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Spain coronavirus death toll passes 10,000: Live updates – Al Jazeera English

The coronavirus pandemic death toll in Spain passed 10,000 on Thursday, as the hard-hit country reported its highest number of deaths in a single day since the outbreak began, with the total rising by 950 to 10,003 among 110,238 infections. 

The new numbers come a day after the United Kingdom and the United States also reported their highest number of deaths in a single day since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

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The US recorded 884 coronavirus deaths on Wednesday, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. It has also confirmed more than 213,000 cases of the disease.

In the UK, a further 563 people died from COVID-19, in what Prime Minister Boris Johnson described on Wednesday as a “sad, sad day”.

Globally, over 938,000 have been diagnosed with the virus, and some 194,400 have recovered. Nearly 47,200 people have died from the disease, which was first discovered in China late last year.

Here are the latest updates:

Thursday, April 2

10:45 GMT – India’s toaster-sized ventilator to help in pandemic fight

Light, portable and easy to use, a small ventilator originally created by an Indian robot scientist and a neurosurgeon is offering hope in the country’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Because it doesn’t need much power to run, and can be set up anywhere, the AgVa portable ventilator is allowig less-critical patients to be moved back home.

As the coronavirus toll rises in India, production of AgVa’s ventilator shot up from 500 a month to 20,000. 

Read more here. 

10:35 GMT – Next EU budget should be ‘Marshall Plan’ for Europe: Von der Leyen

The next EU budget should take the form of a new “Marshall Plan” to stoke Europe’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has said. 

“We know in this crisis that we need quick answers. We cannot take one, two or three years to invent news tools,” she told a news conference, adding that the long-term budget, known as the multi-annual financial framework (MFF) was its strongest tool.

“We want to shape the MFF in such a way that it is a crucial part of our recovery plan… Many are calling right now for something which is called this Marshall Plan. I think the European budget should be the Marshall Plan we are laying out together as a European Union for the European people,” she said, referring to the US aid programme for Western Europe from 1948 to stimulate a recovery after World War Two.

10:30 GMT – Over half of UK residents say gov’t too slow in response: Poll

More than a half of UK residents think Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government was too slow to order a lockdown to slow the spread of coronavirus, according to a new opinion poll.

The Ipsos MORI poll, carried out online March 27-30 showed 56 percent of people believed the government’s enforcement of social distancing measures were taken too late, compared with 4 percent who felt that they were taken too soon.

Ipsos MORI said it interviewed 1,072 British adults aged 18 to 75. 

UK On Lockdown Due To Coronavirus Pandemic

A a sign says ‘stay at home’ on a pier in Bournemouth, United Kingdom[Naomi Baker/Getty]

10:25 GMT – India races to find 9,000 exposed residents

Indian officials are racing to track down some 9,000 people exposed to the country’s biggest infection cluster, linked to a Muslim missionary group’s gathering in the capital last month.

The number of cases jumped by more than half to 1,965 on Wednesday, fuelled by infections among people who either attended prayers and lectures at the Tablighi Jamaat’s headquarters in a packed densely-packed Delhi neighbourhood or came into contact with them later.

A government official said about 9,000 people linked to the Delhi cluster were unaccounted for, of which 2,000 were identified as officials of the Tablighi and the rest were described as primary contacts.

“This has emerged as a critical node in our fight against the coronavirus, we need these people to come forward, so we can quarantine them,” the official leading the operation to trace potential virus carriers told Reuters news agency, speaking on the condition of anonymity. 

10:15 GMT – India turns trains into isolation wards

India has begun converting railway carriages and sport stadiums into isolation wards to deal with an anticipated surge in coronavirus cases.

Indian Railways on Wednesday said work had begun on modifying 20,000 carriages into medical facilities, with each carriage containing 16 beds.

This means that a total of 320,000 patients could be cared for in the “quarantine coaches”, a statement from the railways said.

Read more here

india isolation

An Indian railway employee works to convert a train coach into an isolation ward [Anupam Nath/The Associated Press]

10:10 GMT – Irish restrictions may go beyond April 12

The highly restrictive measures Ireland put in place last week to slow the spread of coronavirus may well be extended beyond the initial deadline of April 12, Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney has said. 

Ireland’s prime minister significantly ramped up previous restrictions last Friday when he ordered citizens to stay home and only leave to shop for groceries, for brief individual physical exercise or make absolutely essential family visits.

“I think people do need to realise that these restrictions may go on for some time. We’ve set an initial period but I think it may well be that we will need to go beyond that initial deadline, but again that will be a decision take with the best public health advice,” Coveney told a news conference.

10:05 GMT – Zoom pulls in more than 200 million daily users during worldwide lockdowns

Zoom’s daily users ballooned to more than 200 million in March from a previous maximum total of 10 million, the video conferencing app’s boss Eric Yuan has said, as the company fought to dispel concerns over privacy and “Zoombombing”. 

The use of Zoom and other digital communications have soared with political parties, corporate offices, school districts, organisations and millions across the world working from home after lockdowns were enforced to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“To put this growth in context, as of the end of December last year, the maximum number of daily meeting participants, both free and paid, conducted on Zoom was approximately 10 million,” founder and Chief Executive Officer Eric Yuan wrote in a letter to Zoom users on Wednesday.

At least 100 sailors on US aircraft carrier contract COVID-19

10:00 GMT – Iran’s death toll from coronavirus rises to 3,160

Iran’s death toll from the coronavirus has reached 3,136, with 124 deaths in the past 24 hours, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur told state TV on Thursday, adding that the country had 50,468 cases of infection.

“We have 3,956 infected people in critical condition … There was 2,875 new cases of infected people in the past 24 hours … 16,711 people have recovered from the disease,” Jahanpur said

09:45 GMT – Spain’s coronavirus death toll passes 10,000

Spain’s coronavirus death toll has risen to 10,003 from 9,053, according to the country’s health officials, the highest daily toll since the outbreak began. 

Meanwhile, the number of infections rose to 110,238, up from 102,136 the previous day. 

For the first time, UK coronavirus daily deaths exceed 500

09:35 GMT – Belgium death toll tops 1,000

The number of deaths attributed to the global coronavirus epidemic in Belgium increased sharply and passed the 1,000 mark, health officials said. 

The official toll in the country of 11.4 million has doubled in the space of three days, in part because figures have been updated with a backlog of fatalities from retirement homes.

There have now been 1,001 deaths and 15,348 officially recorded cases since the start of the outbreak, officials told a daily news conference.

09:30 GMT – Emirates to operate flights to repatriate visitors, ex-pats

Emirates has received approval from UAE authorities to operate a number of outbound passenger flights starting April 6 to repatriate visitors and residents who wish to return to their home countries, the company’s chairman said in a tweet on Thursday.

One of the world’s biggest long-haul airlines, Emirates looks to resume flights gradually in line with the lifting of travel and operational restrictions, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said. 

09:15 GMT – Turkish minister expects flights back to normal by end of June

Turkey’s tourism minister has said he expects flights to return to normal by the end of June, after airlines canceled most flights to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Mehmet Nuri Ersoy told broadcaster CNN Turk that air traffic from Asia would likely be opened first, followed by Russia, then the Balkans and Europe. Domestic flights would also restart, he said. 

Turkish Airlines has extended the cancellation of its flights from April 17 to May 1, while limited domestic flights continue. Pegasus Airlines has stopped all flights. 

09:10 GMT – Malaysia reports 208 new coronavirus cases, total over 3,000

Malaysia has reported 208 new coronavirus cases, taking the total to 3,116, the highest in Southeast Asia.

The Ministry of Health recorded a total of 50 deaths, with five reported on Thursday.

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09:00 GMT – Philippines reports 11 new coronavirus deaths, 322 more infections

The Philippines’ health ministry has recorded 11 new deaths and 322 additional cases from the coronavirus outbreak.

The latest figures bring the total death toll to 107 and infections to 2,633, Health Secretary Francisco Duque told a regular news conference, reiterating that people should stay home while the country’s main island of Luzon is under a month-long strict quarantine.

Philippines - healthcare workers

Protesters call for improvements in health sector amid coronavirus outbreak [Rolex Dela Pena/EPA]

08:45 GMT – More than a quarter of UK firms have cut staff: Report

More than a quarter of British companies are reducing staff levels over the short term as the coronavirus crisis hits the country’s economy, a newly published survey shows. 

“Over a quarter (27 percent) of responding businesses said they were reducing staff levels in the short term, while 5 percent reported recruiting staff in the short term,” the Office for National Statistics said. 

08:30 GMT – Ugandan doctors say lockdown could cause more deaths

Ugandan health workers have accused the government of endangering the lives of expectant mothers and those in medical emergencies by requiring that all seek permission to secure transportation to hospitals.

President Yoweri Museveni imposed a virtual lockdown on Monday to try to stem the spread of the coronavirus, including banning private cars from the roads during the 14-day period. He said the government would assist in transporting those who find themselves in medical emergencies to hospitals.

But there is no functioning public ambulance system for medical evacuations, with many pregnant women, as well as those injured in accidents or crime, often relying on private means to get rushed to hospitals. 

“Other medical emergencies like maternal have not stopped because coronavirus has come,” Ekwaro Obuku, a former head of Uganda’s national association of physicians, told Reuters news agency. “No mother in labour pains should ask for permission to deliver her baby. We will end up having unnecessary and preventable deaths.”

Some countries make wearing surgical masks mandatory

08:15 GMT – Thailand to announce nationwide curfew starting Friday

Thailand is to announce a nationwide curfew between 10 pm and 4 am starting Friday to try to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, the government has said in a statement. 

The curfew will have some exceptions, including for the transport of medical supplies, movement of people into quarantine, patients and travel of medical personnel, according to the statement shown to reporters.

“The prime minister will make the announcement this evening on national television around 6 pm,” deputy spokeswoman deputy spokeswoman Ratchada Thanadirek told Reuters news agency when reached by phone.

07:45 GMT – Russia cases jump to more than 3,500 in record daily rise

Russia’s coronavirus case tally jumped has jumped to 3,548, a record daily increase of 771, according to Russia’s crisis response centre.

Cases have been recorded in 76 of Russia’s more than 80 regions, but Moscow remains the epicentre of the outbreak with 595 cases, the centre said. Thirty people have died across the country, it said

07:30 GMT – Top UK health official says ‘everybody is frustrated’ over stalled testing

One of the UK’s top health officials has said there is widespread frustration within the government that the country was not testing enough people yet.

“Everybody involved is frustrated that we haven’t got to the position yet that we need to get to,” Paul Cosford, emeritus medical director of Public Health England, told BBC radio.

“But we’ve got up to almost 13,000 tests a day being available,” he said.

07:20 GMT – Almost 900,000 Spanish workers lost their job since lockdown

Some 898,822 workers lost their jobs since March 12 in Spain, social security data showed on Thursday, more than half of which are temporary workers.

The number of people officially registered as unemployed in the country rose to 3.5 million in March, the highest level since April 2017.

07:15 GMT – Cyprus extends flight ban for another two weeks

Cyprus has extended a ban on commercial air links with 28 countries for another two weeks  to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The ban, introduced on March 21 for a 14-day period, will remain for a further 14 days, Cypriot Minister of Transport Yiannis Karousos said in a tweet. He said the decision was dictated by the situation in Cyprus, and the “dramatic” situation in other European states.

Cyprus has recorded 320 coronavirus cases and nine deaths. It has imposed tough restrictions on movement, including a night curfew and allowing people to leave their homes only once a day with a special permit. 

07:05 GMT – China says US officials made ‘shameless’ comments about its reporting

China’s foreign ministry said US officials are making “shameless” comments casting doubt about China’s reporting of coronavirus cases in the country.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said during a daily briefing that China has been open and transparent about the coronavirus outbreak that began in the country late last year, and accused the US of politicising a health issue, adding that the US  should instead focus on the safety of its people.

The statement comes after the US intelligence community, in a classified report to the White House, concluded that China’s reporting has been intentionally incomplete, according to media reports. 

China Wuhan

Foreign ministry spokeswoman said China has been open and transparent about the coronavirus outbreak  [Aly Song/Reuters]

07:00 GMT – British Airways in union talks to suspend about 32,000 staff: Report

British Airways is in talks with its union to discuss a plan to suspend about 32,000 staff in response to the coronavirus pandemic, a person familiar with the situation told Reuters news agency.

The British flag carrier has cut flights and warned it will need to cut jobs to survive the outbreak as the battered aviation sector scrambles to lower costs.

06:45 GMT – Greece quarantines migrant camp after positive test

Greece has quarantined a migrant camp after 20 asylum seekers tested positive for coronavirus, the migration ministry has said.

Movement in and out of the Ritsona camp, 75 kilometres (45 miles) northeast of Athens and home to some 2,500 people, will be restricted for 14 days the ministry said, adding that police would monitor implementation.

Sixty-three people were tested after a 19-year-old female migrant who gave birth in an Athens hospital was found to be infected, becoming the first recorded case among thousands of asylum seekers kept in overcrowded camps across the country. None of the confirmed cases had any symptoms, the ministry said.

Read more here

A view of a refugee camp in Ritsona, northern of Athens, Greece, REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Thousands of asylum seekers are kept in overcrowded camps across Greece [File: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters]

06:40 GMT – Thailand reports 104 new cases, three new deaths

Thailand has reported 104 new coronavirus cases, bringing its total to 1,875 cases, a spokesman for the government’s Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration has said.

Three new deaths in the country bring total deaths to 15, spokesman Taweesin Wisanuyothin said.

06:30 GMT – China says new deaths steady at six

China reported six new coronavirus deaths as of the end of Wednesday, the same number as the previous day. 

China had 35 new cases on April 1, all of which were imported, the National Health Commission said. 

06:15 GMT – New holiday for Indonesia to replace traditional Eid exodus?

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has said the government is considering announcing a new national holiday to prevent the annual mass exodus that usually takes place at the end of the Muslim fasting month, Ramadan.

Widodo said at a cabinet meeting that measures could be put in place during the new holiday to help “bring some calm to the people”.

Minister of Social Affairs Juliari Batubara also told reporters that the government plans to give special assistance to residents of Jakarta this year to limit the exodus from the capital during the holiday period, which falls over April and May. 

Nearly 90 percent of Indonesians are Muslim and usually return to their home villages at the end of Ramadan, buying new clothes and enjoying a feast with their families and friends.

06:00 GMT – Australia begins pre-clinical testing for vaccine

Australia’s national science agency has said it commenced the first stage of testing potential vaccines for COVID-19, as it joins a global race to halt the coronavirus pandemic.

Pre-clinical testing by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), comprising injecting ferrets with two potential vaccines, was underway at its high-containment biosecurity facility near Melbourne.

The first phase will take around three months, CSIRO’s director of health Rob Grenfell told Reuters news agency, adding that any resulting vaccine would not be available to the public before late next year. Human trials of one of the two vaccines being tested was expected to begin later this month or early next month.

Australia has reported around 5,200 cases and 24 deaths.

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05:45 GMT – WHO expects Malaysia cases to peak mid-April

The number of coronavirus cases in Malaysia is expected to peak in mid-April, the World Health Organization said on Thursday, adding that there are signs of a flattening of the infection curve.

“Based on available data, the WHO Country Office has projected that Malaysia will see a peak in hospitalized cases in mid-April,” Ying-Ru Lo, the WHO’s head of mission and representative to Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore told Reuters news agency in emailed comments.

The number of critically ill patients is estimated to reach the peak within the next week, she said. There have been 2,908 confirmed cases in the country and 45 deaths. 

Hello, this is Joseph Stepansky in Doha taking over from my colleague Kate Mayberry

05:30 GMT – Summary of this morning’s developments

I will hand over the blog to my colleagues in Doha shortly.

A brief summary of developments this morning:

  • It seems the US will allow the passengers on board the Zaandam cruise ship, where there are a number of coronavirus cases, to disembark in Florida.
  • The US is also planning to evacuate sailors from its USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, which has reported cases of the virus. The ship is currently in Guam.
  • Australia is optimistic that its “stay at home” measures are helping slow the rate of infection.
  • Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is being mocked for his plan to send two masks to each household in the country.

05:25 GMT – Health workers in the Philippines battle not only virus but stigma

The Philippines has the second-worst coronavirus outbreak in Southeast Asia, but the doctors and nurses on the front lines find themselves battling not only a virus, but the stigma of infection.

As Al Jazeera’s Ana Santos reports from Manila, they have been turfed out of their homes, told not to board buses and refused service at stalls and restaurants. 

05:05 GMT – Philippines ambassador to Lebanon dies of COVID-19

Bernardita Catalla, the Philippine ambassador to Lebanon, has died of COVID-19 at a hospital in Beirut.

05:00 GMT – China sending flight to UK to bring students home

A chartered flight is currently on its way to London to collect a group of Chinese students who have been unable to return home. China has organised similar repatriation flights from countries including Italy and Iran.

The Chinese government says it has given out “health packages” with more than 11 million masks and 500,000 disinfecting products to Chinese students in hard-hit countries.

04:55 GMT – South Korea says 158 short-term visitors in isolation

South Korea says 158 short-term visitors have been isolated in designated facilities a day after it began enforcing two-week quarantines on everyone arriving from overseas.

Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip on Thursday also said 224 South Korean nationals and 11 foreigners remained at the airport awaiting the results of virus tests after showing symptoms when they arrived in the country on Wednesday.

Eight foreign nationals were denied entry after they refused to accept the quarantine.

04:30 GMT – Germany cases rise to more than 73,500

Germany’s Robert Koch Institute says the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country has risen to 73,522 while 872 people have died of the disease.

Cases rose by 6,156 compared with the previous day while the death toll climbed by 140.

04:15 GMT – Jazz great Ellis Marsalis dies from pneumonia at age of 85

Ellis Marsalis Jr, jazz pianist, teacher and patriarch of a New Orleans musical clan that includes famed performer sons Wynton and Branford, has died after battling pneumonia brought on by the coronavirus, one of his sons said late on Wednesday. 

“Pneumonia was the actual thing that caused his demise,” Ellis Marsalis III told Associated Press. “But it was pneumonia brought on by COVID-19.”

The 85-year old jazz patriarch lived in New Orleans. Four of his six sons are musicians.

Ellis Marsalis

Ellis Marsalis, seen here at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival last year, died from pneumonia brought on by the coronavirus at the age of 85 [File: Sophia Germer/AP Photo] 

04:00 GMT – Japan’s Abe under attack over two-mask plan

People in Japan have responded to a promise by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to send two reusable cloth face masks to every household with mockery.

The hashtag “Abenomasks”, a play on the prime minister’s signature “Abenomics” economic policy, was trending on Twitter.

02:35 GMT – Shenzhen announces sweeping ban on breeding, consuming wildlife

The southern Chinese city of Shenzhen has issued the most sweeping ban yet on the breeding and consumption of wild animals.

The Shenzhen regulations permanently ban the trade in and consumption of wild animals, a step beyond the temporary ban issued by the central government at the start of the current outbreak. Along with snakes, lizards and other wild animals, it also bans the consumption of dog and cat meat.

Those who break the law risk fines reflecting the value of the wildlife seized, starting at 150,000 yuan ($21,400).

The coronavirus has been traced to a market in Wuhan that sold wild animals such as pangolins and civet cats, as well as more conventional fare such as chicken and fish. 

02:30 GMT – Australia says it is slowing the spread of the coronavirus

Some good news from Australia, where Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the country is slowing the spread of the coronavirus, and parliament will reopen next Wednesday.

02:10 GMT – Trump says cruise ship passengers to be evacuated in Florida

US President Donald Trump says passengers on board the Zaandam cruise ship will be evacuated after it docks in Florida.

Zaandam

The Zaandam was anchored off Panama but was denied entry after passengers reported COVID-19 symptoms [Carlos Lemos/EPA]

The ship, where dozens have fallen ill from coronavirus, and at least two have died of it, has been barred from several South American countries.

The Zaandam and its sister ship, Rotterdam, are expected to enter US waters early on Thursday and dock in Fort Lauderdale.

Trump said the US was “sending medical teams on board the ships” and taking people off, after which non-Americans would be repatriated.

02:10 GMT – South Korea starts campaigning for parliamentary polls

South Korea started campaigning for the April 15 parliamentary elections on Thursday with the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, and its impact on the economy, expected to be among voters’ key concerns.

There are 253 direct seats and 47 proportional seats up for grabs, with voters able to cast two ballots – one for a candidate and one for a political party, according to Yonhap news agency.

South Korea

The government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak is expected to be among voters’ key concerns [Yonhap via Reuters]

01:55 GMT – HRW warns on Cambodia emergency powers

Human Rights Watch said Cambodia’s emergency law could enable longtime prime minister Hun Sen to restrict all civil and political liberties, target the media and crack down on human rights defenders.

“These sweeping, undefined and unchecked powers should set off alarm bells among Cambodia’s friends and donors,” HRW’s Asia Director Brad Adams said in a statement.

The group urged Cambodia to submit a new draft prioritising public health and safeguarding basic rights. The bill is due to go to the one-party National Assembly next week.

00:15 GMT – Sailors to be taken off aircraft carrier by Friday: US Navy

Nearly 3,000 sailors on board a US aircraft carrier where the coronavirus has spread will be taken off the ship by Friday, Navy officials said on Wednesday.

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said some need to remain on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt to protect the ship and run critical systems.

He said about 1,000 have gone ashore and that number will grow to at least 2,700 in a couple of days. Just under 100 of the nearly 5,000 sailors on the ship, now docked in Guam, have tested positive for the virus.

Read more here

At least 100 sailors on US aircraft carrier contract COVID-19

00:00 GMT – Israel’s health minister and his wife test positive for coronavirus

Israeli Health Minister Yaakov Litzman and his wife have tested positive for coronavirus, his office said late on Wednesday.

The Health Ministry says the 71-year-old and his wife are feeling well, receiving medical care and will remain in isolation.

Litzman is the most senior Israeli official to be diagnosed with the virus and will continue to work from home.

—-

I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur with Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read all the updates from yesterday (April 1) here.  

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