Key developments in the global coronavirus outbreak today include:
Global infections pass 720,000
Covid-19 infections worldwide have risen to 722,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. The US had the most cases, with over 142,000; Italy was second with nearly 98,000; and China was third with 82,000. But Spain was fast approaching China, with more than 80,000 cases. Italy still had the highest death toll, with nearly 10,800. Spain was second with 6,800. More than 2,500 people have died in the US.
Trump says keeping US deaths under 100,000 would be ‘a very good job’
Donald Trump has acknowledged the scale of possible fatalities from Covid-19 in the US, while extending social distancing rules until 30 April. The president said if his administration kept deaths under 100,000 it would have done a “very good job”, bringing him closer in line with the top US diseases expert, Anthony Fauci, who suggested on Sunday deaths could reach 200,000. Trump also claimed his push to reopen the country by Easter had only been “aspirational”, now saying he hoped normality might return by 1 June.
Australia begins tighter restrictions
New rules restricting group meetings outside to just two people came into force on Monday, as children’s playgrounds, outdoor gyms and skateparks were closed in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus. So far the country has more than 4,000 cases and 16 deaths.
Japan and Korea to tighten rules on entry
Japan will expand entry restrictions to include visitors from the US, while South Korea announced it would require all travellers from overseas to undergo two weeks of quarantine from Wednesday. Tokyo recorded its biggest daily increase in cases on Sunday, as authorities identified large infection clusters around the capital, taking the number of cases there to 430, and 1,800 across the country (excluding from the Diamond Princess).
Dire UK economic outlook
The coronavirus pandemic could cause UK economic output to plunge by an unprecedented 15% in the second quarter of the year and unemployment to more than double, according to dire forecasts.The lockdown in the UK to try to slow the spread of coronavirus could go on for six months and the country may not return to its normal way of life until the autumn, a key government doctor has said.
The Russia capital will being a citywide lockdown on Monday, confining residents of the city of nearly 12 million people to their homes to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The restrictions are some of the most severe in the Russian capital’s history.
Italy extends lockdown
Italy has said it will extend its month-long lockdown as the number of deaths in the country increased by 756 to reach 10,779. There are now 97,689 confirmed cases in Italy. The death toll in the country’s worst affected region, Lombardy, has slowed.
Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a lockdown in Lagos and the capital city of Abuja. Nigeria has recorded 97 confirmed coronavirus cases and one death.
New Zealand’s website to report lockdown cheats, crashes
So many New Zealanders have reported their neighbours to the authorities for breaking lockdown rules that a new police website to record such incidents crashed. More than 2,000 people rang an emergency police line last week to report rule-breakers. As a result, the dedicated website was set up in the hope it would dissuade them from ringing the emergency 111 number. The website crashed under the deluge of 4,000 reports, including of people playing rugby, frisbee, or holding impromptu parties.