- China mourns the loss of 3,330 “martyrs”
- Germany has accused the US of confiscating thousands of N95 masks that Berlin authorities had already paid for, describing it as “an act of modern piracy”
- The US has unveiled guidelines suggesting Americans wear nonmedical face masks while in public, but President Trump says he will not be adhering the advice
- South Korea is aiming for less than 50 cases per day before relaxing social distancing measures
Updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)
11:25 Lockdown measures in Germany could prompt an increase in domestic violence, especially in urban areas, German Family Minister Franziska Giffey has stated. “We are getting different feedback from the federal states. There is obviously a city-country divide,” she told news agency DPA. The potential for conflict is not so high in rural regions, according to Giffey. “We haven’t heard of additional case numbers there yet,” the family minster revealed.
Germans are being urged to stay home, with meetings allowed with one other person outdoors under social distancing rules, although some local authorities have enforced tougher lockdown restrictions. Schools and daycare centres have been closed in most federal states for three weeks now.
Last week, Giffey said police reports of domestic violence in Berlin had gone up 10%.
11:05 The confirmed number of deaths from the coronavirus in the Netherlands has risen by 164 to 1,651, authorities say.
The National Institute for Health (RIVM) said the number of COVID-19 infections had increased by 6% to 16,627 over the past 24 hours.
The actual number of deaths and infections is higher than the official figure due to a lack of widespread testing, the RIVM has said.
10:10 Spain has recorded a second successive daily drop in coronavirus-related deaths with 809 fatalities, according to official figures. The number of deaths there peaked on Thursday at 950.
The Health Ministry announced it has registered 124,736 cases in total after an additional 7,026 infections were confirmed over the last 24 hours. It is a slight decrease on the previous daily figure.
Spain now ranks ahead of Italy as the country with the second most infections behind the United States. Italy, however, still needs to release its updated figures which it is expected to do later on Saturday.
Spain, meanwhile, is completing its third week of a state of emergency, which the government has used to apply stay-at-home rules and a shutdown of all non-essential industries. The lockdown is due to end on April 12 but few expect it not to be extended as the country grapples with the outbreak that has seen more than 11,000 losses of life.
10:00 A Swiss firm is offering luxury, high-end isolations in style, with a personal grocery shopper, visits from a doctor and an in-room test for COVID-19.
Alexander Hubner, co-founder and chief executive of Le Bijou, told news agency AFP: “We realised we had to come up with a new service and adapt as quickly as possible, and we came up with quarantine apartments.”
Hubner said the luxury firm had reduced its normal price of up to 2,000 Swiss francs ($2,050, €1,900) a night. “Right now I would say the larger or medium-sized units would be around 500 francs a day,” the Le Bijou chief said.
For an extra 800 francs per day, guests can receive a doctor’s house call or a twice-daily check-up from a nurse. The isolators can also request round-the-clock medical monitoring for a mere 4,800 francs a day. If guests want a coronavirus test, one can be conducted in room for 500 francs.
Hubner said the firm was not making a profit, though, as it was also offering medical staff free accommodation. “We have in-room spas, which could be very suitable for a doctor to relax in,” he said.
09:40 A couple in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh have named their newborn twins Corona and Covid.
“The delivery happened after facing several difficulties and therefore, my husband and I wanted to make the day memorable,” Preeti Verma, the 27-old mother of the boy and the girl, told news agency Press Trust of India.
The parents said the names would remind them about the difficulties they had faced during the countrywide lockdown that began on March 24.
09:00 The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin has put the number of people infected with the coronavirus in Germany at 85,778, an increase of 6082 on the previous day’s figure. Johns Hopkins University (JHU), based in the US city of Baltimore, has reported a total of 91,159 cases. The RKI, which only takes into account the electronically transmitted figures from the federal states and updates its list once a day, has registered 1158 deaths so far, while the JHU reported 1275 deaths.
The RKI also gave a break down on the cases and deaths for each individual German state:
Baden-Württemberg: 17,014 cases, 316 deaths
Total: 85,778 cases, 1158 deaths
08:55 At least 15 medical workers in Egypt’s main cancer hospital have been quarantined after testing positive for the coronavirus, state officials said.
The news has raised fears that the pandemic could prey on health facilities in the Arab world’s most populous country at a most critical time.
Cairo’s National Institute of Cancer said three doctors and 12 nurses were found to be infected. Other medics at the hospital, which receives hundreds of patients each day, would be tested.
Egypt has registered around 1,000 cases of the virus and 66 deaths. The government imposed a nighttime curfew and shut down all mosques, schools and banned public gatherings in a bid to curb the virus from spreading.
08:45 Here is a round up of the latest updates from Asia.
Japan: Tokyo has 118 new cases of COVID-19, according to NHK public broadcaster, citing metropolitan government officials. It is the first time that infections have exceeded 100 in a day, bringing the number of confirmed cases in the Japanese capital to 891, NHK said.
Tokyo’s metropolitan government has urged people to stay at home over the weekend amid mounting speculation that Japan may declare a state of emergency, leading to a countrywide lockdown.
The country as a whole has reported 2,935 infections resulting in 69 deaths.
China: The country has been mourning thousands of “martyrs” who have died in the new coronavirus outbreak and suspended all forms of entertainment.
The day of mourning included three minutes of reflection, led by President Xi Jinping in Beijing with other top officials, all dressed in black suits with white carnations, as they bowed before a flag at half-mast in the leadership compound of Zhongnanhai.
Saturday April 4 is the annual Qingming festival, when millions of Chinese families pay respects to their ancestors. However, Wuhan has put a stop to all tomb-sweeping activities in its cemeteries until at least April 30, curtailing one of the most significant dates in the Chinese calendar which usually sees millions of families travel to tend to their ancestral graves, offer flowers and burn incense.
Indonesia has reported an additional 106 new cases, taking its total to 2,092. Health Ministry official Achmad Yurianto also said that 10 more people had died, taking the country’s death toll to 191.
Indonesia is combatting the outbreak of novel coronavirus by introducing social distancing policies, but President Joko Widodo has opposed the harsh lockdown measures by many of Indonesia’s neighbours.
India: Amid the ongoing lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, thousands of migrant workers are stuck in larger cities, such as the nation’s capital, New Delhi, not knowing where their next meal will come from.
Pakistan: Prime Minister Imran Khan has been speaking about how Pakistan is dealing with the crisis. “We are faced with the stark choice of having to balance between a lockdown necessary to slow down/prevent the spread of COVID19 & ensuring people don’t die of hunger & our economy doesn’t collapse. So we are walking a tightrope.”
Thailand: Thailand has placed a temporary ban on all passenger flights from landing in the country to curb the spread of the novel virus.
The number of infections in Thailand has risen by 89, meaning there are now 2067 cases across the country, authorities announced. There was also another death, bringing the death toll to 20.
South Korea: Strict social distancing measures will remain in place until the number of daily cases becomes 50 or less, on a regular basis, South Korea’s Health Ministry has announced. The country is currently experiencing around 100 cases per day.
Philippines: The health ministry has reported 76 new cases and eight more people have died, bringing the death toll to 144. A total of 3,094 infections have been reported.
08:10 The US pop star Pink has revealed she has recovered after testing positive for COVID-19. The Just Like a Pill singer has also made two separate $500,000 (€460,000) donations to the Temple University Hospital Fund in Philadelphia and the COVID-19 Crisis Fund in Los Angeles.
07:30 Cubans have been coming up with some unconventional ways of making protective masks to help prevent spreading the coronavirus. Some people have been making masks from bras with elastic bands due to a shortage of protective gear.
06:40 The Australian government has asked more than 2 million people on temporary visas to go home if they are unable to support themselves amid an economic downturn and unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic. They include skilled workers and students.
Among those asked to go were also the some 203,000 tourists currently in the country, most of them on three-month visas, who were told they needed to “return to their home country as quickly as possible” if they do not feel they can provide for themselves under the prevailing conditions.
Some 118,000 backpackers and other visitors on working holiday visas were also told by Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge that if they do not “have the confidence to sustain themselves over the next six months, they should leave the country.”
Australia is particularly popular with German backpackers, of whom 19,000 are currently in the country. Some backpackers, however, can have their visas extended if they are employed in essential sectors.
06:20 Authorities in Bangladesh are working overtime to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak in the Rohingya refugee camps. As yet, no cases have been reported, but an outbreak could prove devastating due to the overcrowded conditions. Watch DW’s video here.
05:50 US President Donald Trump has undermined health officials’ guidance, saying that he won’t be wearing a face mask himself.
The United States has reported more than 275,000 cases, with almost 7,500 deaths, and though Trump announced that federal health authorities are now recommending individuals wear cloth face coverings, he said he personally will not be heeding that advice.
“With the masks, it’s going to be a really voluntary thing. You can do it, you don’t have to do it. I’m choosing not to do it,” he said.
Meanwhile, in New York city, which has so far registered 1,867 deaths due to the virus, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is in an “extraordinary race against time,” renewing his call for the federal government to mobilize the military.
“We’re dealing with an enemy that is killing thousands of Americans, and a lot of people are dying who don’t need to die,” he said. “You can’t say, every state for themselves, every city for themselves. That is not America.”
Meanwhile, the mayor’s office tweeted advice including how to improvise a mask.
05:15 South Korea has announced it is to extend its social distancing campaign, scheduled to end on Monday, by two weeks, as the Asian nation steps up efforts to reduce the number of infections to less than 50 a day.
South Korea has been averaging around 100 new cases per day in recent weeks, but Health Minister Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said it is “too early to be at ease,” highlighting a recent spike in imported cases, as well as a small cluster of infections, which also caused the government to cancel plans to re-open schools next week.
Park continued: “Our goal is to be able to control infections in a way that our health and medical system, including personnel and sickbeds, can handle them at usual levels.”
“If the number goes down to 50 or lower, stable treatment of the patients including the critically ill will be possible without much pressure on the system.”
05:00 A 58-year-old German doctor has died in his apartment, ignoring orders to self-isolate after showing coronavirus symptoms. The London-based medic was found dead at his flat near Berlin, creating concern he could have infected other people on a flight from the UK to Germany last month, British daily The Guardian has reported.
The German citizen, who is understood to have worked in London as a locum doctor, was told by his employer to put himself into self-isolation on March 19 after developing symptoms.
On March 25 the man ignored the advice and traveled to Berlin, where he has a close relative and owns an apartment in the Babelsberg district of Potsdam, on the outskirts of the German capital.
His body was discovered and a postmortem revealed had suffered from Covid-19.
02:40 China on Saturday morning commemorated the people who died in the coronavirus outbreak in a three-minute nationwide moment of reflection.
Air raid sirens were heard and flags were flown at half-mast in most major cities, including Wuhan, which became the epicenter of the pandemic, to honor the dead, especially the “martyrs” — what China is calling the health care workers who died fighting the outbreak.
The Xinhua News Agency called the commemoration a “wail in grief” as horns of vehicles, trains and ships joined in.
02:22 US Attorney General William Barr said Friday that “emergency conditions” due to COVID-19 are affecting the functioning of US federal prisons and said “vulnerable inmates at the most affected facilities” will be released into “home confinement.”
01:30 A group of around 300 people assembled outside a mosque in Berlin on Friday even as a restriction on public gatherings was in place in the German capital amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
The people were reportedly responding to a call to prayer at the Dar-as-Salam mosque in the southeastern district of Neukölln.
Reports said that the Friday prayers were wrapped up early with the cooperation of the imam. Mosque officials told police that they will reach out to people again on social media asking them to stop responding to prayer calls in person. They also said that the call to prayer will be suspended promptly if crowds begin to appear again.
00:40 US stocks closed out dropping 1.5% on Friday, as US Department of Labor data shows that the country lost 701,000 jobs in the first half of March. The coronavirus pandemic is blamed for ending a record 113-month streak of job growth in the US.
00:07 The German Foreign Ministry estimates that around 40,000 German citizens are still abroad, according to a report published Saturday in the Rheinischen Post newspaper. The majority of them are thought to be in South Africa, New Zealand and Peru, the Foreign Ministry said in the report. Germany has been flying back its citizens stranded abroad during the pandemic, with around 194,000 having been returned so far.
00:05 World Bank Group President David Malpass says he expects a “major global recession” because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a LinkedIn post on Friday, Malpass said that the World Bank aims to respond “forcefully and massively” through support programs especially targeting poor and vulnerable nations, which could be hit the hardest by the recession.
He also added that the World Bank will soon hold talks with Ethiopia, Kenya and other nations.
00:00 Here are some of the key takeaways from Friday:
The number of new COVID-19 cases in Italy increased at the same rate for five days in a row, giving officials cautious hope that the country is reaching the peak of the epidemic. On Friday, over 4,500 new cases in Italy were reported, including over 760 fatalities, roughly the same number as the day before. More people have died of COVID-19 in Italy than anywhere else in the world, with the current death toll at 14,681.
Officials in Berlin on Friday accused the US of intercepting a shipment of 200,000 protective face masks en-route from a Chinese manufacturer to Germany.
Berlin Interior Minister Andreas Geisel on Friday said that the masks had been ordered for the city’s police department, and that the seizure was linked to an export ban on masks by the US government, as the manufacturer is based in the US.
The US committed “an act of modern piracy,” Geisel said.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that people wear nonmedical “basic cloth or fabric masks that can either be purchased online or simply made at home.”
US health officials had originally recommended that healthy people need not wear masks.
US Surgeon General Jerome Adams said that the CDC’s new recommendation on masks is based on “recent studies” showing a “significant portion” of individuals with coronavirus who lack symptoms and can unknowingly transmit the disease.
In reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, unless otherwise specified, DW uses figures provided by the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Coronavirus Resource Center in the United States. JHU updates figures in real time, collating data from world health organizations, state and national governments and other public official sources, all of whom have their own systems for compiling information.
jsi,wr / rc (Reuters, dpa, AP, AFP)
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