Coronavirus latest update, March 30: Netanyahu aide tests positive, New York surpasses 1,000 deaths

Emergency medical workers wear protective masks due to COVID-19 concerns while delivering a patient to the emergency room at Brooklyn Hospital Center. (AP)

Coronavirus Country Wise Cases Latest Update Today: The global tally of the number of novel coronavirus cases surpassed seven lakh on Monday, with the US recording the highest number of cases with over 1,30,000 testing positive. And the worst affected state in the US is New York, which has over 1,000 deaths. US President Donald Trump said the death rate in the country would likely peak in another two weeks. So far the over death toll is 2,460 from the respiratory disease, according to a Reuters tally.

I,071 cases in India, govt says no plan to extend lockdown

New Delhi said there was no plan to extend the 21-day lockdown even as the number of coronavirus cases soared to 1,071 on Monday.

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As the government opened banks for two days from today, a long queue was seen outside Bank of India near Preet Cinema in Ludhiana. (Express photo/Gurmeet Singh)

With 34,931 samples being tested so far, the government on Sunday set up 11 empowered groups to coordinate the management and control of the disease across the country. The designated groups will look at issues related to the medical emergency plan, availability of hospitals, isolation and quarantine beds, availability of critical medical equipment, human resources supply chain management, private sector coordination, economic and welfare measures and public grievances and strategic issues on lockdown.

Netanyahu aide diagnosed with coronavirus, unclear if Israeli PM affected

An aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tested positive for coronavirus, officials said on Monday, Reuters reported. However, it was not immediately clear if the 70-year-old leader had been exposed or his work affected.

"We will take action in accordance with Health Ministry directives," an official said.

Israeli media said the aide had been present at a parliament session last week attended by Netanyahu as well as opposition lawmakers with whom he is trying to build an emergency coalition government to help address the coronavirus crisis Israel has reported 4,247 cases and 15 fatalities. With the Health Ministry warning that the dead could eventually number in the thousands, Netanyahu was due on Monday to convene officials on Monday to discuss a proposed lockdown of some of the country Netanyahu was tested for coronavirus as a precaution on March 15, his office said. The result was negative.

Trump extends social distance guidelines until April 30

President Donald Trump on Sunday extended his stay-at-home guidelines until the end of April, after a top medical adviser warned that more than 1,00,000 Americans could die from the pandemic.

“The peak, the highest point of death rate, is likely to hit in two weeks,” Trump told a coronavirus briefing in the White House Rose Garden, flanked by top advisers and business leaders, “Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won," he added.

The country registered 518 new coronavirus-linked deaths within a span of 24 hours on Sunday, according to data published Sunday by Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 2,500 people have died so far.

The death toll in New York, the worst affected state in the US, surpassed 1,000 on Sunday, less than a month after the first case was reported. Most of those deaths have come in just the past few days.

The total number of statewide deaths isn't expected to be released until Monday, but with at least 250 additional deaths recorded outside the city as of Sunday morning, the state's total fatalities stood over 1,000.

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A man is framed by the Manhattan bridge as he exercises below the FDR drive in Lower Manhattan. (AP)

Italy's 'very long' lockdown to only end gradually

As the toll due to Covid-19 rose rose by 756, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte's government prepared Italians for a "very long" lockdown that, officials claimed, would only be lifted gradually despite its economic hardship and traumatic impact on daily lives.

"The measures expiring on April 3 will inevitably be extended," Regional Affairs Minister Francesco Boccia told Italy's Sky TG24 television. "I think that, at the moment, talking about re-opening is inappropriate and irresponsible," he added.

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In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, cemetery workers in protective suits clean tombs at the Babaoshan cemetery in Beijing. (AP)

Coronavirus: China reports 4 deaths, 31 new cases

Thirty-one new cases of coronavirus, including 30 imported ones, were reported in China while the death toll reached 3,304 with four more fatalities, health officials said on Monday.

In its daily report, the country's National Health Commission (NHC) said 31 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland were reported on Sunday, of which 30 were imported, taking their total number to 723. A new domestic case was reported in Gansu province, it said.

Iran defends virus response as Syria reports first death

Iran's president on Sunday lashed out at criticism of authorities' lagging response to the worst coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East, saying the government has to weigh economic concerns as it takes measures to contain the pandemic.

Syria meanwhile reported the first fatality from the virus in the war-torn country, which has five confirmed infections. According to state news agency SANA, a woman died upon reaching an emergency room and tested positive for the virus, without saying where it happened.

"Health is a principle for us, but the production and security of society is also a principle for us," Rouhani said at a Cabinet meeting. "We must put these principles together to reach a final decision," he added.

Country singer Joe Diffie dies of coronavirus complications

Country singer Joe Diffie, who had a string of hits in the 1990s with chart-topping ballads and honky-tonk singles like “Home” and “Pickup Man”, has died after testing positive for COVID-19. He was 61.

Diffie on Friday announced he had contracted the coronavirus, becoming the first country star to go public with such a diagnosis. Diffie’s publicist Scott Adkins said the singer died on Sunday in Nashville, Tennessee, due to complications from coronavirus.

Cruise ships begin transiting Panama Canal

The Panama Canal Authority says two cruise ships carrying more than 1,800 passengers and crew, including some infected with COVID-19, had begun transiting the canal. The announcement came after the passengers on the Zaandam and its sister ship the Rotterdam received mixed signals about their fate. While Panamanian officials said they would let the ships through the canal, Holland America Lines said it had not been given official permission and the mayor of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said he didn't want it to dock near his city as planned, at least without extensive precautions.

On Sunday evening, the canal authority released a statement saying the ships had started transiting the canal.
Holland America Lines said Friday that four people aboard the Zaandam had died, though the cause was not reported _ and at least two had tested positive for COVD-19. It has been at sea since leaving Argentina on March 7.

Australia: Three crew members evacuated from ship

Paramedics evacuated three crew members from a cruise ship that has become Australia's largest source of the new coronavirus. The three patients are not Australian citizens and were taken from the Ruby Princess to a Sydney hospital, New South Wales state Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said on Monday.

Authorities in the country have been criticized for allowing 2,700 passengers and crew to disembark when the ship docked in Sydney on March 19 despite COVID-19 test results remaining unknown. Many of the passengers traveled interstate and overseas before the health risk was known.

More than 300 people have contracted the virus from the ship, including two women, aged 77 and 75, who died. More than 1,100 crew remain on board in quarantine. Ruby Princess' owner Carnival Corp. said in a statement the three crew members were suffering acute respiratory symptoms.

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This photo shows the cruise ship Artania docked at Fremantle harbour in Fremantle, Australia. (AP)

South Korea sees fresh Covid-19 cases

South Korea has reported 78 new cases of the coronavirus and six more deaths, bringing its totals to 9,661 infections and 158 fatalities. South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday at least 476 infections so far have been linked to recent arrivals from abroad with most of them being detected over the past two weeks.

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A box with supplies is seen outside a tent as a Samaritan's Purse crew works on building a 68 bed emergency field hospital specially equipped with a respiratory unit in New York's Central Park across from The Mount Sinai Hospital. (AP)

Brazilian President downplays risk of Covid-19

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro continued to defy calls from health officials to prevent gatherings that might spread the new coronavirus, posting videos of himself gathering small crowds in several neighborhoods in the capital of Brasilia.

Bolsonaro has downplayed the risks of COVID-19, calling it a "little flu" that largely threatens the elderly and most vulnerable. While he has urged the citizens to self-isolate, he has also stressed the need to keep Brazil's economy running.

"The virus is here, we're going to have to confront it. Confront it like a man, not a boy!" Bolsonaro told supporters outside his official residence on Sunday. "We're all going to die one day."

As of Sunday, the Brazilian Health Ministry had reported 3,904 confirmed cases and 114 deaths linked to COVID-19.

Coronavirus does what sanctions didn’t, shuts down North Korea’s trafficking of goods

President Donald Trump has called the coronavirus “the invisible enemy.” But when it comes to sanctions on North Korea, the pathogen may turn out to be his administration’s most effective ally.

North Korea’s fear of coronavirus infection appears to have achieved what Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against North Korean nuclear and missile work has not: choking the North’s economy by stopping its trafficking of coal and other goods, prohibited under United Nations sanctions, which is believed to be mostly with China.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?