World News in Brief: April 2

Thursday, 2020-04-02 12:26:11
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An empty street is seen in Erfurt, central Germany, on April 1, 2020. Germany will extend the restrictions on social contacts to April 19 at the earliest, in a bid to contain the COVID-19 spreading, Chancellor Angela Merkel said following a video conference with minister-presidents of all 16 federal states. (Photo: Xinhua)
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In the next few days, the world will see confirmed COVID-19 cases reach one million and death tally climb to 50,000, the chief of World Health Organization (WHO) noted on Wednesday (April 1). As of 18:00 CET Wednesday, the pandemic has killed 40,777 people worldwide, as a total of 827,419 infections were reported by over 200 countries and regions, the WHO situation dashboard indicated.

* The global economy could shrink by up to 1 percent in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and may contract even further if restrictions on economic activities are extended without adequate fiscal responses, according to analysis released Wednesday by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA).

* China is trying to blunt the impact of the novel coronavirus on its anti-poverty drive and vowing to realize the poverty-alleviation target at the end of the year, an official said Wednesday. China has targeted eradicating absolute poverty in 2020. By the end of last year, there were still over 5.5 million people living under the poverty line across the country.

* Cambodia on Thursday (April 2) confirmed one more case of COVID-19 in southwest Sihanoukville City, bringing the total number of the confirmed cases in the kingdom to 110, according to a Ministry of Health statement.

* Asia's largest slum located in India's financial capital of Mumbai has reported the first COVID-19 case, a 56-year-old person, on Wednesday evening. The densely populated slum called Dharavi is spread over 613 hectares housing over 1.5 million people. The death toll due to the COVID-19 in India on Wednesday rose to 38 as the number of confirmed cases in the country reached over 1,600, the federal health ministry said.

* The number of COVID-19 cases rose to 16 as of Wednesday in Myanmar, said the latest figures released by the Health and Sports Ministry.

* Thailand's opposition Pheu Thai Party leader Sompong Amornvivat on Wednesday pledged to work with the government in the fight against COVID-19. Thailand's Ministry of Public Health on Wednesday reported 120 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths, with the total number of confirmed cases in the country rising to 1,771 and death toll at 12.

* The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Wednesday that it has launched a US$5-million project to help the Philippine government deliver food supplies to up to 55,000 vulnerable COVID-19-affected households in Metro Manila and neighboring areas. The Philippines now has 2,311 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 96 deaths.

* Cuba on Tuesday announced the decision to suspend the arrival of international passenger flights and withdraw all foreign boats from the Carribean island as part of the measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. The decision came as the Cuban Ministry of Public Health reported 16 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 earlier in the day, bringing the total in the country to 186.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin signed on Wednesday into law a bill granting the cabinet additional powers, including declaring a state of emergency for the entire country. The law published on the official legal information portal is aimed at dealing with COVID-19. Russia has registered a total of 2,777 cases of COVID-19 in 75 regions of the country as of Wednesday.

* A total of 509 patients have died of coronavirus in French hospitals in the last 24 hours, bringing the toll to 4,032 since the start of the epidemic, Director General of Health Jerome Salomon announced on Wednesday. A total of 56,989 people have been tested positive for coronavirus since the start of the epidemic.

* Germany will extend the restrictions on social contacts to April 19 at the earliest, in a bid to contain the spreading coronavirus, Chancellor Angela Merkel said following a video conference with minister-presidents of all 16 federal states. Merkel also said that now nothing could be decided as to what will happen after Easter. The current restrictions in Germany will be reviewed again on April 14.

* A further 134 people had died of COVID-19 in 24 hours and the number of positive cases rose by 1,019 in The Netherlands, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) announced on Wednesday. These raised the country's death toll and the total number of confirmed cases to 1,173 and 13,614, respectively, according to RIVM's fresh figures.

* The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Spain rose by 7,719 to 102,136 on Wednesday, according to the Spanish Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Services. The ministry also reported that the number of deaths rose to 9,053, up 864 in the past 24 hours. This is the highest death toll for a single day so far witnessed during the pandemic, beating Tuesday's record of 849.

* The total number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases surged to 15,679 in Turkey, as 2,148 more people were tested positive on Wednesday, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said in a press conference. Turkey on Wednesday registered 63 new deaths from COVID-19, bringing the total number of fatalities to 277.

* Japan will expand its entry ban to 73 countries and regions including the Americas and Africa in an effort to curb the continued rise in COVID-19 infections, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday.

* The Brazilian government on Wednesday unveiled a new initiative to systematically detect COVID-19 infections among the population. The Health Ministry will robocall 125 million people, 60 percent of the total, asking them questions about their state of health. Brazil, the Latin American country hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, has reported 6,836 cases as well as 240 deaths from the virus as of Wednesday.

* India on Wednesday welcomed the formation of a team by the Afghanistan government for intra-Afghan negotiations. According to an official statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, India has consistently supported an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled process for enduring peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

* According to the Department of Health and Social Care, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Britain reached 29,474 as of Wednesday morning, an increase of 4,324 in 24 hours.

* Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday said if the outbreak of COVID-19 becomes more widespread in the country, tighter measures will be inevitable. The death toll from the virus in Turkey has climbed to 214, and the number of confirmed cases has risen to 13,531 on Tuesday.

* The average age of people infected with COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, in Albania is 50 years old, head of the Control of Infectious Diseases Department at the Public Health Institute Silva Bino said here on Wednesday. Speaking at a press conference, Bino said as of Wednesday, there are a total of 259 positive cases with coronavirus in Albania, of which 15 have died and 67 are cured.

* Britain said on Wednesday that it will postpone until next year the UN climate talks (COP26) set to take place in Glasgow in November this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a government press release.

* Greek Health Ministry spokesman Sotirios Tsiodras announced on Wednesday 81 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Greece in the last 24 hours and one new death. Deaths toll rose to 50 since the start of the outbreak in the country on Feb. 26 while confirmed infections increased to 1,415, the spokesman said during a daily televised briefing on the epidemic.

* Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and US Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette discussed Wednesday in a phone conversation ways to reverse the global oil market slump, the Russian Energy Ministry said.

* The Central Bank of Jordan on Wednesday launched a JOD500 million (about US$700 million) financing program to support businesses in various sectors to face the impact of the novel coronavirus.

* Iran will double the number of daily COVID-19 tests in the coming days, a senior medical official was quoted as saying by Press TV on Wednesday. The number of daily tests will double, from the current 10,000 tests per day, to 20,000 to help authorities better deal with the disease outbreak, Alireza Biglari, head of the Pasteur Institute of Iran, was quoted as saying. Iran's ministry of health on Wednesday reported a total number of 47,593 cases of novel coronavirus infection, of whom 3,036 have died.

* The Omani Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday that it recorded 18 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases registered in the country to 210.

* Iraqi Health Ministry on Wednesday confirmed a total of 728 COVID-19 cases and up to 52 deaths across the country.

* An additional 8.3 million people will fall into poverty in the Arab region after the COVID-19 outbreak, said a statement of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) on Wednesday.

* The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Wednesday announced 150 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 814.

*The African Development Bank (AfDB) said Wednesday it has approved around KES208 million (about US$2 million) in emergency assistance for the World Health Organization (WHO) to strengthen its capacity to help African countries contain the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its impacts. AfDB said WHO Africa region will use the funds to bolster the capacity of 41 African countries on infection prevention, testing and case management.

* Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on Wednesday issued presidential pardon for 5,037 prisoners, the presidency said in a statement. The amnesty comes when Algeria is witnessing a rise in cases of COVID-19 which claimed so far 58 deaths and infected some 747 people.

* The Egyptian Health Ministry announced on Wednesday 69 new cases of COVID-19 and six new deaths, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 779, including 52 deaths.

* United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will use video teleconferencing (VTC) technology to continue its work amid the COVID-19 pandemic, incoming President for the month Jose Singer Weisinger said Wednesday.

* The Tunisian health authorities on Wednesday reported 30 new coronavirus cases, bringing the number of confirmed cases in the country to 423.