Spain eases curbs as coronavirus toll drops: Live updates | News


  • China has reported the highest number of new coronavirus cases (108) in nearly six weeks.

  • Death rate in Italy, Spain and France – three of the countries worst-affected by the coronavirus – appears to be slowing down.

  • Japan’s Hokkaido island declared a second state of emergency.

  • Russia recorded its highest daily jump in coronavirus cases with 2,558 new infections. 
  • French President Emmanuel Macron due to address the nation for a third time later on Monday.

  • Globally, more than 114,000 people have died while nearly 434,000 have recovered, according to the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Monday, April 13

12:30 GMT – US Democrats call on Republicans for coronavirus bill

The two top Democrats in the US Congress called on Republicans to work towards new bipartisan coronavirus legislation, citing a lack of funding for the national testing needed to begin to reopen the US economy.

Two days ago, Republicans renewed their push for a $250bn measure to help small businesses cope with the pandemic while doubling down on their opposition to Democratic efforts to broaden the legislation to include other provisions.

“We have real problems facing this country, and it’s time for the Republicans to quit the political posturing by proposing bills they know will not pass either chamber and get serious and work with us towards a solution,” House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement.

12:25 GMT – UK conducts 18,000 tests in 24 hours

A total of 18,000 tests for coronavirus were conducted in the UK in 24 hours and the country was making good progress towards its target of 100,000 daily tests, spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. 

The spokesman said the 18,000 figure applied to the 24 hours up to 0800 GMT on Sunday and excluded Northern Ireland.

“New capacity is coming on stream all of the time and I think we are making good progress,” the spokesman said.

12:10 GMT – UK’s Johnson focused on recovery

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will follow medical advice on when he should return to work, his spokesman said, declining to speculate on how long his full recovery from the coronavirus might take.

“He was only released from hospital yesterday and any decisions which he makes in relation to when he returns to government work will be following the advice of his medical team,” the spokesman said.

Johnson tested negative for coronavirus before he left St Thomas’ Hospital in central London on Sunday and is continuing his recovery at his country residence of Chequers, the spokesman added




UK doctors warn of dire shortage of protective equipment

12:00 GMT – Indonesian Muslims advised to limit Ramadan activities

Indonesia’s top Islamic scholars urged Muslims in the country to follow government advice and limit religious activities to their homes during Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.

The Indonesian Ulema Council clarified the provision was not intended to curb prayers and worship during Ramadan, but was only a measure to help the country in its fight against COVID-19.

“Keep the house as the center of activity and avoid concentration of worshippers in one spot,” said Asrorun Niam Sholeh, a spokesman for the council. 

11:55 GMT – Pope: Protect women from domestic violence during lockdowns 

Pope Francis said society had to stand behind women victims of domestic violence, as abuse increased around the world during coronavirus lockdowns.

The pope, speaking on a religious and national holiday in Italy and other countries, praised women in frontline roles in helping society weather the crisis, mentioning doctors, nurses, police officers, prison guards and sales staff in stores selling essential goods.

epa08357968 Pope Francis leads the Easter Vigil Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, behind closed door due to the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Vatican, 11 April 2020.  EPA-EFE/REMO

Pope Francis led the Easter Vigil Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, behind closed doors due to the outbreak of the coronavirus disease at the Vatican on Saturday [Remo Casilli/EPA-EFE]

But, speaking from his official library rather than from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, Francis said: “Sometimes they (women) risk being victims of violence in a cohabitation that they bear like a weight that is far too heavy.”

“Let us pray for them, so the Lord grants them strength and that our communities support them along with their families,” he said.

11:20 GMT – Three Turkish prisoners die of coronavirus

Three Turkish prisoners have died from the coronavirus, Turkey’s justice minister said as he announced the first cases of convicts diagnosed with the disease.

A total of 17 convicts in five open prisons have contracted the virus, Abdulhamit Gul told reporters in the capital, Ankara.

“Three of them unfortunately died during their treatment in hospital,” he said.

Turkey has nearly 57,000 COVID-19 infections and around 1,200 have died, according to health ministry figures published on Sunday.

10:30 GMT – Spain loosens lockdown restrictions

Hundreds of thousands of people were allowed to return to work for the first time since a coronavirus outbreak in Spain caused the government to impose a lockdown, according to dpa news agency.

People in regions of Spain where Easter Monday is not a national holiday were allowed to leave their homes to go to work in a slight relaxation of a lockdown that has been in place since last month.

Some businesses, including construction and manufacturing, were allowed to reopen, but most of the population are still confined to their homes, and shops, bars and public spaces will remain closed until at least April 26.

Coronavirus precautions in Spain

Lockdown restrictions have helped slow a spiralling death rate that reached its peak in early April  [Burak Akbulut/Anadolu] 

10:20 GMT – Yemen’s Houthis release prisoners to stem COVID-19 spread

The Houthi rebels in Yemen have released more than 2,000 prisoners to prevent the spread of coronavirus in areas they control, the group announced.

Rebel-linked chief prosecutor Nabil al-Azani said in a statement that the group had released 2,361 prisoners since mid-March as part of the precautionary measures against the virus.

He added that certain criteria were applied on those who were released, including serving three quarters of their sentences and good conduct.

10:00 GMT – Coronavirus ‘disaster in the making’ in war-torn Syria

Experts have warned that a coronavirus disaster looms in war-torn Syria, where hospitals are unable to meet existing needs and hygiene conditions are dire.

They have also accused Damascus of minimising its death toll for political motives.

Read the full story.

09:45 GMT – Police collect nearly 800 bodies from Ecuador’s virus epicenter

Ecuador has said police removed almost 800 bodies in recent weeks from homes in Guayaquil, the epicentre of the country’s coronavirus outbreak, after COVID-19 – the disease caused by the new virus – overwhelmed emergency services, hospitals and funeral parlours.

Mortuary workers in the Pacific port city have been unable to cope with a backlog, with residents posting videos on social media showing abandoned bodies in the streets.

Read more here.

Coronavirus Continues To Overwhelm Guayaquil

In the Jardines de Esperanza cemetery in Guayaquil, boxes with coffins continue to arrive to be buried in Pascuales, Guayaquil [Eduardo Maquilon/Getty Images]

09:40 GMT – Spain’s daily death toll falls again with 517 dead

Spain’s overnight death toll from the coronavirus fell to 517 from Sunday’s 619, bringing the total death toll to 17,489, the health ministry said, adding that it was the smallest proportional daily increase since tracking began.

The ministry said in a statement that overall cases rose to 169,496 from 166,019. 

09:34 GMT – Iran reports 111 new deaths from coronavirus 

Iran’s death toll from the new coronavirus has risen to 4,585, with 111 deaths overnight, a health ministry official tweeted, adding the total number of infected cases had reached 73,303 in the most-affected Middle Eastern country.

“Fortunately 45,983 of those infected with the virus have recovered … There were 1,617 new infected cases in the past 24 hours,” tweeted Alireza Vahabzadeh, an adviser to Iran’s health minister.

Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur told state TV that 3,877 of those infected with the new coronavirus were in critical condition. 

More:

09:20 GMT – Thousands of Indian seafarers stranded due to virus curbs

Indian seafarers

The stranded Indian crew members on board MSC Grandiosa, currently docked in Italy [Al Jazeera]

Tens of thousands of Indian crew members, stranded on cargo and cruise ships across the world due to the coronavirus pandemic, are still waiting to be brought home.

“The Indian government has abandoned all of us in the sea,” Anand Kumar, one of the Indian crew members on MSC Divina cruise ship anchored near the port of Miami in the United States, told Al Jazeera.

Read more here

09:10 GMT – Indonesia reports 316 new coronavirus cases, 26 deaths

Indonesia announced 316 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 4,557, according to data provided by a health ministry official, Achmad Yurianto.

Yurianto said there were also 26 new coronavirus-related deaths, taking the total number of fatalities to 399.

Read morefor all the confirmed cases around the world. 




Malaysia’s indigenous people hit hard during coronavirus lockdown

08:47 GMT – South Africa evacuates nationals from Nigeria

South Africa airlifted some 136 of its nationals in the Nigerian capital, Lagos, to become the ninth country to do so from the West African country over the novel coronavirus outbreak, Nigerian local media reported.

The South Africa Airways SA2259 flight, which arrived on Sunday afternoon in Nigeria, departed from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport at night en route to Johannesburg, the Vanguard news website reported. 

08:45 GMT – Italian FA hopes for return to training in May

Italy’s football federation hopes that players can be tested for the new coronavirus at the start of May to prepare for the season to restart, its president Gabriele Gravina has said.

Serie A has been suspended since March 9 because of the coronavirus outbreak and it is still not clear when, or if, the season can resume. Players at a number of clubs have been infected.

A man stands outside the San Siro stadium after the Inter Milan v Sampdoria Serie A match was cancelled due to an outbreak of the coronavirus in Lombardy and Veneto, in Milan

There are still 12 rounds of matches to be played in the Seria A, in addition to several outstanding fixtures [Daniele Mascolo/Reuters]

08:20 GMT – Number of people entering China cut by 90 percent

China has reduced the number of people crossing its borders by 90 percent as part of its efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus, an immigration official said. 

Speaking at a news briefing, Liu Haitao, an official with the National Immigration Administration, said the number of cases was still on the rise in the countries along China’s borders.

China was working to limit all non-essential crossings, but it remained a huge challenge to control the large number of mountain passes, ferries and roads along the country’s long border, he added.

Daily Life In Beijing After China Declared Epidemic Contained

Commuters wear protective masks and keep their distance in a subway during Monday rush hour on April 13, 2020 in Beijing, China [Lintao Zhang/Getty Images]

07:55 GMT – Russia reports record daily rise of coronavirus cases

Russia reported 2,558 new cases of the novel coronavirus, a record daily rise, bringing its overall nationwide tally to 18,328.

Russia’s coronavirus crisis response centre said that 148 people diagnosed with the virus have died so far, an overnight rise of 18.




Russia: New measures may not be enough to deal with COVID-19

07:34 GMT – China rejects discrimination claims against Africans

China said there was no discrimination against “African brothers” in the country and rejected US accusations of mistreatment of Africans in Guangzhou as an attempt to harm Beijing’s relations with African nations.

Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian made the comments during a daily briefing in response to accusations from the US government that authorities in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou are taking measures targeting Africans in the city.

Read more here

07:10 GMT – 3.7 million Kazakhs seek state aid over coronavirus emergency

Some 3.7 million Kazakhs, or 20% of the oil-exporting Central Asian nation’s population, have applied for financial aid offered by the government because of the novel coronavirus outbreak, the cabinet said.

Out of those applications, about 1.8 million have already been approved, labour minister Birzhan Nurymbetov told a news briefing.

The Nur-Sultan government has offered to pay 42,500 tenge (about $100) per month to every citizen who loses their source of income during the emergency period, which began on March 16 and is expected to last at least until the end of April.

More:

06:40 GMT – S Korea to ship 600,000 testing kits to US: Reuters

South Korea plans to send 600,000 coronavirus testing kits to the United States on Tuesday in the first such shipment following a request from U.S. President Donald Trump, a Seoul official told Reuters news agency.

Trump made the request for testing kits in a telephone call on March 25 with President Moon Jae-in, as the United States was grappling with fast-growing outbreaks in many states.

A US Federal Emergency Management Agency cargo plane carrying the equipment is scheduled to leave at 10:30 pm (13:30 GMT) on Tuesday, the official said on condition of anonymity due to the diplomatic sensitivity of the issue.




What’s behind a global shortage of equipment to protect people against coronavirus? | Inside Story

06:30 GMT – Germany’s cases rise by 2,537 with 126 new deaths

The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Germany has risen by 2,537 to 123,016, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases. 

That was lower than a 2,821 increase reported on Sunday, and marked the third decline after four days of increases.

The reported death toll has risen by 126 to 2,799.

Hello, this is Saba Aziz in Doha. I’m taking over this blog from my colleague Kate Mayberry


05:30 GMT –

I’m handing over this blog to my colleagues in Doha.

A summary of this morning’s major developments:

  • President Emmanuel Macron is due to address France later on Monday, but is expected to tell the French that a nationwide lockdown must remain in force.
  • Australia and New Zealand seem to be “flattening the curve” but both countries say it is too soon to ease their lockdowns.
  • China and South Korea continue to report more cases of coronavirus in people arriving from overseas.
  • AP is reporting there have been at least 3,300 deaths in care homes across the United States.

05:15 GMT – Malaysia trade ministry website crashes as businesses apply to operate

The website of Malaysia’s International Trade and Industry Ministry was inaccessible on Monday as businesses rushed to apply for permission to operate during the third phase of the country’s lockdown.

Companies were told they had to apply online and that applications would be open from 9am (01:00 GMT).

Malaysia has said more industries can operate in the next two weeks of the shutdown providing they adhere to distancing and health control guidelines.

04:35 GMT – Asian leaders to hold virtual summit on COVID-19 outbreak

The leaders of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will meet their counterparts in China, Japan and South Korea on Tuesday for a virtual summit on COVID-19.

The summit, led by Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, will discuss “ways and means of cooperation in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic”, a statement from Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry said. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will also attend.

The ASEAN countries will first meet separately.

04:20 GMT – Australia, New Zealand say too soon to ease restrictions

Officials in New Zealand and Australia say they are not prepared to start easing social distancing rules or reopening their economies yet, even as the rate of new coronavirus cases slows.

New Zealand recorded its fifth death from the coronavirus on Monday, while new confirmed cases rose only by 15.

In Australia, the number of new confirmed cases rose by 33, the slowest rate in a month. The country has recorded 61 deaths. Health Minister Greg Hunt said it was too soon to relax restrictions.

“Now is the time to stay the course, to continue with these, self-isolation and social distancing,” Hunt said in a televised briefing. “These are producing real reductions in the rate of growth.”

Australia

Lifeguards try to remove surfers who took to the water during the Easter Long Weekend in Sydney amid a nationwide lockdown [Joel Carrett/EPA]

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said a decision on whether to extend the nationwide shutdown and state of national emergency declared in late March, will be made on April 20.

“Our number of cases may be small, but that doesn’t mean we have yet been successful in hunting this virus down,” Ardern said. 

03:30 GMT – Macron expected to tell France lockdown must continue

French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to warn France later on Monday that ts lockdown to combat the coronavirus must go on for several more weeks at least.

Macron is due to give this third prime-time televised address to the nation on the epidemic from the Elysee Palace just after 8pm (18:00 GMT).

The country has been under lockdown since March 17, and there are now signs the outbreak is beginning to stabilise.

Some 315 deaths were reported on Sunday, compared with 345 the previous day. Altogether, 14,393 people have died, according to the health ministry.

03:20 GMT – Japan’s Hokkaido declares second state of emergency

Hokkaido, in northern Japan, has declared a state of emergency for a second time, after seeing double-digit increases in confirmed coronavirus cases for five consecutive days.

Hokkaido lifted its previous emergency on March 19.

03:10 GMT – Shinzo Abe under fire over ‘Stay Home’ tweet

A “stay home” message tweeted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has drawn angry reactions on social media with some accusing him of being insensitive to people who cannot rest at home because the government’s social distancing measures do not come with compensation. 

The offending tweet showed Abe on his sofa at home, cuddling his dog, reading a book and – looking rather bored – using the remote control for the television.

Abe declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and six other prefectures last Tuesday, asking people to stay home and reduce human interactions by as much as 80 percent, but many people continue to go to work because their employers have yet to adopt home-working.

01:40 GMT – South Korea reports 25 new cases

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says South Korea confirmed 25 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, down from 32 the day before. 

The country had a peak of 909 cases on February 29, but has brought that down through aggressive testing, isolation and contact tracing.

00:40 GMT – China grapples with more imported cases of coronavirus

China has just released its latest coronavirus update.

The National Health Commission says there were 108 new cases of the virus at the end of April 12, and that all but 10 of those cases were imported from outside the country. There were no new cases reported in Hubei, where the outbreak first began late last year, but there were two more deaths.

00:15 GMT – Care home deaths in US probably exceed 3,300: AP

The Associated Press news agency estimates more than 3,300 deaths in the US can be linked to coronavirus outbreaks in nursing and care homes.

Based on media reports and state health department updates, AP says there have been at least 3,323 deaths, an increase of 450 in 10 days.

Coronavirus Economy

The Life Care Center of Kirkland was linked to a number of cases in the northwestern state of Washington early in the US coronavirus outbreak [File: Karen Ducey/Reuters]

About one million, mostly elderly, Americans live in care homes.

00:00 GMT – Erdogan rejects minister’s resignation over weekend curfew

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected the resignation of his interior minister, who had said he would quit after a much-criticised weekend curfew to tackle the coronavirus outbreak which caught millions of people by surprise.

—-

I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur with Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read all the updates from April 12 here.





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