Caixin
Mar 27, 2020 04:29 AM
SOCIETY & CULTURE

Coronavirus Live Updates (Thursday): G-20 Commits to $5 Trillion Injection; U.S. Jobless Claims Hit Record; Global Caseload Tops 500,000

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Friday, March 27, 3 a.m.

Leaders from the Group of 20 nations pledged Thursday to inject $5 trillion into the global economy and do “whatever it takes” to counter the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The global caseload topped 500,000 Thursday afternoon.

G-20 leaders commit to do ‘whatever it takes’ to combat virus

Leaders of the world’s 20 richest countries vowed to inject $5 trillion to bail the global economy out of the pandemic fallout. Leaders convened an emergency video summit Thursday to discuss their response on the outbreak.

“The virus respects no borders,” they said in a joint statement afterward. “We are strongly committed to presenting a united front against this common threat.”

“We will continue to conduct bold and large-scale fiscal support,” the leaders said. “The magnitude and scope of this response will get the global economy back on its feet and set a strong basis for the protection of jobs and the recovery of growth.”

Collaboration among G-20 countries played an important role in stabilizing the global economy after the 2008 financial crisis. The G-20 includes all but one of the 10 countries hardest-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a speech delivered to the meeting, China President Xi Jinping called for collective actions in disease prevention and information sharing, a greater role for multilateral organizations, and coordination of economic policies to counter the pandemic.

Italy sees another jump in new cases; Spain reports surge

Italy reported 6,153 new cases Thursday, the biggest daily rise in five days, ending a slight downward trend that sparked hopes of a slowing of the outbreak. The total case count reached 80,539, approaching to China’s 81,782.

The northern region of Lombardy, the worst-hit area in Italy, reported 2,500 new cases Thursday. Fatalities in Italy over the past 24 hours increased by 662, pushing the total death toll to 8,215.

In Spain, new infections rose to 56,188 from 47,610 while fatalities increased by 655 to total 4,089. Europe now accounts for 70% of known fatalities, the World Health Organization said.

Globally, infection cases have surpassed 510,000 with deaths of nearly 23,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In other coronavirus related news:

• Jobless claims in the U.S. surged to a record as 3.28 million American filed for unemployment benefits last week. A number of states issued stay-at-home orders and closed nonessential businesses to contain the virus. Total infections surpassed 76,000 Thursday afternoon with a death toll exceeding 1,000.

• Iran banned travel within the country and ordered people to return to their hometowns or face fines. Effective Friday, Iran also prohibited gatherings and closed parks, recreation centers, pools and other places

Iran reported 157 new deaths and an additional 2,389 cases Thursday. Total infections reached 29,406.

Compiled by Han Wei

Thursday, March 26, 6 p.m.

China

• The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) announced Thursday that in order to “hold back” potential imports of Covid-19 from outside the country, it will be drastically cutting back the number of international flights starting Sunday.

According to a translation of the CAAC statement posted to its website “each Chinese airline is only allowed to maintain one route to any specific country with no more than one flight per week; each foreign airline is only allowed to maintain one route to China with no more than one weekly flight.” The CAAC told airlines to submit their plans and to not fill airplanes past 75% capacity. Furthermore, airlines are allowed to use passenger aircraft to transport freight, which would not count toward the limit.

• As the Covid-19 pandemic spreads around the world, Chinese exporters have seen orders canceled (link in Chinese), an official of at the Ministry of Commerce’s foreign trade office said, though he did not specify which companies or how many were affected.

At a Thursday press conference, Liu Changyu, the official, said that there was significantly greater downward pressure on global trade. He added that the pandemic has affected global demand, disrupted supply chains and trade partnerships, canceled deals between purchasers and suppliers, and upended traditional channels of procurement.

• A senior official with China’s Ministry of Science and Technology has thrown cold water on the notion (link in Chinese) that the country has conquered the virus and was ready to share its experience, saying that, in his view, it was not yet time.

“There’s much work to be done and a lot that still needs to be explored,” Vice Minister Xu Nanping said at a press conference, addressing China’s implementation of technology in combating its epidemic.

Around the globe

• The death tally in the U.S. has surpassed 1,000 as of Thursday evening, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The news comes amid widespread reports of overwhelmed hospitals and a lack of testing in the country, particularly in New York City. The country has confirmed nearly 70,000 cases.

• Russia is shutting down all international flights to and from the country in an attempt to mitigate a worsening outbreak, The Moscow Times reported.

All international flights, with the exception of evacuations of Russian citizens from abroad, will be halted from midnight Friday. The Russian government so far has reported three deaths from 658 infections, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Following this news, Moscow announced that it would shut down restaurants, bars, parks and shops other than grocery stores and pharmacies, The Guardian reported.

• The Finnish government has announced that its southern Uusimaa region, which contains its capital Helsinki, will be isolated from the rest of the country via traffic restrictions starting Friday in attempt to slow the spread of the virus from the country’s most populous region to the rest of Finland.

• Singapore has announced it is earmarking an additional $48.4 billion to support businesses, workers and families amid the ongoing pandemic, The Straits Times reported.

It follows an earlier $6.4 billion that the city-state’s government had set aside, for a total of $55 billion or 11% of GDP, in measures, according to the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.

• Since late January, American mask manufacturer 3M has doubled global production of N95 respirators, a class of masks capable of filtering hazardous particulates and microorganisms, to about 100 million a month and plans to ramp up production to 2 billion units within a year, according to a report by Bloomberg Businessweek.

The company, among a group of businesses that produce the gear which also includes Honeywell and Medicom, has also reportedly said that it was ramping up production of hand sanitizers and disinfectants, and was partnering with others like Ford Motor Co. to produce powered air purifying respirators, the report said. The report added that Honeywell has upped production as well and has hired an additional 500 people to expand capacity.

• Premium down-jacket maker Canada Goose is reopening two manufacturing facilities in Canada to produce medical scrubs and patient gowns in an effort to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, Yahoo Finance reported.

The company’s initial goal is to produce 10,000 units, which will be donated to local hospitals. Canada reported 3,404 cases and 35 deaths as of Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins data.

Compiled by Dave Yin

Caixin’s coverage of the new coronavirus

Thursday, March 26, 11 a.m.

Chinese mainland continues to report only imported cases

• As of the end of Wednesday, the Chinese mainland publicized 67 new Covid-19 cases, all imported. That continues its trend of reporting few or no new domestic cases as the epidemic within its borders appears to have tapered off.

• The total number of cases on the mainland was 81,285 as of Wednesday night, according to the latest data from China’s top health body. China also reported six new deaths, all in Hubei province, for a total of 3,287. The country also had 58 new suspected cases, for a total of 159, and a total of 74,051 recoveries.

• Of the new imported cases, which were distributed across the country, Shanghai, Inner Mongolia and Guangdong detected the largest numbers. Hubei province reported zero new infections, but reported all six deaths, five in the provincial capital Wuhan where the outbreak began.

• By Wednesday night, Hong Kong’s caseload grew by 24 to 410, which includes four deaths. Macao reported an increase of five new cases for a total of 31, while Taiwan reported 19 more cases for a total of 235, including two deaths. The number of deaths across those three regions remained unchanged from the previous day. China’s top health body did not provide data on how many of the new Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan cases were imported and how many were domestic.

Around the globe

• As of Thursday morning, 471,518 cases were reported worldwide. Countries around the world recorded 21,293 deaths and 114,444 recoveries, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

• Outside of China, the worst-hit countries are Italy with 74,386 cases and 7,503 deaths; the U.S. with 68,960 cases and 1,042 deaths; Spain with 49,515 cases and 3,647 deaths; Germany with 37,323 cases and 206 deaths; Iran with 27,017 cases and 2,077 deaths; France with 25,600 cases and 1,333 deaths; and Switzerland with 10,897 cases and 153 deaths.

• The crisis in Spain, in particular, worsened dramatically Wednesday. The country reported 738 deaths in one day, becoming the second country whose total fatalities exceed China’s published tally.

• Despite not publicly reporting any coronavirus cases, North Korea has secretly asked for international help to increase disease testing, the Financial Times reported.

The country, which was among the first to close its borders with China, has sought urgent help from other countries in recent weeks, according to the Financial Times, adding that the country has a shortage of test kits and has quarantined as many as 10,000 people.

• As international travel grinds to a halt, those desperate to come to China in an attempt to flee outbreaks around the world must choose between arduous multi-day flight itineraries involving transfers in several locations and pricey private jets costing tens of thousands of dollars.

Wealthy families are shelling out upwards of $23,000 for one of just over a dozen seats on U.S.-based private jets in an attempt to return to China, Reuters reported.

Compiled by Dave Yin

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