The virus has killed more than 80,000 people and has spread to 209 countries and territories. Here are the latest updates for April 7:

Health care members of French Civil Protection (
Health care members of French Civil Protection ("Protection Civile") dress prior to taking care of a migrant infected with coronavirus and carrying him to a cottage of a holyday center used as a center for infected migrants and homeless people, on April 7, 2020, in Saint-Aignan-Grandlieu, western France. (AFP)

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Twitter's Jack Dorsey pledges $1B for Covid-19 relief effort

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey said Tuesday he was committing $1 billion of his personal fortune to coronavirus relief through his philanthropic fund.

Dorsey said in a series of tweets he would transfer his equity in his digital payments group Square to his limited liability corporation Start Small, contributing around 28 percent of his overall wealth.

"Why now? The needs are increasingly urgent, and I want to see the impact in my lifetime," Dorsey said. "I hope this inspires others to do something similar. Life is too short, so let's do everything we can today to help people now."

Eastern Libya confirms first coronavirus case

The authorities running eastern Libya on Tuesday confirmed a first case of the coronavirus despite efforts to close borders and impose a curfew to limit social interactions.

Libya has confirmed a total of 20 cases of the new coronavirus, with the others in the western areas controlled by the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).

The United Nations and aid agencies have urged Libya's warring factions to stop fighting, but the conflict has increased in the past two weeks and projectiles hit a hospital in a GNA-held area of Tripoli on Monday.

France passes 10,000 coronavirus deaths

France’s national health director announced on Tuesday that France has reached the grim milestone of 10,000 coronavirus deaths.

Jerome Salomon addressed reporters in the daily Covid-19 briefing to emphasize that “we are in the epidemic’s ascendant stage... we have not yet reached the peak.”

He recorded a total death toll of 10,328 since the start of the epidemic — with 7,091 hospital deaths and 3,237 fatalities in old people’s homes.

There were 597 fatalities in hospitals since Monday.

Over 30,000 people are currently hospitalised with Covid-19 nationwide, with 7,131 in intensive care.

He did offer one moment for hope, acknowledging that the virus rate “is slowing a little.”

Death toll from coronavirus rises to 725 in Turkey

Turkey confirmed on Tuesday that 76 more people died from the coronavirus in the country over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 725.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases surged to 34,109 as 3,892 more people tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hours, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told a news conference.

So far, a total of 1,582 patients have recovered and been discharged from hospitals, while 1,474 patients are currently in intensive care, Koca said.

The recovery rate showed a significant rise, he added.

Also, 20,023 tests were conducted on Tuesday, bringing the total number of overall tests carried out so far to 222,868.

Italy’s number of new coronavirus cases continues to drop

Italy hasn’t seen such a low daily number since the early weeks of the outbreak.

Said Giovanni Rezza, director of the infectious disease division of the national health institute: “Finally it seems we are beginning to see a lessening of new cases” after a plateau phase. He expressed satisfaction that even Italy’s most stricken region, Lombardy, is also witnessing the same trend.

There were 604 new fatalities on Tuesday and the rise in infections fell to a new low of just 2.3 percent. Italy has 135,586 cases confirmed cases. 

After some 600 additional deaths were registered on Tuesday, Italy has counted 16,523 deaths in the Covid-19 outbreak.

Canada making up to 30,000 ventilators

The death toll from the Covid-19 climbed to 345 on Tuesday, with active cases rising to 17,063 people from 15,822, according to the country's Public Health Agency data.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Tuesday that the government has come to an agreement with several companies to produce up to 30,000 ventilators for the country.

Trudeau also said he expected 50,000 masks to arrive on Wednesday from American from the company 3M.

Previously, President Trump had used his authority under the 1950 Defense Production Act to stop exporting such masks, also known as respirators. The move outraged many officials in Canada.

UK death toll surges

England's hospital death toll from the coronavirus rose 758 to 5,655, the health service said.

The health service said 29 of the 758 dead had no known underlying health condition and were aged between 23 and 99 years old. 

A Cabinet meeting due on Tuesday has been postponed due to the latest developments, a statement from Downing Street said, adding that Prime Minister Boris Johnson to remain in hospital for a second night as his fever and cough continued.

Dutch coronavirus cases rise by 777

The number of confirmed new coronavirus cases in the Netherlands rose by 777 to 19,580, health authorities said on Tuesday, as a slowing trend in the rate of increase continued.

Deaths increased by 234 to 2,101, the Netherlands' Institute for Health said in its daily update, though it underlined that the death figures it reports on Tuesdays include some patients who died over the weekend and were reported later.

Sweden reports over 100 coronavirus deaths

Sweden on Tuesday reported another 114 coronavirus deaths, bringing the total to 591 in a country that has adopted a softer approach to containing the outbreak than some of its European neighbours.

Sweden's Public Health Agency said it had recorded a total of 7,693 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country of around 10 million people.

It reported 114 new deaths on Tuesday, an uptick from preceding daily tolls, but cautioned that some of the fatalities occurred in previous days.

State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said the country has been averaging an average of "a little over 40" deaths a day.

Saudi expects virus cases to rise sharply

Saudi Arabia's health minister on Tuesday warned of a huge spike in coronavirus cases of up to 200,000 within the coming weeks, state media reported.

"Within the next few weeks, studies predict the number of infections will range from a minimum of 10,000 to a maximum of 200,000," the official Saudi Press Agency reported, citing minister Tawfiq al Rabiah.

EU pledges $16B to fight virus worldwide

The EU is to put up 15 billion euros ($16.4 billion) to help poor countries around the world fight the coronavirus epidemic, the bloc's chief announced on Tuesday.

European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen said the money would help countries with weak healthcare systems tackle the impact of Covid-19 and also aid with long-term economic recovery.

South African union takes govt to court over Covid-19 gear shortage

South Africa's main health workers' union planned to challenge the government in court on Tuesday over shortages of protective gear for frontline staff as the country braced for a surge in new coronavirus cases.

Under a strict 21-day lockdown imposed from March 27 in a bid to contain the outbreak, South Africa has 1,686 confirmed cases, the continent's highest number, and 12 deaths.

"The risk of employees being infected with the Covid-19 virus is real," Zola Saphetha, general secretary of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU), said in court papers.

A Health Ministry spokesman did not respond to a request for comment, but Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said last week that the government had held talks with NEHAWU and was working with both foreign and local manufacturers to ensure supplies.

F1 team Mercedes to deliver breathing devices to UK hospitals

Formula One team Mercedes will start delivering breathing devices to Britain's National Health Service this week to aid the fight against the coronavirus.

The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices, which help coronavirus patients with lung infections to breathe more easily, were produced in less than a week and have been cleared for use after patient trials across London.

The British government has ordered 10,000 of the devices which are being produced "at a rate of up to 1,000 a day" in the Mercedes AMG High-Performance Powertrains technology centre in Brixworth, Northamptonshire.

Spain sees slight uptick with 743 deaths

The pace of coronavirus deaths in Spain ticked up slightly for the first time in four days, with 743 people succumbing overnight to reach a total of 13,798.

That compared to 637 people who died during the previous 24 hours in the nation with the second-highest toll of fatalities in the world from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Total cases rose to 140,510 from 135,032 on Monday, the health ministry said.

Iran confirms 133 new deaths

Iran's coronavirus death toll rose to 3,872 with 133 deaths in the past 24 hours, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur told state TV.

The total number of cases climbed to 62,589, with 2,089 new infections. Some 3,987 infected people are in a critical condition, he said.

Malaysia confirms 170 new cases, 1 death

Malaysian health authorities reported 170 new coronavirus cases, raising the cumulative tally to 3,963 cases.

The latest data includes one new death, raising total fatalities to 63.

Indonesia records biggest daily rise in infections

Indonesia confirmed 247 new coronavirus infections, taking the total to 2,738, said a health ministry official.

Achmad Yurianto, the official, reported 12 more deaths, taking the total to 221. At least 204 people have recovered.

More than 14,300 coronavirus tests have been carried out.

Over 18,000 in quarantine in Turkey

At least 18,156 people are currently quarantined in Turkey as part of measures to stem the novel coronavirus, country's youth and sports minister said. 

They are staying in 84 student dormitories located in 57 provinces, said Mehmet Kasapoglu who oversees student dormitories in the country. 

Some 3,120 medical staff are also quarantined at 73 dormitories in 47 provinces, Kasapoglu added. 

To date, he said, 27,595 people have been quarantined at dormitories belonging to the ministry. 

Turkey has so far reported 30,217 COVID-19 cases and the death toll stands at 649. 

Philippines reports 14 new deaths with 104 cases

The Philippine health ministry reported 14 new coronavirus deaths and 104 additional infections.

Deaths have reached 177 and total cases 3,764, Health Secretary Francisco Duque told a news conference.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier in the day extended to the end of April strict quarantine measures on the country's main island.

Russia reports 1,154 new coronavirus cases 

The number of coronavirus cases in Russia rose by more than 1,000 for the first time to reach 7,497 in the past 24 hours, the country's crisis response centre said.

The number of reported cases rose by 1,154, while deaths rose by 11 to 58, the centre said.

G20 urged to fund $8 billion for vaccine

More than 160 current and former global leaders and other VIPs are urging the world’s 20 major industrialised nations to approve $8 billion in emergency global health funding to hasten the search for a vaccine, cure and treatment for Covid-19 and prevent a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

In an open letter to governments of the Group of 20 nations released on Monday night, the leaders, ministers, top executives and scientists also called for $35 billion to support countries with weaker health systems and especially vulnerable populations and at least $150 billion for developing countries to fight the medical and economic crisis.

Japan prepping Tokyo hotel to help hospital load

Japan’s defence ministry said it has sent a group of soldiers to a Tokyo hotel to prepare rooms for Covid-19 patients with no or slight symptoms to stay.

It is an attempt to relieve overburdened hospitals and save beds for patients with more serious symptoms as Tokyo sees the number of cases surge. 

The ministry said 10 soldiers were to support the transfer of the patients, deliver meals and provide other assistance.

India will allow exports of anti-malaria drug after Trump appeal

India will allow some exports of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, the foreign ministry said after US President Donald Trump urged New Delhi to release supplies of the drug seen as a possible treatment for Covid-19.

The Indian government had earlier put a hold on exports of hydroxychloroquine, as well as on the pain reliever, paracetamol, saying it had to meet its internal demand. 

But Trump spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the weekend seeking supplies and later hinted that India may face retaliation.

The drug is not an approved treatment for Covid-19 and has serious side-effects.

Finland extends border controls until May 13

Finland's government extended and tightened border controls restricting travel to and from the country until May 13 in order to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Finland has followed with mounting concern neighbouring Sweden's liberal pandemic strategy, fearing cross-border commuters could speed up the spread of the virus in northern parts of Finland with an ageing population and limited intensive care resources.

Finland had recorded 2,176 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 27 deaths by Tuesday, while neighbouring Sweden's numbers stood at 7,206 and 477 deaths.

Thailand confirms 38 new cases and one death

Thailand reported 38 new coronavirus infections and the death of a 54-year-old man, a spokesman for a government agency said.

In addition to 16 new cases, including imported ones, there are 17 patients linked to previous cases and five people who tested positive but await investigation into how they caught the disease, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman of the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

Since the outbreak in January, Thailand's tally stands at 2,258 infections and 27 deaths, while 824 patients have recovered and gone home.

Philippines extends lockdown, home quarantine to end-April

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte approved the extension of lockdown and home quarantine measures covering more than half of the population, a crisis panel official said, in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The Enhanced Community Quarantine was due to end next week but would be extended until April 30, Karlo Nograles, a cabinet secretary, told a regular news conference.

Policies restricting movement and gatherings have been in place in and around the capital Manila since nearly a month ago, in response to confirmation of the first domestic transmission.

The Philippines was among the first countries to adopt strict home quarantine measures.

Dubai extends closure of commercial activities until April 18

Dubai, the commercial hub of the United Arab Emirates, has extended the closure of commercial activities until April 18 as part of efforts to contain coronavirus, the Dubai Economic Department said in a statement on Twitter.

During this period, sectors exempted from the lockdown will operate as usual, the statement said.

China reports no new coronavirus deaths for the first time

China on Tuesday reported no new coronavirus deaths for the first time since it started publishing figures in January, the National Health Commission said.

Cases in mainland China have been dwindling since March, but the country faces a second wave of infections brought in from overseas, with health officials reporting nearly 1,000 imported cases in total.

China's health authorities reported 32 new cases nationwide, all of which were imported.

There were also 30 new asymptomatic infections, health officials said, bringing the national total to 1,033. Around a quarter of the current total of asymptomatic cases were also imported from overseas.

US records 1,150 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours

The US recorded 1,150 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours, Johns Hopkins University said in its daily update, pushing the country's toll further above the 10,000 mark reached earlier in the day.

According to Johns Hopkins' running tally, there are more than 366,000 cases of new coronavirus in the US, including in excess of 30,000 new cases in 24 hours, with total deaths at 10,783.

The US has by far the most number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world. 

The number of deaths recorded since the start of the pandemic has for the past several days increased by at least 1,000 per day and is gradually approaching the number of deaths in Italy and Spain.

Mexico reports 296 new cases, bringing total to 2,493

Mexico has registered 296 new coronavirus infections, bringing the country's total to 2,439 cases and 125 deaths, the health ministry said in a press conference on Monday.

Panama reports 112 new cases, bringing total to 2,100

Panama has registered 112 new coronavirus infections, bringing the country's total to 2,100 confirmed cases and 55 deaths, the health ministry said on Monday. 

Colombia coronavirus quarantine extended until April 27

Colombia will extend a nationwide quarantine meant to stem the transmission of coronavirus until April 27, President Ivan Duque said.

The lockdown was originally set to last 19 days, ending at midnight on April 13, but while measures have so far been positive, the government has decided to extend the lockdown, Duque said in a tweet, after announcing the extension during a live television broadcast.

More than 1,500 people have been confirmed infected with Covid-19 in the Andean country and 46 have died.

Morocco makes face masks compulsory 

Morocco made wearing face masks mandatory starting on Tuesday for anyone allowed to go out during the coronavirus outbreak, the government said.

The masks will be sold at a subsidised price of $0.08 per unit. 

Those who fail to comply face prison sentences of up to three months and a fine of up to $130, the government said in a statement on Monday.

Morocco plans to increase its daily mask production capacity to near 6 million next week from 3.3 million currently, Industry Ministry spokesman Taoufiq Moucharraf told Reuters.

Morocco, which has imposed a month-long lockdown, confirmed as of Monday 1,120 coronavirus cases and 80 deaths.

Trump saddened to hear British PM in intensive care

US President Donald Trump on Monday sent his best wishes to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, saying Americans were praying for him after he was admitted to intensive care with worsening Covid-19 symptoms.

"I also want to send best wishes to a very good friend of mine and a friend to our nation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson," Trump said at a press conference.

"We're very saddened to hear he was taken into intensive care this afternoon, a little while ago. Americans are all praying for his recovery."

Trump said that Washington had offered to provide medical assistance if needed.

"We'll see if we can be of help. We've contacted all of Boris' doctors and we'll see what is going to take place. But they are ready to go," he said.

Trump and Johnson have a close relationship, sharing a similar nationalist message of cracking down on immigration and seeking bilateral, rather than regional trade deals.

UN Security Council to hold first coronavirus talks Thursday

The UN Security Council will hold its first meeting on the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday after weeks of divisions among its five permanent members, diplomats said Monday.

Last week, exasperated by the back-and-forth that has paralysed the council, including between China and the US, nine of the 10 non-permanent members formally requested a meeting featuring a presentation by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

"Meeting confirmed for Thursday," one diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity. It was to be held behind closed doors at 1900GMT.

It 's not yet clear what form the meeting will take, or what could be accomplished: will the member nations show unity in the face of a global crisis and a willingness to cooperate, or proceed with a settling of scores?

Source: TRTWorld and agencies