COVID-19 World News – General
Here are selected reports on the impact of COVID-19 around the world.
Global News (25 Mar 2020 at 1:25 PM)
“Britain’s Prince Charles tests positive for COVID-19. Spain registers more than 700 deaths overnight related to COVID-19, overtaking China’s death toll. People finally travel back to Hubei, China, the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak, as the province reopens. A Chinese father designs a “safety pod” for his baby amid the pandemic. Although its effectiveness remains unclear, he claims he has been approached by several people interested in purchasing one. Workers disinfect around one of the last standing wonders of the ancient world: the Pyramids of Giza.”
World News by Country
Significant highlights and developments from the countries most impacted at present can be found below. For the latest news and updates for other countries refer to world media outlets and the official agencies listed on the home page for the portal.
An interview with Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia. (60 Minutes Australia, 22 Mar 2020)
China sees zero domestic Covid-19 cases for third day, but imported coronavirus infections surge (South China Morning Post, 21 Mar 2020)
Coronavirus Pandemic: France’s economy hit hard by COVID-19 spread. This is an update on the situation in France. (France 24 English, 19 Mar 2020)
Caution Corona! The Virus in Germany. Schools, day-care centers, pubs and museums are dark. Everyone who can is working from home. In Germany, public life is at a standstill. It’s the only way to protect the population. But the forced vacation is already causing financial hardship. (Deutsche Welle, 23 Mar 2020)
Coronavirus update: Germany imposes strict social restrictions. German federal and state authorities have decided to ban gatherings of more than two people outside of workplaces, to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The nationwide ban is to be enforced for at least two weeks. Exceptions will include families and people living in the same household. Also, all restaurants will be ordered to close, with only delivery services allowed. Hairdressers, cosmetic studios and massage parlors must also shut their doors. Germany has almost 24,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases, and more than 90 people have died from the disease. The measure was agreed on Sunday in a conference call between Chancellor Angela Merkel and state ministers. (Deutsche Welle, 22 Mar 2020)
India has become the latest and largest country to introduce a nationwide lockdown in the fight against the coronavirus. Its population of 1,3 billion has been told to stay at home. The country has so far seen about 560 confirmed cases and 11 deaths and there are fears that infections could spread quickly in the densely-populated urban areas of the country. Crowds formed at pharmacies and shops shortly before the midnight deadline. Non-essential businesses have been closed, most flights and rail services have been stopped, and the busy Bollywood film industry has ground to a halt. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said without the 21-day lockdown, the country could be set back by 21 years. (Deutsche Welle, 25 Mar 2020 at ~5:00 AM CT US)
On 24 March 2020 (9:30 AM CT US / 8PM India), Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation live. Modi called for the entire country to be on lockdown for 21 days. Everything will be closed. Trains, planes, busses, are all canceled. All 1.3 billion citizens are being asked to stay where they are. (Video via Narendra Modi on YouTube)
Coronavirus outbreak in Iran: “50 people are contracting COVID-19 every single hour”.Coronavirus outbreak in Iran: “50 people are contracting COVID-19 every single hour”, FRANCE24’s Sanam Shantyaei tells us more about the situation in the Islamic Republic. (France 24 English, 19 Mar 2020)
Inside the overcrowded ICU hospitals on front line of Italy’s COVID-19 crisis. The state of Lambardi in Italy has one of the best equipped healthcare systems in the world with 750 ICU beds. However, there are currently over 3,000 COVID-19 patients needing those beds. It’s being described as a “Medical War Zone” in the following report from 60 Minutes Australia. (24 Mar 2020)
Coronavirus update: Italy struggles to combat ‘tsunami’ of cases. Italy is struggling most to combat Covid-19, with a total of nearly 5,000 coronavirus deaths. Officials there once again reported the largest one-day increase in fatalities. Regular papal events are no longer open to the public. Pope Francis’s Sunday Angelus prayers are broadcast online instead. The Vatican’s Saint Peter’s Square has been sealed off. While authorities around the world take more drastic measures to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the number of cases globally nearly doubled last week. The current tally by Johns Hopkins University in the United States counts more than 300,000 infections worldwide and over 13,000 deaths. The raging pandemic has forced 35 countries across the globe to impose restrictions, disrupting lives, travel and businesses. This means globally, every seventh person is confined to their homes this Sunday. (Deutsche Welle, 22 Mar 2020)
Testing times: Why South Korea’s COVID-19 strategy is working.
The coronavirus continued to spread around the world this week and Italy’s death toll surpassed that of China’s. Governments called on citizens to self-isolate, closed borders, put cities into lockdown and shut all but essential businesses.
Amid the crisis, and despite a second wave of infections in Asian countries, South Korea continues to lead the way in containing the spread of COVID-19, with one of the lowest casualty rates in the world.
According to John Hopkins University medical researchers, as of this week, the COVID-19 death rate is 0.97 percent in South Korea, compared to 7.94 percent in Italy, 3.98 percent in mainland China and Hong Kong, and 1.68 percent in the United States.
Jerome Kim, director general of the International Vaccine Institute, said one of the reasons South Korea has done so well is that it has a robust biotech industry made up of many small companies run by scientists.
“The Chinese published the sequence of the coronavirus. These companies looked at it and then they rapidly developed tests,” Kim said.
Korean companies acted fast to produce those tests and the country now has enough to screen some 20,000 people a day.
“They [South Korea] opened up testing centres that people could drive in and go through. They made it all free and once they identified people, they put them into quarantine,” Kim said.
In early February, the government also obtained mobile phone records, credit card receipts and other private data of everyone who tested positive for COVID-19, and used the information to track the spread of the virus, making much of the data available to the public.
“In this case, you have the health of a nation or the health of a city and you have individual rights. And so I think a lot of people don’t mind because they want to know where they might potentially have been exposed, particularly if they develop symptoms,” Kim said.
Kim acknowledged that while South Korea has worked diligently to combat the virus, the battle is far from over. “This is a war and like a war, winning the first battle is important but it’s not the only thing,” Kim said.
He believes the government’s ultimate aim will be to restore normalcy to everyday life.
“And the only way to really achieve that is to use a vaccine. You’ll have to be able to ensure that as people carry on their activities of daily living, that they’re going to be protected,” he said.
In this week’s UpFront Jerome Kim, director general of the International Vaccine Institute, explains how South Korea has been able to stay on top of the coronavirus.
(Al Jazeera English, 21 Mar 2020)
Coronavirus update: Spain rushes to build hospitals as cases surge. Spain is racing to construct temporary hospitals to care for more patients fighting a battle against COVID-19. The country now has the fourth highest number of coronavirus infections. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says “the worst is yet to come.” (Deutsche Welle, 22 Mar 2020)
Day 1 of coronavirus shutdown in Switzerland. From business closings to border restrictions, Switzerland joins its European neighbors in taking more drastic measures to stem the spread of COVID-19. An epidemiology expert says it’s not too late to begin widespread testing. Plus, EURO 2020 becomes EURO 2021. (CNNMoney Switzerland, 17 Mar 20200)
Coronavirus: UK deaths rise faster than Italy and China at same stage of outbreak. (Sky News, 22 Mar 2020)
Coronavirus outbreak: UK officials provide update on COVID-19 response | FULL. U.K. government officials give a daily briefing to update on COVID-19 developments. Britain has asked 65,000 former nurses and doctors to return to work and will deploy final-year medical students to fight the coronavirus health crisis, the health ministry said. As the novel coronavirus outbreak sweeps across the world, governments, companies and investors are grappling with the biggest public health crisis since the 1918 influenza pandemic, panicked populations and imploding financial markets. (Global News, 22 Mar 2020)
For U.S. news, please refer to the link at the top of this page to access the National News page.