Countries affected by the novel coronavirus around the world extended restrictions and looked for new measures to aid the virus-hit economies as WHO warned the epidemic is “far from over” in the Asia-Pacific region.
* More than 777,000 people have been infected across the world and over 37,500 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
* For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread, open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.
* U.S.-focused tracker with state-by-state and county map, open tmsnrt.rs/2w7hX9T in an external browser.
* Italy will extend its nationwide lockdown measures at least until the Easter season in April.
* Spain registered 849 fatalities overnight – its highest number in 24 hours since the epidemic started.
* France recorded its worst daily death toll on Monday, its total exceeding 3,000, and army helicopters transported critical patients from the east to hospitals overseas.
* Jena in eastern Germany became the country’s first city to make people wear face masks when shopping or travelling by public transport, as the national case tally nears 62,000.
* Some British police officers have been criticised for overzealous lockdown response, with the National Police Chiefs Council saying they were looking to ensure consistency.
* Total infections in the Czech Republic exceeded 3,000.
* More than a dozen Russian regions including the city of St. Petersburg introduced a partial lockdown.
* Finland extended most of its measures until May 13, while Denmark may gradually lift its lockdown after Easter if the numbers remain stable.
* The U.S. death toll climbed past 3,000 on Monday, as New York cheered the arrival of a 1,000-bed U.S. Navy hospital ship and President Donald Trump said federal guidelines might be toughened.
* The U.S. government has cut deals with Johnson & Johnson and Moderna Inc and is in talks with at least two other firms to expand manufacturing capacity for coronavirus vaccines.
* Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said there can be no more quarantine measures imposed on the country than those already in place because jobs are being destroyed and the poor are suffering disproportionately.
* Mexico declared a health emergency on Monday and issued stricter restrictions.
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
* The epidemic is “far from over” in the Asia-Pacific region, and the current measures are merely buying time for countries to prepare for large-scale community transmissions, a WHO official said on Tuesday.
* China will delay its national college entrance exam by a month as travellers returning from abroad are fuelling new cases and boosting concern over the threat of a second wave of infections.
* On Tuesday, mainland China reported an increase in new infections with 48 cases, all imported, reversing four days of declines.
* Shortages of protective gear in India are forcing some doctors to use raincoats and motorbike helmets while fighting the virus.
* Tokyo recorded more than 70 new infections on Tuesday for its highest tally in a single day, as pressure built on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to order a lockdown.
* Indonesia declared national emergency on Tuesday and announced measures to help people with lower incomes, including expanding social welfare and food assistance.
The country will ban all arrivals and transit by foreigners and strengthen screening for returning citizens.
* Vietnam will begin 15 days of social distancing from Wednesday.
* Myanmar reported its first death.
* Australia reported a sustained fall in new infections, but officials urged people not to become complacent and stressed the need for further policies, as state authorities enacted sweeping powers to impose hefty fines and potential jail terms on anybody breaching rules.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Iran considers tougher curbs as its death toll climbed to almost 2,900 on Tuesday.
* Dubai enforced the United Arab Emirates’ first full lockdown on a district housing the emirate’s famous gold and spice markets on Tuesday, to disinfect the normally bustling tourist and trade area.
* Saudi Arabia’s health minister said King Salman would cover treatment for citizens and residents diagnosed with the virus, urging people with symptoms to get tested.
* Zimbabwe began a 21-day nationwide lockdown on Monday, following South Africa in implementing tough measures.
* World stocks looked set to close their worst quarter since 2008 on a brighter note on Tuesday, as strong Chinese factory data held out hope for an economic revival even as much of the rest of the world shut down. [MKTS/GLOB]
* The European Central Bank is ready to consider all options within its mandate to support the economy in the current crisis.
* Spain’s foreign minister proposed increasing the budget of the European Union to tackle the crisis.
* A new mechanism to enable the issuance of joint euro zone debt to counter economic fallout from the epidemic could take up to three years to set up, the head of the bloc’s bailout fund said.
* G20 trade ministers agreed on Monday to keep their markets open and ensure the continued flow of vital medical supplies, equipment and other essential goods.
* Australia temporarily relaxed some rules to make it easier for listed companies to raise capital.
* Indonesia is planning to issue an emergency regulation to allow the government to manage a wider fiscal deficit and increase spending.
* Bulgaria will have to raise 4.2 billion levs ($2.36 billion) in additional debt this year to finance an expected fiscal gap as it offers help to businesses and workers.
March 31, 2020
Compiled by Sarah Morland, Milla Nissi, Aditya Soni and Uttaresh.V; Editing by Tomasz Janowski, William Maclean, Sriraj KalluvilaOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Categories: World News