COVID-19: >30,000 Deaths; US Can Now Disinfect Masks for Re-use

Source: People's Daily, Xinhua, CGTN, China Daily, Global Times, CBS, iFeng, Baidu, Global  News Agencies, Majdi


 Italy's coronavirus toll tops 10,000

Italy's death toll from the novel coronavirus shot past 10,000 with 889 new deaths, the country's civil protection service said.

The toll in Italy, which has suffered more deaths than any other country, now stands at 10,023. An additional 5,974 infections brought to 92,472 the number of people who have officially tested positive for COVID-19 in Italy since the crisis began last month.

Italy has received $68 million in donations to purchase more masks and ventilators, the donations came from private donors and companies, including the fashion house Armani and the owner of the soccer team Juventus. 

An Italian Army officer, wearing a protective suit, walks past a military vehicle in the Monumental Cemetery in Bergamo, near Milan [Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images]

US Researchers Can Now Decontaminate N95 Masks For Reuse

The N95 respirator masks that health care workers need to protect themselves while treating coronavirus patients are in dangerously short supply. So much so that physicians are wearing used respirators, risking infection to care for patients.

But now, Duke University researchers have developed a method to clean them.

The Duke Regional Biocontainment Laboratory team has already decontaminated hundreds of N95 respirators without damaging them so they can be re-worn several times. It could provide significant relief for hospitals running low on supply.

The researchers published their decontaminating protocol so other hospitals can follow their lead.

Using vaporized hydrogen peroxide, the researchers can kill microbial contaminants that lurk on the masks after they're worn.

It's a method that labs have used for decades to decontaminate equipment, said Wayne Thomann, director emeritus of the Duke Occupational & Environmental Safety Office.

But they never thought they'd need it for face masks.  

A Rush of Local News

Today: 45 new COVID-19 cases are reported in Chinese mainland, with 44 imported cases. Wuhan reports ZERO new COVID-19 infection for consecutive 5 days. 

Aid to Pakistan: A medical team from Xinjiang Region arrived in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan on Sat, bringing aid materials including 100,000 medical masks, 10,000 N95 masks, 10,000 testing kits and 12 ventilators to help it fight the COVID-19.

Aid to Malaysia: China donated medical supplies to Malaysia by which included 100,000 test kits and 200 ventilators. The supplies arrived in Malaysia on Saturday. 

Wuhan restarts freight trains to Europe amid pandemic. 

Retail Prices Falling: Prices of necessities as grain, oil, meat, poultry, eggs and vegetables have fallen back since March, with wholesale vegetable prices falling 16.5 percent on March 27 from the end of February and pork prices dropping 7.4 percent from their mid-February highs, China's Ministry of Commerce said on Saturday.

A Rush of News

Russia will close its borders starting on March 30. The measure will come in force at all road, rail and pedestrian checkpoints, and apply to Russia's maritime borders, It will not apply to Russian diplomats and the drivers of freight trucks, among others, the government said.

Pakistan has said its borders with Iran, Afghanistan and Indian would remain closed for another two weeks, said Moeed Yusuf, the special assistant to the prime minister on national security.

Jakarta extended the state of emergency by two more weeks.

South African billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe said he would donate one billion rands ($57m) to help fight the coronavirus outbreak.

Paris fashion weeks canceled. 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's wife Sophie GregoireTrudeau , who tested positive before two weeks, said on social media on Saturday that she has been given the "all clear" from her doctor. 

Iraq's deputy minister of trade has tested positive for COVID-19, according to local media.

Countries Confirming First Case/death

Brunei reported its first coronavirus death on Saturday, that of a 64-year-old man.

Qatar recorded its first death from the coronavirus, a Bangladeshi resident.

Sri Lanka has recorded its first death due to coronavirus.

Saudi Arabia said on Sunday it was extending indefinitely the suspension of international passenger flights and workplace attendance in both public and private sectors among efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Australia to Step Up Quarantine Measures for Returnees

By midnight on March 28, all travelers arriving in Australia will undergo mandatory 14-day self-isolation at designated facilities like hotels before they are allowed to go home. The military will be deployed to support states and territories in ensuring people comply, including those who have already returned and are self-isolating at home. 

Germany Adds More Than 6,000 cases, 55 deaths

Germanys coronavirus cases jumped by 6,294 on Saturday to a total confirmed 48,582 cases and its death toll rose by 55 to reach 325, the numbers released by its national institute for infectious diseases revealed Saturday.

A man walks at the Marienplatz square in Munich, Germany, normally a magnet for tourists, on March 21, 2020, the first day of a dawn-to-dusk curfew in Bavaria during the coronavirus pandemic. (Image: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Spain reports 832 deaths in 24 hours

The Spanish health ministry announced another massive jump in the country's coronavirus fatalities, saying the death toll had risen to 5,690 from 4,858 the day before.

The number of infections stood at 72,248, up from 64,059.

Two workers transport a coffin at La Almudena cemetery on March 26, 2020 in Madrid, Spain. Spain plans to continue its quarantine measures at least through April 11. Carlos Alvarez | Getty Images

Turkey Announces Stricter Travel Restrictions  

Turkey suspended all intercity trains and limited domestic flights as part of measures to contain a fast-growing coronavirus outbreak. 

In a notice detailing the travel restrictions, the Interior Ministry said all citizens must remain in the cities they reside and would only be allowed to leave with a doctor's note, in the event of the death of a close family member or if they have no accommodation. 

Women wearing protective face masks and gloves stroll in the empty center of Turkey's capital Istanbul. [Umit Bektas/Reuters]

India records biggest jump in coronavirus cases

India reported 149 new coronavirus cases Friday -- the biggest single-day jump so far, according to the country's Ministry of Health. The total number of cases in India stands at 873, with 19 deaths.

Maharashtra, a state in western India, has the highest number of cases at 180, followed by the southern state of Kerala with 173.

US Deaths Surge Past 2,000, Governer Opposes Quarantine

Confirmed coronavirus-related deaths in the US doubled in two days, surpassing 2,000 on Saturday. The US ranked sixth in deaths, after Italy, Spain, China, Iran and France. Italy alone had more than 10,000 dead. 

President Donald Trump said he was considering imposing a two-week quarantine on New York as well as portions of New Jersey and Connecticut. Cuomo, New York mayor, believed it would be illegal by the federal government to quarantine New York, economically catastrophic, "preposterous" and shortsighted when other parts of the US are seeing cases rise, too. 

Later, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Twitter that Centers for Disease Control will issue a "strong travel advisory" for parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut; he also noted that a quarantine will not be necessary.

France is Buying 1 Billion Face Masks, Mostly From China

France has ordered more than 1 billion face masks, the vast majority from China, the countrys health minister said on Saturday, as the government scrambles to build up its supplies with the coronavirus outbreak showing no sign of easing.

Health Minister Olivier Veran said France was using 40 million face masks weekly as it battles the pandemic and currently has three weeks worth of supplies. Reuters

Japan is at a Critical Stage

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the country is at a critical stage in dealing with coronavirus infections but not at a point to declare a state of emergency. He said Japan has managed to keep clusters under control by carefully following infection routes. But the initial strategy is now having difficulty, with a rise of infections that are no longer traceable an early sign of infection explosion.

First Death of Infant in the US

Chicago baby is the first infant death in the US associated with coronavirus, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said Saturday. An investigation into the cause of death is underway, Ezike said.


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