Coronavirus update: The coronavirus death toll in Spain surged to 4,089 after 655 people died within 24 hours, news agency AFP reported. It was a 19 per cent increase on figures released on Wednesday. The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose to 56,188 in Spain, which has the world’s second-highest death toll from the disease after Italy.
The overall global death due to the novel coronavirus has crossed 21,000.
G20 nations to inject $5 trillion into global economy
On Thursday, the G20 nations pledged a “united front” in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and said they were injecting USD 5 trillion into the global economy to counter the impact of the crisis.
“We are injecting over USD 5 trillion into the global economy, as part of targeted fiscal policy, economic measures, and guarantee schemes to counteract the social, economic and financial impacts of the pandemic,” the leaders said in a statement after an emergency online summit.
Cases near 700 in India, death toll at 16
The total number of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in India has risen to 694, including 16 deaths, the Health Ministry said in its latest bulletin on Thursday. Among these, 44 patients have recovered so far. With India undergoing a 21-day lockdown till April 14, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also announced an economic package worth Rs. 1.7 lakh crore to help those who have been affected directly due to the nationwide lockdown.
Iran starts intercity travel ban amid fears of surge of coronavirus
Iran has started an intercity travel ban, an Iranian official said in a televised news conference on Thursday, a day after Iran’s government spokesman warned the country might face a surge of cases in the coronavirus pandemic, news agency Reuters reported. Officials have complained that many Iranians ignored appeals to stay at home and cancel travel plans for the Persian New Year holidays that began on March 20.
The outbreak has killed 2,234 people in Iran where there have been 29,406 reported cases of the virus so far.
Clergyman in pope’s residence reported with virus
An Italian employee of the Holy See who lives in the same residence as Pope Francis was reported on Thursday to have tested positive for COVID-19 and has been hospitalised, news agency AFP reported. Several Italian newspapers with reputable sources in the Vatican said the clergyman has lived for years in the Saint Martha’s guesthouse.
Pope Francis has remained largely secluded at his residence since coming down with a cold late last month.
China to drastically cuts international flights
China is set to drastically cut its international flight routes in a bid to blunt the number of imported cases of the new coronavirus, the civil aviation authority said on Thursday.
Flights out of China will be capped at just one route a week to each country, with international airlines also permitted only one route.
Death toll in Australia increases to 12; infected cases nearly 2,800
Australian health authorities on Thursday said the deaths due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country has touched 12 with the demise of three elderly persons while the total number of infections has risen to nearly 2,800.
The state of Victoria recorded the deaths of three men in their old age diagnosed with deadly coronavirus in the last 24 hours taking the total number of fatalities due to the deadly coronavirus infection to 12.
104 new cases in South Korea
South Korea has reported 104 fresh cases, taking the total number of infections to over 9,000. More than 130 people have been killed so far. The Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention has linked the fresh cases to recent arrivals as several Koreans continued to return from the US and Europe.
From Friday, the country will enforce 14-day quarantines on South Korean nationals and foreigners with long-term stay visas arrives from the US. Similar measures will be applied to those arriving from Europe. South Korean Prime Minister Chung Se-kyun have directed officials to employ a “no-tolerance” policy on those who violate quarantines, adding that the South Korean nationals will be sued while foreigners could be expelled.
South Korea’s #BTS canceled their April concert in Seoul over #coronavirus fears, but the group’s fans are rallying in small groups and emulating their idols by donating money for virus relief https://t.co/2yGPDMWCJh pic.twitter.com/pEoaQEBec1
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 18, 2020
Wuhan prepares to emerge from lockdown
Even as no fresh cases were reported in China’s Wuhan, the provincial capital where the virus broke out in December, residents are preparing to emerge from the months-long lockdown. Wuhan citizens are allowed out of the city but cannot leave the province until April 8. The country, meanwhile, reported 67 new cases, all of which the National Health Commission said were imported infections in recent arrivals from abroad.
As the Covid-19 outbreak continues to skyrocket in the US and Europe, China’s ruling Communist Party has declared victory over the epidemic and is relaxing restrictions to revive the economy.
Foreign ministers spar over calling China source of Covid-19 pandemic at G7 meet
Foreign ministers from the Group of 7 leading industrialized democracies sparred Wednesday over whether to call out China as the source of the coronavirus pandemic. Meeting by video conference because of the outbreak, the ministers agreed on the need for joint efforts to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus, which causes a disease being called COVID-19. But US and European diplomats said the ministers were unable to agree on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s call for the virus to be identified by name as the “Wuhan virus.”
As a result, just a day after G-7 finance ministers and central bankers issued a joint communique referring to the COVID-19 virus, the foreign ministers opted against releasing a group statement. US, officials pointed to Tuesday’s finance ministers’ statement to reject suggestions of G-7 disunity and said the foreign ministers had never intended to release their own communique.
As the coronavirus spread across China in early January, international travel continued as normal. Thousands flew from Wuhan to cities around the world.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 22, 2020
Japan mulls special coronavirus headquarters
The Japanese government is likely to set up a special headquarters Thursday afternoon, a step that could set the stage for declaring a state of emergency, Kyodo news agency reported. Under a law revised earlier in March to cover the coronavirus, the prime minister can declare a state of emergency if the disease poses a “grave danger” to lives and if its rapid spread threatens serious economic damage. The virus has already increased Japan’s recession risk.
Nearly 6,000 people have tested positive so far. After the capital saw a sharp surge in cases this week, the International Olympic Committee decided to postpone the Summer Games of 2020 by one year.
New York grapples with rising coronavirus cases
In New York, the epicentre of the outbreak in the US, authorities mobilized to head off a potential public health disaster in the city as nearly 31,000 cases were registered. With nearly 200 deaths reported so far, a makeshift morgue was set up outside Bellevue Hospital and the city’s police were told to patrol to enforce social distancing.
— Larry Madowo (@LarryMadowo) March 23, 2020
Marine at Pentagon tests positive
The Pentagon has halted for 60 days the movement of US troops and Defense Department civilians overseas, a measure expected to affect about 90,000 troops scheduled to deploy or return from abroad. A Marine became the first person stationed at the Pentagon to test positive for the virus.
France launches special military operation
In France, President Emmanuel Macron launched a special military operation Wednesday to help fight the outbreak in one of the world’s hardest-hit countries. As part of “Operation Resilience”, the government has deployed choppers to transport patients in overseas French territories in the Carribean, South America and the Indian Ocean.
The President assured a “massive” new investment plan for public hospitals even as the government faced criticisms for acting slow to lock down the country. “We are just at the beginning. But we will make it through, because we will not surrender, because we have the strength,” he said.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 19, 2020
Russia records first two deaths
Russian President Vladimir Putin underlined the seriousness of the epidemic after the country reported its first two deaths from the virus — two elderly patients who had underlying conditions.
“Two elderly patients died in Moscow, who had tested positive for coronavirus,” the Moscow city health department said in a statement, adding that they were suffering from pneumonia and complications.
Putin also postponed a nationwide vote on proposed constitutional amendments that could enable him to extend his hold on power.
Saudi seals off three cities after second virus death
On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia sealed off the capital Riyadh and two of Islam’s holiest cities and extended curfew hours after a second death was reported and cases spiked to 900. The kingdom barred entry and exit from Riyadh as well as Mecca and Medina and prohibited movement between all provinces, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.
Saudi Arabia has reported the highest number of infections in the Gulf.
— Foreign Ministry 🇸🇦 (@KSAmofaEN) March 25, 2020
Singapore’s economy plunges in early sign of pain in Asia
Singapore’s economy contracted the most in a decade in the first quarter, a bellwether for the rest of Asia as the fast-spreading coronavirus continues to shut down vast parts of the world.
Gross domestic product fell an annualized 10.6% in the first quarter from the previous three months, far worse than the median forecast of an 8.2% decline in a Bloomberg survey of economists. The government said it now sees a sharp contraction in the economy of 1%-4% for the full year.
UK prepares for more coronavirus cases
The number of deaths in the UK rose to 463 as of Wednesday from 422 on Tuesday, the British government said, adding that more than 9,500 COVID-19 cases have now been reported in the country.
The government is anticipating a peaking of coronavirus cases in Britain in the coming weeks and has appealed to manufacturers to supply the National Health Service with the appropriate requirements. Britain had been in talks with over 3,000 businesses about supplying ventilators to quickly increase the health service’s capacity.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said more than 4,00,000 people responded within a day to the government’s call for volunteers to help the country’s most vulnerable people. They will deliver medicine, drive people home from doctor’s appointments and make phone calls to check on patients.
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