Confirmed infections in Europe have passed one million and over 100,000 are dead, but Spain and the Netherlands are among the countries to report a drop in daily new cases.
- Over 2.3 million people worldwide have been infected by COVID-19, resulting in more than 160,000 deaths
- With over 1 million confirmed cases and 100,000 deaths, Europe is the region hardest hit by the virus
- At least 4.5 billion people are confined to their homes as part of social distancing measures
Updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)
22:45 Unemployment in the European Union could nearly double in the next months in a worst case scenario, consulting firm McKinsey has said, calculating that as many as 59 million jobs are at risk of being eliminated or having their pay and hours reduced because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The firm estimates that unemployment in the bloc will rise to 7.6% in 2020 and return to pre-crisis levels by the end of 2021. Worst-case scenario estimates, however, show an unemployment rate of 11.2% with recovery lasting until 2024.
Unemployment in the Eurozone dropped to 7.3% in February, a 12-year low, just weeks before coronavirus lockdown measures brought the European and global economy to a near halt.
McKinsey says over half of all jobs at risk are in customer service and sales, food service, and construction.
The European Commission expects the EU to experience a severe recession this year as a result of the pandemic.
21:58 G20 health ministers have agreed on preventive measures for the containment of coronavirus. Saudi Arabia, which currently holds the G20 presidency, confirmed the agreement on Sunday evening, but did not provide details.
Prior to the announcement, ministers met via videoconferencing to share experiences and discuss how to proceed.
A video shared with the press at the beginning of the meeting said that a swift action was necessary, including cooperation between global organizations in order plan a response. Countries that need it should receive support and investment in research, the video said.
21:24 Peru has reported over 15,000 cases of coronavirus, the second-highest number of infections in any Latin American country. Only Brazil has more confirmed cases.
The South American country confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on March 6. Some 25 days later, the number of cases had risen to 1,000, then 10,000 two weeks later. Some 400 people have died from the virus, the country’s health ministry said.
21:23 Easing the coronavirus restrictions in Germany will result in more infections, the state premier of Saxony has warned.
“We are definitely going to see infections go up,” Michael Kretschmer said in an televised appearance with broadcaster ARD, adding that it will be clear in three weeks whether the easing went too far.
Saxony is going farther than other German states in easing restrictions. On Monday, some stores as well as church services will be allowed to operate again, and schools will reopen their doors to some classes. However, the eastern German state is the first in the country to require people to wear face masks in grocery stores and while using public transportation. Other states have thus far only recommended doing so.
20:57 The director of a maximum-security laboratory in Wuhan has rejected speculations by the US government that the coronavirus originated from the lab.
Scientists in China say the virus was likely transmitted to humans at a market that sold wildlife in Wuhan. Conspiracy theories that the virus came from a Chinese lab have recently become talking points of US government officials.
“There’s no way this virus came from us,” Yuan Zhiming, the head of the P4 laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, says in an interview with Chinese state media.
19:13 Orthodox Christians have celebrated Easter today under lockdown. Many churches opted for online services, although in one country it was business as usual.
19:12 The pandemic has scaled down Sunday’s commemoration events for the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising as social distancing measures meant the annual memorial observances had to be conducted online. The POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews offered online history lectures and virtual visits to ghetto sites while commemorative concerts were to be broadcast on Polish state radio.
Museum director Zygmunt Stepinski said that the coronavirus crisis “has forced us to change the formula” of the commemorations on the 77th anniversary.
While members of the public were unable to take part this year, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and representatives of Jewish and Polish organizations laid wreaths at the monument to the ghetto fighters in central Warsaw. The country’s chief rabbi Michael Schudrich said prayers at the monument. All attendees wore face masks and kept themselves at a distance from each other.
President Andrzej Duda and Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski sent wreaths.
The Warsaw ghetto uprising was a revolt that occurred between April 19 and May 16 in 1943. Residents of the Jewish ghetto in Nazi-occupied Warsaw staged an armed revolt to prevent deportations to concentration camps.
19:10 Croatia will partially scrap its domestic travel ban at midnight (2200 UCT), the government has announced.
“Most of the police checkpoints we have become accustomed to with will disappear at midnight,” Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic told Nova TV. From Monday, people will be able to travel freely within their districts.
18:30 US President Donald Trump and Turkey’s Tayyip Recep Erdogan have spoken on the phone, agreeing to work together to counter the threat posed by coronavirus.
The two leaders “agreed to continue their close cooperation against the threats that the coronavirus pandemic poses to public health and our economies,” the Turkish presidency announced.
17:47 New York will start testing “thousands” next week, Governor Andrew Cuomo has said. The US state is the most hard-hit part of the nation. Cumomo said this “will tell us for the first time what percentage of the population has actually had coronavirus.” The antibody test can determine whether someone previously had COVID-19 but no longer does. Nearly 14,000 people have died in the state of New York.
16:58 Health ministers from G20 nations have begun virtual talks on the COVID-19 crisis. The talks are hosted by Saudi Arabia and are being conducted by video links. Health ministers are trying to determine how the G20 should take decisive action as a collective to tackle the pandemic.
The G20, or Group of 20, is a group of nineteen of the world’s countries with the most powerful economies, plus the European Union.
“We all collaborate on common health Priorities,” Saudi Arabia’s health ministry wrote on Twitter.
16:35 France and Italy have reported a slight decrease in daily deaths. In Italy, 433 people died on Sunday, the lowest daily tally in a week, and the number of new cases slowed to 3,047, down from 3,491.
Despite the slowing in deaths, the decline is not as dramatic as experts hoped when the lockdown was introduced. The overall death toll in Italy stands at 23,660, second only in the world to the United States.
In France, 395 new deaths were reported, significantly fewer than the day before. “We are starting to score points against the epidemic,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said, claiming that the nationwide lockdown is starting to prove effective.
At least 19,349 people have died in France and it is the fourth-worst hit country in the world, behind the US, Spain and Italy.
Experts have previously noted that figures reported on Sundays should be treated with some caution owing to slower collation of data.
15:55 Shortly after the confirmed number of deaths in Europe reached 100,000, the total number of infections on the continent passed one million. Europe is by far the worst-hit region in the world.
Most cases in Europe are accounted for by Spain, Italy, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, which between them make up well over 750,000 of the European infections. These five countries follow only the United States in terms of total cases.
15:43 There are almost 13,000 intensive care beds still available in Germany, according to a German medical association. Clinics have a total of 30,000 intensive care beds, the association says.
These figures mark the first time that Germany has a comprehensive overview of the amount of intensive care beds available in the country. This information can help inform the German government’s response to the coronavirus crisis. More than 95% of German hospitals now report daily figures of intensive bed use.
Association head Uwe Janssens warned against false hope from the figures. “We are not over the hill yet,” he said.
14:14 German Development Minister Gerd Müller has called for clarity from China over the coronavirus outbreak, particularly with regard to its extent in China.
“The Chinese need to show complete transparency in this global crisis — this also has to do with the origins of the virus,” Müller told Germany’s Funke Media Group.
“China should have acted faster in exchanging information about the spread of coronavirus in Wuhan,” he said. Recently, China revealed hundreds more deaths in Wuhan that had gone unreported in January and February.
13:54 Paris will issue over two million face masks to its residents for free, Mayor Anne Hidalgo has told the French press.
Half a million reusable masks will be issued by the end of April, with all Parisians set to receive one by mid-May. The most vulnerable will receive the masks first.
Hidalgo estimates the cost of the masks at €3 million ($3.2 million).
13:34 The number of deaths in the Netherlands has risen by 83, the lowest reported daily increase since March 26.
The total number of deaths in the Netherlands is 3,684, while the confirmed number of infections rose to 32,655. The Netherlands is the seventh-worst hit country in Europe, behind Spain, Italy, France, the UK, Germany and Belgium.
Spain has recorded its lowest 24-hour death count in about a month and the UK has reported its lowest hospital death toll in about two weeks.
12:00 Here’s are the latest updates from Asia:
Bangladesh: Struggling to implement coronavirus restrictions, officials are investigating how a funeral of a popular Islamic preacher that drew some 100,000 on Saturday could take place.
The country has been in a nationwide lockdown since March 26, and the measures are set to remain in place until at least April 25.
Community transmission of the virus has already taken place, public health experts say.
India: The government has strengthened restrictions on direct foreign investment from neighboring countries, a measure widely seen as a move to stave off takeovers from Chinese firms.
India’s trade ministry said the rule changes were meant to curb “opportunistic takeovers/acquisitions.” It did not mention China in its announcement.
There were already similar investment restrictions in place for Bangladesh and Pakistan. However, before the rule change, the limits did not apply to China, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Nepal.
Japan: Authorities snipped roughly 800,000 tulips in eastern Japan to stop crowds from gathering at a previously canceled annual flower festival.
The Sakura Tulip Festa, which typically draws hundreds of thousands, was canceled over coronavirus concerns.
Japan expanded a state of emergency nationwide to prevent the spread of the virus. The government on Sunday also received complaints of dirty cloth face masks. See update at 07:30 for more
Pakistan: Mosque will remain open during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, with the government bowing to pressure by religious leaders.
Critics have accused Pakistan of contributing to the spread of the coronavirus by refusing to stop gatherings of religious missionaries, to which nearly 2,000 confirmed cases have been traced.
The holy fasting month of Ramadan, during which Muslims usually break their fast and perform the Taraweeh evening prayer in large gatherings at mosques, begins on Thursday.
Saudi Arabia: In contrast to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia’s Council of Senior Scholars urged Muslims worldwide to pray at home during Ramadan if their countries require social distancing measures.
“Muslims shall avoid gatherings because they are the main cause of the spread of infection … and shall remember that preserving the lives of people is a great act that brings them closer to God,” it said in a statement.
The kingdom’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh expressed a similar sentiment on Friday. He said Muslims should perform prayers during Ramadan and for the subsequent Eid al-Fitr feast at home.
South Korea: The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported eight new coronavirus cases on Sunday. It was the first time the daily increase dropped into the single digits in nearly two months.
Officials nonetheless warned of a broader “quiet spread” with people easing up on social distancing practices.
“We must not loosen our guard until the last confirmed patient is recovered,” President Moon Jae-in said.
Singapore: McDonald’s, a fastfood restaurant, is suspending operations in the country for two weeks after seven employees tested positive for the coronavirus. See update at 08:10 for more.
Taiwan: Two dozen crewmembers of a naval ship have tested positive for the new coronavirus, according to the country’s Centers for Disease Control.
The 24 sailors were part of a crew that took part in a two-month training mission that brought them to the Oceanic island nation of Palau. More than 700 officers and sailors from the ship and two other warships part of the mission are in quarantine for 14 days.
United Arab Emirates: Dubai has opened a 3,000-bed capacity field hospital in its World Trade Center to prepare for a surge in coronavirus cases.
The hospital will reinforce Dubai’s healthcare system and “take advantage of all resources and infrastructure to fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” a statement from the UAE’s media office said.
The UAE has imposed strict social distancing rules and a night-time curfew to combat the virus outbreak.
11:00 The coronavirus pandemic is posing a major challenge in Africa. With not much help expected from outside, the continent’s tech geniuses are inventing quick and cheap solutions to curb the spread of the virus.
10:40 Spain reported 410 new deaths from the new coronavirus on Sunday, down from 565 the day before.
The additional deaths brought the total death toll to 20,453, according to Spain’s health ministry — slightly lower than the 20,639 deaths reported by Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker.
Spain is one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. With nearly 200,000 cases, Spain’s case total is only behind the United States, which has more than 735,000 cases.
09:35 COVID-19 cases in Russia continue to rise sharply rise as Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter Sunday.
Russia’s coronavirus crisis response center reported 6,060 new cases over the past 24 hours, a new daily record. The increase brings the total number of reported cases to 42,853.
The number of coronavirus cases in Russia began dramatically increasing this month despite having far fewer infections than many western European countries early on.
The Orthodox Church has urged worshippers to stay home for Easter, celebrated a week after Catholics and Protestants because they follow a different calendar, though some churches say the lockdown is going too far.
Russian President Vladimir Putin published a video message on Sunday, wishing worshippers happiness and health. “Everything will be fine with God’s help,” he said.
The Kremlin said Putin lit a candle in a chapel on the site of his Novo-Ogarjovo suburban residence. The 67-year-old president typically travels to Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the central church of the Russian Orthodox tradition.
09:00 Here’s some of what’s been happening in North and South America:
Brazil: President Jair Bolsonaro said he would recommend reopening the country’s borders with Paraguay and Uruguay.
Bolsonaro has consistently downplayed the threat of the coronavirus, criticizing state governors who have instituted anti-virus shutdowns. On Friday, he fired his health minister, who supported anti-disease controls.
Canada: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the US and Canada have agreed to extend border closures to nonessential travel for another 30 days.
Trudeau said the measure will keep people on both sides of the border safe amid the coronavirus pandemic.
US President Donald Trump said the US-Canada border will be among the first to reopen. Nearly 200,000 people normally cross the border daily.
Cuba: The nation’s private sector has suffered dramatically due to the lack of tourism during the coronavirus pandemic.
Tourism in January and February was already down 16.5% on the previous year, according to the Agence France Presse. The government closed the island nation’s borders to non-essential travel at the end of March.
Though the state runs most of the businesses in the communist country, the private sector employes almost 635,000 people — 14% of Cuba’s workforce. But the labor ministry said on Wednesday that 119,000 private workers have applied for their licenses to be suspended, which would temporarily exempt them from taxes.
Panama: Authorities are holding some 1,700 illegal migrants destined for the United States in a jungle camp after several cases of COVID-19 were detected among them.
The camp, located in La Penita near Panama’s border with Colombia, is designed to accommodate 200 people. The infected people have already been removed from the camp.
United States: State governments have come under increasing pressure to ease coronavirus restrictions.
Anti-lockdown protests took place in the State capitols of Texas, Maryland, New Hampshire and Ohio. In Indianapolis, more than 200 people stood outside the governor’s mansion, carrying American flags and signs demanding Governor Eric Holcomb lift lockdown measures.
Some states have already lifted some of its restrictions. South Carolina announced on Saturday that it would reopen retail stores and beach access.
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence delivered a speech at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado, a trip intended to show that the country is ready to reopen.
Venezuela: President Nicolas Maduro told a Venezuelan radio station that the nation’s parliamentary elections this year could be postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Under the constitution, the election must take place in December so the National Assembly can be sworn in at the beginning of January.
“It would be irresponsible to say we will hold elections, whatever it may cost,” Maduro said.
08:40 UK Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove has denied a report in this week’s Sunday Times newspaper that failings by the British government in February may have cost thousands of lives from COVID-19.
The newspaper reports that Prime Minister Boris Johnson skipped five high-level COBRA security meetings on the novel coronavirus and that calls to order protective gear for care workers and order a lockdown earlier went unheeded.
Gove said the idea that Johnson had avoided the meetings was “grotesque.”
08:10 The fast food giant McDonald’s says it is suspending all operations in Singapore for two weeks after seven of its employees tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
The burger chain says it is following health ministry advice to shut down until May 4 when Singapore’s partial lockdown ends. It says it will keep paying the salaries of 10,000 employees working in more than 135 outlets across the city-state.
Singapore on Saturday reported a record daily jump of 942 new infections, the highest one-day spike in Southeast Asia, for a total to 5,992.
07:30 The health ministry of Japan says it has received reports that some of the cloth face masks it is distributing to households are dirty.
Reports from 80 municipalities say the masks came with stains, dust and other contamination.
The masks were among half a million that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government started sending to pregnant women as a priority last week.
On April 1, Abe announced a plan to send two cloth masks to each of Japan’s 50 million households. His government has already been criticized for slow and inadequate coronavirus measures.
06:50 The head of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the European Union’s bailout fund, expects that the European economy would need another €500 billion ($544 billion) to combat the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I would say that we will need another €500 billion from European institutions for the second phase,” ESM chief Klaus Regling told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Serra.
“To achieve this, we need to discuss new measures impartially, but also use the existing institutions, including the Commission and the EU budget, because it is easier.”
Earlier this month, the finance ministers from EU member states agreed to a €500 billion coronavirus bailout package.
Established in 2012, the ESM can issue bailout funds to EU member states but has a €500 billion lending limit.
06:25 German musicians have demanded state aid for self-employed and freelance artists in an open letter published in Welt am Sonntag, a German Sunday newspaper.
The letter, addressed to German Culture Minister Monika Grütters, argued that, if a company like Adidas receive subsidies during the coronavirus crisis, freelance artists should as well. It argues that these freelancers provide a “valuable contribution to culture.”
“Are we only popular when times are rosy? Does no one feel obligated to our cultural achievements?” the letter said. “Is it unimaginable to put artists in a position to bridge the next eight, nine, maybe even twelve months without slipping into unintentional and undeserved misery, into total depression?”
The letter demanded that, at the very least, state-subsidized institutions such as theaters, operas houses and concert halls should provide freelance artists with the income they would have received from canceled events.
The letter pointed out that dentists have received 90% of their 2019 income in subsidies, while occupational therapists received 40% of their fourth-quarter income from last year as a one-off subsidy.
The letter was signed by six German musicians, including well-known violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter.
05:53 American billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates says he is optimistic that a vaccine will be developed before the end of the year.
“There are a lot of vaccine candidates now that we are backing, and I’m optimistic by late next year one of those will come out, and we need to make sure that it gets out to everyone in the world,” he said in comments at the virtual “One World: Together at Home” concert on Saturday.
Gates said the vaccine need to protect “all of us, not just in the US — in the entire world.”
The Microsoft founder was one of the public figures featured in Saturday’s concert, which was organized by the Global Citizen organization. Lady Gaga, Elton John and the Rolling Stones were among the stars who appeared at the event.
05:30 Israel is seeing a relaxation of its tight coronavirus restrictions, while avoiding announcing the first stage of any exit from lockdown.
Some high street shops are being reopened on Sunday — the first day of the Israeli week — and a return to school for children with special educational needs, in groups of up to three, is being allowed.
In a televised address the previous day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outlined “a responsible and gradual” plan which would allow the return of some workers to offices and industry.
Israel has registered 13,107 cases of the illness, with 158 fatalities.
05:00 Coronavirus won’t necessarily blow a hole in the German budget. The country might be able to rein in the debt incurred to manage the coronavirus pandemic if the economy improves in the second half of the year, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said in an interview published on Sunday.
04:55 The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has risen by 2,458 to 139,897, according to German disease control and prevention agency the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). That rise is lower than a 3,609 increase reported on Saturday
The number of deaths rose by 184 to 4,294. Some 2,700 more people had recovered than the previous day according to Sunday’s figures, bringing the total to about 88,000.
Figures compiled by the RKI depend on data being transmitted from state and local levels to a national one, meaning they can differ to those published in real time by the Johns Hopkins University.
03:45 Germany is still trying to repatriate around 1,000 of its citizens, after successfully retrieving some 240,000 German nationals who were stranded abroad following the coronavirus outbreak.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told Bild am Sonntag newspaper that there are still between “a few hundred and a thousand citizens” waiting for the opportunity to return to Germany.
Many of those who already returned were coming from popular tourist destinations. For those who are still abroad, arranging their return has been more difficult, Maas said.
“We’re talking about people in the Colombian jungle, on remote South Sea islands, or in countries where air traffic is completely shut down at the moment,” Maas said. “We can’t help everyone immediately, but we won’t forget anyone.”
02:55 The coronavirus pandemic could lead Venezuela to postpone its parliamentary elections scheduled for December,
President Nicholas Maduro said.
“I don’t know if there will be elections this year because we have other priorities,” Maduro said in an interview. “It would be irresponsible to say we will hold elections, whatever it may cost.”
The parliament is Venezuela’s only institution controlled by the opposition. Its leader, Juan Guaido, declared himself the country’s interim president and called for Maduro to step down, accusing him of election fraud.
According to official figures, Venezuela has 227 confirmed coronavirus cases, and nine people have died.
02:30 China recorded 16 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, according to data reported Sunday, down from 27 the day before and the country’s lowest daily figure in over a month.
Just nine of the new cases were imported infections, the lowest number of imported cases seen in China since March 13, down from 17 a day earlier. The other seven cases were locally transmitted, down from 10 the day before.
Of asymptomatic cases, 44 new instances were reported on Saturday, down from 54 the day before.
No new deaths were reported on Saturday.
China has confirmed a total of 82,735 cases of coronavirus, resulting in 4,632 reported deaths.01:50 South Korea reported eight new coronavirus cases on Saturday, a single-digit daily increase for the first time in two months.
The new cases take the country’s total tally to 10,661 cases and 234 deaths.
South Korea has been widely praised for its handling of the outbreak. The country even held parliamentary elections this week, where millions turned out to vote, wearing gloves and masks.
01:15 The daily death toll in the US state of New York, the epicenter of the US outbreak, has hit its lowest point in over two weeks. On Saturday, the daily increase dropped below 550 for the first time since April 1. Hospitalizations also continued to decline.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, however, warned that the crisis isn’t over and that shutdown measures will remain in place. Hospitals are still admitting nearly 2,000 new coronavirus patients a day and nursing homes are a “feeding frenzy” for the virus, he said.
Almost 13,000 New Yorkers have died since the state’s first COVID-19 case was reported on March 1. These figures do not include over 4,000 New York City deaths that have been listed on death certificates but not verified with a lab test.
Amid the lockdown measures, the state announced it is making it easier for New Yorkers to get married via web video. As most marriage bureaus are currently closed due to the outbreak, Cuomo said he is waiving a provision that requires couples to apply for marriage licenses in person. The state is also making it possible for town and city clerks to conduct weddings by video.
“There is now no excuse when the question comes up for marriage. No excuse. You can do it by Zoom. Yes or no,” the governor said.
The question of online marriages had come up at a press briefing with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio earlier this week, with reporters speculating that increased layoffs due to the outbreak could result in couples seeking to wed in order to share health insurance benefits.
The total coronavirus death toll in the US hit 38,664 on Saturday, up 1,891 from the day before, according to the John Hopkins Institute. The country has recorded 732,197 cases of COVID-19 since the outbreak began.
01:00 US President Donald Trump warned China that it could face consequences if it was “knowingly responsible” for the coronavirus outbreak.
“If it was a mistake, a mistake is a mistake,” Trump said at his daily briefing. “But if they were knowingly responsible, yeah, then there should be consequences,” he said.
Asked whether the virus was a ”mistake that got out of control, or was it done deliberately”, Trump said China was “embarrassed.”
The Trump administration has said it is not ruling out the possibility that the novel coronavirus was spread accidentally, while laboratories were studying bats in Wuhan.
“They said they’re doing an investigation,” the president said. “So, let’s see what happens with their investigation. But we’re doing investigations also.”
00:05 The coronavirus death toll in Europe surged past 100,000 on Saturday. Accounting for 100,510 deaths — nearly two-thirds of the 157,163 global fatalities, according to a tally by the AFP news agency. Europe has suffered a greater death toll than any other continent.
Nearly a quarter of worldwide fatalities have been reported in the United States, where some 38,000 people have died, according to the John Hopkins Institute.
Over 4.5 billion people — more than half of humanity — remain at home as part of voluntary or enforced efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus through social distancing. Japan, Mexico, Spain, France, and the UK are among the countries that have expanded such measures or extended the length of their national lockdowns.
In the US, President Donald Trump has announced that lockdown measures will be partially eased in the states of Texas and Vermont starting on Monday. Isolated protests against lockdown measures have taken place around the US.