(Reuters) - Reported cases of the coronavirus crossed 2 million globally and more than 131,100 people have died, according to a Reuters tally as of 1400 GMT on Wednesday.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
- For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread, open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.
- For a U.S.-focused tracker with state-by-state and county map, open tmsnrt.rs/2w7hX9T in an external browser.
- U.S. President Donald Trump’s move to halt funding to the WHO over its handling of the pandemic prompted condemnation from world leaders.
- Governors of about 20 U.S. states where the pandemic has had a low impact believe they may be ready to start reopening their economies by Trump’s May 1 target date.
- Brazilian health minister told his team that President Jair Bolsonaro is likely to fire him this week, sources said, raising the prospect of turmoil in the middle of the outbreak.
- Mexican president said the United Nations had been slow in ensuring fair prices and equal access to medical equipment during the pandemic.
- WHO said countries that ease restrictions should wait at least two weeks to evaluate the impact, as some European countries including Spain and Austria have begun small-scale steps to reduce severe lockdowns.
- Spain’s prime minister promised more testing to try to build on a decline in daily deaths.
- Germany will consider relaxing restrictions next week on shops but extend limits on movement until May 3, participants in talks between regional and central government said.
- British government will make a statement on Thursday on its lockdown review, a spokesman said, repeating that advisers do not believe Britain has passed the peak.
- Moscow introduced a travel permit system to help police its lockdown, a move that initially created traffic jams and long queues of people wanting to use the metro.
- Portugal’s virus curve has flattened but the good news is not enough for the country to lift lockdown measures and reopen its economy, government ministers said.
- Finland will lift roadblocks in the region around its capital, Helsinki, in a first step towards easing restrictions.
- The Tour de France has been postponed to Aug. 29-Sept 20, the International Cycling Union said.
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
- China reported a decline in new cases on the mainland, but there was an increasing number of local transmissions in its far northeast bordering Russia.
- Japan urged its citizens to stay home, as media reports warned that as many as 400,000 could die without urgent action, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came under pressure to hand out more cash.
- South Korea’s ruling party is set to win a parliamentary election, exit polls showed, as mask-wearing voters cast their ballots under strict precautions.
- India will allow industries in the countryside to reopen next week, as well as resuming farm activities, while neighbouring Pakistan is set to reopen construction activity.
- Vietnam will extend its lockdown in 12 provinces, including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, for seven days.
- Australian prime minister urged schools to reopen after Easter holidays so students do not lose a year of education and parents can work.
- India has agreed to sell hydroxychloroquine tablets to Malaysia, with New Delhi partially lifting its bar on exports of the anti-malarial drug.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
- Iran’s president said the outbreak had not hit the farm sector and citizens did not need to worry about food supplies.
- Yemen’s war-scarred hospitals are marshalling resources to face the outbreak which has yet to make clear inroads in the country, with the little testing that has been done uncovering just one case.
- The northern Nigeria economic powerhouse state of Kano will impose a seven-day lockdown.
- Namibian borders will remain closed and a partial lockdown in force until May 4.
- Global stocks fell as oil prices dropped and warnings of the worst global recession since the 1930s underscored the economic damage done by the pandemic. [MKTS/GLOB]
- Finance officials from the G20 major economies are set to finalise an agreement for some 76 countries to have debt payments worth a combined $20 billion suspended.
- The European Union needs to put its multi-year budget at the centre of its economic recovery plan, two top officials said, likely triggering more battles among member states about how to pay for it.
- Canada’s economy shrank a record 9% in March from February, Statistics Canada said in a flash estimate.
- Middle East and Central Asia will see a contraction this year bigger than the one seen during the 2008 financial crisis and the 2015 oil price shock, the IMF said.
- Africa is expected to reverse an economic contraction next year after containment measures are eased, the IMF said, but the impact will be felt for years to come.
- President Vladimir Putin said Russian regions would receive an additional 200 billion roubles ($2.7 billion) in relief measures.
- Brazil’s economy ministry is talking with private banks about bailouts to airlines, automakers, power companies and large retailers, sources said.
- Saudi Arabia’s King Salman approved an additional private sector aid package that includes 50 billion riyals ($266 million) to accelerate payment of dues, provide liquidity and cover wages.
- Oman told ministries and other government units to cut spending and announced measures to support the private sector and safeguard jobs.
Compiled by Milla Nissi, Sarah Morland and Ramakrishnan M.; Editing by Tomasz Janowski, Anil D’Silva, Arun Koyyur and Nick Macfie
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