As of 13.00 today more than 735,130 people have been infected across the world and over 34,800 have died but at the same time 156,137 people have recovered.
The USA is now the country with the most infected cases (142,746) ahead of Italy (97,689) and Spain with 85,195, who overtook China (81,470) an hour or so ago.
Italy though has the most deaths, 10,779, with Spain moving second with 7,340 deaths .
All the latest news in brief as it happens
17:44 Van Gogh painting stolen amid shutdown
Thieves stole a painting by Vincent van Gogh overnight from the Singer Laren Museum in the Netherlands, its director said on Monday.
The gallery, in the town of Laren to the east of Amsterdam, is currently shut to the public due to the coronavirus epidemic.
The painting “Lentetuin”, or “Spring Garden,” which depicts the garden of the rectory at Neunen and dates to 1884, had been on loan from the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands.
17:01 England death toll rises by 159 to 1,284
A further 159 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in England, the National Health Service said on Monday, taking the total number of confirmed deaths in the country to 1,284.
16:33 Putin says measures prevented explosive growth of cases
President Vladimir Putin said on Monday decisive measures by Russia had helped win it time in its battle to contain the coronavirus and to prevent an explosive growth in cases, but that it was vital authorities now used that time effectively.
Putin was speaking in televised comments broadcast on state television a day after authorities in Moscow ordered residents to stay at home, their toughest move yet to slow the spread of the virus.
15:53 Turkey places 39 residential areas under quarantine
Turkey has placed 39 residential areas in 18 cities under quarantine as of Monday to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed 131 people in the country.
Quarantines are underway in one town, six neighbourhoods, 28 villages and four hamlets, the interior ministry said in a statement after Turkey’s official number of confirmed cases leapt by 1,815 to 9,217.
14:59 Spanish virus cases overtake China
Spain overtook China’s total number of coronavirus cases on Monday but business leaders and regional authorities criticised the government’s decision to further restrict the movement of people and keep non-essential workers at home until mid-April.
An overnight death toll of 812 people brought total fatalities in Spain to 7,340, while the number of infections rose by 8% to 85,195 on Monday, against 81,470 in China, where the disease originated at the end of 2019.
14:42 Prince Charles in good health
British heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, 71, who had tested positive for coronavirus, is out of self-isolation and is in good health, his spokesman said on Monday.
“Clarence House has confirmed today that, having consulted with his doctor, The Prince of Wales is now out of self-isolation,” the spokesman said.
14:40 Johnson & Johnson to test vaccine by September
Johnson & Johnson said on Monday human testing of its experimental vaccine for the coronavirus would begin by September and that it could be available for emergency use authorization in early 2021.
J&J also said it had committed more than $1 billion of investment along with U.S. agency Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to co-fund vaccine research.
14:30 Austria to make basic facemasks compulsory in supermarkets
Austria will require shoppers to wear basic face masks in supermarkets in a bid to slow the still too-rapid spread of the coronavirus, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Monday.
Austria has closed schools, restaurants, bars, cultural venues and other gathering places, including non-essential shops. People have been told to stay at home and work from there if possible.
14.08 Disruptions in Dutch telecoms networks affect some hospitals – ANP
Dutch news agency ANP reported on Monday that problems on telecommunications networks in the Netherlands were affecting communications at some hospitals.
ANP said networks operated by KPN, Vodafone and Ziggo were among those affected. ANP cited reports from hospitals in the north and east of the Netherlands.
13.50 Nearly 12,300 Spanish health workers have coronavirus
Some 12,298 health workers have tested positive for coronavirus in Spain, deputy health emergency chief Maria Jose Sierra said at a news conference on Monday.
That is equivalent to around 14% of the country’s 85,195 confirmed cases, roughly the same proportion as last week.
13.13 Virgin Atlantic asks UK government for financial help -source
Virgin Atlantic has asked the UK government for emergency financial help in addition to the coronavirus package made available to all British companies, said a source familiar with the situation.
Virgin Atlantic, which is based in the UK and is 51% owned by Richard Branson’s Virgin group and 49% owned by U.S. airline Delta, made a proposal to the government’s adviser Rothschild and is hoping to get a response by the end of this week or early next week, the source told Reuters on Monday.
13.05 Cambodia to ban some rice exports April 5 due to coronavirus
Cambodia will ban some rice exports starting April 5 to ensure local food security during the coronavirus crisis, Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Monday.
The Asian nation is the latest country to curb food exports, although it is not a major rice exporter, exporting only about 500,000 tonnes a year according to government figures.
“I have ordered the suspension of white rice and paddy rice exports but allowed the export of fragrant rice until there is a new regulation for domestic supply,” Hun Sen said in a speech, adding that the measure would take effect from April 5.
12.42 Iran’s coronavirus death toll reaches 2,757 -health official
Iran’s death toll from the new coronavirus has increased to 2,757 with 117 new deaths in the past 24 hours, a health ministry spokesman told state TV on Monday, adding that the total number of cases has climbed to 41,495.
“In the past 24 hours we had 117 new deaths and 3,186 new confirmed cases of people infected with the coronavirus,” Kianush Jahanpur told state TV, calling on Iranians to stay at home.
12.41 Spain’s coronavirus cases rise to 85,195, surpass China’s
Spain’s total number of coronavirus cases rose to 85,195 on Monday from 78,797 on Sunday, the country’s health ministry said, as the infections surpassed those reported in China, at 81,470 according to the latest data.
The death toll from the virus in Spain rose to 7,340 on Monday from 6,528 on Sunday, the ministry said.
12.30 Austria to make basic face masks compulsory in supermarkets, hotels to close
Austria will require the public to wear basic face masks in supermarkets, where they will be handed out probably from Wednesday in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Monday.
“As of the moment these masks are handed out in front of supermarkets it will be compulsory to wear them in supermarkets,” Kurz said, adding that the aim in the medium term was for people to wear them in public more generally as well. The so-called MNS masks are below medical grade, he said.
Inn another measure Austria will force all its hotels to shut down.
12.25 UK PM Johnson’s senior adviser Cummings has coronavirus symptoms
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, has symptoms of coronavirus and is self-isolating at home, the Daily Mail’s political editor said on Monday.
“Dominic Cummings has developed symptoms of coronavirus over the weekend and is now self-isolating,” Jason Groves said. “No 10 source says he remains ‘in contact’.”
12.07 Hong Kong stocks fall on coronavirus’ economic toll
Hong Kong stocks settled lower on Monday as investors braced for a deep recession in the global economy with more countries tightening or imposing lockdowns to contain the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.
At the close of trade, the Hang Seng index was down 309.17 points, or 1.32%, at 23,175.11. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index fell 1.08% to 9,402.17.
The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares dipped 0.3%, while the IT sector fell 1.71%, the financial sector ended 1.07% lower and the property sector declined 1.33%.
The top gainer on the Hang Seng was PetroChina Co Ltd , which climbed 2.75%, while the biggest loser was Sands China Ltd, which fell 4.92%.
12.04 George Soros gives 1 million euros to Budapest’s coronavirus fight
George Soros, the 89-year-old billionaire financier, said on Monday his Open Society Foundations would contribute 1 million euros to Budapest’s fight against coronavirus.
“The COVID-19 pandemic knows no boundaries, not between countries, communities, religions or people,” Soros said in a statement. “Anyone can become infected, but some of us are more vulnerable than others.”
11.53 Vietnam asks mask firms to increase production to 5 mln a day
Vietnam has asked local mask producers to ramp up their production to make 5 million masks a day, the government said on Monday, as coronavirus cases in the country rise to 200.
“The Ministry of Health has asked mask producers to operate at full capacity,” the government said in a statement, adding that Vietnam is also seeking to produce ventilators.
11.47 Indonesia confirms 129 new coronavirus infections, taking total to 1,414
Indonesia confirmed 129 new coronavirus infections on Monday, taking the total to 1,414 in the Southeast Asian country, said a health ministry official.
Achmad Yurianto, the official, reported eight new deaths, taking the total to 122, while 75 had recovered. (
11.22 Philippines reports seven coronavirus deaths, 128 more infections
The Philippines’ health ministry on Monday reported seven new coronavirus deaths and 128 more infections.
Total deaths have risen to 78 and infections to 1,546, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told a regular news conference. With the arrival of thousands of testing kits and the start of operations of more laboratories, authorities are able to detect more infections, she added.
10.53 China shares end lower as investors take stock of global shutdowns
China stocks ended lower on Monday as investor concerns over coronavirus-driven global shutdowns overshadowed an unexpected rate cut by the country’s central bank.
At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.9%, the blue-chip CSI300 index was down 0.97%, with its financial sector sub-index lower by 0.69%,
The consumer staples sector fell 0.3%, the real estate index was down 0.93% and the healthcare sub-index lost 1.07%.
10.49 Japan has no plan to declare state of emergency April 1 – Suga
Japan’s top government spokesman said on Monday there was no truth to rumours the government was planning to declare a state of emergency from April 1 to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga also told a news conference that an expected phone meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), had nothing to do with any decision on whether to call a state of emergency in Japan.
10.27 Indonesia president plans stricter rules on mobility, social distancing
Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Monday he plans to impose stricter limits on mobility between regions and also to implement a large-scale policy of social distancing to help curb the spread of coronavirus.
“In implementing the policy of large scale social distancing, I ask that a regulation is prepared for clear guidance for provincial level governments,” Widodo said at the opening of a cabinet meeting.
10.20 European shares dip as virus fears intensify
European shares fell for the second straight session on Monday, as fears about the economic hit from the coronavirus pandemic intensified with several nations extending near-total lockdowns to curtail the spread of the flu-like disease.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 0.8% at 0714 GMT, with energy, industrials and travel and leisure stocks leading declines.
UK shares also slipped after last week’s bold bounce back as another wave of stimulus measures failed to calm investors worried by the possibility of a prolonged coronavirus-led shutdown in Britain.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 fell 0.8% by 0812 GMT, after posting its first weekly gain in seven weeks.
10.12 UK epidemic is slowing and antibody test could be ready in days, top epidemiologist says
The coronavirus epidemic in the United Kingdom is showing signs of slowing and antibody tests could be ready in days, Neil Ferguson, a professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College London, said on Monday.
“We think the epidemic is just about slowing in the UK right now,” Ferguson told BBC radio.
He said a third or even 40% of people do not get any symptoms. He said perhaps 2% to 3% of the United Kingdom’s population had been infected.
But Ferguson cautioned that the data was not good enough to make firm extrapolations.
10.09 Cambodia PM orders casinos shut down as cases climb
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday ordered all casinos to close to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Cambodia reported four new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing its tally to 107, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.
The new cases included a 30-year old man who had worked in a casino and karaoke club in the northwestern province of Banteay Meanchey, near the border with Thailand, the ministry said.
Hun Sen told a news conference all casinos would be closed from 23:59 p.m. on April 1.
09.58 Renault: all plants closed apart from in China and South Korea
French carmaker Renault said production at all its plants across the world had been halted due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis, apart from its plants in China and South Korea.
“The Group plans to restart production activities in the countries concerned as soon as conditions permit and will implement appropriate measures to respond effectively to commercial demand,” Renault added on Monday.
09.49 Serbia to invest 5 bln euros to cope with coronavirus impact – president
Serbia plans to offer about 5 billion euros ($5.54 billion) in loans and subsidies to businesses to help them cope with the economic impact of the coronavirus, President Aleksandar Vucic said.
The recovery programme, which the president announced late on Sunday, would lead to an increase in the deficit this year that would be covered from financial reserves and borrowing.
09.45 India says no plan to extend coronavirus lockdown as poor struggle
India has no plans to extend a 21-day lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the government said on Monday, as it struggled to keep essential supplies flowing and prevent tens of thousands of out-of-work people fleeing to the countryside.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered the country’s 1.3 billion people to remain indoors until April 15 saying that was the only hope to stop the epidemic. But the order has left millions of impoverished Indians jobless and hungry.
09.42 Norway to boost government bond issues to pay for coronavirus lending
Norway’s central bank has increased its planned issues of government bonds this year to beween 70 billion and 85 billion Norwegian crowns ($6.68 billion-$8.11 billion) from an original plan of 55 billion crowns, it said on Monday.
The unusual revision follows the government’s decision to offer loans worth tens of billions of crowns in emergency funding to companies hurt by the coronavirus outbreak.
09.38 Russia’s PM asks regions to consider Moscow-style coronavirus restrictions – RIA
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin asked Russia’s regional governors on Monday to consider imposing the same restrictions on movement to halt the spread of the coronavirus that have been imposed in Moscow, the RIA news agency reported.
Authorities in the capital announced a partial lockdown on Sunday, ordering residents to stay at home from Monday in their toughest move yet to slow the spread of coronavirus after the number of official cases in Moscow passed the 1,000 mark.
09.30 Thailand reports two new deaths, bringing total to nine
Thailand’s public health ministry said on Monday that two more people have died bringing the total number of deaths in the country to nine.
The two deaths included a 54-year-old Thai man in the southern province of Yala who had recently returned from Malaysia, and a 56-year-old Thai woman in Bangkok, said Anupong Sujariyakul, a senior official at the public health ministry’s Department of Disease Control.
Earlier on Monday, Thailand reported 136 new cases, raising the total number of infections to 1,524.
09.29 Tennis: Wimbledon will be cancelled, says German tennis official
Wimbledon organisers will announce the cancellation of the grasscourt Grand Slam this week due to the coronavirus pandemic, German Tennis Federation (DTB) vice-president Dirk Hordorff has told Sky Sports.
All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) officials earlier said the June 29-July 12 event would not be played behind closed doors and postponement was not without significant risk and difficulty.
“Wimbledon has stated that they will have a board meeting next Wednesday and will make the final decision there,” Hordorff told Sky Sports Germany.
09.25 Healthcare group Novacyt steps up progress on coronavirus test product
Healthcare group Novacyt announced more progress on Monday on plans to roll out its coronavirus test product, winning a new order in India and getting regulatory approval in Argentina.
Novacyt said that as of March 27, the group’s ‘Primerdesign’ product aimed at testing for the coronavirus had sold and received orders worth more than 17.8 million pounds ($22 million).
08.52 UK hospitals trial new version of a breathing aid
A new version of a breathing aid that can help coronavirus patients has been developed in less than a week by a team involving Mercedes Formula One, and is being trialled at London hospitals.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices have been used in China and Italy to deliver air and oxygen under pressure to patients’ lungs to help them breathe without the need for them to go on a ventilator, a more invasive process.
08.43 G20 trade ministers to hold emergency video conference Monday -Nikkei
Group of 20 trade ministers will hold an emergency video conference on Monday to discuss cooperation on supply chains, the Nikkei business daily reported.
They are likely to confirm cooperation to maintain and strengthen supply chains to respond to the impact from the coronavirus outbreak, according to the Nikkei.
08.34 Australia unveils “job keeper” payments to keep economy running
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday committed a A$130 billion ($79.86 billion) package to help save jobs as shockwaves from the coronavirus pandemic rip through the economy.
The package includes a A$1,500 ($923.10) “job keeper” payment to be paid to employers every two weeks, for each worker under the scheme.
“Our goal is to protect the lives and livelihoods,” Morrison said in a televised briefing from Canberra.
08.03 Thailand reports 136 new coronavirus cases, bringing total to 1,524
Thailand saw 136 new coronavirus cases on Monday, raising the total number of infections to 1,524, said the spokesman of the government’s Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).
Infections in Thailand are likely to keep rising, and recently new cases have been reported more in the provinces than in the Thai capital, Bangkok, spokesman Taweesin Wisanuyothin said.
08.02 Number of coronavirus cases in Germany rises to 57,298 – RKI
The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Germany has risen to 57,298 and 455 people have died of the disease here, statistics from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Monday.
Cases rose by 4,751 compared with the previous day while the death toll climbed by 66, the statistics showed.
The highest number of cases, 13,989, are in the southern state of Bavaria, where the disease first appeared in Germany.
08.00 Sanofi, Regeneron expand testing of potential coronavirus treatment
Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc have expanded a clinical trial of their rheumatoid arthritis drug Kevzara as a coronavirus treatment to patients outside the United States.
The companies said enrolments for the mid-to-late stage trial of Kevzara, an immune-system modifying drug known as a monoclonal antibody, have now started in Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Canada, and Russia. The U.S. trials began last week.
The trial, expected to enroll about 300 patients, will recruit hospitalized patients from several countries who are severely or critically ill with COVID-19 infection, a disease caused by the highly contagious coronavirus.
05.57 S.Korea to draw up second extra budget, give cash payments to many families as virus relief
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said on Monday that the government will provide emergency cash payments to many famililes and draw up a second supplementary budget soon to ease the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
The cash payments will be made to all households except the top 30% by income.
05.52 Asia shares suffer virus chills, central banks offer what they can
Asian shares slid on Monday and oil prices took another tumble as fears mounted that the global shutdown for the coronavirus could last for months, doing untold harm to economies despite central banks’ best efforts.
“We continue to mark down 1H20 global GDP forecasts as our assessment of both the global pandemic’s reach and the damage related to necessary containment policies has increased,” said JPMorgan economist Bruce Kasman.
04.49 Argentina extends coronavirus quarantine until mid April
Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez said on Sunday that the country would extend a mandatory nationwide quarantine period until the middle of April in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus that has killed over 30,000 people worldwide.
04.47 Vietnam PM asks major cities to prepare for lockdown to stop virus
Vietnam’s prime minister has asked major cities to prepare for possible lockdowns to stop the spread of the coronavirus as the number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country almost reached 200, a government statement said on Monday.
04.20 S.Korea reports 78 new coronavirus cases, total 9,661 -KCDC
South Korea reported 78 new coronavirus cases on Monday, taking the national tally to 9,661, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.
The death toll rose to 158, from 152 a day earlier, while 195 people recovered from the virus, according to the KCDC.
04.04 Japanese comedian Ken Shimura dies from coronavirus – NHK
Japanese comedian Ken Shimura, who had been hospitalised after being infected with the new coronavirus, has died, public broadcaster NHK reported on Monday. He was 70.
Shimura, one of the country’s best-known comedians with a career dating back to the early 1970s, had been hospitalised in Tokyo and died on Sunday evening, NHK said.
03.33 China reports 31 new coronavirus cases in mainland
Mainland China reported 31 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, including one locally transmitted infection, the country’s National Health Commission said, dropping from 45 cases a day earlier.
The commission said in a statement on Monday that 4 new deaths were reported, putting the cumulative death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in the mainland at 3,304 at the end on March 29. Total number of infections to date rose to 81,470.
02.50 Panama’s confirms 7 new coronavirus deaths, infections rises to 989
Panama’s government on Sunday confirmed 7 new deaths from coronavirus, bringing the toll to 24 since the outbreak hit the Central American nation.
The national director of Epidemiology, Lourdes Moreno, said there are 88 new confirmed infections, bringing the total number of cases to 989.
02.09 Japan to expand entry ban to include US, China, most of Europe -Asahi
Japan will expand its entry ban to include citizens travelling from the United States, China, South Korea and most of Europe amid a rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the Asahi newspaper reported on Monday.
The government may also ban entry from and travel to some countries in Southeast Asia and Africa, the Asahi said, citing a few government sources.
00.03 Trump says hospitals not using ventilators will have to release them
U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters on Sunday that hospitals not using ventilators must release them and that there was hoarding of the devices.
What happened yesterday
- Italy on Sunday said the death toll climbed by 756 to 10,779, the second successive fall in the daily rate.
- The country’s government will “inevitably” extend beyond April 3 the containment measures it had approved to stem the outbreak, the regional affairs minister said on Sunday.
- Ten more patients have died in Ireland to bring the total death toll to 46, the Department of Health said on Sunday. It confirmed 200 new confirmed cases for a total of 2,615.
- France reported 292 new deaths on Sunday, up 13% from the previous day and taking the total to 2,606 since March 1. The number of known cases rose to 40,174 from 37,575 a day earlier.
- Slovenia will further tighten its restrictions on citizens’ movements, imposing restrictions on people moving outside their local municipalities from Monday. The country has so far confirmed 730 cases, with 11 deaths.
- The number of confirmed cases in Germany has risen to 57,298 and 455 people have died of the disease. Cases rose by 4,751, compared with the previous day, while the death toll climbed by 66.
- Spain prepared to enter its third week under near-total lockdown on Sunday, as the government approved a strengthening of measures and the death toll rose to 6,528.
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson is warning Britons in a letter to 30 million households that things will get worse before they get better, as he himself self-isolates in Downing Street to recover from the coronavirus.
- Britain has reported 17,089 confirmed cases of the disease and 1,019 deaths and the peak of the epidemic in the country is expected to come in a few weeks.
- President Donald Trump said on Saturday that he would issue a travel warning for the hard-hit New York area to limit the spread of the coronavirus, backing off from an earlier suggestion that he might try to cut off the region entirely.
- The U.S. death count crossed 2,100 on Saturday, more than double the level from two days ago. The United States has now recorded more than 123,000 cases, the most of any country in the world.
- The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday approved a $2.2 trillion aid package and Trump quickly signed it into law.
- The number of deaths in New York state increased by 237 in the past day, reaching a total of 965 since the outbreak began, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday. The state also reported 7,195 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the past day for a total of 59,513. *
- Confirmed cases in Canada rose to 5,866 from 5,655 on March 28, and 63 deaths were reported, according to its chief medical officer.
- Uruguay and Bolivia have confirmed their first deaths.
- Costa Rica said on Sunday it has confirmed 19 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases in the Central American nation to 314.
- Panama on Sunday confirmed 7 new deaths, bringing the toll to 24 since the outbreak hit the Central American nation. There were 88 new infections, bringing the total number of cases to 989.
- Mexico on Sunday confirmed 145 new cases and four new deaths in the last 24 hours, for a total of 993 cases and 20 deaths.
- Argentina said on Sunday that the country would extend a mandatory nationwide quarantine period until the middle of April to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
- Mainland China reported 31 new cases on Sunday, including one locally transmitted infection, dropping from 45 cases a day earlier. Four new deaths were reported, putting the cumulative death toll in the mainland at 3,304 at the end on March 29. Total number of infections to date rose to 81,470.
- China’s central bank unexpectedly cut the rate on reverse repurchase agreements by 20 basis points, the largest in nearly five years.
- South Korea reported 78 new cases, taking the national tally to 9,661. The death toll rose to 158, from 152 a day earlier. President Moon Jae-in said that the government will provide emergency cash payments to many families and draw up a second supplementary budget soon to ease the economic impact.
- Singapore’s central bank aggressively eased its monetary policy, with the city-state’s bellwether economy bracing for a deep recession.
- Thailand saw 136 new cases, raising the total number of infections to 1,524.
- Syria said on Sunday that a woman who died after being rushed to hospital for emergency treatment was found to have been infected by coronavirus in the country’s first officially reported death from the disease.
- A third person infected with the coronavirus has died in Taiwan, the government said late on Sunday, as the number of cases on the island approached 300.
- Vietnam’s prime minister asked major cities to prepare for possible lockdowns as the number of confirmed cases reached nearly 200.
- Authorities in the Russian capital announced a partial lockdown, ordering residents to stay at home from Monday in their toughest move yet to slow the spread of the coronavirus after the number of official cases in Moscow passed the 1,000-mark.
- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the nation’s poor for forgiveness as the economic and human toll from his 21-day nationwide lockdown deepens and criticism mounts about a lack of adequate planning ahead of the decision.
- The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Japanese organisers are in final stages of talks to set the opening date for the Tokyo Games in July next year, Japanese media said.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
- South Africa’s confirmed cases increased by 93 to 1,280 people on Sunday and the death toll doubled to two, as the country entered the third day of a national lockdown.
- Turkey’s deaths increased by 23 to 131 on Sunday, as the number of confirmed cases rose by 1,815 to 9,217. Nigerian President on Sunday ordered the cessation of movement in Lagos and the capital Abuja for 14 days to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
- Zimbabwe legalised the use of foreign currencies in domestic transactions on Sunday, less than a year after abandoning dollarisation, as the country readies for a 21-day lockdown.
- The United Arab Emirates on Saturday extended to April 5 a nightly curfew to sterilise public places to combat the spread of coronavirus as neighbouring Qatar reported its first death from the disease.
- To stem the spread of the virus in crowded jails, Iran’s judiciary on Sunday extended furloughs for 100,000 prisoners. On March 17, Iran said it had freed about 85,000 people from jail temporarily, including political prisoners.
- Asian shares slipped and oil prices took another tumble as fears mounted that the global shutdown for the coronavirus could last for months, doing untold harm to economies despite central banks’ best efforts.
- Qatar Airways will have to seek government support eventually, Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker told Reuters on Sunday, warning that the Middle East carrier could soon run out of the cash needed to continue flying.
- Egypt’s central bank said it has instructed banks to put temporary limits on daily withdrawals and deposits amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.
- South Africa may approach the International Monetary Fund and World Bank for funding, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said in the Sunday Times newspaper.
- 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.