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There are over 1 million confirmed coronavirus infections, according to Johns Hopkins University. Some 3.9 billion people — roughly half of everyone on Earth — are confined to their homes by the coronavirus pandemic.
Updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)
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22:25 US President Donald Trump has said the result of his second coronavirus test was negative. The test used was a new rapid method that he said took a minute to complete and barely 15 minutes to return a result. "I took it out of curiosity to see how quickly it worked. It is a lot easier. I have done them both. The second one is more pleasant," Trump told a news conference. The new test comes at a time when his administration is formalizing new guidance to recommend that Americans wear face coverings when leaving home to slow the coronavirus outbreak.
21:19 New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio asked residents to wear face covering when they go outside. America's most populous city is a hotspot of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. "When you put on that face covering, you're protecting everyone else," he said. He suggested using a scarf or a bandana, anything homemade — not a surgical mask needed by medical workers.
The number of deaths in the state of New York jumped to 2,373, 1,397 of which have occurred in New York City, according to Johns Hopkins University's coronavirus tracker.
21:09 Toronto Mayor John Tory said anyone caught walking within 2 meters (6 feet) of another person in a public park could be fined up to 5,000 Canadian dollars (€3,257, $3,536). Tory dubbed the crackdown "a blitz on our parks," saying he has warned the public many times and that the disobedience needs to stop. "The time for puzzlement at this misbehavior is over," he told reporters.
Toronto is Canada's most populous city, with nearly 3 million residents. Tory fears the city could face a similar situation as New York City, which has been the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States.
20:40 After nearly three weeks at sea, passengers aboard two cruise ships with coronavirus cases and fatalities on board have finally been given approval to disembark at a port in Florida in the US. On Thursday, local, state and federal officials reached an agreement that will allow passengers onto dry land. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had originally opposed the move.
With over 2,000 passengers and crew between the two cruise liners, the ships have 55 known cases of coronavirus on board, 10 of them in critical condition. Four elderly passengers have died, at least two from coronavirus, according to William Burke, chief maritime officer for Carnival Corp., which owns the ships.
Some 45 passengers with mild coronavirus symptoms will remain on board until they have recovered, while the critical cases will be taken to Florida hospital for immediate care.
19:55 A look at major coronavirus developments on Thursday
Global coronavirus infections now stand at over 1 million confirmed, with more than 50,000 deaths reported. German fatalities have topped 1,000.
The World Trade Organization has promised $160 billion (€148 billion) in global emergency funding for economic and social recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
As the death toll continues to climb, nations are searching for ways to store bodies for burial. French authorities have seized a refrigerated hall from a famous market in Paris to use for storing coffins holding coronavirus victims as French undertakers struggle to keep up with the rising death toll.
Some 3.9 billion people — over half of humanity — are currently in some form of voluntary or imposed confinement as governments try to stem the spread of the pandemic.
19:40 Johns Hopkins University announced on Thursday that there were 1,002,159 confirmed coronavirus cases around the world.
The first 100,000 cases were reported in around 55 days and the first 500,000 in 76 days. Cases doubled to 1 million within the past eight days.
Total cases reported by Thursday grew 10% from a day earlier, the first time the rate has hit double digits since the virus took hold outside China.
The university's researchers also said more than 51,000 people have died of the virus and more than 208,000 have recovered.
19:35 The coronavirus death toll in Germany has now risen to over 1,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. Some 1,074 people in Germany have passed away from the virus, while 84,264 are currently infected.
19:30 Over 2,300 hospital workers in Germany have already been infected with COVID-19, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the country's disease control and prevention center.
The institute provided the figures following a request from the investigative research cooperation of the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung and public broadcasters WDR and NDR.
The actual number of medical workers in Germany who have been infected is likely much higher since the current tally does not include workers infected in local doctor's offices, clinics and nursing homes, RKI added.
Germany's complicated health system makes it even more difficult to gather concrete figures on medical workers and nursing staff working outside of hospitals.
According to information gathered by the investigative research team, the figures of infected medical staff doubled in just a week in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg, up to 566. The hard-hit western state of North Rhine-Westphalia has currently logged 322 cases in medical workers in clinics, with nearly 1,500 in quarantine.
18:55 France reported 471 more coronavirus deaths in hospitals on Thursday, bringing the official national death toll to 4,503.
Actual fatalities figures, however, are even higher. Official French figures only account for hospital deaths and do not include people who died at home or in nursing homes.
For the first time, top health official Jerome Salomon told reporters that at least 884 people have died in nursing homes in France since the outbreak began.
Together with the hospital figures, the actual death toll in France is at least 5,387.
Around 26,000 people in France were in the hospital due to the coronavirus on Thursday, 382 more than on Wednesday, though the rise in cases has slowed throughout the week.
18:15 The World Bank will roll out $160 billion (€148 billion) in emergency coronavirus aid over the next 15 months. In a statement shared Thursday, the global development lender's board announced the crisis funding and said an initial $1.9 billion would go to projects in 25 nations.
"We are working to strengthen developing nations' ability to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and shorten the time to economic and social recovery," said World Bank President David Malpass. "The poorest and most vulnerable countries will likely be hit the hardest, and our teams around the world remain focused on country-level and regional solutions to address the ongoing crisis."
The bank said that India will be the largest beneficiary of the first wave of aid, receiving $1 billion, followed by Pakistan with $200 million and Afghanistan with a little over $100 million. Funding will go to countries on nearly every continent, it said.
17:50 Russia has issued a decree limiting grain exports until the end of June, as coronavirus cases in the country spike. According to an official government website, the restrictions apply to wheat, maize, barley, rye and a mixture of grains called meslin. Only 7 million tons of these grains may be exported.
On Wednesday, the head of the World Trade Organization and two other global agencies warned countries of the potential for food shortages should food supply chains become disrupted.
Russia is the world's top exporter of wheat. The country exported over 35 million tons of wheat and 43.3 million tons of all grains in the agricultural year from 2018 to 2019. The restrictions do not apply to Kazakhstan and Belarus, with whom Russia has a customs union.
The government order signed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said the grains were "of significant importance to the domestic market," and did not make any reference to the coronavirus pandemic. Russia has 3,548 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 30 fatalities.
17:40 The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that young people and children are also at risk of being infected and potentially dying from COVID-19.
"The very notion that 'COVID-19 only affects older people' is factually wrong," Hans Kluge, the head of the WHO's European branch, said during an online briefing.
He noted that 10% to 15% of people under the age of 50 were moderately to severely infected by the virus. In Europe, the youngest coronavirus victim was a 12-year-old girl in Belgium. The United States reported the death of a six-week-old baby who contracted the virus.
"Age is not the only risk for severe disease," Kluge emphasized.
To limit the risk of infection or spreading the virus, the WHO urges young and old alike to limit their public exposure, regularly wash their hands with soap and water, and stay at least 1 meter (3 feet) away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing. They've also urged young people to avoid visiting older relatives to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.
17:05 The number of global COVID-19 deaths has topped 50,000, according to figures from the Johns Hopkins University tally. Italy has logged the most fatalities with over 13,900 followed by Spain with over 10,000. The United States is currently facing the highest number of infections with over 226,000.
17:00 Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was concerned over reports that medical supplies indented for Canada were diverted to the United States instead.
At a press conference outside his home where he is self-isolating, Trudeau said he asked his transport minister and public safety minister to investigate the reports and "ensure that equipment destined for Canada gets to Canada." He added that although the United States is facing a major crisis, Canada was also in need of supplies.
The US came under heavy criticism last month following accusations it was trying to buy a coronavirus vaccine to administer only to its own citizens.
16:40 Iran's parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani, has tested positive for COVID-19, state media reported. The 62-year-old is the highest-ranking Iranian government official to contract the virus and has been placed in quarantine.
Iran is the worst-hit country in the Middle East, with the Health Ministry reporting 50,000 infections and 3,160 deaths on Thursday.
16:25 In Italy, the number of deaths due to the coronavirus climbed by 760 to 13,915, Civil Protection Agency said on Thursday. That was slightly higher than the 727 people who died yesterday. The total number of infections in Italy increased by 4,668 to reach 115,242. It was the fourth consecutive day that new infections were between 4,000 and 4,800, leading officials to hope cases would plateau and decline in the near future.
16:20 In the United States, the Democratic Party has delayed its presidential nominating convention until August 17 due to the outbreak. In a post on Twitter, the Democratic National Convention (DNC) said it made the decision "in light of the unprecedented health crisis."
The move came after the party's leading candidate, former-Vice President Joe Biden, urged for the convention to be rescheduled. The convention will determine whether Biden or Senator Bernie Sanders will face off against US President Donald Trump in the presidential election in November.
15:35 Germany will allow some 40,000 foreign seasonal field workers to enter the country for work in April, the Interior, Agricultural, and Labor ministries have agreed. An additional 40,000 workers will be permitted to enter the country in May. Germany had feared significant losses to crops as travel restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus prevent seasonal workers from entering the country in time for the spring harvest. The laborers will come primarily from eastern Europe and are required to arrive by plane. The number is capped at 40,000 to allow for a strict selection process to ensure a high standard of health. Agricultural Minister Julia Klöckner said the harvesters will work separately from local employees for the first 14 days.
15:00 Over 3.9 billion people — more than half of humanity — are in confinement due to the coronavirus, according to Thursday tally conducted by French news agency AFP. Coronavirus prevention measures that include required or recommended confinement, curfews, and quarantines have been put in place in over 90 countries and territories. Thailand was the most recent country to enact a curfew, which will come into effect on Friday, pushing the tally over the halfway point.
14:30 "We prioritize health over freedom," Thailand’s prime minister said Thursday as the government announced a new nationwide curfew to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The curfew will begin on Friday night and will require civilians to stay home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.
"We might not feel as comfortable as before, but we all need to adapt for survival and have social responsibility, so that we can make it through this crisis," said Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former army general who came to power in a coup in 2014 and was reinstated after a disputed election last year.
The prime minister also asked Thai citizens currently abroad not to return until after April 15 in order to stop the number of imported infections. In March, the country saw a rising number of cases in people who became infected in other countries before returning to Thailand.
14:25 Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russians to stay home from work until April 30, extending the current non-working period until the end of the month.
"I've taken a decision to extend the period of non-working days until April 30," Putin said in a televised address, adding that workers will continue to be paid.
Putin said each region in Russia can decide what measures are needed in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. The move comes on the heels of several major Russian cities and regions ordering lockdowns to contain the virus, including in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
14:00 Hackers working on behalf of the Iranian government have attempted to break into the personal e-mail accounts of World Health Organization (WHO) staff amid the coronavirus pandemic, people familiar with the matter told Reuters news agency.
The attacks are an example of how the WHO and other global organizations have become the targets of an onslaught of digital attacks as hackers seek information about the pandemic. By March, digital attacks against the United Nations health agency had more than doubled since the coronavirus crisis began.
"We've seen some targeting by what looks like Iranian government-backed attackers targeting international health organizations generally via phishing," said one source, who works for a technology company that monitors internet traffic for criminal activity, about the WHO attacks. A WHO spokesperson said the organization does not believe the attempt was successful. Iran has denied involvement.
13:50 Indonesia has released around 18,000 prisoners in a desperate attempt to prevent the deadly coronavirus from spreading through its overcrowded prison system, authorities said Thursday. The Southeast Asian nation had previously said it would free over 30,000 inmates from prisons and jails, where unsanitary conditions would allow the infection to flourish. "Our target is to release 30,000 inmates in total, but it could end up being more," said Rika Aprianti, a spokeswoman for the Corrections directorate general. She did not offer details, but a government release order indicated that juvenile offenders and adult prisoners who had completed at least two-thirds of their sentences would be freed.
13:35 Nine leading European university hospitals have warned that within two weeks they will run out of essential medicines to treat patients seriously ill with COVID-19.
The European University Hospital Alliance (EUHA) has called for greater cooperation between EU countries to ensure a steady supply of the drugs. It said no one country has the production facilities to meet the demand.
European countries have raced to provide protective gear for medical staff and to produce ventilators for critically ill patients, but stocks of painkillers, sedatives and muscle relaxants are running low, EUHA warned.
Speaking on behalf of hospitals in Germany, Austria, Britain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Spain, the association said an acute shortage has prompted some hospitals to buy alternative drugs or try other doses on patients.
12:33 The unemployment rate in the US surged to a new record high on Thursday, with the US Labor Department reporting that 6.6 million people filed unemployment claims just last week alone.
The latest figures far surpass the previous week's record of 3.3 million.
Efforts to curb the COVID-19 pandemic by implementing strict social distancing measures and shuttering businesses and restaurants have led to mass layoffs across the country — prompting the unprecedented spike in US unemployment.
12:30 Saudi Arabia has imposed a 24-hour curfew in Mecca and Medina, Reuters reported on Thursday. The move extends current measures in the country, where more than 1,700 people have been infected and 16 have died. The interior ministry said there were exceptions for essential workers and for residents to buy food and access medical care.
12:25 German authorities have opened a criminal investigation into a Wolfsburg aged-care home after 22 residents died from COVID-19. A judiciary official said the investigation will look into suspected negligent homicide. A lawyer earlier lodged a criminal complaint against the Hanns-Lilje home, a spokesperson for the public prosecutor's office said. He said the investigation is not directed at the home's operators. Local newspaper Wolfsburger Allgemeine Zeitung reported the lawyer had described "catastrophic hygiene conditions" in the home and alleged that a visitor ban was enforced too late. The operator of the facility has denied the accusations.
11:58 German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier has warned the German economy may shrink more this year than during the 2008/9 financial crisis, when the gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 5.7%. Some months may register contractions of more than 8%. The economic crisis is expected to peak in April and May, but he said there is hope that the situation will improve in the second half of the year.
11:50 Here are the biggest developments so far Thursday:
Fatalities: There have been almost 1 million confirmed cases with almost 50,000 confirmed deaths. The WHO said 95% of deaths have been people aged 60 or older.
EU: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has called for more EU solidarity, saying too many nations had focused on their own problems in the early days of the crisis. The EU will allocate up to €100 billion in financial aid to the hardest-hit countries.
Spain: It has once again reported a record daily death toll, with 950 people dying. Spain is the second country to surpass 10,000 deaths, after Italy.
Germany: About 12,000 extra intensive care beds have been built, bringing the total to 40,000. Almost half remain unoccupied. The number of beds with crucial ventilators has increased from 20,000 to roughly 30,000.
Russia: Confirmed cases have surged 43% in 24 hours to 3,548.
US: Some 884 people died over the past 24 hours — a new one-day record — bringing the total death toll to above 5,000 people. Half of those occurred in New York.
Latin America: Cases have doubled in five days, passing 20,000.
Business: Aviation giants Lufthansa and British Airways will together furlough more than 100,00 workers.
11:40 Two German students have developed adaptors that should enable full-face snorkeling masks to be used as emergency breathing masks for COVID-19 patients in Germany. Such masks are already a success for coronavirus patients in Spain and Italy.
11:30 German discount supermarket Aldi Süd is sending special trains to Italy to ensure Germany has enough pasta to last out the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen supermarket shelves empty out of staple goods as people hoard stockpiles. More than 60,000 packets of fusilli, more than 75,000 packets of penne and more than a quarter of a million packets of spaghetti have already been sent via train from Italy to Germany, Aldi Süd said in an online blog post.
Bavarian broadcaster BR24 has dubbed the trains the "pasta express." Germany has closed its borders to person travel in an attempt to slow the coronavirus spread; however, goods transport continues.
11:20 Switzerland's Office of Public Health reported that 18,267 people had tested positive for coronavirus as of 8 a.m. local time on Thursday, with 432 fatalities.
11:17 Zambia has recorded its first death from the coronavirus, its health minister has said. It currently has 36 confirmed cases.
11:10 German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has said that applications have already been submitted for roughly €9 billion ($9.8 billion) in government financial aid that was made available to cushion the coronavirus' economic blow. Of the 1,800 applications, 1,500 have been approved, the minister added.
Germany has made €750 billion in coronavirus-related financial assistance available. It will be financed by the government taking on fresh debt for the first time since 2013.
11:00 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has gone into quarantine for a second time, his office has announced. The 7-day move is a precaution following the announcement earlier on Thursday that his health minister, Yaakov Litzman, had tested positive for COVID-19 (see 05:45 update). Netanyahu's previous quarantine had ended Wednesday night. On that occasion, one of his staffers had tested positive.
10:45 Taiwan will donate 10 million masks to countries hit the hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, after finding ways to successfully manage a looming shortage of face masks for its medical staff and ordinary citizens alike. So how did the country do it, and could the approach be emulated by others?
DW's Phoebe Kong reports on how Taiwan has managed to avoid face mask panic and price gouging.
10:30 According to the World Health Organization's (WHO) European office, 95% of coronavirus fatalities have been in people aged 60 and older. More than over half of all deaths occurred among individuals 80 and above, Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, added in an online news conference.
However, he warned that age is not the only risk factor for severe illness: "The very notion that COVID-19 only affects older people is factually wrong" Severe cases of the disease have been seen in people in their teens or 20s with many requiring intensive care and some, unfortunately, passing away, he added.
10:15 EU states can now apply for funding to help workers facing shorter hours during the coronavirus pandemic. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has just announced the "Sure" scheme aiming to prevent large-scale layoffs.
10:05 The total number of coronavirus cases in Latin America and the Caribbean has passed 20,000, news agency AFP has reported. The figure is double that of five days ago, the agency said. Brazil is the most affected nation, with 6,931 cases and 244 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University figures.
10:00 Here are some of the latest numbers in the coronavirus outbreak:
Deaths in Belgium from COVID-19 have crossed the 1,000 threshold, health officials have announced. At 1,001, the death toll has doubled over the past three days. The sharp rise can partially be attributed to an update in figures from retirement homes. The total number of infections is 15,348.
Iran's death toll has risen by 124 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 3,136, according to the Health Ministry. The country currently has 50,468 cases of confirmed infection, Health Minister Kianush Jahanpur told state TV. He added that infections had risen by over 2,800 cases over the past day and nearly 4,000 infected individuals were in critical condition.
Spain continued its recent upward fatality trajectory and once again reported a record daily death toll. 950 individuals died of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing its death toll to 10,003, the Health Ministry said. It becomes the second country after Italy to cross the 10,000 death threshold.
The number of infection cases rose to 110,238 from 102,136 on Wednesday, though the rate appeared to be slowing.
09:30 Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused Lebanese authorities of introducing "discriminatory restrictions" aimed exclusively at Syrians within its response to the coronavirus crisis. Since early March, various municipalities have introduced curfews restricting the movement of Syrians in the country to certain times out of coronavirus concerns, HRW said. Such measures predated a nationwide curfew instituted by the government and did not apply to the broader population.
"The coronavirus does not discriminate and limiting the spread and impact of COVID-19 in Lebanon requires ensuring that everyone is able to access testing and treatment centers," HRW researcher Nadia Hardman said.
Between 1.5 and 2 million Syrians currently live in Lebanon, 1 million of whom are officially recognized as refugees by the United Nations. There is no confirmed case of infection among refugees in Lebanon. The country has a total of 479 registered cases and 14 deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
09:15 An indefinite curfew has gone into effect in Togo, barring residents of the West African nation from leaving their homes between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. local time. The measure is aimed at slowing the spreading coronavirus.
The curfew was announced late Wednesday by President Faure Gnassingbe in a televised address. He also announced a 3-month state of emergency. The unprecedented move was "proof of the gravity of the situation that we face," he said.
There have so far been 36 confirmed cases of infection and two deaths among the nation's 8 million inhabitants. Gnassingbe's family has ruled Togo for over five decades. He claimed a fourth-term following an election in February that the opposition claimed was rigged.
09:00 For many parents living under the coronavirus lockdown, finding enough to keep children busy is a big concern. Online tools are trying to help: One initiative has seen dozens of celebrities turn themselves into children's storytellers.
08:50 Thailand announced it would institute a nationwide curfew starting Friday to try and slow the spread of coronavirus. Between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. local time people will be banned from going outside. Exceptions will include the movement of medical supplies, ill individuals and medical personnel, a government statement said. The curfew will officially be announced in the evening on national TV, Reuters reported, citing a government spokesperson.
08:35 Spain has recorded its highest-ever increase in monthly unemployment totals. The number of jobless claims went up 9.3% in March in comparison to February, the Labor Ministry announced Thursday. Between March 12 – 31, the number of individuals making social security contributions plummeted by 898,822. In comparison the number of contributors had risen by 64,843 in the first 11 days of March, revealing the drastic economic toll of nationwide restrictive measures instituted to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.
Spain has been on lockdown since March 14, with all non-essential business closed and people prohibited from going out, except for essentials such as food and caring for the elderly.
08:20 Germany has upped the number of intensive care beds in its clinics from 28,000 to roughly 40,000, Gerald Gass, the head of the German Hospital Society, told the daily Rheinische Post. Roughly 15,000 to 20,000 remain free, Gass added.
In addition, the number of beds equipped with ventilators, which are crucial in treating critical coronavirus patients struggling to breathe, has been upped from 20,000 to roughly 30,000, the medical head said.
In comparison to other European nations, Germany already had a higher per capita number of intensive care beds at the outbreak of the crisis. Such potentially life-saving resources are scarcer in other hard-hit nations, such as Italy and Spain, which have very strong health systems but a lower number of ICU beds that were quickly filled by the early and fast-rising numbers of critically ill patients.
08:10 The number of coronavirus infection cases in Russia has increased by a record 771 instances over 24 hours, bringing the national total to 3,548, the country's crisis response center said. It represents a 43% increase.
Cases have been reported nationwide, but Moscow remains the center of the outbreak, with 595 documented cases. Thirty people have died from the disease nationwide, the center added.
Most of Russia is on lockdown, and workers were told to take two weeks of paid vacation starting this past Monday.
08:05 German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has delivered a video message to German citizens over social media, praising the willingness of people to help each other amidst the fears and challenges raised by the coronavirus crisis.
"Yes, this crisis awakens our deepest fears," the president said. "But it also brings out the best in us. It is this, dear fellow citizens, that we must now hold to."
"We are perhaps damned to isolation – but not to idleness," he said, highlighting examples such as sewing face masks, grocery shopping for elderly neighbors and financially supporting business and cultural institutions that are closed. "Every one of us can now help," he said.
Steinmeier also added that pianist Igor Levit, who has been live streaming concerts via Tweeter from his apartment every night since restrictive measures went into place, would instead be performing Thursday's concert at 7 p.m. local time from the presidential palace Bellevue.
07:50 Greece has sealed off a migrant camp near Athens after 21 camp inhabitants tested positive for coronavirus. According to the government, the positive cases were among a total of 63 camp inhabitants who were tested. Twenty of the positive individuals displayed no symptoms.
The camp is located in Ritsona, some 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Athens. The government said camp access would be restricted and food would be delivered to the inhabitants. All residents and medical staff in the area would be tested, it added.
As of Thursday morning, Greece had a total 1,415 infections, with 51 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Migration and human rights activists have warned of the dangers of a coronavirus outbreak in refugee and migrant camps, which are densely populated and lack adequate sanitation, leaving its residents, many of whom have fled war, highly exposed.
07:40 The virus has yet to arrive at full strength in developing countries, but poor health care facilities and weak finances point to grim times ahead. DW examines why the pandemic already rivals the 2008 global financial crisis.
07:30 European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has called for more EU solidarity in the fight against the coronavirus. In a letter published Thursday in the Italian daily La Repubblica, the German politician said too many nations had focused on their own problems in the early days of the crisis.
"Only solidarity will allow us to emerge from this crisis," she wrote." The distance between European nations … puts everyone at risk."
She added that the EU would allocate up to €100 billion in financial aid to the hardest-hit countries, starting with Italy, to make up for the salary shortfalls of those people who cannot work. Many European nations, including Italy, are on lockdown, with business, restaurants and even in some cases even factories closed. Economic activity has come to a standstill, and many governments have instituted massive financial aid measures to try and dampen the economic blow.
07:15 Australian government scientists have begun the first stages of testing for a potential vaccine against the SARS CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19.
Australia's national science agency CSIRO said Thursday that testing at a biosecurity facility was expected to take three months.
07:00 The 2020 United Nations global climate summit, or COP, has been postponed due to coronavirus, host county Britain announced Wednesday. It had been scheduled to take place in Glasgow, Scotland, in November but will now take place at a yet to be determined time in 2021. "In light of the ongoing, worldwide effects of COVID-19, holding an ambitious, inclusive COP26 in November 2020 is no longer possible," the government said in a statement.
Other international events have been canceled or postponed due to the pandemic, including the Euro 2020 soccer tournament and the Summer Olympics, which were slated to take place in Tokyo.
06:50 France's coronavirus death count reached 4,043, officials announced late Wednesday, making it the fourth nation after Italy, Spain and the United States to surpass 4,000 deaths. France's death count only includes deaths inside of hospitals.
Late Wednesday, health officials from the eastern region of Grand-Est, where there is a high concentration of coronavirus cases, said 570 individuals had died in nursing homes since the outbreak of the virus on March 31. Of the region's 620 nursing homes, 411 have been affected, the official added.
As of Thursday morning, nationwide infections were at 57,763, according to John Hopkins University.
06:30 Thailand has reported 104 new cases of coronavirus, bringing its total to 1,875 cases, according to government figures. Three new deaths brought the total number of fatalities in the country to 15.
06:15 Doctors are working around the clock in the fight against the coronavirus. DW visited Germany's COVID-19 epicenter to speak with an intensive care doctor, as well as three other medics working in very different roles.
06:00 German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has said the German military, or Bundeswehr, lacks protective gear such as masks.
"We have supplies for a certain short-term duration," Kramp-Karrenbauer told public broadcaster ARD. "Otherwise we're naturally suffering right now, like everyone else, in that we can't get enough new supplies of protective masks, and we lack specialists, too."
The Bundeswehr has been assisting Germany's 16 states over the past few weeks in their fights against the coronavirus outbreak, including by delivering protective masks and aprons to outbreak hotspots and treating civilian patients in military hospitals. Military planes have also been used to fly patients to Germany from other hard-hit European nations, like Italy.
05:30 In the United States, a 6-week-old baby has died from coronavirus in the eastern state of Connecticut. State Governor Ned Lamont tweeted the news, calling it "heartbreaking":
The infant is one of the youngest victims of a disease that has thus far proven most fatal to elderly individuals and those with underlying conditions, such as asthma and cardiac problems. However, the fatalities across the world have also included a number of teenagers and young adults. The severity of the infection varies greatly between individuals.
05:15 North Korean officials have insisted that the internationally isolated nation remains totally free of the coronavirus, even as infections are reported in every part of the world. The country shut down its borders in January after the virus began to spread in neighboring China. It also imposed strict quarantine measures.
Experts say North Korea is vulnerable to the crisis due to its weak medical system.
Along with China, many Asian nations were the sites of the first outbreaks, though countries like South Korea and Singapore managed to contain the spread. The numbers have recently started to climb again, however, as travelers return home from overseas.
05:05 The New Zealand government has announced it will allow thousands of stranded tourists to leave the country starting Friday. Around 12,000 Germans remain stuck in New Zealand, as the German government continues its efforts to repatriate its citizens abroad. It has become the largest group of Germans to remain abroad, after flights out of the Pacific nation were abruptly canceled last week.
Around 187,000 of the roughly 200,000 Germans stranded overseas due to the coronavirus pandemic have been flown home, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted on Wednesday.
04:45 Israel Health Minister Yaakov Litzman has been diagnosed with coronavirus, the Health Ministry said on Thursday, adding that his wife also had the virus. The two are in quarantine. Litzman is an ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who tested negative for the virus earlier this week. The health minister heads an ultra-Orthodox Jewish party. He has urged the community to obey guidelines intended to curb the outbreak after various community members expressed skepticism.
Israel currently has 6,092 confirmed cases, with 26 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University.
04:30 The number of coronavirus infection cases in Germany jumped by 6,156 in one day to a total 73,522, according to data from the country's public health agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). A total 872 people have died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus — an increase of 140 from the previous day.
The numbers are slightly lower than those provided by the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in the US, which lists Germany's total infections at 77,981 and deaths at 931. This is due to different methods of information gathering: Whereas the RKI relies on numbers being sent to them by state authorities and collates the totals, JHU sources numbers from official information that is publicly available and then compiles it.
04:10 Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned the country's inhabitants in a TV message that anyone caught violating coronavirus lockdown measures would be shot.
"My orders to the police and military ... if there is trouble and there's an occasion that they fight back and your lives are in danger, shoot them dead," he said. "Is that understood? Dead. Instead of causing trouble, I will bury you."
He made his speech one day after residents of a poor area in the capital Manila protested over a lack of government food aid.
Duterte added that abuse of medical staff would not be tolerated.
The Philippines has registered 2,311 infections, with 96 deaths, data from Johns Hopkins University shows. Infections are rising daily by the hundreds.
03:46 Indonesian President Joko Widodo has revealed the government is considering starting a new national holiday to prevent the annual mass exodus usually taking place at the end of Ramadan. The Muslim fasting month this year falls over April and May, and Widodo said at a cabinet meeting that measures could be implemented during the new holiday such as making tourist attractions free to help "bring some calm to the people."
Almost 90% of Indonesians identify themselves as Muslim and celebrate the end of Ramadan or the Eid al-Fitr festival with a feast and new clothes. In doing so, many return to their hometowns and it is this level of travel that Widodo is hoping to prevent.
03:37 Japan's government has agreed to exempt firms from certain taxes if their sales decline by more than half year-on-year in any three-month period between February and October amid the coronavirus outbreak, Kyodo news agency reported. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week ordered his cabinet to come up with an unprecedented package to support the world's third-largest economy amid the disruption caused by the pandemic.
03:16 The World Health Organization (WHO) has created a coronavirus platform where users will receive all the latest news and information on COVID-19. Via the Viber chatbot, subscribers will receive notifications as well as be able to "learn how to protect themselves," WHO said. Users can also "test their knowledge on coronavirus through an interactive quiz that helps bust myths."
03:08 Foreigners stranded in New Zealand will be able to leave the country from Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has said. Peters announced a plan to enable the "safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands" of foreign nationals currently stranded in the country.
"When we moved into lockdown a week ago the government rightly prioritized public health and limited the movement of people so as to restrict the spread of COVID-19," the deputy PM said. "But it is clear that many foreign nationals traveling here do not have the resources or capability to adequately self-isolate and wish to return home."
Peters added: "We have taken the time and care to develop a seriously detailed plan for the exit of foreign nationals, without endangering the lives of others."
02:47 Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stated that parents who require childcare during the coronavirus outbreak will be able to access it without being charged for it, and that centers that look after children will remain open. Morrison also said the spread of COVID-19 in the country was slowing, and that parliament would resume next Wednesday.
Meanwhile, in Australia's most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), police have revealed that enforcement of restrictions on personal movement would last three months, in light of the PM's statement about the slowing of the outbreak. "When is the turn-off period for these orders? It is 90 days," state police commissioner Mick Fuller said in a televised press conference.
After a federal government order limiting social gatherings to two people, Australian states have instructed their authorities to issue financial penalties of up to A$11,000 ($6,672, €6,102) to citizens who violate the restrictions. In NSW, home to almost a third of Australia's 25 million population, police have also threatened jail terms of up to six months for people who flout the newly imposed restrictions.
02:35 The United States death toll has surpassed the 5,000 mark. Almost half of those deaths have occurred in the state of New York. Data released by Johns Hopkins University showed that 5,116 people had lost their lives so far due to COVID-19.
02:05 Health workers in Colombia have taken to the streets of Bogota, in ambulances with sirens blazing, to show their support for colleagues and protest at what they believe are unnecessary salary delays amid the country's COVID-19 outbreak.
The paramedics, doctors and nurses, all of whom were escorted by police, stopped in front of a clinic in the north of the capital to applaud colleagues working inside. There have been more than 1,000 registered coronavirus cases in the Latin American country, and 17 people have died as a result of contracting the disease.
01:46 Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti has asked the city's people to wear face masks when they leave the house in an effort to combat the spread of SARS-CoV-2.
Garcetti told reporters the masks can be homemade, like a bandana, and don't have to be N-95, which are needed for medical personnel. The United States' second most populous city is also stepping up its attempts to get businesses to comply with a "Safer at home order" and will shut off water and power to businesses deemed non-essential if they refuse to stop operating even after being warned.
01:23 The coronavirus has caused the deaths of 884 people over the last 24 hours in the United States, a new one-day record for the country that has by far the highest number of infections in the world, according to data released by the Johns Hopkins University.
That record figure brought the total death toll in the United States to 4,475. Meanwhile, the number of registered cases rose by 25,200 over the same period, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 213,372.
00:59 Germany's social distancing measures are to remain in place until at least April 19. To read more about what that will entail, click here: Coronavirus: Germany extends social distancing restrictions until April 19
00:54 British Airways (BA) is expected to announce the suspension of 36,000 employees as it grapples with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. The airline, which has grounded most of its fleet, has been negotiating with the Unite union for over a week. BA and Unite have reached a rough agreement, according to the BBC, but are yet to sign on some of the finer details of the deal.
Many passenger airlines are letting employees go at a record-breaking pace. Some are putting workers on temporary leave, in which they are paid their salaries, thanks partly to government aid, or asked to work shorter hours. Germany's Lufthansa is putting 27,000 of its 35,000 employees on short hours under a government support program that will ensure they get most of their pay while the pandemic reduces air traffic. In other cases, employees are losing their jobs outright, and are then given priority for medical training programs.
The trend is less pronounced in the United States, where passenger carriers are receiving $50 billion (€45.7 billion) in government funds, under the condition that they do not cut jobs for the next six months. US President Donald Trump, though, has announced he is considering grounding all domestic flights.
00:45 Here is a round up of the latest updates from Latin America:
Brazil: President Jair Bolsonaro, who has claimed social distancing measures are needlessly damaging Brazil's economy, has found himself at the center of a row over spreading fake news. Bolsonaro posted a video on Wednesday of a market supposedly hit by shortages caused by the outbreak. But he was forced to take it down hours later after reporters found the same market well stocked. Bolsonaro previously described COVID-19 as a "little flu," and condemned the reaction to it as "hysteria." Meanwhile, Brazil's health minister has described the South American country's death toll as very worrying.
Latest figures for Brazil: 5,717 cases, 201 deaths, 127 recovered
Chile and Argentina: A Chilean consul in the Argentine city of Rosario has died from COVID-19, Chile's Foreign Ministry confirmed on Wednesday. Fernando Labra contracted the coronavirus, which led to his hospitalization and isolation in Argentina after he presented symptoms on his return from Chile.
3,031 cases and 16 deaths in Chile, 234 recovered
1,133 cases, 32 deaths in Argentina, 248 recovered
Mexico: A top diplomat thanked two Chinese charities for donating medical supplies to help stem the coronavirus outbreak in an online message that went viral. "Thank you China!!!" Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard wrote in a Twitter post. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has previously courted controversy by holding rallies and public addresses, actions that have been criticized by human rights groups.
Latest figures for Mexico: 1,215 cases, 29 deaths, 35 recovered
Ecuador: The mayor of Ecuador's most populous city revealed that the first of four refrigerated containers had arrived for the storage of corpses that authorities had failed to pick up due to quarantine restrictions. Cynthia Viteri, the mayor of Guayaquil, said that the containers would be used to hold the bodies of citizens who had died at home and in hospitals, both as a result of the coronavirus and of other causes.
Latest Ecuador figures: 2,758 cases, 98 deaths, 58 recovered
00:25 Here's a recap of the global figures:
932,605 confirmed cases
193,177 recovered worldwide
00:00 Catch up on yesterday's news here: Coronavirus latest: More than 200,000 infections in United States
jsi, cmb/rt (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)