Key developments in the global coronavirus outbreak today include:
Known cases surpass three quarters of a million
According to Johns Hopkins University, at least 777,286 people around the world are known to have been infected since the outbreak began, though the true figure is likely to be higher. The institution says 37,140 people have died and 164,435 have recovered.
France suffers its worst daily death toll
The daily government tally only accounts for those dying in hospital but authorities say they will very soon be able to compile data on deaths in retirement homes, which is likely to result in a big increase in registered fatalities.
Israeli prime minister tests negative
Benjamin Netanyahu and his key advisers isolated themselves after one of the prime minister’s aides tested positive for the coronavirus. Later, it was confirmed that Netanyahu had tested negative, though his spokesman said he would remain quarantined until further instructions were issued by the Israeli ministry of health.
Italians face lockdown extension despite slowing growth in cases
The lockdown imposed on Italians is being extended at least until Easter, health minister Roberto Speranza says. Italy has been under lockdown for three weeks and the restrictions were due to end on Friday.
Earlier, it was revealed that the number of new cases rose by just 4,050 on Monday; the lowest nominal increase since 17 March.
UK police to get lockdown guidelines
New guidance is being drawn up warning police forces not to overreach their lockdown enforcement powers after some were criticised for deploying controversial tactics in recent days.
Study reveals increased risks from middle age onwards
The first comprehensive study of Covid-19 deaths and hospital admissions in mainland China reveals the increase in risk for patients once they reach middle age. The analysis finds that, while the average death rate for confirmed cases is 1.38%, the rate rises sharply with age – from 0.0016% in the under 10s, to 7.8% for those in their 80s and over.
Tasmania records its second death
Peter Gutwein, the Tasmanian premier, says a man died overnight, bringing the state’s total to two. “This is … two deaths too many, and it serves as a warning to us all that these are going to be tough and difficult times and we must all do our part to keep Tasmania safe,” he said. The new deaths bring Australia’s death toll to 19.
Covid-19 cluster in Bondi
There are signs of community transmission in Waverley and Bondi in New South Wales in Australia, according to the state’s premier Gladys Berejiklian. She says it is too early to say NSW is beating the curve and reduce any restrictions. “Do not leave your home unless you absolutely have to,” she tells residents.
US ‘faces hundreds of thousands of deaths’
As many as 200,000 people in the US may die even if Washington plays its response to the outbreak “almost perfectly”, according Dr Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the White House coronavirus taskforce.
“If we do things together well, almost perfectly, we could get in the range of 100,000 to 200,000 fatalities,” she told NBC News’ Today. We don’t even want to see that … the best-case scenario would be 100% of Americans doing precisely what is required, but we’re not sure … that all of America is responding in a uniform way to protect one another.”
Rescue flights to repatriate Britons
Tens of thousands of people stranded abroad will be flown back to the UK by airlines including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Titan Airways on chartered planes as part of a partnership between the government and private enterprise announced by the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab.