(Reuters) – The world’s richest nations poured unprecedented aid into the global economy as coronavirus cases ballooned in the new epicentre Europe, with the number of deaths in Italy outstripping those in mainland China, where the virus originated.
* The virus has infected more than 245,000 people across the world and the death toll exceeds 10,028.
* For an interactive graphic tracking global spread: open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser
EUROPE* Italy’s death toll from coronavirus overtook that of China, where the virus first emerged.
* A total 427 deaths were registered in Italy over the past 24 hours, bringing the total nationwide tally to 3,405 since the outbreak surfaced on Feb. 21.
* The Spanish government on Thursday ordered the closure of all the country’s hotels and promised to implement special measures in nursing homes. Officials reported deaths had jumped by more than a third on Thursday to 767, while the number of cases rose by a quarter to 17,149.
* French health authorities reported 108 new deaths from coronavirus on Thursday, taking the total to 372 or an increase of almost 41%.
* Greece is ready to inject 10 billion euros to support its economy, as it confirmed 46 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing its total to 464.
* The United Kingdom put 20,000 military personnel on standby as dozens of underground train stations closed across London and Queen Elizabeth left the city for Windsor Castle.
* Serbia on Thursday closed its airport and said it will shut all road and rail borders other than to freight traffic, as well as halt all internal passenger transport.
* Restrictions imposed by some European Union countries at their borders are disrupting food supplies, industry representatives and farmers said on Thursday.
* NATO is scaling down military exercises in Europe but alliance missions are continuing, including the drawdown of the U.S.-led force in Afghanistan following a peace agreement last month.
* The EU’s chief negotiator for Brexit, Michel Barnier, said on Thursday he had tested positive for COVID-19.
* Germany and Britain have put military personnel on standby. Italian soldiers transported bodies overnight from a northern town whose cemetery has been overwhelmed by the scale of the outbreak.
* A southern Swiss canton bordering Italy is being swamped with coronavirus patients, a top health official said on Thursday.
* A virus-hit Italian cruise ship has docked in Marseille, southern France. The 1,400 passengers and crew will remain on board while awaiting test results.
* Croatia, Northern Ireland and Russia reported their first deaths on Thursday.
* Sweden’s Riksbank said it will now offer loans in U.S. dollars against collateral after signing a swap facility with the Federal Reserve in the United States.
* More than 13,000 people across the United States have been diagnosed with the illness and 200 have died, with the largest numbers so far in Washington state, New York and California.
* California’s governor on Thursday issued an unprecedented statewide “stay at home order” directing the state’s 40 million residents to hunker down in their homes for the foreseeable future.
* Already more than 1,000 Californians have been confirmed as infected and 18 have died, the third largest death toll in the United States behind only Washington state and New York.
* Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday that he expects the closure of the United States-Canada border to come into effect overnight on Friday.
* Panama on Thursday had registered 137 cases of coronavirus infection in total, up from 109 a day earlier.
* The Honduran government said on Thursday the number of registered cases of coronavirus infection in the Central American country had risen to 24.
* The United States and Mexico are working on travel restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. The U.S. could announce restrictions on travel across the U.S.-Mexico border as soon as Friday
* Haiti’s government on Thursday declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus outbreak, closing the borders of the Americas’ poorest nation and imposing a curfew after authorities detected the first two cases of infection.
* * The number of registered coronavirus infections in Mexico rose on Thursday to 164 from 118 a day earlier, * More than 60,000 homeless people could become infected in California over the next eight weeks, badly straining the healthcare system.
* Venezuelan utilities have hiked fees and the government plans to raise taxes as the economy deteriorates further due to the spread.
* Brazil’s government on Thursday unveiled a 10 billion reais ($2 billion) aid package for some 11 million low-wage workers.
* Brazil’s tourist hotspot Rio de Janeiro reported its first two coronavirus deaths on Thursday, bringing the country’s toll to six.
ASIA * Mainland China reported zero locally transmitted cases of the coronavirus for the second straight day. China reported 39 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, all of which had arrived from abroad. The total number of confirmed imported infections has reached 228.
* Thailand reported 50 new coronavirus infections, taking its tally to 322, a health official said on Friday.
* Korea reported 87 new coronavirus cases on Friday, bringing the total national infections to 8,652. THe death toll stood unchanged at 94.
* China’s Jiangsu to quarantine travellers who visited 24 coronavirus-infected countries.
* South Korea reported 87 new coronavirus cases on Friday, bringing the total national infections to 8,652.
* The foreign ministers of South Korea, China and Japan will hold a video conference on Friday to discuss cooperation on the pandemic.
* Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to citizens to stay home and avoid panic buying, even as India outlined plans to halt all international flights.
* Japan has had 970 domestically transmitted cases of coronavirus and 34 deaths excluding cases from a cruise ship moored near Tokyo last month.
* Indonesia likely has far higher numbers of cases than reported due to limited testing and needs to consider tougher measures like lockdowns, the Red Cross told Reuters.
* Malaysian authorities are seeking around 2,000 Rohingya for checks after they attended a Muslim gathering on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. More than 670 cases in Southeast Asia have been linked to the gathering.
* Vietnam will temporarily suspend visa-free travel for citizens of Japan, Belarus and Russia from Saturday as the country reported nine more coronavirus cases on Friday, bringing total to 85.* Australia is closing its borders to foreigners and pumping about A$100 billion ($56 billion) into the economy.* Air New Zealand said on Friday it was offered a NZ$900 million ($514 million) lifeline by the government
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Saudi Arabia has so far confirmed 274 infections and no deaths, and it suspended all domestic flights, buses, taxis and trains for 14 days starting Saturday.
* Coronavirus is killing one person every 10 minutes in Iran, the health ministry spokesman tweeted on Thursday, as its death toll climbed to 1,284.
* Egypt will shut all cafes, malls, sporting clubs and nightclubs until March 31 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the government said in a statement.
* Civil liberties activists asked Israel’s Supreme Court on Thursday to suspend cellphone monitoring put in place under emergency regulations.
* Turkey has sent 500,000 test kits to the United States at their request.
* Jordan’s army on Thursday sealed off the capital from the rest of the country as the kingdom puts its ten million inhabitants under a lockdown, witnesses and officials said.
* Africa will likely see cases rise in coming weeks as some cases escape detection, the head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control said on Thursday, when Chad confirmed its first case.
* South African authorities announced on Thursday they would erect a fence along its border with Zimbabwe to prevent illegal immigrants from entering and spreading the virus.
* Algeria will suspend public transport, close cafes and restaurants, tell half its state employees to stay home.
* The U.S. Senate will seek deal on $1 trillion coronavirus economic aid package, which will include direct financial help for Americans, relief for small businesses and their employees, steps to stabilize the economy.
*Asian shares staged a rare rally on Friday as Wall Street eked out gains, bonds rallied and oil boasted its biggest bounce on record, though the panicked rush into U.S. dollars suggested the crisis was far from done. [MKTS/GLOB]
* The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits surged to a 2-1/2-year high last week as companies in the services sector laid off workers because of the pandemic.
* Airline industry turmoil deepened as Qantas Airways told most of its 30,000 staff to take leave and Lufthansa said the industry may not survive without state aid if the pandemic lasts a long time.
* Crude oil traders from West Africa to the U.S. Gulf Coast are offering cargoes at deep discounts, desperately trying to attract buyers as global supplies swell and demand plunges.
* The U.S. Federal Reserve rolled out its third emergency credit program in two days, this one to ensure liquidity in money market mutual funds.
* Australia announced support packages on Thursday that will pump around A$100 billion ($56 billion) into the economy.
* New Zealand authorities increased financial aid for markets and bailed out the national airline on Friday, strengthening its efforts to prevent the economy from sinking into recession.
* The South African Reserve Bank cut its main lending rate by 100 basis points to 5.25% on Thursday in a surprise unanimous decision.
* A plane carrying the Olympic torch from Greece will arrive on Friday on Japan’s northwestern coast, but the welcome ceremony will have no spectators.
* The coronavirus has dealt a blow to NASA’s plan to return Americans to the moon by 2024, as the space agency chief on Thursday ordered the temporary closure of two rocket production facilities after an employee tested positive for the illness. * All rugby competitions in Fiji have been shut down until further notice after the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the Pacific island nation.
* The Cannes Film Festival has been postponed from May to the end of June.
* The 36th ASEAN summit scheduled in Vietnam early next month has been postponed until end-June.
Compiled by Sarah Morland, Milla Nissi, Amy Caren Daniel and Ramakrishnan M.; Editing by Anil D’Silva, Frances Kerry, Gareth Jones and Arun Koyyur