COVID-19: China & Russia Seal Land Borders Temporarily; Spain...

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


Spain Coronavirus Deaths Rises Again

Spain has recorded its second consecutive daily increase in the number of deaths from coronavirus following a week-long decline, according to data from the Health Ministry released Wednesday. 

Figures show 757 people died in the past 24 hours (Spain time zone), an increase from 743 deaths recorded the previous day. However it was only a 5.5% in relation to the total number of deaths, a slight slowdown compared to Tuesdays 5.7% rise on the total.

According to the Health Ministry 14,555 people have now died from the novel coronavirus in Spain.

The number of active cases has also gone up from 83,504 to 84,111, an increase of 610, which is the lowest in nearly a month. Percentage-wise, there was a growth of 0.7% on Tuesdays numbers, the lowest since the outbreak began.

Undertakers lower a coffin at La Almudena cemetery in Madrid, Spain on April 7. Alejandro Martinez Velez/Sputnik via AP

1st day of Japan's State of Emergency, Netizens Disappointed

The first full day under Japan's state of emergency has underwhelmed. While some popular retail and tourist spots were unusually quiet, it looked like business as usual on Tokyo's infamously congested public transit

The lax heeding of requests for people to stay at home generated a fusillade of disappointment, frustration and anger online. 

"Even with the emergency declaration, this is Shinagawa train station at rush hour. It's this morning, ok? Screwed up or what?" said one tweet. 

"Eight am, on the train to Osaka," said another, posting an image of people standing shoulder to shoulder on a train, some without face masks.

A salesman interviewed outside Omiya station north of Tokyo confessed he didn't want to be there. "I'm extremely afraid," he told the TBS network. "Salaried workers like us have to ride the train every day. What will become of us?"

The government's official "3c" mantra avoid close spaces, close conversation, and crowds has become a wry joke. "Nothing has changed on the 3c Odakyu train line," one commuter posted. 

The turnout is undermining faith in Japan's bid to slow the pandemic without a full-fledged lockdown. 

A Rush of Local News

Chinese State Council said on Wednesday that asymptomatic coronavirus patients can spread the virus and all local medical institutions need to report online detection of such cases in two hoursThe Council sent out a notice saying that local governments need to conduct more coronavirus nucleic acid testing on those who may have been exposed to the transmission of the virus. The notice clarified that asymptomatic patients are those who show no clinical symptoms, like fever, coughing and throat pain, but test positive for the coronavirus.

China and Russia have temporarily sealed their land border, the Chinese Embassy in Russia confirmed on Wednesday. he closure comes after growing COVID-19 cases from Russia coming to northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, which borders Russia.

Heilongjiang reports 40 new imported COVID-19 cases:

Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province reported 40 new COVID-19 cases from overseas on Wednesday, the provincial health commission said Thursday. All the new confirmed cases were Chinese nationals returning from Russia. Meanwhile, Heilongjiang reported an increase of 23 imported asymptomatic patients from Russia also on Wednesday, all of them Chinese nationals.

Communities in Heilongjiang Locked down: All residential communities in border city Suifenhe, NE China's Heilongjiang Province, are under lockdown from Wed as imported cases from Russia surged.

Hong Kong is extending social-distancing restrictions, including a ban on public gatherings of more than four people, until April 23.

Only 1,000 people from Wuhan city will be allowed to enter Beijing a day, Beijing city government said on Wednesday after Wuhan lifted its lockdown.

Hubei Province Allocated Resourced: Over 8 million medical protective outfits, 1.65 million face shields, 660,000 infrared thermometers, and 70,000 ventilators and other supplies were allocated to China's Hubei Province & other regions by April 2 to help fight COVID19 outbreak there.

Aid to Maynmar:China is sending a medical team, on Wed, to assist Myanmar in its COVID19 pandemic battle: Chinese FM.

China Embassy in Japan Suspends Visa Operation: The Chinese Embassy and consulates in Japan will suspend the operation of the consular documents halls and Visa Application Services from Thursday in Tokyo (Nagoya) and Osaka to cooperate with the Japan's epidemic prevention and control efforts and prevent cross-infections.

NE China Closes Three Land Ports with Russia: Three land ports of entry in NE China's provinces bordering Russia's far east Primorsky Krai have been closed. A total of 84 imported cases of infections from Russia, all Chinese nationals, were detected in Heilongjiang: Chinese consulate general in Vladivostok.

Shanxi 25 Imported Cases: Health authority of N. Chinas Shanxi Province reported 25 new imported COVID19 infections on Wed, all inbound travelers from Russia.

A Rush of News

Peru extended the country's state of emergency declared to contain the novel coronavirus for two more weeks to April 26.

France will extend its national lockdown for a second time, meaning it will run beyond April 15, the French presidential palace said.

Dubai suspends marriages, divorces to curb COVID-19 spread. 

Ethiopia has declared a state of emergency in the country to help curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Turkey will monitor the mobile phones of those diagnosed with the new coronavirus to ensure they do not break quarantine, authorities said on Wednesday. 

Egypt will extend a nationwide nighttime curfew by 15 days until April 23, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has said.

The US city of Miami said Wednesday it has mandated all employees and customers in grocery stores, restaurants, pharmacies and convenience stores to wear masks at all times while on premises, effective today at 11:59 pm ET.

Argentina's nationwide quarantine will continue through April, Argentina's president Alberto Fernandez announced in a televised interview today.

US to hold PPE Exports: The US will seize exports of key protective medical gear until it determines whether the equipment should be kept in the country to combat the spread of the new coronavirus. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will hold exports of respirators, surgical masks and surgical gloves, according to a joint announcement made with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Head of EU's top science body quitsMauro Ferrari, who became head of the European Research Council on January 1, resigned on Tuesday. Ferrari made a statement to British daily Financial Times, saying: "I have been extremely disappointed by the European response" to the pandemic. He cited institutional resistance and bureaucratic infighting in the EU's complex structures to his proposal for a big scientific programme to fight the coronavirus.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on social media Wednesday that his son Danilo, 22, has contracted the coronavirus.

Countries Confirming First Case/death

Somalia has registered its first death from coronavirus, Health Minister Fawziya Abikar Nur said. The dead patient was a 58-year-old man, the statement said. It gave no additional details about him.

Hard-Hit Countries/Regions

Note: The news under this section are according to official reports in these countries; the numbers might not necessarily correspond to the data in the Global table, at the top of this article, which is calculated based on Beijing 24 hours time zone at around 10:00 AM. 

Britain: The UK coronavirus death toll rose by 938 to 7,097 people as of 16:00 GMT on April 7, the health ministry said. As of 08:00 GMT on April 8, a total of 232,708 had been tested, of which 60,733 tested positive.

Iran's new coronavirus death toll has climbed to 3,993 with 121 more deaths in the past 24 hours, a health ministry spokesman told state TV, adding that the total number of infections in the country has risen to 64,586.

Tokyo has recorded 144 coronavirus infections on Wednesday, its biggest daily jump since the start of the pandemic, the city's governor Yuriko Koike said, on the first day of a state of emergency aimed at containing the outbreak.

Russia: The number of coronavirus cases in Russia rose by more than 1,000 for the second day running, taking the total to 8,672, the crisis response centre said on Wednesday. The number of reported cases rose by 1,175, a record daily increase, while deaths increased by five to 63, the centre said.

In Germany, there were 254 more deaths bringing the total to 1,861. The total number of confirmed cases meanwhile rose to 103,228.

 UK PM Johnson making 'steady progress'

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is making steady progress while being treated in intensive care for COVID-19, his office said.

"The Prime Minister continues to make steady progress. He remains in intensive care," a Downing Street spokeswoman said.

Johnson was admitted to St Thomas' hospital in London on Sunday evening with a persistent high temperature and cough and was transferred to intensive care on Monday.

Nearly 80% of US hotel rooms are empty

Only 21.6% of hotel rooms in the United States were occupied last week, according to new data from hospitality analytics company STR. 

Thats down slightly from the week before and down more than 68% from the same week last year.  

Only 7% of the rooms in Oahu Island, Hawaii, are occupied, the lowest rate for any market in the country and down more than 90% from the same week last year. 

Racial Disparities in COVID-19 Cases in New York

The New York State Department of Healths Covid-19 website has been updated to include data on the victims, including their race, Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted Wednesday.

The preliminary data, last updated yesterday, includes information on 90% reporting for New York State, excluding New York City, and information based on 63% reporting for New York City, as provided by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. 

Here's the breakdown of deaths across New York state, excluding New York City:

Hispanic 14% (11% of the population)

Black 18% (9% of the population)

White 62% (75% of the population)

Asian 4% (4% of the population)

And here's the data from New York City, with 63% reporting:

Hispanic 34% (29% of the population)

Black 28% (22% of the population)

White 27% (32% of the population)

Asian 7% (14% of the population) 

So far, no official announcement has been made over the racial disparities. 

286 Crew Members of USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested for Covid-19

There are 286 sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt who have tested positive for Covid-19, a US defense official tells CNN.  

More than 90% of the crew have now been tested. 

There are 2,329 sailors who have been moved ashore. However, that is still behind the April 3 target of 2,700.

South African minister disciplined for 'lockdown lunch'

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa put the communications minister on special leave for two months, one of which will be unpaid, for breaking the rules of a countrywide lockdown and having lunch with a former official.

Ramaphosa acted after a picture of Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams at the lunch emerged on social media, angering South Africans confined to their homes during the 21-day lockdown that started on March 27 to rein in the coronavirus outbreak.

According to the rules, people are only allowed to leave their homes for essential tasks like buying food or seeking medical help. Police arrested more than 17,000 people during the first few days of the lockdown, many for violating the lockdown.

Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams had lunch with a former official, breaching the lockdown rules [AFP] 

Handshakes Could Become a Thing of the Past

US top infectious disease expert told a reporter that the handshake, could become a thing of the past as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread.

Asked about the country getting back to normal, Dr. Anthony Fauci told Sinclair Broadcast Groups political reporter Scott Thuman that it depends on what you mean by 'normal.'

I think what were going to have embedded and imprinted in us forever is the realization that something as catastrophic as what the world is experiencing now can happen," Fauci said. And just as a society, just forget about shaking hands. We dont need to shake hands. Weve got to break that custom because, as a matter of fact, that is really one of the major ways that you can transmit a respiratory-borne illness. 

About 85% of Portugal's hotel workers will be furloughed

About 85% of hotel workers in Portugal will be placed on furlough in the month of April, according to research by the Portuguese Hotel Association.

Under a plan supported by the Portuguese government, the workers will still receive most of their pay.

The numbers are based in a study done with members of the association, which represents more than two thirds of the sector in Portugal.

Tesla furloughs staff and slashes salaries until June

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

Tesla is telling staff to brace for pay cuts and furloughs as the Covid-19 pandemic disrupts operations and cripples demand. 

Starting next Monday, US employees at the electric car company who hold director and vice president-level roles and above will see pay reductions of 20% to 30%, and "everyone else" will receive a pay cut of 10%, according to an internal email obtained by CNN Business. 

The reductions are expected to be in place until the end of June. Pay rises and equity grants will also be put on hold. 

UK Study on Pets

Concerns about pets are increasing worldwide; after the tiger being infected in a NY zoo; cats in Wuhan; dog in China Hong Kong, now UK expert body, the British veterinary association, is recommending to keep cats indoors if they lived in coronavirus-infected households, or those with owners self-isolating.  

But cats should not be forced to stay inside if it causes them stress, it added.

There have been a tiny number of Covid-19 cases in animals but it appears the transmission was human to animal, said the association in a statement.

There is no evidence that pets can pass Covid-19 to their owners, it added.

So far, dogs have not shown any symptoms but cats have displayed clinical signs of the disease. 

The association warns that the virus can sit on pet fur in the same way as on other surfaces. Handwashing is the best line of defense, it advises. 

As a precaution, for pet owners who have Covid-19,or who are self-isolating, we are recommending that you keep your cat inside during that time, if possible, it said.


For Expats in Zhejiang and Hangzhou

Stay up to date with the latest news from Hangzhou and Zhejiang. 

Pope says Covid-19 pandemic could be nature's "response" to climate change

Pope Francis delivers a homily during Palm Sunday mass behind closed doors at St. Peter's Basilica on April 5, in The Vatican. Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

The coronavirus outbreak is one of natures responses to human beings ignoring the ecological crisis, said Pope Francis Wednesday.

We did not respond to the partial catastrophes. Who now speaks of the fires in Australia, or remembers that 18 months ago a boat could cross the North Pole because the glaciers had all melted? Who speaks now of the floods?" the Pope told British Catholic journalist Austen Ivereigh in an email interview published Wednesday in The Tablet and Commonwealth magazines.

I dont know if these are the revenge of nature, but they are certainly natures responses.

Pope Francis also said he is recovering from his bronchitis and praying even more from his residence in the Vatican during this "time of great uncertainty."

A city in France has forbidden sitting on benches for more than two minutes

France is bringing in new, stricter measures to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The new rules came into place as the country's death toll passed 10,000.

National confinement measures haven't changed, but there are tighter measures in some places. These include:

Paris: Individual sporting activity is prohibited outdoors between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. local time, as of Wednesday.

Biarritz: The coastal city has forbidden sitting on benches for more than two minutes.

Sceaux: Philippe Laurent, mayor of the town in the southern Paris suburbs, announced that he had taken a decree obliging residents over the age of 10 to cover their noses and faces before leaving the house.

Those who fail to comply could face a fine of 135 ($145) with a possible increase to 375 and 1,500 in the event of a repeat offense.

Global trade will plunge by up to a third in 2020

Global trade growth is expected to plummet by up to a third in 2020 due to the new coronavirus pandemic, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said Wednesday, adding the numbers would be "ugly."

"World trade is expected to fall by between 13 percent and 32 percent in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts normal economic activity and life around the world," the WTO said in a statement.


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