(Reuters) – European nations including hard-hit Italy and Spain have started looking ahead to easing coronavirus lockdowns after steady falls in fatality rates, as the United States prepared on Monday for what one official called “peak death week”.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* Reported cases have exceeded more than 1.27 million globally and 70,395 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
* For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread, open https://tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.
* U.S.-focused tracker with state-by-state and county map, open https://tmsnrt.rs/2w7hX9T in an external browser.
* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved to intensive care on Monday after his coronavirus symptoms worsened but he is still conscious.
* The coronavirus is the European Union’s biggest ever challenge and member states must show greater solidarity so that the bloc can emerge stronger from the economic crisis unleashed by the pandemic, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
* Residents in Lombardy, Italy’s worst-hit region, scrambled for scarce protective face masks and makeshift alternatives after authorities ordered anyone moving outside to cover up.
* The rate of deaths in Spain slowed for the fourth day on Monday as the government contemplated a gradual easing of a lockdown in the nation with the second-highest death toll.
* France’s coronavirus figures on Monday showed that the rate of increase in fatalities – now at almost 9,000 – sped up again after several days of slowing.
* Switzerland said it was too early to ease measures that restrict the spread of the new coronavirus, as neighbouring Austria sketched out plans to start loosening a national lockdown.
* Norway’s health minister said the country’s epidemic was under control, pointing to low transmission rates.
* The Czech Republic reported its slowest daily percentage rise in confirmed cases as the country entered a fourth week of restrictions.
* Ireland’s prime minister re-registered as a medical practitioner and will work one shift a week to help out during the crisis.
* Military forces across Europe have scaled back operations and imposed stricter rules on personnel to try to stem the spread among staff who often live and work in close quarters.
* Denmark plans to reopen day care centres and schools for children in first to fifth grade on April 15 as a first step to gradually relax a three-week lockdown.
* Poland’s ruling nationalists edged closer to a green light for holding a May presidential election as a postal ballot due to the pandemic.
* The governors of New York and New Jersey said on Monday their states were showing tentative signs of a “flattening” of the outbreak, but they warned against complacency as total cases in the country reached 330,891, and death toll rose to 8,910.
* Democratic Governor Tony Evers moved to postpone Wisconsin’s primary election from Tuesday until June 9, citing health risks from the pandemic, but Republicans said they would challenge the order in the state Supreme Court.
* The White House trade adviser said members of the coronavirus task force clashed over the weekend about the efficacy of a malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, for use against the disease.
* Canada said it was pressing Washington over a complaint that U.S. officials had blocked the export of three million face masks bought by the province of Ontario.
* Mexico’s president unveiled an economic plan vowing to help the poor and create jobs, but his promise of fiscal discipline sparked criticism that the measures fell far short of what was needed.
* Brazil’s education minister accused Chinese medical equipment makers of profiteering from the coronavirus pandemic, further souring diplomatic relations.
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
* China said it will work to further prevent cases imported through its land borders, as its number of asymptomatic cases surged.
* Japan is to impose a state of emergency in Tokyo and six other prefectures as early as Tuesday, while the government prepares a $990 billion stimulus package.
* Migrant workers living in vast Singapore dormitories cut off from the outside world due to the outbreak fear these are fast becoming a hotbed for infection.
* India hopes to be testing 20,000 people daily by the end of the week, twice the current rate, while a statistical oddity in its testing data has sparked questions.
* Indonesia announced its biggest daily increase in cases and a medical association said 24 doctors had now died.
* Carnival Corp’s troubled Ruby Princess cruise liner, the biggest single source of coronavirus infections in Australia, docked south of Sydney. [nL4N2BU0AI]
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Saudi Arabia placed its capital Riyadh and other big cities under a 24-hour curfew, while Kuwait announced a full lockdown of two densely populated districts and extended a public holiday by two weeks until April 26.
* Iran will never ask the United States for help in the fight against the coronavirus, Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said.
* Kenya’s president ordered a halt to all movement in affected areas, including the capital Nairobi.
* Ivory Coast police clashed with protesters who had begun dismantling a half-built coronavirus testing centre, afraid that people using the facility would spread the epidemic.
* Syria is dragging its feet on releasing prisoners under an amnesty declared by President Bashar al-Assad, raising fears of mass infections, rights groups said on Monday.
* More than 20,000 Pakistani workers stuck in the United Arab Emirates are seeking to return home, as the Gulf Arab state tightens restrictions.
* World stock markets jumped on Monday, encouraged by a slowdown in coronavirus-related deaths and new cases in some global hot spots, although a delay in talks between Saudi Arabia and Russia to cut supply sent oil tumbling again. [MKTS/GLOB]
* A near total closure of U.S. businesses as authorities try to control the spread of the novel coronavirus could make U.S. economic data unreliable in the coming months and harder to get a clearer picture of the severity of the recession caused by the virus.
* Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to roll out an unprecedented economic stimulus package, equal to 20% of economic output.
* The IMF cited limited but encouraging signs of recovery in China, but said it could not rule out a resurgence in China and elsewhere.* About 20 million jobs are at risk in Africa as the continent’s economies are projected to shrink this year.
* Nigeria has requested a total of $6.9 billion from the IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank, the finance minister said on Monday.
* Taiwan’s central bank pledged to double the amount of money earmarked to support small and medium-sized companies if needed.
* Singapore unveiled $3.55 billion in additional economic spending such as wage support, waiver of levies and one-off payments.
* JPMorgan Chase & Co’s top boss, Jamie Dimon, said he sees a “bad recession” in 2020.
* This year’s 149th Open Championship due to be held at Royal St George’s has been cancelled.
* IndyCar cancelled a doubleheader race weekend in Detroit.
* German soccer clubs were allowed to return to training on Monday, with some opting to train players in small groups.
* The Indonesia Open has been cancelled, the Badminton World Federation said on Monday.
(Compiled by Sarah Morland, Milla Nissi and Aditya Soni; Editing by Arun Koyyur, Tomasz Janowski and Mike Collett-White)