Coronavirus: Latest from around the world - Thursday, April 9

As of Thursday morning (NZ time), the death toll from COVID-19 had reached 85,000, with 1.46 million confirmed infections of the disease.

Here's the latest from around the world.

Europe

European Union finance ministers failed in all-night talks to agree on more economic support, spurring Spain to warn the bloc's future was on the line without a joint response to the crisis.

And The European Union will adopt a pan-European approach on the use of mobile applications to track the spread of the coronavirus, according to a European Commission document seen by Reuters.

Calling it a toolbox, the EU executive said it would include a common scheme for using anonymous, aggregated data to trace people who came into contact with those infected and to monitor those under quarantine.

To assuage privacy concerns, there will be a strict limit on the processing of personal data, which will be destroyed when the virus crisis is under control, the Commission paper said.

United Kingdom

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in intensive care with coronavirus but his condition is improving and he "can sit up in bed," finance minister Rishi Sunak said on Wednesday.

Johnson was admitted to hospital on Sunday, 10 days after being diagnosed with COVID-19. He was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit on Monday when his condition deteriorated.

"I can also tell you that he has been sitting up in bed and been engaging positively with the clinical team."

The news came as the UK reported the largest daily rise in deaths from coronavirus on Wednesday - up by 938 - taking the total death toll to 7097.

Spain

Deaths in Spain rise for a second consecutive day, with 757 in the last 24 hours, taking the total to More than 14,500. 

The Spanish government has announced plans to gradually ease lockdown measures across the country.

France

France's flagship aircraft carrier the Charles de Gaulle is returning to its home port early after about 40 crew members showed signs of COVID-19 symptoms, the armed forces ministry says.

The personnel were under strict medical observation on board the nuclear-powered carrier, which had most recently been taking part in exercises with northern European navies in the Baltic Sea.

"The first cases showed symptoms recently," the ministry said in a statement. "There are no signs of aggravated cases among the patients."

Italy

Twice-Olympic 800 metres finalist Donato Sabia has died from COVID-19 at the age of 56, the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) said on Wednesday.

Sabia finished fifth in the 800 metres at Los Angeles in 1984 and seventh in Seoul four years later. He won the gold medal in the same event at the European Indoor Championships in 1984.

According to CONI, he is the first Olympic finalist in the world to die from the virus.

Vatican

Pope Francis on Wednesday condemned people he said were exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to turn a quick profit and decried the "hypocrisy" of how some politicians are dealing with the crisis.

He spoke of "those people who, in this time of a pandemic, have made a business of dealing with those in need, who take advantage of the needs of others and sell them out - the mafiosi, the loan sharks and many others."

"May the Lord touch their hearts and convert them," he said.

Russia

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday likened Russia's fight against the novel coronavirus to its battles against medieval invaders and said the next few weeks would be decisive.

Putin, who said he wanted the economy to keep functioning despite the virus, was speaking after updated official data showed a record rise in the number of reported cases to 8672, while deaths increased by five to 63.

"The next two-three weeks will be decisive for how the situation develops. It's a period that will demand the absolute concentration of our resources and the strictest observance of doctors' recommendations and preventative measures," Putin said.

Americas

Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will attend a cabinet meeting in person on Wednesday after spending weeks in self isolation after his wife tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau announced on March 28 that she recovered from the virus but the prime minister continued to self-isolate at home on the advice of health officials.

Peru

Two babies born to mothers who tested positive for the coronavirus in Peru have tested negative for COVID-19.

Doctors have attributed that to strict biosecurity protocols used at the Edgardo Rebagliati Martins National Hospital where the babies were born in late March.

United States

The US death toll has soared to 1850 coronavirus deaths in a single day - the highest 24-hour death count of any country since the outbreak began.

US officials warned Americans to expect alarming numbers of coronavirus deaths this week, even as an influential university model on Wednesday scaled back its projected US pandemic death toll by 26 percent to 60,000.

But New York officials warned that a spike in the number of people dying at home suggests that the city may be undercounting how many people have died of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus.

New York's efforts at social distancing are working to get the coronavirus pandemic under control even as the number of deaths over the past 24 hours hit a new high of 779 across the state, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday.

"Don't start doing a retrospective like it's over," Cuomo told a daily briefing on the states' coronavirus response, urging residents to stay at home as much as possible. "We are not through it. It's not over."

Empty New York amid the pandemic.
Empty New York amid the pandemic. Photo credit: Getty

Wall Street rose on Wednesday on hopes the coronavirus outbreak in the United States was close to its peak and expectations that Congress will inject hundreds of billions more in the battered economy.

President Donald Trump said late on Tuesday the United States might be getting to the top of the "curve" in relation to the outbreak, even as New York and several other states posted their highest number of daily virus-related fatalities.

A peaking in new virus cases is widely considered one of the first steps that will push markets into a recovery, but such signals are still tentative and corporate layoffs, cutbacks and losses show no signs of slowing.

Brazil

Brazil's military stepped into the nation's fight against the new coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday (April 07) by helping to restock low blood bank supplies.

Brazilian Army Colonel Rego Barros told Reuters the blood donation was an action to combat, control and prevent COVID-19. 

"In this theatre where we're at war against a strong, powerful and invisible enemy, the armed forces once again will fight without fear to protect and defend our population," said Barros.

Latin America's largest country on Tuesday confirmed 13,717 coronavirus cases, while deaths rose to 667, exceeding 100 in 24 hours for the first time.

Asia

China

The Chinese city where the coronavirus first emerged reopened on Wednesday, allowing its 11 million residents to leave for the first time in two months.

The virus has become a global pandemic infecting over 1.4 million people and killing 82,000, wreaking havoc on the global economy as governments impose sweeping lockdowns to rein in its spread.

While China's operation to contain the outbreak in Wuhan has been hailed as a success, it took the best part of a month for the military-style quarantine to be put in place.

Singapore

Singapore's Health Ministry confirmed 142 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday for a total of 1623, the biggest daily increase yet, and said a seventh person had died after testing positive for the disease.

Forty of the new cases were linked to foreign worker dormitories. The Southeast Asian city state has quarantined workers in three dormitories after they were linked to several cases of the COVID-19 respiratory disease.

Japan

Tokyo has recorded 144 new coronavirus infections, its biggest daily jump since the start of the pandemic, the city's governor Yuriko Koike says, on the first day of a state of emergency aimed at containing the outbreak.

Total infections in the Japanese capital stand at 1339, said Koike, a rise that helped carry the nationwide tally to 4768, according to an evening report by public broadcaster NHK.

Deaths in Japan as of Wednesday morning stood at 98, said the NHK.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong has announced relief measures worth NZ$29 billion to help businesses and people crippled by the coronavirus outbreak to stay afloat, as the city joins global efforts to cushion the impact of the pandemic.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam also pledged to take a pay cut of 10 percent for a year and said the government would pay 50 percent of workers' salaries for six months.

The stimulus package came just hours after the government extended social-distancing restrictions, including the closure of some bars and pubs and a ban on public gatherings of more than four people, until April 23 as it battles to halt the spread of the virus.

The government said a "drastic" more than two-fold spike in the number of cases in Hong Kong over the past two weeks to 936 meant the move was necessary. Four people in the former British colony have died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Oceania

New Zealand

New Zealand remains the only country with more than 1000 COVID-19 cases but only one death.

Reuters / APTN / Newshub.

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