COVID-19: > Half-million Infected Worldwide as Deaths Surge

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


US Infections Surpass China and Italy

COVID-19 cases surpassed 500,000 across the world, doubling in just over a week as the pandemic accelerates.

The United States now has more coronavirus cases than any other country with close to 84,000 ones, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

There were more than 82,000 known cases in China and 80,500 in Italy.

Over 123,000 people worldwide have recovered from COVID-19, while more than 23,900 people have died.

Nearly 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week - almost five times the previous record set in 1982 - amid a widespread economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Meanwhile in the US, 40,000 retired medical workers have volunteered to help New Yorkers with battling the coronavirus. 

G20 Pledges $5 Trillion to Defend Global Economy

Leaders of the Group of 20 major economies pledged on Thursday to inject $5 trillion in fiscal spending into the global economy to blunt the economic impact of the coronavirus and "do whatever it takes to overcome the pandemic".

Showing more unity than at any time since the 2008-2009 financial crisis that led to the G20's creation, the leaders said they committed during a video conference summit to implement and fund all necessary health measures needed to stop the virus's spread.

Foreigners Temporarily Banned from Entering China


China says it is temporarily barring most foreigners from entering the country to curb the number of imported coronavirus cases.

Foreign nationals currently holding Chinese visas or residency permits will be temporarily banned from entering the country until further notice, according to a statement from the foreign ministry and the national immigration authority.

All visa-free transit policies will also be temporarily suspended.

Foreign nationals who must visit China out of necessity need to apply for new visas, and holders of Chinese visas issued after Thursday will be allowed into the country, the statement added.

The official announcement in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Website

Local NEWS

A total of 55 new COVID-19 cases, 54 imported from abroad, and five more deaths were confirmed on the Chinese mainland as of Thursday midnight, according to China's National Health Commission.

Only one domestic case was reported in China's Zhejiang Province.

The total number of confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland stands at 81,340, with the cumulative death toll of 3,292.

A Rush of News

Real Madrid's stadium to be used as warehouse for medical supplies to help combat coronavirus. 

The US city of Miami imposed a curefew effect from Friday and will be in from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. local time.

US: More than 100 employees at three Boston hospitals have tested positive for COVID-19Boston Medical Center (15 employees), Brigham and Womens Hospital (45 employees) and Massachusetts General Hospital (41 employees). 

Iraq extends country-wide curfew through April 11

Moscow is closing all restaurants, cafes, bars, shops and parks from March 28 until April 5 for the stay-at-home holidays announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.

Toyota is extending the closure of all its North American automobile and components plants until April 20.

Chrysler will keep its North American operations closed until April 14, the company said Thursday.

Jeff Shell, the CEO of NBCUniversal, told staff in an email on Thursday that he tested positive for the coronavirus.

Russia on Thursday decided to suspend all international flights, including scheduled and charter flights, from Friday, and only evacuation flights from countries severely-hit by COVID-19 will take place.

Countries Confirming First Case/death

Honduras has registered its first death from the coronavirus outbreak.

Kenya confirmed its first coronavirus death, government spokesman Cyrus Oguna said, without providing further details.

Venezuela has confirmed the first death, the victim was a 47-year-old male that passed in the northern state of Aragua. 

France Reports 365 more deaths

France reported that 365 people, including a 16-year-old girl, had died from the coronavirus pandemic over the last 24 hours, the country's highest daily toll.

Top French health official Jerome Salomon told reporters that a total of 1,696 people had died in hospital in France from the virus, emphasising that the toll does not include those who died at home or at retirement homes.

Nursing home deaths make up a third of Spanish coronavirus toll

A total of 1,307 elderly residents of Spanish nursing homes have died from coronavirus, roughly one-third of the country's total death toll, radio network Cadena Ser.

In the Madrid region alone, nursing home deaths totaled 855 since the start of the epidemic, the radio network said, citing data collected by its local stations across Spain.

Coronavirus triggers panic-buying of guns in US

Nursing homes, whose elderly residents are highly vulnerable to the disease, have been particularly hard hit.

Italy death toll rises by 662

Italy death toll from coronavirus outbreak rises by 662 to 8,165

The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has grown by 662 to 8,165, the Civil Protection Agency said.

On Wednesday 683 people died. That followed 743 deaths on Tuesday, 602 on Monday, 650 on Sunday and a record of 793 on Saturday - the highest daily figure since the contagion came to light on February 21.

Bill Gates: "We have not peaked"

Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates joined CNN's global town hall to speak about the coronavirus pandemic and what needs to be done.

He's been warning about the risks of a pandemic for years. Back in 2015, during a TED Talk, he warned that the greatest threat we face isn't nuclear war, but a pandemic.

Other countries have done better than the US: The countries hard hit by SARS in 2003, like those in Asia, "are the ones that have done best in this epidemic because they acted when the number of cases were still very, very small," Gates said.

The US response, in contrast, has been slow and chaotic, he added. We might be better off now if we had "behaved a little bit like the countries that have done the best on this one."

"It is super painful to drive this very high degree of social isolation I call shutdown. The middle course really isn't there because it's hard to say, oh, go back to the theater for a week maybe or maybe not you'll be infected or infecting people," Gates said.

"Until we get the certainty we've hit these low numbers, you know, I doubt even if you told people that they should be buying new houses and cars and hanging out in restaurants, I doubt they're going to want to do that. People want to protect older people."

UK: Anyone coughing at police, shop workers faces two years in jail

Anyone claiming to have coronavirus who deliberately coughs at emergency workers faces being jailed for two years.

Britain's Director of Public Prosecutions Max Hill said there had been reports in recent days of people coughing in the faces of police, other emergency workers and shop staff. Those responsible could face charges of common assault, he said.

"Emergency workers are more essential than ever as society comes together to tackle the coronavirus pandemic," Hill said in a statement.

Germany Can Test Up to 500k Person Per Week

Germany has increased its ability to test for the new coronavirus to 500,000 a week. the number of tests being conducted in the country was likely the highest worldwide, both in absolute numbers and per capita.

Christian Drosten, a leading virologist at Berlin's Charite hospital, says about 6-7% of tests come back positive

The relatively low death rate in Germany less than 1% has been attributed by some epidemiologists to the extensive testing in the country, which enables the German health care system to quickly detect cases, isolate and treat them, and conduct the vital contract tracing. 

Dow clinches biggest 3-day surge since 1931

Stocks surged for a third straight day while the Senate passed a massive $2 trillion bill amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 1,300 points, or 6.2%. The Dow also capped off its biggest three-day surge since 1931. Over the past three days, the Dow is up more than 20%

The S&P 500 also posted a three-day winning streak rising 6.2%. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 5.6% as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet all jumped more than 4%. 

Boeing, Chevron and Walgreens drove the Dows gains, with each stock rising more than 10%. Utilities and real estate were the best-performing sectors in the S&P 500, both closing more than 7% higher. Fred Imbert