Turkish president announces curfew for youth, shuts borders of 31 cities to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
Turkey decided to shut down borders of 31 cities and imposed a partial curfew for citizens under the age of 20, effective from midnight Friday to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
Meanwhile, UN chief Antonio Guterres renewed his call for a global ceasefire, urging all parties to conflict to lay down arms and allow war-torn countries to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
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As New York recorded 562 more deaths – its deadliest single day – Governor Andrew Cuomo made a plea for the US to deploy its resources to New York to help it deal with the growing crisis.
The US now has nearly 7,000 fatalities as the contagion rapidly spreads.
More than 1,083,000 people have been diagnosed with the virus globally, according to the data from Johns Hopkins University. More than 225,000 people have recovered from the disease, including more than 9,000 in the US.
Here are the latest updates:
Friday, April 3
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. The state, which recorded around 3,000 coronavirus deaths, has been the hardest hit area in the US by the pandemic.
20:30 GMT – Texas ‘fully prepared’ for hospital needs
Texas is fully prepared to meet hospital capacity needs and should be able to provide enough ventilators as needs arise, Governor Greg Abbott said.
20:20 GMT – Cases in Egypt increase by more than 100
The number of coronavirus cases in Egypt jumped by more than 100 for the first time, raising total confirmed cases to 985, the health ministry said.
The ministry said in a statement that 120 new cases and eight new deaths were recorded.
66 people in Egypt have so far died from the coronavirus.
20:00 GMT – France seeks UN Security Council meeting on war zones
France said discussions were underway for the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to convene via video regarding how to tackle the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in war zones.
“The idea of a pause [in fighting] on humanitarian grounds must clearly be discussed at the Security Council and we hope this meeting takes place so that we can move in this direction,” the French presidency said in a statement.
19:55 GMT – Albania sees surge in cases
Albania confirmed 27 new cases of the coronavirus, its second biggest daily surge, and ordered a third 40-hour lockdown over the weekend to contain the highly contagious pathogen.
17 people have died from COVID-19 in the country so far.
Albania had reported it largest single day of confirmed cases on March 26 with 28.
18:40 GMT – Canada’s Ontario province projects 80,000 cases by April 30
Ontario health officials projected 80,000 coronavirus cases in the province, Canada’s most heavily populated region, by April 30 under current public health measures and urged people to restrict their movements.
The officials said the new coronavirus would kill 1,600 people by the end of the month, under current policies.
Ontario has reported 3,255 confirmed cases and 67 deaths.
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18:25 GMT – WHO allows broader use of masks to limit spread of coronavirus
The WHO said the use of respirator masks should be focused mainly on medical workers, but opened the door to greater use of homemade masks or other mouth coverings as a way to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
A senior WHO official told reporters there was some possibility of airborne transmission of the virus, but the main cause was still believed to be symptomatic people who were coughing and sneezing and contaminating surfaces or other people.
“We must preserve medical surgical respirator masks for our frontline workers, but the idea of using respiratory coverings or mouth coverings to prevent coughing or sneezing… that in itself is not a bad idea,” Dr. Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergencies expert said.
18:15 GMT – Trudeau warns US: Don’t block supplies into Canada
It would be a “mistake” for the US to stop masks badly needed by health care professionals from coming into Canada, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
Trudeau’s comment follows the Trump administration order to the 3M company to stop exporting essential supplies to Canada.
“The US also receives essential supplies and products and indeed health care professionals from Canada every single day,” Trudeau said.
“It would be a mistake to create blockages or reduce the amount of back and forth.”
18:05 GMT – France records 588 more deaths
France reported 588 more coronavirus deaths, its deadliest single-day toll since the epidemic began.
5,091 people have now died in hospital of the COVID-19 disease in France, top health official Jerome Salomon told media.
Those who have died of COVID-19 in senior homes are not included in the tally. But Salomon said that 1,416 people had died from coronavirus in such establishments, bringing the total toll to at least 6,507.
17:55 GMT – Bulgaria extends state of emergency
Bulgaria’s parliament approved to extend its state of emergency for another month, until April 13 as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 485. 14 people in Bulgaria have died so far from COVID-19.
17:50 GMT – Turkey imposes curfew on youth, shuts borders of 31 cities
Turkey imposed a partial curfew for citizens under the age of 20, effective as of midnight, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said.
Ankara also decided to shut down borders of 31 cities for vehicles, excluding essential supplies, to contain the outbreak, Erdogan said, adding that mask usage will be obligatory in crowded places.
“The shutdown of city borders will be in effect for 15 days initially, however this period can be extended if necessary,” Erdogan told a news conference.
Turkey’s death toll rose to 425, while the number of confirmed cases increased to more than 20,000, according to Health Minister Fahrettin Koca.
17:40 GMT – Downturn ‘way worse’ than 2008 recession: IMF
The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the recession sparked by the coronavirus pandemic is “way worse” than the 2008 global recession and is “a crisis like no other”.
“Never in the history of the IMF have we witnessed the world economy coming to a standstill,” Kristalina Georgieva said.
“We are now in recession, it is way worse than the global financial crisis and it is a crisis that requires all of us to come together.”
Georgieva says 90 countries have already approached the institution for emergency financing.
She added that the world’s most fragile countries must be protected, noting that “$90bn have flown out”.
17:24 GMT – How is South Africa faring in COVID-19 fight?
One week into a nationwide lockdown, South Africa is scrambling to set in motion an ambitious track-and-trace programme to identify people who may have contracted the new coronavirus as infections begin to proliferate across informal settlements in the world’s most unequal society.
Read about it here.
17:20 GMT – Liberia braces for coronavirus with defunct health system
Healthcare woes limit effect of Ebola learnings during 2014-16 epidemic as Liberia gears up to fight COVID-19 outbreak.
Read more here.
16:15 GMT – US expected to cover hospital costs of uninsured patients
The Trump administration is expected to use coronavirus relief funds to pay hospitals that treat uninsured patients infected with the coronavirus as long as they do not bill them or issue unexpected charges, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The plan could be released on Friday, the Journal said.
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16:00 GMT – US labour market sinks with 700,000 jobs lost in March
The economy lost 701,000 jobs last month, the US department of Labor reported – abruptly ending 113 straight months of jobs creation as businesses and factories closed shop and people locked down to contain the spread of COVID-19. The unemployment rate rose to 4.4 percent.
Friday’s data confirms the view of most economists that the US is already in a deep recession as containment measures bring entire sectors of the economy to a screeching halt, throwing millions of Americans out of work.
Read more here.
15:45 GMT – New York reports deadliest day, makes plea for help
New York reported its deadliest single day from the coronavirus, recording 562 more deaths across the state for a total of 2,935 fatalities, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
Cuomo warned that people are “going to die in the near term” due to a lack of ventilators of hospital beds and called for the US to deploy its resources to New York to help it deal with the growing crisis.
To read more about what Cuomo said, click here.
15:31 GMT – Dow falls 200 points as US jobs data signals recession
US stocks opened lower as the coronavirus brought the longest US employment expansion on record to an abrupt halt, and analysts warning of far worse carnage ahead.
Read about it here.
15:30 GMT – Coronavirus toll in New York City exposes wider inequalities
Under normal circumstances, low-income residents of New York City face heightened risks of economic dislocation, adverse health outcomes and workplace dangers.
But in the age of the coronavirus, pre-existing inequalities are exacerbated by a disease that claims lives from all walks of life, but takes a far bigger toll on the less affluent.
Read more here.
14:30 GMT – ‘Worst yet to come’ for countries in conflict: UN chief
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres renewed his call for a global ceasefire, urging all parties to conflict to lay down arms and allow war-torn nations to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
“The worst is yet to come,” Guterres said, referring to countries with fighting like Syria, Libya and Yemen.
“The COVID-19 storm is now coming to all these theatres of conflict.”
14:05 GMT – Russia to halt flights bringing Russians home
Russia will suspend all flights bringing Russians home from abroad from Friday night, the Interfax news agency cited sources as saying.
The Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said 25,000 people abroad had appealed for help getting home, with many still stranded as measures to curb the spread of coronavirus have limited travel options.
13:35 GMT – Israel seals off ultra-Orthodox town
Israel set up roadblocks to close off an ultra-Orthodox Jewish town badly affected by the coronavirus, but ordered in soldiers to support the residents.
Emergency regulations approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet late on Thursday declared Bnei Brak, near Tel Aviv, a “restricted zone” due to its high rate of infections.
The new designation allows authorities to tighten curbs on public movement.
13:20 GMT – Britain’s Queen Elizabeth to address nation
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II will make a rare address to the nation on Sunday, Buckingham Palace said.
“Her Majesty The Queen has recorded a special broadcast to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in relation to the Coronavirus outbreak,” Buckingham Palace said.
The address, which was recorded at Windsor Castle where the 93-year-old monarch is staying with her husband Prince Philip, will be broadcast at 19:00 GMT on Sunday.
13:15 GMT – Deaths in the Netherlands rise to 1,487
The Netherlands confirmed 148 more deaths linked to the coronavirus, bringing the total to 1,487.
It reported 1,026 new coronavirus cases, increasing the total tally to 15,723 according to the the daily report from The National Institute for Health.
This is Mersiha Gadzo taking over the live updates from my colleague Usaid Siddiqui.
12:59 GMT – Switzerland in delicate but stable condition on coronavirus – minister
Switzerland is in a delicate but stable situation regarding the spread of the new coronavirus, Health Minister Alain Berset said on Friday as the country’s death toll continued to rise.
“Hospitalisations continue to go up but not all beds are taken,” Berset told a news conference in Bern.
“We have not yet reached the peak for infections or for hospitalisations. Now more than ever we have to continue this marathon.”
Coronavirus: Which countries have confirmed cases?
Coronavirus: What sporting events are affected by the pandemic?
Coronavirus: Travel restrictions, border shutdowns by country
12:47 GMT – Pandemic threatens food in import-reliant states: WFP
The coronavirus pandemic threatens to cause food shortages for hundreds of millions of people, especially in Africa, the United Nations warned.
In poorer countries that rely upon exports to pay for food imports, middle class people could end up needing food aid to survive the COVID-19 crisis, the World Food Programme said.
“Generally we are used to dealing with a supply-side shock, like a drought, or a demand-side shock like a recession – but here it is both… and at a global level,” said WFP chief economist Arif Husain.
12:19 GMT – Vendors return in Wuhan as China prepares virus memorial
Sidewalk vendors wearing face masks and gloves sold pork, tomatoes, carrots and other vegetables to shoppers Friday in the Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic began, as workers prepared for a national memorial this weekend for health workers and others who died in the outbreak.
Authorities are easing controls that kept Wuhan’s 11 million people at home for two months, but many shops are still closed.
11:59 GMT – Anguish as Sri Lanka forces Muslims to cremate COVID-19 victims
The forced cremation of two COVID-19 infected Muslims in Sri Lanka has sent shock waves among the minority community, which accused the authorities of violating Islamic burial rites.
Bishrul Hafi Mohammed Joonus, a 73–year–old man from the capital Colombo who died of COVID-19 , was the second Muslim to have been cremated in the Indian Ocean island nation, which has registered 151 cases so far.
Read more here.
11:49 GMT – New 4,000-bed coronavirus field hospital opens in London
Prince Charles opened a new 4,000-bed temporary hospital in a conference centre in east London on Friday, the first of several being built in Britain to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
The new state-run National Health Service (NHS) Hospital is named after the trailblazing 19th-century nurse Florence Nightingale and has been built in just nine days.
Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest son and heir officially launched the facility via videolink from Scotland, where he has been in self-isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.
11:37 GMT – UK peak of coronavirus outbreak could be Easter Sunday, health minister
The deadliest peak of Britain’s coronavirus outbreak could be on Easter Sunday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.
The British government’s worst case scenario envisaged the COVID-19 death toll of 50,000 if self-isolation was not fully adhered to, and the worst day for deaths was projected to be April 12.
When asked about reports the death rate could peak on April 12, Hancock told Sky News: “I defer to the scientists on the exact predictions, I’m not going to steer you away from that. That is one perfectly possible outcome.
11:20 GMT – Business booms for coffin-makers in coronavirus-hit France
While most businesses have shut their doors as part of a lockdown, the coffin-making factory in the sleepy town of Jussey in northeastern France can barely keep up with the orders.
France has confirmed nearly 60,000 cases of the coronavirus and as of Friday 5,387 deaths, the fourth highest tally in the world.
“Given what’s happening, the pace of production is going up by 50 coffins a day,” said Emmanuel Garret, manager at the OGF plant.
10:10 GMT – Iran’s coronavirus death toll rises to 3,294
Iran’s death toll from the new coronavirus rose to 3,294 as it claimed 134 lives in the past 24 hours, according to Health Ministry Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpur.
The total number of people confirmed to be infected is 53,183, he said on state television, adding that 4,035 were “under observation”, a term that may mean they are in a critical condition.
Of the total number of people diagnosed with the disease, 17,935 have recovered.
09:43 GMT – Spain coronavirus death toll increases by 932
More than 900 people died in Spain over the past 24 hours for the second day running, government figures showed, although the rate of new infections and deaths continued to slow.
Spain has the world’s second-highest death toll after Italy, with the virus so far claiming 10,935 lives – 932 in the past day – from 117,710 confirmed cases.
But health ministry figures confirm a consistent downward trend in the rate of new cases and fatalities.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman ordered the disbursement of up to 9 billion riyals ($2.39bn) in financial support to more than 1.2 million citizens who work in private sector companies affected by the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported
09:05 GMT – Italy’s civil protection chief sees lockdown continuing beyond May 1
Italy’s national lockdown to try to contain the spread of coronavirus will probably continue beyond the start of May, Angelo Borrelli, the head of the Civil Protection Agency, said.
This week the government extended the lockdown – which imposes severe restrictions on movement and shutters all services and firms not deemed essential to Italy’s supply chain – until April 13.
In a radio interview with state broadcaster RAI, Borrelli was asked whether the measures would need to remain in place for many more weeks.
“Unfortunately they will,” he replied. “I don’t believe this situation … will have passed by May 1, we have to be extremely rigorous.”
08:45 GMT – Israel seals off ultra-Orthodox town hit hard by coronavirus
Israeli police threw up metal barricades and roadblocks to enforce a lockdown of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish town badly affected by the coronavirus.
Emergency regulations approved by the cabinet late on Thursday declared Bnei Brak, near Tel Aviv, a “restricted zone” due to its high rate of infections. The new designation allows authorities to tighten curbs on public movement.
Police units, wearing surgical masks and gloves, moved swiftly early on Friday to cordon off major intersections around the town and enforce the new rules.
08:35 GMT – Concerns after Mumbai’s Dharavi slum reports COVID-19 cases
Authorities in Mumbai are concerned over the possible spread of the new coronavirus in the densely populated slum of Dharavi after a man with COVID-19 died and a doctor and municipal corporation worker tested positive.
The 56-year-old man who died on Wednesday night was the first to test positive from the sprawling shanty town in India’s financial hub.
Read more here.
08:25 GMT – Coronavirus outbreak to delay Romania’s June election – PM
Romania’s centrist minority government will almost certainly postpone a June local election as the coronavirus outbreak ruled out the best conditions for such an exercise, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said late on Thursday.
The European Union state, which has experienced 2,738 virus infections and 115 deaths, declared a state of emergency on March 16 and enforced a lockdown last week.
08:15 GMT – India COVID-19 lockdown means no food or work for rural poor
As the number of coronavirus cases in India climbs, imposing a lockdown on 1.3 billion people was always going to be challenge.
Analysts say the movement restrictions will likely prove economically devastating for India’s poor, many who live in its vast rural areas.
Read more here.
07:30 GMT – China advises foreign diplomats to stop coming to Beijing
China’s foreign ministry is advising foreign diplomats to stop coming to Beijing, after the country temporarily banned most foreigners from entering to prevent a resurgence of the coronavirus epidemic, a spokeswoman said.
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters during a daily briefing that the ministry was aware of confirmed coronavirus cases among foreign diplomats in China.
06:16 GMT – Saudi Arabia advances curfew in 3 areas over coronavirus fears
Saudi Arabia has brought forward the starting date of a 24-hour curfew to 3pm (12:00 GMT) on Friday in three areas, state news agency SPA said, citing a senior official of the interior ministry.
The measure in the city of Dammam, and the governorates of Taif and al-Qatif, aims to rein in the virus, as the kingdom has recorded 1,885 infections and 21 deaths, the most among any of the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
This is Usaid Siddiqui in Doha taking over from my colleague Ted Regencia.
06:00 GMT – Australia: True infections could be as high as 10 million
As many as 10 million people globally may have been infected by the new coronavirus, Australia’s chief medical officer said, with the under-reporting due to a lack of testing for the highly contagious respiratory disease, in some countries.
“Worldwide we have passed one million infections. But we believe the true number is five or 10 times as much,” Brendan Murphy told reporters.
Murphy said the mortality rates vary so much around the world that he believes many infections are going undetected.
The World Health Organization has called on countries to significantly increase testing for the coronavirus, while some critics have also highlighted differences in how some countries count coronvirus cases.
05:30 GMT – India’s Modi seeks to bolster’s nation morale amid pandemic
To bolster morale and spirit, India’s prime minister has urged the country’s 1.3 billion people to switch off lights in their home for nine minutes on Sunday night and light candles, lamps and even use mobile torches standing in their balconies.
In a video message broadcast on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the gesture would dispel the darkness created by the coronavirus and show that people are together in their fight against the pandemic.
He said social distancing was the only way to break the chain of the coronavirus, which has so far claimed 53 lives in India with 1,860 positive cases.
On Friday, he acknowledged the world’s biggest shutdown had caused hardship, leaving millions of people jobless and forcing tens of thousands of migrants workers to flee to their villages for food and shelter.
04:35 GMT – South Korea: 27,000 people under self-quarantine
South Korea says more than 27,000 people are under a 14-day self-quarantine in the county after it strengthened border controls to slow coronavirus infections linked to international arrivals.
Park Jong-hyun, an official from the Ministry of the Interior and Safety, said on Friday that 19,567 of those under self-quarantine have recently returned from overseas while another 7,499 were isolated after contacting virus carriers.
There are now more than 10,000 confirmed cases in South Korea with at least 174 deaths.
03:37 GMT – Kyrgyzstan reports first coronavirus death
A 61-year-old coronavirus victim has died in Kyrgyzstan, the government said on Friday, the first virus fatality in the central Asian nation, according to Reuters news agency.
The patient, treated in a hospital in the southern province of Osh, had suffered from other serious diseases, the authorities said.
03:17 GMT – South Korea coronavirus cases hit 10,000
South Korea has reported 86 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing its caseload above 10,000, the Associated Press reported.
South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday said about half of the new cases came from the densely populous Seoul metropolitan area, where infections linked to international arrivals have been rising.
Another 22 infections were detected at airports where workers have been isolating and testing passengers arriving with fever or respiratory symptoms.
03:10 GMT – Singapore reports fifth person has died from coronavirus
Singapore reported another coronavirus-related death on Friday, raising the city-state’s total fatalities from the disease to five.
The latest death was of an 86-year-old female Singapore citizen, the health ministry said in a statement.
The country has reported 1,049 coronavirus cases in total.
03:02 GMT – US state of Washington extends stay-at-home order until May 4
Washington Governor Jay Inslee has extended orders to keep non-essential businesses closed and most of the state’s more than seven million residents home through May 4, saying that social distancing measures must remain in place for an extra month to minimise the spread of the coronavirus.
In recent days, Inslee had signalled that his initial stay-at-home orders from March 23, which were set to expire next week, would be extended.
02:43 GMT – Scientists, doctor launch anti-coronavirus body
A group of scientists, physicians, funders and policymakers from more than 70 institutions in over 30 countries have launched an international coalition to respond to COVID-19 in resource-poor settings, The Lancet magazine reported.
The COVID-19 Clinical Research Coalition aims to accelerate desperately needed COVID-19 research in those areas where the virus could wreak havoc on already-fragile health systems and cause the greatest health impact on vulnerable populations, the report said.
The members of the coalition argue that international research collaboration and coordination is needed urgently to support African, Latin American, Eastern European and certain Asian countries to respond effectively to the health crisis.
02:30 GMT – US Navy relieves aircraft carrier commander over coronavirus action
The US Navy has relieved the commander of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, who wrote a scathing letter that was leaked to the public asking for stronger measures to control a coronavirus outbreak on board his warship.
The removal of Captain Brett Crozier from command of the 5,000-person vessel, which was first reported by Reuters, was announced by acting US Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, who said the commander exercised poor judgment.
The dismissal, two days after the commander’s letter was leaked, shows how the coronavirus is challenging US institutions, even those accustomed to dangerous and complex missions like the US military.
02:18 GMT – How to talk to your children about coronavirus
With many of the world’s people confined to their homes amid efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, families are finding themselves spending more time than ever together.
For many, this is an unexpected opportunity to connect with spouses, children and siblings. But one question has come bubbling up: How should adult caregivers be talking about coronavirus to the children in their lives?
Here are some helpful tips.
01:22 GMT – China reports 3,322 coronavirus deaths
China’s health commission reported on Friday four new coronavirus deaths, bringing the total to 3,322 as of the end of Thursday.
China also reported 60 new asymptomatic cases of the virus.
01:22 GMT – Iraq has confirmed thousands more COVID-19 cases than reported, medics say
Iraq has thousands of confirmed COVID-19 cases, many times more than the 772 it is has publicly reported, according to three doctors closely involved in the testing process, a health ministry official and a senior political official.
Three doctors, who work in pharmaceutical teams helping to test suspected COVID-19 cases in Baghdad, each said that confirmed cases of the disease, based on discussions among fellow medics who see daily results, were between about 3,000 and 9,000, although they each gave different estimates.
The sources all spoke to Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity. Iraqi authorities have instructed medical staff not to speak to the media.
Iraq’s health ministry, the only official outlet for information on the coronavirus, dismissed the sources’ reading of the spread of the disease.
“It’s incorrect information,” said Saif al-Badr, the health ministry spokesman, in a text message sent to Reuters.
The ministry said in its latest daily statement on Thursday that the total of recorded confirmed cases for Iraq was 772, with 54 deaths.
00:22 GMT – UN calls for unity against ‘unprecedented’ coronavirus threat
The UN General Assembly has unanimously approved a resolution recognising “the unprecedented effects” of the coronavirus pandemic and calling for “intensified international cooperation to contain, mitigate and defeat” the deady disease.
General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande sent a letter to all UN member nations on Thursday night informing them that there were no objections to the resolution, entitled Global Solidarity to Fight the Coronavirus Disease, sponsored by Ghana, Indonesia, Liechtenstein, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. He said the resolution was approved and is in effect.
The resolution also recognises the disease, also known as COVID-19, has resulted in “severe disruption to societies and economies, as well as to global travel and commerce, and the devastating impact on the livelihood of people” and that “the poorest and most vulnerable are the hardest hit”.
00:06 GMT – WHO urges Middle Eastern countries to act quickly
Governments in the Middle East need to act quickly to limit the spread of the coronavirus after cases rose to nearly 60,000, almost double their level of a week earlier, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.
“New cases have been reported in some of the most vulnerable countries with fragile health systems,” said Ahmed al-Mandhari, the WHO’s director for the Eastern Mediterranean region, which includes Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Djibouti, as well as Middle Eastern states.
“Even in countries with stronger heath systems, we have seen a worrying spike in the numbers of cases and deaths reported,” he said in a statement.
“I cannot stress enough the urgency of the situation,” said al-Mandhari. “The increasing numbers of cases show that transmission is rapidly occurring at local and community levels.”
“We still have a window of opportunity, but this window is slowly closing day by day,” he added.
23:20 GMT Thursday – Trump to Iran: If they want help, we will give them help
President Donald Trump has said if Iran requests help from his administration in dealing with the coronavirus emergency, he would be willing to comply.
“They have a very big case of virus. A very, very big case. One of the worst on earth if you believe what you’re reading and I happen to believe what I see and what I know. If they want help, we will give them help.”
Earlier, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, former Vice President Joseph Biden said he supported the lifting of sanctions against Iran as the country deals with the deadly disease.
I’m Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur with Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
Read all the updates from yesterday (April 2) here.
How should health workers fighting coronavirus be protected?
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