German coronavirus infections increased by the most in seven days and Russia reported the most new cases in one day. Deaths in Iran passed 5,000 with more than 80,000 infections.
Singapore cases had the biggest one-day gain, with foreign workers living in dormitories accounting for most of the infections.
President Donald Trump said the U.S. has enough testing capacity to allow for a phased reopening of the economy, and that he’s “not happy” with China over the country’s early actions to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
Virus Tracker: Cases top 2.2 million; deaths exceed 154,000More than half of British companies likely to apply for aidA wild ride for global supply chains captured in seven chartsMilan’s alarming virus trend threatens plan to restart ItalyMany in South Korea emerge from months of self-isolationTrump and Cuomo trade barbs
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Iran Deaths Pass 5,000 (5:37 p.m. HK)
Fatalities in Iran rose to 5,031 as the country’s daily death toll from the virus fell to the lowest in over a month with 73 deaths in the past 24 hours. Total known cases reached 80,868 with 1,374 new infections since Friday.
Iran is seeking $50 million from the World Bank to help it fight the pandemic, marking the first time since 2005 that the country has applied for such a loan from the Washington-based institution, a deputy health minister said on state TV. Iran has also requested a loan of 130 million euros ($141 million) from the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank, of which it is the largest stakeholder after Saudi Arabia and Libya.
Nigerian Chief of Staff Dies (4:56 p.m. HK)
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief of staff died on Friday after contracting the coronavirus in Germany. Abba Kyari, whose age wasn’t disclosed, was regarded as one of the most powerful politicians in the West African country and a strong supporter of state intervention in the economy.
Russia Reports Biggest Increase in Cases (4:35 p.m. HK)
Russia recorded its largest daily increase in coronavirus infections, with new cases rising by almost 5,000 in a single day.
New infections jumped by 4,785 to 36,793, the official Russian coronavirus information center reported on its website. Forty people died in the past day, including 21 in Moscow, bringing the number of fatalities to 313. The pace of new cases increased 17.6% after slowing to less than 15% in the previous two days.
Singapore, Japan Cases Climb (3:21 p.m. HK)
Singapore preliminarily reported a record 942 new virus cases, versus 623 the day before, the country’s health ministry said in a statement. Foreign workers living in dormitories account for the vast majority of the new infections, it said.
Separately, Tokyo found 181 new cases, TV Asahi reported. Cases in Japan exceed 10,000, NHK said.
German Cruise Ship Leaves Australia: AP (3 p.m. HK)
A German-operated cruise ship left Western Australia after three weeks, the Associated Press reported, adding that three people died on board of the virus during that time. About 79 crew and passengers aboard the Artania had tested positive.
The ship had been urged to leave Australian waters several week ago amid concerns that an outbreak on board could overwhelm already-strained local hospitals. Its operator Phoenix-Reisen GmbH had refused to do so so it can first determine whether any more people on board are infected, and wanted the vessel to be thoroughly cleaned, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported on April 1.
Trump ‘Danger for Public Health,’ Merkel Partner Says (3 p.m. HK)
U.S. President Trump is “a danger for people’s health, not just in his own country,” according to the parliamentary leader of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s junior coalition partner.
Trump “has done many things wrong and too late and is focusing only on his own performance,” Social Democrat caucus chief Rolf Muetzenich said in an interview with Der Spiegel magazine. “If he withholds funding for the WHO, he only wants to distract attention from his own mistakes.”
German Infections Rise by Most in a Week (2:08 p.m. HK)
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased at a quicker rate for a third day and by the most in seven days as the nation prepares for a relaxation of some restrictions on public life.
There were 3,699 new infections in the 24 hours through Saturday, taking the total to 141,397, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The pace of increase in new cases had declined steadily for six days until Thursday from a peak of 5,633 on April 9.
The number of fatalities rose by 300 to 4,352, while 83,114 people have recovered from the disease, more than in any other country, including China where the outbreak originated.
Indonesia Tightens Restrictions (1:09 p.m. HK)
Indonesia has extended stricter social-distancing rules to millions of people living on the main island of Java, and in West Sumatra, as the nation strives to stem a spike in coronavirus cases.
Large-scale social restrictions will be put in place across five regions in West Java that collectively house almost 9 million people, Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto said. A similar order has been given for Tegal, a city in Central Java, and for the province of West Sumatra. Putranto noted a significant increase in the spread of Covid-19 cases in these areas.
There were 407 new infections in Indonesia on Friday, the biggest daily increase, taking total confirmed cases close to 6,000.
China Catering Industry One of Bigger Drags on Economy (12:50 p.m. HK)
China’s catering industry was one of the biggest drags on output in the first quarter, leading the world’s second-largest economy into its first contraction in decades as the coronavirus brought business to a near standstill.
The accommodation and catering industry fell 35.3% from a year earlier, reversing a 6.2% increase in the previous quarter, the statistics bureau said Saturday in a supplemental report on gross domestic product.
Read more here.
Indonesian Workers Plan Mass Rallies: Jakarta Post (10:10 a.m. HK)
Millions of workers in Indonesia are planning to break social distancing rules to stage rallies across the country on April 30 in protest over an overhaul of labor-market rules, according to the Jakarta Post newspaper.
Labor unions say changes to the labor rules, contained in a so-called omnibus bill currently being considered by lawmakers, legitimize the exploitation of workers. President Joko Widodo had put the bill forward as an essential reform even before the virus hit as he sought to appease those who see the labor law and generous severance pay conditions as a major barrier to investment.
“The option is either to die from the coronavirus for joining a rally or die of starvation from having nothing to eat,” the paper cited Inter-Factory Laborers Federation chairwoman Jumisih as saying.
China Reports 27 New Cases (9:49 a.m. HK)
China confirmed 27 additional virus cases, 17 of which came from overseas. The country reported 54 asymptomatic cases.
South Korea Cases Rise to 10,653 (9:16 a.m. HK)
South Korea reported 18 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 10,653. The country reported two more deaths, taking the total to 232.
SoftBank’s Son Criticizes Japan for Virus Response (8:44 a.m. HK)
Masayoshi Son, founder of SoftBank Group Corp., again criticized the Japanese government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying it’s not doing enough to reach its goals for social distancing.
Son said on Twitter the situation will be prolonged because the government’s emergency declaration was incomplete, and testing and quarantine measures were being implemented too slowly. The infected who have yet to show symptoms continue to commute on trains and buses, and the virus is spreading to families, he said.
Mexico Cases Rise to 6,875; 546 Deaths (8:14 a.m. HK)
Confirmed coronavirus cases in Mexico rose by 578 to 6,875, Health Ministry official Jose Luis Alomia said at a press conference. The death toll in the country increased to 546.
U.S. Has Enough Testing Capacity, Trump Says (7:43 a.m. HK)
President Donald Trump said there’s enough coronavirus testing capacity to put in place his plan to allow a phased reopening of the economy, even though some state officials and business leaders have raised alarms about shortages.
“We’ve already built sufficient testing capacity nationwide so states can begin their re-openings,” the president said Friday at the White House.
Business leaders and lawmakers told Trump in phone calls this week that the U.S. must increase its testing capacity before attempting to reopen the economy. Trump also tweeted on Friday that “the States have to step up their TESTING!”
In many parts of the country, health officials say adequate levels of testing still haven’t been reached. California has been especially hamstrung, reporting more than 7,000 backlogged tests on Friday despite massive pushes to process more tests.
Minnesota Governor Warns Against Reopening Too Soon (5:30 p.m. NY)
Governor Tim Walz of Minnesota, a state that President Donald Trump tweeted should “liberate,” said he agrees with the president’s desire to reopen business but won’t endanger residents by acting recklessly.
Reopening too soon would be a costly mistake not only for state residents but the nation’s food supply, Walz said. Several Midwest meat packers and processors reported some of their workers have tested positive for Covid-19, but the facilities are still open and operating in part because providing food for the nation is considered essential.
San Francisco Requires Face Masks (5:06 p.m. NY)
Counties across the San Francisco Bay area mandated face coverings for the public when leaving their households. The masks must be worn shopping, in public transportation or while working at essential jobs. The rule in San Francisco takes effect Saturday but won’t be enforced until April 22 to give residents time to obtain coverings.
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