As COVID-19 rapidly spreads across the world infecting over 3,000,000 people and costing over 211,000 deaths, we keep you up to date with all the relevant breaking news.
BBC Investigation Finds UK Government Complicit in Lack of PPE
Despite warnings from its own advisors, the UK government did not purchase any personal protective equipment (PPE) missing from the stockpile that was created in 2009 to handle pandemics.
An investigation from BBC’s Panorama revealed that there were no gowns, visors, swabs or body bags in the stockpile when the virus arrived in the country. NHS staff have been put at risk due to the lack of equipment, a criticism that has been directed at the government for several weeks as NHS staff continue to lose their lives.
The country has reported over 158,000 confirmed cases and over 21,000 cases – although the number is thought be much higher as deaths in care homes were not initially included.
Australians Download Contact Tracing App
Around 2.4 million Australian citizens have downloaded the COVIDSafe smartphone app. The app uses a Bluetooth wireless signal to exchange a digital handshake which enables users to log any contact they’ve had within 1.5m. Those who have had close contact with an individual who has tested positive for the virus will be notified by the app.
Australia has recorded nearly 7,000 confirmed cases with less than 100 deaths.
No Olympics in 2021 Without Vaccine
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which was scheduled to take place this summer, was moved to next year. However, the head of Japan’s Medical Association has warned that it will be ‘difficult’ for the country to host the Olympics next year without a vaccine.
Similar sentiments where iterated earlier this month by the chief of the Tokyo games, who said that he could not guarantee the games would happen next year.
Argentina Bans Commercial Flights
All internal and international commercial flights have been banned in Argentina until 1st September as a means of slowing down the spread of the virus.
Argentina’s National Civil Administration issued a decree stating that airlines would be prohibited from selling tickets. This falls in line with other strict measures employed by the country which included closing its borders to non-nationals early on.
New Zealand Eliminates Community Transmission
After only recording one new case on Sunday, New Zealand seems like the poster child for effectively tackling the spread of the virus. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says that the country has “currently eliminated” the virus.
New Zealand has reported fewer than 1,500 cases and 19 deaths. The country will begin lifting its lockdown from Tuesday with some non-essential businesses, healthcare and education activities resuming. However, most people will still be required to stay at home and practice social distancing.
Japan Bans More Travellers
From Wednesday, Japan will include 14 more countries to its travel ban to curb the spread of coronavirus, announced Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. This will bring the total to 87 countries and territories.
The country has reported over 13,000 confirmed cases and nearly 400 deaths.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson Returns to Work
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has returned to government duties after recovering from coronavirus. The return follows mounting pressure on formulating an exit strategy as frustration over the lockdown grows.
However, in his first public remarks, PM Johnson has said that he could not yet say when lockdown measures will be eased and how that process will play out. The PM warned that he cannot risk a second wave of infections.
The UK has recorded over 154,000 cases and surpassed 20,000 deaths.
Southeast Asia Extends Travel Restrictions
Several Philippine airlines have announced that domestic and international flights will remain suspended until mid-May. The announcement comes after lockdown measures are extended in the capital and several other provinces.
Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and the Philippine unit of Malaysia’s Airasia Group Bhd told Reuters that only cargo and special recovery flights will remain in operation.
Indonesia has also announced a temporary ban on all domestic and international air and sea travel with some exceptions. The ban will last until the end of May. The Muslim-majority country will begin Ramadan today, however any travel from the cities to provinces – as customary during this time – has also been banned.
Deadliest Day for US
According to statistics from Johns Hopkins, the US has reported 3,332 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours.
This brings the countries total number of deaths to nearly 50,000 deaths with confirmed cases over 869,000.
However, experts believe that due to a lack of testing, numbers could be higher.
President Donald Trump’s response to the outbreak has been called into a question a number of times. The President sparked outrage amongst the medical community after suggesting that injecting individuals with disinfectant could provide a cure for the virus.
First UK Patients Undergo Human Trials
Two volunteers were injected with a potential vaccine as the first human trials in Europe begin in the UK.
More than 800 people have been recruited for the study. Half will be injected with the vaccine while the other half will receive a control vaccine that is proven to work against meningitis – however, there is no evidence to suggest yet that it will also work against the virus.
A team at Oxford University was responsible for developing the potential vaccine.
Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology at the Jenner Institute leading the pre-trials, has said that she is “very optimistic” about the results.
Trump Details Immigration Ban
Late on Monday, President Donald Trump published a cryptic tweet briefly announcing his decision to sign an executive order banning immigration.
Trump has since offered details on his plan which includes a 60-day suspension of green card applications. After this time period, the President will review the order and decide whether to extend the ban or not. Other immigration routes such as the E-2 visas are not anticipated to be affected.
This move is in conjunction with the US’ current travel restrictions imposed on all foreign nationals.
Social Distancing in UK ‘to Remain for Rest of Year’
According to the UK’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, its “wholly unrealistic” for the country to return to normalcy anytime soon.
Some restrictions are expected to remain for the rest of the year.
Whitty believes that an effective vaccine must be developed in order for things to return to normal, but believes the likelihood is “incredibly small” for one to be established within the next year.
Almost Half of Deaths Occur in Care Facilities
The World Heath Organisation’s regional director for Europe has revealed that almost half of all deaths from coronavirus occur in care facilities.
Dr Hans Kluge said that, “According to estimates from countries in the European region, up to half of those who have died from Covid-19 were resident in long-term care facilities.”
US State Sues China Over Coronavirus
Missouri becomes the first US state to sue the Chinese government over its response to the coronavirus outbreak. The virus first emerged in the city of Wuhan back in December.
Missouri has also pointed the blame at the East Asian nation for the devastating economic losses suffered.
“The Chinese government lied to the world about the danger and contagious nature of COVID-19, silenced whistleblowers, and did little to stop the spread of the disease,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a Republican, said in a statement. “They must be held accountable for their actions.”
A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry said the claims were “nothing short of absurdity”.
Pakistani PM Awaits Test Results
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has been tested for coronavirus after coming into contact with someone who was confirmed positive.
Results are expected to be released on Wednesday.
Pakistan’s confirmed cases have nearly reached 10,000 but its death rate remains relatively low at 209.
Global Hunger Warns UN
A new report from the UN World Food Programme (WFP) reveals that the risk of widespread famine of ‘biblical proportions’ is imminent as a result of the global outbreak.
According to the report, the number of people without food could go from 135 million to 250 million.
The countries most at risk are Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Nigeria and Haiti as they’re already affected by conflict, economic crisis and climate change.
April 21st 2020
UK Death Toll 41% Higher Than Reported
New data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveals that the UK’s death toll was significantly higher in the period leading to April 10th compared to government reports.
At the time, the government reported that official figures were 9,288 but new statistics show that the number was 13,121.
The discrepancy is due to government reports initially only including those dying from the virus in hospitals whereas ONS figures reflects anyone who died from the virus in their residents or in care homes.
Trump Suspends Immigration to US
In a cryptic tweet, President Donald Trump declared that he would be signing an executive order to halt immigration to the country.
Trump referenced the virus as “the attack from the invisible enemy” and briefly mentioned the need to protect the jobs of Americans but gave no more details.
However, critics say that Trump is using this pandemic to continue the crackdown on immigration.
The country is by far the worst affected in number of confirmed cases and deaths.
Hong Kong Extends Lockdown
Despite reporting no new deaths on Monday, the first time in almost two months, Hong Kong will continue to extend its lockdown which was anticipated to end on the 23rd April.
The extension will last another 14 days and will end on 7th May.
Public gatherings of more than four people are banned. Entertainment venues, bars, cinemas and gyms are also closed while foreign arrivals at airports are suspended.
Virgin Australia in Administration
Australia’s second-largest carrier has entered voluntary administration after failing to secure a government bailout. It is now looking for buyers and investors.
Meanwhile, Richard Branson – founder of the Virgin Group – has offered up his private Caribbean island as collateral in exchange for a bailout from the UK government.
Protests Erupt Across US
Large protests are occurring across the US in response to the tight lockdown measures implemented to tackle the outbreak of coronavirus.
Frustrated workers gathered in Arizona, Colorado, Montana and Washington to demand for a reopening of the economy. Social distancing rules were largely ignored.
In Washington, crowd numbers reached 2,500 in what was the largest protest in the country. President Donald Trump didn’t condemn the protests instead saying that the protesters were ‘great people’.
The US is now the epicentre of the virus, recording over 750,000 confirmed cases and surpassing 40,000 deaths.
Spain Surpasses 200,000 Cases
According to Spain’s Health Ministry, confirmed cases in the country have surpassed 200,000.
However, Spain registered its lowest daily death toll in almost a month, signalling a positive turn for the country.
Novartis Agrees to Malaria Drug Trial
The US Food & Drug Administration has agreed for Swiss pharmaceutical Novartis to conduct a randomised trial of a malaria drug known as hydroxychloroquine in order to tackle the coronavirus.
However, there has been no scientific proof indicating its effectiveness against COVID-19.
Novartis will plan to start recruiting 449 patients at a dozen sites for its Phase III trial.
Europe Begins Easing Restrictions
Several European countries have begun loosening restrictions as confirmed cases begin to drop in the continent.
Germany will begin reopening some non-essential shops.
Norway will begin reopening kindergartens.
Poland will now allow its citizens to visit parks and forests.
Denmark has already reopened schools and will now allow beauty salons, hairdressers and tattoo parlours.
However, France and Spain have decided against loosening restrictions.
Wuhan Revises Death Toll
Wuhan, the city in which the coronavirus first emerged in December, has revised its death toll, increasing it by around 50% to a total of 3,869. The number brings China’s death toll to 4,632.
Officials admitted the increase was due to people dying in their homes and cases missed during the early days of the outbreak.
The country has been on the receiving end of suspicion from several other countries who have claimed that China’s numbers were heavily downplayed.
The East Asian nation has also reported that its economy has shrunk by 6.8% in the first quarter of the year – the biggest decline in decades.
UK Lockdown Extended
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said that the UK lockdown will last “at least” another three weeks.
The news comes as the death toll in the country reaches 13,729.
According to Raab, five measures must be met before the lockdown can be eased:
- Making sure the NHS can cope
- A “sustained and consistent” fall in the daily death rate
- Reliable data showing the rate of infection was decreasing to “manageable levels”
- Ensuring the supply of tests and personal protective equipment (PPE) could meet future demand
- Being confident any adjustments would not risk a second peak
Trump to Ease Restrictions
Despite the US being the worst affected country by the coronavirus, President Donald Trump revealed during a press briefing that the government had a “road-map” to recover from the economic backlash of the pandemic.
The guidelines stipulate that states with low transmission rates of the virus could begin easing restrictions, while harder-hit states must continue to keep them in place.
For states least affected, a three-phase plan will be implemented that will involve gradually reopening businesses and schools, with each phase lasting 14 days.
Patients Retested Positive
According to South Korea’s Centres for Disease Control, 2.1% of patients who have recovered from the virus have retested positive.
While it is currently unclear why this is, especially as most experts believe that patients cannot re-catch the virus once recovered, the reasons could stem from issues with testing.
A total of 141 people have tested positive again in the country.
EU Commission Apologises to Italy
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, offered a ‘heartfelt apology’ to Italy over its coronavirus response.
The lack of support to one of the worst affected countries included failure to send medical aid and the refusal of northern nations to endorse joint bonds for the cost of Italy’s recovery.
The absence of solidarity has led Italy’s far-right League party to question the country’s continued membership to the European union.
In total, Italy has recorded over 165,000 cases and just under 22,000 deaths.
Pregnant Nurse in UK Dies
A 28-year old pregnant nurse working in the general ward of Luton and Dunstable University Hospital died after contracting coronavirus, however her baby was saved.
Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong is the latest healthcare worker to lose her life. Many have criticised the government for its lack of testing for NHS staff and the need for full protection. Agyapong is reportedly the 27th healthcare worker to have died from the virus.
The UK has reported nearly 100,000 cases and almost 13,000 deaths as the country is anticipated to extend its lockdown restrictions.
During an interview on French radio, President Emmanuel Macron revealed that he is backing for a world truce.
According to Macron, he has secured the agreement of several of the 5 permanent members of the United Nations Security Council to back a global ceasefire.
China, the US and UK are reportedly on board. Macron also believes Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will agree to the terms.
Europe in “The Eye of the Storm”
World Health Organisation’s Europe regional director Hans Kluge has warned that the continent is in ‘the eye of the storm’ as cases double in the last 10 days.
Europe is now home to around 50% of all global confirmed cases with almost 1,000,000 people testing positive and more than 84,000 deaths.
US Halts WHO Funding
President Donald Trump announced that the US would be slashing its funding to the World Health Organisation after it “failed in its basic duty” in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump accused the organisation of mismanaging the pandemic and covering up the spread of the virus when it first emerged in China.
The allegations mirror criticisms faced by Trump’s own management of the outbreak.
The move has sparked outrage from several countries, including Germany and China.
Polling Stations Open in South Korea
Despite the ongoing pandemic, South Korean citizens headed to polls today to cast their vote in the legislative election.
To keep safe, voters are instructed to wear masks, gloves, undergo a temperature check and practice social distancing inside the polling stations where booths are also regularly disinfected.
South Korea was the first country to be hit significantly by the virus but it will continue to hold a nationwide election.
Russia Witnesses Biggest Single-Day Increase
According to data from its coronavirus response headquarters, Russia reported 3,388 more confirmed cases on Wednesday. This marks the largest single-day increase the country has witnessed.
In total, Russia has recorded 24,490 cases and 198 deaths.
The virus has reached all of Russia’s regions, excluding Altai in sparsely populated West Siberia, with most cases concentrated in Moscow.
Global Economy Will Shrink by 3%, says IMF
In its latest forecast, the International Monetary Fund revealed that due to the coronavirus pandemic, the global economy is expected to shrink by 3%.
According to the IMF, the “Great Lockdown” would cause a significant drop in activity which could lead to a recession larger than the financial crisis of the late 2000s.
The IMF compared the recession awaiting one similar to the Great Depression of the 1930s.
China Approves Two Vaccines for Human Trials
Early-stage human tests for two experimental vaccines have been approved in China, reported state-media Xinhua.
The vaccines will be developed by Beijing-based unit of Nasdaq-listed Sinovac Biotech, Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, an affiliate of state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group.
China has reported just over 83,000 confirmed cases and more than 3,300 deaths. However, the country recorded no new deaths on Monday.
WHO to Release New Advice
The World Health Organisation will set out new measures later today, one of which will include guidance on lifting lockdown restrictions.
The Director-General of the organisation listed 6 criteria that must be considered:
- Transmission is controlled.
- Systems are in place to detect, test, isolate and treat every case and trace their contacts.
- Risks are minimised in care homes and other at-risk environments.
- Preventive measures are in place in schools, offices and other places people need to go.
- Importation risks can be managed.
- Communities are fully educated and able to deal with the “new norm”.
Italy Slowly Lifts Lockdown
As the worst country to be affected by COVID-19, second to the United States, Italy has seemingly finally passed the worst of the virus.
From today, some shops and businesses will be allowed to open. This will include bookshops, laundries, stationary shops and clothing stores for babies and children. However, this will not apply to all regions.
Some production activities have also been resumed.
These new measures are part of Italy’s three-phase plan. The second phase is expected to begin after the lockdown is entirely lifted on May 3rd.
1/3 of NHS Staff and Key Workers Test Positive
According to data from the British government, a third of NHS staff and key workers have tested positive for the coronavirus.
This was announced amidst widespread criticism for how the pandemic has been managed by the government. This includes the lack of testing for medical staff and lack of PPE.
The UK has reported nearly 90,000 confirmed cases and a death toll of over 11,000. However, unlike other nations that have equally reported thousands in recovery, the UK has only had over 300 people recover from the virus.
Highest Daily Death Toll in UK
As some European countries begin to consider loosening measures, the peak of the virus still hasn’t hit in the United Kingdom.
On Wednesday, the country reported 938 deaths bringing the total up to over 7,000 with confirmed cases surpassing 60,000.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in intensive care, but his condition is said to be improving.
Spain Hits Peak
According to Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, the peak of the virus has been reached and now the country will begin deescalating current lockdown measures.
However, the state of emergency has been extended to April 26th.
PM Sanchez has warned that returning to normal life would be “gradual”.
Spain is the worst country to be affected by the virus in confirmed cases, after the United States. In total, 148,220 positive cases have been confirmed.
World’s Largest Refugee Camp in Lockdown
Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh hosts the largest settlement of refugees in the world. The camp is home to around 1,000,000 Rohingya people who have fled persecution and violence in Myanmar.
The measures state that no one can enter or leave the camp.
The country has imposed a nationwide lockdown with all schools and non-essential services ordered to close. Bangladesh has reported 220 cases so far and 20 deaths.
Sub-Saharan Africa Will Witness First Recession in 25 Years
In a new report published by the World Bank, the effects of the coronavirus will negatively impact the region’s economy, falling sharply this year.
“Covid-19 will cost the region between $37 billion and $79 billion in output losses for 2020 due to a combination of effects,” the report reads.
This will especially impact the region’s three largest economies: Nigeria, Angola and South Africa.
The report also warned that the continent as a whole could witness a potential food crisis due to disrupted agricultural production and food imports.
Wuhan Lifts Lockdown
Wuhan, the city in which the coronavirus originated back in December, has lifted its months-long lockdown.
This comes after the news yesterday that China had not reported any new deaths for the first time since January.
From today, residents of the city can now leave granted that they have a “green code” which confirms the person’s health status.
Public transport is also now operating.
Trump Threatens WHO’s Funding
US President Donald Trump has threatened to stop the country’s financing of the World Health Organisation.
According to the President, the organisation was to blame for the outbreak as they had ‘called it wrong’ and accused them of being ‘very China-centric’.
However, Trump quickly backtracked, claiming that the halt in funding would only be seriously considered.
Germany Passes 100,000 Mark
The number of confirmed cases in Germany has now surpassed 100,000 making it the fifth country to do so after the US, Spain, Italy and France.
However, the country’s death rate remains much lower compared to these other countries, reporting below 2,000 deaths. Many believe this is due to the high capacity of tests as Germany is said to be conducting around 350,000 tests per week.
Ethiopia Declares State of Emergency
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared a state of emergency after the East-African nation reported 52 cases and two deaths from the virus.
The measures include closing schools, banning public gatherings and requiring people to work from home.
“Considering the gravity of the #COVID19, the Government of Ethiopia has enacted a State of Emergency according to Article 93 of the Constitution,” announced the Prime Minister’s office on Twitter.
China Reports Zero Deaths
In a huge milestone, China – the first country to be hit with the novel coronavirus – has reported no new deaths since January.
The National Health Commission has said that there have been 32 reported cases today, down from 39 on Monday.
However, concerns have arisen that a second wave could devastate the country after a rise in imported cases.
China has reported a total of 3,335 deaths and over 82,000 confirmed cases.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson Moved to ICU
After testing positive for the virus in late March, Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital on Sunday after showing persisting symptoms. Last night, the Prime Minister was moved to the intensive care unit once symptoms worsened.
Cabinet Minister Officer Michael Gove told BBC Radio 4 that while Johnson had received oxygen support, he is not on a ventilator.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will now lead the government response.
Japan Declares State of Emergency
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a month-long state of emergency in Tokyo and 6 other regions.
PM Abe has made it clear that this would follow the European lockdowns. Governors will be able to urge people to stay at home and call for businesses to close, however if measures are not followed there will be no enforcement of penalties.
The country has also approved a stimulus package worth $993bn as government refers to the crisis as the “biggest crisis” since WWII.
Japan has reported nearly 4,000 cases and almost 100 deaths.
Doctors in India Harassed and Attacked
Healthcare professionals in India have been on the receiving end of an onslaught of abuse from members of their community due to fears of infection.
Last week, a mob pelted doctors with stones while treating a suspected coronavirus patient.
Medical staff in New Delhi say they’ve faced discrimination with many being evicted from their homes or facing threats that their electricity will be cut.
Tiger at Bronx Zoo Tests Positive
In a shocking case, a 4-year old Malayan tiger named Nadia was tested positive for coronavirus after developing a dry cough. Officials say this is the first known infection of an animal in the United States and the first tiger anywhere in the world.
The tiger was among six other animals to have taken ill at the New York zoo.
The state is one of the worst affected in the country accounting for a death toll of over 3,500.
Indian Government Officials Take Salary Cut
The federal cabinet has approved a decree in which top government officials including state governors, members of parliament, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take a salary cut as part of their social responsibility.
India’s population of 1.3 billion are currently under a three-week lockdown to combat the spread of the virus.
The country has so far reported over 4,000 cases and around 118 deaths.
US Denies Diverting Masks
A shipment of face masks bound for Germany was allegedly diverted by the United States from an airport in Bangkok.
The Berlin Secretary of Interior Andreas Geisel called the diversion of 2,000 masks an act of ‘modern piracy’.
Barbados has also accused the United States of blocking it from receiving important medical equipment after 20 ventilators were allegedly seized by the US.
Spain & Italy See Drop in Death Toll
In positive news, both Spain and Italy – the two worst affected countries – have seen a drop in their daily death toll.
Spain has reported 637 new deaths making it the 4th day in a row the rate has declined.
On Sunday, Italy’s death rate was the lowest it has been for over two weeks with its infection rate showing a downward slope.
PM Boris Johnson in Hospital
Ten days after being tested positive for coronavirus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted into hospital after showing persistent symptoms. Officials have said that this is a precautionary measure and Johnson will undergo routine tests.
Johnson will continue leading government efforts against COVID-19 whilst in hospital.
The UK is now at 5,000 total deaths and over 48,000 confirmed cases.
Queen Elizabeth Will Address Nation
In a rare televised address, Queen Elizabeth II will speak to the nation this Sunday amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
“Her Majesty The Queen has recorded a special broadcast to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in relation to the Coronavirus outbreak,” read a statement from Buckingham Palace.
The message has already been pre-recorded at Windsor Castle and will be broadcasted on TV, radio and social media. This comes as coronavirus cases quickly accelerate across the country with the death toll reaching over 3,600. The Queen addressed the nation briefly in a statement last month, urging citizens to ‘work as one’.
While it is customary for the Queen to address the nation annually on Christmas, any other form of national address has only been reserved for the most challenging of times. This includes the First Gulf War in 1991, the death of Princess of Wales, Diana in 1997 and the death of the Queen Mother in 2002.
Global Cases Reach 1M
Global cases of coronavirus have surpassed one million, shortly after the World Health Organisation announced that it would happen within the next few days.
The virus has claimed 53,000 lives but more than 210,000 people have recovered – according to data from the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre.
However, Australian Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, believes that cases could be “5 to 10x” higher.
The worst countries affected in terms of death rate:
- Italy (13, 915)
- Spain (10,935)
- United States (6,058)
- France (5,398)
- China (3,326)
NHS Nightingale Set to Open Later Today
A new field hospital is set to open later today in East London’s ExCel Exhibition Centre. The makeshift hospital will host up to 4,000 patients.
Prince Charles is expected to open the new hospital via video link from his home in Scotland.
US Reports Highest Daily Death Toll
The cases of coronavirus in the United States has quickly accelerated with experts believing that the country will become the next epicentre of the virus.
The country recorded the highest daily death increase of any other country after reporting 1,200 deaths in the last 24 hours bringing its total up to more than 6,000.
The US has over 200,000 confirmed cases making it home to ¼ of all cases worldwide.
Peru Imposes Gender Travel Restrictions
In a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Peru has now implemented stringent travel restrictions based on gender. Men can leave their homes for essential reasons on Monday, Wednesday and Friday while women are allowed on Tuesday and Thursday. There is no travel permitted on Sundays.
This comes after Panama introduced similar restrictions earlier this week.
Malawi Reports First Case
Malawi becomes the latest African country to report its first case of coronavirus after 3 people tested positive.
The East African nation was one of the few countries around the world that had evaded the virus. As a country that has witnessed AIDS, cholera and malaria, there are concerns on how devastating of an impact the COVID-19 will have on the country.
There are now four countries in Africa that have no reported cases: Lesotho, Comoros, South Sudan and Sao Tome and Principe.
Spain Surpasses 10,000 Deaths
Around 10,003 people have now lost their lives to coronavirus in Spain after the country recorded its highest single day increase in deaths.
Data from the Health Ministry revealed that approximately 950 people died in the last 24 hours. However, the 10.5% increase is smaller than any in the last two weeks.
The country remains one of the worst affected, reporting the second highest death toll after Italy.
Global Cases Will Reach One Million
The Director-General of the World Health Organisation warned that the number of confirmed cases worldwide will reach one million in a matter of days and the death toll will climb to 50,000.
“Over the past five weeks, we have witnessed a near exponential growth in the number of new cases reaching almost every country, territory and area,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “The number of deaths has more than doubled in the past week.”
Australia Provides Free Childcare
Australia will be providing free childcare to around one million families for the next six months, prioritising parents who are still working.
This news comes after the childcare sector called for assistance from the federal government a few weeks.
This will involve paying centres to ensure that they’re open without charging parents.
“Shoot Them Dead” Says Philippine President
During a late-night televised national address, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned the public that he had ordered the country’s police and military to shoot dead anyone not following lockdown measures.
“My orders to the police and the military, if anyone creates trouble, and their lives are in danger: shoot them dead.”
The announcement comes after a protest occurred complaining of the lack of relief supplies given to residents since the lockdown came into effect two weeks ago.
Record Number of Deaths in UK
The number of deaths in the UK has escalated to 563 in the last 24 hours, bringing the total up to over 2,300.
“Let’s be in no doubt this has been a sad, sad day,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a video posted on Twitter.
“But let’s be in no doubt that if we can follow the programme that we are currently set upon, if we can comply with the measures that we’ve embarked on together, then I have absolutely no doubt that we will begin to start to push those numbers down.”
The UK now has nearly 30,000 confirmed cases.
Spain Becomes Third Country to Pass 100,000 Cases
For the last five days, Spain has recorded more than 800 deaths each day. The country is the second worst-hit by the coronavirus in death toll and now becomes the third to surpass 100,000 cases after the United States and Italy.
Spain witnessed its deadliest day on Tuesday after recording 849 deaths.
13-Year-Old Becomes UK’s Youngest Victim
Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, from Brixton, South London, is thought to be the UK’s youngest fatality from COVID-19. The 13-year old was tested positive on Friday, one day after being admitted into hospital and despite having no underlying health conditions died yesterday.
While it is rare for teenagers to become seriously ill or die from the virus, experts say that it can still happen.
The UK has now reported over 25,000 confirmed cases and nearly 2,000 deaths.
More Than 4,000 Deaths in US
Over 4,000 people have lost their lives to the novel coronavirus in the United States.
This comes shortly after President Donald Trump warned that the country was facing a “very, very painful two weeks” as projections reveal that 100,000 to 240,000 people could die from the virus even with social distancing measures in place.
“Greatest Test” Since World War II
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres believes that the ongoing pandemic is the “greatest test” the world has faced since World War II.
This was revealed in a special report titled “Shared Responsibility, Global Solidarity: Responding to the Socio-Economic Impacts of COVID-19”.
Guterres urged for leading economies to enact significant policy action and for financial and technical support to be provided to the most vulnerable people and countries.
The Cruise Ships with Nowhere to Dock
A British national is among four cruise passengers that have lost their lives after a coronavirus outbreak on the Dutch-owned MS Zaandam.
The ship originally held over 1,000 guests and nearly 600 crew members on board, however after people began showing symptoms for the virus, healthy passengers were moved to another ship.
The ships have already been denied entry into several ports and both are now headed to Florida.
State Governor Ron DeSantis has raised concerns on allowing the ships to dock as Florida’s healthcare resources are already stretched.
US Records Highest Daily Death Toll
The epicentre of the pandemic may be moving from Europe to the US as the country reports its highest death rate in a single day. According to CNN Health, 575 people died from the deadly virus on Monday, bringing the total number of deaths in the country to over 3,000.
Confirmed cases in the US have reached over 160,000 cases, nearly doubling those of China.
Japan Will Ban Entry to Foreign Nationals
Foreign nationals from US, China, South Korea and most of Europe will be barred from entering Japan.
The cases in Japan have reached 2,000 with experts calling on the government to declare a state of emergency.
American Airlines Seek Bailout
One of the biggest passenger airlines in the world is seeking $12 billion in support from the government. American Airlines told its staff this would hopefully reduce pay cuts and avoid putting staff on furlough.
The travel industry has been the worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic with many airlines scrambling to implement measures that will keep them afloat in the meantime.
World Bank Forecasts Slow Economic Growth
A new report from the World Bank has predicted that the coronavirus would bring in a recession for China and other parts of East Asia with millions at risk of poverty.
The World Bank highlighted that households who rely on industries badly hit will be affected the worse. This includes tourism in Thailand and the Pacific and manufacturing in Vietnam and Cambodia.
“The good news is that the region has strengths it can tap, but countries will have to act fast and at a scale not previously imagined,” said Victoria Kwakwa, the vice president for East Asia and the Pacific at the World Bank.
Prince Charles out of Self-Isolation
A week after it was reported that the Prince of Wales had contracted coronavirus, the royal has left isolation and appears to be in ‘good health’ according to a palace official.
While government guidance mandates that people in a household of someone showing symptoms should isolate for two weeks, it is advised that those who show symptoms isolate for only seven days.
Nigeria Announces Lockdown
President Muhammadu Buhari announced a two-week lockdown for the cities of Lagos and Abuja. The restrictions will come into effect at 11pm local time Monday.
Businesses and schools will be ordered to close while food shops and other essential services will remain open.
The country has reported over 100 cases so far.
US Extends Restrictions
The lockdown will now extend to April 30th despite earlier claims from President Trump stating that things should return to normal by Easter.
“The highest point of the death rate is likely to hit in two weeks,” said Trump.
Dr Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases warned that the pandemic could claim up to “100,000 to 200,000” lives with millions more affected.
As of today, the United States has the highest number of confirmed cases with over 140,000 infected and around 2,500 dead.
New Dates for 2020 Summer Olympics
The Summer Olympics, which take place every four years, was scheduled to take place in Tokyo, Japan between 24th July to 9th August 2020. After observing developments with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the games have been rescheduled to Summer 2021 and will take place between 23rd July to 8th August.
This is the first time in history that the Olympics have been postponed.
Confirmed Cases in Spain Slowing
Despite surpassing China in confirmed cases, Spain is reportedly witnessing a slowdown in infections.
According to official data from Foreign Minister Arancha González, the virus’ curve seems to be flattening out.
The country has confirmed over 85,000 cases in the country with over 7,000 deaths.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson Tests Positive for Coronavirus
PM Johnson revealed that his symptoms are mild, and while he will be self-isolating, he will also continue to lead the government response against COVID-19.
“But, be in no doubt that I can continue thanks to the wizardry of modern technology to communicate with all my top team to lead the national fightback against coronavirus,” said Johnson on a video uploaded to Twitter.
US Records the Highest Confirmed Cases Worldwide
The United States has surpassed China in number of confirmed cases with over 85,000 people infected.
During a press conference, President Donald Trump dismissed the number, claiming that many countries – like China – did not test at the same capacity as the US. While the US has increased the number of tests available, it still lacks in tests administered per-capita compared to nations like South Korea.
Worldwide Coronavirus Cases Pass Half a Million
Over 500,000 people have been affected with the coronavirus. The global death toll is over 24,000.
The worst affected countries are the US, China, Italy and Spain. Italy has the highest death toll at over 8,000 followed by Spain with over 4,000, while China has reported a slowdown in cases in recent days.
Over 127,000 cases have been recorded since the coronavirus first made waves in December 2019.
China Bans all Foreign Visitors
As China witnesses a slowdown in local confirmed cases, it has recently seen a small spike in imported cases as the rest of the world begins to catch up to the effects. China has decided on prohibiting any foreign visitors including non-nationals with valid visas and residence permits. This will come into effect at midnight on Friday.
China will also reduce the number of international flights and limit capacity to 75%.
South Africa goes into Lockdown
After recording its first two COVID-19 related deaths, South Africa has administered a three-week total lock down for its population of 57 million.
The country has now reported more than 1,000 confirmed cases.
UK to Build Makeshift Hospital in Exhibition Centre
The ExCel exhibition centre in East London will be converted into a makeshift hospital, holding up to 4,000 patients and is expected to open next week.
Staffed by NHS medics and military personnel, the temporary hospital will initially provide up to 500 beds with ventilators and oxygen.
According to sources from Sky News around 10 more UK sites could become hospitals with military planners already scouting 5 locations.
More than 500,000 people have volunteered to help the NHS in this challenging time. This comes after a Government call-out looking for 250,000 volunteers was launched.
US Death Toll Passes 1,000
Cases in the United States quickly accelerate as the World Health Organisation says the country is likely to become the next epicentre of the pandemic.
The US has reported over 1,000 deaths with close to 70,000 confirmed cases. The worst hit states are New York (which accounts for nearly half of all US cases), Washington, California, Louisiana, New Jersey and Georgia.
State of Emergency in Thailand
Thailand will be under a state of emergency until at least April 30th. This means a ban on all foreign visitors, allowing the Prime Minister to restrict travel, a ban on large gatherings and confining some to their homes.
Over 900 cases have been reported with 4 deaths.
Spain Death Toll Surpasses China
Recently, Italy was reported for surpassing China’s death toll, now reporting over 7,000 deaths.
Spain has become the next country to pass China’s death rate, recording over 4,000 deaths in comparison to China’s 3,291.
This is even more significant when comparing the two European countries with the sheer size and population of China.
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