Key developments in the global coronavirus outbreak today include:
Italy extends lockdown
Anti-coronavirus lockdown measures in Italy are to be extended to April 13, the health minister, Roberto Speranza, has said. He told the Senate on Wednesday: “We must not confuse the first positive signals with an ‘all clear’ signal. Data shows that we are on the right path and that the drastic decisions are bearing fruit.”
Although data has shown that the total number of cases in the country is slowing – with 4,053 new infections on Tuesday – the death toll remains at over 800 a day.
Spain passes 100,000 confirmed cases
Spain has crossed the threshold of 100,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, health officials said on Wednesday. According to official figures, it has more cases than any country except Italy and the US. Spain also reached a record single-day death toll between Tuesday and Wednesday, with a total of 864 deaths. The country has logged 102,136 cases of the virus and 9,053 deaths.
Russia delivers masks and medical equipment to US
Russia has dispatched a cargo plane with masks and medical equipment to the US after Donald Trump accepted an offer of humanitarian aid from Vladimir Putin to fight the coronavirus outbreak. The delivery is likely to stir controversy among critics of Trump, who have said Putin will portray the goodwill gesture as a public relations coup and use it to bolster Russia’s efforts to escape sanctions for meddling in the 2016 US elections.
UK government aims for 25,000 tests a day within two weeks
The UK government is aiming to test 25,000 a day for Covid-19 within a fortnight, the housing minister has said. Downing Street is facing mounting criticism over a lack of testing compared with other nations, with only 143,186 carried out to date. By comparison, Germany is testing 70,000 a day.
The UK’s Covid-19 death toll jumped 381 in a single day on Tuesday, with overall fatalities standing at 1,789. More than 25,000 people have tested positive for the virus.
The UK health secretary has ordered all spare coronavirus tests to be used for NHS workers, as it emerged only a small proportion of those in isolation appear to really be ill with the virus.
Global deaths pass 43,000
Data collected by Johns Hopkins University researchers shows at least 43,291 people have died around the world. At least 874,000 have been infected.
US deaths could reach 240,000
The White House has said 240,000 people could die of Covid-19 in the US. Models indicate at least 100,000 will die. Donald Trump said the country should expect a “very, very painful two weeks”. US deaths currently exceed those in China. Monday was the deadliest day yet for the US, which has now lost more than 4,076 people.
Briton among coronavirus victims on Zaandam cruise ship
A British national is among four people to have died on the coronavirus-stricken Zaandam cruise ship embroiled in a bitter dispute over plans to disembark passengers in the US, the PA Media news agency reports.
China moves to focus on asymptomatic cases
China reported 36 new Covid-19 cases and 130 new asymptomatic cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of such cases under observation to 1,367. Previously, China has regarded asymptomatic patients as a low risk and not included them in their tally of confirmed cases. The move to disclose the number of asymptomatic cases comes amid scrutiny of China’s reported figures, which previously only included people who exhibited symptoms.