Coronavirus latest updates: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday extended the ongoing lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic until the end of this month as the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country rose to 5,837. Meanwhile, the death toll in United Kingdom crossed 12,000 Tuesday as Britain reported another 778 deaths in a single day.
French President also Emmanuel Macron announced the extension of France’s strict lockdown until May 11. The country has been under lockdown since March 17. Also, New York’s coronavirus death toll topped 10,000 and the worldwide number of confirmed cases hovered around 2 million even as the lack of fresh hot spots globally yielded a ray of optimism and fueled discussions about how some places might begin to reopen. According to a tally by Johns Hopkins University in the US, at least 1,911,407 people worldwide have been infected and 118,854 people have died.
The brunt of the disease has been felt most heavily in New York, Italy, France, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Here are key updates from across the world:
The number of people who have died in Britain hospital from the coronavirus has risen to 12,107 Tuesday, according to AFP tally. This is an increase of 778 on the previous day and official figures also showed that the number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 has reached 93,873.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday extended the ongoing lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic until the end of this month as the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country rose to 5,837, PTI reported. Addressing reporters following the National Coordination Committee meeting, Khan said that the ongoing restrictions have helped contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus. It has been decided that the lockdown will continue till April 30, Khan said.
However, Khan said that some key industries would be opened in order to start business activities. “Our estimate was that 190 people will die until today but so far we saw 96 deaths. The spread of the virus is just 30 per cent of our projections”, the prime minister said.
The coronavirus pandemic seems to have introduced a new television ritual in households in Greece, which has so far reported 2,145 cases and 99 deaths. At 6 pm everyday, Greeks tune into a health ministry briefing that is conducted by Sotiris Tsiodras and Nikos Hardalias. Tsiodras, a Harvard-trained professor in infectious diseases, informs the latest numbers with an emotional plea, while Hardalias, the civil defense minister, reiterates the gravity of the situation and warns citizens to remain at home.
The duo have come to be associated as the faces of the Greek government’s drive to contain the spread of the pandemic. With the spread of the pandemic taking place at a much slower rate in Greece than the rest of its European counterparts, the country seems to be having a better grip at the crisis that most would have expected.
Forced apart by the coronavirus pandemic, Southeast Asian leaders linked up by video on Tuesday to plot a strategy to overcome a crisis that has threatened their economies and kept millions of people in their homes under lockdowns. The 10 leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations held further talks later in the day, also through video conferencing, with their counterparts from China, Japan and South Korea, who expressed support in helping ASEAN fight the coronavirus.
Vietnam, ASEAN’s leader this year, has postponed an in-person gathering tentatively to June.
“It is in these grim hours that the solidarity of the ASEAN community shines like a beacon in the dark,” Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said in an opening speech.
In a big relief for thousands of stranded Indian professionals in America due to the coronavirus pandemic, the US government has decided to allow applications by H-1B visa holders for an extended stay in the country. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a new notification has said it recognises that there are immigration-related challenges as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement comes at a time when countries around the world have closed their borders and all international passenger flights have been suspended globally.
Asserting that America was making “critical progress” in the war against the novel coronavirus, President Donald Trump has said the number of daily new infections remained flat nationwide over the weekend, sending clear evidence that the “aggressive” strategy to combat the deadly disease was working.
On Monday, as many 1334 died in the US because of coronavirus and 24,895 new cases were reported. The number was far less than the fatalities hovering around 2,000 for the past several days and over 30,000 new cases being reported daily.
“America is continuing to make critical progress in our war against the virus. Over the weekend the number of daily new infections remained flat nationwide; hospitalizations are slowing in hotspots like New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and Louisiana, Trump told reporters during his White House press conference on coronavirus on Monday.
The Nepal government on Tuesday decided to extend the lockdown period till April 27 as the Himalayan nation continued to witness increase in the number of coronavirus cases, PTI reported. The decision to extend the lockdown period was taken during a meeting of the council of ministers here after the number of coronavirus cases in the country increased to 16.
New York saw a few positive signs even as it reached another bleak milestone. It marked the first time in a week that the daily toll dipped below 700. Nearly 2,000 more people have been hospitalized with the virus Sunday. Taking into account the ones discharged and dead, the number of people hospitalized has flattened to just under 19,000.
“This virus is very good at what it does. It is a killer,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday. In the US, about half of the more than 22,000 deaths reported are in the New York metropolitan area. The total number of cases reported in nation stands at 582,000.
President Donald Trump will today announce a second task force consisting of eminent people. The task force would recommend him on reopening the country’s economy. “I’ve been having many discussions with my team and top experts and we’re very close to completing a plan to open our country hopefully even ahead of schedule, and that’s so important,” Trump told reporters at his White House news conference on coronavirus.
He asserted he had the ultimate authority to re-open the largely shuttered economy despite an earlier deference to US state governors and constitutional questions about whether that decision-making fell within his purview.”The president of the United States calls the shots. If we weren’t here for the states, you’d have had a problem in this country like you’ve never seen before,” Trump said. ”
In some European countries, officials pointed to positive signs as they began prepping for the reopening of largely shuttered economies and industries. However, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, urged caution over moves to lift some lockdown conditions.
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) April 13, 2020
He said much was still unknown about the behaviour of the virus and emphasised that case finding, testing and isolating were still crucial to controlling the outbreak.
Italian authorities announced on Monday that there were 3,153 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, approximately a 1.9 percent increase. That brings the country’s overall toll of known cases to nearly 160,000. The day-to-day death toll, 566, however, was up, from the 431 new deaths registered on Sunday, bringing the total death toll to over 20,000. Italy’s day-to-day increase in infections was one of the lowest in weeks, bolstering a generally downward trend. Slightly eased restrictions were about to take effect in some sectors of the country, such as allowing stores selling necessities for newborns to reopen.
In hard-hit Spain, workers were permitted to return to some factory and construction jobs as the government looked to restart manufacturing. Spain reported Tuesday 567 deaths from the new coronavirus, a slight increase after a one day decline, bringing the total number of fatalities to 18,056 — officially the third highest in the world behind the United States and Italy.
The number of new infections rose by 1.8 percent to 172,541 cases, according to the health ministry, the smallest increase since the country imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 14 to curb the spread of the virus.
A group of over 50 senior clerics in Pakistan has warned the government against the ban on religious congregations amidst the coronavirus outbreak and said the authorities should instead abide by religious norms and allow more worshippers in mosques to seek forgiveness from Allah. The government has banned prayer congregations of more than five people as part of its measures to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus, which has infected over 5,715 people in Pakistan.
Despite the government’s pleas to observe social distancing, over 53 senior clerics of Rawalpindi and Islamabad belonging to the Wafaqul Madaris al Arabia on Monday held a meeting in Jamia Darul Uloom Zakria here to discuss the ban on prayer congregations, the Dawn News reported.
South Korea has reported 27 fresh cases of the new coronavirus, the 13th day in a row of below 100, as infections continued to wane in the worst-hit city of Daegu and nearby towns. Figures released by South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday brought national totals to 10,564 infections and 222 virus-related deaths.
The KCDC says at least 940 of the cases were linked to passengers arriving from overseas, with most of the cases detected in the past three weeks. South Korean Prime Minster Chung Sye-kyun during an anti-virus meeting on Tuesday called officials to provide stronger support for scientists’ efforts to develop vaccines and treatments for the virus, which he said would be a boon for the country’s biomedical industry.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced the extension of France’s strict lockdown until May 11 during his third televised address to the nation on the virus crisis from the Elysee palace. France has been under lockdown since March 17. Macron said he sees “hopeful signs” as the spreading of the virus in the country appears to be stabilizing. But he urged the French to keep respecting strict confinement rules for the moment.
Starting from May 11, schools will reopen “progressively”, he said. Restaurants, cafes, hotels, cinemas, museums and concert halls will remain closed and no big gatherings will be allowed until mid-July, he added. Macron acknowledged “failures and deficiencies” in a reference to the lack of masks and other equipment.
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As a response to the criticism that the country has not conducted enough coronavirus tests, he promised that by May 11, all those who have symptoms will be able to get tested. French health authorities have reported Monday a drop in numbers of people in intensive care for the fifth straight day. The country registered 574 deaths over the past 24 hours in hospitals and nursing homes, bringing the total number of deaths from the COVID-19 to 14,967 since the outbreak began in France.
The country’s death toll rose to 4,585, with 111 deaths overnight, a health ministry official said, adding that the total number of infected cases had reached 73,303 in the most affected Middle Eastern country.