India in lockdown, Germany’s coronavirus cases rise

India’s 1.3 billion people have joined the global lockdown triggered by the outbreak as the World Health Organization (WHO) expressed concern at the acceleration of the pandemic in the United States.

Germany recorded 4,191 new cases of the coronavirus and 36 more deaths, raising the total number of infections to 31,554.

The White House and Senate leaders of both parties have struck an agreement on a sweeping $2 trillion measure to aid workers, businesses and a healthcare system strained by the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak.

Over 109,000 of the 424,000 people diagnosed with the disease have recovered, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. More than 18,900 people have died from COVID-19.

Wednesday, March 25

09:30 GMT – ‘Sanitiser? I clean up human waste with my hands’

Sanitary workers around the world carry out life-threatening tasks, majority without access to the most basic hygiene at a time when health agencies are urging extra steps to ensure cleanliness and basic hygiene amid the coronavirus pandemic.

08:50 GMT – More than 158,000 volunteer to help UK tackle coronavirus

More than 158,000 people have volunteered to help Britain’s National Health Service fight the coronavirus outbreak just hours after a request for a quarter of a million volunteers, ITV said.

The death toll from coronavirus in the UK jumped on Tuesday by 87 to a total of 422 – the biggest daily increase since the crisis began.

08:45 GMT – French death tally much higher than official data: hospitals chief

The number of people in France who have died from coronavirus is much higher than the official daily government tally, which only accounts for those dying in hospitals and does not include those dying at home or in retirement homes, the head of the hospitals federation said.

“We only know the data provided by hospitals… The increase in the official data is already major, but the absolute numbers would no doubt be effectively much higher if we aggregated what is happening in retirement homes as well as the people who die at home,” Frederic Valletoux, president of the French hospitals federation, said on France Info radio.

08:37 GMT – Australia welfare agency stretched to the limit

Australia’s federal government says as many as one million Australians could find themselves out of work in coming days due to shutdown.

Read more here.

08:30 GMT – Vietnam to halt new rice export contracts until March 28

Vietnam will temporarily suspend signing new rice export contracts until at least March 28, the government said.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told the ministries of trade and agriculture to submit a report on domestic rice supplies and exports, according to a copy of the statement seen by Reuters.

08:05 GMT – Thai lockdown sparks exodus of 60,000 migrant workers

About 60,000 migrant workers living in Thailand have left the country since authorities shut malls and many businesses on the weekend, a Thai interior ministry official said.

The official told Reuters 60,000 migrant workers from Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar had returned home as of Tuesday.

The country has closed its land borders, told people to stay at home, and closed most businesses in an attempt to curb the virus.

08:00 GMT – Mexico suspends refugee requests

Mexico temporarily halted the processing of asylum requests from Tuesday, its refugee agency said.

Migration authorities will resume processing applications on April 20, Mexico’s refugee agency COMAR said, in line with a government order for various public offices to halt certain functions.

The foreign ministry will put the issuance of passports on hold from March 27 to April 19, it said.

07:50 GMT – India bans export of malaria drug

India’s government said that it is banning the export of hydroxychloroquine and formulations made from the medication, as experts test its efficacy in helping treat patients.

There are currently no approved treatments, or vaccines for COVID-19, the highly contagious respiratory illness. Researchers are studying existing treatments and working on experimental ones, but most patients receive only breathing assistance.

Hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug, is among the medications that are being tested, as a potential treatment. Earlier this week, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), which maintains a list of drug shortages, said there is a shortage of hydroxychloroquine.

“Chloroquine has demonstrated toxicity in certain patients,” Dinesh Dua, chairman of the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India, told Reuters. “You have to tread with caution because there is no comprehensive data to prove it works.”

07:35 GMT – Singapore not ruling out holding elections

Singapore’s government said it was not ruling out holding a general election, saying strong leadership was needed in a crisis.

Singapore, which must hold a ballot by early 2021, revised its electoral boundaries this month, in a move typically seen as a precursor to calling a vote. Some opposition parties have urged against an election over health risks.

In parliament, senior minister Teo Chee Hean said “the present situation is not ideal” but said that because the outbreak could continue for some time, Singapore could go for early elections.

07:20 GMT – Germany reports 4,191 new cases

Confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Germany have risen to 31,554 while 149 people have died of the COVID-19 disease, according to statistics from the RKI health institute.

Cases rose by 4,191 while the death toll increased by 36, the tally showed.

07:05 GMT – Cases in South Africa rise to 709: health minister

Coronavirus cases in South Africa has risen to 709, from 554 on Tuesday, health minister Zweli Mkhize said, speaking on the local news channel SABC.

06:30 GMT -Taiwan confirms 19 more cases, total now at 235

Taiwan confirmed 19 new coronavirus cases, all imported, bringing the total number of infected people to 235.


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