- Johnson’s office says the PM was hospitalized for “tests” on the advice of his doctor
- US Surgeon General warns of the “hardest” and “saddest” week of most Americans’ lives
- Spain sees its third consecutive daily decline in deaths; Italy’s daily fatality rate is the lowest in two weeks
- Greece puts a second migrant camp in quarantine
- Australia opens criminal investigation into why sick cruise ship passengers were allowed to disembark in Sydney
Updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)
20:31: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to a hospital as a “precautionary step,” his office said Sunday. The 55-year-old tested positive for coronavirus on March 26.
19:50 The German Economic Institute (IW) has come up with a 12-point plan to lift movement restrictions in Germany, once the coronavirus outbreak is under control. The newspaper Bild reports that the plan calls for medical capabilities and testing to be boosted. Then schools and kindergartens could reopen and public transport ramped up, allowing public institutions to return to normal initially. Restaurants and stores could then reopen, possibly under orders to allow patrons to maintain a safe distance. Later, the private sector could restart their businesses and borders with the rest of the EU can be reopened. The other stages of the plan include the loosening of rules for paying taxes and debt and allowing migrant labor to return safely. Finally, the government would need to cut taxes, boost domestic demand, and launch a new program of economic stimulus, according to the IW report.
19:27 Addressing the UK, Queen Elizabeth said the current period of self-isolation brought back memories of a World War II radio broadcast which she made when she was 14 years old. ”It reminds me of the very first broadcast I made, in 1940, helped by my sister. We, as children, spoke from here at Windsor to children who had been evacuated from their homes and sent away for their own safety.”
“Today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones,” she said in a pre-recorded speech. ”But now, as then, we know, deep down, that it is the right thing to do. While we have faced challenges before, this one is different. This time we join with all nations across the globe in a common endeavor, using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal,” she added. ”We will succeed – and that success will belong to every one of us.”
19:20 The British monarch, Queen Elizabeth, has thanked medical workers, carers and all essential workers who remain active during the coronavirus outbreak. “I am sure the nation will join me in assuring you that what you do is appreciated and every hour of your hard work brings us closer to a return to more normal times,” she said in a pre-recorded address that was broadcast on Sunday evening.
The 93-year-old head of state also thanked people for staying at home and urged Britons to show “attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good-humored resolve and of fellow-feeling” and be able to take pride in their response. ”Together we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it,” she said.
19:10 Despite a nationwide lockdown, German authorities have approved two protests against transporting nuclear waste. The rallies will be held in the northwestern cities of Münster and Gronau on Monday. The organizers said only 15 people would take part in either event, and they would be wearing face masks and keep at a 1.5 meter (5 feet) distance away from each other. The activists oppose the planned transport of uranium from an enrichment facility in Gronau to the Russian factory of Novouralsk, according to Germany’s public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk.
18:40 Scotland’s top medical expert has been caught ignoring her own advice on staying at home during the outbreak. People across the UK slammed Chief Medical Officer Catherine Calderwood after photos of her in the coastal town of Earlsferry were published in The Sun newspaper. Calderwood admitted she visited her second home on Scotland’s east coast over two consecutive weekends, despite urging the public to avoid traveling. ”I did not follow the advice I am giving to others,” Calderwood told a news conference. “I am truly sorry for that.”
18:30 Swiss-born Serbian footballer Aleksandar Prijovic has been sentenced to three months in-home detention for flaunting Serbia’s strict lockdown rules. The 29-year-old striker was arrested with more than a dozen partygoers at a hotel in Belgrade on Friday. He pleaded guilty to breaking the emergency order which bans gathering of groups larger than five.
Prijovic, who plays for Al Ittihad in Saudi Arabia and the Serbian national team, is the second famous footballer to face punishment over isolation rules in the Balkan nation. Last month, Real Madrid striker Luka Jovic returned to Serbia and then left his mandatory 14-day home quarantine, triggering outrage. The 22-year-old athlete blamed local officials, saying they “did their job unprofessionally and did not give me precise instructions on self-isolation.” He faces a fine and up to three years in jail.
Aleksandar Prijovic celebrates after scoring for Greek side PAOK Salonika in 2018
18:20 France has reported 357 coronavirus deaths in hospital, lower than the previous two days, bringing the country’s total death toll to 8,078. The overall tally includes 5,889 patients who died in hospital and 2,189 people in old age homes and other medical facilities, a government statement said.
18:10 Singapore has quarantined 20,000 migrant workers in their dormitories, after linking a number of new coronavirus cases to two buildings. Authorities have reported 120 new infections, by far the largest day-to-day jump since the outbreak reached the city-state. The latest figure mark a 60% percent increase over the previous day, when 75 new cases were registered. The rich Asian country has seen 1,309 infections and six deaths.
17:55 Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, a medical doctor by vocation, has re-registered as a medical practitioner and will be working one shift per week to help the country’s anti-coronavirus effort, his office said on Sunday. The 41-year-old Varadkar has worked as a doctor for several years before entering politics. His decision to return to medicine comes after his government launched a massive recruitment drive among retired or non-practicing health professionals. The country’s Health Service Executive (HSE) said over 70,000 people signaled they were ready to rejoin.
17:45 Police in Australia have opened a criminal investigation into why a cruise ship was allowed to disembark in Sydney, resulting in more than 10% of the country’s total coronavirus cases. The Ruby Princess, owned by British-American cruise operator Carnival, docked in Sydney Harbour on March 19 after 11 days at sea.
Border and health authorities had allowed some 2,700 passengers to leave with only minimal checks, even though about a dozen passengers showed respiratory symptoms before they disembarked.
The Ruby Princess is now in Botany Bay, but due to dock further south at Port Kembla on Monday
17:30 With another 73 people dying of COVID-19 in Turkey, the country’s death toll has now reached 574. Turkey has also registered 3,135 new cases for a total of 27,069 infections, the country’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter.
After ordering a mandatory confinement order for everyone older than 65 and younger than 20, Turkish authorities revised the decision on Sunday and said seasonal agricultural workers and employees aged 18-20 would be exempt.
17:05 Residents of India turned off their lights and lit candles, lamps, and flashlights in a show of solidarity after Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged them to “challenge the darkness spread by the coronavirus crisis.” The event, on Sunday night, also saw people shout, cheer, and gather at their doors, balconies and windows. The show of solidarity lasted for nine minutes.
This scene in Ahmedabad was repeated in homes and apartment blocks all over India
16:55 The novel coronavirus has a good chance of becoming “seasonal,” says Anthony Fauci, one of the most senior figures in the Trump administration’s virus response team. He thinks it is unlikely that the virus will be completely eradicated this year and the ”beginning of a resurgence” could be seen during the next flu season. Speaking on CBS’s Face the Nation, Fauci also warned that US states without lockdown measures are putting themselves at risk.
16:40 The death toll in Canada has jumped by over 20% in a single day, reaching 258. With 1,502 new infections, the country now has 14,436 confirmed cases. In a bid to partially offset the economic impact of the outbreak, the government is offering full-time jobs to army reservists. Canada has around 31,000 reserve military personnel, with most of them serving one evening a week and one weekend a month. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that bolstering military ranks would also “ensure our communities are well supported.”
16:35 Italy has recorded its lowest death toll in over two weeks. According to the civil protection service, another 525 have died, taking the overall death toll to 15,887. The number of deaths over the past 24 hours was the lowest since March 19. “This is good news but we should not let our guard down,” civil protection service chief Angelo Borrelli told reporters. Even so, 91,246 people remain ill, a rise of 2,972. Nearly 22,000 have recovered.
16:30 Here is our roundup of COVID-19 stories from across the world:
United States: The US should brace for “the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives,” the country’s surgeon general has said. The death toll has topped 8,400 and is rising fast. “This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it’s not going to be localized,” Surgeon General Jerome Adams, one of the most senior health officials in the country, told Fox News on Sunday. The White House has projected that between 100,000 and 240,000 people in the US will die before the epidemic runs its course.
European Union: Several EU countries say their infection rates are slowing, giving rise to hopes that the end of the crisis might be in sight. On Sunday, Spain reported 674 deaths — the lowest fatality figure in 10 days and said 6,023 more people were newly infected — about 1,000 fewer than the day before. Italy also reported its first-ever reduction in the number of patients requiring intensive care, from 4,068 on Friday to 3,994 on Saturday. Germany reported a third consecutive day of falling infection numbers, from 6,174 reported on Friday to 5,936 on Sunday.
Pakistan: Authorities in Pakistan have quarantined 20,000 Muslim worshipers and are searching for thousands more who defied a ban on large meetings to attend an Islamic gathering in Lahore. Over 100,000 people are believed to have attended the March 10-12 event including several foreign nationals.
United Kingdom: Queen Elizabeth has urged British people to show “good-humored resolve” and exercise self-discipline in a special address on the COVID-19 outbreak. “I hope in the years to come, everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge, and those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any,” she said, according to remarks released before her TV address aired on Sunday evening.
China: With many countries ordering masks, ventilators and COVID-19 testing kits from China, the Asian superpower says it has made $1.44 billion, €1.33 billion exporting medical equipment since March 1. However, the Netherlands and Spain have rejected masks and test kits, saying that the supplies were faulty.
Ecuador: After videos of abandoned dead bodies surfaced online, the country’s vice president has vowed to make amends. “We have seen images that should never have happened and as your public servant, I apologize,” he said. The videos, shared on social media, showed corpses on the streets of Guayaquil in the country’s southeast. The port city has so far born the brunt of the coronavirus outbreak, which has claimed 172 lives.
16:05 The organization behind Germany’s register of intensive care (ICU) bed availability has contradicted reports that there are almost 40,000 intensive care beds in hospitals nationwide. “We cannot confirm this number in any way,” a spokeswoman for DIVI told the business publication Handelsblatt. Figures published by the register on Friday showed that 13,346 ICU beds are occupied, while 10,074 are free. Nearly 2,700 of the beds were used to treat COVID-19 patients.
16:00 The pandemic is also set to hinder the marking by Muslims of the Holy month of Ramadan, which begins on April 23.. Egypt has prohibited Iftar events, where poor people can usually break their fast for free at sunset. Instead, the public is asked to donate cash or groceries to charity, the country’s ministry in charge of mosques said. The North African country has seen 71 deaths from a total of 1,070 confirmed infections.
15:25 The US Surgeon General says next week will be “the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives. Interviewed on Fox News Sunday, Jerome Adams said worsening coronavirus pandemic would be “our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment,” in a reference to the Japanese attack that prompted the US’s entry into World War II and the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Describing an expected surge in fatalities from COVID-19, Adams said the death toll is “not going to be localized. It’s going to be happening all over the country.” To date, 8,503 people have died from a total of 312,249 confirmed infections in the US.
15:20 New York State Governor Cuomo Andrew Cuomo says a further 594 people have died over the past 24 hours, taking the state’s overall tally to 4,159. There were 8,327 new cases, making a total of 122,031 infections.
But he said the number of people discharged from the hospital was three times as great as the number of newly hospitalized people, relieving stress on the healthcare system.
The state accounts for more than a third of all US cases and more than 40% of deaths.
15:15 German police have registered several violations of the national lockdown rules, including a group of 25 mostly drunk people in the southwest city of Wiesbaden and a so-called “corona party” in an old woodshed in a village Fintel in the country’s north. Also, a man spat on a woman while standing in a line in a supermarket during an apparent row about safe distancing rules. Police in the southern city of Friedrichshafen say the man is wanted on assault charges.
14:55 Greece has placed a migrant camp under quarantine after a 53-year-old resident tested positive for COVID-19. The Afghan man has been transferred to a hospital in Athens. Earlier this week, Greek authorities quarantined another facility, where 20 migrants tested positive. Athens has repeatedly warned of potential outbreaks and urged EU assistance for the overflowing camps, that were built for around 8,000 migrants and refugees but are currently home to some 42,000 people.
14:45 About 20 million jobs are at risk in Africa if the continent’s economies shrink sharply due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to an African Union (AU) study. Although the continent currently accounts for just a fraction of total cases, the number of infections is expected to rise sharply, which could spark large drops in gross domestic product (GDP).
African economies are already facing an impending global economic downturn, plummeting oil and commodity prices and an imploding tourism sector. AU said African governments could lose up to 30% of their fiscal revenue, estimated at $500 billion (€463 billion) in 2019.
On Sunday, Ethiopia announced its first death from COVID-19. The country of more than 100 million people has recorded just 43 cases.
14:25 Several guerrilla movements in southeast Asia have declared a unilateral truce due to the current pandemic. In southern Thailand, Muslim separatist militia Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) said it would halt its activities to allow for aid to be brought into the region, the Bernama news agency reported. Last Wednesday, the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in the Philippines also announced a limited ceasefire “as a direct response to the appeal of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres” who called for a global truce.
14:12 Austria has reported 270 new coronavirus cases but noted that 491 people have recovered. The daily rate of new infections has also continued to drop. “These are some hopeful figures, but now…we must remain consistent and not give up,” said Health Minister Rudolf Anschober. The country’s Health Ministry put the total number of infections at 11,997, with the virus claiming 204 lives.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands said 115 people have died of the virus in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to 1,766. The number of confirmed infections has reached 17,851, jumping by 1,224 cases since yesterday.
13:50 Another 621 people died of the coronavirus in the UK, the authorities said on Sunday, with the combined death toll now at 4,934. The country has so far registered 47,806 cases, with new cases jumping by 5,903 over the previous day.
13:40 A home smell test could help people detect if they were infected with the new coronavirus, according to a lab in Israel. While the loss of smell or taste has not yet been officially recognized as a COVID-19 symptom by the World Health Organization, preliminary studies indicate it is present in the majority of infected patients.
People who suspect an infection should do the test at home by smelling items such as peanut butter, vanilla, black pepper, mint, vinegar, vodka, or garlic, and then regularly rate their perceptions at the SmellTracker website. And changes would be processed by an algorithm and could indicate the onset of the disease. according to Neurobiology Professor Noam Sobel.
Read more: What you need to know about the coronavirus
13:30 China has sold 3.86 billion face masks to foreign buyers since March 1, as well as 16,000 ventilators, 2.84 million COVID-19 testing kits, and millions of items of protective clothing, a customs representative said on Sunday. The combined value of medical exports has reached 10.2 billion yuan ($1.44 billion, €1.33 billion), said customs official Jin Hai, adding that over 50 countries had bought the Chinese goods. However, nations including Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey and Croatia have complained over the quality of products they have received from the Asian powerhouse, with the Dutch government recalling 600,000 masks out of a shipment of 1.3 million. Spain rejected thousands of testing kits, describing them as unreliable.
13:15 In Albania, coronavirus cases have spiked for three days in a row, with authorities saying the surge was due to people not sticking to social distancing measures. The Balkan country reported 28 new cases on Sunday. So far, 361 people have been infected and 20 died in the nation of 2.86 million people. In addition to social distancing, the government has also been imposing 400-hour lockdowns on the weekends.
13:10 In the UK, the new Labour leader Keir Starmer has accused the government of making “serious mistakes” in their coronavirus response. In an article published in the Sunday Times, Starmer said authorities failed to provide enough protective equipment for medical workers and were behind on testing. He also called for a “national vaccine program” against the virus. The 57-year-old Starmer won a landslide victory in the contest to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.
12:50 Thousands of prisoners in Morocco are to be released in order to reduce the risk of a coronavirus outbreak, the country’s Justice Ministry said on Sunday. The nation’s King Mohammed VI pardoned a total of 5,654 prisoners. They were selected based on their age, health condition, time served and their conduct while behind bars, the authorities said. The north African country has so far confirmed 919 infections and 59 deaths amid the global pandemic.