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COVID-19 death toll close to 14,000 in Italy

Medical staff of the Intensive Care Unit of the Casalpalocco COVID-19 Clinic in the outskirts of Rome tend to patients, Wednesday, March 25, 2020. (Photo: AP)ROME, April 2 (Xinhua) -- The number of COVID-19 deaths reported in Italy has risen by 760 to 13,915 and the total number of confirmed cases has risen to 115,242, according to the latest data released by the countrys Civil Protection Department on Thursday.Speaking during a televised press conference, Civil Protection Department Chief Angelo Borrelli confirmed that there were 2,477 new active coronavirus infections compared to Wednesday, bringing the nationwide total to 83,049 cases.Of those infected, 28,540 are hospitalized, 4,053 are in intensive care and the rest are quarantined at home, Borrelli noted, adding that there were 1,431 additional recoveries compared with Wednesday, bringing that total to 18,278.

Saudi Arabia calls for urgent meeting for OPEC+ states, other countries

With billions of people around the world in lockdown for the foreseeable future, there are increasing worries about the impact on the global economy, which is already expected to fall into recession. (Photo: AFP)RIYADH, April 2 (Xinhua) -- Saudi Arabia called on Thursday for an urgent meeting for OPEC+ group and other countries, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.The meeting aims at reaching a fair agreement to restore the desired balance of oil markets, it said.SPA said that Saudi Arabia made efforts during the past period to reach an agreement within OPEC+ group to restore equilibrium in the oil market, as it has garnered the support of as many as 22 countries within OPEC+ group, but it was not possible to reach an agreement due to lack of consensus.Meanwhile, the agency also reported on Thursday a phone call between the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud and US President Donald Trump, in which they reviewed the situations of energy markets in the world.

Global death toll from COVID-19 soars past 50,000: Johns Hopkins University

Health workers applaud as people react from their houses in support of the medical staff that are working on the COVID-19 virus outbreak at the Gregorio Maranon hospital in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, April 1, 2020. (Photo: AP)WASHINGTON, April 2 (Xinhua) -- The global death toll from COVID-19 has soared past 50,000, according to a new tally from Johns Hopkins University on Thursday.

US Democratic National Convention delayed until August

In this July 26, 2016, file photo the stage is reflected on a glass window on the suite level at Wells Fargo Arena as Timmy Kelly sings the national anthem before the start of the second day session of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. (Photo: AP)WASHINGTON, April 2 (Xinhua) -- The US Democratic National Convention to be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at which the Democratic Partys presidential nominee will emerge, has been delayed until August due to the coronavirus pandemic, the events organizer said Thursday."After a great deal of scenario planning and giving thought to how it is this event can have the greatest impact in the electoral process and the greatest impact in terms of what we can bring to Milwaukee, we felt the best decision, not knowing all the answers, was to delay this," Democratic National Convention CEO Joe Solmonese was cited by the Journal Sentinel as saying.Solmonese said it was determined that "the week of August 17 was the best week to move it to," without elaborating on how many days the gathering will last, according to the Journal Sentinel."More than anything we continue to monitor the public health landscape," Solmonese said.The Democratic National Convention was originally scheduled for July 13 to 16. The purpose of the event is to choose a Democratic presidential nominee, now a choice between former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, to take on President Donald Trump in the general election later this year.

Iran's parliament speaker contracts COVID-19: report

File photoTEHRAN, April 2 (Xinhua) -- Irans Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani contracted the novel coronavirus, Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) reported on Thursday.Larijani has been tested positive for the novel coronavirus and is currently quarantined and being treated, the report said.Earlier in the day, Iran reported 50,468 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection in the country, of which 3,160 have died.

Japan's Abe cautious about declaring state of emergency over pandemic, says nation is 'on the brink'

File photoTOKYO, April 2 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday said that COVID-19 infections across Japan are not at a point necessitating a declaration of a state of emergency, although stated the nation is "on the brink"."At this point, we have not seen infections spreading rapidly and widely across the country. We are just about holding the line," Abe said in parliament."But if we lower our guard now even a little, infections could accelerate suddenly at any moment. We continue to be on the brink," Abe added.The prime ministers remarks in parliament Thursday came as Japans health ministry and local governments said that 2,713 people had been infected with the COVID-19 virus in Japan as of 8:30 p.m. local time on Thursday, with the daily number of cases topping 200 for a third straight day and a total of 82 people losing their lives to the pneumonia-carrying virus.Nationwide, 218 new infections were reported as of Thursday evening, while in Tokyo, the epicenter of the virus in Japan, a record 97 people have been infected, the latest figures showed.The number has surged from previous records this week in Tokyo, far surpassing 66 cases reported on Wednesday and 78 on Tuesday, further fueling possible calls by the metropolitan government to request additional measures to curb the spread, such as more stringent stay at home orders, social distancing and the continued request for people to work from home and refrain from going outside in the evenings.Abe has taken a cautious approach to declaring a state of emergency as doing so could infringe on the rights of people, although the prime minister has acknowledged that, "Its critically important to prevent a sharp rise in cases in the Tokyo metropolitan area with a large population, which is at the center of economic activity."Prior to a state of emergency being declared over the virus, the prime minister will have to seek the opinions from an ad...

Confirmed COVID-19 cases exceed 33,000 in UK

File photoLONDON, April 2 (Xinhua) -- The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Britain reached 33,718 as of Thursday morning, an increase of 4,244 in 24 hours, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.As of Wednesday afternoon, of those hospitalized in Britain who tested positive for novel coronavirus, 2,921 have died, up 569 over the same time on the previous day, the lastest figure from the department showed.Still in self-isolation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed his concerns over rising number of people using transport despite the escalating coronavirus outbreak."Yesterdays data showed more people were using transport than in previous days. Please do not leave your house unless absolutely necessary. It really will save lives," Johnson said Thursday on Twitter.The prime minister entered self-isolation last week after testing positive for COVID-19.To help frontline medical staff cope with the pandemic, researchers are developing more efficient tools for diagnosis.A new rapid diagnostic test for COVID-19, developed by a University of Cambridge spinout company and capable of diagnosing the infection in under 90 minutes, is being deployed at Cambridge hospitals, ahead of being launched in hospitals nationwide, according to the university.

49 new coronavirus cases, 1 death reported in Singapore

File photoBangkok (Peoples Daily) - Singapore reported 49 new coronavirus cases and one death on Thursday, bringing the total number of infections to 1,049 and deaths to four, said the Ministry of Health of Singapore.Of the confirmed cases, 41 are local cases. The remaining eight people recently returned from Europe, North America, Southeast Asia and other parts of Asia.Singapore on Thursday reported its fourth death related to COVID-19, a 68-year-old Indonesian national. The patient, with a history of diabetes and hypertension, died from complications due to the disease at 6:43 am.So far, 266 people have fully recovered, and 23 are critically ill.

Russia extends paid leave nationwide to end of April

File photoMOSCOW, April 2 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin declared Thursday an extension of paid leave for all Russians to April 30 to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Iran rejects claim of plan to attack US troops in Iraq

File photoTEHRAN, April 2 (Xinhua) -- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday rejected U.S. claims that Iran plans an attack on American troops in Iraq.On Wednesday U.S. President Donald Trump alleged that "Iran or its proxies are planning a sneak attack on U.S. troops or assets in Iraq."Dismissing Trumps claims, Zarif said that "Iran starts no wars, but teaches lessons to those who do" so against Iran, Zarif tweeted.In January, a U.S. airstrike killed Qassem Soleimani, commander of Irans elite Quds Force, along with an Iraqi militia commander near Baghdad International Airport. U.S. claimed that Soleimani was planning to carry out attacks on Americans in Iraq, which Iran rejected.

Portuguese parliament approves 15-day extension of state of emergency

File photoLISBON, April 2 (Xinhua) -- The Portuguese parliament on Thursday approved in a plenary session a presidential decree on the extension of the state of emergency for another 15 days, in an attempt to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and cushion its economic and social impact.The state of emergency, which was declared by Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa on March 18 and would end on Thursday midnight, will be renewed until April 17 under the new endorsement.The president published the new decree early Thursday, seeking to extend the state of emergency for another 15 days and giving more power to the executive authorities.Compared to the previous one, the new decree authorizes the Portuguese government to take more restrictive measures such as job protection, price controls, support for the elderly, education and measures for prisoners.According to the presidents proposal, compulsory confinement can be imposed at home, a healthcare establishment or other place defined by the authorities, as well as the establishment of sanitary fences.The Portuguese government may prevent unjustified travel, and specify "the situations and purposes in which the freedom of individual movement, preferably unaccompanied, remains."According to the decree, limitations may be imposed in relation to the dismissals of employees by companies, while price control measures and combating speculation can also be adopted. However, the government has promised that rents, interest, dividends and other property or capital income can be reduced or deferred, without penalty.The presidential decree said that border controls, limitation or prohibition of meetings or demonstrations, religious celebrations and face-to-face classes may be established.The presidential decree said that the perpetrators of "any and all acts of active or passive resistance" directed at the orders of the authorities may incur a crime of disobedience.Finally, "exceptional a...

More than half law courts in England, Wales closed amid coronavirus outbreak

File photoLONDON, April 2 (Xinhua) -- More than half of the court houses in England and Wales have closed during the novel coronavirus pandemic, but a network of priority courts remain open to make sure the justice system continues to operate effectively, Britains Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has announced.Starting from Monday, the work of courts and tribunals have been consolidated into fewer buildings, with the capacity for phone and video hearings significantly increased, the MoJ said.The MoJ said 157 priority court and tribunal buildings stay open for essential face-to-face hearings. This represents 42 percent of the 370 crown, magistrates, county and family courts and tribunals across England and Wales."With each part of our justice system -- from police to probation -- dependent on one another, it is vital that we keep our courts running...This will only be done while ensuring the safety of the public, judges, legal professionals, staff and all those attending hearings," said Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland."Technology is being used creatively to ensure that many cases can continue. Not everything can be dealt with remotely and so we need to maintain functioning courts," Lord Chief Justice Ian Burnett said.Among the courthouses remaining open are the Royal Courts of Justice in London and the Central Criminal Court, better known as the Old Bailey, also in London. Westminster Magistrates Court, which usually hosts terrorism cases, stays open too.The MoJ said any urgent or essential hearing that must be held in person, as decided by a judge, can be heard in priority buildings.

Israel’s health minister has virus, top officials to isolate

In this Monday, March 2, 2020 photo, Israels Health Minister Yaakov Litzman delivers a statement as he visits a makeshift tent for quarantined coronavirus voters in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo: AP)The new coronavirus is forcing more top Israeli officials into isolation after the country’s health minister, who has had frequent contact with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, tested positive, the Health Ministry said Thursday.The Middle East has over 81,000 confirmed cases of the virus, most of those in Iran, and over 3,600 deaths. Iran’s Health Ministry said Thursday that the new coronavirus killed another 124 people, pushing the country’s death toll to 3,160.In a rare acknowledgment of the severity of the outbreak by a senior Iranian official, President Hassan Rouhani said the new coronavirus may remain through the end of the Iranian year, which just began late last month, state TV reported Thursday.“The corona issue is not an issue that we can say it will be ended (on a specific) day. It is possible corona will be with us for the coming months. It is possible it will be with us by the end of the year. We always have to follow healthy protocols provided by the health ministry,” Rouhani said.In Lebanon, the Philippines ambassador, Bernardita Catalla, died of complications from the coronavirus Thursday, the Philippines said. Lebanon has recorded 494 cases, including 16 deaths.Israeli Health Minister Yaakov Litzman and his wife, who also contracted the virus, are in isolation, feel well and are being treated, the ministry statement said.Shortly after the announcement, the prime minister’s office said Netanyahu returned to self-quarantine because of his contact with Litzman. Netanyahu had previously been in isolation after a top aide tested positive for the virus. Netanyahu has tested negative.Hebrew language media reported that the head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency and the National Security Council were asked to self-quarantine because of their interactions with Litz...

4 mln French workers 'partially unemployed' amid coronavirus crisis

File photoPARIS, April 2 (Xinhua) -- Four million French employees are currently under the partial unemployment scheme put in place by the government in response to the coronavirus crisis, Minister of Labor Muriel Penicaud announced on Thursday.That is to say, "one employee in five in France in companies or associations is partially unemployed," Penicaud told radio network Franceinfo.Partial unemployment or technical unemployment for a company consists of reducing the working week or temporarily closing all or part of an establishment. Under the scheme, employer pays its employees on temporary leave most of their salary. The state will then reimburse businesses in full for salaries up to 4.5 times the minimum wage.During the coronavirus outbreak, the French government has enabled expedited procedures for employers to facilitate partial unemployment. This mechanism to avoid dismissals might cost the French state coffer billions of euros, estimated French media.

US jobless claims double to record 6.65 mln as COVID-19 devastates economy

In this March 17, 2020 file photo, people wait in line for help with unemployment benefits at the One-Stop Career Center in Las Vegas.(Photo: AP)More than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — doubling a record high set just one week earlier — a sign that layoffs are accelerating in the midst of the coronavirus.The stunning report Thursday from the Labor Department showed that job cuts are mounting against the backdrop of economies in the United States and abroad that have almost certainly sunk into a severe recession as businesses close across the world.Applications for unemployment benefits generally reflect the pace of layoffs. Combined with last week’s report that 3.3 million people sought unemployment aid two weeks ago, the U.S. economy has now suffered nearly 10 million layoffs in just the past several weeks — far exceeding the figure for any corresponding period on record.Some of last week’s jobless claims are likely delayed filings from the previous week, when state offices that handle unemployment benefits were overwhelmed by a surge of online and telephone claims.The accelerating layoffs have led many economists to envision as many as 20 million lost jobs by the end of April. That would be more than double the 8.7 million jobs lost during the Great Recession. The unemployment rate could spike to as high as 15% this month, above the previous record of 10.8% set during a deep recession in 1982.Many employers are slashing their payrolls to try to stay afloat because their revenue has collapsed, especially at restaurants, hotels, gyms, movie theaters and other venues that depend on face-to-face interaction. Auto sales have sunk, and factories have closed.More than two-thirds of the U.S. population are under stay-at-home orders, imposed by most U.S. states. That has intensified pressure on businesses, most of which face rent, loans and other bills that must be paid.The White House and Congress expanded the unemployment benefi...

Philippines requires people to wear masks in public as confirmed COVID-19 cases reach 2,633

File photoMANILA, April 2 (Xinhua) -- The Philippines on Thursday required all those living in areas under enhanced community quarantine to wear face masks or other forms of protective equipment when they leave their homes to slow the spread of COVID-19.Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles announced the new measure in a virtual media briefing as the Philippines reported 322 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of the confirmed cases to 2,633.Health Secretary Francisco Duque said at the briefing the death toll from the coronavirus disease has risen to 107 as of Thursday afternoon. He added that 51 patients have recovered from the disease.The Department of Health earlier advised that only sick people wear a mask to lessen the chances of infecting others, saying the frontline health workers have the greatest need for masks.In his daily briefing, Nograles said the inter-agency task force in a resolution "adopts the policy of mandatory wearing by all residents of face masks, earloop masks, indigenous, reusable or do-it-yourself masks, face shields, handkerchiefs, or such other protective equipment that can effectively lessen the transmission of COVID-19, whenever allowed to go out of their residences pursuant to existing guidelines issued by the national government."Already, Nograles said that quarantine and treatment facilities in Metro Manila are being readied in case a large-scale community transmission occurs.More than 75 percent of the Philippines confirmed COVID-19 cases are in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, a dense urban area that is also the largest contributor to the countrys economy."By now all of us are aware of the gravity of the threat before us. This is not an ordinary disease, which is why the government is doing everything to prevent it from spreading," he said.Moreover, Nograles appealed to establishments like supermarkets and groceries to extend their operating hours to a maximum of 12 hours to ensure that resid...

Thailand to start national curfew

File photoBangkok (Peoples Daily) - Thailand will enforce national curfew from 10 pm to 4 am starting Friday, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha announced during a television address on Thursday.All nationals except medics, emergency workers and personnel delivering medical supplies and patients, are urged to stay at home. The order will be executed by the army.Prayut said the curfew is to better curb the spread of the pandemic due to the rising number of infections.(Compiled by Shan Xin)

Germany to deploy 15,000 soldiers for civil aid during coronavirus crisis: report

Photo: The NationBERLIN, April 2 (Xinhua) -- The German armed forces will deploy 15,000 soldiers to help civilian institutions deal with the coronavirus crisis, Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told public broadcaster ARD on Thursday."It is indeed the case that, for the first time in our history, we have set up coronavirus deployment contingent in view of the crisis," she said.The medical facilities of the German armed forces, which was already integrated into the civilian system, were part of this, said Kramp-Karrenbauer. "It is all about logistics. It is about helping hands."Kramp-Karrenbauer said the German armed forces were suffering from a shortage of protective equipment. "We too have supplies for a certain short period of time," she said.Like many institutions in Germany, the armed forces were suffering from a lack of protective equipment, she warned. "We are not yet able to stock up on protective masks to a sufficient extent."

The latest: COVID-19 outbreak worldwide (Updated April 2)

(Photo: AFP)The global death toll from COVID-19 increased by 4,193to 40,598in the past 24 hours as of 10:00 CET on Wednesday, according to the daily situation report released by the World Health Organization (WHO).The report showed a total of 823,626confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported as of Wednesday, an increase of 72,736infections compared to the previous day.Current status (data as of 6 pm BJT, April 2):USPresident Donald Trump on Wednesday said hewelcomes Chinas efforts to provide personal protective equipment to countries and regions combating COVID-19. Asked to comment on claims thatChina, by shipping aid overseas, "is taking on a global leadership role" in the battle against COVID-19, Trump said he views that "as a positive" if China is helping other countries.The United Statesbecamethe first nation with more than 200,000 COVID-19 infectionson Wednesday, according to a new tally from Johns Hopkins University. The coronavirus has killed 884 people over the past 24 hours in the US, anew one-day recordfor the country with by far the highest number of reported cases anywhere in the world.UKPrime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government was under fire Wednesday forfailing to keep its promise to increase the amount of testing being done for COVID-19, even as the country saw its biggest day-to-day rise yet in deaths among people with the virus, to 2,352.More than 18,000 veterinariansinFranceare mobilizingfor registration to assist medical care to fight the epidemic.The coronavirus pandemic has claimed 13,155 lives in locked-downItalyby Wednesday, withthe cumulative cases of COVID-19 reaching 110,574, according to new data released by the Civil Protection Department.CanadianPrime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday that he isrecalling the Canadian parliament again for expanded emergen...

Iran’s COVID-19 cases pass 50,000

File photoCairo (People’s Daily) - Iran had 2,875 new infections of COVID-19 and 124 new deaths during the past 24 hours, Irans health ministry spokesman said Thursday.The number of confirmed cases has risen to 50,468, with the number of deaths at 3,160.16,711 people have recovered, while 3,956 remain in serious and critical condition.

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