Coronavirus: France is fourth country to register more than 10,000 deaths

Pandemic has infected more than 1.3m worldwide with over 74,000 deaths recorded

An employee works at a photoelectric production line at a factory in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province on Monday. Photograph: AFP via Getty Images

An employee works at a photoelectric production line at a factory in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province on Monday. Photograph: AFP via Getty Images

 

France has officially registered more than 10,000 deaths from coronavirus infections on Tuesday, becoming the fourth country to go beyond that threshold after Italy, Spain and the United States, while the rate of increase of fatalities is up for the second day running.

During a news conference Jerome Salomon, head of the public health authority, said number of people who died from the disease in French hospitals had risen by 9 per cent in a day to a cumulative total of 7,091, versus 10 per cent on Monday

But he added that including partial data about the number of people who have died in nursing homes, the total death toll from the disease rose to 10,328 from 8,911 on Monday, a rise of 16 per cent, versus 10 per cent Monday and 7 per cent Sunday.

The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 1.3 million people worldwide and over 74,000 deaths have been recorded.

Vaccine funding

More than 160 current and former global leaders are urging the world’s 20 major industrialised nations to approve $8 billion (€7.3 billion) in emergency global health funding to hasten the search for a vaccine, cure and treatment for Covid-19 and prevent a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

In an open letter to governments of the Group of 20 nations, the leaders, ministers, top executives and scientists also called for $35 billion (€ 32 billion) to support countries with weaker health systems and especially vulnerable populations, and at least $150 billion (€ 137 billion) for developing countries to fight the medical and economic crisis.

They also urged the international community to waive this year’s debt repayments from poorer countries, including $44 billion (€ 40 billion) due from Africa.

Asia

India said it will lift a ban on some drug exports including hydroxychloroquine after Mr Trump threatened retaliation if India failed to send the anti-malarial drug to the United States.

Foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said in a statement that having confirmed sufficient supplies for India’s needs, export restrictions “have been largely lifted”.

The White House has been championing hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for Covid-19, even though it has not been proven effective against the disease. The drug is officially approved in the US for treating malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, and experts warn it can cause heart rhythm problems.

Mr Trump has said that he spoke to Indian prime minister Narendra Modi last week about lifting the ban, and in a news conference on Monday said that he would be surprised if Mr Modi did not comply.

China said it has recorded no deaths from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours.

The country recorded the first case of Covid-19 and suffered 3,331 deaths and 81,740 cases of Covid-19.

Authorities said in their daily update on Tuesday that there were 32 new cases, all of which were from people who had returned to China from overseas. Another 12 suspected cases - also all imported - were being kept under observation, along with an additional 30 asymptomatic cases.

China now has 1,242 confirmed cases in treatment and 1,033 asymptomatic cases under isolation and monitoring. Numbers of daily new deaths have been hovering in the single digits for weeks, hitting just one on several occasions.

The Indonesian government has forecast that the new coronavirus may infect about 95,000 people in the country by next month as the virus was spreading rapidly in the past month.

Indonesia marked the biggest daily increase in Covid-19 cases since the country announced its two first cases early last month: 247 people tested positive on Tuesday, bringing the country caseload to 2,738.

Indonesia’s death toll was 221 on Tuesday, the highest in Asia after China.

Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe has declared a month-long state of emergency for Tokyo and six other prefectures to ramp up defences against the spread of coronavirus. Mr Abe said there would be no European-style lockdowns. The state of emergency will only permit Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike and heads of six other designated prefectures to do more to reinforce calls for social distancing.

Hong Kong will continue to be closed to foreigners, extending the initial two-week entry restrictions on non-residents indefinitely. Non-residents coming from overseas to Hong Kong by plane will be denied entry, and those coming from mainland China, Macao and Taiwan will be barred from entering if they have been overseas in the past 14 days.

The move to continue shutting out foreigners was announced by the government, and comes as the number of Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong rose to 915.

The Singapore government tabled a bill in parliament on Tuesday that sought to ensure that a general election could be held safely if called during the Covid-19 pandemic. The city-state, which entered the first day of a month-long partial lockdown on Tuesday to try and curb sharply rising coronavirus cases, has said it is not ruling out holding the ballot before its deadline in early 2021.

Vietnam donated 550,000 face masks to five European countries on Tuesday to support their fight against the coronavirus. The masks, made of antimicrobial fabric, were handed to the ambassadors of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain in Hanoi, the foreign Ministry said in a statement. The has reported 245 coronavirus cases with no deaths.

North America

In the United States, New York state has recorded 731 new coronavirus deaths, marking the biggest one-day jump in the outbreak.

The state’s death toll since the beginning of the outbreak is now 5,489, according to governor Andrew Cuomo.

More people have now died from coronavirus in New York City than perished in the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre.

At least 3,202 people have been killed in the city by the virus, according to a new count released by city health officials.

The 2001 terror attack on US soil killed 2,753 people in the city and 2,977 overall, when hijacked planes slammed into the World Trade Centre, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on September 11 2001.

More than 90 per cent of Americans are under stay-at-home orders issued by state governors.

The country’s coronavirus death toll has surpassed 11,000

and confirmed cases have topped 368,000. President Donald Trump, who previously said the coronavirus would miraculously disappear, responded to the recent White House projection by saying any death toll less than 100,000 would be considered a success.

Canada needs to do more to persuade Washington not to block medical supplies from flowing across the border, even though U. officials have allowed the export of 500,000 masks, prime minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday.

Mr Trudeau told a briefing that the N95 surgical masks from Saint Paul, Minnesota-based 3M Co - part of a batch of four million ordered by the province of Ontario to help fight the coronavirus - should arrive on Wednesday.

Canadian officials pressed their US counterparts after Ontario complained the shipment had been blocked. Mr Trump signed an order last week to stop personal protective equipment from being exported.

“We have had constructive and productive conversations that have assured that this particular shipment comes through but we recognise there is still more work to do,” Mr Trudeau said.

The Canadian death toll from the outbreak rose to 345 from 293 on Monday, chief medical officer Theresa Tam told a daily briefing. The total number of cases is 17,063, compared to 15,822 a day earlier.

Europe

The United Kingdom coronavirus death toll rose by 786 to 6,159 people as of 4pm on April 6th, the health ministry said on Tuesday.

As of 8am on Tuesday, 213,181 people had been tested of which 55,242 were positive, up from 51,608 on Monday, the department of health and social care said.

Norway, one of the first European countries to curb activities to rein in the spread of the coronavirus, will relax restrictions “little by little”, the prime minister said on Tuesday.

The Nordic country’s lockdown sent the economy into a tailspin and triggered hundreds of thousands of layoffs.

“Together we have taken control of the virus, therefore we can open up society little by little,” Erna Solberg told a news conference.

On Monday, her health minister said the epidemic was “under control” in Norway, pointing to the low rate of transmission.

Current restrictions, which are in place until April 13th, include the closure of nurseries and schools, refusing entry to foreigners who do not live and work in Norway and forbidding people to go to their mountain cabins if they have one.

Some 5,863 people had tested positive for the coronavirus as of Tuesday, up from 5,755 reported on Monday, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health said. Some 69 people have died of the disease so far.

Russian authorities registered more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours for the first time since the beginning of the outbreak.

The government coronavirus task force reported 1,154 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the country’s total caseload to 7,497, with 58 deaths and 494 recoveries.

The epidemic in Russia picked up speed in March, with the number of cases growing exponentially and doubling every few days.

The vast majority of Russian regions are currently on lockdown, ordering residents to self-isolate at home and not go out, unless it is to buy groceries, medication, walk their dogs or take out rubbish.

Spain has recorded a rise of daily coronavirus infections and deaths for the first time in five days, a result consistent with previous Tuesdays when a weekend backlog of tests and fatalities are reported.

With 743 new deaths in the last 24 hours, some 100 more than the fatalities seen from Sunday to Monday, Spain’s death toll neared 13,800 since the beginning of the pandemic, health ministry data showed. The total of confirmed infections rose over 140,000, with 5,478 new ones on Tuesday, 1,000 more than on Monday. Both figures had been declining since April 2nd.

Germany’s national disease control centre has launched a new app that it hopes will help scientists better understand the spread of coronavirus by analysing users’ smartwatch or fitness band data.

The Robert Koch Institute called on volunteers to install the Corona Data Donation in a pilot project. It said smartwatches and fitness bands record resting heart rates, sleep patterns and the level of activity of their users, and “in the case of acute respiratory illness, these vital signs change significantly in most cases”.

Germany has reported more than 100,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 1,800 deaths.

German labs processed 332,414 tests for the coronavirus last week, up 5.9 per cent from a week earlier, a trade group said on Tuesday, adding that the industry had some spare capacity for more intense diagnostic activity if required by healthcare policy makers.

Denmark said it is planning to reopen nurseries and primary schools for pupils aged up to 11 next week in a gradual lifting of the country’s coronavirus lockdown.

Prime minister Mette Frederiksen said her government planned to open schools for younger students first because the requirement to care for them represented a greater burden on society. Reopening is planned for April 15th.

She said restaurants, bars and cafes would remain closed for now, and churches, libraries, sports venues and shopping centres would remain closed until at least May 10th. Denmark will keep in force border controls and ban gatherings of more than 10 people at least until May 10th.

Ms Frederiksen stressed the announced gradual easing of the lockdown would take place only if the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases remains stable and there is no major hike by Easter.

Italy’s health ministry has sent inspectors to the country’s biggest nursing home, where 70 elderly people reportedly died in March alone while management allegedly downplayed the risk of infection of coronavirus.

The country is likely to start relaxing its lockdown starting May 4th if the spread of the coronavirus continues to slow, il Corriere della Sera reports, citing unidentified scientific advisers to the government. Certain businesses may be allowed to re-open by mid-April, but it may be some weeks more before rules are relaxed on people leaving their homes and socialising in public places, the newspaper said.

Finland will start tracking the spread of the new coronavirus in its population with randomised antibody tests - the main hospitals will mail invitation letters to randomly chosen citizens of all ages to be tested for the antibodies which patients suffering from Covid-19 develop, including those who have contracted the illness without showing any symptoms. Finland has 2,176 confirmed cases, and 27 people have died.

Portugal’s president estimates that the worst of the coronavirus outbreak in his country will be over by the end of April.

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa told public broadcaster RTP there can be no “decompression” of restrictions until May, in reference to government orders for almost everybody to stay indoors.

The head of state has placed Portugal in a state of emergency until April 17th. He warns if people let down their guard now, there could be a relapse.

Portugal has 11,730 official coronavirus cases and 311 deaths.

Middle East

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced a complete lockdown over the upcoming Passover holiday to control the country’s Covid-19 outbreak. However, he offered citizens some hope by saying he expects to lift widespread restrictions after the week-long festival.

Mr Netanyahu’s announcement came as leaders of the Coptic Orthodox Church in neighbouring Egypt said they were suspending Easter celebrations because of the coronavirus.

Israel has reported more than 9,000 cases of Covid-19 and 60 deaths.

Oceania

New Zealand’s health minister has described himself as an “idiot” and has been stripped of some responsibilities after breaching the country’s strict lockdown measures.

David Clark drove about 20km to the beach to take a walk with his family. He said that at a time when the government was asking New Zealanders to make historic sacrifices by staying at home, he had let them down. “I’ve been an idiot, and I understand why people will be angry with me,” he said in a statement.

Africa

The African continent now has more than 10,000 coronavirus cases, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fifty-two of Africa’s 54 countries now have the virus, with island nation Sao Tome e Principe the latest to confirm cases.

Only the small kingdom of Lesotho and the island nation of Comoros have not confirmed cases. South Africa has the most cases on the continent with more than 1,600.

The shortage of testing capabilities across the continent has raised concerns that the number of actual cases in Africa could be higher.

The west African nation of Benin has ordered people in a dozen cities in the south to wear face masks.

It has “strongly encouraged” people elsewhere in the country to wear them to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The order applies to the capital Porto-Novo and seat of government Cotonou, which have already been isolated from the rest of the country. Benin has 22 confirmed cases.

More African nations are considering the widespread wearing of masks. Kenya has already recommended it for all citizens.