More than 430,000 people worldwide have been infected with coronavirus and more than 19,500 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. Here's the latest:

A worker in a protective suit sprays disinfectant at Grand Bazaar, known as the Covered Bazaar, to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Istanbul, Turkey, March 25, 2020.
A worker in a protective suit sprays disinfectant at Grand Bazaar, known as the Covered Bazaar, to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Istanbul, Turkey, March 25, 2020. (Reuters)

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Turkey reports 15 more deaths

Turkey's death toll from the coronavirus increased by 15 to 59 on Wednesday, as the number of confirmed cases rose by 561 to 2,433, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

He said on Twitter that 5,035 tests had been conducted in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of tests carried out in Turkey to around 33,000.

Twenty-eight people die in England

Another 28 people in England have died after testing positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths to 414, the country's health service said on Wednesday.

The latest fatalities were aged between 47 and 93 and all except the 47-year-old had underlying health conditions, National Health Service England said in a statement.

France withdraws from Iraq

France will withdraw all troops it has stationed in Iraq until further notice due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Armed Forces Ministry said on Wednesday.

"France has taken the decision to repatriate until further notice its personnel deployed in operation Chammal in Iraq," the ministry said, adding about 100 hundred soldiers were concerned.

The army said it would continue air operations against Daesh.

Saudi coalition backs Yemen ceasefire 

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said on Wednesday that it supports the Yemeni government decision to accept the United Nations Secretary-General's call for a ceasefire in Yemen to combat the spread of coronavirus, state news agency SPA reported, citing the coalition's spokesman.

Spokesman Colonel Turki al Malki added the coalition supports the UN envoy's efforts for a ceasefire, de-escalation, and taking practical steps to build confidence between the two parties in the humanitarian and economic aspects, SPA said

Death toll in Spain surpasses China

Spain now has the world’s second-highest tally of coronavirus deaths, after 738 more were reported, the country's deadliest toll in one day.

With 3,434 coronavirus patients dead, Spain surpassed China’s death toll of 3,285. Italy still has the most deaths of any nation in the world with 6,820. Infections in Spain also rose 20 percent from a day earlier to 47,610.

Whole of humanity at risk from pandemic - UN

The coronavirus pandemic is threatening the entire human race, the UN warned on Wednesday as it launched a humanitarian response plan featuring a $2 billon appeal for the world's poorest people.

"Covid-19 is threatening the whole of humanity — and the whole of humanity must fight back. Global action and solidarity are crucial. Individual country responses are not going to be enough," Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in announcing the initiative.

Just last week, as the pandemic spread to more and more countries, killing thousands and infecting many more, Guterres warned that unless the world came together to fight the virus, millions of people could die.

Coronavirus death toll in Italy's Lombardy rises

The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in the northern region of Lombardy, which has borne the brunt of Italy's contagion, has risen by around 296 in a day to some 4,474, a source familiar with the data said on Wednesday.

The figure is down sharply compared to some 402 deaths on Tuesday. If confirmed, it will be the lowest daily death toll in Lombardy since March 19.

The number of cases in the region, which includes Italy's financial capital Milan, increased by some 1,643 to roughly 32,346, the source said.

The nationwide tally will be released around 1700 GMT on Tuesday, the national death toll stood at 6,820, the highest in the world.

Turkey unveils new coronavirus aid package 

Turkey unveiled a new aid package on Wednesday to help overcome the effects of a worsening coronavirus outbreak. 

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a tweet on Wednesday that a $155 (1000 TL) stipend will be provided to two million low-income families, adding that credit card payments will be postponed until June 30 to mitigate the crisis in the country.

Erdogan said around $928,000 (6 million TL) has been allotted for hygienic companies and also domestic companies to ease the economic impact of the pandemic.

The country's coronavirus death toll now stands at 44 with 1,872 cases. 

Schools in the country will remain closed until April 30, the country's Education Minister Ziya Selcuk said. 

Putin announces national week off in Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Wednesday a national week off to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

"Now it is extremely important to prevent the threat of the rapid spread of the disease. Therefore, I declare next week non-working with the preservation of wages. The weekend will run from Saturday 28 March to Sunday 5 April,” Putin said in an address on national television.

He also said an April 22 vote on constitutional amendments will be postponed.

 Singapore reports 73 new coronavirus cases

Singapore reported 73 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, the city-state's biggest daily jump, taking its tally to a total of 631 infections.

The Health Ministry said around half of the new infections were imported, with the other half local cases.

Singapore, which has been battling the respiratory pandemic for over two months, has seen a spike in mainly imported cases in recent days.

Iran warns of second wave of coronavirus

 Iran may face a second wave of the coronavirus outbreak, government spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Wednesday, as some Iranians ignored guidance issued by health officials to contain the spread of the disease in the country.

"Unfortunately some Iranians ignored advice from Health Ministry officials and travelled during the (Iranian) New Year holidays ... This could cause a second wave of the coronavirus," Rabiei said, according to state TV.

"All the new trips between cities are banned and violators will be confronted legally."

The country on Wednesday announced 143 new deaths from the coronavirus, raising the official death toll to 2,077.

UK's Prince Charles contracts virus

Meanwhile in Britain, Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The palace says he has mild symptoms and that Queen Elizabeth remains in good health .

Casualties rise in the Philippines

Number of Covid-19 cases in Philippines rose to 636 with 84 new infections and the death toll climbed to 38, according to the country's Health Ministry.

Indians scramble for supplies as three-week lockdown begins

Indians crowded grocery stores and chemists in a struggle for essential items after Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a total lockdown for three weeks to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

India's tally of 536 cases and 10 deaths is dwarfed by China, Italy and Spain, but Modi and health experts have warned that the nation of 1.3 billion people faces a tidal wave of infections if drastic steps are not taken.

People in the key cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru rushed to stock up after Modi decreed the shutdown in a speech televised nationwide, barely four hours before it took effect.

As states shut their borders, long queues of trucks carrying milk, fruits and vegetables snaked down highways, even though Modi said essential services would be maintained countrywide.

Trump, Congress agree on $2 trillion virus rescue bill

The White House and Senate leaders of both parties announced agreement on unprecedented emergency legislation to rush sweeping aid to businesses, workers and a health-care system slammed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The urgently needed pandemic response measure is the largest economic rescue measure in history and is intended as a weeks- or months-long patch for an economy spiralling into recession and a nation facing a potentially ghastly toll.

Top White House aide Eric Ueland announced the agreement in a Capitol hallway shortly after midnight, capping days of often intense haggling and mounting pressure.

Turkish students returned from abroad

At least 2,721 Turkish students studying abroad were brought back to the country after they were stranded following suspension of international flights over Covid-19, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

He added that bodies of 32 Turkish citizens who died abroad due to coronavirus have also been brought to Turkey.

South Africa's Covid-19 cases rise to 709 

South Africa's number of coronavirus cases has risen to 709 from 554 on Tuesday, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said.

"We are now at 709 cases," he said, speaking on local news channel SABC.

Thailand records 107 new cases, bringing total to 934

Thailand has recorded 107 new coronavirus cases, bringing total to 934, a health official said.

The new cases consist of 27 patients linked to previous cases, 13 new cases including imported ones, and 67 people who tested positive and are awaiting investigation into how they contracted the disease, Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a Public Health Ministry spokesman said.

Thailand has recorded four death since the outbreak, while 70 patients have recovered and gone home; 860 patients are still being treated in hospitals. 

Pakistan suspends domestic flights

Pakistani authorities have decided to suspend all domestic flight operations from Thursday until April 2 as part of efforts aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19.

Last weekend, Pakistan banned all international flights.

According to civil aviation spokesman Abdul Sattar Khokhar, the ban will not apply to cargo and special flights. Usually, the president, prime minister and other top government officials travel in special planes.

The measure comes as overall cases of the new virus in Pakistan jumped to more than 1,000, with seven deaths reported. The crisis has prompted authorities to enforce a nationwide lockdown for two to three weeks.

New Zealand declares emergency

New Zealand on Wednesday declared a state of emergency, giving authorities powers that can be used to contain Covid-19.

New Zealand reported 47 new confirmed cases of coronavirus and three probable cases ahead of the country heading into a complete lockdown at midnight.

New Zealand's Director General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, said at a news conference that the number of cases will continue to rise for at least 10 days before a turnaround. 

Philippine rebels declare ceasefire to heed UN chief's call

Communist guerrillas in the Philippines said they would observe a ceasefire in compliance with the UN chief's call for a global halt in armed clashes during the coronavirus pandemic.

New People’s Army guerrillas have been ordered to stop assaults and shift to a defensive position from Thursday to April 15, the Communist Party of the Philippines said in a statement.

The communist insurgency has raged mostly in the Philippine countryside for more than half a century in one of Asia’s longest-running rebellions. 

100 new cases in South Korea

South Korea reported 100 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing its total infections to 9,137, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Australia cases surge past 2,250

Australia is grappling with an accelerating number of coronavirus infections that political leaders warned could start overwhelming intensive care units, as case numbers across the country surged past 2,250.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said that if the same long queues appearing outside offices of the main welfare agency, Centrelink, started occurring at hospitals, there would be fatal consequences.

"If this gets away from us, our health system will be overrun and people won't just be queuing for Centrelink payments, they'll be queuing for heart, lung machines and ventilators and intensive care beds and we know what that means — you cannot queue for intensive care," Andrews said in Melbourne.

Around half of the more than 2,250 Covid-19 cases recorded in Australia are in the state of New South Wales, the country's most populous, which includes the overnight addition of two young children, with a two-month-old boy and a seven-year-old girl testing positive.

Mexico's measures to prevent contagion 

Mexico reported 405 coronavirus cases as of Tuesday, up from 367 a day earlier, and five deaths overall, the Health Ministry said. Officials had previously reported four deaths from the fast-spreading virus.

Mexico's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday it would stop issuing passports both in Mexico and abroad from March 27 to April 19 as a measure to prevent the contagion.

Panama, Guatemala to widen curbs

Panama's government said on Tuesday it would widen a curfew to slow the spread of the coronavirus and require people to be in quarantine at all hours beginning on Wednesday, as the number of cases again jumped and two more people died.

Panama's Health Minister said the Central American country registered 443 cases of the virus, up from 345 the day before, and there were a total of eight deaths.

President Laurentino Cortizo did not specify how long the curfew would be in place, but added there would be "logical exceptions," including for health workers and certain businesses such as banks and supermarkets.

In Guatemala, lawmakers voted on Tuesday to extend the state of emergency due to the coronavirus for another 30 days. 

The country now has 21 confirmed cases of the infection, the government said. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies