Virus update: Worldwide death toll tops 10,000

Virus update: Worldwide death toll tops 10,000

A general view of a man in a street on Thursday in Sorrento as Italy remains under a nationwide lockdown in a government decree that orders Italians to stay at home. (Reuters photo)
A general view of a man in a street on Thursday in Sorrento as Italy remains under a nationwide lockdown in a government decree that orders Italians to stay at home. (Reuters photo)

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people globally, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The number of dead in Italy surpassed those in China, which again reported no new cases in the outbreak’s initial epicentre.

India urged its 1.3 billion citizens to stay indoors and barred all flights from overseas for a week.

The US warned Americans not to travel abroad and recommended that those who are overseas come home.

US Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell released a massive stimulus plan for consumers, companies and local governments.


Key Developments:

  • Cases near 235,000 worldwide, death toll tops 9,800
  • California governor issues statewide order to stay at home
  • EU Brexit negotiator tests positive; UK counterpart isolates
  • Lagarde pledges no limits to ECB action, bonds soar
  • English Premier League postponed until April 30
  • New York ordered 75% of a company’s non-essential workers to stay home
  • Cannes Film Festival delayed for at least a month


Latest developments

WHO: New cases surge dramatically

The World Health Organization said it developed new guidelines to investigate the extent of infection among the population with antibody tests. Thirteen countries have begun to implement some of the investigation protocols, and another 18 said they plan to do so. More widespread testing would give better information about the disease.


UK rail services cut

The UK government has worked with rail operators to agree a reduction in rail services in an effort to minimise the spread of the virus. Rail services will be reduced from Monday and kept under review, with the government saying the move reflects a decrease in passenger demand.


Death toll rises

Data tracked by Johns Hopkins University show total number of deaths stemming from the growing pandemic at 10,030. The number of people infected worldwide is nearing 245,000 with most cases in China, followed by Italy and Iran, according to its data.


Cathay slashes capacity

Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon will reduce capacity by 96% across their passenger network in April and May in light of the severe drop in demand due, according to an emailed statement.

Earlier, HK Express, Cathay Pacific’s budget airline, said it will suspend all flights from Monday to April 30 because of a significant drop in travel demand.


Saudi Arabia suspends transport

Saudi Arabia will suspend local flights, buses, cabs and trains for two weeks, state-run Saudi Press Agency said.

The ruling will go into effect on Saturday.


Thailand reports 50 new cases

Thailand reported 50 new infections, taking its tally to 322, a health official said, with the majority located in Bangkok.

A group of 41 new cases is linked to earlier infections, while another, of nine, centres on overseas arrivals and contact with foreigners, Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, director-general of the disease control department, told a news conference.

Thailand has had one death in the outbreak, with 43 patients having recovered and gone home, while 278 are still in hospital.


Malaysia to deploy army

Malaysia will deploy the army from Sunday to assist police in enforcing a restricted movement order aimed at reining in the spread of a coronavirus, the government said.

Friday's announcement follows curbs imposed on travel and businesses this week, as infections spiked to 900, with two dead. The majority of cases have been linked to a gathering of 16,000 Muslim missionaries late last month.


Vietnam expands visa ban

Vietnam will temporarily suspend visa-free travel for citizens of Japan, Belarus and Russia from Saturday as its health ministry reported nine more coronavirus cases on Friday, bringing the total in the country to 85, with no death.

The Foreign Ministry had already suspended visa waivers for nine European countries and South Korea. Visitors from the US, Europe and Asean countries will be immediately transported to repurposed military camps for 14 days quarantine.


Australia budget delayed

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a five-month delay in handing down the federal budget as his government grapples to limit the economic impact.

The budget will be moved to Oct 6 from May 12, Mr Morrison said.


California home isolation

The entire state of California will be under a stay-in-place order starting Thursday evening, according to governor Gavin Newsom.

The order, however, allows people to leave their homes for essential work like purchasing groceries. Mr Newsom earlier estimated 56% of the state’s population will become infected.


Argentina decrees social isolation

President Alberto Fernandez announced a mandatory isolation measure starting March 20 until March 31. Supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open while food producers and refineries are exempt from the decree. Security forces will patrol the streets to strictly enforce the measure.


All China’s new cases are imported

All 39 additional coronavirus cases on Thursday are imported, according to China’s National Health Commission.

China’s total death toll rose by 3 to 3,248. Of the latest fatalities, two are from Hubei province, the original epicentre of the outbreak.


Trump cancels in-person G7 meeting

President Donald Trump will hold this June’s Group of Seven meeting by video conference rather than hosting world leaders at Camp David as world leaders grapple with the coronavirus outbreak, the White House said.


US Senate proposes stimulus plan

Senate leader Mitch McConnell released a massive stimulus plan to counter the economic consequences of the pandemic.

A centrepiece of the package is tax rebates to individuals of $1,200 and $2,400 for married couples. The legislation also provides $208 billion worth of loans for businesses suffering due to the coronavirus pandemic, including $58 billion for the airline sector and $150 billion for other distressed areas of the economy.


UK Brexit chief in isolation

The UK’s chief negotiator for its trade talks with the European Union, David Frost, is isolating himself after showing symptoms of coronavirus, a British official said. It comes after Michel Barnier, Frost’s EU counterpart, announced on Twitter earlier on Thursday that he had tested positive for the disease. The two men had not had contact since the first round of talks in Brussels two weeks ago.


Tesla suspends production

Tesla will idle production at a northern California facility that is its lone US assembly plant. The decision follows several days of public pressure by local police and city managers about the carmaker continuing to run the factory in spite of a county shelter-in-place order.


US tells citizens abroad to come home

The US Justice Department escalated a global travel alert to its highest level, telling Americans to avoid all international trips.

US citizens in other countries should arrange for immediate return home unless they are prepared to stay abroad indefinitely, the agency said in an advisory.


Johnson may issue more restrictions

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that some Londoner aren’t doing enough to contain the spread of the coronavirus and that he would take more steps if necessary. He said earlier, however, that London wouldn’t be locked down.

He also said Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will announce actions on Friday to support struggling businesses.

Mr Johnson also said there were no plans to halt London’s sprawling mass transit system.


Italy death toll passes China

Italy surpassed China as the country with the most coronavirus deaths, as its number of fatalities reached 3,405 and the pandemic’s global spread accelerates. China has reported 3,248 deaths.

Italy remained in lockdown.


Prince Albert of Monaco tests positive

Prince Albert of Monaco, 62, has tested positive for coronavirus but his health is not a cause for concern, his office said on Thursday.

"Prince Albert is continuing to work from the office in his private apartments," it said in a statement.

The office said that Prince Albert is in constant contact with members of his cabinet, the government and his closest staff.

UK contacts retired doctors

The UK is contacting 15,000 retired and former doctors who have left the profession in the last three years to see if they are willing to help with efforts to fight the pandemic, the General Medical Council said in a statement Thursday. A third of those being contacted are aged 44 and under.

The GMC will grant the entire group automatic temporary registration to practice with no reassessment. Those that don’t want to participate can opt out. About 33% were previously general practitioners, while 35% were specialists.


India curbs incoming flights

India barred all international flights from landing in the country for a week starting March 22.

The federal government also asked states to enforce work-from-home for all private-sector employees except those working in emergency and essential services.


Source: Johns Hopkins CSSE


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