A staff member of Odyssey House Louisiana, which runs a drive-through testing site for the coronavirus disease, waves to passing vehicles to try to alert the community about testing taking place at OHL in New Orleans, Louisiana, US. (Reuters)
Coronavirus global update: The number of Covid-19 cases continued to surge worldwide and had crossed 600,000 with as many as 27,862 deaths till Saturday morning. Italy has the highest number of deaths at 9,134, followed by Spain (5,138) and China (3,174). Meanwhile, the United States is the worst infected country, with a sixth of the world cases and the total number touching 104,007 cases confirmed so far, followed by Italy (86,498) and China (81,906).
On Friday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced that the global economy has entered a recession in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic which has brought several countries to a halt.
World has entered recession, says IMF
“We have reassessed the prospects for growth for 2020 and 2021. It is now clear that we have entered a recession as bad or worse than in 2009. We do project recovery in 2021,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told reporters at a news conference.
UK coronavirus deaths pass 1,000: AFP
The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in Britain has risen to 1,019 up from 759 the day before, according to government figures released Saturday. "As of 5:00pm on March 27, 2020, 1,019 patients in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) have died," the health ministry said, while more than 17,000 people have been infected.
Deaths surge in Italy, Spain
In Europe, Italy recorded its single biggest 24-hour rise in deaths, with 969 more victims, to bring its total number of fatalities to 9,134. The country now has more than 86,000 cases, surpassing China to record the grim distinction of the second-most infections in the world, behind the US.
In #Turkey, people have started to leave food packets on the road for the poor and the needy who cannot earn due to #COVIDー19 lockdown.
Love you #Turks for representing us. pic.twitter.com/9wYTiIJV24 #coronavirus #COVID19 #Italy #MulikaCorona #coronaviruskenya
— Jerio vinnie (@JerioVinnie) March 23, 2020
Spain, with the world's fourth-biggest number of cases, reported another 7,800 infections for a total of more than 64,000. The country said health workers accounted for about 15 percent of its cases. Deaths in Spain climbed past 4,900 _ the world's second-highest total after Italy.
US has most Covid-19 cases; New York epicentre
The United States has registered over 1,00,000 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University showed. The biggest cluster by far is in New York, home to almost half the cases. Read our explainer on why New York is the epicentre of the US' outbreak
New York City is the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak. Dr. Colleen Smith's account and footage gives us a rare look inside an emergency room on the frontlines. https://t.co/V5hnPsaqCS pic.twitter.com/J4oexwH9ki
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 26, 2020
The death rate in the country based on confirmed cases is about 1.5 per cent, compared to around 10.5 per cent in Italy, AFP reported. This death rate figure could fall, as greater testing reveals more people who are positive but asymptomatic.
A global shortage of condoms is looming due to lockdown
A global shortage of condoms is looming, the world’s biggest producer said, after a coronavirus lockdown forced it to shut down production. Malaysia’s Karex Bhd makes one in every five condoms globally. It has not produced a single condom from its three Malaysian factories for more than a week due to a lockdown imposed by the government to halt the spread of the virus.
That’s already a shortfall of 100 million condoms, normally marketed internationally by brands such as Durex, supplied to state healthcare systems such as Britain’s NHS or distributed by aid programmes such as the UN Population Fund.
4 passengers dead aboard cruise ship anchored off Panama
Four passengers have died aboard a cruise ship now anchored off the coast of Panama and two people aboard the ship have tested positive for the coronavirus, the cruise line has said, with hundreds of passengers unsure how long they will remain at sea. Holland America Line said in a post on its Facebook page that more than 130 people aboard the Zaandam had reported flu-like symptoms.
Holland America Line can confirm that four older guests have passed away on Zaandam, the statement said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and we are doing everything we can to support them during this difficult time." It did not identify the cause of death.
The ship, which had been turned away from other ports and now is being denied passage through the Panama Canal, was receiving medical supplies and medical personnel from another Holland America ship, the Rotterdam, and the company planned to begin transferring healthy passengers to that ship.
UN says 86 staffers around world reported cases
The United Nations has said that 86 of its staff members around the world have tested positive for Covid-19, AP reported. UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said Friday that most of the infected staff members are in Europe, but there are also staffers in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the United States that have been infected. He added that in order to reduce transmission, majority of UN staffers were working from home.
Meanwhile, at the UN headquarters in New York, where a normal day would see staffers' passes swiped 11,000 times, the number of swipes Friday morning stood at 140, Dujarric said. In Geneva, he said, the number of staff at the UN office has dropped from around 4,000 people on a regular day to just about 70 on Thursday. In Vienna, more than 97 per cent of UN staff are now working remotely, he said, and in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 99 percent of staff are working from home.
On Friday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the world is not only fighting the "common enemy" of the coronavirus "but our enemy is also the growing surge of misinformation" about COVID-19. To overcome the virus, he said "we need to urgently promote facts and science'' and ``promote hope and solidarity over despair and division."
South Korea reports 146 new coronavirus cases
South Korea has reported 146 new cases of the coronavirus and five more deaths, bringing its total to 9,478 cases and 144 deaths. South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 4,811 people have been released from hospitals as of Saturday, marking the first time the number of recoveries exceeded the number of people remaining under treatment since the country confirmed its first COVID-19 case on Jan. 21.
Medical staff members arrive for a duty shift at Dongsan Hospital in Daegu, South Korea, on Friday. (AP)
South Korea is tightening border controls and began enforcing two-week quarantines on South Korean nationals and foreigners with long-term stay visas arriving from the United States on Friday. Similar quarantines had already been in place for passengers coming from Europe.
South Korean Prime Minister Chung Se-kyun on Saturday called for Seoul and other local governments to strengthen their monitoring on South Koreans who returned from overseas after some of them triggered public anger by breaking quarantine and traveling to other regions before testing positive.
China to share coronavirus data with US: Donald Trump
China will share its data related to the novel Covid-19 with the US and the country will learn from Beijing's experience, President Donald Trump said, a day after he held an hour-long conversation over telephone with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
This came days after the US President angered Beijing by referring to the coronavirus as "Chinese virus" and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying China's ruling Communist Party posed a "substantial threat" to Americans' health and their way of life.
When you'd do anything to keep your baby safe in China amid the coronavirus pandemic pic.twitter.com/zQ2kyoS8ob
— SCMP News (@SCMPNews) March 23, 2020
As the US emerged as the next major epicentre of the virus, Xi assured full support to Trump but underlined that the infectious diseases did not recognise any border or race. "We talked about it (coronavirus) because he had additional experience of having been much earlier. And he has developed some incredible theories, and all that information is coming over here. A lot of it's already come. We call it data. And we're going to learn a lot from what the Chinese went through," Trump told reporters on Friday.
Surge of hate speech toward Chinese on Twitter
The coronavirus outbreak has led to a 900 per cent uptick in hate speech toward China and Chinese people on Twitter, according to a report by a tech startup, news agency AFP reported.
"People are spending more and more time on social networks, communication apps, chat rooms and gaming services, and the problems endemic to these platforms -- hate, abuse, toxicity and bullying -- have become accentuated," the Israel-based company L1ght said in its report.
Chinese paramilitary police wear face masks and goggles as they stand guard behind a screen at Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing on Saturday. (AP)
"According to our data, much of this hate and abuse is being directed towards China and its population, as well as individuals of Asian origin in other parts of the world," added the startup that uses artificial intelligence to detect harmful content in social networks.
Over 850 Covid-19 cases in India
The number of Covid-19 cases in India rose to 873 on Saturday even as the country continued to observe a 21-day lockdown till April 15 to contain the pandemic. Follow Coronavirus India updates
According to the Ministry of Health Affairs, 19 people have died while 78 patients have been discharged so far. Maharashtra on Saturday reported six new cases with the tally rising to 159, while Gujarat reported six new cases with the total number in the state at 53.
Jordan registers first Covid-19 death
Jordan has announced its first death from the new coronavirus. State-run news agency Petra said Friday a woman in her 80s died from COVID-19. Jordan TV reported the woman had underlying medical conditions. There have been 235 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Arab kingdom. On March 21, Jordan imposed an indefinite full lockdown after it had shut down its airspace and other border crossings.
Pope prays for 'fragile' humanity needing help in pandemic
Praying in a desolately empty St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis on Friday likened the coronavirus pandemic to a storm laying bare illusions that people can be self-sufficient and instead leaves "all of us fragile and disoriented" and needing each other's help and comfort.
A visitor to the Disneyland Resort takes a picture through a locked gate at the entrance to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, on Monday. (AP)
Disneyland to remain shut indefinitely
The Walt Disney Co. is indefinitely extending its shutdown at its theme park resorts in Florida and California because of the coronavirus pandemic. The company had closed Disneyland in Southern California and Disney World outside Orlando in mid-March with plans to reopen at the start of April, but Disney said Friday the resorts would remain closed until further notice. It cited directions given by health and government officials. The company has been paying its employees during the closure, and Disney said it would continue to pay its tens of thousands of hourly workers through April 18.
Turkey announces fresh measures to fight coronavirus
Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced a set of additional measures aiming to prevent the transmission of the new coronavirus after cases surpassed the 5,000 mark while the death toll hit 92.
Erdogan made a major coronavirus speech, striking an optimistic note. Like most countries, Turkey does face some big challenges, but I agree with him, that in the new world order, Turkey has some key advantages. Those who don't see this are missing the big picture. pic.twitter.com/aoGnZ7DUu9
— Mike (@Doranimated) March 26, 2020
Erdogan said intercity travel would be subjected to approval from the local governor. Private businesses would emulate the public sector by working with the minimum amount of staff and adopt flexible working hours, Erdogan said, while passengers traveling on public transport would be seated separately.
He added that a "pandemic board" would be formed in all provinces to monitor the measures and take additional precautions if necessary.