- US reports more than 10k new cases in largest daily jump yet
- Number of new coronavirus cases confirmed over last 2 days largest yet
- Alaska orders visitors to quarantine
- US records more than 100 deaths in a day
- Global case total nears 400k
- PM Abe, IOC agree to delay Tokyo Games 1 year, Paralympics still set to take place this summer
- India expands lockdown
- Pakistan deploys army
- Italy shuts down gas stations
- Albania imposes 16-hour daily lockdown
- Myanmar, Laos confirm first cases
- Thailand to declare state of emergency
- Macau, Hong Kong tighten restrictions
- Beijing lifts lockdowns on Hubei, Wuhan
- Nearly half of UK watched Johnson’s Monday night address
- Belgium reports 500+ new cases
- European PMI offer first indicator of economic damage
- German finance minister says more stimulus to come
- Hawaii reports first death
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Over the past two days, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths has seen the largest jump on record, even as the number of newly reported cases plateaus in Europe, as New York and a handful of other US states ramp up testing. On Monday, the US was hardest hit, with states adding 10,168 cases, the largest single-day increase for any country outside of China.
And for the first time, the US recorded more than 100 new deaths in a single day, including the first recorded death in Hawaii. The individual, who died on Friday, was an adult from the island of Oahu suffering from “multiple underlying health conditions.”
As a result, at least 16 states have issued stay-at-home orders, which, once in effect, will impact 142 million people, or 43% of the US population, CNN reports.
Alaska has ordered anybody visiting the state to quarantine for two weeks, as President Trump desperately warns that the US “wasn’t built to be shut down” and that extending the shutdown for longer than 2 weeks might do irreparable harm to the economy. German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz hit back at Trump Tuesday morning, telling the German newsmagazine “Bild” that calls to put economic health before protecting human life are “cynical” and “poorly thought out.”
Around the world, there are 387,382 cases of novel coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking figures from the World Health Organization and additional sources. On Monday, JH recorded the largest single-day jump in the number of new COVID-19 cases, with 41,371 cases diagnosed. The death toll rose by a record 1,873 – nearly 2k deaths in a single day – bringing the international total to 16,767 deaths globally.
Meanwhile, in Japan, NHK reported that Japanese PM Shinzo Abe urged the IOC to make a decision on the fate of the games “as quickly as possible”, following reports last night that Japan had agreed to postpone the 2020 games until 2021. Earlier, New Zealand’s athletes joined Australia’s and Canada’s in pulling out of the games unless they’re postponed.
Elsewhere in Asia, India has expanded its mammoth national lockdown to cover about two-thirds of the population, even as the number of confirmed cases remains below 500. Neighboring Pakistan is deploying its army to assist with the outbreak, while tiny Albania is imposing a strict 16-hour daily curfew to combat the outbreak.
After Hong Kong reported its largest daily jump in new cases a few days ago, Singapore confirmed 54 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, the city’ state’s largest daily jump, even after Singapore, HK, Taiwan and a handful of other Asian economies were praised for their efforts to combat the virus. Even as the number of confirmed cases in Japan remains low – possibly because, as some have noted, close personal contact is often frowned upon in Japanese culture – Tokyo’s governor warned on Tuesday that Japan’s capital could be placed under lockdown if the number of cases spike.
In southeast Asia, the tiny, impoverished nations of Myanmar and Laos have just reported their first two cases.
After a nearly week-long streak where China confirmed almost no new domestically-infected cases, it appears the outbreak in the world’s second-largest economy has finally petered out. Lockdown measures that were imposed on China’s Hubei region and especially its capital city, Wuhan, back in February will be lifted on Wednesday, while additional measures in Wuhan will remain in place until April 8.
“It’s finally over,” overjoyed residents cried with joy after the announcement.
Though other Asian governments were moving in the opposite direction. Thailand said Tuesday that it will declare a state of emergency under a decree giving it broad powers to fight the coronavirus outbreak, including the right to censor media. Meanwhile, Macau, a special administrative region of China, along with Hong Kong, has joined the latter city in demanding all foreign travelers be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival.
Meanwhile, over in Italy, authorities are trying to figure out what to do next as stocks and bonds soared in a torrid rally following signs that the country’s lockdown might finally be helping to slow the outbreak.
Although the data from the last two days has been somewhat encouraging, the head of the Civil Protection Agency, the federal agency that has been tasked with reporting the country’s daily case totals, said that the total number of infected is likely 10x the official number of cases that have been confirmed.
“A ratio of one certified case out of every 10 is credible” Angelo Borrelli, the head of the Civil Protection Agency, told La Repubblica. Borrelli said he believed as many as 640,000 people could have been infected in the country.
Now that the lockdown has been extended to April 3, the country said that it would shut down all motorway and highway petrol stations, making it virtually impossible for people to travel.
In Germany, meanwhile, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said that his country could push for even more stimulus after announcing plans for a massive fiscal stimulus measure on Tuesday morning, and after the EU states got together to discuss additional assistance for Italy.
Meanwhile, in other news, we wanted to point out that, a few days ago, we shared a report about this phenomenon with our readers. Since then, the information has been even more widely reported: Now, a team of British ear, nose and throat doctors are raising the possibility of a new indicator of the coronavirus, one they say has been observed globally, even in patients who are otherwise asymptomatic: anosmia, a condition that causes the loss of sense of smell. In a statement, they warned that adults experiencing recent anosmia could be asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19, and urged them to consider self-isolation.
“All of this evidence is accumulating very rapidly, but there’s nothing yet robustly in print,” said Claire Hopkins, president of the British Rhinological Society. “Since then, I’ve had colleagues from around the world saying: ‘That’s exactly what we’re seeing.’ They’ve been trying [to raise awareness], but it hasn’t been picked up.”
We also reported a couple of weeks back that Iran was temporarily releasing prisoners and requiring them to help with the country’s relief effort. The government has now extended their supervised release by another 25 days until April 18, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced on state TV Tuesday as the country’s death toll continues to rise. And while the country continues to blame the US for the outbreak, even after rejecting aide from President Trump, Iran also said Tuesday it does not need the help of Médecins Sans Frontières – aka Doctors without Borders – to set up makeshift hospitals as the country’s hardliners continue to oppose all forms of foreign help.
Spain, the worst-hit country in Europe after Italy, reported another 514 deaths on Tuesday, raising the death toll to 2,696, while it reported another 6.5k cases, bringing the total to 39,673. Madrid remains the worst-hit region, with 12,352 cases, 1,050 people in intensive care and 1,535 deaths.
The situation is getting so bad in Spain, that the bodies of COVID-19 victims are being delivered to the Palacio de Hielo ice rink, which is being used as a temporary morgue in Madrid. The regional government said it was a “temporary” measure to ease pressure on hospitals in Spain, which has recorded the third-highest death toll outside China and Italy.
In Belgium, there were 4,269 cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, an increase of 526 in the past day. Deaths have also increased by 34, bringing the total to 122, and there have been 256 new hospital admissions in last 24 hours, lower than reported on Monday and Sunday. In nearby France, the country’s finance minister warned the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic is “comparable only to the great recession of 1929,” Bruno Le Maire said Tuesday.
Following last night’s speech by UK PM Boris Johnson, where the PM declared a national lockdown and granted police the power to enforce it, another major commonwealth country has followed suit. On Tuesday Australia banned all but essential travel outside of the country after PM Scott Morrison announced similar lockdown measures as the number of cases in the country climbs. Ratings data suggest that nearly half of the UK watched Johnson’s televised speech last night, with ratings agencies giving the speech an 80% market share – roughly 40% of the UK population.
After European PMI data released Tuesday showed business activity in the region has crumbled this month, Goldman Sachs slashed its growth forecast for the eurozone, warning that the region’s coronavirus-crippled economy will see a 9% contraction this year, and that budget deficits are likely to mushroom in many countries. The US investment bank said in a note to clients on Tuesday morning that it expected the eurozone economy to shrink by 4% in the first quarter and 11.4% in the second. Its economists blamed “strict containment measures, anecdotal evidence of steep declines in domestic activity and a global recession” for the sharp decline in forecasts. Slovakia, one of the last countries in Europe to confirm cases of the virus, is set to pass a law allowing the use of data from mobile phones to ensure that citizens are observing the quarantine rules introduced to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
The Arab Gulf states are ramping up enforcement of curfews, quarantine and stay at home edicts as coronavirus cases rise to more than 1,900 in the region. Kuwait on Sunday evening arrested nine expatriates in a suburb of the capital for breaking a daily nationwide curfew, and other states including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have imposed draconian measures.
Finally, as the WHO said early Tuesday, as the US takes the lead in the number of new cases, the organization warned that it might soon displace Italy as the “new epicenter” of the epidemic.