Coronavirus crisis: Prince Charles positive, a third of humanity in lockdown
– World confined –
AFP – With India’s 1.3 billion people under lockdown, a third of the planet — some 2.9 billion people according to an AFP tally — is now under orders to stay home.
In Egypt a night-time curfew will begin for two weeks on Wednesday.
Iran will ban intercity travel as of Thursday or Friday.
Panama declares a nationwide lockdown while Uruguay closes its borders to foreigners, with some exceptions.
Senegal, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of Congo all declare states of emergency.
Britain’s parliament shuts for nearly a month.
– Massive US stimulus package –
After days of tough negotiations, the White House and Senate agree a mammoth $2-trillion stimulus package to help the economy resist effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Senate and House of Representatives still need to pass the legislation before sending it to President Donald Trump for his signature.
The World Health Organization warns the outbreak in the US has the potential to exceed that in Europe, but Trump voices hope the country will be “raring to go” by mid-April.
– Bolsonaro slams “overblown” reaction –
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro condemns the containment measures taken by authorities in places such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
In a national address, he slams the “scorched-earth concept” of shutting down transport, businesses and confining people in their homes, warning this risks wrecking the economy.
– China province gets moving again –
After a months-long lockdown, China’s Hubei province, home to more than 50 million people, lifts its tough restrictions on movement.
Huge crowds jam trains and buses as people take their first opportunity to travel.
Hubei’s capital city Wuhan — the initial epicentre of the outbreak — will allow residents to leave from April 8.
– More than 427,000 cases –
At least 19,246 deaths have been recorded since the virus first emerged in December, according to an AFP tally compiled at 1100 GMT Wednesday based on official sources.
More than 427,940 declared cases have been registered in 181 countries and territories.
Italy has suffered the most deaths with 6,820, out of 69,176 declared infections.
Spain, overtaking China in the virus toll, has had 3,434 fatalities from 47,610 cases. Mainland China has had 3,281 deaths out of 81,218 cases.
Next on the list of worst-hit countries is Iran with 2,077 deaths and 27,017 cases, then France with 1,100 deaths and 22,302 cases, and the US with 600 deaths and 55,225 cases.
– EU finance ministers split –
EU finance ministers meeting via videoconference fail to agree on crisis measures to help European countries withstand the economic shock of the coronavirus outbreak.
They leave it to leaders to break the logjam at a summit this week.
– Prince Charles tests positive –
Prince Charles, heir to Queen Elizabeth II, tests positive and is showing mild symptoms but otherwise in “good health”, his office says. The 71-year-old is self-isolating in Scotland.
Kithmina Hewage- Institute of Policy Studies