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GLOBAL CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: US cases exceed 104,000, now with highest infections

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COVID-19: Lagos govt places temporary ban on large religious gatherings•Cases top 607,000; 28,000 dead, 132,000 recovered — Johns Hopkins
•Number of UK deaths rises above 1,000
•Spain reports 832 deaths, exceeding Friday’s record
•Japan plans cash handouts, supplementary budget
•India defiant as millions struggle under lockdown
•China signals ramped-up stimulus, says all 54 new virus cases on March 27 are imported
•US cases exceed 104,000, more than Italy, China

By Victor Tunde Oso (with agency report)

Global cases of coronavirus has surpassed 600,000 with the U.S. becoming the first country to reach over 100,000 infections. Spain reported a second consecutive day of record deaths as the pandemic shows no signs of abating.

Number of UK deaths rises above 1,000

The number of people to have died with the coronavirus in the United Kingdom UK, has reached 1,019. The latest government figures yesterday showed there were another 260 deaths in the UK in a day, up from 759 on Friday. There are now 17,089 confirmed cases in the UK.

It comes as the government said it was ramping up testing for frontline hospital staff who have symptoms, or who live with people who have symptoms.

Critical care doctors and nurses will be prioritised first, with testing expected to follow for A&E staff, paramedics and Gps. In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, health workers are already being tested. The jump in deaths is the biggest day-on-day increase the UK since the outbreak began. The number of deaths is 34% higher than Friday’s figure.

U.S. Becomes First Nation With 100,000 Cases

The United States became the first country to surpass 100,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Friday, a day after it overtook China to become the largest outbreak in the world.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Nigeria may see up to 39,000 cases — Lagos govt

America’s most prominent hot spots are New York and New Jersey, which together account for half the country’s total cases. California has more than 4,000, and smaller outbreaks in Illinois and Michigan continue to gain traction.

India defiant as millions struggle under lockdown

The Indian government has defended its handling of the coronavirus outbreak after a strict lockdown – introduced with little warning – left millions stranded and without food. The country’s response had been “pre-emptive, pro-active and graded”, it said in a statement.

India’s population of 1.3 billion was given less than four hours’ notice of the three-week lockdown on Tuesday. Officially about 900 people have coronavirus in India. However, experts worry that the real number of infections could be far higher. India has one of the lowest testing rates in the world, although efforts are under way to ramp up capacity.

Spain’s Deadliest Day

Spain said yesterday that 832 people died from coronavirus in the last 24 hours, its deadliest day since the outbreak began. That brings total fatalities to 5,690 after the country recorded 769 deaths on Friday. Health Minister Salvador Illa warned on Friday that the pandemic has yet to reach its peak in Spain.

Germany to Stay Locked Down

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the country’s lockdown rules are unlikely to be relaxed because they are needed to protect the health-care system. Her chief of staff, Helge Braun, separately told newspaper Der Tagesspiegel it has been decided to keep the current measures largely in place until April 20.

Japan Stimulus to Exceed Financial Crisis

Japan will extend economic stimulus on an “unprecedented scale” in response to the outbreak, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said. There will be cash handouts for citizens and the government will act to protect regional employment, he said in a televised press briefing on Saturday. The government actions will be on a larger scale than that of the financial crisis more than a decade ago, he said.

Dutch Hospitals to Reach ICU Bed Capacity

Dutch hospitals will probably reach full capacity of intensive care beds on Sunday due to the pandemic, local newspaper Trouw writes, citing numbers from a medical association. The government is currently in talks with Germany to see if it can transfer intensive-care patients. Doctors have also started calling elderly people at home to ask if they want to be treated in the hospital or at home if they get Covid-19, causing panic among older citizens, newspaper Telegraaf reported.

Iran to Punish Those Who Ignore Social Distancing Rules

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said people who ignore social distancing rules aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus would be punished. “Anyone who doesn’t want to listen or chooses to resist will face harsher measures this time around,” Rouhani said in a television broadcast. “Punishments are in place to that end, but hopefully we will never get there.” This week authorities introduced stricter measures to combat the outbreak, including a ban on intercity travel and the closing of parks and other public spaces.

Singapore Advises Public to Stay Indoors, Shop Online

Singapore advised its public to stay at home in its latest effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, a day after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the city state is facing a grave economic challenge posed by the pandemic. The public should only head to malls for essential items such as food, the government said in an advisory on its official WhatsApp channel, suggesting that people “buy food and groceries online.”

Mexico’s AMLO Encourages Shopping in Public Markets

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said people should shop in public markets to support small businesses during the coronavirus outbreak.

“Those at the top know how to defend themselves; they can resist,” he said in a video posted on Facebook. “Those at the bottom have a hard time in times of crisis.”

Australian State Introduces Social Distance Fines

In the Australian state of Victoria, police have been given power to issue on-the-spot fines of up to A$1,652 ($1,020) for individuals and A$9,913 for businesses who don’t follow rules on social distancing or limits on gatherings. Premier Dan Andrews said he wouldn’t hesitate to close beaches after police were forced to disperse hundreds of people sunbathing on Melbourne’s St. Kilda beach on Friday. Australia’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak has risen to 14, according to government figures released Saturday. The number of confirmed infections stood at 3,635 as of Saturday afternoon, an increase of 469 from Friday afternoon.


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