Tuesday 22 September 2020

US 'could become Covid epicentre'; India begins lockdown

NEW DELHI, March 25, 2020

The United States could become the next global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization warned, as India announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown to combat the spread of the virus.
Globally, the COVID-19 virus continued to cause mayhem in many countries and business activity collapsed from Japan to the US at a record pace in March.
The highly contagious coronavirus has caused entire regions to be placed on lockdown. In some places soldiers are patrolling the streets to keep consumers and workers indoors, halting services and production and breaking supply chains, a Reuters report said.
“The global health crisis is rapidly morphing into a global recession, as there is a clear tension between preventing infections and ruining the economy,” said Edoardo Campanella, an economist at UniCredit Bank in Milan.
Confirmed coronavirus cases around the world exceeded 377,000 across 194 countries and territories as of early Tuesday, according to a Reuters tally, more than 16,500 of them fatal.
In Geneva, WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said infections in the US had greatly increased. Over the previous 24 hours, 85 percent of new cases were in Europe and the US, and of those, 40 percent were in the US. As of Monday, the virus had infected more than 42,000 people there, killing at least 559.
Asked whether the US could become the new epicenter, Harris said: “We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the US. So it does have that potential.”
Some US state and local officials have decried a lack of coordinated federal action, saying that having localities act on their own has put them in competition for supplies. President Donald Trump acknowledged the difficulty.
“The world market for face masks and ventilators is crazy. We are helping the states to get equipment, but it is not easy,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, people in India's key cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru rushed to stock up after Prime Minister Narendara Modi decreed the shutdown in a speech televised nationwide, barely four hours before it took effect, one of the toughest such measures worldwide.
Nobody is allowed to leave home for the next three weeks, Modi said. “Every district, every lane, every village will be under lockdown,” he said, warning that India’s development would be set back decades if it did not shut down to fight the virus.
But shutting down a $2.9-trillion economy would cause widespread damage and especially hurt the poorest people, some experts said.
United Kingdom
The health authorities in the UK announced the highest death toll of the COVID-19 in one day with 87 deaths, bringing to 422 the number of deaths among those who tested positive in the country. In a statement, the UK health authorities affirmed that a total of 90,436 people have been tested, out of which 82,359 were confirmed negative and 8,077 positive.
The number of new coronavirus cases in Spain jumped on Tuesday to 39,673 from 33,089 cases registered on Monday, the health ministry reported, according to Reuters. The number of fatalities rose to 2,696 overnight from 2,182, the ministry said.
The Pakistani authorities announced that the number of cases of Coronavirus in Pakistan rose to 918. According to official statistics issued by the Pakistani Government, the death toll from Coronavirus in all parts of Pakistan rose to seven, while recoverees reached three.
Malaysia's prime minister on Wednesday extended a two-week virtual lockdown to April 14 as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the country, which has the highest number of infections in Southeast Asia.
Reuters quoted Muhyiddin Yassin as saying that the country had 172 new coronavirus cases as of Wednesday noon, taking the total to 1796, with 17 deaths.
He also said that he will announce a comprehensive people-oriented economic stimulus package on Friday.
Thailand has recorded 107 new coronavirus cases, bringing total to 934, Reuters reported on Wednesday. The new cases consist of 27 patients linked to previous cases, 13 new cases including imported ones, and 67 people who tested positive and are awaiting investigation into how they contracted the disease, Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a Public Health Ministry Spokesman said.
Thailand has recorded four death since the outbreak while 70 patients have recovered and gone home. 860 patients are still being treated in hospitals.



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