12.46: More than 2,193,580 people have been infected across the world and over 147,379 have died but at the same time 555,581 people have recovered.
The USA is now the country with the most infected cases (678,210) ahead of Spain (185,000) who overtook Italy (168,941) last week. France and Germany follow with 165,027 and 137,698 cases respectively
Confirmed deaths by country:
THE PANDEMIC IN NUMBERS
17:50 UK extends furlough scheme by a month
The United Kingdom has extended by a month until the end of June the furlough scheme for workers at companies hit by the coronavirus outbreak, finance minister Rishi Sunak said.
The announcement comes a day after Britain lengthened its nationwide lockdown for at least another three weeks to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak which has already claimed over 140,000 lives globally.
“It is the right decision to extend the furlough scheme for a month to the end of June to provide clarity,” Sunak said.
17:19 Almost half of French aircraft carrier crew test positive
Almost half the 2,300-strong crew on France’s sole aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, have tested positive for the new coronavirus, the armed forces minister said on Friday.
Florence Parly told parliament that 1,081 out of 2,010 tests carried out had shown a positive result. A total of 545 sailors had shown symptoms and 24 were in hospital, she added.
16.11 UK hospital COVID-19 death toll rises 847 to 14,576
The United Kingdom’s hospital death toll from COVID-19 rose 847 to 14,576, as of 1600 GMT on April 16, the health ministry said.
“341,551 people have been tested of which 108,692 tested positive,” the health ministry said.
15.51 Saxony becomes first German state to require masks
Saxony became the first German state to make the wearing of masks compulsory on public transport and in shops, German magazine Focus reported on Friday.
The move was announced by state premier Michael Kretschmer after a meeting of the eastern state’s cabinet, the magazine reported on its website. Kretschmer said the mask could be as simple as an improvised scarf or handkerchief.
15.35 Coronavirus cases in the Netherlands top 30,000 -health authorities
Confirmed coronavirus infections in the Netherlands have risen by 1,235 to 30,449, Dutch health authorities said on Friday.
The death toll among people known to have been infected with the novel coronavirus increased by 144 to 3,459 the Dutch Institute for Public Health (RIVM) said in its daily update.
15.25 World Bank says no ‘free ride’ for commercial creditors on debt relief
Commercial creditors need to support debt relief for the poorest countries and cannot just “free ride” on a suspension in debt payments by official bilateral creditors, World Bank President David Malpass told the Bank’s Development Committee on Friday.
Malpass said the debt relief initiative agreed this week by the Group of 20 economies and the Paris Club was a “huge achievement” to help the poorest countries deal with the health and economic impact of the new coronavirus pandemic.
15.09 We need to learn lessons of coronavirus spread – UK PM’s spokesman
Britain and other G7 countries discussed the need to learn the lessons of how the novel coronavirus came to spread throughout the world, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday.
Foreign minister Dominic Raab, who is standing in for Johnson after the prime minister contracted COVID-19, said on Thursday there could not be business as usual with China after the crisis, while recognising that Britain had worked well with China on repatriation of citizens and procurement.
Asked if China came up in a call of G7 leaders, the spokesman told reporters: “They obviously discussed … the need to learn the lessons of how the virus came to be spread.”
14.51 How air quality has improved during the coronavirus crisis
To contain the coronavirus pandemic, billions of people have been told to stay at home. In China, authorities placed almost half a billion people under lockdown, the equivalent of nearly 7% of the world’s population. Many other countries have since taken similar measures, initially in hard-hit Italy and Spain, and more recently in the United States and India.
The restrictions have sent financial markets into free fall. But they have also given residents in some of the world’s most polluted cities something they have not experienced in years: clean air.
14.39 Saudi grand mufti: Ramadan night, Eid prayers to be done at home amid coronavirus – Okaz
Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh, the highest religious authority in the country, said that Muslim prayers during Ramadan and for the subsequent Eid al-Fitr feast should be performed at home if the coronavirus outbreak continues, Saudi’s Okaz newspaper reported on Friday.
“Ramadan’s Taraweeh (evening) prayer can be performed at home if it cannot be performed at mosques due to the preventive measures taken to fight the spread of coronavirus,” he said in response to a question, adding that same applies for Eid prayers, according to the paper.
14.15 At least 300,000 Africans expected to die in pandemic: UN agency
The COVID-19 pandemic will likely kill at least 300,000 Africans and risks pushing 29 million into extreme poverty, the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) said on Friday, calling for a $100 billion safety net for the continent.
Africa’s 54 countries have so far reported fewer than 20,000 confirmed cases of the disease, just a fraction of the more than two million cases reported globally. But the World Health Organization warned on Thursday that Africa could see as many as 10 million cases in three to six months.
14.14 Malaysia may extend virus curbs, but with more sectors open – minister
Malaysia may extend its travel curbs beyond April 28 but with more sectors open for business, its second-most senior minister told Reuters on Friday as the government tries to balance health and economic requirements during the COVID-19 crisis.
A partial lockdown since March 18 has badly hurt Southeast Asia’s third biggest economy, which until the start of this week had the highest number of reported coronavirus infections in the region. On Friday, it recorded the lowest number of daily increases in new cases since the curbs were imposed.
14.07 UK minister: There is no magic wand to get more COVID-19 equipment
Britain’s health minister said on Friday he would love to wave a magic wand to get large quantities of personal protective equipment for the health workers fighting the novel coronavirus outbreak but that there was a global shortage.
“I would love to be able to wave a magic wand and have PPE fall from the sky in large quantities,” Matt Hancock told the British parliament’s Health and Social Care Committee.
13.51 Britain expands COVID-19 testing programme, still more to do – health minister
Britain has expanded the number of people who are eligible to be tested for COVID-19 to include the police, fire service, judiciary and others, health minister Matt Hancock said on Friday, in part of its efforts to widen its testing programme.
The government has been criticised for all but abandoning mass testing in mid-March, but Hancock said it was part of the government’s strategy to have mass testing in the community, something that get closer as Britain builds testing capacity.
13.48 French COVID tracing app will not ready when parliament debates it
France’s state-supported tracing app project “StopCovid” will not be ready when parliament debates it on April 28-29, the minister for digital affairs Cedric O said on Friday.
The smartphone app, aimed at warning users if they came into contact with a coronavirus carrier, has raised questions about the impact of tracing technology on civil liberties.
The government has not provided much technical detail on the project, which will be based on a proximity-tracking Bluetooth app that users would install on their mobile phone on a voluntary basis.
13.34 Dutch deaths April 6-12 2,000 higher than normal -statistics agency
Deaths in the Netherlands in the week of April 6-12 were around 2,000 higher than in an average week, national statistics agency CBS said on Friday.
The National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) attributed 971 deaths to COVID-19 that week.
Around 5,000 people in the Netherlands died that week, the CBS said, up from from 2,900 a year earlier.
13.31 Swiss coronavirus death toll climbs to 1,059, positive tests top 27,000
The Swiss death toll from the new coronavirus has reached 1,059 people, the country’s public health agency said on Friday, rising from 1,017 on Thursday.
The number of people showing positive tests for the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus increased to 27,078 from 26,732, it said
The government plans gradual easing of restrictions to curb the epidemic’s spread from April 27, starting with the opening of hairdressers and nail bars.
13.29 Spain’s daily death toll from coronavirus rises to 585 on Friday
Spain’s overnight death toll from coronavirus rose to 585 on Friday, up from 551 on Thursday but still far off figures of over 900 registered during the peak of the outbreak in early April.
It was unclear why the difference in the government’s death toll from Thursday and Friday did not reflect the overnight death rate.
The number of overall coronavirus cases rose to 188,068 on Friday from 182,816 on Thursday, a 2.9% increase.
13.23 Ireland considering tougher airport checks against coronavirus
Ireland may have to bring in more stringent checks at its airports to ensure the coronavirus remains contained whenever the country eases stay-home restrictions, Health Minister Simon Harris said on Friday.
“I would not rule out the fact that we may need to be more stringent in relation to our airports, particularly as we move out of the very, very, very serious restrictions that are in place,” Harris told the Newstalk radio station in an interview.
13.06 Iran’s coronavirus death toll rises by 89 to 4,958 – health ministry
Iran’s death toll from the new coronavirus rose by 89 in the past 24 hours to reach 4,958 on Friday, health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said on state TV.
The total number of cases of infection reached 79,494, of which 3,563 were in critical condition, he said.
A parliamentary report released earlier this week said the coronavirus death toll might be almost double the figures announced by the health ministry, and the number of infections eight to 10 times more.
13.00 Austria to let museums reopen from mid-May
Austrian museums and some other cultural spaces will be allowed to reopen from mid-May as part of the country’s step-by-step loosening of its coronavirus lockdown, Austrian Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler said on Friday.
A specific date has not yet been set, Kogler told a news conference, adding that large events involving many people close together, such as festivals, would remain banned until Aug. 31.
12.56 Deaths from COVID-19 in UK care homes is higher than 2% – health minister
British health minister Matt Hancock said on Friday the rate of deaths due to COVID-19 in care homes was higher than 2%, adding he was concerned about how the novel coronavirus was spreading in places housing vulnerable people.
Asked whether it was likely that less than 2% of COVID deaths were in care homes, Hancock told a parliamentary committee: “No,” adding that the less than 2% figure was out of date. “I can say with a high degree of confidence that the number and the proportion are higher than what you say.”
12.53 Spain’s number of coronavirus cases rises to 188,068 on Friday
The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Spain rose to 188,068 on Friday, the country’s head of health emergencies Fernando Simon said at a news conference.
Health authorities identified 5,252 new cases of the virus between Thursday and Friday, which represents a 2.9% increase.
12.39 Malaysia reports 69 new coronavirus cases and 2 new deaths
Malaysian health officials reported 69 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the lowest daily increase since the government imposed curbs on movement and business on March 18, taking the cumulative total to 5,251 cases.
The health ministry also reported 2 new deaths, bringing the total fatalities to 86.
The United Kingdom was too slow to react on a number of fronts to the novel coronavirus outbreak, a leading public health professor told a parliamentary committee on Friday.
“Where were the system errors that led us to have probably the highest death rates in Europe?,” Anthony Costello, professor of International Child Health and Director of the UCL Institute for Global Health, told the Health and Social Care Committee.
12.19 Michelin-star chef serves Belgian homeless after coronavirus closure
The chef at one of Belgium’s oldest and most prestigious restaurants, which has been shuttered by the coronavirus, is feeding homeless people once a week, echoing initiatives by chefs across Europe.
Lionel Rigolet of Comme Chez Soi, whose elaborate dishes cost as much as 265 euros ($287), began cooking and serving food to 100 homeless people every Thursday from his kitchen since Belgium went into lockdown on March 18.
12.05 Indonesia reports highest number of coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia
Indonesia reported on Friday 407 new coronavirus cases, taking the total number of cases to 5,923 and surpassing the Philippines as the country with the highest number of infections in Southeast Asia.
Health ministry official Achmad Yurianto also reported 24 new deaths attributed to the disease, taking the total to 420, and said Indonesia has performed 42,000 tests for the virus.
11.15 Germany’s coronavirus outbreak “manageable again” – health minister
The coronavirus outbreak in Germany has become manageable again as the number of patients who have made a recovery has been higher than the number of new infections every day this week, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Friday.
11.13 Russia reports record daily rise in coronavirus cases – Ifax
Russia on Friday reported a record rise of 4,069 new coronavirus cases over the last 24 hours, bringing its nationwide tally to 32,007, the Interfax news agency said.
The number of coronavirus cases in Russia began rising sharply this month, although it had reported far fewer infections than many western European countries in the outbreak’s early stages.
11.08 Philippines reports 25 coronavirus deaths, 218 more cases
The Philippines’ health ministry on Friday reported 25 new coronavirus deaths and 218 additional infections.
In a bulletin, the health ministry said total confirmed cases have increased to 5,878 while 387 people have died. It added that 52 more patients have recovered, bringing the total to 487.
10.52 China raises total coronavirus death toll to 4,632 after Wuhan data review
China’s total coronavirus death toll has been revised up to 4,632, up from 3,342, following the release of new data from Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, the country’s health authority said on Friday.
Mi Feng, a spokesman for the National Health Commission, told a media briefing that China had also raised the total number of cases of infection by the end of April 16 to 82,692, up from 82,367.
10.49 China says there has never been a cover-up on coronavirus outbreak
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Friday there has never been a cover-up of the coronavirus outbreak in China and the government does not allow any cover-ups.
Zhao told reporters at a daily briefing that the revision of the case toll in Wuhan, where the epidemic first emerged in late 2019, was the result of a statistical verification to ensure accuracy and that revision is a common international practice.
10.25 Italy tests contact-tracing to speed lockdown exit
Italy plans to use a smartphone app developed by tech start-up Bending Spoons to track people who test positive for the new coronavirus as part of efforts to lift its nationwide lockdown.
The original epicentre of the virus outbreak in Europe, Italy has the world’s highest coronavirus death toll with more than 22,000 fatalities, second only to the United States.
10.00 Fares show declines as airlines brace for tough recovery -Skytra
Air fares have fallen as much as 30% since the start of the year in North America and Europe, according to the first of a new series of industry data, while stabilising on a smaller decline in Asia where some coronavirus lockdowns are being eased.
The figures from Skytra, an Airbus-owned airline hedging business, offer early clues to the difficult recovery awaiting airlines as they prepare for an eventual lifting of restrictions on what is likely to be a changed travel market.
9.52 ‘Absolute legend,’ Prince William says of British fundraising veteran
Britain’s Prince William described as an “absolute legend” the 99-year-old war veteran who has raised more than 17 million pounds for the health service by walking laps of his garden.
Captain Tom Moore originally aimed to raise 1,000 pounds by completing his challenge of walking 100 laps before his 100th birthday on April 30.
“Absolute legend,” the queen’s grandson told the BBC. “What I love also is he’s a 99-year war vet, he’s been around a long time, knows everything and it’s wonderful that everyone has been inspired by his story and his determination.”
9.50 London mayor calls for compulsory face masks on transport
London Mayor Sadiq Khan called on the British government on Friday to make face masks compulsory for people travelling around the capital or shopping.
The mayor said that evidence from around the world was that face coverings help stop the spread of the virus.
New York has ordered residents to wear masks or substitute face coverings when in any public situation that may not allow them to be at least six feet away from others.
9.20 Virus tracing app ready for Germany rollout in 3-4 weeks – minister
A coronavirus contact tracing app will be ready for Germans to download and use on their smartphones in three to four weeks, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Friday.
German federal and state government leaders said on Wednesday they would support voluntary use of a contact tracing app, when available, so people can quickly learn when they have had been exposed to an infected person.
Developers are working hard on an app to make sure data protection standards are “as perfect as possible”, Spahn told broadcaster ARD.
9.11 European stock index futures jump on plans to re-open U.S. economy
European stock index futures surged more than 3% on Friday, as U.S. President Donald Trump rolled out plans for a gradual re-opening of the economy and on reports of a potential drug to treat the COVID-19 disease.
Euro Stoxx 50 futures were up 3.3% at 0600 GMT, with German DAX, French CAC and FTSE 100 futures jumping between 2.8% and 3.4%, shrugging off data showing China suffered its worst economic contraction in almost three decades.
The benchmark STOXX 600 index has rallied about 20% since hitting an eight-year low in March on the back of historic global stimulus and on hopes strict stay-at-home orders would be eased as the health crisis showed signs of ebbing.
9.05 British veteran raises $22 million by walking for the health service
Captain Tom Moore, 99, a British war veteran, has raised more than 17.4 million pounds ($21.7 million) for the health service by walking laps of his garden.
Moore completed the last of 100 laps of his garden on Thursday.
8.47 Singapore mulls pla ing workers who recover from COVID-19 on cruise ships
Singapore is assessing whether migrant workers who have recovered from coronavirus might be safer on cruise ships than back in dormitories that have become infection hotbeds, despite problems controlling onboard outbreaks encountered elsewhere.
The city-state has seen virus cases surge in sprawling housing complexes for foreign labourers, recording its biggest ever jump in cases on Thursday, and is looking for new accommodation solutions for hundreds of workers.
Around 60% of the 4,427 people infected on the island stay in dormitories, where mainly South Asian labourers live 12 to 20 in a room, and share toilets in conditions some workers have said are unsanitary.
8.04 Denmark to reopen some small businesses on Monday after virus lockdown
Denmark will allow certain small businesses, such as hairdressers, beauty salons and driving schools to reopen on April 20, the government said on Friday, following a lockdown ordered last month to rein in the coronavirus.
8.02 More than a third of G7 citizens see virus hit to incomes – poll
More than a third of people living in the Group of Seven rich nations say the novel coronavirus pandemic has already hurt their earnings, a poll showed on Friday.
Market research firm Kantar said 37% reported a drop in earnings, while 8% said they had lost their entire income.
The findings underline the enormous economic hit from the lockdowns enforced to slow the spread of the virus, which has killed more than 130,000 people worldwide.
8.00 Roche joins race to make coronavirus antibody tests
Swiss drugmaker Roche aims by next month to offer blood tests to identify those who had been infected with the coronavirus, potentially helping inform locked-down nations of who might have some immunity and be able to resume work or contact with the public.
The Basel-based company said on Friday it wants to make the antibody test available by early May in countries that accept European CE regulatory standards, and is seeking U.S. Food and Drug Administration emergency authorization for its use in the United States.
7.49 Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 3,380 to 133,830 – RKI
Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases have risen by 3,380 to 133,830, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Friday, marking a third straight day of new infections acclerating.
The reported death toll has risen by 299 to 3,868, the tally showed.
7.47 Thailand reports 28 new coronavirus cases, one more death
Thailand on Friday reported 28 new coronavirus cases and one more death, an 85-year-old woman who had other health complications.
Of the new cases, 16 were linked to previous cases, five had no links to old cases, and seven are awaiting investigation, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the government’s Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration.
Since the outbreak escalated in January, Thailand has reported a total of 2,700 cases and 47 fatalities, while 1,689 patients have recovered and gone home.
7.45 Cathay Pacific to close U.S. cabin crew bases, laying off 286 staff
Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd will close its three cabin crew bases in the United States, the airline said on Friday, laying off 286 staff as the coronavirus pandemic has virtually halted global travel.
The carrier has grounded most of its planes because of the fall in demand, flying only a skeleton network to major destinations such as Beijing, Los Angeles, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo and Vancouver in April and May that represents just 3% of normal capacity.
In a statement, Cathay said it was communicating with the affected crew in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles as well as their union.
6.51 Asia shares up as plans to re-open U.S economy offset record slump in China GDP
Asian stocks gained on Friday as President Donald Trump’s plans to gradually re-open the U.S. economy offset data that showed China suffered its worst economic contraction on record due to the coronavirus outbreak.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 2.6% after reaching a five-week high. Shares in China rose 1.8% as the weak GDP data reinforced expectations that more stimulus is coming, while shares in Australia were up 2.62%.
E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 index traded 3.38% higher, also close to a five-week high.
European soccer’s governing body (UEFA) is working on a proposal that could see the remainder of the Champions League condensed into a week-long mini-tournament with the final taking place on Aug. 29 in Istanbul, the BBC has reported.
Football, as with most sports around the world, has been brought to a standstill by the COVID-19 pandemic, with all major European leagues suspended and the Champions League stalled in the middle of its round of 16.
6.27 Southwest asks unions to start considering post-aid concessions
Southwest Airlines Co has approached unions representing pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and other employees to discuss potential concessions to prepare for a slow industry recovery, a company official told Reuters on Thursday.
Southwest, with about 60,000 employees, is set to receive $4 billion in federal payroll aid under the CARES Act, which prohibits any involuntary furloughs or pay cuts until Sept. 30.
6.13 China’s Wuhan city revises up total coronavirus death toll by 1,290
hina’s Wuhan city, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, said on Friday it had revised up its total coronavirus death toll by 1,290, according to state-run CCTV.
Wuhan also revised up confirmed cases by 325.
6.06 Japan airlines keep most domestic flights despite few takers for seats
Japan’s top airlines are operating a majority of their domestic capacity even though the coronavirus outbreak has left seats on flights mostly empty, amid a lack of clear government directives on the functioning of transport infrastructure in the crisis.
ANA Holdings Inc and Japan Airlines Co Ltd (JAL) , Japan’s two biggest airlines, have cut around 90% of international flights but left their domestic networks relatively intact, industry data showed. The two normally fly around 800 or more domestic flights daily.
5.31 Saudi Arabia faces coronavirus crisis from position of strength – minister
Saudi Arabia is facing the current global crisis from a position of strength, given its strong financial position and reserves, with relatively low government debt, its finance minister said, referring to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
Mohammed al-Jadaan said in the virtual meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee, held on Thursday, that the Saudi government’s priorities are necessary resources for health care system, financial and economic support to those affected by coronavirus while taking into account the re-prioritization of spending under the current circumstances, Saudi state news agency SPA reported on early Friday.
5.22 Australia may keep coronavirus restrictions for a year, schools could adopt roster
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said some measures, like a rule requiring people to stand at least 1.5 metres apart, would likely remain for several months, given there was no guarantee a vaccine would be developed in that time.
“Social distancing is something we should get very used to,” Morrison told radio station 3AW. “It could be a year, but I’m not speculating about that.”
Morrison has said wider social distancing measures will stay for at least another four weeks while advocating reopening schools across the country, citing medical advice that children are a low risk of transmission.
5.06 China’s Q1 GDP posts first decline on record as virus shuts down economy
China’s economy shrank 6.8% in January-March from a year earlier, official data showed on Friday, the first such decline since at least 1992 when quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) records began.
The historic slump in the world’s second-largest economy comes after efforts to contain the coronavirus, which first emerged in China late last year, shut down factories, transport and shopping malls.
Similar shutdowns now in effect in major economies elsewhere have devastated global trade and suggest an immediate Chinese recovery is likely to be some way off.
3.50 U.S. House Speaker Pelosi says Trump guidelines ‘vague and inconsistent’
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday called President Donald Trump’s guidelines for reopening the economy “vague and inconsistent” and said more coronavirus testing needed to be done.
“The White House’s vague and inconsistent document does nothing to make up for the President’s failure to listen to the scientists and produce and distribute national rapid testing,” Pelosi said in a statement.
3.15 Nigeria urges ‘appropriate’ debt solutions for middle-income countries
Nigerian Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed said an agreement by official bilateral creditors to suspend debt payments by the poorest countries harmed by the coronavirus pandemic was a welcome first step, but “appropriate” solutions were also needed for middle-income countries with debt challenges.
In remarks prepared for delivery on Friday at the World Bank’s Development Committee, Ahmed urges the Bank and other multilateral institutions to explore ways of participating the debt relief initiative.
3.14 Mexico registers 450 new cases of coronavirus and 37 deaths – health ministry
Mexican health officials reported on Thursday 450 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 37 new deaths, bringing the country’s total to 6,297 cases and 486 deaths.
Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said last week the country might have as many as 26,500 people infected with the fast-spreading coronavirus.
Citing government models, Lopez-Gatell said many who are infected likely did not have symptoms or were not diagnosed.
2.58 China urges World Bank to suspend debt payments for poor borrowers
China on Thursday urged the World Bank to allow its poorest borrowers to suspend debt payments to the lender while they deal with the coronavirus pandemic, saying the world’s biggest multilateral development bank should “lead by example.”
Chinese Finance Minister Liu Kun said in a statement to the World Bank’s Development committee that all parties should take part in joint actions to address debt vulnerabilities amid the pandemic, including commercial, multilateral and official bilateral creditors.
1.37 IMF sees ‘lost decade’ of no growth in Latin America due to pandemic
The International Monetary Fund on Thursday said the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, combined with other problems in recent years, meant Latin America and the Caribbean would likely see “no growth” in the decade from 2015 to 2025.
Alejandro Werner, who heads the IMF’s Western Hemisphere department, said the global lender was racing to process 16 requests for emergency assistance, about half of which were from Caribbean nations devastated by a halt in tourism.
U.S. President Donald Trump laid out guidelines on Thursday for reopening the coronavirus-ravaged U.S. economy, saying states should take a phased approach to let Americans return to work as conditions allow.
Trump told a White House news conference that governors will be empowered to tailor the approach to their own states and that if they need to remain closed, they should do so.
“We are not opening all at once, but one careful step at a time,” Trump said.
What happened on Thursday
- Europe is in eye of the storm, with the number of cases nearing a million, and should move with extreme caution when considering easing lockdowns, the WHO’s regional director said.
- Britain extended its nationwide lockdown as stand-in leader Dominic Raab ordered Britons to stay at home for at least another three weeks.
- Luxury carmaker Ferrari has begun making parts to convert snorkel masks into respirators for treating patients with coronavirus and protecting medical workers.
- Britain’s economy looks set for a widely feared record contraction after figures showed retail spending plunged by more than a quarter and one in four firms stopped trading temporarily.
- Ireland has contained and effectively suppressed the first wave of the outbreak in the population at large but not in nursing homes where its spread remains a concern, the country’s chief medical officer said.
- Seven Northeastern states extended a shutdown until May 15 to contain the pandemic, even as President Donald Trump prepared to unveil recommendations to begin easing the lockdown in the least-affected U.S. states.
- Canada’s border restrictions with the U.S. will remain in place “for a significant time” as the two nations fight the outbreak, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
- U.S. defense secretary said he believed China’s leaders have been misleading and opaque about the outbreak and does not trust that they are being truthful even now.
- Hundreds of thousands of children could die this year due to the global economic downturn sparked by the pandemic and tens of millions more could fall into extreme poverty, the United Nations warned.
- Mexico’s president said the country was looking to return to normal beginning June 1, with schools and businesses reopening provided people comply with anti-coronavirus health measures until then.
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
- China reported fewer imported cases on Thursday, but said locally transmitted infections rose, with the capital Beijing seeing new local cases for the first time in more than three weeks.
- Japan’s prime minister expanded a state of emergency to include the entire country and said the government was considering cash payouts for all.
- India charged a Muslim leader with culpable homicide not amounting to murder for holding a gathering last month that authorities say led to a big jump in infections.
- Indonesia expects the number of cases to peak between May and June with around 95,000 infections, a government adviser said.
- Australia will retain curbs on public movement for at least four more weeks, its prime minister said, dashing speculation the sustained low growth in new cases could spur a quicker return to normal.
- Singapore’s health ministry confirmed 728 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, a new daily record, taking the total in the city-state to 4,427.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
- Coronavirus outbreaks across the Middle East threaten to shatter the lives of millions of already destitute people in conflict zones, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said.
- Coronavirus cases in Africa could shoot up from thousands now to 10 million within three to six months according to very provisional modelling, a regional World Health Organization (WHO) official said.
- Six Gulf Arab states approved Kuwait’s proposal for a common network for food supply safety.
- Israel’s military said it has begun converting common home-use respirators into ventilators capable of providing potentially life-saving breathing support for COVID-19 patients.
- World stock markets seesawed while bond yields retreated as dire U.S. jobless data underscored a deepening downturn and tamped down investor hopes a listless economy would soon be back on its feet.
- Hedge fund Elliott Management said global stocks could ultimately lose half of their value from February’s high, according to a letter sent to clients.
- The United States opposes creation of liquidity through issuance of the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights as part of the response to the pandemic, U.S. treasury secretary said.
- ConocoPhillips said it would slash spending and cut U.S. oil output by about 30% of this year’s target, the largest cut so far by a major shale producer to deal with an unprecedented drop in oil demand.
- Louis Vuitton owner LVMH posted a 17% drop in comparable sales in the first quarter due to the pandemic, as government-imposed lockdowns forced it to close stores and production sites in key markets.