Coronavirus latest: Wuhan lockdown lifted, Lufthansa shutters Germanwings | News | DW | 07.04.2020

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Coronavirus latest: Wuhan lockdown lifted, Lufthansa shutters Germanwings

In the Chinese city of Wuhan where it all began, travel restrictions have now been lifted. German airline Lufthansa is discontinuing all flights by its German budget subsidiary Germanwings. Follow DW for the latest.

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is moved to intensive care
  • Lufthansa to discontinue all Germanwings flights, expects ongoing disruption to air travel
  • Deaths of COVID-19 in the US are now approaching 11,000 
  • China lifts travel restrictions in city of Wuhan, where virus is thought to have originated

Recap: Johnson in intensive care and all Monday's main developments

Updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)

22:38 US President Donald Trump said during his daily coronavirus briefing that he would put a "hold" on funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), before later backtracking, claiming: "I'm not saying I'm going to do it." The US is the WHO's largest donor. 

The US president accused the UN organization of failing in its coronavirus pandemic response and possibly withholding information during the early stages of the outbreak. 

"They called it wrong," Trump said, adding that the organization "probably" knew more than it revealed initially. He also accused the WHO of being "China centric."  

Meanwhile, the state of New York reported 731 new COVID-19 deaths. It was the biggest spike in deaths since the start of the outbreak. The new data dampened the cautious optimism New York officials had expressed days earlier. 

"That's 731 people who we lost. Behind every one of those numbers is an individual. There's a family, there's a mother, there's a father, there's a sister, there's a brother. So a lot of pain again today for many New Yorkers,'' Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters. 

Though deaths have surged, new hospital admissions have dropped on average over several days. Cuomo said New York could be reaching a "plateau'' in hospitalizations, but he warned that any gains were dependent on people adhering to social distancing rules.

21:39 The announcement of this year's Pulitzer Prize winners has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the awards board said. 

Prizes in journalism, books, drama and music will now be announced on May 4 via live stream, two weeks later than originally planned. 

"The Pulitzer board includes many high-level journalists who are on the front lines of informing the public on the quickly evolving coronavirus pandemic," Pulitzer Prize administrator Dana Canedy said in a statement. 

"As they focus on this critical mission, this postponement will provide additional time to thoroughly evaluate the 2020 Pulitzer finalists," the statement read. 

The actual in-person awards ceremony, which is traditionally held at New York's Columbia University in May, has also been postponed and could be replaced by a reception in the autumn, organizers have said.

19:40 The European Union wants to provide Africa and other regions of the world with €15 billion (roughly $16.3 billion) to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

The funds would involve grants that were being diverted. The financial assistance would help prop up healthcare systems and support economies.

"We will only win this battle with a coordinated global response, and therefore, we need to support our partners," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a video posted to her Twitter account. "Africa could experience the same problems that we are facing in Europe in a matter of weeks. They need our help to slow down the spread of the virus, as we needed help in this crisis. It is in our interests to ensure that the fight is successful worldwide."

Africa has not reported nearly as many coronavirus cases as in other parts of the world, but concerns remain on the effect a massive outbreak would have on the continent.

19:20 The Canadian Formula One Grand Prix, scheduled to take place on June 14 in Montreal, has been postponed, organizers confirmed.

Canadian promoters said in a statement that they were saddened to have to postpone the race. They "would have been honored to host the first race on the 2020 Formula 1 World Championship calendar," the statement said.

A new date for the race has not been set. F1 said in a statement that all tickets would remain valid for the rescheduled event.

The Canadian GP is the eighth race on the F1 calendar to be postponed this year. The Monaco GP, the series' most glamorous and long-running race, is the only event to be canceled entirely. Monaco's Prince Albert was the first head of state to catch the coronavirus; the race around the principality's city center also involves shutting down major roads, making rescheduling the event unusually difficult.

Doubts have been raised, however — including from the series' owners — about F1's chances of truly holding all 21 races still theoretically scheduled for some point this season.

18:21 The Chinese city of Wuhan, where COVID-19 originated, fully lifted travel restrictions after midnight local time on Wednesday (1700 UTC), effectively ending a 77-day lockdown.   

After the ban was lifted, there were reports of thousands of people catching overnight trains out of town at the city's main station. An estimated 55,000 people are expected to leave the city by train on Wednesday, according to government statistics reported by AFP news agency. 

People leaving the city still require a smartphone app equipped with data tracking a surveillance software that can verify a person is healthy and has not been in contact with with anyone confirmed to have the virus. Wuhan and Hubei province were at the epicenter of the virus, and suffered the majority of COVID-19 cases and deaths, according to China's official tally.

17:25 The European Central Bank announced it would ease collateral requirements, part of a series of measures unveiled after a Governing Council meeting to combat the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The simpler collateral requirements will make it easier for banks to borrow at low rates. The ECB will also accept government-guaranteed loans as collateral, even with lower credit quality. Banks will also be able to pledge more unsecured debt as collateral.

"The measures collectively support the provision of bank lending, especially by easing the conditions at which credit claims are accepted as collateral," the ECB said in a statement. "The (ECB) is increasing its risk tolerance to support the provision of credit via its refinancing operations, particularly by lowering collateral valuation haircuts for all assets consistently."

The ECB added that it would keep the measure in place during the current pandemic, and would review it again before the end of the year. Many countries in the 19-nation eurozone are heading into a recession, raising concerns that banks will stop lending and force otherwise viable companies into insolvency.

16:35 Some 66 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in a single hospital in the coastal South African city of Durban.

About 48 of the people who tested positive at St. Augustine's Hospital in Durban are staff, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Twitter.

He said authorities were looking into closing parts of the facility. 

At more than 1,700, South Africa has the most confirmed coronavirus cases in Africa, according to John Hopkins University's coronavirus tracker. Mkhize said fewer than 100 people across the country were currently hospitalized with COVID-19.

16:20 Due to restrictions put in place to combat the coronavirus in Paris, the heavily fire-damaged Notre Dame Cathedral will hold a televised meditation ceremony on Good Friday, Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit said.

Seven people will attend the ceremony in the French capital on Friday, which is the day Christians commemorate the death of Jesus. 

"Only a few priests will attend the masses that we will celebrate during the Holy Week, and people will be able to follow services on radio or on television," Aupetit told a video news conference.

The service, which will take two days after the anniversary of a blaze that consumed much of the cathedral, will include a crown of thorns rescued after the fire. The crown is said to be the one Roman soldiers placed on Christ's head before his crucifixion. 

No Easter Saturday processions will take place this year because of the coronavirus lockdown in the French capital. On Easter Sunday, when Christians celebrate Christ's resurrection, Aupetit will hold a mass in Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois church near Paris' famous Louvre museum. About 20 people will attend that Mass. 

Large scale gatherings for worship have played no small part in helping the virus spread, most famously at a church in Daegu, South Korea. 

15:38 Lufthansa is shutting down operations of its struggling German budget affiliate Germanwings, partly in response to the coronavirus.

The German airline also said it was decommissioning 18 planes in its fleet and would withdraw 11 Airbus A320 jets from short-haul operations.

"The Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG does not expect the aviation industry to return to pre-coronavirus crisis levels very quickly," the airline said in a statement. "According to its assessment, it will take months until the global travel restrictions are completely lifted and years until the worldwide demand for air travel returns to pre-crisis levels."

Though Lufthansa discontinued the Germanwings brand and replaced it with Eurowings in 2015, Germanwings had continued as a wet-lease operator for Eurowings under its own flight numbers.

Trade unions had warned of its likely closure even before Lufthansa grounded in the region of 95% of all regular flights in response to the coronavirus. 

15:03 Police in the northern German city of Braunschweig on Monday intercepted a 101-year-old woman who had sneaked out of her nursing home to wish her daughter a happy birthday.

The woman tried to slip out of the home through the emergency exit on Monday afternoon, police said in a statement on Tuesday. The elderly lady's daughter told police that her mother had only lived in the home for two weeks, and was missing her dearly.

Police allowed the woman to briefly see her daughter from the squad car before driving her back to the nursing home.

14:50 The Italian and Catalan MotoGP races have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Italian Grand Prix was scheduled for May 31 at the Mugello Circuit. The race at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona was set to take place the following weekend.

The 2020 MotoGP has yet to commence due to the pandemic. Eight races in the motorcycle series have now been called off or postponed.

The earliest potential start date for the season is now June 21, the current scheduled date for the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring circuit in the far east of the country, near Chemnitz.

14:46 Indonesia is set to issue 435 trillion rupiah ($27 billion, €24.8 billion) in "pandemic bonds."

The government has already lowered annual growth projections and has factored in an economic contraction as a worst-case scenario. 

Meanwhile, the rupiah dropped to a near-record low. It remains one of Asia's worst-hit currencies during the pandemic.

14:40 Thailand's government has approved a 1.9 trillion baht (€53 billion, $58 billion) plan to help the healthcare sector and revive the economy during the coronavirus pandemic.

Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana said the cabinet had approved for the Finance Ministry to borrow 1 trillion baht. The ministry will borrow mostly from domestic sources and use Thai currency, Uttama said, but it has not ruled out borrowing in foreign currencies. 

The plan also compels Thailand's central bank to use a 900 billion baht budget to issue soft loans and maintain stability in the country's financial sector. 

Thailand has been under a state of emergency since March 26, which will last until at least the end of April.

13:31 The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany's public health authority, has developed an app called Corona-Datenspende (literally: Corona Data Donation), seeking to gain new insights into the spread of the coronavirus.

The app, launched in partnership with health data platform Thryve, is designed for fitness armbands and smartwatches. It records the resting pulse rate and the sleep data of its users, among other things.

"In cases of acute respiratory diseases, these vital signs change significantly in most cases," RKI said.

The app also collects data from the Apple Health and Google Fit apps, as well as from FitBit, Garmin, Polar and Witherings devices. App users are also asked to provide their age, weight and height. However, it does not serve to track persons of contact in coronavirus cases.

The institute emphasized that the use of the app is voluntary. Users are only asked to provide their postcode or ZIP code once, and it does not track current location data. A participant does not have to provide his or her name or address.

RKI hopes that 10% of the estimated 10 million wearers of smartwatches and fitness bands in Germany use the app. Even if only 10,000 people participate, the data would be able to provide a statistically significant reference point for the institute, RKI expert Dirk Brockmann said.  Germany and other European countries are working on developing a different app that uses Bluetooth signals and GPS tracking data to trace coronavirus hot spots and track points of contact.

12:58 Former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre has been granted 60 days of home arrest by Senegal’s justice ministry because of the threat of COVID-19 in his prison.

Habre, 78, is serving a life sentence. He is at an especially high risk because of his age and due to the number of people in the large Cap Manuel prison, the justice ministry said.

"Habre has not been released," Justice Minister Malick Sall said in an announcement late on Monday. He stressed that this did not constitute a pardon. Habre was convicted of human rights abuses and ordering the killing of over 40,000 people.

Senegal has 226 confirmed cases of coronavirus; two people have died.

12:29 The European Parliament’s headquarters in Strasbourg, France will be turned into a coronavirus testing center.

"We want to be with our host city and its citizens in this difficult time," the parliament's president, David Sassoli, wrote on Twitter.

The parliament will hold only extremely limited sessions, in Brussels and online, until September.

Strasbourg lies on the border between France and Germany, in an area that has been especially badly hit with coronavirus cases. 

France has nearly 100,000 confirmed cases and has seen over 8,000 deaths, while Germany has recorded 103,000 confirmed cases and over 1,800 deaths.

12:15 Finland will start using randomized antibody tests to track the spread of coronavirus within its population, its health ministry said on Tuesday.

Under the new program, hospitals will mail invitation letters to randomly selected citizens to be tested for the antibodies which patients suffering from COVID-19 develop, including those who have contracted the virus but are asymptomatic. 

The aim of the study is to find out how much of the population has developed antibodies which indicate previous exposure to the virus. Officials will also measure the amount of the antibodies, and monitor how long they last for. 

The first tests are set to take place in the capital, Helsinki. However, the efficacy of antibody tests is now under scrutiny, after Oxford University researchers found that none of the tests provide accurate results as yet

Finland currently has 2,308 reported cases of coronavirus and a death toll of 27, according to Johns Hopkins University.

11:27 Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is expected to consult scientists on Tuesday about ways to safely end the month-long lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 16,000 people in the southern European nation.

His virtual conference with the government’s scientific committee comes just one week before Italy’s closure of most businesses and factories was initially set to be lifted. However, an imminent lifting of restrictions is unlikely, as health officials warn that a recent decline in the number of reported cases only occurred because of the lockdown measures. 

Italy has over 130,000 reported cases of coronavirus, with a death toll of 16,523.

11:08 Peddlers of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are seeking to use the coronavirus to spread false information, according to German anti-Semitism commissioner Felix Klein. 

"Conspiracy theories are booming in times of crisis," said Klein at a presentation of a government research program on anti-Semitism.

The new project, which has received funding of €12 million ($13 million), was set up to "tackle anti-Semitism with science," Research and Education Minister Anja Karliczek said. Klein believes that the current spread of anti-Semitism as a result of the coronavirus crisis underscores the relevance of the project.

"The greater people's uncertainty, the more likely they are to turn to such scapegoat theories," he said, citing false claims that the pandemic is a result of a failed biological weapons test made by the Israeli secret service. 

"In recent weeks, right-wing radicals have increasingly tried to instrumentalize the coronavirus crisis for their own ends," he added.

For a personal view of life in Berlin as a Jewish woman, watch this DW report: 

10:34 The Association of German Certified Labs (ALM) says 332,414 coronavirus tests were carried out in Germany between March 30 and April 5, up from 313,957 the week before. ALM estimates that its testing data includes 85-90% of all tests carried out in Germany. 
Last week, researchers at the Robert Koch Institute said that although testing in Germany is high compared to other nations, the country still needs to increase its rate of testing in order to manage the virus.

10:06 The German Ethics Council has called for debate on the loosening of restrictions implemented to curb the spread of coronavirus. 

"It is too early to open [the restrictions] up now, but it's never too early for a public debate about the necessary criteria," said Peter Dabrock, the council’s chairman. "Everything else could be considered top-down or authoritarian," he added. 

"People need images of hope when they are in catastrophic situations like this one. That motivates people to hold out," he added.

Measures to reduce the number of serious cases would have to be weighed against the social, societal and psychological consequences of the lockdown, according to the council. 

Additionally, situations in which critical medical assistance was stopped in order to help younger people, "can and must be legally condemned," said member Steffen Augsburg.

The German Ethics Council offers opinions and policy recommendations on "the big questions of life," and consists of 26 scientists and experts.

09:27 The messaging app WhatsApp has moved to limit the increasing spread of misinformation through its platform. The WHO has identified an "infodemic" of false medical advice and conspiracy theories around COVID-19 online. More details here.

09:10 At least 49 inmates in a Pakistani jail have contracted coronavirus, officials said, with more than 150 additional inmates also suspected of having the disease.

The outbreak, in a jail in the eastern city of Lahore, is believed to have stemmed from an inmate who had returned from Italy last month. The inmate, who was recently arrested for smuggling narcotics, was tested on March 23. 

According to a 2019 government report, more than 70,000 people are currently held in 114 different facilities across Pakistan, many of which are plagued by overcrowding and poor hygienic conditions. Pakistan currently has 3,864 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with a death toll of 54, according to Johns Hopkins University.

09:01 Japan declared a state of emergency in seven regions, including Tokyo, on Tuesday. 

"As I decided that a situation feared to gravely affect people's lives and the economy has occurred... I am declaring a state of emergency," said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The new measures under the state of emergency are set to take effect from midnight and to last for at least a month, allowing local governors to urge people to stay inside and to call for businesses to close. 

However, the regulations are lighter than those implemented in parts of Europe and the United States, with no penalties for those who fail to comply with social distancing measures.

08:11 The number of elderly people becoming infected with coronavirus in Germany is increasing, and the death toll is expected to rise, said Lothar Wieler, the head of Germany's Robert Koch Institute.

Additionally, despite a slowing in the rise of new infections, the restrictions cannot yet be relaxed, Wieler said. "We must wait the next few days to see if there is a trend in the reports," he said, adding that the count of over 30,000 people who have recovered from the virus is a "pleasing figure."

He also said the reproduction figure, ie how many people each infected person passes the virus on to, has not fallen to below 1 and was currently at between 1.2 and 1.5 — higher than a few days ago.

07:48 Finland has extended border controls until May 13 amid growing fears that cross-border commuters from Sweden could speed up the spread of coronavirus. Finnish authorities have expressed concern over Sweden’s liberal strategy regarding the pandemic, as the country has an ageing population and limited intensive care resources.

"The government's aim is to further reduce movement in the inherent commute area across the borders with Sweden and Norway," the government said in a statement.

Helsinki had already implemented curbs on travel across its northern borders, but now, only the most essential workers will be allowed to cross. 

"Finns who commute to Sweden and Norway across Finland's borders must remain in quarantine-like conditions when they are in Finland," the statement said.

07:35 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been given oxygen but is not on a ventilator, senior Cabinet minister Michael Gove told LBC radio. 

"The prime minister has received some oxygen support and he is kept under, of course, close supervision," Gove said. 

Johnson is a "man of great zest, with an appetite for life," he added.

The British premier was hospitalized on Sunday evening due to "persistent" coronavirus symptoms, and was moved to an intensive care unit on Monday after his condition worsened.

07:22 On March 12, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a "pandemic." One of the WHO's objectives is to coordinate the international response during a global health emergency. It was founded on this day in 1948. World Health Day: What does the WHO do?

07:11 German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said he wouldn’t be pressured to relax coronavirus-related measures after Easter. "We must not weaken now, so close to the end," Altmaier told broadcaster ZDF on Tuesday. 

He also addressed a shortage in personal protective clothing for health workers, adding that it was necessary to ensure that companies in Germany start producing more protective clothing, "not at some point in time, but very soon."

06:47 France has not yet reached the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Health Minister Olivier Veran. 

"We are still in a worsening phase of the epidemic," Veran told broadcaster BFM TV. France currently has almost 99,000 recorded cases of coronavirus and a death toll of 8,926, according to Johns Hopkins University.

06:10 New Zealand’s health minister was demoted on Tuesday, after breaching nationwide lockdown measures by going to the beach with his family. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was stripping Health Minister David Clark of his role as Associate Finance Minister and demoting him to the bottom of the Cabinet rankings following the violations. He had also said he drove to a park near his home to go mountain biking. 

"I've been an idiot, and I understand why people will be angry with me," Clark said in a statement.

New Zealand is halfway through a four-week planned lockdown. Under the current measures, citizens are only allowed to leave their homes for "essential personal movement," while outdoor exercise should only take place in places that can be "readily accessed from home," according to an official notice.

05:43 German Development Minister Gerd Müller called on the European Union to act quickly to protect refugees from the spread of coronavirus, in an interview with the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung

That action includes separating the refugee camp on the Greek island Lesbos into smaller units and bringing the camp up to the official standards of the UN refugee agency, he said, adding that he had visited Lesbos himself and had seen how 20,000 people were living in an area meant to host 3,000 people. 

"So far, all of the appeals [to improve standards at the Lesbos camp] have been unfruitful. Hopefully Brussels doesn’t wait until this turns into a catastrophe," said Müller.

05:22 The Philippines on Tuesday extended the lockdown imposed on the country’s most populous island until the end of the month.

The lockdown on Luzon, which hosts the capital, Manila, and more than half of the island nation’s population, was initially set to last until April 14 but has been extended until April 30. 

President Rodrigo Duterte recently made headlines for his heavy-handed approach to enforcing measures, when he threatened to "bury" those who violate quarantine. The country currently has 3,660 confirmed cases of coronavirus and a death toll of 163.

04:54 The President of El Salvador warned on Monday that security forces would confine those defying quarantine orders in "containment centers" for 30 days and confiscate their cars.

"The restrictions are the same, but we are going to be much tougher in enforcing them," President Nayib Bukele said in a televised address. He added that quarantine measures would be extended by 15 days and that the government was ramping up efforts to track down carriers of the virus. El Salvador currently has 69 reported cases, with a death toll of four.

04:45 Japan is expected to declare a state of emergency in seven regions, including Tokyo, on Tuesday. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe first announced the plan on Monday, citing "rapid increases of new infections, particularly in urban areas like Tokyo and Osaka."

The measures are set to take effect from midnight and to last for at least a month. However, the regulations are lighter than those implemented in parts of Europe and the United States, with no penalties for those who fail to comply with social distancing measures.  

03:45 The UN Security Council will reportedly hold its first meeting on the coronavirus pandemic this Thursday, diplomats said. The meeting is set to be closed-door and held by teleconference. 

No information has been provided on what the members will discuss, but divisions over the pandemic exist and have crippled the Security Council. 

Last week, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution by consensus calling for "international cooperation" and "multilateralism" in the fight against COVID-19. 

But Russia has tried to oppose the text and the US has long insisted that any meeting or text must specify that the virus first emerged in China, angering Beijing.

03:20 The Trump administration announced it had reached a deal with manufacturer 3M to allow the company to resume exporting its N95 protective masks to Canada and Latin America amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

President Donald Trump had used the 1950 Defense Production Act to order the company to stop exporting the masks, which are crucial in protecting healthcare workers, in a move that outraged many officials in Canada. 

"3M and the Administration worked together to ensure that this plan does not create further humanitarian implications for countries currently fighting the COVID-19 outbreak," the company said in a statement. 

"We have reached a very amicable agreement with 3M for the delivery of an additional 55.5 million high quality facemasks each month," Trump said about the deal. 

"We're going to be getting over the next couple of months 166.5 million masks for our frontline healthcare workers, so the 3M saga ends very happily," he added.

03:00 The number of global deaths from COVID-19 now stands at 74,169. The number of infections is 1,337,749 according to the latest (real time) data from Johns Hopkins University. The US has by far the largest number of cases at 362,759. Italy has the most deaths, with the toll currently at 16,523.

02:50 Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index opened more than 3% higher, riding on Wall Street's rally the day before, in response to declining death toll trends in Italy, Spain and New York — the hotspots of the coronavirus pandemic. Asian stocks followed suit, albeit with more modest gains. 

Japan's stock market was also responded to an unprecedented stimulus package worth around 108 trillion yen ($1 trillion), or 20% of GDP, in the world's third-largest economy. 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to officially confirm a state of emergency in seven key regions of the country, which would provide local authorities the power to request people stay at home.

02:40 Berlin is one of Germany’s most densely populated cities. It’s also the place where decisions are being made to enforce stricter and stricter regulations. Its residents are feeling the effects of measures taken to contain the spread of coronavirus. A team of reporters has been following several Berliners for the past few weeks. This is what they found: 

Watch video 28:35

A Capital in Crisis - Life in the Time of Corona

02:20 The World Health Organization (WHO) has taken on a central role in the fight to stem the spread of the coronavirus. When it comes to infectious diseases like AIDS, malaria or now COVID-19, the WHO coordinates the international response. With the current pandemic, that means orchestrating research cooperation and the development of tests, medical treatments and vaccines.

On World Health Day, DW takes a look at everything the WHO does.

02:00 Here's the latest from the Americas:

Colombia President Ivan Duque announced the extension of a nationwide quarantine to stem the spread of coronavirus. Originally set to last 19 days, ending just before midnight on April 13, Colombia will remain on lockdown until April 27. 

"This isolation - which seeks the best of all of us – is exactly so we can keep saving lives, breaking the exponential growth of this pandemic," Duque said during a live television broadcast. 

Colombia closed borders, shuttered schools and shut down international passenger flights last month, as infections soared when travelers returning from Europe and the US brought the disease home. 

Quarantine rules state that only one person per family is allowed out to shop for essential items or carry out financial transactions, masks are required in stores, banks and on public transport, and restaurants can operate on take-out only. 

Latest figures: 1,579 infected, 46 deaths, 88 recovered 

Panama The government of Panama has ordered the temporary closure of Minera Panama, one of Latin America's largest copper producers. The company is majority-owned by Toronto-based First Quantum Minerals. 

The closure was due to an outbreak of coronavirus among the mine company's workers, health minister Rosario Turner said. 

Panama has imposed a strict lockdown, shutting schools, closing borders and sharply restricting movement, to curb the spread of coronavirus. 

Latest figures: 1,988 infected, 54 deaths, 13 recovered 

Venezuela Hundreds of Venezuelan refugees in Colombia began returning home, due to the coronavirus pandemic that is griping the host country.  

Colombian migration officials said 600 people, including 35 children and 167 women, had crossed the main border point at the Simon Bolivar International Bridge in the northeastern city of Cucuta, into Venezuela last weekend. 

Although the border is officially closed, Colombia has established a "humanitarian corridor" to allow Venezuelans to return home. 

Colombian police took the temperature of the departing refugees, to ensure they were free of infection and sprayed those wearing face masks with a disinfectant. 

Latest figures: 159 infected, 7 deaths, 52 recovered 

Brazil A report by the Brazilian army's strategic studies center contradicted President Jair Bolsonaro's stance on the coronavirus. The report urged for widespread isolation to fight the pandemic, fueling an already heated public debate within Bolsonaro's government. 

The study calls for reinforcing social distancing measures to slow the virus' spread, defying the president's statements that have sought to minimize the risks of the disease and called for states to end lockdowns. 

The report endorses widespread, or "horizontal," social distancing measures to avoid a sharp peak in infections. "Though too soon for a final evaluation, the early adoption of horizontal isolation strategies can be seen to lead to more effective results in flattening the curve," the report said. 

The study also said the government will have to take on a major role in rebuilding Brazil's economy once the epidemic is over. 

Meanwhile, Sao Paulo state, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Latin America, said it expected 111,000 deaths in the next six months, and extended its stay-at-home measures for another two weeks. 

Latest figures: 12,056 infected, 553 deaths, 127 recovered 

Argentina Argentina has announced it will defer its payments of up to $9.8 billion on local public debt in response to the coronavirus crisis. The government decree postponed payments just as the government of President Alberto Fernandez was negotiating with creditors to restructure $68.8 billion in private foreign debt. 

The government said that the global health crisis unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic had "altered the deadlines anticipated" in the government's timetable for stabilizing its debt situation. 

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Argentina had been battling a deep economic crisis since 2018, with more than 35 percent of Argentinians living in poverty. 

Latest figures: 1,554 infected, 48 deaths, 325 recovered  

01:15 For the first time since it started publishing figures in January, China's National Health Commission has reported no new deaths from coronavirus. The 32 new cases registered, all came from people who had returned from abroad. 

00:45 A recent study has found that ferrets and cats can be infected with COVID-19, and can also pass the virus on to members of their species — under laboratory conditions. There is less risk with other domesticated animals.

00:25 Since 1971, aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has been working around the world to help people affected by diseases, famines and natural disasters. DW examines why their commitment and experience are now needed at home — in Europe.

00:15 US President Donald Trump lashed out during his daily coronavirus briefing over a Health Department report that found US hospitals still had concerns about a shortage of testing supplies. 

''It’s just wrong. It’s just wrong,'' Trump said, demanding to know who had written the report. 

The inspector general (watchdog) report was based on interviews with more than 300 hospitals nationwide. The report also highlighted a scarcity of protective gear, shortage of ventilators for seriously ill patients and burned-out hospital staff, anxious for their own safety. 

''We've had more testing and had more results than any country anywhere in the world. They're doing an incredible job,'' the president continued. 

''So give me the name of the inspector general. Could politics be entered into that?''

00:01 The US now has more than 10,000 deaths from coronavirus as the country enters what Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams warned would be ''the hardest and saddest week of most Americans’ lives.'' 

Latest figures from Johns Hopkins University put the death toll at 10,524 with at least 362,759 cases of infection — the highest number in the world.

New York continues to be the epicenter of the outbreak, with nearly 4,000 deaths. But Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state could be experiencing a ''flattening of the curve,'' as some 599 new deaths were reported on Monday, on par with Sunday’s death count of 594 and down from 630 on Saturday. 

00:00 German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Donald Trump are among those who have sent their best wishes to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is currently in intensive care in London suffering from coronavirus.

Catch up on that story and all Monday's coronavirus developments here: Coronavirus latest: Boris Johnson moves to intensive care

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. 

jcg/rt (Reuters, dpa, AP, AFP)

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