(Reuters) – Lockdowns to halt the spread of the coronavirus have brought silence to some of the world’s busiest places. Transport hubs that should be teeming with travellers such as New York’s Grand Central Terminal or Istanbul’s Eminonu ferry docks are all but deserted.
* More than 878,300 people have been infected across the world and over 43,400 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.
* Italy will extend lockdown restrictions to April 13, as data from this week suggests a slowdown of growth in total cases, though its national health institute says official death toll could be underestimated.
* Cases in Spain topped 100,000 on Wednesday, and two planes with protective equipment arrived to restock an overloaded public health system.
* France became the fourth country to pass the 4,000 coronavirus deaths threshold.
* Britain said it would ramp up the number of tests amid widespread criticism that it was doing far too few.
* Switzerland no longer faces shortages in coronavirus testing, its top health official dealing with the pandemic said on Wednesday.
* Measures to limit the outbreak in the Netherlands appear to have halved the rate of infection but need to be continued to be really effective, a top health official said.
* Germany will extend social distancing measures introduced last month to slow the spread of the coronavirus to April 19 and the government will re-evaluate the situation after the Easter holiday.
* Russian President Vladimir Putin is taking precautions to protect himself, as Moscow launched a smartphone app designed to track people who have been ordered to stay home.
* Russia sent the United States medical equipment on Wednesday to help fight the coronavirus pandemic, a public relations coup for Putin.
* Turkey will step up measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak if it keeps spreading and people ignore “voluntary” quarantine rules, President Tayyip Erdogan said.
* European scientists and engineers will launch an initiative to support the use of digital contact tracing applications.
* U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she wants to virus-proof the November election by including funding to boost voting by mail in the next pandemic response plan, as confirmed cases in the country climbed to 186,101 and while deaths rose to 3,603.
* The governor of New York cracked down even harder on public gatherings, calling residents who disregarded stay-at-home rules “selfish” as California’s governor warned his state will run out of hospital beds by next month.
* Canada’s death toll jumped by 35% in less than a day and Quebec said it was running low on key medical equipment.
* An indigenous woman in a village deep in the Amazon rainforest has contracted the coronavirus.
* Cuba suspended arriving international flights and asked all foreign boats to withdraw from its waters.
* Nearly 30 medical workers at a hospital in northern Mexico have been infected, as the national tally climbed to 1,215.
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
* Mainland China reported dwindling new infections on Wednesday and for the first time disclosed the number of asymptomatic cases, which could complicate how trends in the outbreak are read.
* Singapore reported 74 new cases in its biggest intraday jump, bringing its total to 1,000.
* Japan will ban entry to foreigners from 73 countries and ask everyone arriving from abroad to begin quarantine.
* India scoured mosques to trace people who attended a Muslim gathering in New Delhi that later emerged as a hotspot.
* The rate of new infections in Malaysia appears to be slowing amid month-long curbs on movement, a senior health official said.
* A team of Chinese scientists has isolated several antibodies that it says are “extremely effective” at blocking the ability of the virus to enter cells.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Iran’s president said the U.S. had missed an opportunity to lift sanctions on his country, though he said the penalties had not hampered Tehran’s fight against the virus, which has killed more than 3,000 people and infected close to 48,000.
* Ugandan doctors accused the government of endangering the lives of those in medical emergencies by requiring that all seek permission to secure transportation to hospitals.
* Egypt has ramped up efforts to fight the coronavirus, ordering manufacturers to channel medical protective equipment to public hospitals.
* World equity markets began the new quarter with steep losses on Wednesday. [MKTS/GLOB]
* Factories fell quiet across much of the world in March as the coronavirus pandemic paralyzed economic activity, with evidence mounting that the world is sliding into deep recession.
* China’s ports and shipping firms are bracing for a second wave of supply chain disruptions that may be deeper and more prolonged than during the country’s lockdown.
* The European Commision proposed a short-time work scheme modelled on Germany’s Kurzarbeit programme to help people keep their jobs.
* Italy plans to spend another $11 billion to guarantee debt and liquidity for professionals and companies hit by the crisis.
* Switzerland is preparing to expand an emergency liquidity programme for businesses, as banks have already lent out more than half of the $20.70 billion set aside for state-backed loans.
* U.S. restaurants asked the White House and congressional leaders for at least $325 billion in aid.
(Compiled by Sarah Morland, Milla Nissi, Aditya Soni and Uttaresh.V; Editing by Tomasz Janowski, William Maclean, Sriraj Kalluvila)