The coronavirus disease has infected almost 2.2 million people and killed nearly 150,000 globally since it first emerged in China's Wuhan. Here are the latest updates for April 17:

A medical staff member, wearing a protective suit and face mask, works in an intensive care unit for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients at the Clinique de l'Orangerie private hospital in Strasbourg, as the spread of the coronavirus disease continues. April 17, 2020.
A medical staff member, wearing a protective suit and face mask, works in an intensive care unit for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients at the Clinique de l'Orangerie private hospital in Strasbourg, as the spread of the coronavirus disease continues. April 17, 2020. (Reuters)

Friday, April 17

Death toll across Africa hits 1,000

The virus has killed more than 1,000 people across Africa since the pandemic emerged late last year, according to an AFP tally using official figures.

Algeria is the African country with the highest number of deaths at 364, followed by Egypt with 205, Morocco 135 and South Africa 50, according to the figures compiled at 2000 GMT.

African countries have recorded a total of 19,334 infections.

France death toll up again but more positive signs

France registered 761 more deaths from coronavirus infections, bringing the total to 18,681, the fourth-highest tally in the world, but the number of people in hospital has declined for a third day running.

And, in another sign that the lockdown put in place a month ago is working, Jerome Salomon, head of the public health authority, said the total of people in intensive care units(ICU) fell for the ninth day in a row, at 6,027, a low point since April 1.

Turkey's death toll rises by 126 to 1,769

Turkey's confirmed cases increased by 4,353 in the past 24 hours, and 126 more people have died, taking the death toll to 1,769, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

The total number of cases in the country stood at 78,546, he said. 

A total of 8,631 people have recovered from the new coronavirus so far, and the number of tests carried out over the past 24 hours came to 40,270, the minister added.

Italy's daily death toll rises, new cases broadly stable

Deaths in Italy rose by 575, up from 525 the day before, while the number of new cases declined slightly to 3,493 from a previous 3,786.

The daily tallies of deaths and cases extend the broadly stable situation in place over the last 12 days.

This plateau is down considerably from peaks reached around the end of March, but the downtrend has not proceeded as was widely hoped in a country that has been in lockdown for almost six weeks.

The number of officially confirmed cases climbed to 172,434 the third highest global tally behind those of the United States and Spain.

Dubai extends 24-hour curfew by one week

Dubai, the United Arab Emirates' business hub, has extended by one week a 24-hour curfew imposed as part of a sterilisation drive to control the spread of the new coronavirus, the government's media office said in a Twitter post.

The UAE has imposed a nationwide nightly curfew since March 26 for the disinfection campaign, but Dubai on April 4 expanded it within the emirate to a 24-hour lockdown for two weeks.

It has the second-highest infection count after its much larger neighbour Saudi Arabia among the six Gulf Arab states, where the total infection count has surpassed 22,000 with more than 140 deaths.

Canada funds oil sector environmental cleanup during pandemic

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Can$1.7 billion (US$1.2 billion) to help Canada's oil sector, struggling with low prices, survive a pandemic-related downturn by cleaning up environmental messes.

The money will go specifically to clean up orphaned wells, inactive and abandoned by defunct firms that may now be contaminating groundwater and leaking greenhouse gases.

The prime minister also announced a Can$750 million (US$535 million) fund to help energy companies cut methane emissions under new, stricter environmental regulations.

US death toll exceeds 33,000 - Johns Hopkins data

The US reported 2,296 coronavirus deaths over the last 24 hours, surpassing the 33,000 mark, according to Johns Hopkins University.  

The university's running tally counted 33,288 deaths and 671,493 cases. 

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

More than 56,200 people have recovered in the US, according to the data. 

UK virus death toll rises to over 14,500

Britain's death toll from the coronavirus rose by 847 to 14,576, daily Health Ministry figures showed, a slightly slower increase than the 861 new deaths recorded the previous day. 

Nevertheless, the number of deaths over a 24-hour period to 1600 GMT Thursday is still higher than in previous days when the number of fatalities had been on a downward trend. 

Britain remains among the countries worst-hit by the pandemic, with the latest data also showing the total number of infections in the country has climbed to nearly 109,000.

Cases in Netherlands top 30,000

Confirmed coronavirus infections in the Netherlands have risen by 1,235 to 30,449, Dutch health authorities said.

The death toll among people known to have been infected with the novel coronavirus increased by 144 to 3,459 the Dutch Institute for Public Health (RIVM) said in its daily update.

Almost half of French aircraft carrier crew test virus positive

Almost half of the 2,300-strong crew on France's sole aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, have tested positive for the new coronavirus, the armed forces minister said.

Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly told parliament that 1,081 out of 2,010 tests carried out had shown a positive result. 

A total of 545 sailors had shown symptoms and 24 were in hospital, she added.

Pakistan holds congregational prayers amid strict lockdown

Pakistanis gathered in mosques to perform Friday prayers across the country as ulema held a press conference on Tuesday to declare that the lockdown will no longer be implemented at mosques. 

Mufti Taqi Usmani had urged the government to not arrest people from within mosques since the consensus over public measures has not been reached with between political and religious leaders. 

He had called on worshippers to wear masks and perform ablution at their homes before coming to the mosques.

Friday prayers not to be held in Iran

The Policymaking Council of Friday Prayer Leaders in Iran highlighted the need for people to refrain from attending public gatherings to curb the coronavirus outbreak, announcing that Friday prayers will not be held in provincial capitals across the country this week, Iran Press reported. 

According to Iran's Ministry of Health, 76,389 people in the country have been infected and 4,777 people have died and 49,933 have recovered.

Saudi grand mufti: Ramadan evening, Eid prayers to be done at home

Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz al Sheikh, the highest religious authority in the country, said that Muslim prayers during Ramadan and for the subsequent Eid al Fitr feast should be performed at home if the coronavirus outbreak continues, Saudi's Okaz newspaper reported.

The holy fasting month of Ramadan begins next week.

Saudi Arabia in mid-March stopped people performing their five daily prayers and the weekly Friday prayer inside mosques as part of efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Indonesia leads Southeast Asia in number of cases

Indonesia reported 407 new coronavirus cases, taking the total number of infecntions to 5,923 and surpassing the Philippines as the country with the highest number of infections in Southeast Asia.

Health Ministry official Achmad Yurianto also reported 24 new deaths attributed to the disease, taking the total to 420, and said Indonesia has performed 42,000 tests for the virus.

The world's fourth-most populous country has one of the lowest test rates, having tested only 36,000 people out of its 267.7 million population.

Spain's number of coronavirus cases rises to 188,068

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Spain rose to 188,068, the country's head of health emergencies Fernando Simon said at a news conference.

Health authorities identified 5,252 new cases of the virus between Thursday and Friday, which represents a 2.9-percent increase.

Iran's coronavirus death toll rises by 89 to 4,958

Iran's death toll from the new coronavirus rose by 89 in the past 24 hours to reach 4,958, health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said on state TV.

The total number of cases of infection reached 79,494, of which 3,563 were in critical condition, he said.

A parliamentary report released earlier this week said the coronavirus death toll might be almost double the figures announced by the health ministry, and the number of infections eight to 10 times more.

Iran is the Middle Eastern country worst-affected by the Covid-19 respiratory disease and has one of the world's highest death tolls

Belgium virus death toll passes 5,000

The novel coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 5,000 people in Belgium, officials said, confirming its high per-capita mortality ratio compared to most other European countries.

A further 313 deaths recorded in the past 24 hours have pushed the overall toll to 5,163, health authorities said in a daily news conference.

Half of the fatalities were reported from old-age care homes, and the other half from hospitals in the country of 11.5 million inhabitants.

Malaysia reports 69 new cases and 2 new deaths

Malaysian health officials reported 69 new coronavirus cases, the lowest daily increase since the government imposed curbs on movement and business on March 18, taking the cumulative total to 5,251 cases.

The health ministry also reported 2 new deaths, bringing the total fatalities to 86.

Russia reports record daily rise in cases

Russia reported a record rise of 4,069 new coronavirus cases during the past 24 hours, bringing its nationwide tally to 32,007, the Interfax news agency said.

The number of cases in Russia began rising sharply this month, although it had reported far fewer infections than many western European countries in the outbreak's early stages.

Philippines reports 25 deaths, 218 more cases

The Philippines' health ministry reported 25 new deaths and 218 additional infections.

In a bulletin, the health ministry said total confirmed cases have increased to 5,878, while 387 people have died. It added that 52 more patients have recovered, bringing the total to 487.

China's Wuhan raises number of deaths by 1,290

Chinese Wuhan city has raised its number of Covid-19 fatalities by 1,290, or 50 percent of earlier reported cases.

State media said the earlier undercount had been due to the insufficient admission capabilities at overwhelmed medical facilities at the peak of the outbreak.

Wuhan's revised death toll of 3,869 is the most in China. Numbers of total cases in the city of 11 million were also raised by 325 to 50,333, accounting for about two-thirds of China’s total 82,367 announced cases.

Thailand reports 28 new cases, one more death

Thailand reported 28 new cases and one more death, an 85-year-old woman who had other health complications.

Of the new cases, 16 were linked to previous cases, five had no links to old cases, and seven are awaiting investigation, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the government's Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

Since the outbreak escalated in January, Thailand has reported a total of 2,700 cases and 47 fatalities, while 1,689 patients have recovered and gone home.

US coronavirus death toll passes 32,000

The confirmed coronavirus death toll in the United States reached 32,917, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The toll as of 0030GMT Friday marked an increase of 4,491 deaths in the past 24 hours, by far the highest daily toll in the pandemic so far.

But the figure likely includes "probable" deaths related to Covid-19, which were not previously included. The US has the highest death toll in the world.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump earlier announced the gradual reopening of a US economy battered by the brutal side effects of an unprecedented effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Australia may keep coronavirus restrictions for a year

Australian public life could be constrained for another year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned, as the country's most populous state mulled sending children to school in shifts.

Australia has so far avoided the high numbers of coronavirus casualties reported around the world after closing its borders and imposing strict "social distancing" measures for the past month.

In response, the daily growth rate of reported new infections has steadied in the low percentage single digits, from about 25 percent several weeks ago, for a total of about 6,500 infections, including 63 deaths.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said some measures, like the rule requiring people to stand at least 1.5 metres apart, would likely remain for several months given there was no guarantee a vaccine would be developed in that time.

Mexico may have nearly 56,000 cases

Mexican Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said that the country might have as many as 55,951 people infected with the fast-spreading novel coronavirus, twice the estimated number reported last week.

Mexican health officials reported 450 new cases and 37 new deaths, bringing the country's total to 6,297 confirmed cases and 486 deaths.

Citing government models, Lopez-Gatell has said many who are infected likely did not have symptoms or were not diagnosed.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies