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COVID-19 cases worldwide tops 1M

Agence France-Presse

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PARISFrance — At least 1,000,036 cases of infection, including 51,718 deaths, have been reported in 188 countries and territories around the world since the epidemic started in December, according to an AFP tally compiled around 1900 GMT Thursday based on official sources.

With 234,462 cases, the pandemic is rampaging most quickly in the United States while Italy has the highest official death toll with 13,915 fatalities. Spain follows with 10,003, the US with 5,607 and France 5,387.

More than 3.9 billion people, or half of the world’s population, has been called on or obliged by their authorities to stay at home, according to an AFP database count Thursday.

Thailand has introduced a six-hour night curfew beginning Friday.

Eritrea declares a 21-day confinement. Togo declares a three-month “state of emergency” and curfew.

President Vladimir Putin says Russians will continue not going to work while receiving pay until the end of the month. Moscow extends its confinement to 1 May.

Soaring unemployment

Another 6.65 million US workers filed for unemployment benefits in the United States last week, the most ever recorded.

Spain registered a leap of 302,265 jobless claims in March, the biggest on record.

Lufthansa said it has placed more than 60 percent of its workforce on government-backed shorter hours schemes.

Boeing unveiled a voluntary worker layoff program.

Global air passenger demand plunged 14 percent in February, the steepest decline in traffic since the 11 September 2001 attacks, the International Air Transport Association says.

The World Bank approved $160 billion in emergency aid over 15 months to help countries deal with the impact of the pandemic.

The European Commission proposed a bloc-wide guarantee that could raise 100 billion euros ($109 billion) to aid strained national unemployment schemes.

Meanwhile, the city of Milan in Italy shut its main crematorium for the rest of the month to deal with a surge of bodies that have accumulated in the course of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chinese county of Jia in central Henan province, with around 600,000 residents, went into lockdown after a woman who visited the area tests positive, underscoring concerns over a second wave of domestic infections.

US lawmakers, pointing to a report by Bloomberg citing US intelligence, have accused China of lying about the extent of its deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Mainland China, where the epidemic started, has officially reported to date 81,589 cases and 3,318 deaths.

US Democrats postpone their national convention until August 17, pushing back by five weeks the gathering that nominates the party’s candidate to challenge Donald Trump in November.

The cruise ship Zaandam, which has dozens of ill passengers and crew on board, is cleared to dock in Florida after days stranded at sea.

p: wjg

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