronavirus outbreak has shattered demand for air travel, forcing several major airlines to ground their fleets.

10.22 Philippines reports 7 new coronavirus deaths, 71 more cases

The Philippine health ministry on Thursday reported seven new coronavirus deaths and 71 new confirmed infections.

It brings the country’s confirmed cases to 707 and deaths to 45 so far, among them six doctors, Health Secretary Francisco Duque told a regular news conference. He said case numbers would rise in the coming days as more tests are carried out.

10.15 European stocks drop as record stimulus deal fails to stop coronavirus anxiety

European shares fell on Thursday after gaining for two straight sessions, as the still rapidly spreading coronavirus and fears of a deep global recession overshadowed optimism from a historic $2 trillion U.S. fiscal stimulus deal.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 2% at 0803 GMT, with German shares down 1.8% as a survey showed consumer morale in Europe’s biggest economy fell sharply to its lowest level since 2009.

Italian and Spanish stock markets fell between 2.2% and 2.5% as the number of fatalities from COVID-19 in Italy topped 7,500, while those in Spain rose beyond 3,400 and exceeded the total death toll in China.

09.50 Moscow to close all stores except grocery, pharmacies for a week

Moscow will close all shops except for pharmacies and grocery stores, the city’s mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Thursday.

This measure, which also includes the closure of restaurants, cafes and bars, will last from March 28 until April 5, Sobyanin said in a statement.

09.38 U.S. envoy blames China for endangering world with coronavirus

The U.S. ambassador to London has said China had endangered the world by suppressing information about the coronavirus outbreak thus allowing it to spread far beyond the Communist republic’s borders.

“First it tried to suppress the news,” Ambassador Woody Johnson wrote in an article for The Times newspaper published on Thursday, adding that Beijing had then selectively shared critical information while stonewalling international health authorities.

“Had China done the right things at the right time, more of its own population, and the rest of the world, might have been spared the most serious impact of this disease,” the ambassador wrote.

“When the crisis finally abates we should take stock of the outcome and evaluate the costs of this breakdown in international collaboration,” he said.

09.35 UK to pay 2 million self-employed workers through coronavirus – Times

The British government will on Thursday announce plans to help around 2 million of the country’s 5 million self-employed workers through the coronavirus outbreak by paying money directly into their bank accounts, the Times newspaper reported.

The monthly payouts are expected to be capped and means-tested to benefit those on lower incomes, the report said.

09.33 UK health minister says 560,000 volunteers sign up to help NHS

Britain’s health Minister Matt Hancock said on Thursday that 560,000 people had volunteered to help the National Health Service during the coronavirus crisis, more than double the number he had hoped to recruit.

Britain had on Tuesday issued a call for 250,000 volunteers to sign up to help the NHS and vulnerable people hit by the coronavirus crisis.

Writing on Twitter, Hancock called the news “fantastic”.

09.21 Tokyo reports more than 40 new coronavirus cases for 2nd straight day -Jiji

The Japanese capital of Tokyo reported more than 40 new cases of coronavirus infections on Thursday for the second day running, Jiji News reported.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike late on Wednesday held an emergency news conference to warn of the risk of an explosive rise in infections, asking residents to avoid non-essential outings until April 12.

The city has become the centre of Japan’s coronavirus epidemic, with more than 250 cases.

09.07 Japan warns of coronavirus spread but no state of emergency now

Japan warned on Thursday of a high risk the coronavirus would spread widely as the government prepared a taskforce to handle the crisis but the economy minister said the administration was not thinking of declaring a state of emergency now.

Japan had 1,314 domestic cases of coronavirus as of Thursday afternoon, separate from 712 from a cruise ship that was moored near Tokyo last month, broadcaster NHK reported. There have been 45 domestic deaths and 10 from the cruise ship.

08.34 French economic activity at 65% of normal levels – INSEE

French economic activity and household spending are running at about 65% of normal levels due the coronavirus outbreak, the INSEE official statistics agency said on Thursday.

INSEE gave the first picture of the impact of the nationwide lockdown as it published its monthly business confidence index, which saw its steepest fall on records going back to 1980. It fell to 95 points from 105 points in February.

08.18 Iran starts intercity travel ban amid fears of second wave of coronavirus

Iran started an intercity travel ban on Thursday, an Iranian official said in a televised news conference, amid fears of a second wave of coronavirus infections in the Middle East’s worst-hit country.

“Those who have travelled for the Iranian New Year holidays should immediately return to their cities without making any stop in the cities on their way back home,” said Hossein Zolfaghari, a member of Iran’s national headquarters for fighting the coronavirus.

07.38 Number of coronavirus cases in Germany rises to 36,508 – RKI

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Germany has risen to 36,508 and 198 people have died of the disease, statistics from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Thursday.

Cases rose by 4,995 compared with the previous day while the death toll climbed by 50, the tally showed.

07.23 Russia to ground international flights on March 27 due to coronavirus

The Russian government has ordered the civil aviation authority to suspend all regular and charter flights to and from Russia from March 27, the government said on its website.

Russian airlines will still be allowed to fly to other countries to bring Russian citizens back or if they are authorised by special government decisions.

06.37 Thailand reports 111 new coronavirus infections, for total of 1,045

Thailand reported 111 new coronavirus infections, taking its tally to 1,045, the government said on Twitter on Thursday.

A state of emergency took effect. Authorities in Thailand, which has suffered four deaths in the pandemic, set up checkpoints on major roads linking provinces so as to increase screening in a bid to limit spread of the virus.

Entry by non-resident foreigners has also been banned.

05.53 U.S. Senate approves $2-trln coronavirus economic, medical aid bill

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed a $2-trillion bill aimed at helping unemployed workers and industries hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, as well as providing billions of dollars to buy urgently needed medical equipment.

By a vote of 96-0 the Senate passed the bill, sending it to the House of Representatives, which could vote sometime this week.

03.43 Mexican government to suspend activities from Thursday

Mexico’s federal government will suspend all non-essential activities beginning on Thursday, Mexico’s deputy health minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell told reporters.

Mexico registered 475 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, up from 405, and six deaths overall.

03.19 S.Korea reports 104 new coronavirus cases, total 9,241 -KCDC

South Korea reported 104 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing its total infections to 9,241, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The death toll from the pandemic in South Korea rose by five to reach a total of 131.

02.33 Washington, D.C., orders all non-essential businesses in the city to close

Washington D.C.’s municipal government ordered all non-essential businesses in the U.S. capital to close for a month starting on Wednesday night due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“This Mayor’s Order requires temporary closure of the on-site operation of all non-essential businesses and prohibits gatherings of 10 or more people,” Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office said in a statement.

02.14 Mainland China reports rise in new coronavirus cases, all from overseas

Mainland China reported an increase in new confirmed coronavirus cases, all of which involved travellers arriving from abroad, the National Health Commission said on Thursday.

The commission said in a statement that a total of 67 new cases were reported as of end-Wednesday, up from 47 a day earlier, putting the total accumulated number of confirmed coronavirus cases to date at 81,285.

02.13 Bolivia extends closure of borders, declares health emergency for coronavirus

Bolivia declared a national health emergency and extended its border lockdown on Wednesday, as the government seeks to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Interim President Jeanine Anez said in a public address that the border closure was extended to April 15 from March 31 previously. Anez said no one will be able to enter or exit Bolivia during that time.

Bolivia, which was already under a 14-day national quarantine, also tightened restrictions on movement, permitting only one person per household to go out between the hours of 7 am and noon on weekdays.

01.47 UK deaths from coronavirus outbreak rise to 463 as of Mar. 25 – Govt

The number of coronavirus deaths in the UK has risen to 463 as of Wednesday from 422 on Tuesday, the British government said, adding that more than 9,500 COVID-19 cases have now been reported in the country.

The total number of coronavirus cases in the UK have risen to 9,529 as of Wednesday, compared to 8,077 cases as of Tuesday, the statement added.

The government is anticipating a peaking of coronavirus cases in Britain in the coming weeks and has appealed to manufacturers to supply the National Health Service with the appropriate requirements.


WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY

Wednesday, March 25: Coronavirus global update

EUROPE

  • Summer is unlikely to stop the spread of the virus, and every country in Europe is forecast to run out of intensive care beds by mid-April unless it acts fast.
  • European Union states need 10 times as much personal protective equipment and other medical devices than traditional supply chains can provide, an internal EU document showed on Wednesday.
  • Italy has seen more fatalities than any other country, with latest figures showing that 7,503 people have died from the infection in barely a month.
  • A person who lives in the same Vatican residence as Pope Francis has tested positive for coronavirus.
  • Spain’s coronavirus death toll jumped by 738 overnight to 3,434 fatalities and exceeded that of China.
  • French health authorities reported 231 new deaths from coronavirus on Wednesday, taking the total to 1,331.
  • The number of coronavirus deaths in the UK has risen to 463 as of Wednesday, while the total number of cases in the UK have risen to 9,529.

AMERICAS

  • New York, experiencing more coronavirus deaths and infections than any other U.S. state, is showing tentative signs of slowing the spread of the virus.
  • New Orleans is on track to become the next coronavirus epicenter in the United States.
  • Defense Secretary Mark Esper has issued a stop movement order to the U.S. military halting all travel and movement abroad for up to 60 days.
  • Canada has almost doubled the value of an aid package to C$52 billion to help people and businesses.  Many of Brazil’s 850,000 indigenous people are urging officials to expel from their lands outsiders who could introduce the disease.
  • Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro faced a political backlash for calling the coronavirus lockdown a crime.
  • Mexico temporarily halted the processing of asylum requests from Tuesday, as its cases climbed to 405. Venezuela has opened talks with China over possible financial support to cope with a sharp drop in oil prices and the arrival of the novel coronavirus.

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

  • Japan is to set up a coronavirus taskforce, the government said, as it warned of a high risk the wide spread of the virus.
  • Mainland China reported a second consecutive day of no new local coronavirus cases as the country’s epicentre of the epidemic Hubei province opened its borders.
  • Two cruise ships off the coast of Western Australia have been told to “immediately” leave Australian waters.  New Zealand started a one-month compulsory lockdown, with warnings from authorities to stay at home or face big fines and even jail.
  • Indonesia has a significant deficit in hospital beds, medical staff and intensive care facilities as health experts warn that it is primed to become a new epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Thailand reported 111 new coronavirus infections, taking its tally to 1,045, while South Korea reported 104 new coronavirus cases, bringing its total infections to 9,241.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

  • Israelis were instructed on Wednesday to stay within 100 metres of their homes under tightened restrictions that further reduced public transport, required employers to check workers for fever and set sanctions for people who defy rules.
  • Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, revered in Christian tradition as the site of Jesus’s crucifixion and burial, was closed.
  • Saudi Arabia reported its second coronavirus death and tightened a nationwide curfew.
  • Egypt has declared a two-week curfew, and those who violate the measure will be penalised under emergency laws, the prime minister said.
  • South African officials identified quarantine sites across the country on Wednesday, as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 709.
  • The Nigerian Army is preparing to forcibly transfer the sick to hospital and enforce restrictions, and is leasing equipment for “possible mass burial”, according to an army memo seen by Reuters.

ECONOMIC FALLOUT

  • A two-day equities rally lost momentum on Thursday, and investors sold riskier currencies, as investors fretted over a likely spike in U.S. jobless claims.
  • Singapore’s economy suffered its biggest contraction in a decade in the first quarter, as the coronavirus pandemic prompted the city-state to cut its full-year GDP forecast and plan for a deep recession.
  • The Bank of England and Britain’s finance ministry will resume their coordinated drive to prevent the coronavirus-related shutdown of swathes of the economy from triggering a long and deep recession.
  • Germany, whose economy could contract by as much as 20% this year, is open to using the European Stability Mechanism to prop up economies under certain circumstances.
  • German lawmakers on Wednesday voted to suspend the debt brake for the first time ever to finance an aid package meant to help shield Europe’s largest economy.
  • Nearly 100,000 French companies have asked the government to reimburse them for putting 1.2 million workers on shorter or zero hours since the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Venezuela has opened talks with China over possible financial support to cope with a sharp drop in oil prices and the arrival of coronavirus, sources familiar with the negotiations said.
  • India is likely to agree an economic stimulus package of more than $19.6 billion, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
  • The International Monetary Fund said its board had approved a four-year, $1.3 billion loan program for Jordan.

EVENTS

  • This year’s Wimbledon Championships could be postponed or cancelled.
  • The annual Tony Awards ceremony celebrating the best in Broadway theatre was postponed indefinitely.
  • Mariah Carey, Billie Eilish and Tim McGraw will headline a benefit concert on Sunday, playing from their homes, to raise money to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.


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