The coronavirus disease has infected at least 2.3 million people and killed more than 150,000 globally. Here are the updates for April 18:

The Great pyramids lighten-up with blue light and reading with a laser projection the message
The Great pyramids lighten-up with blue light and reading with a laser projection the message "Stay Home" on the Giza plateau outside the Egyptian capital of Cairo on April 18, 2020 (AFP)

Thursday, April 18

Cases in Egypt pass 3,000

Egypt confirmed 188 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the total to 3,032, according to a health ministry statement.

Nineteen new deaths caused by the illness were reported, raising the total to 224.

Israel eases some restrictions

Israel approved some easing to its tight coronavirus restrictions while pointedly avoiding announcing the first stage of an exit from lockdown.

In a televised address, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outlined "a responsible and gradual" plan which would allow the return of some workers to offices and industry.

He also promised to reopen some high street shops and allow a return to school for children with special educational needs, in groups of up to three.

The measures are to take effect from Sunday, the first day of the Israeli week.

Europe coronavirus death toll tops 100,000: AFP Tally

The coronavirus has killed more than 100,000 people in Europe, nearly two thirds of the overall global death toll, according to an AFP tally at 1800 GMT. 

With a total 100,501 deaths out of 1,136,672 infections, Europe is the hardest-hit continent by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed 157,163 worldwide. 

The tallies are collated using date collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO).  

France death toll increases, at slowing rate

France registered 642 more deaths from coronavirus infections, bringing the total to 19,323, the fourth-highest tally in the world, although the number of people in hospital declined for a fourth day running.

France's public health authority said in a statement that the total number of people in intensive care units also fell for the 10th day in a row, to 5,833, the lowest level since March 31.

France has been in virtual lockdown since March 17 as part of efforts to curb the outbreak. 

Italy's daily death toll lowest since April 12

Deaths from the Covid-19 epidemic in Italy rose by 482 on Saturday, the lowest daily increase since April 12, while the number of new cases was stable at 3,491, the Civil Protection Agency said.

The death toll had risen by 575 on Friday, up from 525 the day before, with 3,493 new cases recorded.

The daily tallies of deaths and cases extend the broadly stable situation in place over the last 13 days.

The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on February 21 rose to 23,227, the second highest in the world after that of the United States. Total confirmed cases stood at 175,925.

Spain to extend lockdown through May 9

Spain, one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, is to extend its nationwide lockdown until May 9, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced.

Restrictions on movements would be loosened slightly however to allow children time outside, from April 27, he added.

Turkey's coronavirus cases highest in Middle East

Turkey's confirmed coronavirus cases have risen to 82,329, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said, overtaking neighbouring Iran for the first time to register the highest total in the Middle East.

An increase of 3,783 cases in the last 24 hours also pushed Turkey's confirmed tally within a few hundred of China, where the novel coronavirus first emerged.

Koca said 121 more people have died, taking the death toll to 1,890. A total of 10,453 people have recovered from coronavirus so far, and the number of tests carried out over the past 24 hours came to 40,520, the minister said.

Azerbaijan extends quarantine by two weeks

Azerbaijan has extended quarantine restrictions over the new coronavirus outbreak by two weeks until May 4, the government said.

The country of around 10 million in the South Caucasus has recorded a total of 1,373 coronavirus cases, with 18 deaths. Authorities said 590 patients had recovered.

The government also said the borders with Georgia and Iran would remain closed until May 4. 

New York daily death toll at two-week low

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that 540 people died across his state over the last 24 hours due to the novel coronavirus, marking the lowest daily tally in more than two weeks.

Speaking at a daily briefing, Cuomo also said new hospital admissions stayed around the 2,000-patient mark, which he said was "still an overwhelming number." 

US-Canada border to stay closed another month

The US-Canadian border will remain closed another month to fight the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced.

Both countries agreed on the continued closure, said Trudeau.

"This is an important decision, and one that will keep people on both sides of the border safe," he said.

The border has been closed for more than three weeks, except for transport of goods that amount to $1.7 billion (CAN$2.4 billion) in two-way trade each day.

US death toll exceeds 37,000 - Johns Hopkins data

The US reported 3,800 coronavirus deaths over the last 24 hours, surpassing the 37,000 mark, according to the Maryland-based Johns Hopkins University.  

Data compiled in the university's running tally counted 37,084 deaths and 706,832 cases. 

The US continues to lead the world in number of coronavirus infections and deaths, followed by Italy and Spain in both. 

More than 60,500 people have recovered in the US, according to the data. 

UK hospital death toll rises 888 to 15,464

Britain's hospital death toll from Covid-19 rose by 888 to 15,464 as of 1600 GMT on April 17, the health ministry said.

"357,023 people have been tested, of which 114,217 tested positive," the health ministry said. 

Dutch infections reach 31,589, 142 new deaths

Confirmed coronavirus infections in the Netherlands have risen by 1,140 to 31,589, Dutch health authorities said.

The death toll among people known to have been infected with the novel coronavirus increased by 142 to 3,601, the Dutch Institute for Public Health (RIVM) said in its daily update. 

Swiss death toll reaches 1,111, confirmed cases hit 27,404

The Swiss death toll from the new coronavirus has reached 1,111 people, the country's public health agency said, rising from 1,059 a day earlier.

The number of people showing positive tests for the disease increased to 27,404, the agency said, up from 27,078. 

Uzbekistan prolongs restrictions

Uzbekistan has decided to prolong restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus until May 10, the Central Asian nation's government said.

The social distancing measures were set to expire on April 10. The Tashkent government has locked down all provinces and some major cities, closed some businesses and ordered citizens to only leave their homes for work or essential shopping. 

Malaysia reports 54 new cases, 2 new deaths

Malaysian health officials reported 54 new coronavirus cases, the lowest daily increase since the government imposed curbs on movement and business on March 18, taking the cumulative total to 5,305.

The health ministry also reported 2 new deaths, bringing total fatalities to 88.

Philippines records 10 new deaths, 209 more cases

The Philippines' health ministry reported 10 new coronavirus deaths and 209 additional infections.

In a bulletin, the health ministry said total infections have risen to 6,087, while deaths have reached 397.

It added that 29 more patients have recovered, bringing the total to 516. 

Spain's death toll surpasses 20,000 

The death toll from the coronavirus in Spain, one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, moved past 20,000, the health 

ministry said.

A total of 20,043 people have now succumbed to the disease, which killed 565 people in Spain during the past 24 hours, slightly down on the 585 reported a day earlier.

Singapore sees huge surge in new virus cases

Singapore reported 942 new coronavirus cases, a single-day high for the tiny city-state that pushed its total number of infections to 5,992, including 11 deaths.

The number of cases in Singapore has more than doubled over the past week amid an explosion of infections among foreign workers staying in crowded dormitories. This group now makes up around 60 percent of Singapore’s cases.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said  that it will take time to break the chain of transmission in the dorms. He wrote on Facebook that the vast majority of cases among migrant workers were mild, as the workers are young.

Iran lets some Tehran businesses reopen after virus lockdown

Iran allowed some businesses in the capital and nearby towns to re-open after weeks of lockdown aimed at containing the worst coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East.

The country's death toll from the coronavirus rose by 73 during the past 24 hours to reach 5,031, health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpour said on state TV.

The number of death recorded daily is one of the lowest in recent days, he said. The total number of people diagnosed with the Covid-19 disease caused by the new virus reached 80,868, he said.

Indonesia reports 325 new cases, total 6,248

Indonesia reported 325 new coronavirus cases, taking the total number of infections in the world's fourth most populous country to 6,248.

Health ministry official Achmad Yurianto also reported 15 new deaths, taking the total to 535.

On Friday, Indonesia surpassed Philippines to become the country with the highest number of infections in Southeast Asia. It has the most number of deaths in Asia outside of China.

At least 20 Afghan presidential palace staff test positive for coronavirus

At least 20 officials working at Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's palace have tested positive for coronavirus, prompting the 70-year-old leader to limit most of his contact with staff to digital communication, government sources said.

An official document delivered to the Presidential Palace in Kabul is thought to have infected staff, many of whom began feeling unwell and were tested earlier this month, according to a senior health official.

Confirmed cases hit 10,000 in Japan

The number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases in Japan rose to 10,000, NHK public broadcaster said, just days after a state of emergency was extended to the entire nation in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe earlier appealed to the nation to stay indoors as new cases hit a record in the capital of Tokyo and fears medical services could fail in rural areas that are home to many elderly prompted the expansion of the state of emergency from an original seven areas.

At least 200 people have died from the virus in Japan, but Tokyo remains the hardest-hit area, reporting 201 new infections on Friday alone - a new record.

South Korea sees lowest daily jump since February 20

South Korea has reported 18 new cases of the coronavirus, its lowest daily jump since February 20, continuing a downward trend as officials discuss more sustainable forms of social distancing that allows for some communal and economic activity.

Figures released by South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brought national totals to 10,653 cases and 232 virus-related deaths.

The caseload continued to wane in the hardest-hit city of Daegu, where officials say the number of active cases dropped below 1,000 for the first time since a surge of infections in late February.

Thailand reports 33 new coronavirus cases, no new deaths

Thailand reports 33 new coronavirus infections, bringing the nation's total to 2,733 cases, a senior official said.

Eleven of the new cases were in Bangkok and had a history of going to public areas, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the government's Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

No new deaths were reported and 1,787 people have recovered, he said.

Thailand has reported 47 fatalities since the outbreak escalated in January. 

Peru sees 26 more new deaths

The death toll in Peru rose to 300 after 26 additional fatalities from the coronavirus were recorded in the last 24 hours.

Officials said the number of cases of the virus stood at 13,489 after 998 new cases were diagnosed. Overall, 6,541 patients have recovered.

Peru had its first death from the virus March 20 while the first case was seen March 6.

US surpasses 700,000 coronavirus cases

The United States passed 700,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, according to a tally maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

With the highest number of cases and deaths of any country in the world, the US had recorded 700,282 cases and 36,773 deaths as of 0030 GMT, according to the Baltimore-based university.

That marked an increase of 3,856 deaths in the past 24 hours, but that figure likely includes "probable" virus-linked deaths, which had not previously been counted.

This week, New York City said it would add 3,778 "probable" virus deaths to its official count.

Mexico registers 578 new cases of coronavirus

Mexican health officials reported 578 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 60 new deaths, bringing the country's total to 6,875 cases and 546 deaths.

Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said the country might have nearly 56,000 people infected.

First coronavirus death in northern Syria - UN

A man in his fifties has become the first person to die from the coronavirus outbreak in the northeastern part of war-torn Syria, UN officials said.

The UN humanitarian agency OCHA said it received notice on Thursday of the death from WHO, which was not immediately available for comment.

The dead man was said to be 53 years old.

Chile preparing 'progressive' reopening of economy

Chile President Sebastian Pinera said his government is preparing a "progressive" restart of economic activity in the country that has been in lockdown for 45 days over the pandemic.

The South American country has recorded more than 9,200 coronavirus cases and 116 deaths.

Amid a general lockdown, curfew and school closures, Chile also ordered the mandatory wearing of masks on public transportation, in elevators and at gatherings of more than 10 people.

Nigerian president's chief of staff dies from coronavirus

The Nigerian president's chief of staff, Abba Kyari, died on Friday after contracting Covid-19, two presidency spokesmen said on Twitter.

Kyari, who was in his 70s and had underlying health problems including diabetes, was the top official aide to 77-year-old President Muhammadu Buhari and one of the most powerful men in the country.

Kyari's was the highest profile death due to the disease in the West African country, which has 493 confirmed cases and 17 deaths, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies