Coronavirus Latest Updates: At least one million people across 188 countries have been infected since the Covid-19 outbreak and over 55,000 people have died, according to figures collected by Johns Hopkins University. US has seen by far the most cases, with at least 234,462, while Italy and Spain have also passed the 100,000 mark. Next is Germany, which has reported at least 84,264 cases, and then China, where the outbreak began, which researchers say has seen at least 82,432 cases.
White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr Deborah Birx said incoming infection data suggested that not enough Americans are abiding by guidelines in the national “call to action” to stem the spread of the virus.
Here are key updates on coronavirus across the globe:
We are in recession, never has IMF experienced a standstill: Chief
IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva, during the media briefing of the WHO, reiterated that the world is in recession. “This is a crisis like no other. Never in the history of IMF, have we experienced a standstill. We are in recession. We are in a global crisis,” she said.
“This is humanity’s darkest hour. It requires us to protest the most vulnerable of our planet.”
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) April 3, 2020
UK Queen to address nation, Commonwealth on Sunday
Queen Elizabeth II has decided to address Britain and the Commonwealth via a special broadcast on the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday, Buckingham Palace informed. “The televised address will be broadcast at 8pm (1900 GMT) on Sunday 5th April, 2020. The address was recorded at Windsor Castle,” a statement said. The queen, 93, has made only three other special addresses during national crises in her 68-year reign. Britain on Friday reported a record 684 new COVID-19 deaths in its daily update, as the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus climbed by 4,450 on the previous 24 hours.
China to observe April 4 as mourning day for over 3,300 Covid-19 victims
China will observe April 4 as national day of mourning for people who sacrificed their lives, including the “whistleblower” Dr Li Wenliang, in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak and the over 3,300 people who died of the infection in the country. At 10:00 a.m. Saturday, Chinese people nationwide will observe three minutes of silence to mourn the deceased, while air raid sirens and horns of automobiles, trains and ships will wail in grief.
During the commemoration, national flags will fly at half-mast across the country and in all Chinese embassies and consulates abroad, and public recreational activities will be suspended across the country. Fourteen frontline workers in Central China’s Hubei Province, including “whistleblower” Dr Li, were identified as martyrs on Thursday for sacrificing their lives in combating the COVID-19 outbreak.
UK records 684 COVID-19 new deaths in 24 hours
Britain has reported 684 fresh Covid-19 linked deaths in the last 24 hours, while the number of cases has jumped by 4,450. “As of 9 am (0800 GMT) 3 April, a total of 173,784 people have been tested of which 38,168 tested positive. As of 5 pm on 2 April, of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 3,605 have sadly died,” the health ministry said in a statement.
Jazz guitarist John “Bucky” Pizzarelli, who was inducted to the New Jersey Hall of Fame, has died at the age of 94. Bergen Record reported that Pizzarelli tested positive for the virus on Sunday. The virtuoso, who had played for presidents at the White House during his long and esteemed career, died on Wednesday at his home in Saddle River, New Jersey. “There will be some kind of tribute as soon as we can all get within 6 feet of each other,” his son John Pizzarelli, also a renowned jazz artist, told the Bergen Record on Thursday.
Virus cost may top $4 trillion, nearly 5% of all economic activity
With the outbreak of the coronavirus, the global economy has taken a hit at an unprecedented speed. According to the new estimates from the Asian Development Bank, the pandemic will cost the global economy as much as $4.1 trillion, or nearly 5% of all economic activity. The regional lender said Friday that growth in developing Asia would likely fall to 2.2% in 2020, more than halving last year’s growth of 5.2%. China, the region’s biggest economy, experienced double-digit contractions in business activity in January-February and will likely see growth fall to 2.3% this year. Toyota is halting production at five of its 18 plants in Japan, because of sluggish overseas demand. The stoppage will last three days for most of the plants, but one plant will close until mid-April.
Covid-19 could develop into ‘worst-case scenario’: Russian PM
Cautioning that the coronavirus could develop into a “worst case scenario” in Russia, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said the pandemic has not peaked in the country yet. “It is clear that the peak of infections has not yet passed, and we can’t rule out the situation developing into the most difficult scenario,” said Mishustin. Russia has witnessed over 4,000 Covid-19 cases, recording 32 deaths.
Meanwhile, Governor Elvira Nabiullina said the Russian central banks sees some room to cut rates in 2020. A lockdown related to coronavirus will have a negative impact on the economy, mostly in the second quarter, Nabiullina said, adding that no extra measures were needed for now to ensure financial stability.
This is a state of emergency: Funeral homes in New York
There is a surge in demand of funeral homes in United States’ New York amid the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed over 1,400 lives in the city, according to the tally from Johns Hopkins University. “This is a state of emergency,” Funeral director Pat Marmo said. At least 20 emablmed bodies of the victims lie in the basement of his Brooklyn funeral home. His company is equipped to handle 40 to 60 cases at a time, however on Thursday morning, there was a demand for 185.
Hospitals in New York have been using refrigerated trucks to store the dead and Marmo is trying to find his own.
Inching towards the 11,000-mark, Spain recorded 932 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 10,935, their health ministry reported, adding this showed the first fall in a daily death toll since March 26. However, the rise in the number of coronavirus cases saw slight balance from 110,238 on Thursday to 117,710 today. The latest number show the rate of infections up by 6.8 percent, compared with 7.9 percent on Thursday and 20 percent in the middle of last week.
Singapore announces one month shutdown
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday announced a month of shutdown starting next Tuesday (7th April). He said most workplaces, except for essential services and key economic sectors will be closed. Singapore reported its fourth death due to coronavirus on Thursday, a day after 74 new cases, including seven Indians, were confirmed in the country.
Prince Charles to open new hospital for COVID-19 treatment
Prince Charles is to officially open the new Nightingale Hospital that has been built in just nine days at the site of a huge exhibition center in east London. The National Health Service hospital at ExCel London will within days be able to provide intensive care treatment for 4,000 people suffering from the COVID-19 disease. Earlier this week, Charles emerged from a week of self-isolation after testing positive for coronavirus. He will launch the temporary facility later Friday via video link from his Scottish home of Birkhall and is expected to pay tribute to those who built it. Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who also recently came out of isolation after recovering from the virus, is expected to be present.
Coronavirus has thrown 10 million Americans out of work in just two weeks
The coronavirus outbreak has thrown 10 million Americans out of work in just two weeks in the swiftest, most stunning collapse the US job market has ever witnessed, and the public health crisis deepened in New York City, where a funeral home in a hard-hit neighborhood had 185 bodies stacked up Thursday – more than triple normal capacity. The dire news of a record-shattering 6.6 million new unemployment claims, on top of last week’s unprecedented 3.3 million, came as economists warned unemployment could reach levels not seen since the Depression.
As the situation worsens in US, President Donald Trump is considering intervening to stop the release of some prisoners amid the coronavirus pandemic. Correctional facilities in states such as California, Michigan and Pennsylvania have begun releasing certain inmates as the prisons face a shortage of medical supplies. Trump said Thursday that “we don’t like it.” The president added that “we’re looking to see if I have the right to stop it in some cases.” He did not elaborate what measures, or under what legal authority, he would take to stop or reverse the releases.
Captain of US Navy aircraft carried fired
The captain of a US Navy aircraft carrier facing a growing outbreak of the coronavirus on his ship was fired by Navy leaders who said he created a panic by sending his memo pleading for help to too many people. As of now, the 31 per cent of the USS Theodore Roosevelt crew have been tested for the virus, and 114 tested positive. The 180 Sailors that tested negative so far will move into Guam hotels for quarantine. As testing continues, the ship will keep enough sailors on board to sustain essential services and sanitize the ship in port.
Trump tests COVID-19 negative for second time
In other related news in the country, Trump tested negative for the novel coronavirus for a second time and is “healthy” and not displaying any symptoms for the deadly disease, the White House physician has said. The president previously tested negative for the virus in mid-March after coming into contact with two persons who had tested positive. Trump’s second test comes as States across the US continue to hand down strict measures to slow down the spread of the COVID-19. America wrestles with the coronavirus pandemic that the White House has warned could kill up to 2,00,000 people during the next fortnight.
What the White House COVID expert says
Administration officials say the United States’ infection and death rate from the virus is akin to what hard-hit Italy is facing. Italy has a population of about 60 million and has recorded nearly 14,000 deaths and 115,000 infections. The United States, with a population of about 327 million, has recorded more than 5,800 deaths and more than 240,000 infections. White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr Deborah Birx noted that Spain, Italy, France, and Germany have begun “to bend their curves.” But she says Americans will need to do a better job abiding by social distancing guidelines issued by the White House so the US can do the same. The White House issued its social distancing guidelines on March 16. Americans were advised to work from home when possible, cancel onsite learning and frequently wash hands.
Pandemic forces polio eradication group to suspend campaigns
With the coronavirus marching swiftly across the world and nations imposing strict travel restrictions to slow its spread, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) has announced that its health workers cannot continue their mass immunisation drives — and warned this risks a resurgence of the poliovirus. “We’re devastated by the fact that we have to stop the activities for a disease that we were working so hard to eradicate,” the World Health Organization’s Michel Zaffran, who heads GPEI, told AFP on Thursday. He added that the organisation had “never” been forced to halt the programme in this way before. There are only two nations remaining where the wild version of the poliovirus continues to spread — Pakistan and Afghanistan — but a strain that has mutated from the vaccine itself has also caused outbreaks in several nations in Africa.
France reports 471 more coronavirus hospital deaths, toll tops 4,500
France reported 471 more deaths in hospital from COVID-19, bringing the country’s official toll from the coronavirus epidemic to 4,503. The French figures include only those who died in hospital and not those who died at home or in old people’s homes. However top health official Jerome Salomon told reporters for the first time that an initial count had shown 884 people had died in old people’s homes since the epidemic began.
If combined with the hospital toll, this would mean at least 5,387 people have died from COVID-19 in France since the outbreak began. The daily death toll from hospitals was slightly down from the 509 deaths reported on Wednesday. Some 26,000 people are hospitalised in France with 6,399 in intensive care, 382 more than the day earlier but an increase that has also slowed over this week. France has been in lockdown since March 17 in a bid to slow the spread of the epidemic, with only essential trips allowed outside that have to be justified with a signed piece of paper.
South Korea has 86 new cases, total over 10,000
South Korea has reported 86 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing its caseload above 10,000. South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday said about half of the new cases came from the densely populous Seoul metropolitan area, where infections linked to international arrivals have been rising. South Korea has been enforcing two-week quarantines on all passengers arriving from overseas since Wednesday to stem a rise in imported infections.
Meanwhile, North Korea said only around 500 people remain under coronavirus quarantine in the country after authorities in recent weeks released thousands of others who supposedly had no symptoms. The North’s official Korean Central News Agency said Friday the country will continue to strengthen its anti-virus campaign amid the global spread of COVID-19.
The impoverished country has not publicly confirmed a single case of the COVID-19 illness, but state media has described anti-virus efforts as a matter of “national existence.” It has banned foreign tourists, shut down nearly all cross-border traffic with China, intensified screening at entry points and mobilized health workers to monitor residents and isolate those with symptoms
Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh at high risk
Aid workers are bracing for a possible outbreak of the coronavirus in one of the world’s largest refugee camps in Bangladesh, with officials warning that containing the disease among more than 1 million tightly packed Rohingya Muslims will be a daunting task. With about 40,000 people per square kilometer (103,600 per square mile) living in plastic shacks side by side, which is more than 40 times the average density of Bangladesh, the refugees are dangerously exposed to the virus. Each shack is barely 10 square meters (107 square feet) and many are overcrowded with up to 12 people. There have been no reported cases of infection in the camps yet, but officials remain concerned. The UN is not doing any testing for the virus but sends any suspected cases to a government hospital. Bangladesh has reported six deaths and 54 cases of COVID-19 amid concerns that the virus could spread in the South Asian country through Bangladeshis who have returned from Italy and other places struggling with the disease.
(With inputs with agencies)
Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines