Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020
This article documents the chronology of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020, which originated in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Some developments may become known or fully understood only in retrospect. Reporting on this pandemic began in December 2019.
Reactions and measures in AfricaEdit
Eritrea announced a three-week lockdown, commencing 2 April to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Sierra Leone declared that a three-day lockdown would come into effect on Saturday (4 April).
President of Malawi Peter Mutharika announces several measures to support small and medium businesses including tax breaks, reducing fuel allowances and increasing risk allowances for health workers. The President also announces that he and his Cabinet will take a 10 percent salary cut.
The Nigerian Government announces the creation of a 500 billion naira (US$1.39 billion) coronavirus crisis intervention fund to upgrade its healthcare infrastructure.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announces a halt to all movement in parts of the country affected by COVID-19 including the capital Nairobi, coming into effect on 7pm on 6th April for a period of 21 days.
The Nigerian Government requests a US$6.9 billion fund from international lenders to alleviate the economic impact of the coronavirus.
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa introduces an emergency release of broadband spectrum to meet a spike in internet usage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Benin's government ordered residents in several cities and towns to wear face masks. The Benin government also placed a "cordon sanitaire" on 12 areas including the capital Porto-Novo and largest city Cotonou, banning travel, public gatherings, and shutting down public transportation. This came into effect the following day.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declares a state of emergency to combat the spread of COVID-19. Ethiopian authorities have already banned public gatherings, closed schools, and required employees to work from home.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa orders that the Minister of Communications, Telecommunications and Postal Services Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams be placed on "special leave" for two months for breaching lockdown requirements by having lunch with a former official in her home.
Dr John Nkengasong, the Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), condemns remarks made on 1 April by two French scientists Professors Jean-Paul Mira and Camille Locht that a potential tuberculosis vaccine for the coronavirus be tested on Africa as "disgusting and racist." Mira had issued an apology for his statements via his employer, the Paris network of hospitals, on 3 April, while Locht could not be reached by that date for comment.
The entire Parliament of Botswana including President of Botswana Mokgweetsi Masisi will be quarantined for 14 days and tested for the coronavirus after a health worker screening lawmakers for the virus herself tested positive overnight.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa defends the World Health Organization (WHO) in response to criticism by US President Trump. President Ramaphosa also extended the country's lockdown, which had stated on 27 March and was due to last 21 days, by a further two weeks.
The Senegalese government bans companies from dismissing employees during the coronavirus pandemic except in cases of gross negligence, commencing 14 April.
President of Guinea Alpha Condé makes it compulsory for all citizens and residents to wear face masks, coming into effect on 18 April. Offenders face a civil disobedience tax of 30,000 Guinean francs (US$3.16, €2.8). Condéalso called upon all companies, ministries and NGOs to provide masks to their employees by Saturday and called for masks to be manufactured locally and sold cheaply.
The International Monetary Fund approves a $115 million disbursement for Burkina Faso and another $114 million for Niger under its Rapid Credit Facility to help African states cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Malawi, the Minister of Health and Population Jappie Mhango announces that the Malawian Government will be imposing a three-week nationwide lockdown between 18 April and 9 May in a bit to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
In Kenya, Governor of Nairobi Mike Sonko draws media attention for distributing cognac and Hennessy to the poor, claiming it can cure the coronavirus. His claims have been rejected by the Kenyan Government and the liquor company LVMH.
The Liberian Government announces that it will launch a radio schooling initiative for children whose education was disrupted after Liberia closed schools across the country on 16 March in response to the country's first coronavirus case.
South African Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe announces that the South African Government will allow mines to operate at 50 percent capacity in order to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Michel Yao, the head of emergency operations for World Health Organization Africa, could rise to 10 million in three to six months based on computer modelling.
The Malawian High Court issues a ruling temporarily barring the Malawian Government from imposing a 21-day lockdown following a petition by the human rights NGO Malawi Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) and protests by small-scale traders complaining that the lockdown would cause hardship and poverty.
The Algerian Government extended its lockdown by 10 days, through April 29.
Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo announce that they will mandate the wearing of face masks.
Ghana is using drones from Zipline to test people more quickly outside of the major cities. Zipline will fly samples collected from more than 1,000 health facilities in rural areas to laboratories in the capital Accra and Kumasi. The Ghanaian Government has also ended a three-week lockdown in Accra and Kumasi, the country's two major cities.
Police Minister Bheki Cele has confirmed the arrest of 131 government officials including police officers, councillors, health officials and corrections officers for flouting the country's coronavirus regulations including selling confiscated alcohol.
The German investment bank KfW has delivered two mobile diagnostic laboratories to Uganda and Rwanda to help combat the coronavirus. More mobile laboratory units have been dispatched to the six member states of the East African Community.
The South African Competition Tribunal has launched an investigation of the pharmaceutical group Dis-Chem for increasing the price of face masks by 261%. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a partial reopening of the economy from 1 May including the easing of travel restrictions and allowing some industries to operate under a five-level risk system.
The Algerian Government has allowed certain businesses including those supplying building materials and public works, appliances, fabrics, jewellery, clothing and shoes, cosmetics and perfumes, home and office furniture, pastries hairdressers, and taxis to resume business in order to reduce the economic and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The International Monetary Fund has disbursed US$309 million to help Mozambique to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The Cuban Government has sent 216 healthcare workers to South Africa to help with the coronavirus pandemic. Cuba has already sent 20 medical brigades mainly to African and Caribbean countries but also Italy.
In Equatorial Guinea, 30 workers at an offshore oil platform have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Senegal has distributed cheap mobile testing kits and 3D-printed ventilators to help combat the coronavius pandemic.
Reactions and measures in the AmericasEdit
President of the United States Donald Trump posted his "Coronavirus Guidelines for America" on Twitter after warning that the United States faced a "very painful" two weeks as it confronted the virus. That same day, the White House projected that the United States could face between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The US Food and Drug Administration reported that it was facing a shortage of malaria drugs including hydroxychloroquine and related chloroquine due to a surge in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Panama began to enforce an absolute quarantine measure, during which, male and female citizens would only be allowed to be outside their homes on alternating days of the week.
Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo announced that New York state only had enough ventilators for the next six days. In response, President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to ramp up the production of both ventilators and protective face masks by US companies. In addition, the President extended an offer to Iran to help with the coronavirus pandemic.
The Chinese Government donated 1,000 ventilators to New York state with the help of Chinese billionaires Jack Ma and Joseph Tsai. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order allowing state authorities to requisition unused ventilators and personal protective equipment from hospitals.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) initiated antibody tests to help determine how many people had been infected with the coronavirus including those who have never developed symptoms.
Jared Moskowitz, head of Florida Division of Emergency Management, blasted the American company 3M of selling N95 masks directly to foreign countries for cash instead of the United States. Moskowitz stated that 3M agreed to authorize distributors and brokers to represent they were selling the masks to Florida, but instead his team for the last several weeks "get to warehouses that are completely empty." He then said the 3M authorized U.S. distributors later told him the masks Florida contracted for never showed up because the company instead prioritized orders that come in later, for higher prices, from foreign countries (including Germany, Russia, and France). As a result, Moskowitz highlighted the issue on Twitter, saying he decided to "troll" 3M.
US President Trump also invoked the Defense Production Act to force 3M to prioritize US orders over international orders and to stop exporting American-made respirators to Canada and Latin America. In response, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned that it would be a mistake for the US to block the flow of medical supplies into Canada.
Al Jazeera reports that thousands of people have been detained across Central America for violating lockdown measures and curfews: Honduras (2,250 people), Guatemala (5,705), Panama (over 5,000 including 424 for violating rules that limit men and women to leave homes on alternate days).
United States Attorney General William Barr issues an executive order allowing the Bureau of Prisons to release vulnerable prisoners from federal correctional facilities into home detention. Priority will be given to facilities affected by COVID-19 including Oakdale in Louisiana, Elkton in Ohio, and Danbury in Connecticut.
US President Trump urges Americans worried about the coronavirus to take a drug known as hydroxychloroquine, which is used to treat malaria, arthritis and lupus, contradicting advice from US federal public health advisers.
Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook announces that his company will produce and ship 1 million face shields for use by medical workers at its factories in the US and China, focusing on the US for initial distribution.
In the United States, New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo extends an order closing non-essential businesses and schools until April 29. Governor of South Carolina Henry McMaster orders all residents to stay at home except for purchasing groceries and exercising.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirms that the Canadian Government is working with the United States Government to allow the movement of medical supplies to Canada following complaints that Washington had blocked the shipment of face masks.United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that the Trump Administration will focus on keeping key medical supplies including personal protection equipment in the United States. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin calls upon the Congress to approve an additional US$250 billion subsidy for a small business relief programme by Saturday. This would supplement a US$350 billion relief programme for small businesses that was launched earlier on Friday.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announces that Brazil will purchase the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine despite scientists warning that there is insufficient evidence that the drug treats COVID-19.
United States President Trump criticises the World Health Organization (WHO)'s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and alleged that the international organisation had pursued a "very China-centric" approach. In response, the WHO's Director-General Tedros Adhanom has defended his agency's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in response to President Trump's criticism, urging world leaders not to politicise the pandemic. Uruguay approves a humanitarian flight to evacuate Australian and New Zealand passengers from the Aurora Expeditions cruise ship Greg Mortimer, where 60% of the passengers have tested positive for COVID-19. The New York Times reports that genomic analysis of New York infections indicate the immediate origin of its cases were travelers from Europe instead of Asia and that weeks before its first confirmed infection, the virus has likely present in New York during mid-February.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issue a joint announcement that they will seize exports of medical supplies including respirators, surgical masks and surgical gloves until they can determine whether it should be returned for use in the US, purchased by the US Government, or exported. This followed an earlier memorandum on 1 April by President Trump empowering federal agencies to keep medical supplies within US borders.
Canada reports a record 1 million job losses in March with the national unemployment rate soaring to 7.8%. Canadian health authorities also estimate that between 11,000 and 22,000 could die from COVID-19 in Canada.
The US Centers for Disease Control issues new guidelines advising people working in essential services like healthcare and food supply to check their temperatures before going to work, wear face masks, and practise social distancing. According to figures, 6.6 million Americans have filed for unemployment as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Nicaraguan government releases 1,700 prisoners in response to the coronavirus pandemic but excludes political prisoners.
The United Nations delivers 90 tons of medical supplies, sanitation equipment, and water to Venezuela including 28,000 PPE kits for health workers, oxygen concentrators, pediatric beds, water quality control products and hygiene kits. The Bangkok-based United Nations Human Rights Office for Southeast Asia calls upon governments to protect the health of migrants from COVID-19 by releasing them from detention centres and suspending deportations.
Uber's Vice President of safety and insurance Gus Fuldner announces that the company will be shipping millions of masks to active drivers and food delivery people around the world to help combat the spread of COVID-19.
According to US Government figures, 16.8 million Americans have lost their jobs in the past three weeks as a result of the coronavirus. The US Centres for Disease Control extends their "No Sail Order" for cruise ships. There are approximately 100 cruise ships and nearly 80,000 crew off the East Coast, West Coast, and Gulf Coast of the United States. The order can only be rescinded under the following conditions: after the expiration of the US Secretary of Health and Human Services' declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency; the CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations; or 100 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register.
The New York City Department of Corrections reports that about two dozen unclaimed bodies are being buried each day at a mass grave on Hart Island. US immunologist Anthony Fauci warns that it is too early to roll back restrictions despite progress in combating the coronavirus pandemic in New York.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres warns the United Nations Security Council that the coronavirus pandemic is threatening international peace and security, "potentially leading to an increase in social unrest and violence that would greatly undermine our ability to fight the disease."
US public broadcaster Voice of America has rejected the Trump Administration's allegation that it is promoting Chinese propaganda by tweeting a video of celebrations at the end of Wuhan's quarantine measures, and observing the US had surpassed China's death toll.
Mayor of New York Bill de Blasio announces that public schools will remain closed for the duration of the school year in order to combat the coronavirus pandemic. New York has reported the highest rate of infections and deaths in the United States.
The United States Department of Defense announces that it will be invoking the Defense Production Act and investing US$133 million to increase US domestic N95 mask production by over 39 million over the next 90 days.
The Uruguayan Government announces that it will be repatriating 16 New Zealanders and 96 Australians who had been stranded aboard the cruise ship Greg Mortimer in the La Plata river near Montevideo since 27 March. The passengers will be flown from Montevideo to Melbourne. The New Zealand Government has arranged to fly their nationals back to Auckland on a chartered flight.
The United States Internal Revenue Service announces that the first coronavirus stimulus checks have been deposited in taxpayers' accounts. These economic relief payments are part of a US$2.2 trillion package passed by Congress to help people and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Most adults will get US$1,200 while parents will receive $500 for each qualifying child.
United States President Donald Trump releases a campaign-style video during the daily White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing defending his Administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. US immunologist Anthony Fauci said that President Trump listened to his advice about the mitigation efforts needed to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Top Democratic Congressional leaders Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi call on the Republican Party to work on new bipartisan legislation citing a lack of funding for the national testing needed to restart the US economy.
The International Monetary Fund announces that it would provide immediate debt relief to 25 member countries under its "Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust." The IMF is seeking to raise US$1.4 billion for that fund.
Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo disputes President Donald Trump's claim of "total authority" to reopen the United States' economy, which has gone into lockdown as a result of COVID-19. In addition, American immunologist and head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci warns that it is too early for the US Government to consider reopening the economy due to the coronavirus pandemic.
United States President Trump announces that the US will be withholding funding to the World Health Organization temporarily, alleging that the international organisation had neglected its duties and spread Chinese propaganda. Trump's decision was criticized by UN Secretary General António Guterres, Dr Patrice Harris of the American Medical Association, infectious disease expert Dr Amesh Adalja of Johns Hopkins University, and Dr William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University. Trump's decision was also criticized by the Chinese and German governments, the European Union, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
United States Army General Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, issues a statement that US intelligence services indicate that the coronavirus originated naturally rather than being created in a Chinese laboratory as suggested by various conspiracy theories.
The International Monetary Fund's Chief Economist Gita Gopinath describes the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic as the "worst recession" since the Great Depression in a foreword for the international organisation's World Economic Outlook. The IMF has also reported that it has loaned US$1 trillion to a hundred developing and under-developed countries affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Apple, Inc. launches a site to help public health authorities to track down people's travel movements to ensure they are complying with lockdown requirements. According to the company, the data is gathered by counting the number of routing requests from Apple Maps, which is installed on all iPhones and comparing it with past usage to detect changes in the volume of people driving, walking or taking public transit around the world.
The Brazilian Health Secretary Wanderson de Oliveira resigns following disagreements between President Jair Bolsonaro and Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta over Brazil's handing of the coronavirus pandemic.
Robert Redfield, the Director of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suggests that 19-20 US states that have experienced "limited impact" from the coronavirus may be able to reopen by President Donald Trump's 1st May target date.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro dismisses Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta due disagreements over measures to combat the coronavirus. Bolsonaro appoints Nelson Teich as Brazil's new Health Minister.
The Governors of New York and Maryland order residents to wear face masks in public spaces. The Governors of Connecticut and Pennsylvania are also recommending that residents wear face masks. Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo also extends his state's shutdown order until 15 May in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have pressed China about to "come clean" about the origins of the coronavirus. Defense Secretary Mark Esper also accused the Chinese leadership of being "opaque and misleading" about the coronavirus outbreak. In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian has asserted that the World Health Organization has found no evidence that the coronavirus was created in a laboratory.
US President Trump has also released a roadmap for US governors to reopen the US economy in phases.
The US Congress passes a coronavirus relief bill that will increase the federal budget deficit by US$1.8 trillion over the next cade. 17 Republican Members of Congress have also supported President Trump's decision to withhold aid to the World Health Organization. They propose demanding that WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom resign as a condition for resuming US contributions to the international organization.
The United States Government reports that 5.2 million American workers have become unemployed since last week.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces that Canada's border restrictions will remain in place "for a significant amount of time" in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Deputy Prime Minister Freeland further elaborated and said, "Decisions about Canada's border are taken by Canadians. Full stop."
The Guatemalan Government reports that 44 out of 76 Guatemalans deported on one flight from the United States have tested positive for the coronavirus. The Guatemalan Foreign Minister Pedro Brolo later announced that Guatemala had suspended deportation flights but neglected to mention whether it was linked to the coronavirus outbreak.
The United States Navy's Surgeon General Bruce Gillingham announces that sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt will be subject to a serology test that will test whether sailors have contracted the coronavirus and developed antibodies in response to it.
US President Donald Trump has tweeted in support of anti-lockdown protests in the states of Minnesota, Michigan, and Virginia protesting against state lockdown orders. In response, Washington Governor Jay Inslee has accused Trump of "fomenting domestic rebellion and spreading lies."
Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei suspends the flights of all deportees from the United States after tests indicated that several passengers aboard a flight from the US tested positive for the coronavirus.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador issues a Twitter message stating that US President Donald Trump had promised to help Mexico buy 1,000 ventilators and other intensive therapy equipment used for treating severe cases of the coronavirus.
In the United States, there have been reports of protests against stay-at-home orders in Concord, New Hampshire; Annapolis, Maryland; and Austin, Texas. During his daily briefing, US President Donald Trump stated that China should face consequences if they were "knowingly responsible" for the coronavirus pandemic.
Hundreds have protested against lockdown restrictions imposed by state governors in the Brazilian cities of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and the capital Brasilia. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has criticized the lockdown measures, claiming that the "fear was excessive" and that people want a return to normality.
Panama has detained about 1,700 undocumented migrants heading to the United States in a jungle camp in La Penita near the Colombian border after 17 coronavirus cases were detected among them. These infected individuals have been removed from the camp, whose facilities are designed to host 200 people.
US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan agreed to continue their close bilateral cooperation to combat the coronavirus during a phone interview. Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo issued a statement, stating that the outbreak in New York state is "on the descent." President Trump has also reiterated a US offer to help Iran deal with the coronavirus pandemic if Tehran requested it.
The World Health Organization and non-profit NGO Global Citizen have sponsored a two-hour One World: Together at Home television broadcast program featuring several celebrities and public figures including Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Beyonce, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, David Beckham and former US First Ladies Michelle Obama and Laura Bush. These celebrities and public figures will be sharing music, comedy, and personal stories from their own homes.
United States Vice President Mike Pence has stated that the United States has sufficient testing capacity nationwide to allow any of the states to start lifting lockdown orders provided that they meet the other criteria for relaxation including 14 days of declining infections and having enough hospital capacity to treat the sick.
Acting United States Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf announced that the United States, Canada, and Mexico will be restricting non-essential travel across their borders in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis gains approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration to conduct a randomised trial of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine against the coronavirus.
The New York State Nurses Association sues New York state and two hospitals, alleging that their members were exposed to hazardous working conditions including nurses being forced to work when sick and insufficient PPE equipment.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has issued an urgent call for US$350 million to support the global emergency supply system coordinated by the World Food Programme to ensure that supplies reach impoverished countries.
Governor of Maryland Larry Hogan stated that his state had obtained 500,000 tests from South Korea following negotiations and criticized the federal government for not providing states with the resources to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. In response, US President Trump criticized Larry Hogan and other state governors, claiming that the US had sufficient resources for coronavirus testing.
United States President Donald Trump announces that he will sign an executive order to temporarily suspend all immigration into the United States to combat the spread of the coronavirus, which he described as "the attack from the invisible enemy." This Executive Order will last for 90 days and deny entry to most work visa holders with the exception of healthcare and medical professionals, and those working in the food industries. In addition, there will be a sixty-day ban on those seeking permanent residency status.
The United States Senate has unanimously passed legislation establishing a US$484 billion program to support small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, hospitals, and a national testing impetus.
The United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a Mexican resolution backed by the United States calling for "equitable, efficient and timely access to any future vaccines developed to fight the coronavirus." That same day, the UNGA passed another resolution calling for global action to develop and improve access to medicines, vaccines and equipment to battle the pandemic and closer cooperation between the UN and World Health Organization.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has announced that the Mexican Government will invest 622.6 billion Mexican pesos (US$25.6 billion) into social programmes and critical projects to combat the fallout of the coronavirus.
Following a meeting between US President Donald Trump and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the President agreed that the federal government would help New York to obtain enough chemical reagents to double the state's testing capacity to 40,000 tests a day. Cuomo has also announced plans to expand contact tracing in New York state in coordination with authorities in New Jersey and Connecticut and support from Bloomberg L.P..
Robert R. Redfield, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned that a second wave of the coronavirus could be more destructive because it could collide with the flu season; he strongly encouraged people to get their flu jabs.
The United States Agency for International Development's Acting-Administrator John Barsa announces that the US Government will assess the way that the World Health Organization is being run.
Missouri has filed a lawsuit against the Chinese Government over its handling of the coronavirus, claiming that China's response to the outbreak has brought devastating economic losses to the state. In response, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has dismissed the allegation as "nothing short of absurdity" and lacking legal or factual merit. In addition, United States Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has accused Beijing of delaying to report human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus for a month until it had spread to every province in China.
The World Health Organization's Director-General Tedros Adhanom has expressed concern about the coronavirus' "upward trends" in parts of Africa, Central America, and South America and the management of international air travel. Adhanom has also urged Washington to reconsider its decision to suspend funding to the international organisation.
In Canada, the Premier of Ontario Doug Ford and the Premier of Quebec Francois Legault have requested assistance from the Canadian Armed Forces in response to overstretched human resources at Canadian rest homes.
United States President Donald Trump has criticized Georgian Governor Brian Kemp's decision to allow some non-essential businesses to reopen. In the United States, a total of 26 million people have applied for unemployment benefits in the last five weeks. According to the Fuller Project, two-thirds of unemployment claims were filed by women.
The United States House of Representatives passes a US$484 billion coronavirus relief bill supporting small businesses and hospitals by 388–5. The House of Representatives, which is controlled by the Democratic Party, also approved the creation of a special advisory panel to investigate the federal government's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announces that it will test 2,000 immigration detainees for the coronavirus in response to a spate of outbreaks among deportees who had returned to Mexico and Guatemala.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that a random screening of 3,000 residents found that 13.9% have tested positive for antibodies for the coronavirus, suggesting that about 2.7 million people in the state have been affected.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has released a report advocating that human rights should play a key role in guiding the response of states to the coronavirus pandemic. Guterres has also warned against the rise of hate speech, the targeting of vulnerable communities, and the danger of states adopting repressive measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Legislative Assembly of El Salvador has been evacuated after the Interdisciplinary Epidemiological Control Team detected a "serious suspicion" of the coronavirus in the Assembly's "blue living room."
Haiti has received 129 of its nationals on a deportation flight from the United States. The Haitian Government had requested that the United States test all deportees for the coronavirus but US authorities only agreed to test those with symptoms. Returnees will be quarantined in a quarantine facility for two weeks.
US President Donald Trump attracts controversy and criticism for remarks suggesting that the coronavirus could be treated by injecting disinfectant into the body. In response, Trump has said that his remarks were sarcastic. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence left a press conference early.
William N. Bryan, the Acting Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Science and Technology, draws media attention for claiming that sunlight, heat and humidity weaken the coronavirus.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services has announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be releasing US$631 million to state and local governments to assist with COVID-19 relief efforts.
Mayor of San Francisco London Breed said the city order's for PPE from China were instead rerouted to France and to FEMA. "We had isolation gowns on the way to San Francisco and then diverted to France," she said. Another order of equipment went through customs and then was "confiscated" by FEMA for other places. She later stated "That at the height of this pandemic we are still having a conversation about PPE really does blow my mind. There has been nothing that has been more frustrating."
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau clarified that plans to restart the economies of Canadian provinces do not hinge upon the presumption that people who have recovered from the coronavirus develop an immunity to it.
The Maryland Emergency Management Agency has issued a Twitter alert advising residents that no disinfectant product should be administered through the body via "injection, ingestion or any other route." New York City has also reported 30 cases of disinfectant ingestion following Trump's remarks yesterday.
The United States Department of the Treasury has disbursed US$9.5 billion in additional funds from the Payroll Support Program to US airliners, bringing the total amount of aid provided to the sector to US$12.4 million. 93 US air carriers have applied and received government financial assistance in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Health Canada has advised against using the malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to prevent or treat COVID-19. The Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Theresa Tam has welcomed the declining coronavirus death toll while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that isolation measures should remain in place for now.
The Honduras Government has extended a blanket curfew to contain the spread of the coronavirus by one week until 3 p.m. on 3 May.
Brazilian Productivity and competition secretary Carlos da Costa has announced that the Brazilian Government is working on a plan to open up the Brazilian economy including allowing professional football matches behind closed doors.
The Mexican Government has confirmed that senior civil servant Irma Erendira Sandoval, the head of the country's public administration ministry, has tested positive for the coronavirus.
United States President Donald Trump has dismissed media reports that he is planning to dismiss Health Secretary Alex Azar as "fake news" in a Tweet. White House Adviser and Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro has confirmed that the Trump Administration is exploring protocols for keeping factories open during the coronavirus pandemic including social distancing, screening workers, and reconfiguring factories. Trump later attacked several Democratic–administered states and cities as being "poorly-run". His remarks coincided with a push by state governors seeking a US$500 million federal economic package. Trump also addressed a brief press conference focusing on how states could expand coronavirus testing and efforts to reopen the economy. He also announced that the US was investigating China's response to the coronavirus pandemic, the reopening of some schools, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The United States Small Business Administration has lent an extra US$2 billion to small businesses through its Paycheck Protection Program after a number of borrowers in the first round of funding for the coronavirus declined or returned their loans.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has extended a stay-at-home order in much of the state until 15 May but indicated that restrictions could be waived in areas with sufficient hospital capacity. New York state officials also cancelled the 2020 New York Democratic primary due to health and safety concerns.
The World Health Organization's top emergency expert Michael Ryan has described the US federal government's plan to combat the coronavirus pandemic as "very clearly-laid out" and "science-based", complimenting the cooperation between the federal and state governments.
Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo has announced that the number of hospital admissions has dropped to its lowest level in more than a month. He also clarified that regions in New York state wanting to reopen would need to have a hospital capacity rate below 70% and a transmission rate below 1.1%.
A pug named Winston became the first pet dog in the United States to test positive for COVID-19. Winston's family had taken part in Duke University's Molecular and Epidemiological Study of Suspected Infection research study.
Boeing CEO David Calhoun has announced that it plans to lay off ten percent of its workforce and to reduce production of its main commercial planes after reporting a first-quarter US$641 million loss as a result of the economic impact of the coronavirus on the airline sector.
Gilead Sciences has announced that its experimental anti-virus drug remdesivir has helped COVID-19 patients during a clinical trial. US President Donald Trump has welcome the news while immunologist and White House Coronavirus Task Force member Anthony Fauci has advised caution.
United States President Donald Trump claimed that he had seen evidence that the coronavirus originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology. That same day, US intelligence agencies concluded that the coronavirus was neither "man-made or genetically modified" but that they were still investigating whether the pandemic originated with infected animals or an accident at the Wuhan laboratory.
Médecins Sans Frontières has criticized the United States Government for threatening trade sanctions against several countries that Washington has accused of not protecting intellectual properties in the pharmaceutical sector including India, Brazil, China, Chile, and Canada.
US pharmaceutical company Pfizer's vaccines head Nanette Cocero has announced that the company aims to produce 10-20 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine that it is developing with the German company BioNtech for possible emergency use depending on the vaccine trial results.
The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a statement criticizing the lack of leadership by world powers and raising concern about the inadequate support for the fight against the coronavirus in poor countries.
Reactions and measures in Eastern MediterraneanEdit
The Qatari Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA) announced that workers in quarantine and treatment across the country would be paid in full, ordering employers and companies to follow government policy and creating a hotline for workers to voice their grievances.
Turkey sent a military airplane carrying masks, face gears, eye gears, overalls and anti-bacterial fluids to Spain and Italy.
Iranian authorities closed streets and shops in the capital Tehran to help contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Saudi Arabia extended the starting date of a 24-hour curfew to 3pm on Friday in Dammam, Ta'if and al-Qatif in order to combat the coronavirus. King Salman invests 9 billion riyals (US$2.3 billion) in financial support for 1.2 million Saudi citizens working in the private sector.
Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan issued a statement on Twitter that the Indian subcontinent faced a difficult choice of having to balance between imposing a lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus and ensuring that people would not die of hunger and the economy would not collapse.
Saudi Arabia imposes a lockdown and partial curfew in seven neighbourhoods in Jeddah. Residents in the affected neighbourhoods can only obtain groceries and medical services between 6am and 3pm local time.
The Tunisian Assembly of the Representatives of the People ceded power to Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh's government for two months, allowing them to issue decrees, sign purchase agreements and seek finance without consulting parliament.
The United Arab Emirates extends an overnight curfew indefinitely, requiring people to stay at home between 8pm and 6am local time. During the curfew, UAE authorities will disinfect streets, parks, and public transport facilities.
The United Arab Emirates' Cabinet announces that it will strengthen the country's "strategic stockpile." The country's Vice President and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announces that factories will be redirected to supporting the country's health sector.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi announces that Iran will not seek American help and demands that Washington lifts its sanctions against Iran. The Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei announces the withdrawal of €1 billion from the country's sovereign wealth fund to invest in Iran's health services and the unemployment insurance fund.
Radio New Zealand and Reuters report that over 20,000 Pakistani migrant workers are stranded in the United Arab Emirates. ACF Animal Rescue rescue pet cats, dogs, and rabbits from an abandoned pet market in Karachi's Empress Market.
The Tunisian Interior Ministry warns that people infected with the coronavirus can be prosecuted for manslaughter if they do not abide by governmental directives to self-isolate and cross-contaminate others.
The Lebanese Ministry of Social Affairs launches a 75 billion Lebanese pound aid relief programme. This includes a one-time cash assistance of 400,000 Lebanese pounds (US$140) to about 187,500 families.
The Pakistani Government announces that it plans to increase its daily COVID-19 testing capacity to at least 25,000 tests a day by late April and to increase the supply of personal equipment to doctors from 9 April.
The Pakistani government distributes a one-time Rs12,000 (US$70) grant to 12 million low-income families.
The Jordanian Armed Forces arrested the owner of Ro'ya TV and its news director for airing a news story showing a crowd of labourers complaining about their inability to work as a result of the country's coronavirus lockdown.
Pakistan begins distributing Rs144 billion (US$863 million) in cash grants to low income families across the country. In the first phase, the Government disbursed roughly US$300 million to banks which distributed Rs12,000 (US$70) grants to low income families.
In Iran, "low risk" businesses in most parts of the country except Tehran are allowed to reopen. However, President Hassan Rouhani urged Iranians to comply with social distancing and other health protocols.
The Jordanian Government extends a month-long lockdown until the end of April.
Saudi Arabia orders an extension of the country's curfew until further notice.
United Arab Emirates airliner Etihad Airways announces that it will operate special flights to Brussels, Dublin, London, Tokyo and Zurich between 14 and 22 April. This was in response to the UAE government stating that it would allow a number of limited outbound flights for those wishing to leave the country.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and several oil producing countries agree to reduce output by 9.7 million barrels per day (roughly 10%) in order to support oil prices amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Pakistani Government extends its lockdown to schools, shopping malls, public gatherings and non-essential work for two weeks but makes exceptions for certain economic sectors such as construction, cement and fertiliser plants, mines, glass manufacturers, veterinary services, bookshops and stationary stores, dry cleaners and some agriculture-related businesses.
Turkey's Parliament announces that it has approved legislation to release 90,000 prisoners in a bid to ease overcrowding in prisons and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Omani Ministry of Finance orders all ministry and civilian government units to reduce approved liquidity for development budgets by ten percent. It also ordered a halt to the creation of government companies performing commercial activity in order to give priority to the private sector.
Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Razzaz announces that the Jordanian Government will ease lockdown measures to allow more businesses and industries to resume work but will not yet live a curfew restricting movement.
The Pakistani Government relaxes lockdown restrictions on key industries including the lockdown sector in order to minimise the economic damage caused by the lockdown.
The Qatari Government expels several Nepalese workers for alleged "illegal, illicit activity." In response to criticism by Amnesty International, Qatar has defended the repatriation, claiming the workers had broken the law.
At the G20 virtual summit hosted in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the G20 group of countries and private creditors agree to suspend debt repayments from developing countries for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia reports that about 71 million people in the Arab world lack access to running water, increasing their risk of contracting the coronavirus.
The Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Razzaz admits that his country's finances had been strained by the coronavirus pandemic, derailing the country's capital investment plan to boost sluggish growth and attract investment.
Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab states that 98% of Jordan's depositors will not be affected by an economic rescue plan which includes a proposal to fund some losses with a contribution from deposits.
The Saudi Arabian Government announces that it will pledge US$500 million to support international efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic and to help bridge a US$8 billion financing gap. This includes investing US$150m to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation, US$150m to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations, and US$200m to other health organisations and programmes.
Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan issues a statement that Saudi Arabia is in a good financial position to tackle the coronavirus pandemic due to its strong financial reserves and low national debt. The Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh advises that Muslim evening prayers for Ramadan and the Eid al-Fitr feast should be performed at home for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Iranian Government has allowed businesses in Tehran and some nearby towns to reopen on Saturday after weeks of lockdown. Gyms, restaurants, Tehran's grand bazaar, shrines and mosques remain closed while a ban on public gathering remains in force.
The Moroccan Government extended the country's lockdown until 20 May.
The Pakistani Government lifted restrictions on congregations at mosques, which allowed only three to five people for prayers.
The United Arab Emirates Government announces that it will fine people up to 20,000 dirhams (US$5,500) if they disseminate "fake news" about the coronavirus including medical information that violates official advice about the coronavirus.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan bows to pressure from religious scholars to keep mosques open for the duration of the Ramadan period. This decision came in response to threats by religious scholars to organise mass protests in defiance of the Pakistani Government's attempts to close mosques in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Pakistani Consulate-General in Dubai announced that the first Pakistan International Airlines flight carrying 227 Pakistani nationals stranded in Dubai and the Northern Emirates had departed for Pakistan that morning at 0700 local time.
The Saudi Council of Senior Scholars advises Muslims to pray at home and avoid public gatherings during Ramadan if their countries require social distancing in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The Bahraini Government has announced that it will slash spending by government ministries and agencies by 30 percent to help the country weather the coronavirus pandemic including delaying some construction and consulting projects.
The Iranian Government has begun reopening intercity highways and major shopping centres to stimulate its crippled economy. Shops in Tehran's Grand Bazaar have been allowed to reopen up to 6pm local time.
The Kuwaiti Government has extended the suspension of work in the public sector until 31 May and expanded the nationwide curfew to 16 hours (4pm to 8 am) in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
The Pakistani Government has announced that it will be shifting from a general lockdown to "smart lockdowns" focusing on coronavirus hotspots. The Government will use contact tracing and testing to identify such hotspots for "smart lockdowns."
The Iraqi Government has announced that it will temporarily ease the 24-hour curfew ahead of Ramadan. The new curfew will be imposed mainly at night from 7pm until 6 am local time between 21 April and 11 May. However, a total ban will take place on Fridays and Saturdays.
The Saudi Press Agency has announced that the Saudi Arabian Government intends to ease curfew restrictions it has imposed on several cities to allow more people to shop for essentials within their neighbourhoods during the Ramadan period.
Lebanese authorities have placed the Wavel refugee camp in the eastern Bekaa valley under lockdown after a Syrian-Palestinian man tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the first confirmed case in one of the country's refugee camps.
Pakistani President Imran Khan has undergone testing for the coronavirus after he came into contact with infected philanthropist Faisal Edhi. Khan subsequently tested negative for the coronavirus.
In Saudi Arabia, the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques has announced that King Salman has approved performing the Tarawih at the two Holy Mosques but that entry for pilgrims will remain suspended.
The Egyptian Government will maintain a nighttime curfew during the Ramadan period but will delay the start of the curfew from 8pm to 9pm to allow one extra hour of movement.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has confirmed that US President Donald Trump has offered to assist Pakistani efforts to combat the coronavirus including providing ventilators and unspecified economic assistance. Khan also intends to launch a US$595 million appeal to fund Pakistan's "Preparedness and Response Plan to COVID-19", mainly lobbying international financial institutions and world powers.
In the United Arab Emirates, Dubai has allowed cafes and restaurants to resume operations. Shopping malls will also be reopened from 12 pm to 10 pm but with a maximum capacity of 30 percent. Public transportation services including the metro will resume on 26 April.
The Lebanese High Defence Council has advised the Lebanese Government to extend the nationwide lockdown until 10 May but to gradually ease restrictions over the coming weeks. The Lebanese Government has extended the national lockdown until 10 May but has shortened the curfew by one hour from 8pm to 5am. Lebanon also announced a five-stage plan to reopen the country on 28 April, 4 May, 11 May, 25 May, and 6 June. Physical distancing and wearing masks will remain compulsory for the duration of the lockdown.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has urged Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to ensure that American nationals detained in Egyptian prisons are kept safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
Saudi Arabian King Salman has ordered a partial lifting of the curfew in all regions of the country except Mecca and previously quarantined neighbourhoods. The curfew will be lifted between 9am and 5pm from Sunday onwards while malls, wholesale and retail shops will be allowed to reopen from 29 April onwards for a period of two weeks.
In the disputed territory of Gaza, the economy ministry has allowed restaurants to reopen in order to ease the economic hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Restaurants must observe social distancing rules.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has announced that Iran will be divided into green, red, and white zones based on the number of cases and deaths. Mosques located in the white zones will be allowed to reopen and resume Friday prayers.
The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority has extended a ban on all international flights in and out of the country until 15 May. The only exceptions will be diplomatic, cargo flights, and special flights transporting stranded passengers.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has renewed the country's national state of emergency by three months, citing health and security concerns. Egyptian has been in a state of emergency since the Palm Sunday church bombings in early April 2017.
The United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet has called for the lifting of sanctions on Sudan to ease pressure on the country's health system during the coronavirus pandemic. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has announced that it needs US$89.4 million to support refugee aid programs for Yemenis and other refugees in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Tunisian Government has announced that it will ease lockdown restrictions to allow the reopening of the food, industry, construction and half the civil service sectors in early May. Clothing shops, shopping malls, and some public transportation will resume from 11 May.
The Qatari Government has announced that it will be producing artificial respiratory machines to cope with domestic and international health demands in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Reactions and measures in EuropeEdit
Albania extended a lockdown closing schools, eateries, and other public venues, which has been in force since mid-March and due to end on 3 April.
The 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference, scheduled to be held in Glasgow in November 2020, was postponed to 2021.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered all Israeli citizens to wear face masks in public as part of national efforts to combat COVID-19.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin sent a military plane to the United States carrying medical supplies and masks to help the United States fight the coronavirus as a good will gesture to US President Trump. That same day, Putin approved legislation allowing the Russian government to declare a state of national emergency to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.
UK Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced that the British Government would aim to test 25,000 people a day by mid-April from its present capacity of 12,750 a day. The All England Lawn Tennis Club also announced that the Wimbledon tennis championship, scheduled to have been held between 29 June and 12 July, had been cancelled in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Reporters without Borders launched its "Tracker 19" tool to document state censorship, disinformation and their effect on people's access to news and information during the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Cyprus extended a ban on commercial flights with 28 countries for two weeks in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
German authorities reported that 1.1 million self-employed and small business had applied for financial assistance. The German government already paid €1 billion in financial assistance with another €1.8 billion being approved.
In Ireland, Tánaiste Simon Coveney extended movement restrictions limiting travel to buying groceries, exercising, and essential family visits beyond 12 April. Israeli Minister of Health Yaakov Litzman and his wife tested positive for COVID-19. The Portuguese Assembly of the Republic extended the state of emergency by another 15 days in response to a sharp rise in the death toll to 200. Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa also announced that airports would close between 9 and 13 April, allowing only flights repatriating citizens or transporting goods.
In Russia, Mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin extended a partial lockdown and movement restrictions on residents until 1 May. Residents of Moscow, which has been experiencing a heavy caseload, have since Monday been allowed to leave their homes only to buy food or medicine nearby, get urgent medical treatment, walk the dog or take out the rubbish.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that the British Government would intend to build a diagnostics industry to test 100,000 people a day for the coronavirus. First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon admitted that the number of deaths in Scotland had been under-reported due to mistakes in notifying the Government about new fatalities. In response to a call by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, several British engineers, aerospace and Formula One companies including BAE Systems, Rolls Royce, Ford and Airbus announced that they would join forces to produce 1,500 ventilators.
Albania imposed a 40-hour lockdown over the weekend in response to a spike in cases.
Airbus delivered 4 million masks from China to Europe.
The Swedish health care company Mölnlycke announced that France had seized millions of face masks and gloves that the company imported from China to Spain and Italy. The company's general manager, Richard Twomey, denounced France for "confiscat[ing] masks and gloves even though it was not [its] own. This is an extremely disturbing, unbecoming act."
Greece quarantined a second migrant camp near Athens after a 53-year-old Afghan man tested positive for COVID-19. The Israeli government declared Bnei Brak a restricted zone due to the town's high rate of infections and placed the town under lockdown, limiting travel to and from the town. Israeli authorities also required that ritual washing for deceased Jewish and Muslim victims of COVID-19 be done by personnel wearing full protective gear to contain the spread of the disease. Swiss police surrounded Geneva's main prison after 40 prisoners refused to return to their cells, complaining about insufficient measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Turkey imposed a partial curfew on Turkish citizens under the age of 20 years, which came into effect midnight. Turkish authorities also shut down the borders of 31 cities to most vehicles excluding those transporting essential supplies.
In the United Kingdom, the ExCel exhibition centre in London was opened as a temporary 4,000-bed hospital, branded 'NHS Nightingale' having been constructed over the previous nine days. It was opened by Prince Charles over video link. British biomedical scientists and National Health Service staff also reported that a shortage of equipment was preventing them from carrying out more coronavirus tests.
Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) President Christos Christou urged European countries not to hoard medical supplies and equipment and to allow their export to vulnerable countries in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa. He also called on developed countries to increase their production of medical supplies.
Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the European Union, issued a statement stating that sanctions should not get in the way of the delivery of medical equipment and supplies to countries trying to contain COVID-19.
German State Minister of the Interior for Berlin Andreas Geisel accused the United States of committing "modern piracy" by allegedly diverting a shipment of 200,000 masks from an American 3M's Chinese factory in Thailand intended for Germany. In response, US Embassy spokeswoman Jillian Bonnardeaux, issued a statement on 6 April denying that the US had any "knowledge" of the diversion of the mask shipment from Thailand. 3M also said they had no knowledge of the shipment, stating "We know nothing of an order from the Berlin police for 3M masks that come from China." Berlin police later confirmed that the shipment was not seized by U.S. authorities, but was said to have simply been bought at a better price, widely believed to be from a German dealer or China. This revelation outraged the Berlin opposition, whose CDU parliamentary group leader Burkard Dregger accused Geisel of "deliberately misleading Berliners" in order "to cover up its own inability to obtain protective equipment".
The Hungarian Government announces the creation of a US$4 billion fund to rejuvenate the economy, using rerouted government resources and the national employment fund.
In the Czech Republic, 300 pilots launch a "Pilots to the People" project to use their private planes distribute medical supplies across the country.
In Jerusalem, the annual Palm Sunday parade is cancelled due to health concerns. An online service is instead held at the Co-Cathedral of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock warns that the UK Government may restrict outdoor exercise if people flout lockdown rules. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who tested positive for COVID-19 ten days ago, is admitted to hospital. Queen Elizabeth II gives a special address to the nation, calling for unity and global cooperation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz announces plans to reopen small non-essential businesses and DIY shops on 14 April, followed by all shops and malls on 1 May, in order to loosen the nationwide lockdown.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announces that Denmark will reopen day care centers and schools for children in the first and fifth grade, commencing 15 April, if the number of coronavirus cases remains stable.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu implements a national lockdown for the Passover period, beginning 7 April and ending 10 April including banning Israelis from leaving their homes on Wednesday evenings, when families travel for Passover seder meals. In Italy, Poste Italiane makes an agreement for the Carabinieri to deliver mail to Italian pensioners who are at 75 years old and above.
Spain mobilises 60,000 retired medical personnel in order to facilitate the "contagion slowdown."
A spokesman for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces that the country now has 10,000 ventilators in its health system. The 2020 Open Championship, was originally scheduled to be held between 16 and 19 July, at Royal St George's Golf Club in Sandwich, England. The British media company, Daily Mail and General Trust, which publishes the Daily Mail, asks staff to take a pay cut with the difference made up in shares, to help the company cope with the loss of advertising revenue and lower circulation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Czech Republic extends the state of emergency until late April. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš' government had initially sought to extend the state of emergency until 11 May but lacked sufficiency parliamentary support.
Finland extends tightened border controls until 13 May in order to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša announces that the Slovenian government could ease lockdown measures on factories and service providers if current trends towards the decline of the coronavirus continue.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in intensive care while Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab serves as acting-Prime Minister. British Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance states that while the UK has not seen a rise in the number of coronavirus cases, it remains too early to tell whether the outbreak has peaked.
Negotiations between European Union finance ministers over an economic rescue package break down due to disagreements between the Netherlands and Italy over what conditions should be attached to Eurozone credit for governments fighting the pandemic. Mauro Ferrari, the head of the European Research Council, resigns in protest at his dissatisfaction with the European Union's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The French Government extends the nation's lockdown until 15 April.
The President of Turkey's Directorate of Communications announces that the Turkish government will be tracking the mobile phones of citizens to enforce the quarantine through an app called the "Pandemic Isolation Tracking Project."
Russian retailers report a surge in the sales of alcoholic beverages over the past few weeks during the lockdown. According to market research firm Nielsen, the sale of vodka, whisky and beer rose 31%, 47% and 25% respectively.
In Finland, Tomi Lounema, the head of the country's National Emergency Supply Centre, resigns over the purchase of the multi-million Euro purchase of Chinese face masks that proved unsuitable for local hospital usage.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán makes a speech stating that the country's "tough measures" have slowed the spread of the coronavirus but that country's "real test" still lies ahead. Orbán also stated that Hungary needed 8,000 ventilators and intensive care beds.
The Italian Government bars entry to Italian ports by international rescue vessels ferrying migrants for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announces that the Italian government will be extending the nation's lockdown until 3 May.
Kazakhstan extends its state of emergency until the end of April. The state of emergency allows the government to lock down all provinces and the capital, and to shut down many businesses.
The Russian Prosecutor General announces that it will be blocking access to "fake news" social media posts questioning Moscow's quarantine measures. Mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin announces that the city will introduce a system of travel passes to monitor and regulate citizens' movements the following week.
The English football club Arsenal announces that it will be providing 30,000 free meals and sanitary products to vulnerable people and join forces with a local church to deliver 15,000 tons of emergency supplies to Islington. The club also pledged to donate £100,000 ($124,000) to local organisations and another £50,000 pounds to a COVID-19 Crisis Fund.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan extends the country's state of emergency by 30 days. The country has closed all educational institutes, public transportation, and banned foreigners from entering. Armenia has also announced that it would postpone a referendum on changes to its Constitutional Court till after the emergency.
In Belarus, many soccer fans boycotted matches in response to the Football Federation of Belarus' decision not to suspend matches on the grounds that the country had only reported a small number of cases. World Health Organization official Patrick O'Connor also calls upon Belarus to introduce new measures to combat the coronavirus.
The Dutch Government calls for proposals to develop smartphone apps or software to battle the coronavirus including conducting contact tracing.
US President Donald Trump orders top administration officials to take measures to aid Italy including making US military personnel in the country available for telemedical services, setting up field hospitals, and transporting supplies.
British Home Secretary Priti Patel has apologised for the shortage of PPE equipment among medical personnel and has warned that paedophiles are seeking to exploit children online during the coronavirus pandemic. The British Government has also announced that it would invest more in domestic violence services including online support services, hotlines and a national communications campaign in response to a surge in domestic violence cases. British vaccinologist Sarah Gilbert has expressed optimism that her team at the University of Oxford could develop a vaccine by September 2020.
The British Government pledges US$284 million to the World Health Organization (WHO) and charities to help slow the spread of the coronavirus in vulnerable countries. The British Government has allocated 130 million to United Nations agencies while 65 million was allocated to the WHO. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is discharged from hospital.
Portugal's Sporting CP announces that it will cut players' salaries by 40% for three months in response to financial losses caused by COVID-19. The sporting body's board of directors will also take a 50% paycut.
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu resigns due to criticism of his decision to impose a weekend curfew in several major Turkish cities in response to COVID-19. Soylu's resignation was rejected by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
French President Emmanuel Macron extends the nationwide lockdown until 11 May. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announces a nationwide lockdown during the Passover holiday and the Minouma festival. Between from 5 pm on 14 April until 5 am on 16 April, Israelis will be barred from leaving their hometowns or in the case of Jerusalem, the neighbourhoods were they live.
Italian Football Federation President Gabriele Gravina expresses hope that players can be tested in early May for the coronavirus in order to prepare for the season to restart. The Kazakhstan government announces that 3.7 million Kazakhs have applied for financial aid. Of these, 1.8 million applications have been approved.
Pope Francis calls on society to stand behind female victims of domestic violence while praising female doctors, nurses, police officers, prison guards, and sales staff involved in essential work.
Spanish authorities allow people living in regions of Spain where Easter Monday is not a holiday to resume work. Certain businesses like construction and manufacturing were allowed to reopen but most shops, bars, and public places remain closed until 26 April.
The British Government's Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance forecasts that the number of coronavirus-related deaths will continue to rise this week before plateauing over the next two to three weeks. He thinks that the number of daily deaths should begin decreasing after that.
During a media conference on Monday evening, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom states that governments need to consider six criteria for lifting coronavirus lockdown restrictions: first, the transmission is controlled; second, systems are in place to detect, test, isolate and treat every case and trace their contacts; third, risks are minimised in care homes and other at-risk environments; fourth, preventive measures are in place in schools, offices and other places people need to go; fifth, importation risks can be managed; and sixth, communities are fully educated and able to deal with the "new norm."
The Austrian Government allows the reopening of thousands of shops as part of a move to loosen lockdown restrictions.
Iceland announces that it is planning to lift movements restrictions on 4 May. As part of the relaxation, primary schools will fully open while high schools and universities will open with some limitations.
The Football Federation of Belarus postpones its Women's Premier League, which was scheduled to start on 16 April, after several players were found to have been in contact with suspected carriers of the coronavirus.
Denmark begins reopening nurseries, kindergartens, and primary schools after a month-long closure which began on 12 March. However, classes are only resuming in about half of Denmark's municipalities and 35 percent of Copenhagen's schools as others have requested more time to adjust to new health safety protocols.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel announces that most shops up to 800sq metres (8,600 sq ft) will be allowed to reopen once they have "plans to maintain hygiene." However, schools will remain closed until 4 May. The German Government has also maintained a ban on large gatherings until 31 August.
Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa states that Portugal has "flattened the curve" but that it is still too early to lift the nationwide lockdown. de Sousa extends Portugal's lockdown until 1 May.
The Turkish Interior Ministry imposes quarantines on 227 residential areas in 58 provinces, which are home to 250,000 people. The Ministry also announced that it was lifting restrictions on 41 residential areas in 14 provinces.
UK luxury car manufacturer Aston Martin suspends manufacturing at two of its factories by another week in response to lockdown measures in the United Kingdom. First Minister of Northern Ireland Arlene Foster extends Northern Ireland's lockdown by three weeks in coordination with similar measures by the neighbouring Republic of Ireland, which are due to run until 5 May.
The Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment reports that the number of people applying for unemployment benefits had risen to 42% in March. The Ministry had also paid benefits to 37,800 newly unemployed, with the majority being former restaurant and bar workers as well as people under the age of 25 years. The Head of the Dutch National Institute for Health (RIVM) Jaap Van Dissel presents a study to the Dutch Parliament suggesting that 3 percent of the Dutch population have developed antibodies to combat the coronavirus.
The European Commission advises member states using mobile apps to contain the spread of the coronavirus to ensure that such apps comply with the European Union's privacy rules and avoid using personalised location data.
The Georgian Government bans the movement of all private vehicles until 21 April. Georgia has already imposed a state of emergency closing most businesses, schools, public transportation, and gatherings of more than three people until 10 May.
The Hungarian Government announces that they intend to extend Hungary's lockdown by one week from Saturday (18th April) in order to combat the spread of COVID-19. Municipal authorities will be empowered to impose special restrictions over the weekend to ensure local communities are protected.
The Polish Government announces that parks and forests will reopen to the public on Monday (20th April) and then revise the rules on the number of customers allowed in shops as part of efforts to loosen lockdown restrictions. The Polish Government also clarifies that the country's borders will remain closed until 3 May.
Switzerland announces that it will ease restrictions in a three-stage process. First, hospitals will be allowed to perform all operations including elective surgeries while hair salons, massage parlours and cosmetic studies will be allowed to reopen on 27 April. Second, all primary schools, shops, and markets will be allowed to reopen from 11 May. Third, the government will reopen secondary schools, vocational schools, and universities from 8 June.
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock states that it is too early for the British Government to lift the coronavirus lockdown in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. At the advice of epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, the British Government maintains social distancing measures until a vaccine becomes available. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab extends the UK's lockdown by another three weeks.
The Croatian Government extended its lockdown by another 15 days, until May 4.
The Danish Government announces that it will invest 100 billion Danish krones (US$14.6 billion) in direct economic aid, state guaranteed loans and extended deadlines for tax payments to help businesses affected by the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announces that he would ask the Spanish Parliament to extend the national lockdown until 9 May. Sánchez has indicated that he wanted to relax restrictions on children, who will be allowed out of their homes after 27 April under restrictions.
In the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II announces that there will be no guns salutes to mark her birthday on 21 April, the first such request made in her 68-year reign. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announces that the UK Government will do more to provide healthcare workers with personal protective equipment.
Uzbekistan extended social distancing measures through May 10.
Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová has criticised the European Union for what she described as its "morbid dependency" on China and India for medical supplies during a Czech television debate.
French Health Minister Olivier Véran eases restrictions on visits to nursing and seniors' homes, which had been in place since March 2020. Only two relatives may visit a senior or social care facility at the same time while physical contact is prohibited.
United Kingdom Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove has rebuffed a BuzzFeed News report claiming that the British Government is considering a three-stage plan to start easing lockdown restrictions within weeks.
The Belgian Government has indicated that it is planning to ease lockdown restrictions since the coronavirus pandemic in Belgium has peaked.
The European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Paolo Gentiloni stated during an interview that €1.5 trillion worth in aid would be needed to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
Norway has begun reopening pre-school nurseries after a month-long lockdown. Norwegian Air has announced that four of its subsidiaries in Denmark and Sweden had filed for bankruptcy, affecting 4,700 jobs.
The Polish Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski has issued a statement stating that the Polish Government may restore restrictions if there is a spike in cases. Earlier, the Polish Government had announced the reopening of parks and forests on Monday.
In the United Kingdom, NHS Blood and Transplant announced that they were planning to collect blood from coronavirus patients to investigate if convalescent plasma transfusion could speed up patients' rate of recovery. British Culture Secretary has also announced that the UK Government will review its approach to the coronavirus pandemic to identify areas for improvement in response to public criticism. Prince Philip has also issued a statement thanking health workers, scientists and other essential services for their work during the coronavirus pandemic. A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also defended the Government's decision not to lift lockdown and social distancing measures, saying that the UK's main concern is to prevent a second wave of infections. British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced that over 140,000 companies, employing more than 1 million people, had applied for the Government's wage subsidy scheme.
The International Monetary Fund's Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has described the spread of the coronavirus as the worst crisis since the Great Depression during a media conference in Bulgaria.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has announced that the Austrian Government will allow restaurants to reopen and religious services to resume from 15 May. Schools are scheduled to reopen for senior students in early May while schools for younger pupils will reopened at a staggered pace from 15 May.
The Danish Health Ministry announces that it will not allow public gatherings with over 500 people until at least 1 September, contradicting earlier reports that the Danish Government would not allow larger public gatherings until 10 May. A current limit on public gatherings of more than ten people remains in force until 10 May.
The Spanish Government has announced that it will allow children under the age of 12 to leave their homes for 90 minutes with an accompanying adult due to concerns for the mental health of children.
In the United Kingdom, several engineering, aerospace, automotive and Formula One companies have formed the VentilatorChallengeUK consortium in order to produce 1,500 ventilators per week.
United Nations World Food Programme chief economist Arif Husain has warned that the number of people facing acute food insecurity could rise to 265 million as a result of the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
World Health Organization spokesperson Fadela Chaib issued a statement during a Geneva media briefing that all available evidence suggests that the coronavirus originated in bats and was not created in a laboratory in response to US President Trump's statements that the US would investigate whether the coronavrius was manufactured in a lab.
In the United Kingdom, Ed Davey, the acting leader of the Liberal Democrats has called for an inquiry into the British Government's handling of the coronavirus including the partial death toll, limited testing, and the lack of equipment at hospitals. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab confirmed the deaths of 69 National Health Service personnel as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and announced that the Government had delivered 1 billion items of personal protective equipment as well as through the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed that the British Government will implement large-scale contact tracing once they have curbed the number of new cases.
Greece has extended lockdown measures by a week until 4 May, a move that will also delay the removal of hundreds of migrants from refugee camps. In addition, two asylum seekers on the island of Lesbos, one Iranian and one Afghan, were shot and wounded after allegedly violating coronavirus quarantine restrictions.
The British Government's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has recommended keeping social distancing measures in place for the rest of the year. The British Health Secretary Matthew Hancock has announced that coronavirus testing will be expanded to other "key workers" outside the medical and nursing home professions including teachers, government servants, and delivery drivers. He also announced that the Government was launching a large scale testing and tracking programme to keep the rate of coronavirus transmissions low.
In the United Kingdom, a team of scientists at Oxford University have tested their first prototype vaccine "ChAdOx1 nCoV-19" on their first batch of volunteers. Meanwhile, Italy's ReiThera, Germany's Leukocare and Belgium's Univercell have confirmed they are working together on developing a trial vaccine within the next few months.
Oran Finnegan, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross' forensic unit, has advised international governments to prepare and plan for mass casualties resulting from the coronavirus, warning that the rising death toll could overwhelm the local capacity to handle the amount of dead bodies.
The World Health Organization Europe Director Dr Hans Kluge has reported that up to half of all coronavirus fatalities in Europe have occurred within nursing homes, showing that the pandemic has disproportionately affected the elderly. Kluge also called for healthcare workers in rest homes to be given more protective gear and support. The WHO also announced that it was launching a "landmark collaboration" to speed up the development, production and the distribution of drugs, tests and vaccines to prevent, diagnose and treat COVID-19.
According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), 80 countries have imposed bans or limited the export of face masks and other protective equipment. However, only 13 WTO members have notified the global trading organization as required by its regulations.
In Belgium, Antwerp authorities announces that they will be testing virus bracelets to ensure that thousands of people employed in the city comply with social distancing rules. The Belgian Government has also announced that they will ease coronavirus restriction measures in May, allowing non-food businesses to reopen on 11 May and schools to reopen from 18 May.
The French Health Ministry has restricted the sale of nicotine substitutes after some new research suggested that nicotine may offer some protection against the coronavirus.
The Hungarian President Viktor Orban has announced that the Hungarian Government intends to replace the current lockdown which imposes a blanket curfew over the population with what he described as a more "fine-tuned plan."
The Israeli government allows most businesses that are not in shopping malls and open markets to reopen as long as they adhere to standards of cleanliness, wearing protective gear, and social distancing. Hairdressers and beauty saloons can resume operations from Saturday midnight while eateries can sell takeaways and provide home deliveries. The Israeli Government also increased fines for violating social distancing guidelines and maintained restrictions on non-essential travel.
The Portuguese government announces that it intends to conduct 70,000 tests on residents and workers at care homes by the end of May 2020.
Russian authorities announce that they will build a 1,000 bed hospital for coronavirus patients in St Petersburg in response to rising cases and deaths. The Defence Ministry is also building 16 hospitals across the country to cope with demand.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has defended the British Government's guidelines for personal protective equipment (PPE) in response to a lawsuit from two British doctors, who have expressed concerned that existing PPE policies do not protect medical workers from the coronavirus. The opposition British Labour Party has announced a review into the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Black, Asian and other minority ethnic communities, who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Transport for London has also announced that it would place 7,000 staff on furlough and access the British Government's job retention scheme.
A spokesperson for the United States Mission in Geneva has confirmed that the United States will not be participating in the launch of a global initiative sponsored by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday to speed up the development, production, and distribution of vaccines and drugs to combat the coronavius pandemic.
The World Health Organization's director-general Tedros Adhanom announced that the international organisation was partnering with world leaders and the private sector to speed up the development, production, and distribution of drugs and vaccines to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The British and Spanish Governments have expressed support for the WHO's efforts.
French pharmaceutical company Sanofi's CEO Paul Hudson has called for better European coordination in efforts to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus, criticizing what he regarded as Europe's slow response to the pandemic.
In Belarus, several people have tested positive for the coronavirus at an orphanage for 170 people.
Hundreds in Germany and Poland have gathered at the Polish border town of Zgorzelec against a mandatory coronavirus quarantine for those crossing the border. In Berlin, a thousand anti-lockdown protesters have staged a rally, which was attended by both far left and right-wing activists and groups. Police arrested several protesters for flouting lockdown measures.
The Polish Health Minister Dr Łukasz Szumowski has advised postponing the 2020 Polish presidential election, scheduled for 10 May. Despite pressure from the opposition, medical workers, the public and both allies and members of the ruling Law and Justice party, the Polish government has refused to postpone the election.
The United Kingdom has started trials to investigate whether plasma collected from donors who have recovered from the coronavirus can be used to treat patients who are severely unwell with it. Starship Technologies has announced that they will be using delivery robots to deliver groceries to National Health Service personnel. A 10 Downing Street spokesperson also confirmed that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson would return to work on Monday.
David Kaye, the United Nations special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, has released a summary of his report to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Twitter expressing concern that some policies meant to combat the coronavirus pandemic "may be failing to meet the standards of legality, necessity and proportionality".
The World Health Organization has issued a statement that there is no evidence that people who have recovered from the coronavirus and have antibodies are protected against a second coronavirus infection.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has announced that Italy will reopen its manufacturing industry from 4 May and schools from September. Companies will be required to introduce strict safety measures before resuming operations. Conte has also confirmed that professional sports teams can resume training on 18 May and individual sports teams on 4 May. As part of the plan, eateries will be allowed to provide takeaway and delivery services, people will be able to move within their home regions, and factories and construction sites will be allowed to resume work provided they adhere to social distancing. Museums and galleries will also reopen on 18 May.
The Spanish Government has allowed children to leave the house in order to exercise, play or go for a walk as part of the relaxation of lockdown measures, which had previously only allowed adults to leave the house to buy groceries and medicine, walk the dog, and seek medical treatment. Children under the age of 14 are allowed one hour of supervised outdoor activity per day between 9am and 9pm local time but must remain within one kilometre of their home. However, children must be accompanied by adults and must adhere to social distancing policies, not using playgrounds, and not sharing toys. Schools also remain closed.
The Norwegian Government has reopened primary schools to children aged six to ten years after six weeks of distance learning. To comply with health measures, classes will be limited to 15 kids.
British Minister of State for Health Edward Argar has confirmed during a radio interview that the British Government will be continuing to test whether antibody tests can be used to combat the coronavirus pandemic. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces that he will meet with Labour Party leader Keir Starmer this week and the leaders of other parties the following week as part of efforts to build consensus over plans to ease the coronavirus lockdown. A British court has also delayed the extradition hearing for journalist and activist Julian Assange since lockdown restrictions prevented his lawyers from attending court proceedings.
The British Government has allowed members of the public to submit questions to government ministers, scientific, and medical officers during the daily briefing under Prime Minister Johnson's policy of "maximum possible transparency." The British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has announced that the UK Government will provide state-backed loans to small businesses in order to protect the economy and workers during the lockdown.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that Turkey would send medical gear including protective suits and masks to the United States. He also imposed a three-day lockdown in 31 cities commencing 1 May and stated that weekend lockdowns would continue until Eid al-Fitr in late May 2020.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has called Governments not to violate human rights under the pretext of "exceptional and emergency measures" during the coronavirus pandemic.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has stated that the French Government will only lift the lockdown when the number of new cases drops below 3,000 per day. He also announced that face masks will be made available to the public on 11 May. The French Government also plans to carry out at least 700,000 deaths by 11 May.
Spanish President Pedro Sánchez has announced a four-phase plan to lift Spain's lockdown, commencing 4 May. The lifting of restrictions in the country's regions will be determined by the rate of infection, the number of intensive care beds, and social distancing compliance. Spain's National Statistics Institution has reported that Spain's unemployment rate has risen to 14.4% as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
United Kingdom Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed that several children with no underlying health conditions have died from a rare inflammatory syndrome which researchers believe to be linked to COVID-19. British and Italian medical experts have been investigating a possible link between the coronavirus pandemic and several clusters of several inflammatory disease among infants with symptoms including high fevers and swollen arteries. The Office for National Statistics has also indicated that the death toll resulting from COVID-19 in England and Wales was 52% higher than the daily figures for hospital deaths released by the British Government as of 17 April. The British Government has also dropped its support for four ventilator designs in favour of backing 11 other designs.
The International Airlines Group, which owns British Airways, has indicated that it is planning to cut 12,000 jobs as part of a restructuring plan for the airline as a result of economic losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Azerbaijan's Government has closed its borders until 31 May in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has announced that early childhood children and younger students would start returning to schools from 14 May for about two weeks prior to the summer break. Upper secondary and vocational school students will continue to study remotely until the end of the school year.
The German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has extended a warning on overseas tourism until 14 June. German pharmaceutical company BioNTech has announced that it has begun testing its first trial vaccine BNT162 on 12 volunteers. The company intends to test 200 adult volunteers for its second trial. The Economic Affairs and Energy Minister Peter Altmaier has stated that the German economy could shrink by 6.8% as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has announced that Poland will reopen hotels and shopping malls on 4 May and will reconsider reopening pre-schools on 6 May. Earlier, Polish Government spokesperson Piotr Müller has announced that hotels will be allowed to reopen for the summer holidays in July and August. The government has also extended school closures until 24 May.
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has extended a decree banning foreigners from entering Russia, which was due to end on 30 April, until Russia has managed to bring the coronavirus pandemic under control.
In Serbia, critics of the government's lockdown policies have staged protests in their homes using tin pans, drums, whistles, and horns. The Serbian Government's lockdown measures have included a daily curfew from 16:00 GMT and weekend lockdowns.
The Swiss Government has announced that it will ask the Federal Assembly to approve a 1.9 billion Swiss franc (US$1.95 billion) aid package for the country's aviation sector. This includes 1.275 billion in loan guarantees for airliners and another 600 million francs for companies that support the aviation sector including Swissport International, Gategroup and SR Technics.
Turkish Education Minister Ziya Selçuk has extended the closure of schools until late May. Turkey has closed schools since 12 March. That same day, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced that the number of recovered patients doubled the number of new cases. He also stated that the death rate among incubated patients had dropped from 74% to 14% and from 58% to 10% among intensive care patients.
The World Health Organization's Director-General Tedros Adhanom has defended the international organization's response to the coronavirus pandemic, asserting that the WHO had acted "quickly and decisively to warn the world" from the beginning.
Bosnian Chairman of the Council of Ministers Zoran Tegeltija has extended a ban on passenger air travel, which began on 30 March, to June 2020. This ban on air travel excludes cargo planes carrying medical aid to Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtěch has announced that the Czech government will reopen the country's economy since the spread of the coronavirus had been contained, citing a decline in new and active cases.
Germany's Bundesagentur für Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency) has reported that the country's unemployment rate rose by 13.2 percent in April to more than 2.6 million. The German Government has confirmed that it plans to allow churches, mosques, and synagogues to reopen in accordance with limits on the numbers of participants and social distance measures. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stated that allowing travel within Europe is currently "not on the agenda." The German pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit has announced that its Lufthansa members are willing to take a 45% paycut in order to help the airline.
In Hungary, Gergely Gulyás, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's chief of staff, has announced that schools will remain close until the end of May and that public gatherings with more than 500 people will be banned until 15 August.
In Ireland, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has announced that Irish Government will gradually ease lockdown restrictions every two to four weeks. Five criteria for easing restrictions include the progress of the coronavirus, healthcare capacity and resilience, testing and contact tracing capacity, shielding at-risk groups, and the risk of secondary morbidity and mortality due to the restrictions themselves.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has announced that Italy will relax its coronavirus lockdown while taking into account different contagion levels in different parts of the country. Conte also announced a new stimulus package consisting of US$16.3 billion for companies and US$25 billion for both payroll workers and the self-employed.
The Polish Government has lifted the quarantine rule for workers and students entering Poland from neighbouring states including Germany, Lithuania, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. Other nationals will be required to go through a two-week quarantine.
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has launched a fundraising campaign to help the United Nations buy soap, masks, and gloves to protect children from the coronavirus pandemic. The Swedish town of Lund has spread chicken manure in its central park to deter crowds who would usually congregate on 30 April to celebrate Walpurgis Night as part of measures to encourage social distancing.
The United Kingdom's Department of Health and Social Care has announced that it plans to test a randomly-chosen group of 100,000 people to study the spread of the coronavirus. British Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has reported that the UK had carried out 52,429 tests by Wednesday, short of the UK government's target of conducting 100,000 tests by the end of April. In addition, Buckland announced that the UK has released the first 40 of 4,000 prospective prisoners identified for early release in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. A spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson has indicated that the UK Government is intending to review lockdown measures on 7 May.
British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca's CEO Pascal Soriot stated during a media interview that they will know the effectiveness of the vaccine that they are working on with the University of Oxford by June or July 2020.
The World Health Organization's Regional Office for Europe Head Hans Kluge has announced that 21 of the 44 European states that have imposed partial or complete restrictions in response to the coronavirus have eased them. In a statement, he warned that the coronavirus could be "unforgiving" and urged vigilance, perseverance, and patience.
Reactions and measures in South and Southeast AsiaEdit
Malaysia extended its Movement Control Order, which was due to have ended on 31 March, by two weeks. Public transportation would only operate for limited hours while private vehicles including e-hailing services would be banned from the roads between 10 p.m and 6 a.m.
Indian government announced plans to convert trains and stadiums into isolation wards for a total of 320,000 patients.
Thailand announced that it would begin a nationwide curfew between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. starting from 3 April to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Nepal's Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) reports a surge in poaching due to slack monitoring and a drop in public movement.
Malaysian Deputy Foreign Minister Kamaruddin Jaffar announces that the Malaysian Government has repatriated 4,811 stranded nationals and that 2,298 Malaysians remain stranded overseas. Immigration authorities in the state of Johor announce that Malaysians with Singaporean work permits will be allowed to re-enter the country if they pass swab tests proving they are free of the coronavirus.
President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa announces that he has released 2,961 prisoners in order to reduce congestion in prisons. These include prisoners that have served the majority of their terms, had been remanded for minor offenses, and had been unable to pay their bail.
Amnesty International warns that older Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are at risk from the coronavirus due to their overcrowded camps, poor living conditions, and a lack of basic health information. According to the United Nations, about 31,500 of the 860,000 refugees are 60 years old and over.
Singapore quarantines nearly 20,000 migrant workers, mainly Bangladeshis and South Asians, in two dormitories in response to a surge in infection clusters linked to foreign workers.
Thailand extends a ban on incoming passenger flights until 18 April.
Indian health authorities lockdown several residential districts in the capital New Delhi and the neighbouring Uttar Pradesh state that have been identified as coronavirus hotspots. Residents in those hotspots will not be allowed to leave their homes but will be supplied with food, medicines, and other supplies.
Malaysian company Top Glove, the world's biggest manufacturer of medical gloves, announces plans to manufacture face masks to meet public demand in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Malaysian Government also extends the movement control order until 28 April.
Singapore's Ministry of Education suspends the use of Zoom for online education after hackers hijacked a geography lesson and showed an obscene image. The Ministry is working with Zoom Video Communications to tighten security settings and measures.
The Bangladeshi Government extends the nationwide lockdown until 25 April.
Indonesia orders curbs on public transportation ahead of the annual exodus to home villages following Ramadan in a bid to combat the spread of the coronavirus. As part of these measures, public buses, trains, airplanes and ships will be allowed to fill only half their passenger seats. Cars will only be allowed to fill half of their seats while motorbikes can only be ridden by one person.Myanmar's Ministry of Health and Sports extends a ban on international flights to combat the spread of the coronavirus.The Sri Lankan government orders that all coronavirus victims be cremated, triggering protests from the Sri Lankan Muslim community.
The Bangladeshi Government extends the national holiday until 25 April in an attempt to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Al Jazeera reports that about 40,000 Indian crew members are stranded on cruise and cargo ships around the world due to travel restrictions caused by COVID-19. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Dammu Ravi has said that the return of Indians stranded abroad is still a "work in progress."
Leaders of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meet online to discuss their countries' response to the coronavirus including discussions on a regional stockpile of medical equipment for emergencies and the creation of a regional fund to fight the pandemic.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announces that the country's lockdown will be extended until 3 May. Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan calls on the Indian Government to repatriate the more than 3 million migrant workers in the United Arab Emirates, citing the inadequate isolation and quarantine facilities.
The Indian Government announces that it will ease lockdown restrictions in the rural areas on several activities, including manufacturing and infrastructure building, starting from next Monday (20th April) to provide relief for workers affected by the COVID-19 lockdown.
The Maldives government imposes a 24-hour curfew in the capital Malé and several nearby islands after the country reported its first case of domestic transmission. Police are urging people to return to their homes by 15:30 local time.
The Singaporean Government makes it compulsory for all people to wear a face mask following a surge in cases over the past two days. The Health Ministry has stated that anyone found without a mask will be fined S$300 (US$212) while repeat offenders would be prosecuted in court and face higher fines. Exemptions would be made for children below two years old or those with special needs.
The Pakistani Government announces that it will be easing restrictions on certain economic sectors including the construction and cement industries in order to combat rising unemployment and economic stagnation. Several Sunni leaders have also defied government regulations to limit worship activities and services.
The Thai Government has extended a ban on incoming flights until the end of April. However, the Interior Ministry has announced that land borders in 21 provinces would be reopened on Saturday to allow the return of Thais stranded abroad. Up to 100 people will be allowed to enter each border cross each day and all will be subject to a 14-day quarantine. In addition, 11 Thai and international NGOs including the Manushya Foundation petition the Thai Government to release prisoners in order to protect them from the spread of the coronavirus in crowded prisons.
The President of Myanmar Win Myint announces that 24,896 people will be released from the country's prisons in a bid to ease overcrowding and prevent the spread of the coronavirus among prisoners.
Pakistan receives a US$1.5 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to deal with the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
In Bangladesh, over 100,000 people have defied a ban on public gatherings by attending the funeral of an Islamic cleric and Khelafat Majlish political leader named Maulana Zubayer Ahmed Ansari in the country's Brahmanbaria district, about 100 kilometres away from the capital Dhaka.
In Myanmar, a Christian pastor named David Lah and a Christian rock singer named Myo Gyi have tested positive for the coronavirus. 22 cases have been traced to an illegal religious gathering which he had hosted. Pastor Lah and three other people were charged with violating the country's Natural Disaster Management Law.
The Supreme Court of Nepal orders the Nepalese Government to bring back migrant workers stranded abroad after it had initially barred them from returning in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The Supreme Court had ruled in favour of a petition by the labour NGO People Forum for Human Rights (PFHR). Nepal has 2.6 million workers in the Gulf States, Malaysia and South Korea.
India agrees to supply hydroxychloroquine tablets to the United Arab Emirates in order to treat coronavirus patients. The Indian state of Maharashtra allows a limited number of economic sectors to resume work on Monday to address unemployment.
The Bangladeshi Government has imposed a 14-day 24-hour curfew on the residents of seven villages in the Brahmanbaria district in response to an illegal mass funeral for Bangladeshi Muslim leader Maulana Jubayer Ahmed Ansari that was attended by over 100,000. Bangladeshi authorities are also conducting tests to identify any cases of the coronavirus among attendees.
The Thai Government has extended foreigners' visas by three months in order to avoid long queues at immigration centres. Foreigners whose visas expired on 26 March will be permitted to stay until 31 July without having to apply for another visa.
The Indian Government-owned Broadcast Engineering Consultants India announces plans to manufacture thousands of wristbands that will monitor the health and movements of coronavirus patients, perform contact tracing, and aid health workers delivering essential services. The company will present its designs to Indian hospitals and state governments and will work with Indian start-ups to manufacture them.
The Indonesian Transportation Ministry's director-general of aviation Novie Riyanto Rahardjo announced that the Indonesian Government would ban all domestic passenger air and sea travel from Friday (24 April) until 1 June in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Cargo transportation is exempt from the ban.
In Bangladesh, hundreds of textile workers have staged a protest in Dhaka, demanding wages and financial support in response to the lockdown which has crippled the country's textile industry.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged citizens to comply with the nationwide lockdown and social distancing measures in a radio address in response to the rising number of cases and deaths.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed that his country's month-long lockdown has saved lives and yielded positive results during a video conference with other heads of state. The Indian Council of Medical Research has advised state governments to stop using coronavirus testing equipment from two Chinese companies Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics due to their unsatisfactory performance. In response, Chinese Embassy spokesperson Ji Rong criticized the Indian Council of Medical Research's decision as "unfair, irresponsible and prejudiced."
In India, Mumbai health authorities have delayed a plan to give the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to thousands of residents in the city's slums in accordance with government guidelines.
Reactions and measures in Western PacificEdit
Taiwan required all people using public transportation to wear face masks while barring people with fevers from entering stations or airports. The Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu announced that Taiwan would be donating masks and medical supplies to the US, hard-hit European countries, and Taiwan's diplomatic allies. The Taiwanese Government intended to invest US$35 million in economic relief.
The Australian Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) began the first stage of potential vaccines for COVID-19 on ferrets at a biosecurity facility near Melbourne.
The Chinese city of Shenzhen banned the breeding, trade and consumption of wildlife including snakes, lizards, as well as cats and dogs. The Chinese Government also sent a mercy flight to evacuate Chinese students in London. Chinese Government announced it had distributed 11 million masks and 500,000 disinfecting products to Chinese students abroad in affected countries.
New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters announced that foreign travellers in New Zealand would be classified as engaging in "essential travel" and thus able to travel domestically when they have a confirmed international flight out of the country, subject to New Zealand Government requirements. In addition, foreign governments would be allowed to evacuate their citizens in charter flights provided they satisfied New Zealand health requirements. To improve travel between New Zealand and Europe, the Government also approved a second daily flight between Doha to Auckland by Qatar Airways.
President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte warned lockdown violators that he would not hesitate to order the Philippines police and military to "shoot them dead" if they defied lockdown requirements and harm doctors and health workers.[excessive citations]
South Korea reported that it had quarantined 158 short-term visitors at quarantine facilities. In addition, 224 South Koreans and 11 foreigners were tested for the virus. Eight foreigners were denied entry for refusing to accept the quarantine. South Korea will also start enforcing penalties on violators from 5 April, with fines, jail and deportation among them.
The US embassy in Tokyo urged US nationals living in Japan to either return to the US immediately or stay in the Asian country for an indefinite period, adding that the Japanese government's decision not to test broadly made it difficult to accurately assess the COVID-19 prevalence rate.
In Australia, Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge urges temporary visa holders, including students, skilled workers, and visitors, to return home in response to a looming economic downturn and unemployment. While Tudge stressed that temporary visa holders in essential industries were welcome, he urged those who were unable to support themselves to return home.
China declared Saturday a day of mourning. The country also held three minutes of silence at 10 am local time to commemorate the more than 3,000 health workers and patients who died during the country's COVID-19 pandemic. China's Guangxi region, which borders Vietnam, suspends cross-border and movement with Vietnam in order to contain the coronavirus.
Hong Kong's Labour Department announces that it will conduct mobile broadcasts instructing foreign domestic workers not to gather in public, beginning Sunday. Broadcasts will be in Chinese, English, Filipino, Indonesian, and Thai.
In Australia, New South Wales authorities allow the cruise ship Ruby Princess to dock in the state. The New South Wales Police also launch a criminal investigation into whether the ship's operator Carnival Australia breached the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cwth) and state laws by allowing infected passengers to disembark on 19 March.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announces that a state of emergency will come into effect in Tokyo and six other prefectures on Tuesday in order to contain the coronavirus. This state of emergency will empower Japanese governments to order people to stay at home and businesses to close.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters announces that the New Zealand Government will be sending a mercy flight to rescue citizens stranded in Peru. NZ authorities have also gained permission from Chilean authorities to transit through Santiago.
The Japanese Government approves a 108.2 trillion Yen (US$993 billion) emergency economic stimulus package worth aimed at combating the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, referring to it as the "biggest crisis" the country's economy has faced since World War II.
New Zealand Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare extends the country's state of emergency by a further seven days in response to a rise in cases. This state of emergency is separate from the four week alert level four lockdown. That same day, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern demoted Health Minister David Clark and stripped him of his associate finance portfolio for breaching lockdown conditions by driving his family on a social outing to a beach.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte extends the lockdown of the country's main island Luzon and its capital Manila until the end of April. Human Rights Watch also calls on the Philippines Government to reduce the number of inmates in response to concerns about a "serious outbreak" in the country's overcrowded prisons. In November 2019, 215,000 prisoners were detained in a system with a maximum capacity of 40,000.
The Australian Government approves an Aus$30 billion wage subsidy package to help 6 million Australians, marking the country's largest financial stimulus package.
Chinese authorities lifted the lockdown on Wuhan, which has been put in place since 23 January. Anyone who has a "green" code on a widely used smartphone health app is allowed to leave the city. In addition, train, road and rail connections have now been re-established. In addition, Chinese authorities have launched an investigation of prominent Communist Party member Ren Zhiqiang, who had criticised Chinese Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Hong Kong extends social distancing restrictions including bans on public gatherings and businesses until 23 April.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expresses "cautious optimism" that New Zealand may be slowing the spread of COVID-19 after the country reported the lowest number of new daily cases in a fortnight.
Australian authorities question the Captain of the Ruby Princess and confiscate the ship's black box as part of their homicide investigation into the cruise ship, a major cluster for the coronavirus pandemic in Australia.
Chinese authorities in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang build a new hospital to cope with a cluster of imported cases from Russia. In addition, research published by scientists from the University of Wuhan in the European Respiratory Journal suggests that it is possible for expectant mothers to pass the coronavirus to unborn babies in their womb based on four infected newborns.
In the Philippines, the International Committee of the Red Cross has worked with the Philippines authorities to establish four isolation centres for prisoners confirmed with mild to moderate symptoms of the coronavirus or suspected of having the disease.
The Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs denies accusations by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom that it had made racial slurs against him and demanded his apology. Taiwan is not a member of the WHO due to the One China Policy. In response, Beijing accused Taiwan of conspiring with Internet users to attack Tedros Adhanom.
The Vietnamese Government implements a 180 trillion dong (US$7.6 billion) tax holiday to help businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Chinese Government tightens restrictions on the export of face masks and other personal protective equipment, calling for the shipment of such items to be subject mandatory customs inspection.
South Korea introduces early voting for coronavirus patients during the 2020 South Korean legislative election, which is scheduled for 15 April. The South Korean Government had set up eight special polling stations for 3,000 coronavirus patients and 900 medical personnel treating them at special treatment centres.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Finance enters into talks with international lenders including the IMF, World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank for a US$1 billion loan to deal with its economic deficit caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In China, Al Jazeera has reported that African residents in Guangzhou's Yuexiu District have faced heightened hostility and discrimination including forced evictions, arbitrary quarantines, and mass coronavirus testing in response to growing unease over eight recent cases originating in that district, which is home to a sizeable African community. Ethnic tensions had been inflamed after five Nigerians flouted quarantine orders by frequenting local businesses, causing nearly 2,000 people they had come into contact with to undergo testing or quarantine.
The South Korean Government announces that it will strap wristbands onto people who defy self-quarantine orders as it monitors the spread of the coronavirus.
In China, several African governments have voiced concern about Africans in Guangzhou being subject to hostility, discrimination, and violence in response to local authorities imposing mandatory virus tests and quarantines on anyone with "African" contacts following an outbreak from "imported" cases in Guangzhou. The US Consulate has advised African Americans against traveling to Guangzhou due to ethnic tensions. Suifenhe authorities also strengthen border controls with Russia in order to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. Beijing authorities also announced that they will reopen high schools on 27 April and middle schools on 11 May. Harbin authorities announce that people entering from Russia will be held at a quarantine center for 14 days before self-quarantining at their homes for 14 days. Harbin authorities also announce that they will lockdown residential units in which coronavirus and asymptomatic cases are found.
The North Korean government calls for stricter measures to check the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, without specifying whether there were any reported infections in the country.
The Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern both issue remarks to the media that it is too early to relax social distancing and lockdown restrictions in their countries.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian issues a statement rejecting US allegations that Chinese authorities in Guangzhou had mistreated Africans and accused Washington of trying to harm Beijing's relations with African states. National Immigration Administration spokesperson Liu Haitao announces that China has reduced the number of people crossing its borders by 90% in an attempt to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
South Korea announces that it will export 600,000 coronavirus testing kits to the United States in response to a request by President Trump.
The Chinese Government approves two experimental coronavirus vaccines developed by a Beijing-based unit of Sinovac Biotech and the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, an affiliate of the China National Pharmaceutical Group. Heilongjiang authorities establish a hotline for reporting illegal migrants crossing from Russia along with a reward system: 3,000 Yuan (US$426) for reporting illegal migrants, and 5,000 Yuan for apprehending illegal migrants and handing them over to the authorities. The Global Times urges Chinese citizens in Russia to remain in Russia and not to return in response to a spike in imported coronavirus cases from Russia. US fastfood chain McDonald's apologizes after one of its branches in Guangzhou posted a sign saying that Africans were not welcome in response to tensions between locals and Africans.
The Chinese Government urges the United States Government to fulfill its obligations to the World Health Organization after President Trump cut funding to the international organization.
An Associated Press report alleges that the Chinese Government suppressed news of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan for six days between 14 and 20 January 2020, causing the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Japanese Government Yoshihide Suga encourages Japanese citizens to limit their interaction with others in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. While Japanese government policy is to limit interactions by 70 percent, compliance is not compulsory.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that all government ministers and public sector chief executives will take a 20 percent pay cut to combat the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Opposition Leader Simon Bridges has also confirmed that he will take a 20 percent pay cut.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces that Australia will maintain lockdown restrictions for at least four more weeks. The Australian Government intends to spend the next four weeks expanding testing, improving its contact tracing capability, and planning responses to local outbreaks. After the four weeks, the Government intends to review movement restrictions and the closure of businesses and schools.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe extends the state of emergency that it has imposed on seven prefectures to the rest of Japan. Several Japanese sake breweries have shifted to producing high-alcohol content liquids for alcohol-based hand sanitisers in order to address a shortage of hand sanitising liquid in Japan.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern outlines the New Zealand Government's alert level 3 lockdown rules and restrictions. Key policies have included allowing people to swim and fish while banning boating; reopening early childhood centers and schools up to Year 10 on a voluntary basis; easing work restrictions; allowing ten people to attend funerals, weddings, and tangi; and allowing food eateries to provide take away services.
The South Korean Government reopens schools but instruction will be conducted remotely.
Chinese authorities have arrested 42 people for hoarding and driving up the price of material used to make face masks as well as illegally producing shoddy and inferior material for resale. The Chinese Government's budget officer also predicts that the country's economy will contract by 2% in 2020 due to stimulus measures raising the country's deficit to 8%, the largest gap since 1990.
The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea James Marape enters into self-isolation after a staff member at the country's main coronavirus emergency treatment centre tests positive for the coronavirus.
In the Philippines, human rights groups call for the release of non-violent, sick and elderly prisoners in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus within the country's prison system. This followed reports that 30 prisoners in Quezon City Jail were showing symptoms of the coronavirus and that 18 guards and prisoners at an unspecified prison had tested positive for the coronavirus.
In China, the National Health Commission has ordered people working in the nursing, education, security and other sectors with high exposure to the public to undergo a nucleic acid test before leaving Wuhan.
Taiwanese Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung announces that the Taiwanese Government will place 700 Republic of China Navy sailors under quarantine after three coronavirus cases were confirmed among sailors who had taken part in a goodwill trip to Palau.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne calls for an independent global inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic including China's handling of the initial outbreak in Wuhan without the involvement of the World Health Organization. The opposition Australian Labor Party's Health spokesperson Chris Bowen has supported the push and urged the Australian Government to win the support of other countries for the inquiry.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang has defended China's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, rebuffing the Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne's calls for an international investigation into the origins of the virus.
Beijing implemented a new requirement for people to show their health information on Beijing Health Kit when entering restaurants.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern extends New Zealand's Alert Level 4 lockdown by another week in order to "lock in gains" made in containing the spread of the coronavirus. The Alert Level 4 will end at 11:59 pm on 27 April with New Zealand entering into Alert Level 3 on 28 April for the duration of two weeks. Ardern also announced that schools and early childhood centres could reopen on 29 April.
Australian airliner Virgin Australia enters into voluntary administration after failing to obtain a loan from the Australian Government. The company is now seeking new buyers and investors to prevent collapse.
Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam has announced that Hong Kong will extend its coronavirus virus restrictions banning public gatherings, closing most businesses, and banning entry by foreigners by another 14 days.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has distributed 20 tonnes of healthcare, hygiene, and sanitation to Cambodia's Directorate General of Prisons and sponsored a 48-bed isolation facility in Manila.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has sought international support for an international review into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic during phone calls with US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron. Beijing has accused Canberra off parroting the US Government, which has criticized China and the World Health Organization's handling of the pandemic. In response, Macron has stated that it is not an "opportune time" for an international investigation into the coronavirus pandemic.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying has announced that China will be donating an addition US$30 million to the World Health Organization's efforts to combat the coronavirus, supplementing the US$20 million that China had already donated to the international organisation in March. Chinese Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping has also announced that the Chinese Government will invest in various sectors including 5G, artificial intelligence, energy, and the employment of graduates.
The Vietnamese Government eases social distancing restrictions, citing the success of its policy involving mass quarantines and expansive social distancing.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that only authorised health personnel will have access to data in government smartphone software to trace the contacts and movements of people with the coronavirus. The cruise ship Ruby Princess has departed Australian waters. The Ruby Princess was a major cluster for the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia, accounting for ten percent of the country's 6,000 deaths and a third of the country's 77 deaths, triggering a criminal investigation by New South Wales authorities.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang has issued a statement condemning cyber attacks on institutions fighting the coronavirus pandemic in response to a report by the US cybersecurity firm FireEye that Vietnamese government-linked hackers had tried to hack into the personal and professional email accounts of staff at the Chinese Ministry of Emergency Management and the Wuhan Government. Vietnam's foreign ministry denounced the report as "baseless."
The Financial Times has reported that Gilead Sciences's experimental anti-viral drug remdesivir has failed during its first test trial in China, based on leaked World Health Organization documents.
President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte extends Metro Manila's lockdown until 15 May. The extended lockdown covers several provinces on the island of Luzon. Three airlines including Philippines Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and the Filipino unit of Malaysian airliner AirAsia extend flight suspensions until mid-May. Cargo and special recovery flights are unaffected.
Vanuatu, which has reported no cases of COVID-19, has announced that they will be holding their Women's Super League final and streaming it live on social media.
The Australian Government has launched a new coronavirus tracing app based on Singapore's TraceTogether software that uses Bluetooth signals to record when people have been close to one another. While the Government has promised to legislate privacy protections, the app has been criticised for privacy issues and Amazon running the app's data storage.
Singapore has converted exhibition halls and other facilities into temporary hospitals for coronavirus patients in response to a surge in cases, mainly among foreign workers.
In South Korea, several churches including Onnuri Church have reopened but worshippers are required to maintain social distancing, wear masks, and sit at designated seats. South Korea had previously eased it social distancing policy for some religious and sports facilities.
In Australia, about 2 million people have downloaded the Australian Government's COVIDSafe tracing app. On the same day, Prime Minister Scott Morrison recorded a 68% approval rating for his handling of the pandemic.
Chinese authorities have arrested three individuals Chen Mei, Chai Wai, and "Tang" for contributing to "Terminu2049", an online archive of censored materials about the coronavirus outbreak on GitHub.
In Japan, the Osaka Prefecture has announced that it will name and shame pachinko parlours that continue to operate in defiance of coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Japan's economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura was suspected of having COVID-19 but tested negative. Nishimura, who failed to meet the testing criteria for the coronavirus, was criticized for undergoing a PCR test, because many people with suspected COVID-19 infection in the country who were discouraged from having PCR tests felt that they were treated unfairly.
New Zealand prepares to move from a Level 4 to a Level 3 alert level at midnight on 28 April. As part of the Level 3 lockdown, schools up to Year 10 and early childhood centers will be allowed to reopen but children will be encouraged to stay at home; businesses can reopen but mist comply with social distancing requirements; gatherings of up to ten people are allowed for weddings, funerals, and tangi; and low-risk recreational activities are allowed.
Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam has announced that civil servants will be able to return to work from 4 May but that Hong Kong government has not made a decision over easing travel and social distancing measures due to expire next week.
The Japan Medical Association has advised against holding the 2020 Summer Olympics, which has been postponed to July 2021, unless a COVID-19 vaccine is developed. 300,000 masks that the Japanese Government had sent to pregnant women as part of a government handout were found to be faulty.
In Malaysia, Human Rights Watch's Asia Director Phil Robertson called on the Malaysian Government to stop detaining people who had flouted the movement control order put in place to combat the spread of the coronavirus. By 18 March, 15,000 had been arrested for breaching the movement control order.
Taiwanese Health Minister Chen Shih-chung has thanked United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar for the United States' strong support for Taiwanese participation in the World Health Organization. Azar has expressed support for Taiwanese participation in WHO meetings and functions at the observer level.
Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced that Australia has purchased 10 million test kits from China for the purpose of conducting 10 million tests. Australia has so far carried out 500,000 tests.
China's national legislature, the National People's Congress will resume on 22 May. The People's Congress had been scheduled to start in 5 March but was suspended in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference will also reconvene from 21 May. That same day, Beijing authorities announced that they would lower their COVID emergency responses from level II to level I; eliminating quarantine restrictions on some people arriving from low-risk areas in the country.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued a statement that it would be difficult to hold the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo next year unless the coronavirus pandemic is contained. Governor of Tokyo Yuriko Koike has called for an extension of Japan's state of emergency beyond 6 May.
Human Rights Watch's Asia Director Phil Robertson has criticised Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen for using the coronavirus pandemic as a pretext to arrest opposition supporters and critics of the government in response to the arrest of 30 people including 12 Cambodian National Rescue Party members on charges of spreading "fake news" and other offenses.
The International Monetary Fund's Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has praised the Japanese Government's plans to spend 20 percent of its gross domestic product on tackling the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and helping poor countries.
The Hong Kong Government has announced that the first batch of 300 Hong Kong residents will depart the Pakistani capital Islamabad in a chartered flight. The returnees will be tested for the coronavirus and quarantined for 14 days. 1,600 Hong Kong residents remain stranded in Pakistan.
- Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2020
- Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020
- Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020
- Timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic from November to December 2019
- Timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2020
- Timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2020
- Timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020
- Timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020
- Timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020
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