Global Coronavirus Update: Covid-19 Tally Increases To 41.77 Lakh Globally; UAE Denies Plans To Raise VAT Rate

Global Coronavirus Update: Covid-19 Tally Increases To 41.77 Lakh Globally; UAE Denies Plans To Raise VAT RateGlobal coronavirus update

Covid-19 Tally Increases To 41.77 Lakh Globally; UAE Denies Plans To Raise VAT Rate

The global Coronavirus cases on Tuesday (12 May) rose to 4,177,584, while the death toll increased to 286,330, according to the latest data by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

The total number of people who recovered from the disease has also risen to 1,456,235, the CSSE data showed.

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has ruled out plans to raise the Value Added Tax (VAT) following Saudi Arabia's announcement of tripling its VAT as part of austerity measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

VAT was introduced in the UAE in 2018 at 5 per cent on several goods and services, reports Xinhua news agency.

On Monday, Younis Haji Al Khoori, the Ministry of Finance Undersecretary, said the Ministry will reorient the financial resources to prepare for the future and continued growth to ensure the security and safety of the communities.

In a surprise move on Monday, Saudi Arabia increased VAT rate from 5 to 15 per cent which will become effective as of 1 July, while the cost of living allowance will be suspended from 1 June.

The Kingdom had first introduced VAT two years ago as part of efforts to cut its reliance on world crude oil markets.

(With inputs from IANS)

Russia's Covid-19 Tally Nears 2 Lakh Mark; No New Corona Cases In Hong Kong As Restrictions Ease

The overall number of coronavirus cases in Russia increased to 198,676 on Saturday (9 May) after the emergence of 10,817 new infections in the last 24 hour, health authorities said.

According to the country's anti-coronavirus crisis centre, the death toll currently stood at 1,827, while 31,916 people have recovered from the illness so far, reports TASS news agency.

According to the data, the daily growth in coronavirus cases amounted to 5.8 per cent, the lowest figure since the start of the pandemic.

A total of 4,399 new cases were identified as asymptomatic, the centre added.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong recorded no new COVID-19 case on Saturday, a day after the city eased restrictions amid the pandemic.

A handful of imported cases over the past week took the city's tally to 1,044 with four related deaths, reports the South China Morning Post newspaper.

Saturday was also the 20th day in a row with no local infections.

Health experts earlier suggested that Hong Kong could be considered to be free of local transmission if there were no such cases after 28 days, or two incubation cycles for the coronavirus.

On Friday (8 May), Hong Kong residents were able to go to gyms, beauty parlours, bars, restaurants, and other public venues which were closed for more than a month after city officials allowed a partial reopening of eight types of businesses, but with conditions.

(With inputs from IANS)

Covid-19 Cases Cross 39 Lakh Mark Globally; UK's Corona Death Toll Rises To Over 31,000

The number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus infections across the globe has surged to 3,938,080 on Saturday (9 May) while the death toll due to the deadly virus rose to 274,898, according to the latest data by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

The number of people who have recovered from the Coronavirus has also increased to 1,322,052, the CSSE data showed.

Meanwhile, another 626 COVID-19 patients have died in Britain, bringing the total coronavirus-related death toll in the country to 31,241, Environment Secretary George Eustice said.

The figures include deaths in all settings, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community, Xinhua news agency reported on Friday (8 May).

Earlier in the day, the National Health Service (NHS) England said a six-week-old baby has become one of the latest to die after testing positive for the novel coronavirus.

(With inputs from IANS)

Covid-19 Cases Mount To 38.4 Lakh Globally; Pakistan's Corona Death Toll Doubles In Last 10 Days

The global Covid-19 cases surged to 3,846,949 on Friday (8 May) morning, while the death toll due to the Coronavirus has increased to 269,584, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

As many as 1,285,807 people have recovered from the disease, the CSSE data showed.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's COVID-19 death toll has registered more than 100 per cent increase over the past 10 days, while the number of cases reported by each province were also rising, data has revealed.

Since the disease emerged in the country on 26 February, the highest number of deaths reported in Pakistan emerged on Thursday (7 May), with 48 fatalities being reported taking the overall toll to 593, data collected by Dawn news revealed.

What started out as a single digit rise in the number of deaths during March, increased to double digits during the month of April.

From 28 April to 7 May, 299 coronavirus deaths have been reported in the country; these account for more than 50.4 per cent of the total number of deaths.

(With inputs from IANS)

Covid-19 Death Toll Mounts To 2.6 Lakh Globally; UAE's Corona Tally Rises To 15,738

The total confirmed cases of Coronavirus infections have surged to 3,755,341 globally on Thursday (7 May), while the death toll has risen to 263,831, according to the latest

by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

The global Covid-19 recoveries have also increased to 1,245,415, the CSSE data showed.

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced 546 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 15,738.

UAE's Ministry of Health and Prevention on Wednesday (6 May) said in a statement the new cases include many nationalities. All are in a stable condition and receiving medical treatment, Xinhua news agency reported.

The ministry said that 206 more patients have made full recovery from the virus, taking the tally of the UAE's recoveries to 3,359.

It also confirmed 11 more deaths, pushing the country's death toll to 157.

The UAE was the first among the Gulf countries to report COVID-19 cases.

(With inputs from IANS)

UK Covid-19 Tally Nears 2 Lakh Mark; South Korea Eases Social Distancing Amid Drop In Corona Cases

The number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in the United Kingdom has increased to nearly 2 lakh, while the death toll in the country surged to over 29,500 on Wednesday (6 May), according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

The UK currently has fourth highest Coronavirus tally in the world with 196,243 cases, the CSSE data showed. The total fatalities due to the deadly virus in the country has also risen to 29,501.

Meanwhile, South Korea on Wednesday (6 May) introduced new relaxed social distancing measures by reopening schools and museums, as new coronavirus cases continued to fall in the country, which has gone three days without registering locally originated infections.

Authorities in South Korea, where forced confinement was not implemented and borders were not closed, ended a social distancing phase activated two and a half months ago to start another one dubbed "distancing in daily life."

In this new phase citizens are asked to adhere to four guidelines: stay home 3-4 days if one becomes ill, keep people "one arm's length away" wash their hands regularly and cough into the elbow, and ventilate and clean spaces regularly, Efe news reported.

Starting 13 May, the school year will begin (in stages and until June 1), which was originally scheduled to start 2 March and has had to be taught online and on television since 9 April.

The Ministry of Education has ensured that 99 percent of schools, where the use of masks will be compulsory, have already completed their contingency plans, including the supply of masks for students and teachers.

This new phase also involves the progressive reopening of museums (with currently limited spaces and operating hours), public libraries, gyms or nightlife clubs and the restart of professional sports leagues (currently behind closed doors).

(With inputs from IANS)

Covid-19 Death Toll Tops 2.57 Lakh Globally; US Reports Over 12 Lakh Corona Cases

The total number of Coronavirus cases worldwide surged to 3,663,824 on Wednesday (6 May) while the death toll has increased to 257,277, according to the latest data by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

As many as 1,199,254 people have recovered across the world, the CSSE data showed.

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States reached 1,204,479 on Wednesday, while the death toll from the disease in the country hit 71,070.

New York remains the hardest-hit state, with over 321,000 cases and 25,124 deaths, followed by New Jersey with 130,593 cases and 8,244 deaths. Other states with over 50,000 cases include Massachusetts, Illinois, California, and Pennsylvania, according to the CSSE.

(With inputs from IANS)

Covid-19 Cases Cross 36 Lakh Mark; Australia, New Zealand Announce Plans For Safe Travel Zone

The global cases of Coronavirus infections on Tuesday (5 May) crossed the 36 Lakh mark with as many as 3,600,106 confirmed cases of infections reported worldwide, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

Over 251,000 fatalities have been reported globally due to the Coronavirus, that originated in China’s Wuhan city, while 11.73 lakh people have recovered from the disease, the CSSE data showed.

Meanwhile, the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand on Tuesday announced plans for a trans-Tasman coronavirus-safe travel zone between the two countries "as soon as it is safe to do so".

Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Jacinda Ardern announced the plan after the latter joined an Australian Cabinet meeting via video link, reports Efe news.

"A trans-Tasman COVID-safe travel zone would be mutually beneficial, assisting our trade and economic recovery, helping kick-start the tourism and transport sectors, enhancing sporting contacts, and reuniting families and friends," the two leaders said in a joint statement released after the meeting.

The arrangement would be conditional on "necessary health, transport and other protocols had been developed and met, to ensure the protection of public health" and "would need to take into account state and territory movement restrictions", the statement said.

Both countries closed their borders in late March to stem the spread of the pandemic.

(With inputs from IANS)

Covid-19 Cases Near 36 Lakh Mark Globally; 28 Airports In Thailand Reopen For Business

The total confirmed cases of Coronavirus infections across the globe on Tuesday (5 May) surged to 3,582,469, while the death toll due to the Covid-19 has increased to 251,510, according to the latest data by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

The global Covid-19 recoveries have also crossed 11 lakh mark, with as many as 1,162,538 people recovered from the deadly disease, the CSSE data showed.

The United States has so far reported over 1,180,288 Covid-19 cases and 68,922 deaths, the highest in the world. Italy follows US in terms of Covid-19 death toll with as many as 29,079 fatalities. Spain has the second highest number of Covid-19 cases with 218,011 infections recorded in the country so far.

Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) said that it has granted permission to 28 airports in Thailand to resume domestic services.

Some airlines have already taken to the skies since 1 May, Xinhua news agency reported on Monday (4 May).

However, airports are only allowed to serve domestic flights from 7 am to 7 pm, said Chula Sukmanop, director-general of CAAT.

Airports are banned from taking inbound international flights except for state or military aircraft, flights seeking emergency and technical landings without disembarkation, humanitarian aid, medical and relief flights, repatriation flights and cargo flights.

(With inputs from IANS)

Nepal Plans To Ease Lockdown, Restart Economy; Pakistan Reports Over 18,100 Covid-19 Cases

Nepal's Ministry of Health and Population is charting out plans to ease the nationwide lockdown imposed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, in a bid to gradually restart the stalled economy, according to a media report.

If the recommendations of the Ministry are adopted, 77 districts of the country would be divided into three clusters of red, yellow and green, depending on population density, geography, linkage to international border and number of coronavirus cases, The Himalayan Times said in the report on Friday (1 May).

Districts that fall under yellow and green zones will see relaxation in restrictions, whereas areas categorised as red zones will continue to remain shut, it added.

The Ministry has started preparing modalities to ease the lockdown based on the instruction given by the High-Level Coordination Committee for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 led by Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Ishwar Pokhrel.

"We are still working on these modalities. Nothing has been finalised yet," said Roshan Pokharel, chief consultant at the Ministry.

The federal government enforced nationwide lockdown in Nepal on 24 March to prevent the spread of COVID-19 which has so far infected 59 people with no deaths.

Meanwhile, with record 1,297 infections detected on Friday (1 May), Pakistan’s Covid-19 tally has increased to 18,114, reports The Hindu.

The death toll due to the viral infection jumped to 417 with 32 fatalities recorded in the last 24 hours, the Pakistan Ministry of National Health Services said.

Of the total 18,114 cases, Punjab registered the highest number of 6,733, followed by Sindh at 6,675, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 2,799, Balochistan 1,136, Islamabad 365, Gilgit-Baltistan 340 and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) at 66.

(With inputs from IANS)

Covid-19 Tally Rises To 33.4 Lakh Globally; US Reports Over 11 Lakh Cases

The total Covid-19 cases across the globe have surged to 3,344,099, while the death toll due to the deadly virus has risen to 238,775, according to the latest data by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

As many as 1,053,344 people have recovered from the disease globally, the CSSE data showed.

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 cases in the US has reached 1,103,781. The death toll from the disease in the country has also increased to 65,068.

New York remains the hardest-hit state, with 308,314 cases and 24,039 deaths, followed by New Jersey with 121,190 cases and 7,538 deaths, Xinhua news agency reported.

Other states with over 50,000 cases include Massachusetts, Illinois, and California, according to the CSSE.

(With inputs from IANS)

Total Covid-19 Recoveries Cross 10 Lakh Mark Globally; China Reports 12 New Corona Cases

The global Covid-19 tally has increased to 3,257,088 while the number of deaths due to the deadly Coronavirus that originated in China’s Wuhan city has surged to 2,33,398, according to the latest data by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

The number of people that have recovered from the disease has also increased to 1,014,761, the CSSE data showed.

The US currently has 1,069,664 Covid-19 cases, the highest in the world, followed by Spain’s 213,435 and Italy’s 205,463.

Meanwhile, the Chinese health authority said on Friday (1 May) that it received reports of 12 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Chinese mainland on Thursday, of which six were imported.

The other six new cases were domestically transmitted, including five in Heilongjiang Province and one in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the National Health Commission said in a daily report, Xinhua reported.

Three suspected cases imported from abroad, all in Shanghai, were reported.

No deaths were reported on Thursday in the mainland, according to the commission.

Altogether 32 patients were discharged from hospitals after recovery on Thursday, while the number of severe cases dropped by three to 38.

As of Thursday, the overall confirmed cases on the mainland had reached 82,874, including 599 patients who were still being treated and 77,642 people who had been discharged after recovery, the commission said.

Altogether 4,633 people had died of the disease, it said.

(With inputs from IANS)

Covid-19 Cases Near 32 Lakh Mark Globally; Daily Deaths In New York Drop To Lowest Since Early March

The number of confirmed Coronavirus cases worldwide has increased to 3,193,961 on Thursday (30 April), while the death toll has surged to 227,659, according to the latest data by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

As many as 973,371 people have recovered from the disease, the CSSE data showed.

US currently has the world’s highest 1,039,909 positive cases as well as 61,000 deaths due to the Coronavirus that originated from China’s Wuhan city.

Meanwhile, New York state, the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, has reported nearly 300,000 coronavirus cases, while its daily death toll fell to the lowest since early March, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo.

In his daily briefing, Cuomo said on Wednesday (29 April) that with 4,585 additional cases, the state's overall tally reached 299,691, and the daily death toll fell to 330, the lowest since early March.

(With inputs from IANS)

South Korea’s Covid-19 Tally Rises To 10,761; Tourist Arrivals In Sri Lanka Hit By Corona Outbreak

Nine new positive cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in South Korea, taking the country's tally to 10,761, health authories said on Wednesday (29 April).

The daily caseload hovered around 10 for the 11th straight day. Of the new cases, five were imported from overseas, lifting the combined number to 1,061, Xinhua news agency reported.

Two more deaths were confirmed, raising the death toll to 246. The total fatality rate came in at 2.29 per cent.

A total of 68 more patients were discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, pulling up the combined number to 8,922. The total recovery rate was 82.9 per cent.

Meanwhile, the number of international tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka declined for the twelfth straight month in March 2020 by 70.8 per cent in comparison to a year ago as the tourism industry is hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak.

The total number of international tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka up to March 18, 2020 was 71,370. This was due to the termination of all passenger flights and ship arrivals into Sri Lanka from March 18, the Sri Lanka Tourist Development Authority said in its Monthly Tourist Arrivals Report for March 2020, Colombo Page reported.

In comparison to March last year, there was a decline of 70.8 per cent when the arrivals were 244,328.

In March, the largest source market for tourists was India, followed by the Russian Federation and the United Kingdom.

Europe became the largest source of tourist traffic to Sri Lanka with 60 per cent of the total traffic received in March 2020.

Asia and Pacific accounted for 34 per cent of the total traffic, Americas 4.6 per cent, Middle East 0.9 per cent and Africa 0.5 per cent.

(With inputs from IANS)

Covid-19 Tally Crosses 31 Lakh Mark Globally; US Reports Over 10 Lakh Infections

The global cases of Coronavirus infection have increased to over 31 lakh on Wednesday (29 April), with over 2.17 lakh deaths due to the deadly virus that originated in China’s Wuhan city.

The total number of cases worldwide has risen to 3,116,680 while the death toll has risen to 217,168, according to the latest data by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at the John Hopkins University.

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 cases in the US topped 10 lakh on Tuesday afternoon, reaching 1,012,583, the CSSE data showed.

New York remains the hardest-hit state, with 291,996 cases and 22,668 deaths, followed by New Jersey where 111,188 cases and 6,442 deaths have been reported.

Other states with over 40,000 cases include Massachusetts, Illinois, California and Pennsylvania, according to the CSSE.

(With inputs from IANS)

UK Holds Minute’s Silence For Fallen Frontline Workers; Hong Kong To Ease Quarantine Restrictions

A minute's silence was observed across the UK on Tuesday (28 April) as a tribute to frontline workers who have died in the country's fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who returned to work on Monday (27 April), joined the tribute that started at 11 am (local time), the BBC reported.

More than 100 NHS and care staff have died with the virus, as have many transport and other key workers.

The UK has so far reported 158,348 coronavirus cases, with 21,157 deaths.

Among the 360 new deaths reported on Monday, there were 82 National Health Service (NHS) staff and 16 care workers.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong will ease quarantine restrictions on travellers from mainland China, providing exemptions for school students crossing the border daily and any arrivals deemed economically important, the citys health chief said on Tuesday.

Addressing a press briefing, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said that the relaxed measures were because the city government was satisfied that the COVID-19 crisis on the mainland was largely under control, reports the South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper.

Despite those adjustments, Chan also announced the extension of immigration restrictions for general visitors by one month to June 7, and that the requirement for visitors to report their health and travel history would be extended to August 31.

But the exact date of the change was yet to be confirmed.

The city recorded no new coronavirus cases for a third day in a row on Tuesday.

It was the fifth time in nine days there were no new infections, with the total number of cases now at 1,037.

(With inputs from IANS)

Covid-19 Tally Crosses 30 Lakh Mark Globally; Over 50 Police Personnel In Karachi Test Positive For Corona

The total confirmed cases of Coronavirus have crossed the 30 lakh mark globally, while over 2 lakh have died due to the deadly virus that originated from China’s Wuhan city.

As of today (28 April), 3,041,517 people have been tested positive for Covid-19 globally with 211,159 fatalities being recorded, according to the latest data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at the John Hopkins University.

So far, 894,062 people have recovered from the disease, the CSSE data showed.

With 988,451 cases and 56,245 deaths, the United States is the worst affected country from the deadly virus.

Meanwhile, more than 50 police personnel have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Karachi, officials said.

According to documents reviewed by Dawn news on Monday (27 April), six inspectors are among the 51 personnel of the Sindh Police whose tests have returned positive.

Sindh province is the worst-hit in Pakistan. Of the total 13,947 cases in the country, Sindh accounts for 4,956 infections.

Of the 51 police personnel, one inspector has recovered from the disease and has been discharged from the hospital, while the rest are admitted to isolation wards of different hospitals in the metropolis, Dawn news quoted a police official as saying.

On Monday, two police personnel, including a sub-inspector and a head constable, were confirmed to have been infected with the coronavirus while performing their duty at a cash distribution facility at the Government Degree College, Quaidabad in Karachi.

"So far, no police official has been infected with the virus in other major cities of Sindh," the officer added.

(With inputs from IANS)

Global Death Toll Crosses 2 Lakh Mark; Confirmed Cases Move Close To 30 Lakh

Global coronavirus deaths have surpassed the 200,000 mark, according to Johns Hopkins University.

As of Sunday (26 April) morning, there were a total of 202,846 fatalities across the globe, the university's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US currently accounts for the highest number of fatalities at 53,755.

It was followed by Italy 26,384, Spain 22,902, France 22,614, and the UK 20,319.

According to the CSSE, the total number of coronavirus cases globally reached 2,896,746 on Sunday.

The US continued with the highest number of cases in the world at 938,154.

Spain came in second with 223,759 cases, followed by Italy 195,351, France 161,644, Germany 156,513, the UK 149,569, and Turkey 107,773.

(With inputs from IANS)

Coronavirus Cases In US Near 10 Lakh As Death Toll Rises Upto 54,000

More than 9 lakh people were infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as of Saturday evening (25 April) in the United States (US), with the death toll exceeding 54,000, while a new study indicated that the virus was likely to be spreading in multiple US cities "far earlier" than Americans knew.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the country reached 9,60,651 and a total of 54,256 deaths related to the disease were recorded, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University, Xinhua news agency reported.

New York remains the hardest-hit state, with 288,313 cases and 21,411 deaths. New Jersey follows, with 102,196 cases and 5,683 deaths. Other states with over 40,000 cases include Massachusetts, California and Pennsylvania.

British PM Boris Johnson To Return To Work In Downing Street On Monday After Recovering From COVID-19

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be back at work in Downing Street on Monday (27 April), about two weeks after leaving a London hospital in his fight against the novel coronavirus, British media reported.

Johnson told his cabinet colleagues that he will be back to his normal schedule following his treatment in St. Thomas' Hospital in London for COVID-19, Xinhua news agency reported.

Depending on doctors'' advice, Johnson may host Monday''s daily Downing Street news conference and possibly take on the new Labour leader Keir Starmer at Prime Minister''s Questions on Wednesday, Sky News reported.

"He is 'raring to go' and will be back Monday," Sky News noted, citing a Downing Street source.

Johnson said on April 12 that he had left the hospital "after a week in which the NHS has saved my life, no question."

Johnson, who spent three nights in intensive care in the hospital, spent a week in Chequers, the prime minister's country house after leaving hospital.

(With inputs from IANS)

Mosques Are Infection Hotspots: Pakistan Doctors Warn As PM Imran Khan Lifts Ban From Collective Prayers

The Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (PIMA) has warned that mosques were becoming a major source of transmission for the novel coronavirus after the government ordered their reopening under pressure from clerics for Ramzan.

"Mosques are becoming a major source of virus transmission," Efe news quoted PIMA President Iftikhar Burney as saying at a press conference on Saturday (25 April).

The doctor said that the end of the health crisis was still a long way off and that the number of infections had doubled in the last six days reaching 12,657 cases and 265 deaths so far.

"At present, more than 200 medical staff, including 100 doctors, have tested coronavirus positive," he added

Under pressure from powerful clerics, Prime Minister Imran Khan decided to lift the ban that had been in place for weeks on collective prayers in religious places.

(With inputs from IANS)

WHO Advices Against Immunity Passports, Says No Evidence Suggests You’re Protected After Getting It Once

Governments should not issue so-called "immunity passports" or "risk-free certificates" as a way of easing lockdowns, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.

The WHO's guidance is based on evidence from researchers all around the world. But it could well change as we rapidly learn more about this virus, the BBC reported.

There isn't currently any evidence to suggest having had the virus once protects you from getting it again. So the idea of an "immunity passport", allowing people who test positive for antibodies to have fewer restrictions, would be a very risky one.

Some governments have considered permitting people who have recovered to travel or return to work.

Belgium Unveils Plan To Lift Lockown; Singapore Airlines Extends Cancellation Of Flights Till June

Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes has announced a detailed plan to gradually lift the country's coronavirus restrictions, the media reported on Saturday (25 April).

After hours of discussions on Friday, Prime Minister Wilmes announced a timetable to gradually end the country's lockdown, which began on 12 March, reports the BBC.

The first businesses to open will be fabric shops on 4 May in order to help people comply with new regulations requiring all Belgians aged 12 or over to wear masks on public transport.

Other shops will reopen a week later.

Schools will return from 18 May, but no more than 10 children will be allowed in each class. Cafes and restaurants will not be permitted to open before June 8.

But Wilmes warned that "nothing is set in stone".

At least 44,293 people have tested positive for the virus in Belgium as of Saturday, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.

Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines (SIA) said that it has extended its wide-ranging flight cancellations until the end of June, just four days after it announced a one-month extension amid the coronavirus pandemic, it was reported on Saturday.

This means that 96 per cent of its scheduled flights till June-end will be cancelled, amid travel restrictions worldwide and a drastic drop in demand for air travel, reports The Straits Times.

The first round of cuts were announced in late March. It was initially for scheduled flights till April end.

In a notice on its website on Friday, the flag carrier said it will continue to adjust its services in response to the ongoing pandemic.

Customers whose flights were cancelled by SIA or its regional SilkAir will retain the full value of the unused portion of their tickets as flight credits.

They will also be awarded bonus flight credits when rebooking their flights.

The extended cuts mean that SIA will fly to just 15 cities up until June end.

(With inputs from IANS)

Covid-19 Death Toll Nears 2 Lakh Mark; Pakistan Extends Lockdown Till 9 May

The total confirmed cases of Coronavirus globally have increased to 2,790,986, while the death toll has risen to 195,920, according to the latest data by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE).

As many as 781,382 people have been cured of the Covid-19, the CSSE data showed.

The United States currently has the highest number of Coronavirus cases as well as fatalities. As per the CSSE data, the US has 890,524 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 51,017 deaths.

Spain has reported 219,764 infections and 22,524 fatalities, followed by Italy’s 192,994 cases and 25,969 deaths.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan government has extended the countrywide lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic for 15 more days until 9 May amid doctors warnings against easing restrictions and the number of COVID-19 cases increasing to 11,729, with 248 deaths.

The decision was made during a meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) on COVID-19 chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday (24 April), reports The Express Tribune.

Addressing a news conference at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on COVID-19, Federal Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Minister Asad Umar said the lockdown had been extended in consultation with the governments of the four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

Umar said the "trace and track system" announced by the premier a day earlier to identify positive cases would be launched from Saturday.

"This is a complete national response formulated by the federal government," he said, adding that the provinces would mainly be responsible for the implementation of the decision.

(With inputs from IANS)

Covid-19 Cases Rise To Over 27 Lakh Globally; US House Passes $484 Billion Corona Relief Package

The global confirmed cases of Coronavirus have increased to 2,708,885 while the total number of deaths due to the deadly virus has risen to 190,858, according to the latest data by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

With over 869,100 cases and nearly 50,000 deaths, the United States has emerged as the worst affected country from the virus that originated from Wuhan city in China.

Italy currently has second highest number of deaths with 25,549 Covid-19 fatalities, followed by Spain’s death toll of 22,157 and France’s 21,889.

Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives passed a US $484 billion relief package to boost funding for small businesses, hospitals and coronavirus testing, sending the bill to President Donald Trump for signature.

The lower chamber approved the bill by a vote of 388-5, two days after the Senate swiftly cleared the legislation in a voice vote. Congressional Democrats reached an agreement with the Trump administration on the package earlier this week following days of intense negotiations, reported Xinhua news agency.

The package will provide more than 310 billion dollars in additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to boost small business lending, as well as US $75 billion for hospitals and US $25 billion for virus testing.

(With inputs from IANS)

Covid-19 Cases Surpass 2.6 Million Mark Globally; Bangladesh Extends Nationwide Shutdown Till 5 May

The number of global coronavirus cases has surpassed the 2.6 million mark, while the death toll has increased to over 183,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Thursday (23 April) morning, the overall number of cases across the world stood at 2,628,527, with a total of 183,424 fatalities, the university's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US continues to be the worst affected, with 842,376 cases and 46,784 deaths, the highest tallies in the world.

In terms of cases, Spain accounts for the second highest at 208,389, followed by Italy 187,327, France 157,135, Germany 150,648 and the UK 134,638, the tally showed.

Italy currently has the second highest number of deaths in the world at 25,085, followed by Spain 21,717, France 21,340, and the UK 18,100.

Meanwhile, the Bangladesh government has decided to further extend the ongoing shutdown as the COVID-19 situation has worsened in the country.

"We've decided to extend the nationwide shutdown of offices and workplaces to May 5," State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain said on Wednesday (22 April).

He said his Ministry will soon issue a circular in this regard, report bdnews24.

Bangladesh on 10 April had extended the lockdown to 25 April.

To combat the spread of the COVID-19, Bangladesh had earlier declared a 10-day lockdown effective from 26 March to 4 April.

Later, the government extended it to 14 April.

Health officials on Wednesday confirmed another 10 deaths from COVID-19, bringing the total number of fatalities in the country since March 18 to 120.

Also 390 more people have tested positive for the virus, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 3,772.

(With inputs from IANS)

Ireland Extends Ban On Mass Gatherings; UK To Begin Human Trial Of Potential Covid-19 Vaccine From Tomorrow

The Irish government has announced that the ban on gatherings of more than 5,000 people in the country will run through the end of August.

"Local authorities have been advised by Government that event promoters should be informed that events requiring licenses in excess of 5,000 will not be considered for the period up to the end of August," the government said in a statement on Tuesday (21 April), Xinhua reported.

The Irish Department of Health on Tuesday reported another 44 COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the total fatalities to 730.

Tuesday also saw 388 new cases, pushing the total infections to 16,040, said the department.

The Irish government has banned all mass gatherings since 24 March, and the ban is expected to be reviewed on 5 May when a set of restrictive measures is supposed to come to an end.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has told the Irish public that even if the restrictions are eased after 5 May, they will be done in a "bit-by-bit" way instead of being done "in one go".

Meanwhile, the UK government on Tuesday announced that the human trial of a potential COVID-19 candidate vaccine being developed by researchers at University of Oxford will begin from Thursday.

Scientists at the University of Oxford last week promised a super-fast vaccine during a virtual press conference, saying the vaccine will be available by September. According to lead researcher Professor Sarah Gilbert, their ''ChAdOx1'' vaccine can work against the coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock, during the daily press conference at 10 Downing Street, said the government will provide 20 million pounds to the Oxford research team to help fund their clinical trials, with a further 22.5 million pounds for researchers at Imperial College London, reports The Independent.

"The team have accelerated that trials process, working with the regulator the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency), who have been brilliant. As a result, I can announce that the vaccine from the Oxford project will be trialled in people from this Thursday," said Hancock.

In normal course of time, a vaccine takes anytime between 12-18 months.

What probably separates ChAdOx1 - known as recombinant viral vector vaccine - from the rest is the time it promises to take in order to deliver mass quantities.

Professor Andrew Pollard, a member of the Oxford team, told Sky News: "If you had a sailing wind and absolutely nothing goes wrong in all of that complex technical process and you have all the facilities available, you could have millions of doses by the autumn of this year".

In late March, Professor Gilbert received 2.2 million pounds as funding from the UK government for vaccine development and trials.

Researchers enrolled over 500 healthy volunteers to test if their vaccine can prevent the novel coronavirus.

The vaccine is an adenovirus vaccine vector and was developed at Oxford's Jenner Institute. Adenoviral vectors are a very well-studied vaccine type, having been used safely in thousands of participants, from 1 week to 90 years of age, in vaccines targeting over 10 different diseases.

(With inputs from IANS)

Covid-19 Cases Cross 2.5 Million Mark Globally; France's Death Toll Nears 21,000

The total confirmed cases of Coronavirus around the world have risen to 2,564,190 while the death toll has surged to 177,445, according to the latest data by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

As many as 681,842 people have recovered from the disease, according to the CSSE data.

With 825,041 cases and 45,063 deaths, the United States has become the worst affected country by the Coronavirus, which originated form China’s Wuhan city and has spread to over 200 countries around the world.

Spain has reported 204,178 Covid-19 cases, followed by Italy which has recorded 183,957 positive cases of the deadly virus.

Meanwhile, France, which plans to unwind some restriction measures from May 11, registered 531 more COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday (21 April) as hospitalisation-related figures pursue a slow decline.

Hospitals and nursing homes numbers showed that combined deaths caused by the COVID-19 rose to 20,796, up from Monday’s 20,265, Director-General of Health Jerome Salomon told a daily briefing on the epidemic, Xinhua reported.

The number of new hospitalisations and serious cases continued to slow down, suggesting that the national lockdown has positive effects in containing the respiratory illness.

As of Tuesday, 30,106 patients were hospitalised, compared with 30,584 a day before and 30,610 on Sunday. The number of people in intensive care had fallen for the 13th consecutive day to 5,433.

“The virus spread remains at high level. We should be fully mobilised,” stressed Salomon.

France has been in lockdown since 17 March to curb the spread of the epidemic.

President Emmanuel Macron announced last week that the lockdown will be progressively lifted from 11 May.

The government will unveil details of the deconfinement plan in coming weeks.

(With inputs from IANS)

Singapore Extends Lockdown Till 1 June; Pakistan PM Imran Khan To Get Tested For Covid-19

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced on Tuesday that the partial lockdown imposed in the city-state to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus has been extended until 1 June.

This means that more workplaces will be closed to further reduce the number of workers keeping essential services going, reports The Straits Times.

Some hot spots, such as popular wet markets, remain a problem, as large groups of people continue to congregate there, Lee said in his fourth national address on the COVID-19 situation.

While he noted that the measures, termed a "circuit breaker", have been working, he stressed that Singapore cannot be complacent.

He said the number of unlinked cases has not come down, which suggests a "hidden reservoir" of cases in the community.

Singapore must, therefore, press on with its tight circuit breaker measures to decisively bring down numbers in the community, The Straits Times quoted Lee as saying.

"We also want to make sure that if any leakage occurs from the dorms to the wider community, we can detect and contain it early, and prevent new clusters from forming and bursting out of control."

He called on all Singaporeans to stay home as far as possible and urged those who have to go out to do so alone and not as a group or with family.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan may go into self-quarantine after it emerged that he came in contact with an individual who tested positive for the novel coronavirus last week.

Sources said that Khan met Faisal Edhi, the chairman of the Edhi Foundation, the world's largest volunteer ambulance network, on 15 April.

After meeting the Prime Minister, Faisal developed flu-like symptoms and tested positive for the virus the following day, sources said.

Faisal is the son of Abdul Sattar Edhi, the noted Pakistani philanthropist.

Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported on Tuesday (21 April) quoting Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital CEO Faisal Sultan, who is also Khan's personal physician, as saying that that the premier was "currently occupied with a cabinet meeting" but "as soon as he is finished, he will recommend that he gets tested and follow all the protocols in place."

(With inputs from IANS)

Death Toll Rises To Over 1.7 Lakh Globally; Chinese Mainland Reports 11 New Cases

The total confirmed cases of Coronavirus across the globe have risen to 2,477,426 with the death toll increasing to 170,324, according to the latest data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

The number of patients that have recovered from the Covid-19 disease globally has also increased to 647,632, the CSSE data showed.

With as many as 787,370 Covid-19 cases and 42,335 reported deaths, the United States has emerged as the worst affected country in the world by the deadly virus.

Italy has reported 24,114 fatalities and 181,228 cases while Spain has recorded over 200,210 cases and 20,852 deaths.

Meanwhile, Chinese health authority on Tuesday (21 April) said it received reports of 11 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on the mainland on Monday, of which four were imported.

The other seven new cases were domestically transmitted, the National Health Commission said in a daily report, noting that six cases were reported in Heilongjiang Province and one in Guangdong Province, Xinhua reported.

No death was reported Monday (20 April) on the mainland. Three new suspected cases, including two imported cases and one domestic case in Heilongjiang Province, were also reported.

According to the commission, 39 people were discharged from hospitals after recovery on Monday, while the number of severe cases stood at 82.

As of Monday, the mainland had reported a total of 1,587 imported cases. Of the cases, 776 had been discharged from hospitals after recovery, and 811 were being treated with 44 in severe conditions, said the commission.

No death from the imported cases had been reported, it added.

The overall confirmed cases on the mainland had reached 82,758 by Monday, including 1,003 patients who were still being treated and 77,123 people who had been discharged after recovery, the commission said.

Altogether 4,632 people had died of the disease, it said.

(With inputs from IANS)

South Korea Reports Lowest Daily Increase In Covid-19 Cases In Two Months; Pakistan To Get $8.4 Million From US

South Korea reported 18 COVID-19 cases on Saturday (18 April), marking the lowest daily increase in about two months.

The new cases brought the country's total infections to 10,653, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

It is the first time since 20 February that the country's new COVID-19 infections came below 20, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Over the past five days, the country reported fewer than 30 new patients per day.

The number of South Korea's daily new cases reached a peak of 909 confirmed cases on 29 February, but the country has since managed to flatten the curve amid stringent quarantine and social distancing measures.

Meanwhile, the US has announced a funding of $8.4 million for Pakistan to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

The contribution was announced on US mission's social media platforms on Friday (17 April) by Ambassador Paul Jones, reports Dawn news.

An amount of $3 million will be utilised to provide three new mobile labs to enable Pakistanis living in virus hotspots to be tested, treated and monitored to stop the spread.

High-tech emergency operations centres will be established in Islamabad, Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan under the initiative.

Funding of $2 million will be used to train community health workers to assist people in their homes and lessen the burden on hospitals.

Life-saving activities among Afghan refugees and in host communities in the country will be carried out at a cost of $2.4 million, which will be administered by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Details about the remaining $1 million was not made available, reports Dawn news.

(With inputs from IANS)

Covid-19 Death Toll Rises To Over 1.54 Lakh Globally; World Bank To Launch Health Emergency Programmes

The global death toll due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has increased to 154,219 while the confirmed cases of infection have surged to 2,244,303, according to the latest data from Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

The number of people who have recovered from the disease has also surged to 569,699, the CSSE data showed.

The highest number of Covid-19 cases have been reported in the United States where the tally of confirmed cases has increased to 702,164, with over 37,000 deaths recorded so far. Spain has recorded over 190,000 cases and more than 20,000 deaths while the Italy’s Covid-19 tally has risen to 172,434 with 22,745 fatalities.

Meanwhile, the World Bank Group (WBG) is expected to launch health emergency programs in over 100 countries by the end of April to support the fight against COVID-19, with 64 already in operation, President David Malpass said on Friday (16 April).

“In response to COVID-19, the World bank Group has focused on taking fast, broad-based action,” Malpass said at a virtual press conference during the Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the WBG, Xinhua news agency reported.

Malpass said the WBG will work to deploy as much as $160 billion over the next 15 months, tailored to the nature of the health, economic and social shocks that countries are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He noted that other multilateral development banks (MDBs), such as Asian Development Bank, and Inter-American Development Bank, have committed as a group to roughly $80 billion over this period, bringing the total funding from MDBs to $240 billion.

(With inputs from IANS)

Total Covid-19 Cases Rise To 21.58 Lakh Globally; Trump Proposes Three-Phased Country Re-Opening Plan

The total confirmed cases of Coronavirus around the world have increased to 2,158,250 while the death toll due to the deadly virus has surged to 144,243, according to the latest data by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

As many as 544,000 people have recovered from the disease, the CSSE data showed.

The United States has the highest reported cases with 671,349 Covid-19 patients. Over 33,280 people have been reported dead in the US due to the Coronavirus.

Italy has recorded 22,170 deaths and 168,941 cases while Spain has reported 19,315 fatalities and 184,948 infections.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has proposed a three-phase, locally targeted plan for opening the coronavirus-battered nation, but will leave the decision on implementing it in the hands of the state Governors.

"We are opening up our great country," Trump declared on Thursday (16 April) with his two highly regarded medical advisers, Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx at his side.

"America wants to be open, and Americans want to be open," he said.

The plan requires states to meet basic criteria called "gating" before Governors can move them into the three phases of opening that takes into account the diversity of the country.

Any setback will push them back into the more rigorous earlier phase.

Trump unveiled the guidelines after a teleconference with state Governors where he told them: "You're going to call your own shots." By leaving the decision to the Governors after having asserted that he has to the authority to end the restrictions nationwide, Trump is avoiding a show-down with recalcitrant governors and also making them face the consequences.

(With inputs from IANS)

Covid-19 Cases Cross 2 Million Mark Globally; Germany To Relax Lockdown Measures

The total confirmed cases of Coronavirus across the globe have surged to 2,063,161 while the death toll has increased to 136,938, according to the latest data by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

As many as 512,032 people around the world have recovered from the disease, the CSSE data showed.

The United States has reported the maximum 638,111 Covid-19 cases as well as the highest fatalities at 30,844.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced plans to slowly ease restrictions brought in to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Social distancing rules will stay in place until at least 3 May, with Merkel also recommending the use of face masks in shops and on public transport, the BBC reported on Wednesday (15 April).

But as of next week shops under a certain size could open their doors. And schools will gradually start to reopen from 4 May.

Merkel said the country had achieved "fragile intermediate success" through the strict measures.

The chancellor said the country "must keep focused and keep going", adding that they "do not have a lot of room for manoeuvre".

Large public gatherings including religious services will remain banned until 31 August. Bars, cafes, restaurants, cinemas and music venues will all remain closed.

According to Germany's Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the country has 127,584 confirmed cases and has reported 3,254 deaths.

(With inputs from IANS)

Germany Records Highest Covid-19 Deaths In A Day; Pakistan Extends Lockdown Till 30 April

Germany on Wednesday (15 April) confirmed 285 COVID-19 fatalities in 24 hours, recording its highest daily death toll from the disease, health authorities reported.

The 285 new deaths - surpassing the previous record of 266 last Friday - brought the total from 2,969 to 3,254, an increase of 9.6 per cent, Daily mail reported.

The spike in deaths comes despite a slowing infection rate which has prompted scientific advisers to call for a re-opening of schools ''as soon as possible''.

Germany also has a keen eye on the rate of contagion, known as R, which shows how quickly the virus is spreading.

The rate is currently around 1.2, meaning that each person with the virus infects another 1.2 people on average.

"It is really in our interest that this R rate goes below 1, or is at 1. That is an important factor," said Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch diseases institute.

"We can't speak of containment yet - we still have high numbers each day. We are seeing a slowdown," he said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has extended the ongoing lockdown till 30 April, as the number of coronavirus cases in the country crossed 6,000, with 113 deaths, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

According to the Ministry, confirmed cases in the country have risen over 6,000.

The country also reported 11 more deaths, the highest in a day so far, while 1,446 patients have recovered and have been discharged from the hospitals.

A total of 73,439 people have been tested in the country of over 200 million people, with 3,280 tests conducted over the past 24 hours.

With 2,945, cases, the northeastern Punjab province - which accounts for more than half of the country's population - is the worst-hit area in Pakistan.

The southern Sindh province has 1,518 cases, northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has 865, and southwestern Balochistan province 240, according to the ministry's data.

The northern Gilgit-Baltistan region accounts for 234 of the country's total cases, while the capital Islamabad has 140, and Pakistan-administered Jammu and Kashmir 46 cases so far.

Official data showed that the recovery ratio in the confirmed cases is 24.1 per cent while the death ratio stands at 1.8 per cent, slightly high compared to last week's 1.5 per cent, Brinkwire reported.

Lahore, the provincial capital of Punjab province, is so far the worst-hit city with over 20 per cent cases of the total 5,988, while the southern port city of Karachi ranks the second with 17.68 per cent of the infections.

(With inputs from IANS)

Covid-19 Tally Nears 2 Million Mark Globally; Death Toll In New York City Rises Over 10,000

The total confirmed cases of Coronavirus across the globe have risen to 1,981,239 with the death toll increasing to 126,681, according to the latest data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

The number of patients that have recovered from the Covid-19 disease globally has also jumped to 486,622, the CSSE data showed.

With as many as 609,240 Covid-19 cases and 26,033 reported deaths, the United States has emerged as the worst affected country in the world by the deadly virus.

Italy has reported 21,067 fatalities and 162,488 cases while Spain has recorded over 174,000 cases and 18,255 deaths.

Meanwhile, the death toll from COVID-19 in New York City (NYC) increased by some 3,700 to exceed 10,000 after including those who presumably died of the disease but never got tested for the coronavirus, according to the US media reports.

The city's Health Department has been working for weeks to collect those missed data by learning about those who passed away with the same symptoms as COVID-19 and their medical histories.

The city's official number of deaths was believed to be an undercount as people who died at home before they got tested for the virus were left out, local officials and media had said.

Due to limited testing and hospital capacity, especially at the beginning of the outbreak, many people with mild to mid-level symptoms were turned down at testing centers, reported Xinhua news agency.

Mark Levine, chair of the NYC Council Committee on Health, said last week that normally 20 to 25 people die at home on a daily basis in the city, while the number now is at 200-215 every day.

"For sure nearly all the increase is people with coronavirus. But not all are being counted that way," he tweeted.

"Only people who die at home who are known to have a ''positive coronavirus test'' have the disease listed as the official cause on their death certificate. We know there are many others going uncounted," he said.

(With inputs from IANS)

France Extends Lockdown Till 11 May; China Begins Clinical Trials Of Potential Covid-19 Vaccines

French President Emmanuel Macron announced that the ongoing lockdown imposed to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has been extended till 11 May, as the country witnessed over 570 deaths due to the disease in 24 hours.

On Monday, death toll from the novel coronavirus increased to 14,967, after 574 fatalities were reported in a span of one day, Xinhua news agency quoted the Health Ministry as saying.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 137,877, although infections dropped for the fifth day in a row, it added.

In his third TV appearance since the pandemic hit the country, Macron said on Monday (13 April) evening: “The epidemic is starting to slow down. The results are there. Thanks to your efforts, everyday we have made progress.

“Hope is reborn but nothing is settled… Everywhere in French mainland or overseas, the (health) system is under pressure and the epidemic is not yet under control.

“We must therefore continue our efforts and apply the rules. The more we respect the rules, the more lives we save. This is why strict containment must continue until May 11.”

The announcement came two days before the current confinement, which started on 17 March, was due to end on 15 April.

Meanwhile, China has begun clinical trials of two possible vaccines against the novel coronavirus, it was reported on Tuesday (14 April).

The two inactivated vaccine prototypes have been developed using pathogenic micro-organisms that have been killed through the physical or chemical process, Efe news reported.

The first prototype, which received its license on Sunday to proceed with clinical trials, have been developed by the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, along with China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm).

The second was the result of a joint venture of several companies headed by Beijing-based firm Sinovac Research and Development Co., Ltd.

The firm is a subsidiary of Sinovac Biotech which also worked on a vaccine against the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003.

According to Xinhua, the vaccines used in the clinical trial can be used for a bigger-scale vaccination, the effectiveness of which will be accepted as per international standards.

(With inputs from IANS)

Confirmed Cases Rise To 19.2 Lakh Globally; 189 UN Staffers Infected With Covid-19

The total confirmed cases of Coronavirus across the globe have surged to 1,920,618 while the death toll has increased to 119,686, according to the latest data by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

As many as 453,145 people around the world have recovered from the disease, the CSSE data showed.

The United States has reported the maximum 582,580 Covid-19 cases as well as the highest fatalities at 23,622.

Meanwhile, a United Nations spokesman said that as of Sunday (12 April) evening, there were 189 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the entire UN system across the world, including three deaths.

"As of Sunday evening, there were 189 confirmed cases among the UN worldwide, and that included 3 deaths in the UN system that have happened since the start of the pandemic," Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said at a virtual briefing on Monday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The UN chief on 13 March demanded all UN staff members to telecommute and work remotely from 16 March to 12 April, to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 at the UN headquarters in New York. On 1 April, he extended his order for telecommuting till 30 April.

(With inputs from IANS)

Global Death Toll Nearing 115,000; Total Cases Rise To 18,50,527

The global coronavirus death toll increased to 114,245 on Monday morning, while the overall number of confirmed cases stood at 1,850,527, according to data compiled by the Washington-based Johns Hopkins University.

Although the pandmic originated in China last December, the US now accounts for highest number of cases and deaths in the world at 557,571 and 22,108, respectively, revealed the data by the university's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE).

In terms of cases, Spain has the second highest number of infections at 166,831, followed by Italy (156,363), France (133,670) and Germany (127,854).

With 19,899 fatalities, Italy has the second highest number of COVID-19 deaths after the US, according to the data.

The other countries with the death toll over the 10,000 mark are Spain (17,209), France (14,393) and the UK (10,612).

China now only accounts for 83,135 confirmed cases with 3,343 deaths.

COVID-19 cases in Iran surpass 71,000

Iran reported 1,657 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the total number to 71,686 in the country, while Turkey's confirmed cases climbed to 56,956.

The number of people who died from the virus in Iran has so far risen to 4,474, said Kianush Jahanpur, head of Public Relations and Information Centre of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, reported Xinhua news agency.

Meanwhile, in Turkey, the total number of COVID-19 cases has risen to 56,956 with 4,789 new ones reported in the last 24 hours, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Sunday.

The death toll from the novel coronavirus in the country reached 1,198, with 97 new deaths, Koca tweeted.

Turkey conducted a total of 35,720 tests in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of tests to 376,100, the minister noted.

UK coronavirus deaths hit 10,000

The UK has recorded 737 new coronavirus-related hospital deaths, taking the total number to 10,612 on Sunday.

It comes after one of the government's senior scientific advisers said the UK is likely to be among the worst-affected European countries.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said "today marks a sombre day", but welcomed efforts people had made to stay at home, the BBC reported.

The number of reported deaths does not include deaths outside of hospitals.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked healthcare workers for saving his life after being discharged from hospital.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in NYC surpasses 100,000

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New York City has surpassed the 100,000 mark with a total of 6,898 deaths.

Earlier in the day, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that five new testing centres would be opened in the hardest-hit communities to address previously-found disparities among different racial groups and between the rich and the poor.

"We cannot accept this inequality. We have to attack it with every tool we have," said de Blasio.

Covid-19 Tally Crosses 17 Lakh Mark; China Concerned Over Rise In ‘Imported’ Cases

The total confirmed cases of Coronavirus on Saturday (11 April) increased to 1,704,565 while the number of people recovered from the disease rose to 3,78,838, with over 103,200 fatalities, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

Meanwhile, Chinese health authorities on Saturday expressed concerns over the increasing number of ‘imported’ coronavirus cases in the mainland.

The authorities said they had detected 46 new cases of coronavirus, of which 42 were patients who have arrived in China from abroad, reports efe news.

The four cases of local infections occurred in the southeast province of Canton (three) and the northeast region of Heilongjiang.

The number of new imported cases is four more than reported on Friday (38) but fewer than the day before when 61 patients with travel history tested positive for the infection.

China has been struggling to contain the number of imported cases and has imposed strict travel restrictions on the entry of foreigners to the country.

The country also reported three new deaths in Hubei province. Two of the deaths occurred in the provincial capital of Wuhan, the epicentre of the pandemic that has seen 2,577 people losing their lives to the virus that has gripped the globe.

The authorities said 141 infected patients were in serious conditions and 94 of them were in Wuhan.

Despite the new confirmed cases, the total number of active patients in the Asian country continued to drop to 1,089.

The number of patients discharged, according to the authorities, is usually more than new infections.

The total number of coronavirus patients in China since the start of the pandemic stands at 81,953.

Among these, 3,339 people have lost their lives. Some 77,525 people have recovered from the disease.

Many Chinese have returned home from abroad since the virus engulfed the planet since in China, the virus outbreak, as per the official figures, seems more or less under control.

The Chinese returning home has caused a rebound in "imported" cases in recent weeks as many of them have travelled from other global hotspots of the virus.

(With inputs from IANS)

Death Toll Surges To Over 102,000 Globally; 102-Year-Old Woman Recovers From Covid-19 In UK

The total confirmed cases of Coronavirus have increased to nearly 1.7 million worldwide, with over 102,000 reported deaths, according to the latest data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

As many as 376,677 Covid-19 patients have recovered from the disease globally, the CSSE data showed.

The United States has reported 501,419 Covid-19 cases, the highest in the world, followed by Spain’s 158,273 and Italy’s 147,577 cases.

Italy has recorded the highest 18,849 deaths due to the pandemic while US and Spain have registered 18,769 and 16,081 fatalities respectively.

Meanwhile, defying all the odds, a woman aged 102 recovered from COVID-19 and was discharged from the Aintree Hospital in Liverpool.

Nurses lined the corridor, cheering and applauding, as the unnamed patient -- one of the oldest patients on the ward -- left to return to her care home in the city, Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.

Hailing her recovery as "a breath of fresh air" in a message to staff, hospital managers said "Everyone on the ward will miss (her), who has been discharged back to her care home, as she had been keeping them all entertained during her stay," the Liverpool Echo reported.

The "brilliant news" came after recent reports that two members of the staff, including a 68-year-old nurse, had died recently from COVID-19, according to the Liverpool Echo.

(With inputs from IANS)

Covid-19 Cases Surpass 1.6 Million Mark Globally; UK PM Boris Johnson Out Of Intensive Care

The total confirmed cases of Coronavirus has surged to 1,601,984 while the death toll has risen to 95,731, according to the latest data by the Centre for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

Italy saw the most deaths, standing at 18,279 among 143,626 confirmed cases, followed by United States, with 16,690 deaths among 466,033 cases, the most in the world, the tally showed.

Spain reported 153,22 confirmed cases and its death toll stood at 15,447, according to the CSSE.

Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved out of intensive care but remains in hospital for coronavirus treatment, according to the Downing Street.

Johnson was admitted to the St Thomas Hospital in London on Sunday, on the advice of his doctor, after continuing to have a cough and high temperature 10 days after testing positive for the virus, the BBC reported.

The Prime Minister was given oxygen before being taken to intensive care on Monday.

On Thursday (9 April) night, Downing Street said that Johnson "has been moved this evening from intensive care back to the ward, where he will receive close monitoring during the early phase of his recovery".

A spokesman added: "He is in extremely good spirits."

He "continues to improve" after a "good night" and thanked the National Health Service (NHS) for the "brilliant care" he has received, the spokesman added.

(With inputs from IANS)

Covid-19 Cases Rise To 14.8 Lakh Globally; US President Trump Renews Attack On WHO

The number of Covid-19 cases has increased to 1,484,811 globally, with the death toll surging to 88,538, according to the latest data by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

As many as 329,876 people have recovered from the disease, that originated in China’s Wuhan city.

With over 431,838 positive cases, the US has the highest number of Covid-19 patients. Spain has reported over 148,200 cases, followed by Italy’s 139,422 and France’s 113,982.

Italy has reported over 17,669 deaths, followed by Spain which recorded 14,792 fatalities. More than 14,800 casualties have been reported in the US due to the deadly virus.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday (9 April) renewed his attack on the World Health Organization (WHO) as he said that the US will make a determination on WHO funding.

Trump while addressing the daily briefing claimed that the WHO has gotten the pandemic "wrong". The WHO must "get its priorities right", he says, adding that the US is going to do "a study, investigation" to determine if it will continue to fund the agency, the BBC reported.

"Everybody has to be treated properly," Trump says, "and it doesn't seem that way", as he repeats his assertion that China is unfairly favoured by the global body.

The comments continue a spat between the US president and the WHO.

On Wednesday, appearing to call out Trump, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus defended the WHO's work and called for an end to the politicisation of COVID-19.

Also answering questions on Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the administration was "re-evaluating our funding with respect to the World Health Organization".

"Organisations have to work. They have to deliver the outcomes for which they were intended," Pompeo said.

(With inputs from IANS)

EU Sends Medical Team To Italy; Saudi Govt Predicts Huge Rise In Covid-19 Cases

A team of European doctors and nurses from Romania and Norway is being dispatched to Milan and Bergamo to help Italian medical staff battle the coronavirus pandemic, the European Union (EU) said in a statement.

According to the statement released on Tuesday (7 April), the medical team is deployed through the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism. Austria has also offered over 3,000 litres of disinfectant to Italy via the Mechanism, reported Xinhua news agency.

"These nurses and doctors, who left their homes to help their colleagues in other Member States are the true faces of European solidarity ... The Commission is doing everything it can to help Italy and all our Member States at this time of great need," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in the statement.

The EU's Copernicus satellite system has also been activated by Italy to map health facilities as well as public spaces during the coronavirus emergency.

Meanwhile, Studies by Saudi and international experts on epidemics predicted a huge increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Saudi Arabia in the coming weeks, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Saudi Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah on Tuesday said in a statement that the studies estimated that the number of COVID-19 infections in the kingdom in the next few weeks will be between 10,000 and up to 200,000.

The official data showed that the total number of COVID-19 cases in the kingdom reached 2,795 on Tuesday, including 615 recoveries and 41 deaths, reported Xinhua news agency.

"There is no doubt that our strict and full commitment to instructions and measures will decline the number of infections to the minimum. But lack of commitment will lead to an enormous increase in the number of infections," the minister warned.

The Saudi government has allocated 15 billion Saudi riyals (about US $3.99 billion) as financial support to confront the virus'' impact.

(With inputs from IANS)

Covid-19 Cases Rise To Over 14 Lakh; France Becomes Fourth Country To Report 10,000 Deaths

The global death toll due to Coronavirus has surged to over 82,000 while the confirmed cases of infection have risen to 14.30 lakh, according to the latest data by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

As many as 301,130 people have recovered from the disease that has spread to over 200 countries and territories around the world.

With around 400,000 cases, the US has reported the highest number of Covid-19 patients in the world. Spain has reported 141,942 cases, followed by Italy’s 135,586.

The maximum casualties have been reported in Italy with 17,127 people losing their lives due to the deadly virus. Spain recorded 14,045 deaths while US reported 12,895 deaths.

Meanwhile, as France entered its fourth week of lockdown, the coronavirus epidemic still hit hard, claiming 1,417 more deaths in hospitals and nursing homes, making the combined fatalities at 10,328, a French health official said.

Data unveiled by General Director of Health Jerome Salomon showed a fresh daily record of deaths in hospital where 607 people have succumbed to COVID-19 on Tuesday, representing a daily increase of 9.4 per cent to a cumulative total of 7,091, compared with a 10 per cent rise registered on Monday, reported Xinhua news agency.

The human loss caused by the epidemic had also risen in retirement homes. Some 3,237 have died since early March, up from Monday's 2,417.

Less than two months after the first COVID-19 death, an 80-year-old tourist from China, was reported on February 14, France now became the fourth country globally after Italy, Spain and the United States to report more than 10,000 deaths.

(With inputs from IANS)

Bangladesh Restricts Gatherings At Places Of Worship; Lockdown Extended In Islamabad

Bangladesh has ordered places of worship, including mosques, to restrict the presence of people gathering for prayers amid the coronavirus pandemic due to fears of community transmission of the disease, a media report said.

Not more than five people can congregate in mosques for prayers, the bdnews24 report said citing a government notice as saying on Monday (6 April), responding to broader calls for restrictions on visits to mosques and other places of worship.

The decision came as Bangladesh confirmed 35 new virus cases in a record single-day spike, taking the tally of positive tests to 123. The death toll rose to 12.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs issued an emergency notice on Monday restricting congregations, adding that a maximum of 10 devotees can attend the Friday prayers in mosques.

The government also restricted visits to other places of worship, including Hindu temples.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's capital city Islamabad has extended the ongoing lockdown for another eight days as the number of COVID-19 patients rose to 82, it was reported on Tuesday (7 April).

Seven more cases surfaced in the city on Monday taking the total in Islamabad to 82, reports Dawn news.

Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Mohammad Hamza Shafqaat told Dawn news that the decision to extend the lockdown until April 14 was taken under the guidelines issued by the federal government as a precautionary measure.

As of Tuesday, Pakistan has recorded a total of 3,864 coronavirus cases, with 54 deaths.

The highest number of cases was registered in Punjab province (1,918), followed by Sindh (932) in second place.

(With inputs from IANS)

Covid-19 Cases Surge To 13.4 Lakh Globally; US Death Toll Nears 11,000 Mark

The global death toll due to Coronavirus (Covid-19) has increased to 74,807 on Tuesday (7 April) while the confirmed cases of infection have surged to over 1,347,803, according to the latest data by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

As many as 2,77,402 people have recovered from the disease caused by deadly Coronavirus that originated from Wuhan in China.

The United States has reported the highest 368,196 Covid-19 cases, followed by Spain’s 136,675 and Italy’s 132,547 cases.

Over 16,500 people have died due to the deadly virus in Italy while 13,341 have lost their lives in Spain.

The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 in the United States surged to 10,986 on Tuesday, the CSSE data showed.

The state of New York suffered the most deaths in the country with around 4,900 deaths. Among other hard-hit states, New Jersey reported 917 fatalities, Michigan recorded 617 deaths, and California reported 350 deaths. Around 20,000 patients have recovered, according to the CSSE data.

At a Sunday briefing in the White House, US President Donald Trump said that Americans are bracing for probably the toughest week during which a lot of deaths will occur due to COVID-19.

"The US will reach a horrific point in terms of death," Trump said, while voicing his optimism that "it will be a point where things will start changing for the better."

(With inputs from IANS)

Global Death Toll Nearing 70,000; Total Cases Rise To 12,77,962

The global Covid-19 cases have increased to 12,77,962 on Monday (6 April) while the fatalities due to the deadly virus surged to 69,555, according to the latest data by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

More than 500 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours in Italy, Spain, France and the United Kingdom.

Italy remains the worst-affected country with 15,887 deaths so far, followed by Spain (12,641), the United States (9,643), France (8,078) and the UK (4,934). The silver lining is that the number of deaths, as well as confirmed cases, have started to fall gradually across Europe, including Italy and Spain.

NY COVID-19 Deaths Top 4k, Warning Of Hardest Week Ahead

Authorities in New York, the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in the US, announced that the disease has claimed 4,159 lives and infected 122,031 others in the state, while the US's surgeon general said that the coming week will be a "Pearl Harbor moment... our 9/11 moment".

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who warned on Saturday that the peak of the coronavirus epidemic in the state would come in the next seven days, announced on Sunday that the state's outbreak may have already reached its apex although he warned that instead of a reduction in deaths and cases, what could occur is a "plateau" with a high number of cases for a period of time, Efe news reported.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the US reached 337,637 as of Monday, the highest in the world, with 9,647 deaths, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

New York has the highest number of infections (122,031) and fatalities (4,159), followed by New Jersey (34,124 infections and 459 847 deaths), Michigan (14,225 infections and 540 deaths), California (13,796 infections and 323 deaths) and Louisiana (12,496 infections and 412 deaths), according to Cuomo.

Confirmed Cases Rise To 11.23 Lakh; Bangladesh Records Biggest Jump In Covid-19 Cases

The global Covid-19 cases have increased to 1,123,024 on Saturday (4 April) while the fatalities due to the deadly virus surged to 59,140, according to the latest data by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

The total number of recovered patients has also increased to 228,006, the CSSE data showed.

The United States has reported 278,458 Covid-19 cases, highest in the world, followed by Italy’s 119,827 and Spain’s 119,199.

As many as 14,681 people have been reported dead in Italy due to the Coronavirus. Spain has recorded over 11,744 fatalities.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh, which has so far been able to contain the spread of the Covid-19, on Saturday (4 April) reported nine new cases, the highest jump in the Covid-19 cases in the country in a single day.

With the emergence of these nine cases, the total number of Covid-19 cases in Bangladesh has surged to 70. The death toll in Bangladesh due to the pandemic also increased to eight, with two more fatalities recorded on Saturday.

(With inputs from IANS)

South Korea Extends Social Distancing Drive; 50 Qantas Airline Staff Test Positive For Covid-19

South Korea on Saturday (4 April) decided to extend its social distancing campaign for another two weeks amid a slowing but still continuing coronavirus spread.

The decision came in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun, who insisted the country had no choice but to maintain a high-level social distancing drive "for some time", reports Yonhap news Agency

"We have no choice but to continue an intense social distancing drive for some time in the future," the Prime Minister said in the meeting held earlier in Seoul.

People have been advised to keep a social distance of at least 2 metres from each other since South Korea reported its first confirmed case of Covid-19 on 20 January.

South Korea has over 10,100 reported cases of Covid-19 till Friday (3 April) with as many as 177 fatalities.

Meanwhile, some 50 staff members from Australian flag carrier Qantas and its subsidiary airline, Jetstar, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, a company official said on Saturday (4 April).

The latest cases include eight pilots and 19 crew members, Xinhua news agency quoted the company's medical officer Russell Brown as saying.

Brown said most of those "were from overseas, but they were taking the precautions... wearing masks when flying and being careful".

Qantas medical director Ian Hosegood said in a statement that there was no evidence passengers had caught the virus from infected staff, but could not rule that out.

"In most of these cases, the employees have contracted the coronavirus while overseas including staff who were on holidays," Hosegood said.

"We have put in place increased measures to protect our people while they are at work and our customers including enhanced cleaning at airports and on aircraft and providing necessary safety equipment."

All of the infected employees are under 14 days' quarantine.

(With inputs from IANS)

Covid-19 Tally Nears 11 Lakh Mark; US Reports Nearly 1,500 Deaths, Highest In A Day

The total number of coronavirus cases worldwide has surged to over 10.97 lakh while the death toll due to the deadly virus rose to 58,901 globally, according to the latest data by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University.

The number of patients that have recovered from the disease has also increased to 226,603, the CSSE data showed.

The highest number of deaths due to the Covid-19 has been reported in Italy where the death toll has surged to 14,681 while 119,827 confirmed cases of infection have been recorded there.

Meanwhile, the US has recorded nearly 1,500 coronavirus deaths in a span of 24 hours, the highest number of fatalities registered in a day globally since the pandemic began last December, it was reported.

According to CSSE data, 1,480 deaths were recorded between Thursday (2 April) and Friday (3 April) in US.

As of Saturday (4 April) morning, the US has registered 7,152 coronavirus deaths, with New York, the epicentre of the pandemic in the country, accounting for 1,867 of the total count, the CSSE figures showed.

The US also has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world at 277,953.

(With inputs from IANS)

Wimbledon 2020 Cancelled For The First Time Since World War II

The 2020 edition of the Wimbledon Championships has been officially cancelled, organisers All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) announced on Wednesday. The AELTC said that instead, the Wimbledon will now be held from June 28 to July 11, 2021.

It marks the first time since 1945 - during the Second World War - that the Championships won''t take place in a tennis season and the first time it has been cancelled in the Open era.

The total Covid-19 cases in the world are now nearing the 9 lakh number. As per data by Johns Hopkins there are a total of 885,687 cases in the world and 44,216 fatalities.

With Inputs From IANS

Olympics Officially Postponed To July 2021; Covid-19 Death Toll Crosses 35,000 Mark

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, will now be held from 23 July to 8 August next year and the Para Olympic Games will be held from 24 August 24 to 5 September.

The global death toll due to Covid-19 stands at 35,307 as per data collected by Johns Hopkins University. The total number of infections globally are at 755,591 and 158,527 have recovered from the disease.

Covid-19 cases cross 722,000 mark; toll over 33,500

The number of coronavirus cases around the world crossed the 722,000 mark near midnight on Monday, with the US comprising over a seventh of them, while the death toll crossed the 33,500 mark, with Italy (10,779) and Spain (6,606) accounting for over half of them, as the Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Centre.

COVID-19 death toll in Europe surpasses 21,000

The COVID-19 pandemic continued to ravage Europe, with the death toll in the region climbing to over 21,000 out of more than 360,000 confirmed cases.

In worst case scenario, 200,000 Americans could die from COVID19: White House

Sending out a dire warning, the White House on Sunday projected America's peak death toll from the coronavirus is likely in two weeks coinciding with Easter weekend and in a worst case scenario, a total of 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could eventually succumb to the virus.

Spain Reports Over 800 Covid-19 Deaths In A Day, Toll Crosses 6,000

Spain, which is following Italy --the world's second-most coronavirus-affected country, saw its largest number of fatalities in a 24-hour period so far, taking the death toll to 6,528 as on Sunday (29 March).

As many as 838 people died in the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry said, reported the BBC.

Over 6,000 new cases were reported, taking the total number of those infected to 78,797 from 72,248, as on Saturday.

US Death Tally Crosses 2,000

The United States has reported more than 2,000 Covid-19 deaths, according to the latest tally from Johns Hopkins University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE).

Global Death Toll Tops 30,000-Mark; Italy Death Toll Over 10,000

The total number of global coronavirus cases has increased to 664,695, while the death toll stood at 30,840, the latest update by the Washington-based John Hopkins University revealed on Sunday (29 March).

Italy’s death toll from novel coronavirus shot past 10,000 on Saturday (28 March) 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.

World Bank Finalising $160 Billion Relief Package For Most Affected Countries

The World Bank Group President David Malpass said hat the multilateral lender was finalizing a package that could provide as much as $160 billion in financial support for the worst-hit countries by the coronavirus pandemic.

"The goals are to shorten the time to recovery; create conditions for growth; support small and medium enterprises, and help protect the poor and vulnerable," Malpass told a conference call of the Extraordinary Group of Twenty (G20) Leaders' Summit on Thursday (26 March).

Noting that the World Bank has approved a $14 billion package focused on the immediate health and social consequences of the outbreak, Malpass said "we're now finalizing an additional package that will focus on the broader economic consequences", reports Xinhua news agency.

Global Death Toll Tops 21,500

More than 480,400 people have been infected by the virus and over 21,500 have died, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

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