NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg praised Turkey for sending medical aid to Italy and Spain, worst hit in Europe by the coronavirus pandemic.

Soldiers prepare to load a military cargo plane with Personal Protection Equipment heading to Italy and Spain to help the countries combat the new coronavirus outbreak, in Ankara, Turkey on April 1, 2020.
Soldiers prepare to load a military cargo plane with Personal Protection Equipment heading to Italy and Spain to help the countries combat the new coronavirus outbreak, in Ankara, Turkey on April 1, 2020. (AP)

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Turkey delivers medical aid to Spain and Italy

A Turkish military aircraft carrying medical aid arrived in Spain, one of the countries in Europe worst hit by the novel coronavirus.

Earlier on Wednesday, the aircraft departed from the capital Ankara for Spain and Italy.

Italy's death toll reached 12,428 on Tuesday, the highest globally. Spain has reported 8,189 fatalities so far.

NATO's secretary general on Wednesday praised Turkey for sending medical aid to Italy and Spain, worst hit in Europe by the coronavirus pandemic.

"Proud to see NATO Allies supporting each other through our disaster relief centre. #StrongerTogether," said Jens Stoltenberg. 

The Italian delegation in NATO also took Twitter to thank Turkey.

The Spanish delegation to NATO also expressed gratefulness for Turkey via their official Twitter account.

WHO concerned

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) voiced deep concern on Wednesday about "the rapid escalation and global spread" of Covid-19 cases from the new coronavirus, which has now reached 205 countries and territories.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that his agency, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund backed debt relief to help developing countries cope with the pandemic's social and economic consequences.

"In the past five weeks there has been a near-exponential growth in the number of new cases and the number of deaths has more than doubled in the past week," Tedros told a virtual news conference in Geneva where the UN health organisation is based.

"In the next few days we will reach 1 million confirmed cases and 50,000 deaths worldwide," he said.

France reports record toll

France on Wednesday reported its highest daily number of deaths from Covid-19 since the coronavirus epidemic began, saying 509 more people had died in hospital to bring the toll to 4,032.

There are now 24,639 people hospitalised in France with Covid-19, with 6,017 of them in intensive care, health official Jerome Salomon told reporters in his daily update. The death toll on Tuesday had risen by 499.

The French death toll includes only those who died in hospital and not those who died at home or in old people's homes.

Italy reports 727 fatalities

The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has climbed by 727 to 13,155, the Civil Protection Agency said on Wednesday, a significantly smaller increase than seen on Tuesday and the lowest daily tally since March 26.

However, the number of new cases rose more sharply than a day earlier, growing by 4,782 against a previous 4,053, bringing total infections since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21 to 110,574.

In Lombardy, the epicentre of the outbreak, the daily tallies of deaths and cases were both up compared with those of the day before, reversing the recent trend.

Of those originally infected nationwide, 16,847 had fully recovered on Wednesday, compared to 15,729 the day before. There were 4,035 people in intensive care, up from a previous 4,023.

Strong healthcare system key to fight virus - Erdogan

Turkey's greatest advantages in fighting the coronavirus outbreak are its strong healthcare infrastructure, said the Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday.

Erdogan called on the public to stay at home until further notice and maintain social distancing in a bid to stem the virus’ spread.

Speaking by video to district heads of the governing Justice and Development (AK) Party, Erdogan said the goal is to ensure that Turkey leaves this troubling period behind with minimal losses, adding that state institutions are working hard.

"We should urge our citizens, their children, and elderly to stay committed to rules," he said, adding that people should notify state officials if they see any deficiencies regarding measures.

He went on to say that the spread of the virus could be curbed if people were careful about social activity and distancing.

On the pandemic’s financial fallout, he said: "We are determined to ensure continued production and exports."

Wimbledon cancelled for first time since WWII  

Wimbledon was cancelled on Wednesday because of the coronavirus pandemic, the first time since World War II that the oldest Grand Slam tennis tournament won't be played. 

Britain imposed a nationwide lockdown just over a week ago, and the All England Club announced after a two-day emergency meeting that the event it refers to simply as The Championships is being scrapped for 2020. That hadn't happened since 1945.

Wimbledon was scheduled to be played on the club's grass courts on the outskirts of London from June 29 to July 12.
Instead, the next edition of the tournament will be June 28 to July 11, 2021.

UK records over 500 deaths in 24 hours

Britain reported 563 daily coronavirus deaths on Wednesday, the first time the national toll has exceeded 500, bringing the total fatalities to 2,352, according to official figures.

"As of 5pm (1600 GMT) on 31 March, of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 2,352 have sadly died," the health ministry said on its official Twitter page.

Some 29,474 people have now tested positive, an increase of 4,324 over the previous day, it added.

Britain locked down last week in an attempt to combat the virus, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who himself has tested positive, warned that it would "get worse before it gets better."

Spain death toll tops 9,000

The coronavirus death toll in Spain surged over 9,000 on Wednesday after a record 864 deaths in 24 hours, with the number of confirmed cases passing the 100,000 mark, the government said. 

Spain has the world's second-highest death toll after Italy, with the virus so far claiming 9,053 lives and the number of confirmed cases reaching 102,136, although the rate of new infections continued its downward trend, health ministry figures showed. 

Europe coronavirus death toll tops 30,000

The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 30,000 people in Europe, with more than three-quarters of the deaths registered in Italy and Spain, according to an AFP tally.

A total of 30,063 deaths have been recorded in Europe out of a total 458,601 cases, making it the continent that has been hit hardest by Covid-19.
The most deaths were seen in Italy, with some 12,428 fatalities, followed by Spain, with 8,189 and France, with 3,523.

Iran's coronavirus death toll rises to 3,036 

Iran's death toll from the new coronavirus has reached 3,036, with 138 deaths in the past 24 hours, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur told state TV, adding that the country had 47,593 infected cases.

"We had 2,987 new cases of infected people in the past 24 hours and 15,473 people have recovered from the disease," Jahanpur said. 

Indonesia to open coronavirus hospital on uninhabited island

Indonesia will by next week open a new coronavirus emergency hospital on the uninhabited island of Galang, where authorities have repurposed a former Vietnam war era refugee camp as part of efforts to rapidly augment healthcare capacities.

Indonesia has recorded 1,677 cases of coronavirus as of April 1, and 157 deaths – the highest mortality rate in Southeast Asia.

Some health experts and officials believe the true infection rate among Indonesia's population of 260 million could be substantially higher.

Located on one of a chain of islands off Sumatra and south of Singapore, the new hospital includes 360 additional hospital beds, isolation facilities and helipads, and will be used to treat coronavirus patients and as a quarantine facility.

Russia sending medical aid to US

Russia has sent a planeload of medical aid to the US amid the growing coronavirus pandemic.

A military aircraft loaded with medical equipment and masks took off from Moscow early on Wednesday morning, according to the defence ministry.

Footage from the Russian Defense Ministry showed boxes of equipment inside an Antonov An-124 Ruslan aircraft at Moscow’s Chkalovsky Airbase.

The delivery follows a phone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump on Monday, when the two leaders discussed cooperation in the fight against the new coronavirus. A Kremlin statement said the call took place at Washington's initiative.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Trump accepted Russia's aid "with gratitude" and added "offering aid to the American colleagues, the president (Putin) is assuming that when American production of medical equipment and materials picks up speed, they will be able to reciprocate if necessary", Peskov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

UK aims to test 25,000 a day for coronavirus by mid-April

Britain is aiming to increase the number of tests for coronavirus to 25,000 a day by the middle of the month from its present capacity of 12,750 a day, housing minister Robert Jenrick told Sky News.

Europe to launch coronavirus contact tracing app initiative

European scientists and technologists said they will launch a joint initiative to support the deployment of digital applications in the fight against coronavirus while complying with the region's tough privacy laws.

The Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing brings together 130 researchers from eight countries to develop applications that can support contact tracing efforts.

US virus deaths pass 4,000

The number of people in the US who have died from the novel coronavirus has surpassed the 4,000 mark, according to data released by Johns Hopkins University.

The university's running tally counted 4,076 deaths and 189,618 cases as the US struggles to curb the outbreak.

The new mark came hours after President Donald Trump warned that the next two weeks will be “very painful" in the US in terms of deaths from the coronavirus.

China reports 36 new Covid-19 cases

China’s National Health Commission reported 36 new Covid-19 cases, one day after announcing that asymptomatic cases will now be included in the official count.

The commission said all but one of the new cases were imported from abroad, while seven more deaths from the disease had been reported over the previous 24 hours. 

The commission did not say if any of the new cases were asymptomatic but on Tuesday reported that, of a total of 1,541 asymptomatic cases now being isolated and monitored for symptoms, 205 had come from overseas.

As China’s domestic outbreak has largely abated, some questioned whether the country’s failure to count asymptomatic cases would lead to a resurgence of infections. 

China, where the virus was first detected in December, has recorded a total of 81,554 cases of Covid-19 and 3,312 deaths from the disease.

Germany reports 5,453 new cases, 149 more deaths

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has risen to 67,366 and 732 people have died of the disease, statistics from the Robert KochInstitute for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday.

Cases rose by 5,453 compared with the previous day while the death toll climbed by 149.

Pakistan's coronavirus cases surpass 2,000

The number of novel coronavirus cases in Pakistan has risen to 2,007 with more than 150 confirmed in the last 24 hours, officials said.

The country’s death toll jumped to 26, while 12 patients are in critical condition.

More than 80 percent of the confirmed cases had recently returned from neighbouring Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Japan to hold experts' meeting on coronavirus pandemic

Japan's government will hold a regular experts' meeting on the coronavirus pandemic to get an update on the latest developments on infections, economy minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said.

He also said Japan was not yet at a stage to declare a state of emergency, brushing aside speculation a lockdown of Tokyo could be imminent. 

Mexico registers 1,215 coronavirus cases, 29 deaths 

Mexico's health ministry on Tuesday registered 1,215 cases of coronavirus in the country, up from 1,094 the day before.

It also said 29 people died from the virus in Mexico, up from 28 a day earlier

US coronavirus deaths set the one-day record at 865

The coronavirus pandemic killed a record 865 people in the United States in the 24 hours until Tuesday evening, according to a tally compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The US death toll rose from 3,008 at 0030GMT on Monday to 3,873 at 0030GMT on Tuesday.

The US now has 188,172 confirmed cases, by far the highest of any country, ahead of Italy, Spain and China.

Colombia reports first coronavirus cases among indigenous people

The first two cases of the coronavirus were confirmed among Colombia's indigenous people, local authorities said, fanning fears that the highly contagious disease could decimate vulnerable tribal communities.

The cases were found in two people from the Yukpa group who live in dire poverty in a cluster of makeshift shelters and tents in the northern border city of Cucuta, according to the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia, the country's leading indigenous authority.

Health experts said they fear the coronavirus could spread rapidly among tribes who have little immunity to diseases common in the general population.

White House projects 100K to 240K US deaths from the virus

The White House on Tuesday projected 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the US from the coronavirus pandemic if current social distancing guidelines are maintained. Trump called American efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus "a matter of life and death" and urged the public to heed his administration's social distancing guidelines.

Trump called on Americans to brace themselves for a "rough two-week period", but predicted the country would soon see a "light at the end of the tunnel" of the global catastrophe that has killed more than 3,500 Americans and infected 170,000 more.

"I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead," Trump said. 

"We're going to go through a very tough two weeks."

US death toll eclipses China's as reinforcements head to NYC

The US death toll from the coronavirus climbed past 3,600 Tuesday, eclipsing China's official count, as hard-hit New York City rushed to bring in more medical professionals and ambulances and parked refrigerated morgue trucks on the streets to collect the dead. 

The crisis hit close to home for Governor Andrew Cuomo, who reported teary-eyed that his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, was infected.

The governor pronounced the disaster unlike any other the city has weathered: "This is ongoing and the duration itself is debilitating and exhausting and depressing."

13-year-old UK boy dies after contracting Covid-19

A 13-year-old British boy has died days after testing positive for Covid-19, hospital officials and his family said on Tuesday, with relatives saying he had no underlying illnesses.

The boy, who died Monday, is believed to be Britain's youngest confirmed death in the coronavirus pandemic. 

A 12-year-old girl, whose death was confirmed earlier on Tuesday in Belgium, is thought to be Europe's youngest victim.  

Source: TRTWorld and agencies