As of 18.30 today more than 622,458 people have been infected across the world and over 28,812 have died but at the same time 137,391 people have recovered. The USA is now the country with the most infected cases (104,256) ahead of Italy (86,498) and China (81,394). Italy though has almost 4,000 more deaths recorded (9,134) than Spain (5,138) which overtook China into second place in the last few hours.
All the latest news in brief as it happens
19:13 Italy coronavirus deaths rise by 889 in a day to 10,023
The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has surged by 889, the Civil Protection Agency said on Saturday, the second highest daily tally since the epidemic emerged on Feb. 21.
Total fatalities in Italy have reached 10,023, by far the highest of any country in the world.
Italy’s largest daily toll was registered on Friday, when 919 people died. Prior to that, there were 712 deaths on Thursday, 683 on Wednesday, 743 on Tuesday and 602 on Monday.
The total number of confirmed cases in Italy rose on Saturday to 92,472 from a previous 86,498.
18:10 Albania flies 30 doctors to Italy to help with coronavirus crisis
Albania, one of the poorest countries in Europe, flew a team of doctors and nurses to neighbouring Italy on Saturday to help it deal with the coronavirus pandemic as its own cases have yet to strain the health sector.
Prime Minister Edi Rama’s government assigned 11 million leke ($95,000) to pay the team of 30 medical staff, who volunteered, to work for a month in the area of Bergamo, the official gazette said.
The Italian Embassy in Tirana confirmed the plane had left in mid-afternoon carrying the medical team, adding in a Twitter message; “Thanks to the Albanian government for this act of solidarity and affection! #forever united”.
17:32 UK coronavirus deaths top 1,000 as country steps up testing
Medical workers in England on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic started to be tested on Saturday as the number of COVID-19 deaths in Britain topped 1,000 after a record 260 people died in the previous 24 hours.
Government figures showed 1,019 people had died as of 1700 GMT on Friday, while the number of confirmed cases stood at 17,089 on Saturday morning, up 17.5% on a day earlier.
Britain is bracing for the epidemic to peak in the coming weeks, and is building field hospitals in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Cardiff to bolster the response from its state-run National Health Service (NHS).
17:00 Shellshocked Spain reports record 832 new coronavirus deaths
Spain’s coronavirus fatalities rose by a record 832 people overnight to 5,690 as hospitals and morgues were overwhelmed and a police chief fought back tears announcing a colleague’s death.
Second only to Italy in fatalities, Spain also saw infections rise to 72,248 on Saturday from 64,059 the day before.
Health emergency chief Fernando Simon said the epidemic appeared to be reaching its peak in some areas, but the nation was short of intensive care unit beds. “We continue to have a major problem with ICU saturation,” said Simon.
16:54 Ireland may ease coronavirus restrictions from mid-April
Ireland hopes to be in a position in two weeks to tweak or remove some of its new highly restrictive coronavirus-related measures if it can slow down the rate of admissions to intensive care units, Health Minister Simon Harris said.
Ireland’s prime minister ordered citizens on Friday to stay home until April 12 to help slow the spread, telling them they can only leave to shop for groceries, for brief individual physical exercise or to make absolutely essential family visits.
Confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ireland rose to 2,121 on Friday from 1,819 a day earlier, with three more deaths bringing the total fatalities to 22.
15.32 India plans to turn some idled trains into coronavirus isolation wards
India said on Saturday it was planning to turn some railway coaches into isolation wards for patients with coronavirus, as authorities scramble to prepare the country’s health infrastructure for an expected surge in cases.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the country’s 1.3 billion people this week to stay indoors for three weeks in the world’s biggest lockdown, seeking to curb the spread of the illness. India’s network of trains, the country’s lifeblood, has been idled.
13.09 African billionaire Motsepe donates $57 mln to fight coronavirus
South African billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe said on Saturday his group of companies would donate 1 billion rand ($57 million) to help fight the coronavirus outbreak that has forced the country into total lockdown as infections climb.
South Africa entered a 21-day lockdown on Friday with people restricted to their homes and most businesses shuttered.
The country has reported 1,170 cases of coronavirus and now faces a near certain deep recession.
12.50 US doctors cope with medical shortages
The sum of known coronavirus U.S. cases soared well past 100,000, with more than 1,600 dead, as weary doctors and nurses coping with shortages resorted to extremes ranging from hiding scarce medical supplies to buying them on the black market.
American healthcare workers in the trenches of the pandemic appealed on Friday for more protective gear and equipment to treat a surge in patients that is already pushing hospitals to their limits in virus hot spots such as New York City, New Orleans and Detroit.
09.46 Turkey halts intercity trains, limits domestic flights
Turkey halted all intercity trains and limited domestic flights on Saturday as part of measures to contain a fast-growing coronavirus outbreak, as the number of cases jumped by a third in a day to 5,698, with 92 dead.
President Tayyip Erdogan said all international flights were stopped and that intercity travel would be subject to a governor’s approval.
Turkish Airlines CEO Bilal Eksi said domestic flights would only operate from Ankara and Istanbul to certain big cities as of midnight Saturday. He said passengers would need to receive permission from the governor’s office after 1400 GMT.
09.36 Thailand reports new coronavirus death as total cases reach 1,245
Thailand reported 109 new coronavirus cases and one death on Saturday, bringing the total to 1,245 infections and six deaths.
The new cases include 39 patients linked to previous cases, 17 new cases deemed to be imported ones, and 53 awaiting investigation, Anupong Sujariyakul, an expert in preventive medicine at the Disease Control Department, told reporters.
09.16 Tokyo confirms more than 60 new coronavirus cases, record daily increase – NHK
Tokyo has confirmed more than 50 new coronavirus cases, which is a record daily increase, national broadcaster NHK reported on Saturday.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has requested that tens of millions of people in the capital and surrounding regions should avoid non-essential, non-urgent outings until April 12, following a surge in coronavirus infections this week that she said put Tokyo on the brink of an emergency.
09.08 U.S. working with Saudi authorities to arrange repatriation flights
The U.S. embassy in Riyadh said on Saturday it was working with the Saudi authorities to arrange repatriation flights to the United States on a commercial airline.
“No flights or departure/arrival locations have been confirmed at this time,” it said in a statement. “It is likely that flights will be scheduled with little advance notice.”
08.54 Iran’s health system strong, ready for possible escalation in coronavirus cases- Rouhani
Iran’s health infrastructure is strong and ready to cope with a possible escalation in coronavirus cases, President Hassan Rouhani said Saturday on state TV.
Iran is among the few countries worldwide severely affected by the pandemic. On Friday, the health ministry reported a death toll of 2,378 and total confirmed infections at 32,332.
07.40 Tokyo asks people to stay home amid virus, many venture out
People in greater Tokyo and the Osaka area in western Japan hunkered down on Saturday as officials urged citizens to stay indoors to prevent a potential emergency, but some were carrying on as normal.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike’s plea for the tens of millions of people in the capital and surrounding regions to avoid non-essential, non-urgent outings until April 12, and particularly this weekend, followed a surge in coronavirus infections this week that she said put Tokyo on the brink of an emergency.
06.53 Thailand reports 109 new coronavirus cases and one death
Thailand reported 109 new coronavirus cases and one death, bringing the total to 1,245 infections and 6 deaths, the spokesman of the government’s Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said on Saturday.
The latest death is of a patient with some prior health complication, Taweesin Wisanuyothin, the CCSA spokesman said.
04.21 S.Korea reports 146 new coronavirus cases
South Korea reported 146 new coronavirus cases on Friday, taking the national tally to 9,478, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Saturday
03.29 Brunei reports first coronavirus death
Brunei reported its first coronavirus death on Saturday, that of a 64-year-old man.
Brunei has reported 115 cases of the virus so far, some of which were linked to a religious gathering in Malaysia that authorities said had been attended by about 16,000 people.
03.08 Mexico registers 717 coronavirus cases, and 12 total deaths
Mexico’s health ministry on Friday said it had registered 717 cases of coronavirus in the country, up from 585 the day before.
The ministry also said there had been 12 deaths overall from the virus in Mexico, up from eight a day earlier.
01.52 China reports 54 new coronavirus cases on Friday, no domestic transmissions
China’s National Health Commission said on Saturday that 54 new coronavirus cases were reported on the mainland on Friday, all involving so-called imported cases. There were 55 new cases a day earlier.
01.47 Panama reports 112 new cases and five more deaths from coronavirus
Panama health officials on Friday reported five more deaths from coronavirus, bringing the country’s total to 14 deaths.
They also confirmed 112 new cases of the virus, which has now been detected in 786 people overall in Panama.
01.26 Turkey removes Transport Minister – Official Gazette
Turkish Transport Minister Mehmet Cahit Turhan has been removed from his post, according to a presidential decree published on the Official Gazette.
Adil Karaismailoglu has been appointed as the new minister, the decree said. It did not provide a reason for the change or any further details. A spokesman for the ministry confirmed the move, but did not provide details.
00.49 Brazil to bar entry by plane of non-resident foreigners for 30 days -ministry
Brazil will bar non-resident foreigners from entering Brazil by plane, the justice ministry said on Friday, in a measure to tackle the coronavirus outbreak that comes into force on March 30 and will last 30 days.
00.29 Trump says U.S. will make 100,000 ventilators in 100 days
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday the United States would produce 100,000 ventilators in 100 days and said he had named White House aide Peter Navarro as the coordinator of the Defense Production Act.
“We’re going to make a lot of ventilators,” Trump said, pledging to take care of U.S. needs while also helping other countries.
What happened yesterday
- Italy recorded 919 deaths from coronavirus, the highest daily toll anywhere in the world, while the number of confirmed cases eclipsed the total in China.
- Latest data from Spain’s health ministry show the death toll stabilising.
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his health minister tested positive for the coronavirus and said they were self-isolating.
- French health authorities reported 299 new deaths from coronavirus on Thursday, taking the total to 1,995.
- The Kremlin confirmed a coronavirus case in President Vladimir Putin’s administration.
- Germany has proposed using big data and location tracking to isolate people with coronavirus once social distancing slows its spread.
- Switzerland’s government has allowed regional authorities to shut down or restrict economic sectors temporarily if needed.
- Hungary, where the epidemic is expected to peak in June or July, is imposing a two-week lockdown.
- Confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States reached 100,040 on Friday, the highest number in the world, a Reuters tally showed.
- New York plans to build eight temporary hospitals to meet an expected surge in coronavirus patients.
- Brazil’s governors pressed President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday for more federal support after he blasted them as job-killers and undermined their orders with a decree keeping churches open.
- Venezuela and Nicaragua reported their first deaths on Thursday.
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
- Mainland China reported its first locally transmitted coronavirus case in three days and 54 new imported cases, as Beijing ordered airlines to slash international flights.
- Chinese President Xi Jinping told President Donald Trump on Friday that he would have China’s support in fighting the coronavirus.
- Tokyo’s governor’s plea to avoid non-essential outings until April 12 prompted a rush for supplies despite warnings against hoarding.
- Australia is introducing enforced quarantine by midnight on Saturday for returning citizens and will deploy the armed forces to ensure compliance with self-isolation measures.
- Vietnam will limit domestic flights and stop public gatherings for two weeks from Saturday, as it aims to keep the number of cases under 1,000.
- Uzbekistan reported its first death on Friday, as it locked down more cities and districts and declared large bonuses for medical workers.
- Indonesia said it would allow regional authorities to impose lockdowns to control the coronavirus, in a major shift in strategy after previously resisting tougher restrictions.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
- Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called for a “voluntary quarantine” in which Turks stay at home except for shopping or basic needs.
- Iraqi doctors say the country may be singularly unprepared for the coronavirus, with the number of cases at 450 and deaths at 40.
- Iran started an intercity travel ban, as its death toll rose to 2,378 on Friday.
- South Africans struggled to adapt to confinement rules, with many city streets no less crowded than normal as a strict lockdown begun and it recorded its first deaths.
- The Israeli army will assist police on street patrols to enforce lockdown.
- Algeria extended its curfew to nine more provinces.
- Stocks across the globe fell on Friday after a historic three-day run-up, as skittish investors kept indices on track for their worst monthly and quarterly performances since 2008, while the dollar fell by the most in any week since 2009.
- Canada said on Friday it will cover 75% of wages for small businesses and the central bank cut its key interest rate to the lowest level in a decade.
- The European Central Bank chief urged EU leaders to act more decisively as the bloc feuds over how far to go to cushion the economic hit of the pandemic.
- Investors rushed into cash and out of bonds at a record pace over the past week, BofA’s weekly fund flow data showed on Friday.
- Mexico will likely take the longest in Latin America to recover, S&P said on Friday, a day after it cut ratings of Mexico and national oil company Petroleos Mexicanos.
- The Reserve Bank of India slashed interest rates.
- Pakistan has requested an emergency loan disbursement from the International Monetary Fund.
- Malaysia will launch a $58.3 billion stimulus package, its prime minister said.
- Japan is planning a stimulus that could be worth 10% of its economic output.
The U.S. Open originally scheduled for June 18-21 has become the third of golf’s four major championships to get postponed, the New York Post reported.
South Korea’s boy band BTS will postpone its North America tour due to kick off in April.
Italy’s fashion industry body said the men’s fashion shows scheduled for June 19-23 would be held in September.