Latest on Covid-19 Spread as Death Toll Nears 19,000

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Nearly 421,000 people have been infected across the world and more than 18,800 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

David Ryder/Reuters

Europe

  • The number of cases in Italy, which has more fatalities than any other country, is probably 10 times higher than the official tally, the head of the agency collating the data said.
  • Nurses and doctors demanded action after Spain reported its sharpest daily increase in coronavirus cases on Tuesday and said about 14 percent of the nearly 40,000 infections were among health workers.
  • French authorities reported 240 new deaths from coronavirus on Tuesday for a total of 1,100, making it the fifth country to cross the 1,000-fatalities threshold.
  • German hospitals with spare capacity welcomed their first coronavirus patients from Italy.
  • Coronavirus deaths in Britain jumped to 422 on the first day of a national lockdown, while the government called for 250,000 volunteers for the health service.
  • Austria will massively expand testing in the coming days to locate and isolate infected people, its chancellor said on Tuesday.
  • Poland’s government said it would expand restrictions on citizens, including a limit on the number of people taking part in masses, a drastic move in a deeply devout country.
  • Russia’s president Vladimir Putin donned a hazmat suit and respirator during a hospital visit on Tuesday and Moscow’s mayor said the outbreak in the capital was much worse than official figures showed.
  • Norway extended its restrictions until April 13. It has confirmed 2,566 virus cases, of whom 12 have died.

Americas

  • The Trump administration sowed confusion over the use of a 1950s-era emergency act to procure coronavirus test kits amid severe shortages of equipment for medical workers.
  • The virus has killed more than 700 people in the US and sickened more than 53,000.
  • An emergency aid package for Canadians facing economic harm from the coronavirus outbreak was stalled.
  • Mexico will suspend all large public and private gatherings for a month and extend support to small businesses.
  • Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro laid to rest a diplomatic spat with China in a call with President Xi Jinping on Tuesday, with the two agreeing to work together to fight coronavirus as Brazil’s largest city went into lockdown.

Asia and the Pacific

  • Australian officials warned an accelerating number of coronavirus infections could start overwhelming the country’s intensive care units.
  • Mainland China reported a drop in new confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday as imported infections fell and no locally transmitted infections were reported.
  • Indians crowded grocery stores and chemists in a struggle for essential items after Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a total lockdown for three weeks.
  • Thailand has recorded 107 new coronavirus cases, bringing total to 934, while South Korea reported 100 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing its total infections to 9,137.

Middle East and Africa

  • About half of Iran’s government employees were staying at home on Tuesday as the country’s death toll exceeded 1,900.
  • Turkey imposed restrictions on grocery store opening hours and numbers of shop customers and bus passengers, as its death toll rose to 37.
  • Saudi Arabia on Tuesday reported its first death, while the United Arab Emirates’ main airports in Dubai and Abu Dhabi said they would temporarily suspend all passenger flights from Thursday.
  • Egypt has declared a two-week curfew, and those who violate the measure will be penalized under emergency laws, the prime minister said.
  • The Nigerian president’s chief of staff has tested positive, a source with direct knowledge said.
  • South African businesses braced for a nationwide lockdown as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases jumped to 554.
  • Congo’s president closed the country’s borders and imposed a state of emergency.
  • Libya confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus, with years of violence leaving its healthcare system highly vulnerable.

Economic Fallout

  • Asian shares extended their rally on Wednesday in the wake of Wall Street’s massive rebound as the US Congress appeared closer to passing a $2 trillion stimulus package.
  • Senior Democrats and Republicans were close to reaching a deal on a $2 trillion stimulus package.
  • Global airlines urged governments to speed up bailouts to rescue the air transport industry as they doubled their estimate of 2020 revenue losses from the coronavirus crisis to more than $250 billion.
  • The coronavirus pandemic could plunge Japan into deep economic stagnation, the country’s central bankers warned at last week’s emergency monetary policy meeting.
  • Norway’s unemployment rate soared five-fold this month to its highest level since the 1930s, as companies announced mass layoffs and shutdowns, data showed.
  • Britain’s economy is shrinking at a record pace, faster than during the 2008-09 financial crisis, a survey showed on Tuesday.

Events

  • The Tokyo Olympics were postponed to 2021, the first such delay in the Games’ 124-year modern history.
  • The Cannes Film Festival venue is opening its doors to the town’s homeless who have nowhere to go during the coronavirus lockdown.
  • Australia’s A-league soccer season was suspended on Tuesday.
  • Two Russian cosmonauts and a US astronaut were spending their final weeks on Earth in quarantine before they are scheduled to blast off on April 9 for the International Space Station.