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Coronavirus latest: US death toll crosses 20,000

April 11, 2020

Global confirmed cases stand at almost 1.7 million, with more than 100,000 deaths. The US has overtaken Italy to become the country with the highest number of confirmed cases, with more than 20,000 deaths.

Healthcare workers wheel the bodies of deceased people from the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center
Image: Reuters/A. Kelly
  • The US has the highest number of confirmed cases, with a death toll of more than 20,000.
  • German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier appeals to Germans to show solidarity 
  • Global confirmed cases stand almost 1.7 million with more than 100,000 deaths

Updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)

23:59 We have now closed this article. For the latest updates, please check Sunday's live updates article.

23:32 "Do not be afraid, do not yield to fear: This is the message of hope," said Pope Francis in his address at the Easter eve mass, at St. Peter’s Basilica.

The event, which usually has over 10,000 attendees, saw only about two dozen attendees this year. Traditional events such as the baptism of adult converts and the procession were canceled, in an effort to scale back the event due to fears of a coronavirus outbreak. The Sunday Easter Mass will be held inside the church instead of St. Peter’s Square this year, with a congregation of fewer than 20 people.

22:43 Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has extended the curfew until further notice. The country had imposed lockdowns on several cities, including capital Riyadh. The holy cities of Mecca and Medina have already been sealed off. Authorities are yet to confirm whether the annual haj pilgrimage will be held this year.

21:04 The US Navy said that 103 more crew members on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases to 550.  The ship’s commander Brett Crozier was fired this month, after publicly asking for help to stem the outbreak onboard.

20:36 The US death toll has surpassed 20,000. The US is now the country with the highest number of COVID-19 related deaths worldwide. Earlier today, the US passed Italy in the number of most confirmed cases.

19:35 Britain's Queen Elizabeth said that coronavirus "would not overcome us" and that "Easter isn’t canceled" during her first televised address to mark the holiday. 

"This year, Easter will be different for many of us, but by keeping apart we keep others safe. But Easter isn't cancelled; indeed, we need Easter as much as ever," she said.

"We know that coronavirus will not overcome us. As dark as death can be - particularly for those suffering with grief - light and life are greater. May the living flame of the Easter hope be a steady guide as we face the future."

Last Sunday, she gave an address on the coronavirus pandemic, in which she referenced her experience during World War II.  The United Kingdom has registered almost 10,000 deaths and almost 80,000 cases of coronavirus.

19:00 After French nationals apparently faced abuse in the German border town of Gersheim over infection fears, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said it "hurts to see some of our French friends be insulted of confronted on our soil." 

"Corona(virus) knows no nationality," Maas wrote on Twitter. "Just like human dignity."

"This kind of behavior is totally unacceptable," he added. "Besides, we are in the same boat."

Maas' comments come after Gersheim mayor Michael Clivot warned that visitors from France were harassed and sworn at in public. Clivot urged respect in an online video.

The border between Germany and France is currently closed for travelers, except for those who are traveling for work and for people delivering goods

18:50 In Indonesia, inmates set fire to a prison on Sulawesi island during a riot triggered by restrictions imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus, according to officials. 

The inmates, mostly drug offenders, were upset over restrictions on family visits, as well as the early release of 115 of their fellow prisoners. They became violent and started fires, but no one died, according to Lukmasono, the head of the Justice and Human Rights provincial office. 

Hundreds of police and soldiers were deployed to restore order in the overcrowded Tuminting prison in Manado city, the capital of North Sulawesi province. The facility has a capacity of 490 people, but is now holding 550. 

Indonesia has been criticized for its unusually low rate of testing and slow reaction to the pandemic, and inmates in cramped conditions are at particular risk of catching the virus. Indonesia has released more than 36,550 inmates in a bid to reduce overcrowding in the face of the coronavirus crisis.

18:45 Hospitals in Moscow are dealing with a "huge influx" of patients, said Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Saturday.

"We are seeing hospitals in Moscow working extremely intensely, in heroic, emergency mode," he told state television.
Russian officials have so far confirmed 13,584 coronavirus cases, including 8,852 in the capital.

Announcing new lockdown measures on Friday, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin warned that the crisis has grown more severe this week and that the number of people requiring hospitalization went from around 500 to 1,300 per day.

18:00 France reports 635 more people have passed away due to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, putting the death toll at 13,832 on Saturday. The country has so far seen 93,790 confirmed infections.

The latest day-to-day jump is significantly smaller than the one reported on Friday evening, when 987 more deaths were announced.

The number of patients in intensive care continued to fall on Saturday, dropping by 121 people to 6,883.

Italy on Saturday reported 619 new deaths from coronavirus, bringing its total death toll to 19,468. That figure means that Italy has a slightly lower death toll than the United States, which, with 19,701 deaths, currently has a higher number of fatalities than any other country in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.

17:10 The United States has now had more coronavirus deaths than any other country in the world, according to the tally of the US-based Johns Hopkins Institute.

The casualties reported on Saturday put the US death toll at 18,860 or 11 more than Italy's 18,849. The US has already overtaken all other countries in terms of the number of confirmed coronavirus cases.

After New York Mayor Bill de Blasio declared schools would be closed until September, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo contradicted the announcement and said the decision has not yet been made.

New York closed schools in mid-March, months before the official end of the school year in June.

"So I understand the mayor's position, which is he wants to close them until June, and we may do that, but we're going to do it in a coordinated sense with the other localities," Cuomo told reporters, noting that it was he who had the "legal authority" to make the decision.

"It's not going to be decided in the next few days because we don't know," he added.

16:40 The United Kingdom urged its citizens to stay at home during the Easter weekend as the country recorded nearly 1,000 daily COVID-19 deaths for a second day. The total number of dead is 9,875.

The number of confirmed cases in the country climbed by 5,234 to 78,991 — an apparent fatality rate of 12.5%. However, the number of confirmed cases is likely only a fraction of the actual number of people infected because of a relatively low level of testing.

Police warned they would go after people who flaunt restrictions. Almost 500 house parties and hundreds of other incidents have been reported in the city of Manchester alone in the two weeks before April 7.

"We are trying to engage, explain, and encourage everyone to follow the government guidance," Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said. "However, where people do not comply with the guidelines, we will use the legislative powers."

For the first time since the outbreak started, the daily briefing was led by Home Secretary Priti Patel, whose job is the equivalent of interior minister in most European governments.

Commenting on the complaints from doctors and nurses about not having enough protective equipment, Patel said it was "inevitable" that demand for the equipment would be incredibly high.

 "I am sorry if people feel there have been failings," she said.

16:15 Another 783 people have died in the state of New York, bringing the death toll to 8,627, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday.
The number of people being hospitalized and placed in intensive care continues to decline, he added. The state has so far borne the brunt of the outbreak in the United States.

The mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, announced that schools in the most populous American city would stay closed until September.

"There is nothing easy about this decision," de Blasio told a news conference, adding that "it clearly will help us save lives ... It's the right decision."

The city shuttered schools on March 16. On Saturday, the mayor said it was loaning tablets and laptops to allow students to continue their education online.

15:00 German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is set to appeal to Germans to show solidarity with one another — and with the rest of Europe — amid the coronavirus crisis.

In a speech to be aired on German television this evening, Steinmeier disputes the comparisons that many have made between efforts to halt the spread of COVID-19 and a war.

"No, this pandemic is not a war. Nations do not stand against other nations, soldiers against soldiers," Steinmeier says. "Rather, this is a test of our humanity. It is bringing out both the best and the worst in people. Let us show each other the best in ourselves! And let us show that in Europe as well."

"Germany cannot emerge strong and fit from this crisis if our neighbors are not strong and fit as well."

"Thirty years after German reunification — 75 years after the end of the war — we Germans are not merely asked to show solidarity, we are obliged to do so."

The address is the first time that a German president has made a direct appeal to the nation other than at Christmas time. There was no broadcast presidential speech even immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

14:15 Countries across Europe urged people to refrain from traveling over the Easter weekend

Authorities set up roadblocks across Italy and Spain to stop people from taking holiday trips, while Italy’s special commissioner for the virus called on citizens to make responsible decisions.

'"Don't do silly things," said Domenico Arcuri. "Don't go out, continue to behave responsibly as you have done until today, use your head and your sense of responsibility."

"The virus has not been defeated, but we are on the right path, we see the indicators but not the end of the tunnel. In fact, the end of the tunnel is still far away.''

In Britain, police were directed to monitor gatherings in parks and by the beach, while a motorcycle was seized from a rider making a nonessential journey in England. 

Police also ramped up controls on both sides of the German-Dutch border on Friday. Officers in Germany began random checks on vehicles coming from the Netherlands, and turning back those who do not have a good reason to enter Germany. 

How the coronavirus affects the poor

Dutch authorities will also reject German travelers from entering the Netherlands, unless they have an urgent reason to do so. Meanwhile, the borders between the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany reported record low amounts of traffic over the Easter weekend, indicating that people are largely respecting government requests not to travel.

13:40 United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reported to be walking and "continuing to make good progress," Downing Street has announced.

Johnson spent three nights in intensive care earlier in the week after being diagnosed with coronavirus. He is making a good recovery, but some doctors say that he may need up to a month to return to good health.

In the meantime, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is standing in for him.

Across Britain and Northern Ireland, another 917 people died of the coronavirus on the previous day, bringing the total to 9,875,  The latest jump in death toll is lower than the 980 deaths reported yesterday, which marked the biggest rise in daily fatalities to date. The UK authorities also said 78,991 people had tested positive so far.

13:30 Confirmed cases in the United States have passed 500,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. The US has by far the most cases of any country in the world and almost 18,777 people have died.

The state of New York continues to be the most badly hit, with emergency services there put under increasing pressure. New York City fields around 5,400 ambulance requests per day, 40% more than usual, and 911 operators answer an emergency call every 15 seconds.

After the worst day on record in which 2,000 people died, the US looks set to later overtake Italy’s death toll, which currently stands at 18,849 — the worst of any country in the world.

13:00 Belgium has reported only a slight increase in its daily death count for the first time in days, indicating that a "peak" in cases may come soon. Health authorities say 327 people died on Friday, bringing the total death count to 3,346. The country has 28,018 confirmed cases overall.

In the neighboring Netherlands, cases rose by 1,316 to 24,413 in total, with 132 new deaths. At least 2,652 people have died in total. The southernmost Benelux nation, Luxembourg has reported 3,115 confirmed cases and 52 people have died, in total.

The busy borders between the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany reported record low amounts of traffic on the first days of the Easter weekend, police have said. This indicates that people are respecting government requests for people not to travel to visit family or take day trips.

12:30 Residents of two villages in Egypt have blocked the burial of a doctor who died of coronavirus. They were scared of infection being spread by the corpse, according to Egyptian media.

The 64-year-old woman died in quarantine in hospital, but was set to be buried in the village of her husband on the Nile delta. Protests at burials have already been recorded in the country. Islam recommends swift burial of the dead, leading to fears that the virus may transfer from dead bodies.

At least 135 people have died in Egypt and there are 1,794 confirmed cases.

12:20 The Chinese semi-autonomous territory of Macau has sold over 46 million face masks in just over two and a half months, local authorities said at a daily COVID-19 press conference.
The Macau government began rationing the sale of face masks on January 24, one of the first measures officials took due to a global shortage amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

Individuals in Macau are allowed to purchase ten masks every ten days from the approximately fifty pharmacies in the territory.

11:17 Germany has pledged financial support for more healthcare professionals. Health Minister Jens Spahn announced on Saturday that therapists, dentists and rehabilitation specialists will also be able to apply for financial aid. German broadcaster RND reported that the exact details of the support will be rolled out in the coming weeks.

"Many patients are understandably reluctant to seek treatment at the moment," Spahn said. "In order to maintain well-functioning systems, we will ensure there is adequate funding for these practices."

Read more: Germany’s Ethics Council and its role in the coronavirus crisis

11:15 India is to extend its nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced. He did not disclose how long the extension would be for. "Today, India’s position is better than in many developed countries because we started lockdown early. If it is stopped now, all gains would be lost," Kejriwal posted on Twitter.

Earlier on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed with state ministers via video call to decide whether to lengthen the 21-day lockdown which had initially been scheduled to end on Tuesday.

Read more: COVID-19 crisis prolongs Kashmir lockdown

10:31 An elderly care home in western Germany is the latest to be partially evacuated after dozens of its residents tested positive for the coronavirus. Thirty-seven out of 70 residents of the facility in Sankt Augustin, near Bonn, were taken to local hospitals on Friday night, according to the Caritas Management and Support Organisation (CBT). Nearly 40 nurses have also tested positive, public broadcaster WDR reported. An emergency team has been drafted in to look after the non-infected residents, due to a lack of personnel.

Another German nursing home, the Hans-Lilje-Haus in Wolfsburg has also become a symbol of the dangers posed to the elderly from COVID-19. So far about half of its 165 residents have become infected, and 33 have died. The virus has spread quickly through other elderly homes across Europe. In Spain, 1,500 nursing care residents died by the end of March; In France, some 2,400 people had died in such facilities up to this week.

Read more: Opinion: Denying deathbed visits in pandemic is inhumane

10:16 Ten people at a major oilfield worker camp in Kazakhstan have tested positive, according to local authorities. The 2,000-bed camp is located next to the Chevron-led Tengiz oil field, one of the largest in Central Asia. The operator, Tengizchevroil, said the camp has been locked down and that workers can only enter the oil field after 14 days of quarantine. The Kazakh government said nine of the cases were diagnosed after tracing the contacts of the first infected person.

09:40 Spain has registered 510 new deaths, its lowest daily death toll in 19 days. The latest Health Ministry data show the country is managing to flatten the curve in terms of the number of fatalities from COVID-19. The country's overall death toll now stands at 16,353.

09:22 Germany has seen 4,133 new confirmed cases taking its tally to 117,658, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). The infectious disease control agency said 171 more people died over the previous 24 hours. The country's death toll now stands at 2,544. A separate tally by Johns Hopkins University (JHU) put the number of deaths in Germany at 2,736. The two figures vary as RKI depends on data transmission from state and local levels and is updated around once a day, while JHU updates figures in real-time.

09:15 The UK says it is too soon to determine whether the peak of coronavirus infections in the country has passed. That's despite data suggesting that the rate of increase in the number of people being hospitalized with the COVID-19 disease is
leveling out.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC that the government requires more evidence before it can start making changes to its lockdown measures, which began three weeks ago.

Britain has reported 980 more deaths from COVID-19, a daily increase bigger than Italy and Spain, the two European countries with the greatest number of coronavirus-linked fatalities.

09:05 Having avoided the worst of China's coronavirus outbreak, Southeast Asia is seeing a spike in fatalities. Indonesia has confirmed another 21 virus-related deaths, taking the total to 327. 

Thailand has reported two more deaths, meaning 35 people have died in the country since January. Most provinces have banned alcohol sales ahead of the Thai New Year or water splashing Songkran celebrations. The government has postponed the holidays, which are usually held from April 13-15.

Malaysia has confirmed 3 new fatalities, while the Philippines says 26 more people have died there.

08:51 "Low risk" economic activities have resumed across most of Iran as the Islamic Republic seeks to reboot its stricken economy. Some businesses are allowed to reopen, with the exception of those in the capital Tehran, which will follow suit from April 18.

President Hassan Rouhani urged Iranians to respect the rules that do remain in place. "Easing restrictions does not mean ignoring health protocols ... social distancing and other health protocols should be respected seriously by people," Rouhani was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.

Iran has struggled to curb the spread of the infection but the government is also concerned that measures to limit public life could wreck an already sanctions-battered economy.

08:35 Russia has reported 1,667 new coronavirus cases, bringing the national tally of confirmed cases to 13,584. The number of coronavirus-related deaths in the country has risen by 12 to 106, the Kremlin's coronavirus crisis response center said.

On Saturday, Moscow's mayor said the city would gradually introduce a system of passes for residents in lockdown.

08:12 Around 1,300 Australians who traveled abroad recently have completed two-weeks in mandatory quarantine in Sydney. The travelers will undergo a final health examination before they are allowed to return home, according to New South Wales (NSW) state police. Those who arrived at Sydney International Airport after a directive was issued on March 29 were sent directly to a quarantine facility.

Meanwhile, NSW health authorities say almost half of crew members from the Ruby Princess cruise ship who complained of coronavirus symptoms have tested positive. Of the 97 people, who showed flu-like and respiratory symptoms, 46 received positive results. Several crew members have been removed from the ship to hospitals onshore. The vessel is currently docked south of Sydney. 

07:38 Brazil is the first country in Latin America to have confirmed more than 1,000 coronavirus fatalities. The Ministry of Health reported 1,056 deaths and nearly 20,000 infections nationwide.

Meanwhile, President Jair Bolsonaro has been caught breaking his own government's recommendations on social distancing after his son tweeted a video of the far-right leader visiting a bakery in the capital Brasilia on Thursday without a face mask. He was also caught eating and drinking with several people standing close by him.

07:27 The number of confirmed cases in India has risen to 7,471, including 239 deaths. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold talks with states later to decide whether to extend its nationwide lockdown beyond next week.

A number of state authorities have called on the prime minister to prolong the containment measures, which are due to run out on Tuesday, despite rising unemployment and a mass exodus of migrant workers from urban to rural areas. At least two states  —  Odisha in the east and Punjab in the north — have decided to extend the lockdown until the end of April. 

Millions of people live in densely populated slums where viral transmissions could be disastrous, officials have warned.

07:16 Bangladesh has extended its nationwide lockdown by 11 days to April 25 after the number of confirmed cases rose to 424, with 27 confirmed deaths. The government deployed the army across the country to enforce social distancing rules.

06:40 Turkey is waking up to a 48-hour curfew across 31 cities, including Istanbul and Ankara, to stem the spread of coronavirus. 

Citizens were to stay at home starting at midnight Friday, a decision that triggered last-minute panic buying in several cities. People were seen queuing outside stores, many breaking social distancing rules, while fighting erupted in one Istanbul district, according to local news agencies.  

Officials later said that bakeries, pharmacies and other shops selling basic goods could remain open. The government says it ordered the curfew amid concerns that a predicted weekend of sunny weather would lead people to ignore self-isolation advice.

06:14 Police in Austria will begin fining face mask violators as of Saturday, the country's Ministry of Health has announced. People found in public spaces without either a mask or scarf to cover their mouth and nose can expect a fine of €25 ($27.34). Those found violating other quarantine rules such as visiting areas deemed out of bounds will be fined €50. 

06:06 Some coronavirus patients hospitalized in China displayed neurological symptoms including strokes, altered consciousness, or brain hemorrhage, a new study has revealed. The research, led by Chinese neurologist Bo Hu, looked at 214 cases of severe coronavirus illnesses in Wuhan during the early phase of the pandemic.

The team found that 36% of patients displayed neurological symptoms, which at times appeared in the absence of more typical COVID-19 indicators such as fever, cough and shortness of breath. The doctors discovered that the neurological issues became more common as the severity of illness increased. All the patients were ill enough to warrant hospitalization and averaged about 53 years of age.

Whether or not coronavirus infection directly triggered strokes is unclear, the team said. However, severe cases of COVID-19 could be associated with neurological events. The study was published online on Friday in the monthly peer-reviewed medical journal JAMA Neurology.

Read more: German police mull wide use of drones for corona-surveillance

05:32 Crime rates around the world have fallen as the virus keeps people indoors, The Associated Press reported. Across Latin America, crime is down to levels unseen in decades. El Salvador reported an average of two killings per day last month, down from a peak of 600 per day a few years ago. The decrease is due to stricter security and drug truces, but analysts say that the country's lockdown is likely driving it down further. Peru, meanwhile, saw reported crimes plummet 84% last month.

South African police say in the first week of the country's lockdown, reported rapes were down from 700 to 101 over the same period last year. Serious assault cases plunged from 2,673 to 456, and murders dropped from 326 to 94.

In New York, the US epicenter of the virus, major crimes including murder, rape, robbery, burglary, assault, grand larceny and car theft decreased by 12% from February to March. In Chicago, one of America's most violent cities, drug arrests
have plummeted 42% in the weeks since the city shut down, compared with the same period last year. 

At the same time, law enforcement officials worldwide are concerned about the rise of unreported domestic violence during the lockdowns.

05:16 South Korea says it will attach electronic wristbands to those who violate self-quarantine orders as it looks to strengthen monitoring of contacts of coronavirus cases. Those found breaking quarantine orders can be fined as much as $8,200 (€7,499) and face up to a year in prison. 

Senior Health Ministry official Yoon Tae-ho noted the privacy and civil liberty concerns but said the number of people placed under self-quarantine has grown significantly since South Korea began enforcing 14-day quarantines for all foreign arrivals on April 1.

Officials say they will offer consent forms for the devices as current laws enforcing the use of the wristbands are insufficient. Police and local officials will help monitor public compliance.

Using tech to battle COVID-19

04:51 New York hospital workers have paid tribute to colleagues who have died from COVID-19 during a vigil in front of the Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. Nurses and doctors, many holding photographs of the deceased, gave speeches remembering the colleagues they lost. "We are here to honor, to pray and remember our fallen heroes," said nurse Joanne Mee Wah Loo during the service. The mortality rate of healthcare workers in New York is not yet known. 

The city, the most affected US metropolis, has nearly 95,000 coronavirus infections and a death toll of 5,800.

Read more: Apple, Google team up to make software to slow down spread of coronavirus

04:40 Two-thirds of the German public say they are satisfied with the government's response to the pandemic, according to a new YouGov poll conducted this week. Some 66% of respondents felt positive about Germany's handling of the health crisis, an increase from 54% from two weeks earlier. The number who disapproved fell from 38% to 27% over the same timeframe. Even supporters of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) are more satisfied than they were two weeks ago: 45% vs 27%. More than 2,000 people were polled on behalf of Germany's DPA news agency.

04:28 A boy from an Amazon tribe, known for its vulnerability to disease, has died after contracting the coronavirus, according to authorities in Brazil. The 15-year-old, from the indigenous Yanomami tribe, had been in intensive care at a hospital in the north of the country. A local rights group said the boy had come in to contact with "many" other indigenous people after he began showing symptoms. The isolated tribe — and others living in the rainforest — are particularly at risk from diseases brought in from the outside world. A local journalist has warned that a major outbreak of COVID-19 among indigenous communities would amount to a "genocide."

Read more: Germany’s Ethics Council and its role in the coronavirus crisis

03:51 German Finance Minister Peter Altmaier called for structural reforms to boost the country's post-pandemic economy. 

"Pure economic stimulus packages focus on providing incentives for investment and consumption. This will almost certainly be the case this time. But we also urgently need structural reforms in order to bring the German economy back on track after this forced pause," Altmaier told local newspaper Augsburger Allgemeine.

Leading economic institutes in Germany recently reported that gross domestic product (GDP) would dip by 4.2% this year due to the virus-induced measures that have forced many businesses to close temporarily. Altmaier outlined an economic "fitness program" for the country. He called for the economy to be freed from "unnecessary hurdles" and excessive government regulation. He also called for planning times to be halved and for the country to move faster on digitalization.

Read more: German retirement homes isolate the elderly from COVID-19 threat

02:22 A coronavirus-struck cruise ship entered the port of Montevideo on Friday to let passengers disembark, Uruguay's government said. The ship has been anchored off the coast of Uruguay since March 27. The country had initially refused to let passengers disembark the Greg Mortimer after 128 of the 217 passengers and crew tested positive for COVID-19.

A total of 112 passengers from New Zealand and Australia were evacuated from the cruise liner. The evacuees will be transported along a "sanitary corridor" to Montevideo's international airport. They will then be flown to Australia, said health officials. A further eight people ill with the virus have already been evacuated to hospitals in the country's capital city. Several passengers, as well as crew members, remain aboard the cruise ship.

"If everything goes well, Uruguay will be completing a complex but necessary humanitarian mission," tweeted the country's foreign minister, Ernesto Talvi. "We don't consider it an option, but rather an ethical obligation."

00:59 The United States has become the first country to record more than 2,000 coronavirus deaths in one day. A total of 2,108 people died from the virus in the past 24 hours, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.

The country has now recorded 18,586 deaths, coming close to overtaking Italy as the country with the highest death toll. The latest figures for Italy show 18,849 deaths.

The US is also approaching half a million confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 496,535 as of 8:30 p.m. (0030 UTC Saturday) – an increase of 35,098 in the past 24 hours.

00:52 The coronavirus can travel up to 4 meters (13 feet) in the air, according to a new study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases – a journal of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Current World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines recommend keeping at least 1 meter (3 feet) away from anyone coughing or sneezing. In Germany, authorities advise keeping a 1.5-meter (4.9 feet) distance from others when in public.

Researchers examined air samples from hospital wards with COVID-19 patients in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the virus first surfaced. Researchers, led by a team at the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in Beijing, tested surface and air samples from an intensive care unit and a general COVID-19 ward.

They found virus-laden aerosols – small droplets of the virus that become suspended and remain airborne –up to 4 meters away from patients. The team found the virus was most heavily concentrated on the floors of the wards. High levels were also found on frequently touched surfaces like computer mice, trashcans, bed rails and doorknobs, as well as on the soles of shoes of medical staff.

00:15 A recap of yesterday's events:

During the afternoon, the death toll from the pandemic crossed 100,000. 

The US remained the country with the highest number of coronavirus cases, reaching over 492,000 by the evening. At the daily White House briefing, President Donald Trump said the infection curve in the country was flattening.

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro caused controversy by greeting followers on the streets of the capital, Brasilia — ignoring social distancing guidelines.

Germany announced that travelers entering the country from abroad must quarantine at home for two weeks. Thousands of people were affected on Friday at Frankfurt airport — Germany's largest transport hub.

Residents in 31 cities across Turkey began a 48-hour curfew from midnight local time on Friday. Its authorities reported 908 deaths from the virus and 42,282 infections.

Several countries announced extensions of lockdown measures brought in to stem the outbreak. In Italy, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said he has made the "difficult" decision to extend the country's lockdown until May 3. Ireland and Portugal also plan to extend restrictions on public life until May.

The coronavirus death toll curve in Spain flattened further. Its government prepared to start easing one of the world's strictest lockdowns. The Head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, later warned that lifting coronavirus measures prematurely could lead to a "deadly resurgence."

00:00 Welcome to DW's coverage of the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic. Catch up on all of Friday's developments here: Global death toll tops 100,000
In reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, unless otherwise specified, DW uses figures provided by the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Coronavirus Resource Center in the United States. JHU updates figures in real time, collating data from world health organizations, state and national governments and other public official sources, all of whom have their own systems for compiling information.

Germany's national statistics are compiled by its public health agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). These figures depend on data transmission from state and local levels and are updated around once a day, which can lead to deviation from JHU.

mvb/mm (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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