The number of confirmed novel coronavirus infections worldwide has surpassed 510,000, according to data released by Johns Hopkins University. Here's the latest for March 26:

A woman walks across an empty 10th Avenue in Manhattan during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in New York City, New York, US, March 26, 2020
A woman walks across an empty 10th Avenue in Manhattan during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in New York City, New York, US, March 26, 2020 (Reuters)

Thursday, March 26, 2020

US has world's most confirmed coronavirus cases

The United States now has the most number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world, The New York Times reported, citing a tally based on its own data gathering.

With 81,321 cases of infection, the country of 330 million people has surpassed virus hotspots China and Italy in reaching the grim milestone.

Ireland reports 10 more deaths

Ireland reported 10 deaths from Covid-19 infections, more than doubling the total number of fatalities to 19, Ireland's Department of Health said.

The country also reported an additional 255 confirmed infections to bring the total to 1,819, the department said in a statement.

Italy coronavirus deaths rise by 662 in a day, lifting total death toll to 8,165

The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has grown by 662 to 8,165, the Civil Protection Agency said on Thursday.

However, there appeared to be an error in the agency's data because it reported no deaths on Thursday in the third-worst-affected region, Piedmont, which would be unprecedented in recent days.

Separately, Piedmont authorities said their death toll had risen by 50 in the last 24 hours.

On Wednesday 683 people died. That followed 743 deaths on Tuesday, 602 on Monday, 650 on Sunday and a record of 793 on Saturday — the highest daily figure since the contagion came to light on February 21.

The total number of confirmed cases in Italy rose to 80,539 from a previous 74,386, the Civil Protection Agency said — the highest number of new cases since March 21.

Of those originally infected nationwide, 10,361 had fully recovered on Thursday compared to 9,362 the day before. There were 3,612 people in intensive care against a previous 3,489.

The hardest-hit northern region of Lombardy reported a steep rise in fatalities compared with the day before and remains in a critical situation, with a total of 4,861 deaths and 34,889 cases.

That compared with 4,474 deaths and 32,346 cases reported up to Wednesday.

Turkey's death toll from coronavirus rises to 75

Turkey's death toll from coronavirus rises to 75 with 3,629 cases total, said Health Minister Fahrettin Koca.

Health minister Koca announced 16 new deaths and 1,196 new cases after total of 7,286 tests conducted on Thursday.

France reports new spike in coronavirus deaths

French health authorities reported 365 new deaths from coronavirus on Thursday, taking the total to 1,696.

The rise in the number of deaths represents a daily rise of 27 percent, a marked increase from the previous day with the country now in its second week of lockdown.

This daily government tally only accounts for those dying in hospital but authorities said they would soon be able to compile data on deaths in retirement homes, which is likely to result in a big increase in registered fatalities.

During a press conference, health agency director Jerome Salomon added that the number of cases had risen to 29,155, a rise of 16 percent in 24 hours.

Salomon said 3,375 people were in a serious condition needing life support, up 19 percent compared to Wednesday and meaning that close to half of France's 8,000 beds equipped with ventilation gear are occupied. 

More than 500K infected by novel coronavirus - study

The number of confirmed novel coronavirus infections worldwide has surpassed 510,000, according to data released Thursday by Johns Hopkins University.

That includes nearly 23,000 deaths and almost 121,000 recovered cases, the Baltimore, Maryland school running tally indicated.

Coronavirus death toll in UK jumps to 578, up 115

A further 115 people have died in the United Kingdom after testing positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths to 578, the government said on Thursday.

The number of confirmed cases rose to 11,658 on Thursday from 9,529 on Wednesday. 

Afghanistan to release 10,000 prisoners

Afghanistan will release at least 10,000 prisoners over the age of 55 in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, officials said on Thursday.

"The president has issued a decree that several thousand prisoners will be released soon due to coronavirus," an official in President Ashraf Ghani's office said.

Those released will not include members of militant groups the Taliban or Daesh, and the process will be completed within 10 days, said two government officials.

"Prisoners with serious health problems, women, children, the elderly above 55 years will benefit from the decree," said Attorney General Mohammad Farid Hamidi.

Afghanistan has reported 91 cases of coronavirus and three deaths. 

Spain reports 655 more coronavirus deaths

Spain registered 655 fatalities from the coronavirus over the past 24 hours — down from over 700 on Wednesday, the Health Ministry reported as the total death toll from the epidemic in the country rose to over 4,000.

The overall number of coronavirus cases soared to 56,188 from 47,610 on Wednesday. 

The number of reported deaths from the virus rose to 4,089 from 3,434 on Wednesday, the ministry said.

Nine doctors die from coronavirus in Philippines

Nine doctors have died in the Philippines from the coronavirus, the country's top medical association said on Thursday, as hospitals were overwhelmed and medics complained about a lack of protection on the front lines.

The announcement of the doctors' deaths heightened fears that the scale of the health crisis in the Philippines is much worse than is being officially reported, with the confirmed virus death toll at just 38.

Italian football opens national training centre to coronavirus patients

Italian football bosses confirmed on Thursday the national team's training centre at Coverciano in Tuscany will be made available to local authorities for the treatment of coronavirus patients.

Italy is now the global epicentre for the disease, which has killed 7,503 in the country and infected almost 75,000.

"Health is of the utmost importance and needs to be protected, which is why the FIGC (Italian Football Federation) is opening the centre in Coverciano to Italians in difficulty," FIGC President Gabriele Gravina said.

G20 leaders seek unity as virus hits US economy

World leaders held emergency online talks on Thursday to build a united front against the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed more than 21,000 lives and triggered fears of an economic collapse with record US unemployment figures.

With the disease tearing around the globe and three billion people locked down, countries are desperate to find ways to stop its terrifying spread and deal with a shock that could surpass the Great Depression.

Cases continued their upward spiral on Thursday, with Europe, now the hardest hit continent, clocking over 250,000 infections and nearly 15,000 deaths while fatalities in the US hit the four-figure mark.

China cuts foreign flights as imported virus cases rise

China will drastically cut its international flight routes in a bid to blunt the number of imported cases of the new coronavirus, the civil aviation authority said on Thursday.

Flights out of China will be capped at just one route a week to each country, with international airlines also permitted only one route.

China has not reported any new domestic infections from the deadly virus for two consecutive days, but imported cases have now surpassed 500.

Senate passes $2.2T coronavirus aid plan, House votes Friday

The Senate passed a mammoth $2.2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic, an unprecedented response amid record new jobless claims and mounting evidence that the economy is in a recession.

The unanimous Senate vote late Wednesday came despite misgivings on both sides about whether it goes too far or not far enough and capped days of difficult negotiations as Washington confronted a national challenge unlike it has ever faced.

Lebanon to impose overnight shutdown to confront coronavirus - minister

Lebanon will begin an overnight shutdown from 7 pm to 5 am, with some exceptions to be announced later, as it steps up measures to combat coronavirus, Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad said on Thursday.

Earlier, Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni issued a circular asking all public institutions to suspend application of an article of a previous circular until further notice, the Finance Ministry statement said.

Lebanon has so far recorded 368 cases of coronavirus and six deaths.

Armenia reports first death related to coronavirus

A 72-year-old man diagnosed with the coronavirus died in Armenia on Thursday, the Health Ministry's spokeswoman said, reporting the country's first death related to the virus.

Armenia, a country of around 3 million people, had reported 290 coronavirus cases as of Thursday, the highest number among countries in the South Caucasus region.

US coronavirus death toll tops 1,000 as unemployment widens

The US coronavirus death toll topped the 1,000 milestone as the pandemic's mounting economic burden was illustrated by government data on Thursday showing a record number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits and hospitals struggled to treat a surge of infected patients.

Roughly half the United States was under "stay at home" orders to try to curb the spread of the virus, with the side effects of strangling the economy and unleashing a wave of layoffs.

Help may be on the way as the US Congress neared approval of a $2 trillion economic stimulus package.

The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits surged to a record of nearly 3.28 million last week, the Labor Department reported, nearly five times the previous weekly record of 695,000 from the recession of 1982.

Dutch coronavirus cases rise by 1,019 to 7,431 - authorities

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Netherlands rose by 1,019, or 16 percent, to 7,431, health authorities said on Wednesday.

The Netherlands National Institute for Health (RIVM) said in its daily update on the outbreak there were 78 new deaths registered in the past day, bringing the total to 434.

"The number of patients in hospital and the number of deaths is rising less quickly than you would expect if no measures (to slow the spread of the virus) had been taken," the RIVM said.

"This could possibly point to the measures having had an influence on the speed of the spread of the virus."

Swiss coronavirus cases top 10,000, with 161 deaths

Switzerland's confirmed cases of coronavirus infections topped 10,000 on Thursday as the government pumped money into the crisis-hit economy and army medical units helped hospitals handle the spreading epidemic.

The country had 10,714 confirmed cases and 161 people have died of the disease as of Thursday morning, the Federal Office of Public Health said.

That was up from 103 deaths and 9,765 cases on Wednesday.

Universities to remain closed for spring term in Turkey

Turkey on Thursday announced the universities will be closed for the spring term, except for digital and remote education, due to the coronavirus.

Head of the Council of Higher Education Yekta Sarac said the programs, courses and practical courses which can not be offered through digital and remote education will be offered in summer.

Sarac stressed there will be no face-to-face classes at universities during the spring term, while the university entrance exam will be held on July 25-26.

He noted that this applies to all levels of education and training, including undergraduate, associate and postgraduate programmes.

Iran's death toll from coronavirus climbs to 2,234

Iran reported 157 new coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours, Iranian Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur told state TV on Thursday, taking the death toll to 2,234 in the Islamic Republic with 29,406 infected people.

"The number of new infected cases was 2,389 in the past 24 hours," Jahanpur said, calling on Iranians to stay at home.

WHO Europe sees 'encouraging signs'

The World Health Organization's (WHO) European office said it saw "encouraging signs" as Italy reported a lower rate of infections of the new coronavirus, cautioning it was too early to say whether the worst had passed.

"While the situation remains very serious, we are starting to see some encouraging signs. Italy, which has the highest number of cases in the region, has just seen a slightly lower rate of increase, though it is still too early to say that the pandemic is peaking in that country," Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, told a press conference.

Shanghai orders 14-day quarantine for incoming travellers

The eastern Chinese city of Shanghai will make all incoming travellers undergo 14 days of quarantine and observation from Thursday in a bid to prevent coronavirus transmission, the local government announced.

Shanghai had previously required travellers to go into quarantine only if they had visited 24 badly hit countries in the two weeks before their arrival in the city.

The city reported 109 confirmed and active coronavirus cases imported from overseas by the end of Wednesday, up 18 compared to the previous day. It said 39 were from Britain, and 27 from the United States.

Japan PM Abe sets up coronavirus task force

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has established a task force under the country's revised emergency law to deal with the global rise in coronavirus infections and deaths.

It is necessary for people to act as one to overcome what can be described as a national crisis, Abe said in Tokyo.

Japan will ban entry from 21 European countries as well as Iran, to take effect from March 27, Abe said.

Uzbekistan locks down two more cities due to coronavirus

Uzbekistan is locking down the cities of Namangan and Andijan to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the two cities' municipal authorities said on Thursday.

Uzbekistan, which has already locked down its capital Tashkent, has reported 65 cases of the disease, including some in the densely-populated Fergana valley where Namangan and Andijan are located.

Malaysia reports 235 new cases in biggest daily jump

Malaysia reported 235 new coronavirus cases in its biggest daily jump, bringing the total number of cases to 2,031.

The number of deaths from coronavirus rose to 23, the health ministry said.

Malaysia's total number of cases has now doubled in a week. 

On Wednesday, the government extended curbs on travel and movement until April 14 to contain the spread of the virus.

Vietnam to limit gatherings to 20 people 

Vietnam will ban gatherings of more than 20 people at a time for the next two weeks to help curb the spread of coronavirus, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said.

Phuc also called on major urban cities in Vietnam to temporarily shut down non-essential services.

Vietnam's health ministry has confirmed 148 cases of the virus, but has not reported any deaths.

Indonesia confirms 103 new cases, 20 more deaths

Indonesia has confirmed 103 new coronavirus cases, bringing the Southeast Asian country's total to 893, Health Ministry official Achmad Yurianto said.

The number of new deaths due to coronavirus rose by 20, taking the total number of deaths to 78, he said, adding a total of 35 people had recovered from the virus.

Philippines reports 7 new deaths

The Philippine health ministry reported seven new coronavirus deaths and 71 new confirmed infections.

It brings the country's confirmed cases to 707 and deaths to 45 so far, among them six doctors, Health Secretary Francisco Duque told a regular news conference. 

He said case numbers would rise in the coming days as more tests are carried out.

South African president tests negative for Covid-19 

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has tested negative for coronavirus, the presidency said in a statement.

"The president submitted for testing as a precautionary measure upon the advice of physicians on Tuesday 24th March 2020 and received his results last night," the statement said, adding he had held meetings with a variety of people in recent weeks. 

Death toll rises in Germany

The number of coronavirus death in Germany has risen to 206, according to the country's Robert Koch Institute.

Infections have also risen to 37,323.

The Robert Koch Institute is a German federal government agency and research institute responsible for disease control and prevention.

Iran starts intercity travel ban

Iran started an intercity travel ban, an Iranian official said in a televised news conference, amid fears of a second wave of coronavirus infections in the Middle East's worst-hit country.

"Those who have travelled for the Iranian New Year holidays should immediately return to their cities without making any stop in the cities on their way back home," said Hossein Zolfaghari, a member of Iran's national headquarters for fighting the coronavirus.

"The closure of universities and schools, as well as suspension of gatherings, has been extended," he said, adding that violators of the measures will face legal consequences

Russia to ground international flights on March 27

The Russian government has ordered the civil aviation authority to suspend all regular and charter flights to and from Russia from March 27, the government said on its website.

Russian airlines will still be allowed to fly to other countries to bring Russian citizens back or if they are authorised by special government decisions.

Thailand total cases now at 1,045

Thailand reported 111 new coronavirus infections, taking its tally to 1,045, the government said on Twitter on Thursday.

A state of emergency took effect. Authorities in Thailand, which has suffered four deaths in the pandemic, set up checkpoints on major roads linking provinces so as to increase screening in a bid to limit spread of the virus.

Entry by non-resident foreigners has also been banned

Lockdown in Chile begins

Some 1.3 million residents of Santiago, including those of the Chilean capital's most affluent neighbourhoods, are on lockdown for at least a week. 

The lockdown started at 0100 GMT, officials said.

This followed orders extending school closures until May. 

Classes were suspended on March 16, just under two weeks after the first novel coronavirus case was recorded.

The lockdown areas "concentrate the greatest number of cases, and the movement of people can generate more contagions," said Health Minister Jaime Manalich.

Chile has more than 1,100 recorded infections and three deaths from the virus.

Bolivia extends closure of borders, declares health emergency

Bolivia declared a national health emergency and extended its border lockdown, as the government seeks to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Interim President Jeanine Anez said in a public address that the border closure was extended to April 15 from March 31 previously. Anez said no one will be able to enter or exit Bolivia during that time.

Bolivia, which was already under a 14-day national quarantine, also tightened restrictions on movement, permitting only one person per household to go out between the hours of 7 am and noon on weekdays.

Bolivia has 38 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to government data.

Canada imposes mandatory self-isolation for those returning

Canada imposed mandatory self-isolation for those returning to Canada under the Quarantine Act.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland initially said the system would begin at midnight Wednesday and require 14 days of isolation. But several hours later, government officials said the quarantine order had been in effect for more than 12 hours already.

“It will be a legal obligation for people entering Canada from outside Canada,” Freeland said. “Essential workers are excluded.”

Freeland said penalties would be announced later.

More than a million Canadians and permanent residents returned to Canada between March 14 to March 20, according to Canada Border Services.

New York struggles with coronavirus, US deaths top 1,000

The number of deaths caused by the novel coronavirus rose to 1,031 in the United States, with 68,572 confirmed cases nationwide, a tracker run by the Johns Hopkins University showed.

The tracker had showed 827 just a few hours earlier. 

The United States has the third-highest number of confirmed cases behind China and Italy, and the US death rate is now 1.5 percent, based on reported cases.

The true number of infected people is believed to be far higher, meaning the real death rate would be lower.

New York is one of the hardest-hit states in the country, with 280 deaths in New York City since the start of the pandemic, according to the tracker.

Mainland China reports new deaths and cases

Mainland China reported an increase in new confirmed coronavirus cases, all of which involved travellers arriving from abroad, the National Health Commission said.

The commission said in a statement that a total of 67 new cases were reported as of end-Wednesday, up from 47 a day earlier, putting the total accumulated number of confirmed coronavirus cases to date at 81,285.

The commission also reported a total of 3,287 deaths at the end of Wednesday, up six from the previous day.

UK deaths rise to 463 

The number of coronavirus deaths in the UK have risen to 463 as of Wednesday from 422 on Tuesday, the British government said, adding that more than 9,500 Covid-19 cases have now been reported in the UK.

The total number of coronavirus cases in the UK have risento 9,529 as of Wednesday, compared to 8,077 cases as on Tuesday, the statement added.

Virus death toll passes 20,000, three billion under lockdown

More than three billion people around the world were living under lockdown on Wednesday as governments stepped up their efforts against the coronavirus pandemic which has left more than 20,000 people dead.

As the number of confirmed cases worldwide soared past 450,000, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that only a concerted global effort could stop the spread of the virus.

In Spain, the number of fatalities surpassed those of China, where the novel coronavirus first emerged three months ago, making it the hardest-hit nation after Italy.

A total of more than 20,800 deaths have now been reported in 182 countries and territories, according to an AFP news agency tally.

South Korea reports 104 new coronavirus cases 

South Korea reported 104 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing its total infections to 9,241, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The death toll from the pandemic in South Korea rose by five to reach a total of 131.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies