COVID-19: GZ To Test Teachers; GZ Starbucks Update; SH Schools..

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


Oil 'Futures' Prices Go Negative as Demand Collapses

U.S. oil prices dived to 22-year lows at just 11 U.S. dollars Monday after crashing almost 40 percent in a market flooded with crude and slammed by evaporating demand in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Just before 1200 GMT, the U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for May delivery tanked to 11.04 U.S. dollars the lowest level since 1998.

Meanwhile, Oil futures plunged below zero for the first time on Monday as demand for energy collapsed amid the coronavirus pandemic and traders sought to avoid owning crude with nowhere to store it. 

Stocks were also slipping on Wall Street in afternoon trading, with the S&P 500 down 1.2%, but the market's most dramatic action by far was in oil, where benchmark U.S. crude for May delivery plummeted to negative $35.20, as of 2:30 pm. Eastern time. It was nearly $60 at the start of the year before business-shutdown orders swept the world and idled factories, offices and automobiles.


Much of the drop was chalked up to technical reasons - the May delivery contract is close to expiring so its trading volume was light, which can exacerbate swings. Demand for oil has collapsed so much that facilities for storing crude are nearly full.


Tanks could hit their limits within three weeks, according to Chris Midgley, head of analytics at S&P Global Platts. And traders are willing to pay someone else to take that oil for delivery in May and shift the burden of figuring out where to keep it.

Headline News

Guangzhou in South China's Guangdong Province will conduct COVID19 nucleic acid tests for all teachers and students returning school, including 30,000 teaching staff and 167,000 students in their final year of senior and junior high schools: vice mayor

Shanghai Announces Schools Opening Dates: Classes for second graders in middle and high schools in Shanghai will resume on May 6; the rest, and the fourth and fifth graders in primary schools, will resume on May 18; the opening date for the rest in primary schools is undecided. Earlier it was announced that graduating students at middle and high schools can return to campuses on April 27. 

Guangzhou Starbucks Update: About 2300 people have undergone free nuclear acid tests, after a Starbucks staff in a Guangzhou Good World Plaza tested positive for #COVID19 and sent to the hospital on Saturday. The store was closed and disinfected: reports. in Guangzhou. Local health authority asked all people entering the Starbucks within the past 14 days to take free nucleic acid test at designated place; those who don't take the nucleic acid test within the required time and place will be charged the test fees. 

A Rush of Local News

The Chinese mainland reported 11 more COVID-19 cases on Monday, four of which were arrivals from abroad while seven are domestic cases, according to the National Health Commission. 

The commission also reported 37 new asymptomatic patients. No new deaths were reported. 

Chinese research team releases first animal experiment data on a COVID19 vaccine, which shows the vaccine are effective and safe on rats and non-human primates.

Travelers from Hebei and Tianjin to Beijing need not undergo 14-day home quarantine if they have stayed more than 14 days in either of the two places before coming to Beijing: capital authority

Beijing Chaoyang identified as high-risk area: As of 6 pm on Sun, Beijing's Chaoyang district has been identified as the only high-risk COVID19 area in China. 7 other locations, including Yuexiu & Biayun districts in Guangzhou, & Suifenhe in Heilongjiang, are considered medium-risk areas. 

English Exams Delayed: The National Education Examinations Authority, an agency under China's Ministry of Education, on Monday announced it is canceling IELTS, TOEFL, GRE and other exams for studying abroad in May in compliance with the epidemic containment work. The test fees will be fully refunded to applicants. Details of new schedules and relevant arrangements will be communicated in due course, the agency said.

Guangzhou to Test all Taxi Drivers: Starting from Sun, the city will provide COVID19 nucleic acid tests free to the citys taxi drivers, and by Tuesday all taxi drivers are expected to be covered

A Rush of News

Iran on Monday began opening intercity highways and major shopping centres. Stores from high-end malls to the meandering alleyways of Tehran's historic Grand Bazaar opened their doors, though the government limited working hours until 6pm. However, restaurants, gyms and other locations remain closed.

Iran's economy suffered from a 20 percent unemployment rate among young people even before the outbreak [Abedin Tahernareh/EPA]

Saudi Arabia extended the suspension of praying in the Grand Mosque and Prophet's Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan to stem the spread of the coronavirus. 

Facebook Inc said it has removed events in Nebraska, New Jersey and California promoting protests against stay-at-home measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the new coronavirus.

Kuwait will extend the suspension of work in the public sector including at government ministries until May 31 and expand a nationwide curfew to 16 hours, a government spokesman said. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a four-day lockdown would be imposed in 31 cities from Thursday. Weekend lockdowns could continue "for some time".

Ghana: The streets of Accra buzzed with life on Monday, a day after Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo announced the end of a three-week lockdown on movement around the capital and the city of Kumas

Norwegian Air has said four of its subsidiaries in Sweden and Denmark had filed for bankruptcy, affecting some 4,700 pilots and crew, as a result of the economic impact of the new coronavirus.

Israel: Wearing face masks, waving black flags, and keeping two metres apart, thousands of Israelis demonstrated against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu under strict coronavirus restrictions.


The Lithuanian economy will shrink by 7.3 percent this year if the spread of coronavirus is contained by summer, and by even more if not, country's Finance Ministry has said. 

Bangladesh has tightened a clampdown on seven villages after tens of thousands attended the funeral of a popular local cleric in spite of a nationwide lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus, officials said on Monday.

The funeral for Maulana Jubayer Ahmed Ansari was attended by thousands in Brahmanbaria, Bangladesh [Bishwajit Paul/Al Jazeera]

Poland may reverse the loosening of restrictions to curb the spread of the new coronavirus if the number of new cases rises significantly, Health Minister Lukasz Szumowski has said. Poland started reopening parks and forests on Monday as the government eased a few of the restrictions that have brought daily life to a virtual standstill. On Sunday, 545 new infections were recorded in Poland, the biggest daily rise to date.

Ghana is using delivery drones to enable it to test people more quickly outside major cities for the novel coronavirus. Test flight took place on April 1 and will now fly samples collected from more than 1,000 health facilities in rural areas to laboratories in the capital Accra and to Kumasi, the second-largest city.

Norway, which says it has the new coronavirus under control, has started opening up pre-schools after a month-long closure. 

The southern German state of Bavaria is to make it compulsory to wear masks in all shops and on public transport, Prime Minister Markus Sder announced Monday. 

Customers wear protective face masks as they shop at a DIY-store in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, on April 20. Lukas Barth-Tuttas/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

New Zealand's lockdown: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the country would stay under its toughest lockdown measures for five more days, before the restrictions are eased slightly next week.

Australia beaches: Some beaches are reopening in Sydney -- but beachgoers will still be restricted to exercising, and won't be allowed to sunbathe. Meanwhile, students are back at school today in the country's vast and sparsely populated Northern Territory.

India has reintroduced a ban on the delivery of non-essential items by e-commerce companies -- reversing an earlier decision to lift the restriction. In an order issued Sunday, the Ministry of Home Affairs said companies such as Amazon and Flipkart wouldn't be allowed to deliver non-essential items until May 3.

The Jordanian government has said it will start gradually easing the country's strict, month-old coronavirus lockdown. Some parts of the economy will be allowed to go back work from Tuesday. 

Authorities in the Thai capital Bangkok have extended a ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages to the end of April as efforts continue to contain the spread of COVID-19. 

United Airlines reported a $2.1 billion loss for first quarter as the coronavirus pandemic drove travel demand down to the lowest level in decades.

Ninth Vatican employee has tested positive for coronavirus, Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See Press Office, said in a statement on Monday.

UK: More than a million British workers have been put on temporary leave by their companies. 

Hard-Hit Countries/Regions Official Announcements

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. 

Switzerland: The death toll has reached 1,142, the country's public health ministry has said, rising from 1,135 people on Sunday. The number of cases increased to 27,944 from 27,740 on Sunday.

Spain reported 4,266 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, increasing the total number to 200,210. The death toll climbed by 399 to 20,852.

Iran: The death toll has reached 5,209 with 91 deaths in the past twenty four hours, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said in a statement on state TV. The total number of cases of the new has reached 83,505.

Singapore's health ministry has confirmed an additional 1,426 cases of COVID-19 infection, a record daily jump that took the city-state's tally to 8,014. The ministry said the vast majority of the new cases were among migrant workers living in dormitories.

Germany's Robert Koch Institute says confirmed cases rose by 1,775 to 141,672, a second day of decline. The number of deaths from COVID-19 rose by 110.

The Republic of Ireland reported its highest daily number of coronavirus deaths on Monday, the Department of Health said.  The country recorded 77 fatalities in 24 hours. Previously, the highest number of Irish fatalities in a 24-hour period was 44, recorded on April 17.

Turkey's confirmed cases increased by 4,674 in the past 24 hours, and 123 more people have died, taking the death toll to 2,140, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said. The total number of cases in the country stood at 90,980, he said, the highest total for any country outside Europe or the United States.

Italy reported its first drop in the number of people currently suffering from the novel coronavirus since it recorded its first infection in February. The civil protection service said 108,237 people were either being treated in hospital or were recovering at home after testing positive - down 20 from the total reported on Sunday.

Canada: The death toll rose by almost 7 percent to 1,611 from a day earlier of 1,506, official data posted by the public health agency showed. In a statement posted shortly before 11:00 eastern time (15:00 GMT), the confirmed cases climbed to 35,392 from 33,922.

Russia reported 4,268 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 47,121, and the death toll at 405, official data showed on Monday.

One of the last cruise ships at sea during the coronavirus outbreak has docked in a French port

The MSC Magnifica cruise ship is seen docked during a refueling stopover in Fremantle, Australia, on March 24. Richard Wainwright/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

One of the last cruise ships still at sea after the coronavirus outbreak began has docked in Marseille, France.

The MSC Magnifica docked Monday morning with 1,769 mostly European passengers on board. All of them are healthy, but before disembarking they are being checked by firefighters for temperature and symptoms.

The spokesperson said she knew of another cruise liner, the Costa Deliziosa, still out at sea. That cruise liner is currently off the coast of Barcelona, and is expected to dock in Genoa, Italy, tomorrow, she said.

Some shops in Germany are starting to reopen

A shopkeeper pushes open a shutter prior to opening her antiques store for the first time since March, on April 20, in Leipzig, Germany. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Germany started to ease its lockdown restrictions on Monday, allowing businesses and shops to reopen as the country takes small steps back to normalcy. 

Shops up to 800 square meters in size can reopen, so long as they have hygiene and social distancing measures in place. 

Bookshops, car dealerships and bike stores are also allowed to reopen regardless of their size. In some regions of Germany, zoos are reopening. The reopening of shops and businesses varies from state to state. 

The Robert Koch Institute, Germany's national agency for disease control and prevention, reported Friday that each person infected with Covid-19 is now infecting fewer that one other person on average.

India records highest single-day spike in cases since the outbreak began

Municipal workers disinfect an area to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Jammu, India, on April 16. Channi Anand/AP

A total of 1,553 new Covid-19 cases have been reported in India in the past 24 hours -- the country's largest single-day spike during the epidemic, according to a CNN count. Another 36 deaths were also reported.

India has confirmed a total of at least 17,265 cases of coronavirus, including 543 deaths, according to the country's Ministry of Health.

A total of 2,547 people have recovered or been discharged.

The highest number of cases are being reported from the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat, and the union territory of Delhi.

Southeast Asia could be the next coronavirus hot spot these charts show why 

The number of coronavirus infections in Southeast Asia has risen quickly in recent weeks, with mounting worries among experts that the region could turn into a hot spot for the fast-spreading disease.

The region as a whole has reported more than 28,000 cases as of Sunday, according to data by Johns Hopkins University. Collectively, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore account for 87.9% of total cases reported in Southeast Asia, the data showed. Yen Nee Lee


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