Coronavirus latest updates March 26: G20 nations to inject $5 trillion into global economy; Spain virus death toll tops 4,000

Ambulance workers wearing protective gear arrive with a patient at La Princesa hospital during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Madrid, Spain March 25, 2020. (Reuters)

Coronavirus update: The coronavirus death toll in Spain surged to 4,089 after 655 people died within 24 hours, news agency AFP reported. It was a 19 per cent increase on figures released on Wednesday. The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose to 56,188 in Spain, which has the world's second-highest death toll from the disease after Italy.

The overall global death due to the novel coronavirus has crossed 21,000.

649 coronavirus cases in India, govt fights lockdown effects

The number of coronavirus cases soared to 649 with 13 deaths so far, the Ministry of Health announced on Thursday.

As the country entered its second day of the 21-day lockdown, the Government is preparing an economic package, the broad contours of which are likely to include targeted monetary transfers to unorganised sector workers, especially daily wage workers, sops for small and medium enterprises and relaxations in banking sector prudential norms to help companies tide over the shutdown.

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Customers maintain social distance while purchasing items outside a store at C R Park in New Delhi. (Express photo/Tashi Tobgyal)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join a virtual summit of G-20 leaders, chaired by Saudi King Salman, to discuss the coronavirus pandemic.

$5 trillion to be injected into the global economy by G20 countries

G20 nations to inject $5 trillion into global economy

On Thursday, the G20 nations pledged a "united front" in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and said they were injecting USD 5 trillion into the global economy to counter the impact of the crisis.

Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a video link, held by leaders from the Group of 20 to discuss the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impacts, at his residence outside Moscow, Russia March 26, 2020. (Reuters)

"We are injecting over USD 5 trillion into the global economy, as part of targeted fiscal policy, economic measures, and guarantee schemes to counteract the social, economic and financial impacts of the pandemic," the leaders said in a statement after an emergency online summit.

Iran starts intercity travel ban amid fears of surge of coronavirus

People wear protective face masks and gloves, amid fear of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as they walk at Tajrish market, ahead of the Iranian New Year Nowruz, March 20, in Tehran, Iran March 18, 2020. (Reuters)

Iran has started an intercity travel ban, an Iranian official said in a televised news conference on Thursday, a day after Iran's government spokesman warned the country might face a surge of cases in the coronavirus pandemic, news agency Reuters reported. Officials have complained that many Iranians ignored appeals to stay at home and cancel travel plans for the Persian New Year holidays that began on March 20.

The outbreak has killed 2,234 people in Iran where there have been 29,406 reported cases of the virus so far.

Clergyman in pope's residence reported with virus

An Italian employee of the Holy See who lives in the same residence as Pope Francis was reported on Thursday to have tested positive for COVID-19 and has been hospitalised, news agency AFP reported. Several Italian newspapers with reputable sources in the Vatican said the clergyman has lived for years in the Saint Martha's guesthouse.

Police officers patrol St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 25, 2020. (Reuters)

Pope Francis has remained largely secluded at his residence since coming down with a cold late last month.

China to drastically cuts international flights

China is set to drastically cut its international flight routes in a bid to blunt the number of imported cases of the new coronavirus, the civil aviation authority said on Thursday.

Flights out of China will be capped at just one route a week to each country, with international airlines also permitted only one route.

Death toll in Australia increases to 12; infected cases nearly 2,800

Australian health authorities on Thursday said the deaths due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country has touched 12 with the demise of three elderly persons while the total number of infections has risen to nearly 2,800.

The total number of infections has risen to nearly 2,800.

The state of Victoria recorded the deaths of three men in their old age diagnosed with deadly coronavirus in the last 24 hours taking the total number of fatalities due to the deadly coronavirus infection to 12.

104 new cases in South Korea

South Korea has reported 104 fresh cases, taking the total number of infections to over 9,000. More than 130 people have been killed so far. The Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention has linked the fresh cases to recent arrivals as several Koreans continued to return from the US and Europe.

From Friday, the country will enforce 14-day quarantines on South Korean nationals and foreigners with long-term stay visas arrives from the US. Similar measures will be applied to those arriving from Europe. South Korean Prime Minister Chung Se-kyun have directed officials to employ a "no-tolerance" policy on those who violate quarantines, adding that the South Korean nationals will be sued while foreigners could be expelled.

Wuhan prepares to emerge from lockdown

Even as no fresh cases were reported in China's Wuhan, the provincial capital where the virus broke out in December, residents are preparing to emerge from the months-long lockdown. Wuhan citizens are allowed out of the city but cannot leave the province until April 8. The country, meanwhile, reported 67 new cases, all of which the National Health Commission said were imported infections in recent arrivals from abroad.

As the Covid-19 outbreak continues to skyrocket in the US and Europe, China's ruling Communist Party has declared victory over the epidemic and is relaxing restrictions to revive the economy.

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In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, workers disinfect a subway train in preparation for the restoration of public transport in Wuhan, in central China's Hubei province.

Foreign ministers spar over calling China source of Covid-19 pandemic at G7 meet

Foreign ministers from the Group of 7 leading industrialized democracies sparred Wednesday over whether to call out China as the source of the coronavirus pandemic. Meeting by video conference because of the outbreak, the ministers agreed on the need for joint efforts to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus, which causes a disease being called COVID-19. But US and European diplomats said the ministers were unable to agree on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s call for the virus to be identified by name as the “Wuhan virus.”

As a result, just a day after G-7 finance ministers and central bankers issued a joint communique referring to the COVID-19 virus, the foreign ministers opted against releasing a group statement. US, officials pointed to Tuesday’s finance ministers’ statement to reject suggestions of G-7 disunity and said the foreign ministers had never intended to release their own communique.

Japan mulls special coronavirus headquarters

The Japanese government is likely to set up a special headquarters Thursday afternoon, a step that could set the stage for declaring a state of emergency, Kyodo news agency reported. Under a law revised earlier in March to cover the coronavirus, the prime minister can declare a state of emergency if the disease poses a "grave danger" to lives and if its rapid spread threatens serious economic damage. The virus has already increased Japan's recession risk.

Nearly 6,000 people have tested positive so far. After the capital saw a sharp surge in cases this week, the International Olympic Committee decided to postpone the Summer Games of 2020 by one year.

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A man looks at a Tokyo 2020 countdown clock displaying the current date and time outside Tokyo Station on Wednesday. (AP)

New York grapples with rising coronavirus cases

In New York, the epicentre of the outbreak in the US, authorities mobilized to head off a potential public health disaster in the city as nearly 31,000 cases were registered. With nearly 200 deaths reported so far, a makeshift morgue was set up outside Bellevue Hospital and the city's police were told to patrol to enforce social distancing.

Marine at Pentagon tests positive

The Pentagon has halted for 60 days the movement of US troops and Defense Department civilians overseas, a measure expected to affect about 90,000 troops scheduled to deploy or return from abroad. A Marine became the first person stationed at the Pentagon to test positive for the virus.

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A worker cleans and disinfects playground equipment due to the coronavirus outbreak at a park in Las Vegas on Wednesday. (AP)

France launches special military operation

In France, President Emmanuel Macron launched a special military operation Wednesday to help fight the outbreak in one of the world's hardest-hit countries. As part of "Operation Resilience", the government has deployed choppers to transport patients in overseas French territories in the Carribean, South America and the Indian Ocean.

The President assured a "massive" new investment plan for public hospitals even as the government faced criticisms for acting slow to lock down the country. "We are just at the beginning. But we will make it through, because we will not surrender, because we have the strength," he said.

Russia records first two deaths

Russian President Vladimir Putin underlined the seriousness of the epidemic after the country reported its first two deaths from the virus -- two elderly patients who had underlying conditions.

"Two elderly patients died in Moscow, who had tested positive for coronavirus," the Moscow city health department said in a statement, adding that they were suffering from pneumonia and complications.

Putin also postponed a nationwide vote on proposed constitutional amendments that could enable him to extend his hold on power.

Saudi seals off three cities after second virus death

On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia sealed off the capital Riyadh and two of Islam's holiest cities and extended curfew hours after a second death was reported and cases spiked to 900. The kingdom barred entry and exit from Riyadh as well as Mecca and Medina and prohibited movement between all provinces, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

Saudi Arabia has reported the highest number of infections in the Gulf.

Singapore’s economy plunges in early sign of pain in Asia

Singapore’s economy contracted the most in a decade in the first quarter, a bellwether for the rest of Asia as the fast-spreading coronavirus continues to shut down vast parts of the world.

Gross domestic product fell an annualized 10.6% in the first quarter from the previous three months, far worse than the median forecast of an 8.2% decline in a Bloomberg survey of economists. The government said it now sees a sharp contraction in the economy of 1%-4% for the full year.

UK prepares for more coronavirus cases

The number of deaths in the UK rose to 463 as of Wednesday from 422 on Tuesday, the British government said, adding that more than 9,500 COVID-19 cases have now been reported in the country.

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Elderly hosts of the retirement home Giovanni XIII affected by coronavirus, are being evacuated to hospital, in Rome, on Wednesday. (AP)

The government is anticipating a peaking of coronavirus cases in Britain in the coming weeks and has appealed to manufacturers to supply the National Health Service with the appropriate requirements. Britain had been in talks with over 3,000 businesses about supplying ventilators to quickly increase the health service's capacity.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said more than 4,00,000 people responded within a day to the government's call for volunteers to help the country's most vulnerable people. They will deliver medicine, drive people home from doctor's appointments and make phone calls to check on patients.

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