New York State reported the most deaths in a single day while Italy, the nation with the most fatalities in the world, had the fewest since March 26. Spain plans to extend its lockdown.
U.S. deaths rose to more than 7,500 and the global tally exceeds 62,000. At least a half-dozen cruise ships remain at sea with passengers and crew as companies navigate long trips and struggle to find ports willing to let them dock. The big question remains: When, and how, will this end?
Global cases top 1.1 million; deaths exceed 62,000: Johns HopkinsBread lines are forming in Mar-a-Lago’s shadowThe virus is destroying jobs around the worldLandlords in peril as retailers withhold rentCruise ships, linked to the early spread, are still sailingThe maker of Purell gets tariff exclusions
New York’s Deadliest Day (2 p.m. NY)
New York, the worst-hit U.S. state, recorded the biggest daily death toll yet, adding 630 fatalities for a total of 3,565, Governor Andrew Cuomo said. One thousand ventilators are due to arrive from China on Saturday. “This is a big deal and it’s going to make a significant difference for us,” Cuomo said. Oregon donated another 140. “We’re not at the apex,” Cuomo told reporters. New York City’s total rose to 63,306 cases and 2,624 deaths.
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Trudeau Plans Trump Call Amid Spat (1 p.m. NY)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he will speak to Donald Trump soon as the U.S. president escalates a battle with allies and 3M Co. over exports of medical equipment and N95 masks. Trudeau said he wasn’t looking to retaliate or limit exports to the U.S. but will note that Canada also sends key equipment across the border.
“In terms of gloves and other types of equipment and test kits, the fact is we’ve supplied that equipment to the United States,” Trudeau said at a news conference. It would hurt both countries to interrupt those supplies, Trudeau said.
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Italy’s Daily Deaths Lowest Since March 26 (1:10 p.m. NY)
Italy reported 681 coronavirus deaths on Saturday, including a police officer in Premier Giuseppe Conte’s security team. Authorities warned that a return to normalcy remains distant. The daily toll was the lowest since March 26 and fell from 766 on Friday, according to civil protection data. There were 4,805 new cases, an increase from 4,585 a day earlier.
While efforts to contain the virus have started bearing fruit, “It’s way too early to think the battle is won,” according to emergency response czar Domenico Arcuri.
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Dubai Extends Restrictions to 24 Hours (1:05 p.m. NY)
Dubai imposed further restrictions on the movement of people and halted metro services as the Middle East’s business hub seeks to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
A program to clear the streets will be extended to 24 hours for two weeks from Saturday, Dubai’s media office said by tweet. Supermarkets, pharmacies and food delivery services will operate, it said. Violators could face legal action, it said.
Dubai will suspend metro and tram services from Sunday until further notice, Gulf News reported earlier. The Gulf nation has 1,505 cases so far, with 241 added on Saturday.
U.K. Has ‘Reasons to Be Hopeful’ (12:30 p.m. NY)
The measures put in place by the U.K. to fight the virus are providing “reasons to be hopeful,” NHS England Medical Director Stephen Powis said at a press briefing. Existing lockdown procedures will be reviewed next weekend, as the government previously announced, and financial assistance to help people and companies are constantly under review, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said.
Greece Extends Lockdown (12:30 p.m. NY)
Greece is extending its national lockdown, with restrictions on movement, until early April 27, Deputy Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Chardalias said. The country introduced a total lockdown on March 22 after moving quickly to put in place restrictions following the first confirmed case on Feb. 26. Greece so far has 1,673 cases and 68 deaths.
A Quarter of French Workers on Benefits (11:30 a.m. NY)
French Labor Minister Muriel Penicaud said on BFM TV that 5 million workers, about a quarter of the nation’s people on payrolls, have been granted temporary unemployment benefits, a system put in place to help companies reduce operations without laying off staff.
NYC Seeks U.S. Doctors, Nurses (11 a.m. NY)
Mayor Bill de Blasio repeated calls for a national system to help move doctors and nurses from other states to areas with high need, saying the weeks ahead will be New York City’s “the toughest time.”
“This is going to be a reality where you are going to have many cities and states simultaneously in crisis, needing health care professionals, needing ventilators,” de Blasio said on MSNBC, adding that the thinning ranks of health care workers was the city’s biggest challenge.
The city on Friday sent an emergency mobile alert pleading for licensed health-care workers to volunteer at its hospitals. The mayor said the city needs 45,000 more medical personnel through April and May. “We need as many health workers as possible right here, right now,” he said.
Egypt National Projects Postponed (11:15 a.m. NY)
Egypt delayed the start of large national projects including the Grand Egyptian Museum and Museum of Egyptian Civilization, and postponed to 2021 moving the country’s administrative capital city due to the pandemic.
Poland Weighs Easter Restrictions (10 a.m. NY)
Poland is considering further restrictions ahead of the Easter holiday to keep the coronavirus from spreading via traditional family visits, Health Minister Lukasz Szumowski said.
Poles have been under a lockdown for three weeks. While the government previously predicted a peak in the outbreak by mid-April, crediting its early restrictions, Szumowski said it’s now expected to keep growing over the coming weeks.
Singapore Has Another 75 Cases (9:55 a.m. NY)
Singapore’s Ministry of Health confirmed an additional 75 cases of Covid-19 infection, of which six are imported and 69 are local cases who have no recent travel history abroad.
Spain Plans to Extend Lockdown (9:14 a.m. NY)
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced plans to extend the country’s lockdown by two weeks until April 25. “I understand it’s difficult to extend the effort and sacrifice two more weeks,” Sanchez said in a televised speech. “These are very difficult days for everyone.” A longer lockdown would be subject to cabinet and legislative approval.
U.K. Deaths Increase (9:02 a.m. NY)
The U.K. reported its deadliest day yet, with an increase of 708 coronavirus deaths, bringing the total to 4,313. According to the Department of Health and Social Care, 41,903 people have tested positive for the virus.
Keir Starmer, newly elected as leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, said he would have the “courage” to back Prime Minister Boris Johnson where necessary in the national interest to defeat the coronavirus pandemic, while holding him accountable for mistakes.
Hungary Funds Crisis Measures (7 a.m. NY)
Hungary’s government announced cuts to political party finances and pledged tax increases for banks and retail chains as part of efforts to fund crisis measures. The steps are the latest in contentious measure that have seen Prime Minister Viktor Orban assume powers to rule by decree indefinitely.
The cabinet will announce a major economic policy plan amounting to 18-22% of GDP on Tuesday, Gergely Gulyas, the minister in charge of the premier’s office said Saturday. The central bank will also announce measures of its own that day, he said.
Herd Immunity Could Take Years (6:39 a.m. NY)
Herd immunity against the coronavirus may take years to develop, Jaap Goudsmit, adjunct professor of epidemiology and infectious diseases at Harvard, said in an interview with Dutch daily De Telegraaf.
The number of deaths in the Netherlands rose by 164, or 11%, to 1,651, according to a daily update from the RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. The tally of confirmed virus cases increased by 6% to 16,627, slightly below the growth rate seen in the beginning of the week. The amount of people hospitalized with the virus rose by 336 to 6,622.
Spain Cases Pass Italy (5:50 p.m. HK)
A slower pace of fatalities and new cases though is offering hope that Spain’s outbreak may be edging toward a peak.
Spain said the number of confirmed cases increased to 124,736, from 117,710 a day earlier, according to Health Ministry data. In Italy, total cases stood at 119,827. In what could be a sign of hope, the number of new deaths in Spain declined for a second day, with an additional 809 fatalities in the past 24 hours for a total of 11,744.
Swedish Deaths Seen in Thousands (5:48 p.m. HK)
Sweden must expect to count its dead from the coronavirus in the “thousands,” Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said in an interview in Dagens Nyheter. The biggest Nordic economy, which has opted for less restrictive measures than many countries in the fight against the pandemic, has had more than 330 deaths after confirmed cases topped 6,000 this week. Lofven also said the country will need to contend with the pandemic and its economic impact for “months, not weeks.”
Sweden’s government is preparing to seek extraordinary powers, allowing it to bypass Parliament for certain regulations, Expressen reported late Friday. The proposal, which has been sent to opposition lawmakers, suggests the coalition led by the Social Democrats might be planning to tighten its response to the pandemic.
Russia Following ‘Optimistic Scenario’ (5:30 p.m. HK)
The outbreak in Russia so far is following the “optimistic scenario, in large part because in the previous two months of contact with this virus, Russia took all the necessary measures,” Anna Popova, the country’s top public-health official, told state television.
The government reported the second straight day of declines in new cases on Saturday. The latest figures showed 582 additional infections in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 4,731, with 43 deaths.
France Extends Tax Delay (4:05 p.m. HK)
France will allow companies to postpone their tax and social security payments again for the month of April, Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin said in an interview with Ouest France newspaper. The government will decide later whether those taxes will eventually be canceled entirely, he said. On Twitter, Darmanin said 450,000 small businesses have applied for a 1,500-euro ($1,620) payment from the government’s “solidarity fund.”
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