The U.S. House of Representatives will begin a debate on a $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid bill on Friday as virus cases in the country rose to the highest in the world. Mainland China reported its first locally transmitted case in three days, while India slashed interest rates.
– Almost 531,500 people have been infected globally and over 24,000 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
– For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread, open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.
– The coronavirus death toll in Italy rose by 662 to 8,165 on Thursday.
– The number of cases in Italy’s northern region of Lombardy increased by some 2,500, a steeper increase than in previous days.
– Spain extended its lockdown to at least April 12, as the death toll rose to 4,089.
– German hospitals with spare capacity will take in at least 47 coronavirus patients from Italy in a sign of European solidarity.
– Another 115 people have died in the United Kingdom after testing positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths to 578.
– Britain has placed an emergency order of 10,000 ventilators from Dyson.
– Switzerland’s infections topped 10,000 as the government pumped money into the economy and army medical units helped hospitals handle the spreading epidemic.
– President Vladimir Putin said he hoped Russia would defeat the virus in two to three months, as authorities suspended international flights, ordered most shops in the capital to shut and halted some church services.
– In Lisbon, a “drive-thru” clinic is performing five-minute swab tests through car windows on people with symptoms, as Portuguese authorities ramp up testing facilities.
– Slovakia aims to sharply increase daily testing in the next few weeks.
– The number of U.S. coronavirus infections climbed above 82,000 on Thursday, surpassing the national tallies of China and Italy, as New York, New Orleans and other hot spots faced a surge in hospitalizations and looming shortages of supplies, staff and sick beds.
– Americans should receive cash payments within three weeks, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said.
– Canada on Thursday attacked a U.S. proposal to deploy troops along the undefended joint border to help fight the spread of coronavirus.
– Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Thursday urged Mexicans in the United States to avoid visiting Mexico except in emergencies.
– Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday exempted churches from coronavirus lockdowns by classifying religious activity as an essential service.
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
– Mainland China reported its first locally transmitted coronavirus case in three days and 54 new imported cases, as Beijing ordered airlines to sharply cut international flights. – Large queues formed at supermarkets and stores in Tokyo on Friday as residents in the Japanese capital prepared for a weekend at home.
– South Korean authorities pleaded with residents on Friday to stay indoors and avoid large gatherings as new coronavirus cases hovered close to 100 per day.
– Australia will enact mandatory quarantine measures for all new arrivals by midnight, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
– Thailand reported 91 new coronavirus cases and 1 fatality, bringing the total to 1,136 cases and 5 deaths.
– Uzbekistan locked down more cities and districts, and announced large bonus payments for medical workers,, as it reported the country’s first death and the number of cases climbed to 83.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
– About half of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa still have a “narrowing” opportunity to curb the spread of the virus, the regional head of the World Health Organisation said.
– Turkey could order the public to stay at home if infections continue to spread, the government said as it clamped down further on medical equipment leaving the country.
– Iran started an intercity travel ban, a day after Tehran warned the country might face a second outbreak. Iran has reported 2,234 deaths and 29,406 infections so far.
– Lebanon will begin an overnight shutdown from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., as it steps up measures to combat the virus.
– The United Arab Emirates will impose overnight curfews as a temporary measure this weekend, when it will carry out a nationwide disinfection campaign.
– Qatar signed agreements to increase its strategic food stuff reserves.
– Saudi Arabia has released 250 foreign detainees held on non-violent immigration and residency offences.
– The number of coronavirus cases in South Africa jumped to more than 900 on Thursday and President Cyril Ramaphosa called for richer countries to help African nations deal with the economic fallout.
– Asian stocks rose on Friday as investors wagered policymakers will roll out more stimulus measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic after U.S. unemployment filings surged to a record. [MKTS/GLOB]
– Leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives are determined to pass a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill on Friday, or at the very latest on Saturday.
– The United States “may well be in recession” but progress in controlling the outbreak will determine when the economy can fully reopen, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said.
– European Union leaders failed to agree on Thursday on the scale of support for their economies.
– The Reserve Bank of India slashed interest rates, a day after the government announced a $22.6 billion stimulus plan.
– S&P downgraded Mexico’s credit rating as the coronavirus pandemic and a hit to state oil firm Pemex from plunging crude prices battered the growth outlook.
– South Korean consumers turned the most pessimistic in more than a decade in March, a central bank survey found on Friday.
– Singapore Airlines said it had secured up to $13 billion of funding, the single biggest financing package announced by an airline since demand plunged because of the pandemic. EVENTS- The United States has canceled annual military exercises with treaty ally the Philippines.
– The U.S. Open originally scheduled to be played June 18-21 at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, New York has been postponed over coronavirus concerns, the New York Post reported.
– South Korea’s boy band BTS will postpone its North America tour that was scheduled to kick off in April.
– It is too soon to decide whether the Tour de France can go ahead, but if it does it may be without roadside spectators, France’s sports minister said.
Compiled by Milla Nissi, Sarah Morland, Aditya Soni and Ramakrishnan M.; Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Maju Samuel