Coronavirus Live Updates (Tuesday): America Could Be Next Epicenter; India Imposes 21-Day Lockdown
Wednesday, March 25, 3 a.m.
The novel coronavirus continues ravaging the planet as the global caseload exceeded 400,000. The worldwide death toll topped 18,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Italy reported its second-deadliest day with 743 fatalities, pushing its total to 6,820. Meanwhile, the acceleration of new cases in the U.S. sparked a warning from the World Health Organization that the world’s largest economy may become the new coronavirus epicenter.
Italy records slower rise of new infections, but mortality remains high
Italy had 69,176 confirmed infections as of Tuesday afternoon, with an overall fatality rate of nearly 10%, the highest in the world. But the country’s daily count of new infections grew at a slower pace, fueling expectations that the country’s outbreak is near its peak.
Some experts said the slower daily increase is a possible early indication that drastic restrictions are starting to limit the spread of the virus. But others warned that the risks are still high as not enough people have been tested.
U.S. could be the next epicenter, WHO warns
The United States could become the next global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, the United Nations’ WHO warned Tuesday.
“We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the U.S.,” WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said Tuesday, according to Reuters. “So it does have that potential.”
Over the 24 hours through 10 a.m. Geneva time Monday, 40% of the new cases worldwide were in the U.S., which had more new infections than any other country, Harris said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. confirmed 49,768 cases, fewer only than China and Italy.
India imposes nationwide lockdown
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday ordered a “complete” lockdown for the country’s 1.3 billion people to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
The nationwide lockdown started at midnight local time and is to last for at least 21 days.
“For a few days, forget what it means to go out,” Modi said. “Today’s decision of a nationwide lockdown draws a line outside your home.” India has confirmed 519 infections of the virus and 10 deaths.
In other coronavirus related news:
• The International Olympic Committee and Japanese government agreed to delay the Tokyo Olympics by about a year due to the outbreak.
The games will be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, the IOC said in a joint statement with Japan. It was also agreed that the event will retain the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
• Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow tested positive for coronavirus. In an open letter to the university, Bacow said he and his wife started experiencing symptoms Sunday, and both tested positive for the virus.
“We will be taking the time we need to rest and recuperate during a two-week isolation at home,” he wrote. Along with other major universities in the U.S., Harvard closed its campus and moved courses online amid the pandemic.
Compiled by Han Wei
Tuesday, March 24, 7 p.m.
The biggest news coming out of China today is that Hubei province announced it will soon lift its lockdown. Starting April 8, the provincial capital city of Wuhan, where the global coronavirus pandemic first emerged, will reopen travel links with the rest of Hubei and greater China.
Lifting Wuhan’s months-long lockdown is being hailed as a milestone in China’s fight with the coronavirus, in stark contrast with the rapidly escalating containment efforts in other countries.
The latest such measure came in the U.K., where citizens woke up to new, stricter measures announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. In the U.S., more states moved on Monday to impose their own sweeping shelter-in-place orders, which will soon cover more than 158 million Americans in 16 states, the New York Times reported.
Thailand will soon join the list of countries with strict containment measures, as Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha announced Tuesday that the country is set to declare a state of emergency on Thursday, The Straits Times reported.
• Spain’s health emergency chief Fernando Simon said in a media briefing on Monday that he believed the peak of the country’s epidemic could be arrive this week, The Independent reported. The “peak” of an epidemic occurs when the number of daily new cases begins to fall.
On Monday, Spain reported at least 4,500 (link in Chinese) new coronavirus cases, bringing its total to 33,089. It has been the second hardest hit country in Europe after Italy.
Asian markets rebound
On Tuesday, markets across Asia strongly reacted to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s pledge on Monday to buy unlimited government-backed debt to prop up the world’s largest economy.
At close of trading, China’s CSI 300 index had risen 2.7%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 4.5%. South Korea’s Kospi index rose 8.6%, and in Japan, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index closed up 7.1%.
Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, predicted Monday that the coronavirus pandemic will cause a global recession that could be worse than the global financial crisis of 2008-2009. Georgiev also predicted (link in Chinese) that world economic output should recover in 2021.
In other coronavirus related news
• Starting Wednesday, all international flights including those from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau set to land at Shanghai’s Hongqiao International Airport will now be diverted (link in Chinese) to the city’s Pudong International Airport. The move aims to facilitate more coordinated testing and screening of international arrivals.
• The spring session of China’s largest trade expo, the Canton Fair, which was set to take place on April 15, has been suspended over concerns about international spread of the coronavirus, Chinese authorities said (link in Chinese) on Monday.
• Starting Wednesday, everyone arriving in Beijing from abroad will be required to take a nucleic acid test for Covid-19, regardless of whether the Chinese capital is their final destination, the municipal government announced on Tuesday.
Compiled by Mo Yelin
Tuesday, March 24, 2 p.m.
Starting on April 8, the city of Wuhan, where coronavirus cases first emerged, will begin resuming its travel links with the rest of Hubei province and China, the province said in a statement (link in Chinese) on Tuesday. Similar lockdowns imposed on other Hubei cities will be lifted from Wednesday.
The announcement comes two months after Wuhan, a city of more than 10 million people, was put under an unprecedented lockdown on Jan. 23. That was followed by similar lockdowns for other cities in Hubei. With the lifting of the lockdown, transportation going into and out of the province will be resumed in an “orderly” fashion, the statement read.
Tuesday, March 24, 11 a.m.
Global case count tops 380,000
The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases worldwide has reached 381,293 as of Tuesday morning, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
In the U.S., confirmed cases rose to 46,332, with at least 610 deaths. The state of New York remains the hardest hit with a total of 23,230 cases, or more than half of all U.S. cases. In New York City alone, there were 13,119 cases, in a population of 8.6 million.
In bid to curb the disease’s rapid spread, at least eight U.S. states, most recently Washington state, have ordered their citizens to stay home.
In Europe, the U.K. became the latest country to enter full lockdown on Monday, joining other countries including Italy, France, Spain and Germany. The lockdown will require closure of all nonessential businesses; ban meetings of more than two people; and require people to stay in their homes, except for “very limited” reasons such as trips for food or medicine, although people will be allowed to travel to and from work if they are “absolutely” unable to work from home, the government announced.
As of Tuesday morning, the number of confirmed cases in the U.K. rose to 6,726, after about 1,000 cases were reported on Monday. The U.K. is now the sixth hardest hit country in Europe, after Italy, Spain, Germany, France and Switzerland.
In Italy, there were 63,927 cases, after nearly 5,000 were reported on Monday. A total of 6,077 have died from the disease, including 602 deaths added on Monday.
China continues to grapple with rising imported cases
On Monday, the Chinese mainland reported a total of 78 new cases, nearly double the daily increase on Sunday, according to the latest data (link in Chinese) from the country’s top health ministry. Among them, four were locally transmitted cases, including one in Wuhan and three elsewhere.
The mainland’s remaining 74 new cases reported on Monday were imported, up from 39 such cases the previous day. The figure brings the total number of imported cases to 427.
At the end of Monday, China had a total of 81,747 cases, including 356 in Hong Kong, 195 in Taiwan and 25 in Macau. A total of 3,283 people have died from the disease in China, including four in Hong Kong and two in Taiwan.
On the mainland, at least 73,159 people have recovered from the disease as of end of Monday, or about 90% of the total infections.
Compiled by Mo Yelin
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