The number of people infected with the novel coronavirus in the United States hit more than 104,000 early on Saturday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally, with the number of fatalities surpassing 1,700, pushing the global death toll up to 27,360.
Italy, meanwhile, announced 919 new deaths from the coronavirus, the highest number of fatalities any country has reported in the space of 24 hours since the outbreak began late last year.
The total number of people who have died as a result of COVID-19 in Italy now stands at 9,134. The number of cases also continues to rise, hitting more than 86,000.
Further dashing hopes that Europe is containing the pandemic, Spain recorded 769 new deaths in a day, bringing the total number to 4,858. As of early Saturday, the death toll has surpassed 5,000.
In China, the number of cases coming from abroad continues to rise, but there were no new cases reported domestically.
Worldwide, the number of cases has reached more than 597,000, of which more than 131,000 people have recovered.
Saturday, March 28
06:35 GMT – Iran’s health system ready for possible escalation in infections
Iran’s health infrastructure is strong and ready to cope with a possible escalation in coronavirus cases, President Hassan Rouhani said Saturday on state TV.
The islamic Republic is among the countries worldwide severely affected by the pandemic.
In its latest tally, the country reported a death toll of 2,378 amid 32,332 infections.
05:40 GMT – Dozens of UN staff infected with coronavirus
The United Nations says 86 staff members around the world have reported cases of COVID-19.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said most of the infected staff members were in Europe, but there are also staffers in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the United States that have the coronavirus.
04:50 GMT – Nuclear weapons conference postponed – UN
The 191 parties to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty have decided to postpone a conference to review its implementation because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Associated Press news agency.
The treaty is considered the cornerstone of global efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and the parties hold a major conference every five years to discuss how it is working. The meeting had been scheduled for April 27-May 22 at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
03:44 GMT – WHO sending two million protective items for healthcare workers
At least two million items of protective gear have been sent to 74 countries which need it the most to fight the coronavirus, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
He also said the WHO was preparing to send a similar amount of protective gear to another 60 countries.
“Even more is needed and this can only be solved with international cooperation and solidarity,” he wrote on social media.
03:20 GMT – Tokyo restricts movement to combat virus but some carry on as usual
Residents in greater Tokyo and the Osaka area in western Japan hunkered down on Saturday as officials urged citizens to stay indoors to prevent a potential emergency, but some were carrying on as normal, according to Reuters news agency.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike’s plea for the tens of millions of people in the capital and surrounding regions to avoid non-essential, non-urgent outings until April 12, and particularly this weekend, followed a surge in coronavirus infections this week, which she said puts Tokyo on the brink of a state of emergency.
Koike urged the public to avoid the national pastime of congregating to drink and watch the cherry blossoms as they hit their peak in the capital, saying on Friday, “The cherry blossoms will bloom again next year.”
02:08 GMT – South Korea reports 146 more cases of new coronavirus
South Korea has reported 146 more cases of the new coronavirus in the country, bringing the total to 9,478.
As of Friday, there were at least 139 deaths reported in the country.
02:02 GMT – Haiti hospital chief kidnapped amid coronavirus emergency
The director of one of Haiti’s top hospitals has been kidnapped, prompting staff to refuse to take in new patients in protest as the impoverished country battles an outbreak of the novel coronavirus amid a spike in gang violence.
Dr Jerry Bitar, a surgeon, was kidnapped shortly after leaving for work at Hospital Bernard Mevs from his home in an upmarket neighbourhood of the capital, Port-au-Prince, hospital staff told Reuters on Friday.
01:42 GMT – Brunei reports first coronavirus death
Brunei reported its first coronavirus death on Saturday, that of a 64-year-old man.
Brunei has reported 115 cases of the virus so far, some of which were linked to a religious gathering in Malaysia that authorities said had been attended by about 16,000 people.
The man who died had not attended the gathering, but had a history of travel to Malaysia and Cambodia.
01:42 GMT – More than 9,000 health workers infected in Spain
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in Spain has increased by almost 8,000 in one day, pushing the total number of cases to 65,700, among whom 9,444 are health workers, according to official data and the Johns Hopkins online monitor.
The Spanish Health Ministry said that the number of infected health workers in the country currently ranks as the highest in the world. Spain has had more than 5,000 fatalities.
01:35 GMT – Mexico reports 717 cases, 12 deaths
Mexico’s health ministry has announced that it has registered 717 cases of coronavirus in the country, up from 585 the day before.
The ministry also said there had been 12 deaths overall from the virus in Mexico, up from eight a day earlier.
01:25 GMT – China reports 54 new cases – all imported
China’s National Health Commission said on Saturday that 54 new coronavirus cases were reported on the mainland on Friday, all involving so-called imported cases. There were 55 new cases a day earlier, one of which was transmitted locally.
The total number of infections in mainland China now stands at 81,394, with the death toll rising by three to 3,295, the commission said.
00:45 GMT – US FDA clears new coronavirus rapid test
The United States Food and Drug Administration has cleared a new rapid test from Abbott Laboratories, which the company says can detect the coronavirus in about five minutes.
Medical device maker Abbott announced the emergency clearance of its cartridge-based test on Friday night. The company says that its test delivers a negative result in 13 minutes when the virus is not detected.
00:25 GMT – Jordan reports first COVID-19 death
Jordan’s state-run news agency, Petra, has reported that a woman in her 80s died from COVID-19 – the first fatality in the country. Jordan TV reported the woman had underlying medical conditions.
There have been 235 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the kingdom. On March 21, Jordan imposed an indefinite full lockdown after it had shut down its airspace and other border crossings.
00:15 GMT – US doctors decry scarcity of drugs and equipment
Doctors and nurses on the frontlines of the US coronavirus crisis are pleading for more protective gear and equipment to treat waves of patients expected to overwhelm hospitals as the number of known US infections surpasses 100,000, with more than 1,600 dead.
“We are scared,” Dr Arabia Mollette of Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, told Reuters news agency. “We’re trying to fight for everyone else’s life, but we also fight for our lives as well, because we’re also at the highest risk of exposure.”
Physicians have called particular attention to the desperate need for additional ventilators, machines that help patients breathe and that are widely needed for those suffering from COVID-19, the respiratory ailment caused by the highly contagious and deadly virus.
00:01 GMT – Cruise ship with coronavirus outbreak blocked from transiting Panama Canal
Panamanian health officials have blocked Holland America Line’s MS Zaandam from transiting the Panama Canal, citing sanitary conditions after a coronavirus outbreak on board the cruise ship.
Four passengers have died on board, with more than 130 others suffering from influenza-like symptoms. At least two of them have the coronavirus, the vessel’s operator said.
The ship is carrying 1,243 guests and 586 crew, as well as four doctors and four nurses, the cruise operator said in a statement.
22:30 GMT Friday – Trump says US will make 100,000 ventilators in 100 days
US President Donald Trump said on Friday that the US would produce 100,000 ventilators in 100 days and said he had named White House aide Peter Navarro as the coordinator of the Defense Production Act.
“We’re going to make a lot of ventilators,” Trump said, pledging to take care of US needs while also helping other countries.
Trump said there was a chance the US would not require that many ventilators to fight the coronavirus outbreak, and would then help other countries in need.