Global cases of the new coronavirus have shot past 1 million with more than 54,000 fatalities, a Reuters tally showed on Friday, as the world economy nosedived.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
Reported cases have surpassed 1.03 million globally and nearly 54,500 people have died, according to a Reuters tally.
China mourned the thousands of “martyrs” who have died in the outbreak, flying the national flag at half mast throughout the country and suspending all forms of entertainment.
Australia reported a sustained fall in new infections and conducted the biggest peacetime maritime operation on Sydney Harbour, refuelling foreign cruise ships before expelling them from local waters.
The number of confirmed new cases in South Asia neared 6,000, even as authorities in some cities tightened restrictions on movement and warned lockdowns could be extended in a bid to rein in the pandemic.
Britain is unlikely to relax its stringent lockdown rules until the end of May, a leading government adviser said on Saturday, warning that first the spread of the coronavirus must slow and intense testing must be introduced.
Spain overtook Italy for the first time for the number of confirmed cases, but the overnight death toll fell from the previous day.
Scientific advisers to the Italian government said a reliable antibody blood test to find out who has already had the virus would give a better picture of Italy’s epidemic and could possibly be identified within days.
It is too early for Germany to lift restrictions on people’s movement despite signs that the virus may be spreading at a slightly slower pace, Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
Two of the principal U.S. coronavirus hot spots – New York and Louisiana – reported their biggest jumps in COVID-19 deaths yet on Friday, as the White House sent mixed messages on whether Americans should cover their face if they venture outdoors.
New York City alone accounted for more than a quarter of the 7,077 U.S. coronavirus deaths tallied by Johns Hopkins University on Friday. Known U.S. infections, approaching 275,000 cases, made up about 25% of the more than 1 million cases reported worldwide.
Canadian officials blasted a move by President Donald Trump to block 3M Co’s export of N95 respirator masks for use by doctors and nurses as the daily death toll jumped by almost 20%, with total infections nearing 12,000.
Brazilians increasingly disapprove of President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the outbreak and overwhelmingly support officials he has attacked for advocating social distancing measures, two polls showed.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
More than 2 million workers in Turkey have lost their jobs due to containment measures, the main opposition party said, as the government moved towards tightening curbs on movement.
A United Nations official voiced concern over prisoners after reports of unrest in jails in countries including Iran, one of the worst hit in the world.
The coronavirus has infected more than 3,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa and killed about 100, prompting some of the world’s poorest countries to shut land and sea borders.
The pandemic has brought the global economy to a standstill and plunged the world into a recession that will be “way worse” than the global financial crisis a decade ago, the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Friday.
Global stock markets sank on Friday following more signs that the pandemic would take a massive toll on economic growth.
The impact of the coronavirus, and for some the oil market crash, are putting at least half a dozen countries at risk of having their debt downgraded to a ‘junk’ rating. * The U.S. economy shed 701,000 jobs in March, ending a historic 113 straight months of employment growth, while U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Congress will work on another relief bill, with healthcare topping the list of priorities.