Latest on the spread of the coronavirus around the world

As global reported cases cross 2.14 million with 143,744 people dead


Reuters April 17, 2020
A health worker checks a mans temperature during door to door screening in an attempt to contain the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Jika Joe informal settlement in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, April 16, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

Reported cases of the coronavirus crossed 2.14 million globally and 143,744 people have died, according to a Reuters tally as of 0200 GMT on Friday.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

* For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread, open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.

* For a US-focused tracker with state-by-state and county map, open tmsnrt.rs/2w7hX9T in an external browser.

AMERICAS

*US President Donald Trump laid out new guidelines on Thursday for states to emerge from a coronavirus shutdown in a staggered, three-stage approach.

* Sources told Reuters the US FDA may have dropped its quality-control standards too far as it scoured the world for scarce supplies of chloroquine drugs.

* Seven Northeastern states extended a shutdown until May 15 to contain the pandemic.

* The number of people hospitalised for the novel coronavirus and related deaths in New York fell to their lowest levels in more than a week.

* Canada’s border restrictions with the US will remain in place “for a significant time” as the two nations fight the outbreak, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

* The US defence secretary said he believed China’s leaders have been misleading and opaque about the outbreak and does not trust that they are being truthful even now.

* Mexico’s president said the country was looking to return to normal beginning June 1, with schools and businesses reopening provided people comply with anti-coronavirus health measures until then.

* A daughter of famed drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and several Mexican cartels have been doling out aid packages.

* Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro fired his health minister after clashing with him over how to fight the new coronavirus, and again called for states to end stay-at-home orders.

EUROPE

* Europe is in eye of the storm, with the number of cases nearing a million, and should move with extreme caution when considering easing lockdowns, the WHO’s regional director said.

* Britain extended its nationwide lockdown as stand-in leader Dominic Raab ordered Britons to stay at home for at least another three weeks.

* Luxury carmaker Ferrari has begun making parts to convert snorkel masks into respirators for treating patients with coronavirus and protecting medical workers.

* Britain’s economy looks set for a widely feared record contraction after figures showed retail spending plunged by more than a quarter and one in four firms stopped trading temporarily.

* Ireland has contained and effectively suppressed the first wave of the outbreak in the population at large but not in nursing homes where its spread remains a concern, the country’s chief medical officer said.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Mainland China reported on Friday that new confirmed cases of the coronavirus fell to a two-week low, as infections involving travellers arriving from abroad sharply fell.

* Japan’s prime minister expanded a state of emergency to include the entire country and said the government was considering cash payouts for all.

* India charged a Muslim leader with culpable homicide not amounting to murder for holding a gathering last month that authorities say led to a big jump in infections.

* Indonesia expects the number of cases to peak between May and June with around 95,000 infections, a government adviser said.

* Australian public life could be constrained for another year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned.

* Singapore’s health ministry confirmed 728 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, a new daily record, taking the total in the city-state to 4,427.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Saudi Arabia is facing the global crisis from a position of strength, given its strong financial position and reserves, with relatively low government debt, its finance minister said.

* Coronavirus outbreaks across the Middle East threaten to shatter the lives of millions of already destitute people in conflict zones, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said.

* Coronavirus cases in Africa could shoot up from thousands now to 10 million within three to six months according to very provisional modelling, a regional World Health Organisation (WHO) official said.

* Six Gulf Arab states approved Kuwait’s proposal for a common network for food supply safety.

* Jordan’s Prime Minister said spending priorities have changed to focus on benefits to alleviate hardships suffered by many people under a tight lockdown.

* Israel’s military said it has begun converting common home-use respirators into ventilators capable of providing potentially life-saving breathing support for COVID-19 patients.

ECONOMIC FALLOUT

* Asian stocks gained as President Donald Trump’s plans to gradually re-open the US economy offset grim economic data from China.

* China’s economy shrank for the first time in almost three decades of records in the first quarter, a survey showed.

* Most US firms in China currently have no plans to relocate production to other parts of the country or abroad.

* Hedge fund Elliott Management said global stocks could ultimately lose half of their value from February’s high, according to a letter sent to clients.

* The United States opposes creation of liquidity through issuance of the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights as part of the response to the pandemic, US treasury secretary said.

* ConocoPhillips said it would slash spending and cut US oil output by about 30% of this year’s target, the largest cut so far by a major shale producer to deal with an unprecedented drop in oil demand.

* Louis Vuitton owner LVMH posted a 17% drop in comparable sales in the first quarter due to the pandemic, as government-imposed lockdowns forced it to close stores and production sites in key markets.

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