Coronavirus cases in US go past 300,000: Live updates

At least 8,100 people have died of coronavirus in the US while global death toll surged past 60,000.

The number of coronavirus cases in the United States has exceeded 300,000, while the death toll passed 8,100.

New York state’s coronavirus death toll has risen at a devastating pace to reach 3,565, up from 2,935 the previous day, the largest 24-hour jump recorded there.

More:

  • Coronavirus: Which countries have confirmed cases?

  • Coronavirus: Why are deaths rising so quickly in Spain?

  • Why Turkey is facing a steep curve of new coronavirus cases

In Italy, the death toll rose to 15,362, while Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced that Madrid would extend the coronavirus lockdown until April 25, as the death toll soared to 11,744.

Globally, the death toll surged past 60,000 on Saturday, according to the data compiled by the Johns Hopkins University (JHU), amid over 1.1 million cases.

Here are the latest updates:

Saturday, April 4

09:25 GMT –  Confirmed coronavirus cases in US top 300,000: Johns Hopkins

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US has topped 300,000 and there have been more than 8,100 deaths, according to data collected by the JHU.

The Baltimore-based university, which has been keeping a running tally of global coronavirus numbers, said there are at least 300,915 confirmed cases in the US and 8,162 deaths.

09:10 GMT – Can coronavirus curve be flattened?

The US currently has the highest number of infections and Italy has the greatest number of deaths. Yet some countries appear to be succeeding at “flattening the curve”.

The number of new cases each day appears to be falling in places such as Taiwan, Canada, South Korea and Iceland. They have all shown that the rate of infections can be slowed.

So how have some countries managed to control the rate of infections and deaths? And can others – including Italy and Spain – bring theirs down?

19:45 GMT – Albania’s 29 new cases mark highest daily surge

Albania reported 29 new cases of the coronavirus, the highest daily number in a single day, as 2.8 million Albanians started a third 40-hour lockdown to break the contagion’s chain.

The country now has a total of 333 cases and 18 deaths related to COVID-19.

19:20 GMT – Malawi’s top politicians to take salary cut

Malawi’s president and cabinet will take a 10 percent salary cut and redirect the money towards the fight against coronavirus, President Peter Mutharika said.

In a national address on state television, Mutharika announced a number of measures aimed at cushioning small and medium businesses, including tax breaks, reduction in fuel allowances and an increase in risk allowances for health workers.

19:00 GMT – Tunisia government given special powers to handle coronavirus 

Tunisia’s parliament ceded some powers to the North African country’s government for two months to help it handle the coronavirus crisis and the expected economic fallout.

The decision, backed by all political parties, will allow Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh’s government to issue decrees, sign purchase agreements and seek finance without consulting parliament.

Tunisia has 495 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including 18 deaths. It has imposed a national lockdown until April 19 to slow its spread.

18:10 GMT – Turkey coronavirus death toll passes 500

Turkey confirmed that 76 more people died from the coronavirus in the country over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 501.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases surged to 23,934, according to the data Health Minister Fahrettin Koca shared on Twitter.

So far, a total of 786 patients have recovered and been discharged from hospitals, while 1,311 patients are currently under intensive care units, Koca said. 

18:02 GMT – UN: COVID-19 outbreak in Libya could be ‘catastrophic’ 

An outbreak of the coronavirus in Libya could be “truly catastrophic” for the internally displaced people and close to 700,000 refugees and migrants in the war-torn country, the United Nations’ agencies and experts have warned.

“The conditions are dire. Hundreds of people are locked in crowded hangars with no access to proper sanitation facilities. Many of them have been detained for months or even years. Worry is all they know,” Amira Rajab Elhemali, national field operations assistant for the International Organization for Migration, told Al Jazeera.

Read more here.

17:38 GMT – Ukrainian doctors fly to Italy to help combat coronavirus

Ukraine, which expects a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in the coming weeks, has sent a team of doctors to Italy to assist Italian medics and to gain field experience.

A team of 20 medical staff, including general surgeons, neurosurgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses, will be deployed to the region of Marche in central Italy for two weeks, Italian ambassador to Ukraine, Davide La Cecilia, told the Reuters news agency.

“The national health service in our country is very stressed. So we badly need medical personnel and are very happy that Ukraine is sending this humanitarian aid,” said La Cecilia at Kyiv’s airport, before the medical mission’s departure.

17:05 GMT – Italy death toll passes 15,000

The death toll from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy rose by 681 to 15,362, a somewhat lower rise than those seen in recent days, while the number of patients in intensive care fell for the first time, the Civil Protection Agency said.

The total number of confirmed cases rose to 124,632 from 119,827 reported on Friday, an increase of 4,805, slightly higher than the numbers over recent days which have encouraged hopes that the spread of the disease has reached a plateau.

Of those originally infected nationwide, 20,996 were declared recovered on Saturday, compared with 19,758 a day earlier.

There were 3,994 people in intensive care, down from a previous 4,068, the first time the total had fallen since the outbreak in northern Italy on February 21.

16:56 GMT – Qatar reports 250 new coronavirus cases

Qatar announced 250 new infections of coronavirus, with 1,213 active cases in total.

The Ministry of Public Health said 16 more people have recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of people recovered in the country to 109.

So far, 31,951 people have been tested for coronavirus infection.

11:55 GMT – Switzerland death toll rises to 540

Switzerland’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak has reached 540, the country’s public health agency has said, rising from 484 on Friday. 

The number of people testing positive for infections also increased to 20,278 from 19,303 from the previous day, it said.

11:40 GMT – Spanish hotel owner turns resort over to refugees

In a complex of holiday bungalows to the east of Madrid, Venezuelan refugees and homeless people have replaced the tourists, business meetings and wedding parties that usually fill the premises.

The owner of the La Ciguena resort has turned the facility over to some of Madrid’s most vulnerable families after he had to close the hotel because of the coronavirus outbreak sweeping through Spain. 

“Since we’ve arrived, they’ve attended to our every need,” Stephanie Paez, an eight-month pregnant Venezuelan refugee accompanied by her partner and mother, told Reuters. 

The resort is housing 12 families with children, about 65 people, most of them Venezuelan refugees.

11:20 GMT – China’s Guangxi region tightens border controls

China’s southwestern Guangxi region, which has borders with Vietnam, has suspended cross-border passenger transportation and restricted the exit of citizens from the country amid concerns of an increase in imported coronavirus cases.

It has closed most ports except for a few being used for freight transportation, the Guangxi health commission said in a statement.

11:10 GMT – Deaths in Netherlands rise by 164 to 1,651

The confirmed death toll from the coronavirus in the Netherlands has risen by 164 to 1,651, health authorities said.

The National Institute for Health (RIVM) said the total number of infections had increased by 6 percent to 16,627 over the past 24 hours.

The actual number of deaths and infections is higher than the official figure due to a lack of widespread testing for the coronavirus, the RIVM has said.

10:55 GMT – Kuwait reports first death 

Kuwait has recorded its first death from the coronavirus outbreak, state news agency KUNA reported, citing a health ministry spokesman.

The total number of people diagnosed with the disease increased by 62 in the past 24 hours to 479 cases, he said, according to KUNA. 

More:

  • Doctor’s Note: Why will it take so long for a COVID-19 vaccine?

  • COVID-19 effect: US service sector among hardest hit by lockdown

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10:40 GMT – Why do more people keep dying in the UK?

Less than two weeks ago, Britons were still going to pubs and restaurants, even as they stockpiled essential items.

Now, this seems a distant memory as streets are deserted and all non-essential businesses remain closed.

But despite a nationwide lockdown introduced on March 24, coronavirus-related deaths have sharply risen.

Al Jazeera explores why.

10:20 GMT – Hungary creates $4bn fund to restart economy

The Hungarian premier’s chief of staff said the government has created a $bn pool to help restart the economy amid the coronavirus outbreak, using rerouted government ministry resources and the national employment fund.

The government is also working on the recovery effort with the central bank, which will make some announcements after a meeting of its Monetary Council next week, Gergely Gulyas told an online press briefing. The entire effort to revive the economy will be worth around 20 percent of gross domestic product, he said.

10:00 GMT – Iran’s coronavirus death toll rises to 3,452

Iran’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak has climbed to 3,452, with 158 more fatalities recorded over the past 24 hours, Health Ministry Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpur said.

The total number of cases diagnosed with the disease reached 55,743, of whom 4,103 are in critical condition, he said on state TV. Iran is the country worst affected by the pandemic in the Middle East.

09:55 GMT – Georgia records first death

A 79-year-old woman who tested positive for the coronavirus has died in Georgia, the presiding doctor at the clinic where she was treated said, reporting the country’s first death related to the pandemic.

The patient had other illnesses and underlying conditions.

Georgia, a South Caucasus country of 3.7 million people, had reported 157 coronavirus infections as of Saturday. 

09:45 GMT – Spain reports 809 new deaths and 7,026 new cases, continuing downward trend

Spain’s death toll from the coronavirus has risen to 11,744 from 10,935 the previous day, the Health Ministry said, the second straight second day in which the daily number of new deaths had fallen.

A total of 809 people died from the disease over the past 24 hours, down from 932 in the previous period, the figures showed.

The total number of registered infections rose to 124,736 on Saturday from 117,710 on Friday, the ministry said. 

09:40 GMT: Gulf Air says transit open again via Bahrain for international travellers

Transit through Bahrain International Airport is open again for international travellers, Manama-based Gulf Air has said, though entry to the country is limited to Bahrainis and other residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

“In compliance with the new regulations issued by the Bahrain Civil Aviation Authority, we are welcoming back transit passengers through Bahrain International Airport. Arrival into Bahrain remains restricted to nationals and residents,” the airline said on Twitter.

09:30 GMT – Indonesia’s coronavirus infections top 2,000

Indonesia has reported 106 new confirmed coronavirus infections, taking the total number of cases in the Southeast Asian country to 2,092.

Health Ministry official Achmad Yurianto also said there were 10 new deaths, taking the death toll to 191. 

More:

  • COVID-19: Brazil’s Bolsonaro is putting ‘lives in danger’

  • Racism row as French doctors suggest virus vaccine test in Africa

  • ‘When sirens went off, I began to cry’: China mourns virus deaths

09:15 GMT – Malaysia reports 150 new coronavirus cases, four more deaths

Malaysia has reported 150 new coronavirus cases, including four deaths.

The new numbers take the country’s total to 3,483 confirmed infections and 57 deaths, the health ministry said. 

09:00 GMT – Racism row as French doctors suggest virus vaccine be tested in Africa

Two French doctors have been accused of racism for suggesting that a potential vaccine for coronavirus should first be tested on people in Africa.

The comments were made on the French television channel, LCI, during a discussion on Wednesday about COVID-19 trials set to be launched in Europe and Australia to see if the BCG tuberculosis vaccine could be used to treat the virus.

“It may be provocative. Should we not do this study in Africa where there are no masks, no treatment or intensive care, a little bit like it’s been done for certain AIDS studies, where among prostitutes, we try things, because we know that they are highly exposed and don’t protect themselves?” said Jean-Paul Mira, head of the intensive care unit at the Cochin Hospital in Paris. 

Read more here. 

08:40 GMT – Tokyo area sees daily coronavirus cases topping 100 for first time

Some 118 people were newly infected with the coronavirus in the Japanese capital of Tokyo, NHK public broadcaster has reported, citing metropolitan government officials.

It marked the first time that daily confirmed cases exceeded 100 in the Tokyo area, bringing the number of confirmed cases there to 891, NHK said.

Tokyo’s metropolitan government has strongly urged people to stay at home at the weekend as the mega-city faces a rising number of cases and as speculation simmers that Japan may declare a state of emergency, leading to lockdown.

Japan has so far escaped the kind of explosive surges seen in Europe, the United States and elsewhere, with some 3,000 cases and 73 deaths as of Friday.

08:20 GMT – Poachers in Nepal take advantage of lockdown

Poachers in Nepal are taking advantage of slack monitoring and sparse public movement during the coronavirus lockdown, with the country seeing a surge in the killing of wildlife under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials say that an elephant and three crocodiles have been killed since the country went into lockdown on March 24, a period which also saw a deadly encounter between poachers and wildlife rangers.

“We have increased patrolling following a rise in the movement of poachers; but it’s not surprising as we were expecting that something like this would happen,” Bishnu Prasad Shrestha, a spokesperson for Nepal’s Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), told DPA news agency. 

DNPWC officials said that three critically endangered Gharial crocodiles were killed around Chitwan National Park, while the elephant was found electrocuted in the buffer zone of the Bardiya National Park in western Nepal.  

08:00 GMT – Philippines records 8 new coronavirus deaths, 76 more infections

The health ministry of the Philippines has reported 76 new coronavirus infections and eight new deaths.

In a bulletin, the health ministry said a total of 144 people have died in country while 3,094 have been infected.

07:45 GMT – UK could relax some lockdown rules in weeks

The UK could relax some social-distancing measures in a matter of weeks if the spread of the coronavirus eases and testing steps up, a leading professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College London has said. 

“I’m hopeful that in a few weeks’ time we will be able to move to a regime which – will not be normal life, let me emphasise that – but will be somewhat more relaxed in terms of social-distancing and the economy but rely more on testing,” Neil Ferguson, who advises the government, told BBC Radio.

07:25 GMT – Israel infections rise to 7,428 with 41 deaths 

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Israel has risen to 7,428, according to the health ministry. 

To date, 41 people have died from COVID-19.

07:00 GMT – Remote Pacific islands prepare for worst

As the number of cases of COVID-19 worldwide exceeds one million, the 22 island nations and territories scattered across the Pacific Ocean have so far managed to escape the worst of the outbreak, with 119 cases identified across the region as of April 1.

But Pacific Island governments are acutely aware of the potential for catastrophe in closely-knit communities and densely-populated urban centres, should an outbreak take hold, and the lack of capacity of their under-resourced health services to cope.  

“We are having to work from an already disadvantaged position compared to most countries … The major concern for most of us is that we don’t and will not have the capacity to deal with an outbreak of the magnitudes that we are witnessing globally, which will have the potential to cripple our struggling health system and country as a whole,” Dr Lynda Sirigoi, a physician in Papua New Guinea’s capital, Port Moresby, and president of the PNG Women Doctors Association, told Al Jazeera. 

Read more here. 

06:15 GMT – Coronavirus cases exceed 1.1 million globally

The number of confirmed coronavirus infections has passed 1.1 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

At least 181 countries and territories in the US have been touched by the virus, which has killed over 58,900 people. Over 226,600 people have recovered.

05:45 GMT – US paves way for federal prisons to speed up prisoner releases

US Attorney General William Barr has said that the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is facing emergency conditions due to the fast-spreading coronavirus, paving the way for the agency to begin releasing more inmates out of custody and into home confinement.

Barr said under his emergency order, priority for releasing vulnerable inmates into home confinement should be given first to those housed in federal prisons that have been hardest hit by COVID-19, including facilities such as Oakdale in Louisiana, Elkton in Ohio and Danbury in Connecticut, according to a memo dated Friday.

Barr’s order comes after five inmates at FCI Oakdale 1 and two at FCI Elkton 1 died from COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus. The BOP said Friday that 91 inmates and 50 of its staff throughout its 122 institutions have fallen ill with COVID-19. Union officials have said the number is much higher.

More:

  • Indonesia reports Southeast Asia’s highest coronavirus fatalities

  • Remote Pacific islands prepare for worst as coronavirus looms

  • Trump hosts oil execs at White House to discuss market slump

05:30 GMT – Australia says temporary visa holders should go home as soon as possible

The Australian government has said over 2 million people on temporary visas, including students, skilled workers, and visitors, in the country, should “go home” as soon as possible amid an economic downturn and joblessness due to the coronavirus pandemic.       

There are 2.17 million foreigners currently in Australia on different temporary visas, and are “extremely valuable to the Australian economy and way of life,” Alan Tudge, the acting immigration minister, said Saturday in a statement.

But, Tudge said, “temporary visa holders who are unable to support themselves under these arrangements over the next six months are strongly encouraged to return home…For these individuals, it’s time to go home, and they should make arrangements as quickly as possible.” This does not include permanent residents, he said. 

Tudge added 203,000 tourists in Australia needed to “return to their home country as quickly as possible.”

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This is Joseph Stepansky in Doha taking over the live updates from my colleague Ted Regencia.

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05:08 GMT – Hong Kong to remind domestic workers against public gathering

Hong Kong’s labour department has announced that beginning on Sunday, it will conduct mobile broadcasts in popular gathering places of foreign domestic helpers, to call upon them to comply with the regulation on the prohibition of group gatherings in public places.

The public broadcast will be in Chinese, English, Filipino, Bahasa Indonesia and Thai, according to a press release.

With effect from March 29 to April 11, group gatherings with more than four people in public places are prohibited and offenders are liable to a fixed penalty of 2,000 Hong Kong dollars ($258), or if charged in a court, a maximum penalty of a 25,000 HKD ($3,225) fine and imprisonment for six months.

04:13 GMT – South Korea issues new guidelines to slow pandemic

South Korea has extended government guidelines urging people to socially distance to slow the spread of the coronavirus for two weeks as infections continue to grow in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area.

During a meeting on anti-virus measures on Saturday, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun expressed concern over rising infections linked to recent arrivals amid broadening outbreaks in Europe and the United States.

“We very well know that continuing social distancing comes with massive costs and sacrifice,” Chung said, referring to the economic shock. “But if we loosen things right now, the effort we so far invested could pop and disappear like a bubble.”

South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday confirmed 94 new cases and three more deaths, bringing national totals to 10,156 cases and 177 deaths.

03:30 GMT – From zero cases and casualties, why is Indonesia seeing a sharp surge in coronavirus statistics?

From zero reported infections and fatalities in January and February, Indonesia now faces a sudden jump in its coronavirus statistics.

As of Friday, there were 1,986 confirmed cases and 181 deaths, making it the country with the most coronavirus deaths and the highest fatality rate in Southeast Asia. Indonesia’s death rate stood at 9.1 percent compared to 5.2 worldwide as of Friday.

Read the full story here.

02:25 GMT – Thousands of Central Americans detained for flaunting coronavirus rules

Thousands of people have been detained across Central America for violating rules put in place by their governments to curb the fast-spreading new coronavirus in a region that has fewer medical resources than developed countries.

Central America is home to a large, poor population with no options to work from home, take paid sick leave or observe social distancing rules because its people work in the informal economy and live in crowded conditions.

Honduran authorities said about 2,250 people have been arrested for violating the curfew imposed since mid-March while Guatemalan authorities said 5,705 people had been detained for leaving their homes without justification.

In Panama, more than 5,000 people have been detained in recent weeks for violating curfew rules; another 424 people have been detained for not complying with recent rules that limit men and women to leaving the house on alternate days.

01:20 GMT – Day of mourning set for China’s coronavirus ‘martyrs’

China declared Saturday a day of mourning for the thousands of “martyrs” who have died in the new coronavirus outbreak, flying the national flag at half-mast throughout the country and suspending all forms of entertainment.

The day of mourning coincided with the start of the annual Qingming tomb-sweeping festival, when millions of Chinese families pay respects to their ancestors.

At 10am (02:00 GMT) Beijing time, the country observed three minutes of silence to mourn those who died, including frontline medical workers and doctors. Cars, trains and ships sounded their horns and air raid sirens wailed.

China has officially reported more than 3,300 deaths from the coronavirus.

Read more here. 

00:40 GMT – Mainland China reports 19 new confirmed coronavirus cases

Mainland China reported on Saturday at least 19 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, down from 31 a day earlier, including one new infection in central Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak in the country.

Of the new cases, 18 involved travellers arriving from abroad, the National Health Commission said in a statement. The new infections bring the total number of confirmed cases in mainland China to 81,639 as of Friday. China also reported four new deaths, raising the death toll to 3,326 as of Friday. 

00:05 GMT – Trumps says he will not wear mask but orders halt on export of masks, gloves

The White House says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that Americans cover their faces when leaving their homes, especially around other people. But President Donald Trump is calling it “voluntary” and says he himself will not wear a mask.

“I’m choosing not to do it,” he said late on Friday, even as he ordered a freeze in the exportation of N95 masks and surgical gloves under the Defense Production Act.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that everyone should wear masks in public to help contain the spread of the deadly infection.

23:05 GMT – New York governor signs order to take unused ventilators

President Donald Trump says his administration is “doing our best for New York” even as Governor Andrew Cuomo warns the state is in danger of not having enough ventilators to help coronavirus-stricken patients in a matter of days.

Earlier on Friday, Cuomo signed an executive order allowing the state to take unused ventilators and personal protective equipment from hospitals within the state. New York State, which has recorded around 3,000 coronavirus deaths, has been the hardest-hit area in the US by the pandemic.

I’m Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur with Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read all the updates from yesterday (April 3) here. 

UK coronavirus death toll rises to 4,313, up 20% on day earlier

LONDON, April 4 (Reuters) – The United Kingdom’s death toll from the coronavirus rose by 20% to 4,313 at 1600 GMT on April 3, the health ministry said.

As of 0800 GMT on April 4, a total of 183,190 people have been tested of which 41,903 tested positive, the health ministry said.

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