(Reuters) – Hundreds of millions of people worldwide were adjusting on Wednesday to once-in-a-generation measures to battle the coronavirus crisis that is not only killing the old and vulnerable but also threatening prolonged economic misery.
– The virus has infected more than 204,000 people across the world and the death toll has exceeded 8,700.
– For interactive graphic tracking global spread: open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser
– All 50 states in the United States have reported cases and the total number of infections surged past 6,400.
– Canada has decided to provide an $18.6 billion aid package directly to affected families and businesses.
– Chile declared a 90-day state of catastrophe on Wednesday.
– Brazilian retail, transport and manufacturing were hammered, and the government stopped accepting Venezuelan refugees at the border.
– Peru’s President Martin Vizcarra restricted overnight movement across the country.
– Venezuela is concerned the coronavirus could spread like a fast-moving fire through the country’s notoriously overcrowded and unsanitary prisons.
– The Italian government threatened to ban all outdoor exercise as the coronavirus death toll soared to 2,978.
– French health authorities reported 89 new deaths from coronavirus on Wednesday, taking the total to 264 or an increase of almost 51%.
– Russian media have deployed a “significant disinformation campaign” to sow panic in the West, according to a European Union document seen by Reuters.
– Poland will receive more than 10,000 test kits and tens of thousands of other protective items from China.
– Belgium imposed a lockdown from midday (1100 GMT) on Wednesday until April 5.
– Switzerland has extended border controls and suspended the issue of Schengen and national visas for three months.
– Ukraine, where a lawmaker tested positive, has imposed a state of emergency in the region around the capital Kiev.
– Croatia will close cinemas, restaurants and bars and shops but will allow food stores, pharmacies and petrol stations to function.
– President Tayyip Erdogan advised Turks on Wednesday not to leave home unless necessary for three weeks and to minimise social contact until the threat of the coronavirus recedes, but did not tell them to stay away from work.
– China’s imported cases outnumbered domestic transmissions for a fifth straight day as infected travellers passed through major hubs in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
– China’s Hubei province will transfer all arrivals from abroad to a central quarantine facility for 14 days, following a similar policy imposed by Beijing earlier this week.
– Taiwan said it would ban entry for most foreigners as its tally rose by 23 to 100 on Wednesday, most of them imported.
– Thousands of Muslim pilgrims from across Asia gathered at Gowa in Indonesia, just two weeks after a similar event in Malaysia caused more than 500 infections.
– Indonesia’s death toll jumped on Wednesday from five to 19 and Malaysia warned of “a tsunami” of cases if people did not follow new restrictions as infections surged across Southeast Asia.
– Two Vietnamese carriers have suspended flights to major Southeast Asian and European destinations.
– Bangladesh reported its first death on Wednesday.
– Pakistan confirmed its first coronavirus death as the total number of infections climbed to 260.
– Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared a “human biosecurity emergency” and said the country’s citizens should abandon all overseas travel
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
– The World Health Organization said the Middle East states need urgently to offer more information about cases.
– Iran’s death toll climbed to 1,135 with 147 new deaths, while the total number of infections reached 17,361.
– The United Arab Emirates said it would bar foreign visitors while Saudi Arabia suspended most work in its private sector.
– Djibouti and Zambia confirmed their first cases on Wednesday.
– Morocco asked its citizens not to leave their homes except to buy essential goods, seek medical treatment or go to work.
– Global equities tumbled anew on Wednesday, with bond and gold prices also falling in an unusual tandem. [MKTS/GLOB]
– The coronavirus pandemic could destroy up to 25 million jobs around the world if governments do not act fast, the International Labour Organization said.
– Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler will shut down their U.S. plants, bowing to pressure from the union representing about 150,000 hourly workers at those facilities, industry officials said.
– The sterling fell to its lowest since at least 1985 and past the previous “flash crash” lows hit in October 2016.
– Nigeria’s central bank will inject 1 trillion naira ($3.27 billion) into local manufacturing and import substitution to stimulate the economy.
– The Mexican central bank said it would carry out a currency auction worth $2 billion later in the day, after the peso reached historic lows.
– Colombia will spend 14.8 trillion pesos ($3.65 billion) on emergency measures, but will not take on debt to finance the spending.
– Italy is preparing to defend strategically important companies from foreign takeovers at a time when buyers could take advantage of collapsing share prices.
– Banks borrowed more than $15 billion from the Bank of England’s U.S. dollar repo operations on Wednesday, the largest sum since the financial crisis.
– South Korea’s central bank said it would hold a repo auction for $793.5 million on Thursday.
– The Eurovision song contest, one of the world’s largest television events, will not take place this year.
– Britain’s Glastonbury Festival, the largest greenfield music festival in the world, has been cancelled.
– Formula One teams must close for three weeks by the end of April, in a move that will allow races to be rescheduled during the European summer.
Compiled by Sarah Morland, Milla Nissi, Amy Caren Daniel and Ramakrishnan M.; Editing by Gareth Jones and Arun Koyyur