Coronavirus cases top 1 million with 50,000 deaths

More than 1,002,000 people have been diagnosed with the COVID-19 disease worldwide, as the death toll surpassed 51,000 while about 208,000 patients recovered.

The coronavirus pandemic death toll in Spain passed 10,000 on Thursday, as the country reported its highest single-day number of deaths since the outbreak began, with the total rising by more than 1,000 to 10,096 among 110,238 infections.
The United States – the world’s hardest-hit country – recorded more than 5,600 coronavirus deaths, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. It has confirmed more than 236,000 cases of the disease.

Here are the latest updates:
Thursday, April 2
23:20 GMT Thursday – Trump to Iran: If they want help, we will give them help

President Donald Trump has said that if Iran requests his administration for help in dealing with the coronavirus emergency, that he would be willing to do it.

“They have a very big case of virus. A very, very big case. One of the worst on Earth if you believe what you’re reading and I happen to believe what I see and what I know. If they want help, we will give them help.”

Earlier, presumptive Democratic nominee for president, former Vice President Joseph Biden said he supports the lifting of sanctions against Iran as the country deals with the deadly disease.
23:15 GMT – Trump invokes law to expand protective masks

President Donald Trump has invoked the Defense Production Act to rapidly expand domestic manufacturing of N95 protective masks by Minnesota-based by 3M to assist first responders.

A memorandum signed by Trump calls for DHS Secretary Chad Wolf to “use any and all authority available” under the act to acquire masks produced by 3M Co FEMA Administrator Rear Adm John Polowczyk is charged to determine the number of masks needed, according to the memo.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told lawmakers in late February that the US needed a stockpile of about 300 million N95 face masks for medical workers on the front lines of stemming the spread of the virus.
23:10 GMT – Trump admin moves toward promoting broader use of face masks

The Trump administration is formalizing new guidance to recommend that many Americans wear face coverings when leaving home, in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

The recommendations, still being finalized Thursday, would apply to those who live in areas hard-hit by community transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Trump, who was tested again for coronavirus Thursday using a new rapid test, indicated Tuesday he would support such a recommendation. “If people wanted to wear them, they can,” he said.
20:30 GMT – US borrowers seeking aid from banks face hurdles

United States borrowers seeking a reprieve from mortgage, auto or credit card payments because of coronavirus hardships are not getting the help they expected from big banks that promised assistance in recent weeks.
20:25 GMT – US doctors seek opioid production boost

United States doctors running out of narcotics needed for COVID-19 patients on ventilators are asking the federal government to raise production limits for drugmakers, according to a letter seen by Reuters news agency, after national quotas had been tightened to address the opioid addiction crisis.

Read more here.
20:12 GMT – Two stranded cruise ships given approval to dock in Florida

Passengers aboard two cruise ships that have had coronavirus cases and deaths have been given the green light to disembark at a Florida port.

Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine said that an agreement had been reached between local, state and federal officials and Carnival Corp, which owns the Zaandam and the Rotterdam. And Port Everglades traffic records list the two ships’ arrival as “confirmed”.

The cruise line Holland America is operating the ships. Holland America says 45 passengers who are mildly sick will stay on board until they recover, but that it needs 10 people to be taken to a Fort Lauderdale hospital for immediate medical care.
20:00 GMT – Trump issues order to boost ventilator manufacturing

US President Donald Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to aid companies building ventilators for coronavirus patients to receive the supply of materials they need.

In a memo released by the White House, Trump directed the US Health and Human Services secretary to use his authority to help facilitate the supply of ventilator materials for six companies – General Electric Co, Hill-Rom Holdings Inc , Medtronic Plc, Resmed Inc, Royal Philips NV and Vyaire Medical Inc.
19:40 GMT – Bolsonaro says coronavirus ‘not all it’s being made out to be’

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro continued to downplay the coronavirus epidemic, saying it is “not all it’s being made out to be” and denying that any hospital in the country has reached its full capacity due to the outbreak.

Speaking to church ministers outside his official residence in Brasilia, he urged state governors not to be so “radical”, warning that their confinement and quarantine measures are taking a heavy toll on the economy.

He estimated that 60 percent to 70 percent of Brazilians will eventually contract the virus.
18:23 GMT – World Bank to roll out $160bn emergency aid

The World Bank approved a plan to roll out $160bn in emergency aid over 15 months to help countries deal with the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic.

The board of the Washington-based development lender announced the first set of fast-track crisis funding, with an initial $1.9bn going to projects in 25 countries, and operations moving forward in another 40 nations, the bank said in a statement.

The bank is also working to redeploy $1.7bn of existing funding, including the use of “catastrophic drawdowns”, a type of emergency credit line.
18:21 GMT – France’s death toll jumps to nearly 5,400

The number of cumulative known deaths from coronavirus in France surged to nearly 5,400 as the country started including fatalities in nursing homes in its data.

Jerome Salomon, head of the public health authority, said the number of coronavirus-related deaths in hospitals rose 12 percent on Thursday to 4,503 from a day earlier.

He added that a provisional tally showed that a cumulative 884 people in total had died in nursing homes. This makes for a total of 5,387 lives lost to coronavirus in France.
18:20 GMT – Lebanon municipalities ‘discriminate’ against refugees

Nearly two dozen Lebanese municipalities have implemented restrictions targeting Syrian refugees amid the coronavirus pandemic, including curfews that do not apply to other foreigners or Lebanon’s citizens, according to Human Rights Watch.

Read more here.
18:19 GMT – UK looking at virus immunity certificates

The United Kingdom is looking at issuing immunity certificates to people who have developed resistance to the coronavirus, but there needs to be more research into the science behind it, health minister Matt Hancock said.

People who have had COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, develop antibodies to fight the virus, but it is unclear how long any immunity they develop lasts.

“[An immunity certificate] is an important thing that we will be doing and are looking at but it’s too early in the science of the immunity that comes from having had the disease,” Hancock said at a news conference.
17:31 GMT – Portugal shuts all airports to commercial flights during Easter

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced the closure of all airports to commercial flights during the usually busy Easter holiday period to stop the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

The airports will shut between April 9 and April 13 and only flights repatriating citizens or transporting goods will be allowed to operate.

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