The number of confirmed infections of the novel coronavirus exceeded 1.38 million globally and the death toll crossed 81,400, according to a Reuters tally as of 0200 GMT.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
– For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread, open https://tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.
– U.S.-focused tracker with state-by-state and county map, open https://tmsnrt.rs/2w7hX9T in an external browser.
– The president of the European Union’s main science organisation quit over frustration at the response to the pandemic.
– British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent a second night in intensive care and was in a stable condition, while his country was entering what scientists said was the deadliest phase of the outbreak.
– Italian ports cannot be considered safe because of the epidemic and will not let charity migrant boats dock, the government ruled.
– Spain’s daily death toll rose on Tuesday for the first time in five days, but there was still hope the lockdown might be eased as officials worked on a plan to lift some of the restrictions.
– Germany’s daily case tally increased for the second straight day after four previous days of drops.
– France should extend its lockdown for several weeks, a chief medical adviser said, after it became the fourth country to register more than 10,000 deaths.
– A French military ship is heading back to port after some staff on board showed signs of COVID-19 symptoms.
– Czech Republic’s cases rose past 5,000, but a slowing growth rate has given the government confidence to start easing some lockdown measures.
– U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States might be getting to the top of the “curve” of the outbreak and reiterated that he wants to get the economy reopened soon.
– Trump accused the WHO of being too focused on China and issuing bad advice during the outbreak, saying he would put a hold on U.S. funding for the agency.
– Even as medical teams struggled to save an onslaught of patients and deaths hit new highs, the number of hospitalizations seemed to be leveling off in New York state.
– COVID-19 is killing African-Americans at a higher rate than the U.S. population at large, according to preliminary numbers that officials say point to disparities in healthcare access.
– The United States deported 61 Haitian migrants on Tuesday despite fears of further spreading the disease.
– Canada will keep up efforts to persuade the United States not to block the export of medical supplies, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, while the province of Alberta warned of an economic disaster.
– Honduras will spur planting of grains, vegetables and fruit on unoccupied land to ensure the food supply.
– Uruguay agreed to repatriate 112 Australians and New Zealanders from a cruise ship stranded near Montevideo since March 27, with most of the 219 passengers infected.
– Ecuador is preparing an emergency burial ground in Guayaquil, the country’s largest city, to address a shortage of burial plots.
– The Chinese city of Wuhan ended its two-month lockdown, even as a small northern city ordered restrictions on its residents amid concern about a second wave of infections.
– India’s financial hub Mumbai is set to extend lockdown measures until at least April 30 as authorities race to expand testing.
– Commuters packed into trains in the Japanese capital on Wednesday, the first day of a state of emergency, with some expressing confusion over how best to restrict their movements.
– Singapore announced new measures to accelerate local food production, including a plan to turn car park rooftops in public housing estates into urban farms.
– Hong Kong extended social-distancing restrictions, including the closure of some bars and pubs and a ban on public gatherings of more than four people, until April 23.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
– Most Middle Eastern countries are seeing worrying daily increases in cases but the region still has a chance to contain its spread, a senior WHO official said.
– Saudi Arabia’s health minister said the virus could eventually infect between 10,000 and 200,000 people in the country.
– Egypt will ban any public religious gatherings during the holy Muslim fasting month Ramadan starting in around two weeks.
– South Africa’s main health workers’ union planned to challenge the government in court over shortages of protective gear.
– World stocks turned negative on Wednesday as the death toll mounted and euro zone finance ministers failed to agree a rescue package to help economies recover from the outbreak. [MKTS/GLOB]
– The European Central Bank told euro zone finance ministers the area could need fiscal measures worth up to 1.5 trillion euros this year.
– Japan is expected to slip into a deep recession this year with the economy set to contract for a third straight quarter, a Reuters poll showed.
– Britain’s markets watchdog set out temporary measures to help companies raise cash quickly to weather the pandemic.
– South Korea’s president announced an additional 36 trillion won ($29.5 billion) worth of cheap loans for exporters.
– Hong Kong will offer a relief package worth more than HK$100 billion ($12.90 billion).
– Japan will pledge to contribute to an IMF trust offering debt relief to low-income countries, a finance ministry official told Reuters.
– Iran’s president said the IMF would be guilty of “discriminatory behaviour” unless it releases $5 billion in emergency funding.
– The Trump administration asked Congress for an additional $250 billion in emergency economic aid for small U.S. businesses.
(Compiled by Milla Nissi, Aditya Soni and Uttaresh.V; Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Arun Koyyur)