There are now more than 730,000 infections globally and almost 35,000 deaths from COVID-19, as countries rush to impose measures to contain its spread.
Here are some of the latest developments on the pandemic, collated from the BBC, CBC CNN, NBC and Reuters.
- United States: US President Donald Trump has extended federal social distancing guidelines to April 30. Americans will be encouraged to avoid leaving their houses and keep working from home, as infections rise across the country. On Sunday, President Trump said that, based on models, the coronavirus outbreak could bring 100,000 to 200,000 deaths in the United States. “If we can hold that number down…to 100,000, it’s a horrible number, maybe even less…we all, all together have done a very good job,” Trump said, citing worst-case scenario modelling that suggested over 2 million deaths.
- Canada: Across Canada, a domestic travel ban for those showing flu-like symptoms has gone into effect. As of Monday morning, Canada’s provinces and territories reported more than 6,320 confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 66 deaths —though public health officials have cautioned that those numbers don’t capture the full picture as there are people who haven’t been tested, people who are being investigated as possible cases and people who are still waiting for results. Not all provinces have been reporting figures on the number of patients who are considered recovered, but those that are list a total of 592 as resolved. There have also been two COVID-19 related deaths of Canadians abroad — one in Japan and one in Brazil.
- Mexico: President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has shifted his stance on COVID-19 and has urged Mexicans to stay indoors, as the country braced for a surge in infections. President Obrador has warned that if persons do not stay at home and practice physical distancing, they could face severe legal consequences. Previously, he had encouraged people to go about business as usual, to keep the economy healthy. However, over the weekend, Mexico had some 848 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Middle East—the latest
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to go into quarantine after a close aide tested positive for coronavirus, Haaretz newspaper reports. His office said he would enter quarantine along with his close advisers.
- Syria has reported its first official death from Covid-19, amid fears the country is at grave risk if the disease spreads. A woman patient died in hospital, state media say, without specifying where. The official number of cases has grown from five to nine but reports suggest the true number in government-controlled areas could be in the hundreds. Syria recently imposed restrictions to try to confine the virus but the UN has warned it is at particular risk because its healthcare system has been ravaged by nine years of war.
- Jordan has eased an indefinite, round-the-clock curfew imposed to try to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Previously, people were not permitted to leave their homes at all and that municipalities would deliver supplies of bread and water. But Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said over the weekend that they will now be allowed out on foot to go to small local grocery shops, bakeries and pharmacies. The country has so far reported 153 cases of Covid-19 but no deaths.
- Iran’s government has banned internal travel and warned of a “second wave” of its coronavirus disease outbreak, as the official death toll reached 2,640. Iran has reported more than 38,000 infections. Meanwhile, Iranian state-run media say prisoners in southern Iran broke cameras and caused other damage during a riot. It’s the latest in a series of violent prison disturbances in the country, which is battling the most severe coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East. Iran had temporarily released around 100,000 prisoners as part of measures taken to contain the pandemic, leaving an estimated 50,000 people behind bars, including violent offenders and so-called “security cases,” often dual nationals and others with Western ties.
- Libya has become the latest country in the Middle East to release detainees in response to coronavirus. The internationally recognised government in Tripoli has ordered more than 400 prisoners to be freed. At present, the country has less than 10 confirmed coronavirus cases, with no deaths yet recorded.
- Saudi Arabia halted entry and exit into Jeddah governorate on Sunday, expanding lockdown rules as it reported four new deaths from a coronavirus outbreak that continues to spread in the region despite drastic measures to contain it. The Saudi health ministry said four more foreign residents, in Jeddah and Medina, had died from the virus, taking the total to eight. The kingdom confirmed 96 new infections to raise its tally to 1,299, the highest among Gulf Arab states. Saudi authorities imposed entry and exit bans on Jeddah, after doing so for the cities of Riyadh, Mecca and Medina last week. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s government has ordered around 250 people imprisoned on relatively minor charges to be released, in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus among the prison population.
- Spain’s latest national figures show the virus’s upwards curve appears to be flattening out. The Spanish authorities have confirmed 6,398 more cases of coronavirus. This brings the total to 85,195—higher than that of China, where the outbreak began. Another 812 deaths have also been reported. The national total now stands at 7,340, making Spain the worst-affected country in the world behind Italy. Madrid, Catalonia and the Basque region remain the hardest-hit areas. Meanwhile, new, stricter measures have come into force in Spain for the next two weeks, which stop all people in non-essential jobs from going to work.
- Italy is on the verge of having 100,000 COVID-19 cases, the second country in the world to do so after the United States. On Monday, the country’s association of doctors announced that 61 Italian doctors have died so far during the coronavirus crisis. Italy still has the highest death toll in the world at 10,779 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.
- In France: The first test results for various coronavirus treatments will be made available later this week. The clinical trials of four possible treatments began a week ago and involve more than 3,000 volunteers across Europe. According to France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), the trials are analysing the efficacy and tolerance of therapeutic options for patients within a controlled timeframe. The four treatments being tested are: Remdesivir, which was used to treat Ebola; Lopinavir-Ritonavir, known as an anti-HIV treatment; Hydroxychloroquine, known for treating malaria; and interferon-beta.
- In Hungary, parliament will vote on whether or not to give sweeping powers to Prime Minister Viktor Orban, i.e. whether to allow him to rule by decree because of the coronavirus. The government says they’re needed to fight the coronavirus outbreak, but critics say they could curtail freedom of speech and allow the authorities to imprison journalists.
- Economic advisers in Germany will publish a report on the economic impact of the virus. Within days, the number of COVID-19 cases jumped up from 4,751 to more than 62,000 nationwide. However, Germany has seen only 541 deaths—a low number compared to other nations, which is confusing experts.
- In Austria, the wearing of face masks in supermarkets will become compulsory from Wednesday. The Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz says ”the goal is in the medium term to not only wear these masks in supermarkets but also more generally wherever people have contact with each other”. Austria’s government also announced Monday it will ban the use of hotels and its restaurants ”for touristic use” until after Easter, to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
- In the United Kingdom, some 20,000 former NHS staff have returned to work, as that country sees its COVID-19 cases rise to, and deaths at. Prime Minister Boris Johnson continues to self-isolate after testing positive for the virus – and now his chief adviser Dominic Cummings is also in quarantine after developing symptoms. Meanwhile, a breathing aid that can help keep patients out of intensive care has been created in under a week by University College London engineers, along with clinicians and the Mercedes Formula One team.
- Russia: From Monday, the Russian capital—Moscow—will impose a citywide quarantine on all residents regardless of age. People will not be able to leave their homes except to get groceries or medical help. Officials now hint the new restrictions could be extended beyond 5 April, depending on the health situation. The number of Russians infected with Covid-19 passed 1,000 on Friday, with most cases detected in Moscow.
There are now more than 10,000 coronavirus cases in Latin America.
- On Friday, Panama reported that 14 people had so far died in the country after contracting Covid-19, with 786 confirmed cases of infection.
- The left-wing National Liberation Army (ELN) rebel group in Colombia has declared a unilateral ceasefire for a month starting on 1 April. The rebels said the ceasefire was a “humanitarian gesture” amid the coronavirus pandemic. More than 700 people have tested positive for the virus and 10 have died.
- Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro is doing his best to downplay the reality of COVID-19. In a televised address last week, he told Brazillians: “People are going to die, I’m sorry. But we can’t stop a car factory because there are traffic accidents. It’s just a little flu or the sniffles,” he said, blaming the media once again for the hysteria and panic over the disease. He also left self-isolation to join rallies against Congress, while awaiting the results of a second coronavirus test. President Bolsonaro is said to be frustrated, as he came to power last year promising a better economy and coronavirus has put a stop to that. A federal judge on Saturday banned the government from campaigning against isolation measures. Meanwhile, Rio’s beaches are deserted and the normally gridlocked streets of Sao Paulo are empty. Shops, schools, public spaces and businesses in many states have shut.
- Trinidad and Tobago recorded its third COVID-19 death over the weekend. As of Monday 30th March 2020, the Health Ministry reported that 539 samples were submitted to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for testing for COVID-19, of which 82 returned positive results. The Health Ministry also reported that of the total number of positive cases, 49 of these positive cases came from the group of nationals who recently returned from a cruise: 46 positive cases from the group of 68 nationals who returned from the cruise together; and three positive cases from the group of nationals who returned from the same cruise separately from the other 68 nationals. The ministry says only one person has been discharged from hospital, who would have been battling the COVID-19 virus.
- On Sunday night, Jamaica recorded its first confirmed case of COVID-19 among healthcare workers, as the number of cases in the country rose to 36. The Government is urging its citizens to be concerned and to remain prepared about coronavirus. The government is keeping close tabs on those who arrived by plane in mid-to-late March and will make sure they are quarantined. On Twitter, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the country is trying to strike a balance between economic activity and managing the spread of COVID-19.
- Cuba is enforcing strict measures in an attempt to stop the virus from spreading. The government is banning citizens from leaving the country, schools are closed, tourism is shut down, and local transportation services are no longer running. Large gatherings are banned, and only Cubans abroad and foreign workers living in Cuba can re-enter the country. As at Friday 27 March, Cuba had 57 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 1,479 people hospitalized for surveillance and a further 37,788 being monitored at home by doctors. At that time, there had been one death on the island—a 61-year-old Italian tourist who contracted the virus before he arrived.
- Haiti continues to deal with food shortages amid the coronavirus outbreak. In a recent tweet, Haiti’s president Jovenel Moise says his government is working hard to distribute food to those in need. The country remains under a state of emergency, shuttering schools, churches, and factories. The country’s borders are closed, and a curfew is imposed to prevent the spread of virus. Haiti is one of the 51 countries the United Nations will help through a $2 billion global humanitarian fund.
- China: The city in China where the coronavirus pandemic began, Wuhan, has partially re-opened after more than two months of isolation. Wuhan’s 11 million residents have been shut off from the rest of the world since the middle of January, with roadblocks around the outskirts and drastic restrictions on daily life. Crowds of passengers were pictured arriving at Wuhan train station on Saturday. Reports are people are being allowed to enter the city, but not leaves. Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, saw more than 50,000 coronavirus cases. At least 3,000 people in Hubei died from the disease. As it battles to control cases coming from abroad, China has announced a temporary ban on all foreign visitors, even if they have visas or residence permits. It is also limiting Chinese and foreign airlines to one flight per week, and flights must not be more than 75% full.
- South Korea: Over the weekend, South Korea said that for the first time, it had more people who have recovered from the virus than are still infected. It reported on Saturday that 4,811 people have been released from hospital. South Korea also has reported 78 new cases of the coronavirus and six more deaths, bringing its totals to 9,661 infections and 158 fatalities. Starting Wednesday the country will enforce two-week quarantines for all passengers arriving from overseas as authorities scramble to prevent the virus from re-entering, amid broadening outbreaks in Europe, North America and beyond.
- India: Millions of migrant workers all over India—most of them daily-wage workers—are fleeing its shuttered cities and trekking home to their villages. Last week’s lockdown turned them into refugees overnight. Their workplaces were shut, and most employees and contractors who paid them vanished. . In the absence of money and jobs, they are desperate to reach their villages. Some found government-run buses to reach home and others just continued to walk. Minister Narendra Modi announced a complete lockdown of the country on 24 March to halt the spread of coronavirus.
- Indonesia: President Joko Widodo said on Monday he planned stricter rules on mobility and physical distancing as a study presented to the government warned of a risk of more than 140,000 coronavirus deaths by May without tougher action. Medical experts have said the world’s fourth-most populous country must impose tighter movement restrictions as known cases of the highly infectious respiratory illness have gone from zero in early March to 1,414, with 122 deaths, nearly half of the 250 deaths reported from across Southeast Asia.
As of Monday, the total confirmed COVID-19 cases on the continent was 4,880. Of that amount, 4,439 are active confirmed cases, with 283 people having recovered, and 158 confirmed deaths.
- South Africa has the highest number of COVID-19 cases, with a total of 1,280. 31 people have recovered while there have been two deaths. 1,247 people are still fighting the disease.
- Egypt appears to have the second highest number of cases, with a total of 609 reported. There have been 40 deaths, while 132 people have recovered. 437 people are still fighting COVID-19.
- The third highest number of COVID-19 cases reported on the African continent is in Morocco, with 516. There have been 27 deaths, while 13 people have recovered, and 476 persons are said to be still battling the coronavirus.
- Algeria has 511cases, with 449 cases still active. 31 people reportedly have recovered, while 31 died from the coronavirus.
- Tunisia has reported 312 COVID-19 cases in total. 302 people are still battling the disease, while there have been eight deaths and two recoveries, thus far.
- Burkina Faso has reported 222 persons with coronavirus. 187 people are still fighting the disease, while 23 have recovered, and 12 have died.
- In Cameroon, there have been six deaths out of a total of 139 cases. Five people have recovered while 128 people are still fighting the disease.