(Reuters) - Lockdowns to halt the spread of the coronavirus have brought silence to some of the world’s busiest places. Transport hubs that should be teeming with travellers such as New York’s Grand Central Terminal or Istanbul’s Eminonu ferry docks are all but deserted.
* More than 878,300 people have been infected across the world and more than 43,400 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
* For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread, open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.
* U.S.-focused tracker with state-by-state and county map, open tmsnrt.rs/2w7hX9T in an external browser.
* Italy will extend lockdown restrictions to April 13, as data from this week suggests a slowdown of growth in total cases, though its national health institute says official death toll could be underestimated.
* Cases in Spain topped 100,000 on Wednesday, and two planes with protective equipment arrived to restock an overloaded public health system.
* Britain said it would ramp up the number of tests amid widespread criticism that it was doing far too few.
* Switzerland no longer faces shortages in coronavirus testing, its top health official dealing with the pandemic said on Wednesday.
* Measures to limit the outbreak in the Netherlands appear to have halved the rate of infection but need to be continued to be really effective, a top health official said.
* Ireland expects global constraints in the supply of reagents to slow the roll-out of tests over the coming week to 10 days.
* President Vladimir Putin is taking precautions to protect himself, as Moscow launched a smartphone app designed to track people who have been ordered to stay home.
* European scientists and engineers will launch an initiative to support the use of digital contact tracing applications.
* Canada’s death toll jumped by 35% in less than a day and Quebec said it was running low on key medical equipment.
* U.S. health officials are discussing whether to recommend face masks for general use, but said it was too soon to take that step.
* President Donald Trump urged Florida to open its port to a virus-hit Dutch cruise ship stuck at sea.
* Twenty-eight students who returned to Texas after spring break at a beach resort in Mexico have tested positive.
* Brazil’s economy minister said the country needed to strike a balance between social isolation policies and protecting the economy, hours after the president said hunger was just as big a threat as the virus itself.
* Cuba suspended arriving international flights and asked all foreign boats to withdraw from its waters.
* Nearly 30 medical workers at a hospital in northern Mexico have been infected, as the national tally climbed to 1,215.
* El Salvador registered its first death.
* Mainland China reported dwindling new infections on Wednesday and for the first time disclosed the number of asymptomatic cases, which could complicate how trends in the outbreak are read.
* Singapore reported 74 new cases in its biggest intraday jump, bringing its total to 1,000.
* Over 121 countries have asked South Korea for help with testing, a foreign ministry official said on Wednesday.
* Japan will ban entry to foreigners from 73 countries and ask everyone arriving from abroad to begin quarantine.
* India scoured mosques on Wednesday to trace people who attended a Muslim gathering in New Delhi that later emerged as a hotspot.
* The rate of new infections in Malaysia appears to be slowing amid month-long curbs on movement, a senior health official said.
* A team of Chinese scientists has isolated several antibodies that it says are “extremely effective” at blocking the ability of the virus to enter cells.
* Iran’s president said the U.S. had missed an opportunity to lift sanctions on his country, though he said the penalties had not hampered Tehran’s fight against the infection.
* Israel linked any coronavirus aid it might offer the Gaza Strip to recovering two Israeli soldiers.
* Around 1.5 million Israelis have downloaded a mobile app in the past week that alerts users who have crossed paths with a coronavirus patient.
* The Lebanese paramilitary group Hezbollah is using a corps of volunteers, doctors and facilities to carve out a prominent role in the crisis-riven state’s response.
* Ugandan doctors accused the government of endangering the lives of those in medical emergencies by requiring that all seek permission to secure transportation to hospitals.
* Afghanistan has been hit by a spike in prices of essential goods including food and medicines, as shortages and panic buying increase.
* The pandemic has stoked tensions between Turkey’s president and Istanbul’s opposition mayor, with disputes over fundraising and a potential lockdown.
* World markets fell on Wednesday as the virus threat ensured an ugly start to the second quarter for equities and commodities. [MKTS/GLOB]
* China’s ports and shipping firms are bracing for a second wave of supply chain disruptions that may be deeper and more prolonged than during the country’s lockdown.
* The European Commision proposed a short-time work scheme modelled on Germany’s Kurzarbeit programme to help people keep their jobs.
* Italy plans to spend another $11 billion to guarantee debt and liquidity for professionals and companies hit by the crisis.
* The German government and the nation’s credit insurance industry have agreed on a plan to help the sector keep insuring trade despite economic hardship.
* Switzerland is preparing to expand an emergency liquidity programme for businesses, as banks have already lent out more than half of the $20.70 billion set aside for state-backed loans.
* Denmark sold $750 million worth government bonds in an auction that was held a month early to expedite funding of aid packages.
* Taiwan’s economic stimulus will reach $35 billion.
Compiled by Sarah Morland, Milla Nissi, Aditya Soni and Uttaresh.V; Editing by Tomasz Janowski, William Maclean, Sriraj Kalluvila