Germany looks at tracking patients to suppress coronavirus
Germany has proposed using big data and location tracking to isolate people with coronavirus to keep the pandemic under control once social distancing measures now in force have slowed its spread, media reported on Friday.
The Interior Ministry’s strategy paper recommends following South Korea in aggressively testing for COVID-19 and using smartphone location data to help trace people who have come into contact with those infected with the flu-like disease.
UK to use firefighters to deliver food, collect bodies in coronavirus crisis
The United Kingdom will use firefighters to help deliver food, retrieve dead bodies and drive ambulances as it braces for the looming peak of the coronavirus outbreak that has already claimed the lives of more than 22,000 people across the world.
Britain initially took a strikingly modest approach to the worst health crisis since the 1918 influenza epidemic but then changed tack to impose stringent controls after projections showed a quarter of a million British people could die.
Vietnam aims to keep number of coronavirus cases in country under 1,000
Vietnam is aiming to keep the number of coronavirus cases in the country under 1,000, the government said, as the number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country passed 150 on Friday.
“We have been able to contain epicenters, and even potential epicenters ... and we are determined to keep the number of COVID-19 cases from reaching 1,000,” deputy prime minister Vu Duc Dam said in a statement.
South Korean test kit makers swamped as coronavirus cases explode in US, Europe
Last year, South Korean biotech firm SolGent made diagnostic kits for 300,000 tests. Today, it is churning out more than that in a week, and production will further rise to 400,000 coronavirus tests next week.
That's still not fast enough to meet surging demand for the kits from all over the world, especially the United States and Europe, where the coronavirus outbreak is spreading explosively, SolGent CEO You Jae-hyung told Reuters.
US slashed CDC staff inside China prior to coronavirus outbreak
The Trump administration cut staff by more than two-thirds at a key US public health agency operating inside China, as part of a larger rollback of US-funded health and science experts on the ground there leading up to the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters has learned.
Most of the reductions were made at the Beijing office of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and occurred over the past two years, according to public CDC documents viewed by Reuters and interviews with four people familiar with the drawdown.
India's migrant workers face long walk home amid coronavirus lockdown
After India imposed a 21-day nationwide lockdown on Tuesday to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the plywood factory near Uttar Pradesh's state capital Lucknow where Surendra Pandey works was forced to shut down.
On Thursday morning, with no way of earning a living, the 28-year-old laborer set off on a 110-kilometre (68-mile) walk back to his home village.
"I tried catching a bus or truck yesterday, but there is no transport available on the road, so I decided to walk," he told Reuters, some 30 km (19 miles) into his journey.
Coronavirus crisis could destroy far more than 25 million jobs - ILO official
The number of jobs lost around the world due to the coronavirus crisis could be "far higher" than the 25 million the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated just a week ago, a senior ILO official said on Thursday.
The United Nations agency said on March 18 that, based on different scenarios for the impact of the pandemic on global economic growth, estimated the global ranks of jobless would rise by between 5.3 million and 24.7 million.
China suspends entry of foreign nationals
China has decided to temporarily suspend the entry into the country by foreign nationals holding visas or residence permits still valid.
The announcement came on Thursday through the Chinese foreign ministry's website.
The temporarily suspension will be effective from midnight of March 28.
South Africa coronavirus cases exceed 900, Ramaphosa urges G20 aid
South Africa's number of coronavirus cases jumped to more than 900 on Thursday and President Cyril Ramaphosa called for richer countries to help African nations deal with the economic fallout, hours before the start of a countrywide lockdown.
The president underwent a test on Tuesday on the advice of doctors and received a negative result on Wednesday night.
"We now have more than 900 people who are infected, as the minister told me, and we fear that it might rise even much further than that," the president said in Pretoria.
Commonwealth develops tracker to help countries monitor coronavirus
The Commonwealth has developed a coronavirus tracker that shows daily cases in member countries including Bangladesh.
The tracker collects data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and shows the total confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths in the affected member countries, said a press release.
The tool is designed to help countries prepare and respond to the pandemic.
London's homeless stuck on the streets during coronavirus lockdown
As most of Britain headed indoors to wait out the coronavirus, rough sleeper Mohamed Sisi stayed on a patch of pavement opposite London's Charing Cross rail station with nowhere else to go.
Police had told him to move to a homeless shelter during the nationwide lockdown but when he went he found it closed, the 29-year-old told Reuters. "People are panicked. You don't know what to do," he said.
G20 leaders commit to united front against pandemic
G20 leaders said during on Thursday they were committed to presenting a united front against the coronavirus pandemic, calling it their “absolute priority” to tackle its health, social and economic impacts.
During an video conference of the world’s major economies, the leaders said they were committed to restoring confidence, preserving financial stability and reviving growth.
They said they were committed to resolving disruptions to global supply chains and asked finance ministers and central bank governors to coordinate regularly together and with international organizations to develop an action plan in response to the pandemic.
Two Tesla employees test positive for coronavirus
Two employees of Tesla Inc have tested positive for coronavirus, Business Insider reported on Thursday, citing an internal email.
Anyone coughing at UK police, shop workers faces two years in jail
Anyone claiming to have coronavirus who deliberately coughs at emergency workers faces being jailed for two years, Britain's Director of Public Prosecutions said on Thursday.
Max Hill said there had been reports in recent days of people coughing in the faces of police, other emergency workers and shop staff. Those responsible could face charges of common assault, he said.
Spain: In 'war' to buy medical supplies
Spain extended its coronavirus lockdown on Thursday to at least April 12 as Europe's second-worst hit country fought "a real war" procuring medical supplies in an overheated Chinese market that officials said was rife with fraud and speculative deals.
The death toll rose by 655 overnight to 4,089. That was down from 738 deaths the previous day when Spain overtook China by the total number of deaths since the outbreak began. Health Minister Salvador Illa cautiously told parliament the data "make us think we are starting a stabilization phase".
Cases in Italy's Lombardy rise by some 2,500 on Thursday
The number of coronavirus cases in the in the northern region of Lombardy, which includes Italy's financial capital Milan, increased by some 2,500 on Thursday, regional governor Attilio Fontana said.
Americans to get aid within three weeks amid coronavirus
Americans should receive direct deposits for financial aid within three weeks as soon as the coronavirus economic relief bill is signed into law, the US Treasury Secretary said, adding that the record jobless claims announced on Thursday "are not relevant."
US death toll from coronavirus approaches 1,000
The US death toll from the coronavirus approached the milestone of 1,000 on Thursday as hospitals in New York and other hot spots struggled to treat a flood of patients and the US Congress neared approval of $2 trillion in aid to counter the pandemic's economic impact.
As of 1 am (0500 GMT) Thursday, 999 people had died of the respiratory illness caused by the virus, according to a Reuters tally of reports from state and local officials. One-third of those deaths were in New York state, where the governor has warned hospitals could soon run out of beds and ventilators. The state accounted for nearly half the national total of some 68,000 cases.
Travellers stranded in airport by coronavirus
Russian hostel manager Valerie Azure has spent the past three nights sleeping on the floor of a Malaysian airport along with her young son, after Southeast Asian nations sealed borders and cancelled flights in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Azure, 31, said more than a dozen people were stranded with her in the international airport in Kuala Lumpur, among hundreds marooned across the globe, according to media reports, as the virus plays havoc with travel plans.
Swiss coronavirus cases top 10,000, with 161 deaths
Switzerland has 10,714 confirmed coronavirus infections and 161 people have died of the disease, the Federal Office of Public Health said on Thursday.
The numbers were up to date as of 0715 GMT, it said.
Russia's atomic agency keeps building abroad despite coronavirus outbreak
Russia's Rosatom is continuing the construction of nuclear stations abroad despite the global coronavirus outbreak, the state atomic agency's head Alexei Likhachev said on Thursday.
The company has introduced the "strictest possible measures to ensure the safety of its Russian personnel" at the construction sites, Likhachev said in a statement.
Italy PM sees Europe in 'hard, severe' recession post-coronavirus
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Thursday all of Europe would be hit by a "hard, severe" recession following the coronavirus emergency and special measures were needed to mitigate its impact.
Swiss army joins frontline in battle against coronavirus
In a Swiss hospital, the tall young soldier adjusts the heavy hospital bed in which an elderly woman with coronavirus is coughing deeply and wheels her out of the emergency ward.
Head nurse Christophe Galzin is delighted to be getting the extra help. "They (the soldiers) are very strong," he said.
The Swiss army, which has not been mobilised since World War Two and then only in defensive mode, has been deployed to help healthcare workers on the frontline of Switzerland's war against coronavirus.
UAE announces overnight curfew for weekend deep clean
The United Arab Emirates will impose overnight curfews as a temporary measure this weekend when it will carry out a nationwide disinfection campaign starting Thursday to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.
The regional business hub, which has confirmed 333 cases of the virus with two deaths, has not announced an official curfew or work suspension but has increasingly clamped down on movement.
Iran's death toll from coronavirus climbs to 2,234 - ministry
Iran reported 157 new coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours, Iranian Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur told state TV on Thursday, taking the death toll to 2,234 in the Islamic Republic with 29,406 infected people.
“The number of new infected cases was 2,389 in the past 24 hours,” Jahanpur said, calling on Iranians to stay at home.
Spain's coronavirus death toll surpasses 4,000
Spain registered 655 fatalities from the coronavirus over the past 24 hours - down from over 700 on Wednesday, the health ministry reported on Thursday as the total death toll from the epidemic in the country rose to over 4,000.
The overall number of coronavirus cases soared to 56,188 from 47,610 on Wednesday. The number of reported deaths from the virus rose to 4,089 from 3,434 on Wednesday, the ministry said.
Turkey hints curfew could come if coronavirus spread worsens
Turkey can resort to the "highest measure" of adopting a complete curfew if coronavirus infections continue to spread, the government said on Thursday as it clamped down further on medical tools leaving the country.
Turkey had announced a partial curfew for senior citizens older than 65 over the weekend, but not for the general public as some other hard-hit countries have done.
South Korea warns of deportation, jail for quarantine violators
South Korea warned on Thursday that it will deport foreigners while its citizens could face jail if they violate self-quarantine rules after a surge in imported coronavirus cases.
South Korea has tightened entry rules for travellers from countries suffering big outbreaks, subjecting them to two weeks of mandatory quarantine but at least 11 people violated self-quarantine rules between March 13 and 24, the health ministry said. It did not specify their nationalities.
"We will apply zero-tolerance principles in taking action against those who leave their self-isolation venue without legitimate reasons," Yoon Tae-ho, director-general for public health policy at the health ministry, told a briefing.
Singapore braces for recession
Singapore is bracing for the worst recession in its 55-year history after the coranavirus pandemic knocked its bellwether economy into a sharp contraction in the first quarter, reinforcing fears global activity will tank this year.
Singapore is among the world's most open economies and one of the first to report growth data since the virus spread from China earlier this year, portending more pain for other countries as they impose increasingly strict anti-virus measures.
"This will likely be the worst economic contraction since independence," said finance minister Heng Swee Keat as he unveiled more than $30 billion in new support measures. The city-state's total virus relief measures announced this year now amount to 11 percent of its GDP.
Vietnam quarantines tens of thousands in camps amid vigorous attack on coronavirus
Vietnam has sent tens of thousands of people to quarantine camps as waves of overseas citizens return home to escape a coronavirus pandemic spreading in Europe and the United States.
Even though Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia's poorer nations, its efforts against the virus, praised at home, have ensured its tally of infections is lower than many neighbours.
World food security at risk as exporters curb sales, importers buy more
Global food security concerns are mounting with around a fifth of the world's population already under lockdown to fight the widening coronavirus pandemic that has infected over 470,000 people across 200 countries, killing 21,000.
Panic buying of household staples like toilet paper and cleaning products have occurred in nearly every country hit by the virus, and empty shelves in supermarkets have been common, Reuters reported.
Compounding the anxiety stemming from erratic consumer buying has been concern that some governments may move to restrict the flow of food staples to ensure their own populations have enough while supply chains get disrupted by the pandemic.
Fresh produce in Europe set to be more scarce as coronavirus strikes
Fresh fruit and vegetables will become increasingly scarce in Europe, suppliers warn, as the coronavirus pandemic hampers the global movement of produce and of the people needed to gather crops.
Governments are looking at ways to ease any shortage, including "green lanes" to allow fresh produce to move quickly across EU borders, recruiting a "shadow army" of harvesters and loosening travel rules for migrant workers.
Malaysia reports 235 new coronavirus cases in biggest daily jump
Malaysia on Thursday reported 235 new coronavirus cases in its biggest daily jump, bringing the total number of cases to 2,031.
The number of deaths from coronavirus rose to 23, the health ministry said.
Malaysia’s total number of cases has now doubled in a week. On Wednesday, the government extended curbs on travel and movement to until April 14th to contain the spread of the virus.
Putin announces paid leave for all Russians next week due to COVID-19
Russian President Vladimir Putin declared on Wednesday that all Russians would receive paid leave next week as part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
All necessary institutions and establishments, including hospitals, pharmacies, shops, banks, transport and government bodies at all levels, will continue their work, Putin said in a televised address to the nation, Reuters reported.
Russia to ground international flights on March 27 due to coronavirus
The Russian government has ordered the civil aviation authority to suspend all regular and charter flights to and from Russia from March 27, the government said on its website.
Russian airlines will still be allowed to fly to other countries to bring Russian citizens back or if they are authorized by special government decisions, Reuters reported.
India outlines $22.6 billion economic stimulus to help poor hit by lockdown
India on Thursday announced a 1.7 trillion rupee ($22.6 billion) economic stimulus plan that will be released through direct cash transfers and food security measures aimed at giving relief to millions of poor hit by the nationwide lockdown in the country, Reuters reported.
Countries must not squander chance to control coronavirus: WHO
Countries that have locked down their populations to prevent the spread of coronavirus need to put a premium on finding new cases and doing everything they can "to suppress and control" the virus, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said US President Donald Trump had displayed "political commitment" and "leadership" to fight the growing epidemic in the United States, Reuters reported.
Virus death toll passes 20,000, three billion under lockdown
More than three billion people around the world were living under lockdown on Wednesday as governments stepped up their efforts against the coronavirus pandemic which has left more than 20,000 people dead.
As the number of confirmed cases worldwide soared past 450,000, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that only a concerted global effort could stop the spread of the virus, AFP reported.
Coronavirus downturn will be worse than 2008: WTO
The World Trade Organization’s chief said on Wednesday that projections show the economic downturn and job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic would be worse than the 2008 recession.
“This pandemic will inevitably have an enormous impact on the economy...” director-general Roberto Azevedo said in a video message filmed from his home and posted on the website of the body that creates rules for global commerce, Reuters reported.
“Recent projections predict an economic downturn and job losses that are worse than the global financial crisis a dozen years ago,” he added.
Artificial intelligence may one day become pandemic lifesaver
On December 30, researchers using artificial intelligence systems to comb through media and social platforms detected the spread of an unusual flu-like illness in Wuhan, China.
It would be days before the World Health Organization released a risk assessment and a full month before the UN agency declared a global public health emergency for the novel coronavirus, AFP reported.
Could the AI systems have accelerated the process and limited, or even arrested, the extent of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Iran starts intercity travel ban amid fears of second wave of coronavirus
Iran started an intercity travel ban on Thursday, an Iranian official said in a televised news conference, amid fears of a second wave of coronavirus infections in the Middle East's worst-hit country.
Iran's government spokesman on Wednesday said the country might face a second outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
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, Reuters reported.
G7 finance ministers agree priorities for coronavirus response
British foreign minister Dominic Raab and his G7 counterparts agreed their priorities for the response to the coronavirus pandemic in a virtual meeting on Wednesday, including the protection of the world economy, Reuters reported.
China, US to set aside differences in G20 coronavirus summit
China and the United States are expected to call a timeout on their coronavirus blame game and focus on the challenges of the pandemic when leaders of the G20 nations hold talks via video conference on Thursday, the South China Morning Post said.
The virus has spread around the globe, infecting more than 470,000 people and killing more than 20,000, since it emerged in central China late last year, Reuters reported.
The leaders are expected to agree that the outbreak is a threat to humanity and will set up a mechanism to share information and experiences in fighting the disease, the paper said, citing a draft statement to be discussed at the summit.
Number of coronavirus cases in Germany rises to 36,508
The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Germany has risen to 36,508 and 198 people have died of the disease, statistics from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Thursday.
Cases rose by 4,995 compared with the previous day while the death toll climbed by 50, the tally showed, Reuters reported.
China reports second consecutive day of no new local coronavirus transmissions, imported cases rise
Mainland China reported a second consecutive day of no new local coronavirus infections as the epicentre of the epidemic Hubei province opened its borders, but imported cases rose as Beijing ramped up controls to prevent a resurgence of infections.
A total of 67 new cases were reported as of end-Wednesday, up from 47 a day earlier, all of which were imported, China's National Health Commission said in a statement on Thursday, Reuters reported.
Lockdown begins in Bangladesh
The streets of Bangladesh's capital Dhaka, a mega-city with more than two crores dwellers, are eerily quiet and empty today as the city silently marks day one of 10-day lockdown announced by the government to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
There is almost no sign of life on major roads, footpaths, lanes in the capital, which remained always bustling earlier. Same picture in once busiest areas of the city- Farmgate, Karwan Bazar, Shahbagh, Motijheel, these places are unnaturally silent today, The Business Standard reported.
US Senate passes $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill
The US Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly backed a $2 trillion (1.69 trillion pounds) bill aimed at helping unemployed workers and industries hurt by the coronavirus epidemic, as well as providing billions of dollars to buy urgently needed medical equipment.
After bitter negotiations, the deeply divided Senate came together and passed the bill by a unanimous 96-0 vote, which sent the massive stimulus package to the House of Representatives, which could vote sometime this week, Reuters reported.
Spain's coronavirus death toll overtakes China's
Spain struggled to cope on Wednesday with a mounting coronavirus crisis as its death toll exceeded China's with another 738 lives lost in a single day, and a third senior government minister was diagnosed with the virus.
With 3,434 fatalities, Spain now has the second-highest number of deaths globally after Italy's 6,820. Nursing homes across the country have been overwhelmed and a skating rink in Madrid has been turned into a makeshift morgue, Reuters reported.
More than 1,000 US coronavirus deaths, near 70,000 cases
The number of deaths caused by the novel coronavirus rose to 1,031 in the United States on Wednesday, with 68,572 confirmed cases nationwide, a tracker run by the Johns Hopkins University showed.
The tracker had showed 827 just a few hours earlier. The United States has the third highest number of confirmed cases behind China and Italy, and the US death rate is now 1.5 percent, based on reported cases, AFP reported.
The true number of infected people is believed to be far higher, meaning the real death rate would be lower.
Cybersecurity experts come together to fight coronovirus-related hacking
An international group of nearly 400 volunteers with expertise in cybersecurity formed on Wednesday to fight hacking related to the novel coronavirus.
Called the COVID-19 CTI League, for cyber threat intelligence, the group spans more than 40 countries and includes professionals in senior positions at such major companies as Microsoft Corp and Amazon.com Inc, Reuters reported.
One of four initial managers of the effort, Marc Rogers, said the top priority would be working to combat hacks against medical facilities and other frontline responders to the pandemic. It is already working on hacks of health organizations.
South Korea reports 104 new coronavirus cases, total 9,241
South Korea reported 104 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing its total infections to 9,241, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
The death toll from the pandemic in South Korea rose by five to reach a total of 131, Reuters reported.
Netflix experiences temporary outages across US, Europe
Netflix, the world famous streaming site and app has stopped working leaving users unable to get on the site during the novel coronavirus lockdown.
The website refused to load when users navigated to the site, The Independent reported.
Mexican government to suspend activities from today
Mexico’s federal government will suspend all non-essential activities beginning on Thursday, Mexico’s deputy health minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell told reporters.
Mexico registered 475 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, up from 405, and six deaths overall, Reuters reported.