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BBC News, Delhi
Good morning from Delhi. Summer has started to arrive, and temperatures are hovering around 30C. If you’re just joining us here is the latest from India:
- the country has entered the third and final week of its lockdown, but reports suggest that it’s unlikely to end on 15 April as infections continue to go up rapidly
- The country saw its highest spike yet on Wednesday, with 773 cases reported in 24 hours. It has 5,095 active cases overall.
- Masks are now compulsory in at least three Indian cities – Delhi, Mumbai and Chandigarh – and violators can be arrested
Copyright: Getty Images
The economic fallout from the crisis could increase global poverty by as much as half a billion people.
This bleak warning comes from a UN study into the financial and human cost of the pandemic.
It will be the first time that poverty has increased globally in 30 years, according to the report.
The findings come ahead of key meetings of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and G20 finance ministers next week.
New Zealand is now into its 15th day in lockdown, and its number of virus cases appear to be steadily decreasing.
There were just 29 new cases confirmed today – the lowest in two weeks – following 50 on Wednesday, 54 on Tuesday and 67 on Monday.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern thanked fellow Kiwis for staying home, saying “you are breaking the chain of transmission and you did it for each other… you have saved lives”.
She also announced stricter quarantine measures for all people arriving from overseas. They will now go straight to a managed facility rather than being allowed home.
Copyright: Getty Images
Copyright: Getty Images
With extra time for the kitchen, many people are making their own bread these days, and that’s led to a run on flour in the UK.
Supermarket sales are up over 90%. “It’s unprecedented,” says the owner of a century-old flour mill in Oxfordshire.
They’ve been struggling to cope with the demand but say they’re up for the challenge and are hiring new workers.
Google searches for sourdough recipes have also soared, as has interest in this BBC Food recipe on how to make bread without yeast or bread flour.
Italy could ease lockdown measures as early as the end of the month, its prime minister Giuseppe Conte said in his first interview with UK broadcasters since the outbreak exploded.
He told the BBC that if “scientists [confirmed] it, we might begin to relax some measures already by the end of the month”, adding that this was something that would have to be done gradually.
Watch our video below, or read the story here.
A warm welcome to our colleagues joining us from their homes in the Indian capital Delhi.
They are following this development in India today where 20 neighbourhoods in their city have been sealed to stop the spread of the virus.
These include Nizamuddin, the area where a Muslim congregation at a mosque happened last month, setting off several clusters across India.
“No person will be permitted inside these localities or will be allowed to leave them,” deputy chief minister, Manish Sisodia, said.
He said the government would make sure that all “essential items” were delivered to these areas.
India is also in the middle of a 21-day nation-wide lockdown – all public places, schools, colleges, most workplaces and transport services are shut.
Teachers are meeting students for the first time as the school year begins in South Korea – but through a screen.
The classroom you see here was supposed to be filled with students from a first grade English class at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.
The students told their teacher that they were worried about Covid-19 and many were eager to get back to school.
The decision to allow passengers off the infected vessel in Sydney last month has now sparked a police investigation. At least 15 deaths are tied to the ship – making it the deadliest virus-hit vessel so far. Here’s a recap of what happened:
8 March: Ruby Princess leaves Sydney for New Zealand return trip.
17-18 March: On return, ship doctor reports cases of sick passengers to New South Wales (NSW) authorities. But health officials give it the green light to disembark
19 March: Ship docks in Sydney Harbour and 2,700
passengers disembark without knowing there is a virus threat and a dozen people have been tested.
One woman is rushed to hospital – she later dies from the virus.
20 March: NSW government
announces positive cases on the ship, and scrambles to
contact passengers, many of whom have already flown home.
29 March: Confirmed cases from the ship jump to over 200 in Australia, while international numbers are unknown.
State and federal officials argue
over who is to blame as public anger grows.
5 April: 600 cases including 13 deaths are linked to the ship. NSW Police launch criminal probe into operator Carnival Cruises.
6 April: The ship docks at
Port Kembla, south of Sydney, with about 200 sick crew on board.
8 April: Homicide investigators
board ship and seize black box
The Strategic National Stockpile is almost out of N95 respirators, surgical masks, face shields, gowns and other medical supplies for front-line medical workers, says a report from the Associated Press.
The US Department of Health and Human Services told AP that it was in the process of deploying all remaining personal protective equipment (PPE) in its inventory.
It confirmed statements that showed about 90% of PPE in the stockpile had already been distributed to state and local governments.
The remaining 10% will be kept in reserve to support “federal response efforts”, said a spokeswoman.
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Faced with a sharp rise in daily infections, Singapore is enforcing tough social distancing guidelines. Across the city, people have been told to stay home except for urgent matters.
These pictures show the measures authorities are taking to ensure people don’t gather in groups – pretty much anywhere.
In Russia, like in most countries around the globe, measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus have meant that theatres have had to shut their doors.
But for dancers of the Mikhailovsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, the show – despite isolation – goes on, as our Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg reports.
New York state remains the worst-hit part of the US and in the past day has suffered its biggest death toll so far with 779 deaths linked to the virus.
The number of confirmed cases in the state alone approached 150,000 on Wednesday.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered flags flown at half-mast across the state, to respect the dead.
“Every number is a face,” he said. “This virus attacked the vulnerable and attacked the weak and it’s our job as a society to protect the vulnerable.”
The governor said a drop in new hospitalisations and other data suggested the state was “bending the curve” and gaining some control over the infection rate but warned the death rate would continue to be high for the coming days.
US jobless figures could be about to hit a new record. On Thursday morning, the Department of Labor will release its latest data on unemployment claims.
JPMorgan Chase analysts expect the statistics to show that as many as seven million people applied for benefits in the week to 4 April. That would surpass the previous week’s record of 6.6 million, which was double the one from the week before.
In yet more grim economic news, nearly one third of US residential tenants (31%) did not manage to pay their rent in the first week of April, according to data from the National Multifamily Housing Council on Wednesday.
Bangladesh has imposed a lockdown at the Cox’s Bazar refugee camp which houses more than a million Rohingya who have fled from Myanmar.
The top government administrator in Cox’s Bazar, said foreigners have been banned from frequent visits to the camps unless absolutely necessary.
He explained that with the help of the WHO, they were currently setting up isolation wards and makeshift hospitals at the camps.
Authorities are also training community health workers, distributing soap and trying to raise awareness on how to prevent the virus from taking hold.
There’s fear that an outbreak in the camps would be almost impossible to contain as the refugees live in cramped spaces and very poor conditions.
South Korea has reported its lowest number of new coronavirus cases in seven weeks.
Only 39 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed over the past 24 hours – 23 of which were related to overseas arrivals.
Of this number, only 4 were confirmed to have come from Daegu, the city which was once at the heart of the country’s outbreak.
South Korea has used an aggressive tracing and testing
strategy to curb the pandemic.
No part of the country was ever placed in lockdown. Health
officials are urging people to maintain social distancing measures until 19 April in the hope of reducing the number of cases even further.
The total number of cases across the country now stands at 10,423, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Crude oil posted initial gains in Asia on Thursday.
It comes as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and its allies will meet online to hammer out proposed massive cuts in production to counter a slump in demand caused by coronavirus lockdowns.
Global benchmark Brent oil rose 2.5%, to $33.65 in early Asian trade after gains overnight on hopes for a deal to cut as much as 10m to 15m barrels a day, or 10% to 15% of global output.An Opec+ (Opec plus other producers led by Russia) meeting in early March failed to agree on oil production cuts, causing a split that sent prices crashing.Saudi Arabia and Russia then moved to boost production in order to retain market share amid the falling global demand.Key Opec member Saudi Arabia pushed hard for deep cuts in March, while Russia complained that US shale producers who didn’t curb output would unfairly benefit. The standoff saw US President Donald Trump seek to broker a deal as the world’s largest producer and a top importer as well.
If you’re worried, here’s a basic guide on how to tell if you might have coronavirus.
South America correspondent
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has once again called on Brazil to get back to work, going against advice by his own Health Ministry – and most of the rest of the world – to stop work and remain indoors.
Speaking on national television, he said his goal was to save lives in what he called a war against coronavirus.
He no longer referred to the virus as a little flu, but continued to distance himself from the drastic measures being taken by local governments such as school and business closures, making the point that the consequences of treatment cannot be more damaging than the disease itself.
Unemployment he said, also leads to poverty, hunger, misery and even death.
He went on to praise the use of hydroxychloroquine, a drug that has not yet been proven as an effective treatment of coronavirus.
Mr Bolsonaro added that he hoped Brazil would come out of this stronger and more unified but the message from the top is still confusing – should people stay indoors or get back to work?
One thing is clear though – he doesn’t want to take any responsibility for what will be a massive economic hit to the country.
Copyright: Getty Images
For those of you reading in Asia, here are the developments we are watching:
- in Japan, Tokyo has seen its biggest daily jump since the beginning of the outbreak, and the spike comes just after the capital and other large cities declare a state of emergency
- South Korea has reported its fewest daily cases since late February. The 39 positive tests in the past day are down from 53 the previous day. At the peak of its crisis, South Korea had 909 new cases on 29 February
- Singapore has seen its highest daily increase with 142 new cases
- Thailand says it will automatically extend visas for all foreigners. Many of them currently can not leave the country and authorities want to prevent long queues at immigration centres
- in East Timor, the prime minister has withdrawn his resignation so he can oversee the fight against the pandemic. He had announced his resignation earlier this year after failing to pass the annual budget.
The US recorded nearly 2,000 coronavirus deaths for a second day in a row, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
It was the highest one-day toll on record with 1,973 deaths – the day before had seen a death toll of 1,939 deaths, according to news agency AFP.
The US now has 14,695 deaths and 431,838 confirmed virus cases making it the worst affected country globally.