(Reuters) – Coronavirus cases across the globe jumped on Thursday as Japan planned to set up a special virus task force and New Zealand went under lockdown. The U.S. Senate unanimously backed a $2 trillion bill aimed at helping unemployed workers and industries hurt by the epidemic.
Medical officials wearing protective gear test a man at a drive-through coronavirus testing site following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at a hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, March 26, 2020. REUTERS/Chalinee Thirasupa
– More than 470,800 people have been infected across the world and over 21,200 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
– For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread, open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.
– Summer is unlikely to stop the spread of the virus, and every country in Europe is forecast to run out of intensive care beds by mid-April unless it acts fast.
– European Union states need 10 times as much personal protective equipment and other medical devices than traditional supply chains can provide, an internal EU document showed on Wednesday.
– Italy has seen more fatalities than any other country, with latest figures showing that 7,503 people have died from the infection in barely a month.
– A person who lives in the same Vatican residence as Pope Francis has tested positive for coronavirus.
– Spain’s coronavirus death toll jumped by 738 overnight to 3,434 fatalities and exceeded that of China.
– French health authorities reported 231 new deaths from coronavirus on Wednesday, taking the total to 1,331.
– The number of coronavirus deaths in the UK has risen to 463 as of Wednesday, while the total number of cases in the UK have risen to 9,529.
– New York, experiencing more coronavirus deaths and infections than any other U.S. state, is showing tentative signs of slowing the spread of the virus.
– New Orleans is on track to become the next coronavirus epicenter in the United States.
– Defense Secretary Mark Esper has issued a stop movement order to the U.S. military halting all travel and movement abroad for up to 60 days.
– Canada has almost doubled the value of an aid package to C$52 billion to help people and businesses.
– Many of Brazil’s 850,000 indigenous people are urging officials to expel from their lands outsiders who could introduce the disease.
– Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro faced a political backlash for calling the coronavirus lockdown a crime.
– Mexico temporarily halted the processing of asylum requests from Tuesday, as its cases climbed to 405.
– Venezuela has opened talks with China over possible financial support to cope with a sharp drop in oil prices and the arrival of the novel coronavirus. ASIA AND THE PACIFIC- Japan is to set up a coronavirus taskforce, the government said, as it warned of a high risk the wide spread of the virus.
– Mainland China reported a second consecutive day of no new local coronavirus cases as the country’s epicenter of the epidemic Hubei province opened its borders.
– Two cruise ships off the coast of Western Australia have been told to “immediately” leave Australian waters.
– New Zealand started a one-month compulsory lockdown, with warnings from authorities to stay at home or face big fines and even jail.
– Indonesia has a significant deficit in hospital beds, medical staff and intensive care facilities as health experts warn that it is primed to become a new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.
– Thailand reported 111 new coronavirus infections, taking its tally to 1,045, while South Korea reported 104 new coronavirus cases, bringing its total infections to 9,241.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
– Israelis were instructed on Wednesday to stay within 100 meters of their homes under tightened restrictions that further reduced public transport, required employers to check workers for fever and set sanctions for people who defy rules.
– Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, revered in Christian tradition as the site of Jesus’s crucifixion and burial, was closed.
– Saudi Arabia reported its second coronavirus death and tightened a nationwide curfew.
– Egypt has declared a two-week curfew, and those who violate the measure will be penalized under emergency laws, the prime minister said.
– South African officials identified quarantine sites across the country on Wednesday, as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 709.
– The Nigerian Army is preparing to forcibly transfer the sick to hospital and enforce restrictions, and is leasing equipment for “possible mass burial”, according to an army memo seen by Reuters.
– A two-day equities rally lost momentum on Thursday, and investors sold riskier currencies, as investors fretted over a likely spike in U.S. jobless claims.
– Singapore’s economy suffered its biggest contraction in a decade in the first quarter, as the coronavirus pandemic prompted the city-state to cut its full-year GDP forecast and plan for a deep recession.
– The Bank of England and Britain’s finance ministry will resume their coordinated drive to prevent the coronavirus-related shutdown of swathes of the economy from triggering a long and deep recession.
– Germany, whose economy could contract by as much as 20% this year, is open to using the European Stability Mechanism to prop up economies under certain circumstances.
– German lawmakers on Wednesday voted to suspend the debt brake for the first time ever to finance an aid package meant to help shield Europe’s largest economy.
– Nearly 100,000 French companies have asked the government to reimburse them for putting 1.2 million workers on shorter or zero hours since the coronavirus outbreak.
– Venezuela has opened talks with China over possible financial support to cope with a sharp drop in oil prices and the arrival of coronavirus, sources familiar with the negotiations said.
– India is likely to agree an economic stimulus package of more than $19.6 billion, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
– The International Monetary Fund said its board had approved a four-year, $1.3 billion loan program for Jordan.
– This year’s Wimbledon Championships could be postponed or canceled.
– The annual Tony Awards ceremony celebrating the best in Broadway theater was postponed indefinitely.
– Mariah Carey, Billie Eilish and Tim McGraw will headline a benefit concert on Sunday, playing from their homes, to raise money to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.
Compiled by Sarah Morland, Milla Nissi, Aditya Soni and Ramakrishnan M.; Editing by Mike Collett-White, Sriraj Kalluvila, Tomasz Janowski and Maju Samuel