The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases worldwide surpasses one million, with close to 54,000 deaths. Here are the latest updates for April 3:

Police officers check the documents of a driver during the curfew as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues, in Panama City, Panama March 31, 2020.
Police officers check the documents of a driver during the curfew as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues, in Panama City, Panama March 31, 2020. (Reuters)

Friday, April 3 2020

Panama registers 1,673 coronavirus cases, 41 deaths

Panama's health ministry said on Friday that it had registered 1,673 coronavirus cases in the Central American country, an increase of 198 cases from the previous day, and a total of 41 deaths. 

Trump advises voluntary mask use

The US government is now recommending Americans wear cloth face coverings on a voluntary basis to stem the spread of the coronavirus, President Donald Trump said on Friday, adding that he himself would not use one.

In a daily briefing with reporters, Trump stressed that the new recommendation should not be seen as replacing social distancing measures considered key to slowing the outbreak, which has now claimed more lives in New York state than the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Falkland Islands reports first case of the coronavirus

Falkland Islands has confirmed the island territory's first case of the coronavirus, the government said in a statement on Friday.

The patient has been hospitaliSed since March 31 and developed a range of COVID-19 symptoms, tested positive for the virus, and is now in a stable condition and being cared for with necessary isolation procedures, the statement said.

France reports record 588 more deaths in hospital - official

France on Friday reported 588 more coronavirus deaths in hospital, its biggest toll over the last 24 hours since the epidemic began.

The new deaths brought to 5,091 the total number of people who have died in hospital of Covid-19 in France, top health official Jerome Salomon told reporters.

There is no daily toll for those who died of Covid-19 in old people's homes in France. 

But Salomon said that a total of 1,416 people had died in such establishments from Covid-19 in the epidemic. This brings the total French toll to at least 6,507.

Turkey issues confinement order for under-20s

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday issued a mandatory confinement order for everyone aged under 20 starting from midnight, as part of tougher measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus in Turkey.

In a television address, Erdogan also announced that vehicles would no longer be able to leave or enter 31 towns and cities, including Istanbul and Ankara, for 15 days.

People aged over 65 or those with chronic medical conditions are already subject to mandatory confinement in Turkey.

"Throughout the country, people aged under 20, that is to say born after January 1, 2000, will not be allowed to go out on the street" from midnight on Friday, Erdogan said.

Also, from Saturday, all those going out to shops or markets will be obliged to wear a face mask, the Turkish leader added, calling on the population to maintain a distance of "three paces" from each other when outside.

Turkey's coronavirus death toll rises to 425

Turkey's death toll from the coronavirus outbreak increased by 69 to 425 on Friday, while the number of confirmed cases from the disease rose by 2,786 to 20,921, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

Koca said 16,160 tests had been carried out in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of tests carried out in Turkey to 141,716 since the outbreak began. 

Russia to halt all flights at midnight on Friday

Russia on Friday said it was temporarily suspending all flights in and out of the country from midnight, including those for repatriating citizens, to limit the possibility of a new wave of coronavirus infections.

The country's coronavirus operational centre said the suspension applied to all charter flights bringing Russians home and taking foreign citizens away, and that those wishing to fly will have to fill out a special form, which will be available from Saturday.

The government said it had allocated $6.5 million (500 million roubles) to the foreign ministry to pay for the temporary stay of those citizens stranded abroad.

Italy reports 766 new deaths

The death toll from an outbreak of the coronavirus in Italy has climbed by 766 to 14,681, the Civil Protection Agency said on Friday, marginally higher than the daily tally of 760 fatalities registered a day earlier.

The number of new cases was slightly lower, growing by 4,585 from a previous 4,668, bringing total infections since the outbreak came to light on February 21 to 119,827.

Friday was the fifth consecutive day in which the number of new cases remained within a range of 4,050-4,782, confirming government hopes that the epidemic has hit a plateau, ahead of an expected decline in the near future.

WHO urges broader use of masks

The World Health Organization on Friday said it still believed the use of respirator masks should be focused mainly on medical workers, but opened the door to greater use of homemade masks or other mouth coverings as a way to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

A senior WHO official told reporters there was some possibility of airborne transmission of the virus that has now infected over 1 million people worldwide, but the main driver was still believed to be symptomatic people who were coughing and sneezing and contaminating surfaces or other people.

"We must preserve medical surgical respirator masks for our frontline workers, but the idea of using respiratory coverings or mouth coverings to prevent coughing or sneezing... that in itself is not a bad idea," said Dr. Mike Ryan, the WHO's top emergencies expert. 

He said that would not negate the need for hand washing and social distancing. 

IMF, WHO urge leaders to focus on health spending 

The IMF and the World Health Organization on Friday urged leaders of developing countries to prioritise paying medical staff, buying protective gear and other health expenditures in their response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a joint column in the UK's Telegraph newspaper, the heads of the two institutions said getting the new coronavirus under control was a prerequisite to reviving the global economy, and it was critical to strike the right balance in spending emergency aid.

"Our joint appeal to policymakers, especially in emerging market and developing economies, is to recognise that protecting public health and putting people back to work go hand-in-hand," wrote International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"As financing to support severely constrained public budgets reaches the countries in need, our joint plea is to place health expenditures at the top of the priority list," they said.

Canada coronavirus cases rise to almost 12,000

Canada has recorded almost 12,000 cases of the new coronavirus and the death toll jumped by almost 20 percent from Thursday, according to data posted by the country's public health agency on Friday.

The agency said on its Web site that cases gained by about 16% to 11,747 from 10,132 a day ago, and deaths climbed to 152 from 127 on Thursday. 

New York statewide coronavirus cases soar

New York state recorded more than 500 coronavirus-related deaths in a single day, bringing its total to nearly 3,000, or about the same number killed in the United States in the September 11, 2001, attacks, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Friday.

New York statewide coronavirus cases increased to 102,863 from 92,381 a day earlier, said Governor Cuomo.

New York City has mere days to prepare for the worst of the novel coronavirus onslaught, said Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose city has suffered more than a quarter of US deaths in the outbreak. He pleaded for federal government help to end a shortage of medical staff and ventilators.

"I think somehow in Washington, there's an assumption (that) there's weeks to prepare," de Blasio said on MSNBC. "There's not weeks anymore. It is days now."

The 24-hour death toll was 562, raising the New York state total to 2,935 fatalities, Cuomo said. He called it the "highest single increase in the number of deaths since we started."

Bulgaria extends state of emergency 

Bulgaria's parliament approved the extension of a state of emergency by a month on Friday to stop the spread of the coronavirus, as the number of confirmed cases rose to 485.

The Black Sea state's parliament voted unanimously on March 13 to declare a state of emergency until April 13.

As of Friday, Bulgaria has confirmed 14 deaths from the illness. 

'Worst yet to come' for countries in conflict, says UN chief

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday renewed his call for a global ceasefire, urging all parties to conflict to lay down arms and allow war-torn nations to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

"The worst is yet to come," Guterres said, referring to countries beset with fighting like Syria, Libya and Yemen.

"The Covid-19 storm is now coming to all these theatres of conflict."

UK coronavirus death toll rises to 3,605

The United Kingdom death toll from the coronavirus rose by 684 to 3,605 as of 1600 GMT on April 2, up 23 percent on the previous day.

As of 0500 GMT on April 3, a total of 173,784 people have been tested of which 38,168 were positive.

Stephen Powis, the national medical director of National Health Service England, said at a Downing Street briefing on Thursday that a high death rate would continue to be seen for "a few weeks yet."

Powis also said there was some early academic evidence that the transmission rate in the community may have fallen below 1.

Dutch coronavirus deaths rise to 1,487

The Netherlands announced a further 148 deaths linked to the coronavirus on Friday, bringing the country's total to 1,487.

It also confirmed 1,026 new coronavirus cases, taking the overall tally of infections to 15,723, according to the daily report from The National Institute for Health. 

Russia sends medical aid to Serbia

Russia will send 11 military planes carrying medical equipment to Serbia to help it fight the coronavirus outbreak, the Defence Ministry in Moscow said on Friday.

The announcement came a day after the Kremlin said Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic had appealed to President Vladimir Putin for humanitarian aid for his country, which has documented 1,476 cases of the virus and 39 deaths.

Turkey evacuating citizens from Algeria

Turkey started on Friday evacuating almost 1,200 citizens from Algeria amid coronavirus pandemic.

Turkish citizens will be brought back to home via Turkish Airlines and Air Algeria through Sunday.

As a part of the evacuation process, three airplanes belonging to the Algerian airline carry 555 Turkish citizens to Samsun province, on the Black Sea coast of Turkey, and it will take Algerian citizens in Karabuk back home.

The evacuated citizens will be put into 14-day quarantine in the northern Tokat and Amasya provinces.

The rest of the citizens in Algeria will be brought back to Turkey via Turkish Airlines over the weekend.

Covid-19 cases surge in Morocco, Oman, Lebanon, Kuwait, Palestine

Health authorities in several Arab countries confirmed new cases and deaths from the novel coronavirus on Friday.

The Moroccan Health Ministry said 27 new coronavirus infections were confirmed, bringing the country's total number of cases to 735, with 47 deaths.

In Oman, health authorities said 21 new cases were reported in the country, raising the total to 252.

The country’s first fatality from the coronavirus was reported on Wednesday.

In Lebanon, total infections jumped to 508, with 17 fatalities, the country’s Health Ministry said.

The Palestinian government confirmed 10 more coronavirus cases, bringing the total cases to 171.

Meanwhile, Kuwait’s Health Ministry confirmed 75 new cases, taking the total number of infections to 417.

Massive London field hospital 

A new temporary hospital is opened in a conference centre in east London, named after the trailblazing 19th-century nurse Florence Nightingale and has been built in just nine days. 

It has an initial capacity of 500 beds, which could go up to 4,000.

Iran's coronavirus death toll rises to 3,294 – health ministry

Iran's death toll from the new coronavirus rose to 3,294 as it claimed 134 lives during the past 24 hours, according to Health Ministry Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpur.

The total number of people confirmed to be infected is 53,183, he said on state television, adding that 4,035 were "under observation", a term that may mean they are in critical condition.

Of the total number of people who were diagnosed with the disease, 17,935 have recovered, he said.

Iran is the country most affected in the Middle East by the pandemic.

More than 900 virus deaths in Spain for second day

More than 900 people died in Spain over the past 24 hours for the second day running, government figures showed, although the rate of new infections and deaths continued to slow. 

Spain has the world's second-highest death toll after Italy, with the virus so far claiming 10,935 lives, 932 in the past day, from a total of 117,710 confirmed cases.

Swiss death toll rises to 484, cases jump by more than 1,000

The Swiss death toll from coronavirus has reached 484, the country's public health ministry said, rising from 432 people on Thursday.

The number of people who have tested positive for infections also increased to 19,303 from 18,267 on Thursday, it said.

Germans to be fined up to 500 euros for breaking distancing rules

Germans risk being fined up to $540 for standing too close to each other from Friday as officials crack down on people flouting rules brought in to control coronavirus.

Gatherings of more than two people are banned and a distance of at least 1.5 metres must be kept from others at all times.

Local governments have the power to set fines for transgressors, with city officials in Berlin saying their fines would be as high as 500 euros.

Malaysia reports 217 new coronavirus cases, taking total to 3,333

Malaysia reported 217 new coronavirus cases, taking the total to 3,333, the highest in Southeast Asia.

The health ministry recorded a total of 53 deaths, with three reported on Friday.

Italy's civil protection chief sees lockdown continuing beyond May 1

Italy's national lockdown to try to contain the spread of coronavirus will probably continue beyond the start of May, Angelo Borrelli, the head of the CivilProtection Agency, said on Friday.

This week the government extended the lockdown – which imposes severe restrictions on movement and shutters all services and firms not deemed essential Italy's supply chain – until April 13.

Up to Thursday Italy had officially registered 13,915 deaths from the highly infections virus, considerably more than any other country in the world.

Indonesia reports biggest daily rise in coronavirus infections

Indonesia confirmed 196 new coronavirus infections, marking the biggest daily rise since the first cases were announced a month ago, said a health ministry official.

Achmad Yurianto, the official, said that the total number of infections in the Southeast Asian country was 1,986. Eleven new deaths were reported, taking the total to 181, while 134 patients had recovered. 

Saudi king orders $2.4B coronavirus support for citizens

Saudi Arabia advanced to 1200GMT (1500 local time) its curfew in the city of Dammam and the governorates of Taif and al Qatif, starting from Friday until further notice, state news agency SPA said, citing a senior official of the interior ministry.

The measures aim to rein in the virus, as the kingdom has recorded 1,885 infections and 21 deaths, the most among any of the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. 

Saudi Arabia has imposed a 24-hour curfew earlier on Thursday in Mecca and Medina, while other Arab states in the region locked down districts with large migrant worker populations.

Thailand reports 103 new coronavirus and four new deaths

Thailand reported 103 new coronavirus cases and four more deaths, bringing its total number cases to 1,978, a health official said.

There were four new deaths, bringing total fatalities to 19, said a spokesman for the government's Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, Taweesin Wisanuyothin.

The new deaths were all Thai males, including a 59-year-old who worked on a train.

Three new deaths ages between 72 and 84 were connected to a crowded boxing match that saw a large number of infections.

Germany's coronavirus infections rise to 79,696

Germany's coronavirus infections have risen to 79,696, with 1,017 deaths, according to statistics from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases.

Cases rose 6,174 from the previous day, while the death toll climbed by 145, the tally showed. 

Singapore to shut schools, workplaces after reporting new death

Singapore will close schools and most workplaces for a month as it moves to curb the increase of Covid-19 transmissions in the country.

Most workplaces, with the exception of essential services and key economic sectors, will be closed from next Tuesday and schools will be closed from Wednesday.

Essential services, such as food establishments, markets and supermarkets, clinics, hospitals, utilities, transport and banking, services will remain open.

Singapore reported another coronavirus-related death, raising the city-state's total fatalities from the disease to five.

The latest death was of an 86-year-old female Singapore citizen, the health ministry said in a statement.

The country has reported 1,049 coronavirus cases in total.

China's Hubei province reports 4 new coronavirus deaths

Mainland China reported 31 new confirmed coronavirus cases, including two locally transmitted infections, said the country's National Health Commission.

Mainland China also reported four new deaths as of Thursday, all in Wuhan, the city where the outbreak began, the commission said in a statement. The total number of infections now stands at 81,620 and 3,322 deaths have been reported from mainland China to date.

The commission said 60 new asymptomatic coronavirus patients were also reported on Thursday. 

Mexico coronavirus death toll rises to 50 – health official

The death toll in Mexico from coronavirus jumped to 50 from 37 a day earlier, the health ministry said. The number of coronavirus cases was 1,510, up by 132 cases.

US records 1,169 deaths in past 24 hours

The US recorded 1,169 Covid-19 fatalities in the past 24 hours, the Johns Hopkins University tracker showed, the highest one-day death toll recorded in any country since the global pandemic began.

The toll reflected figures reported by the university between 0030GMT Wednesday and the same time Thursday.

The grim record was previously held by Italy, where 969 people died on March 27.

The US has now recorded 5,926 coronavirus deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Globally, Italy still has the highest total death toll, with 13,915 dying of the disease there, followed by Spain at 10,003.

The US also recorded more than 30,000 new cases of Covid-19 in the same 24-hour period, bringing the total number of officially reported cases in the country to more than 243,000, according to Johns Hopkins.

Panama registers 1,475 coronavirus cases, 37 deaths

Panama's health ministry said on Thursday it had registered 1,475 coronavirus cases in the Central American country, an increase of 158 from a day earlier.

It also registered five more deaths, bringing the total number to 37.

Panama, along with Peru, on Thursday started imposing stricter limits on how often people can leave their homes in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies