(Reuters) – The number of confirmed infections of the novel coronavirus exceeded 1.41 million globally and the death toll crossed 83,400, according to a Reuters tally as of 1400 GMT.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
– For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread, open https://tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.
– U.S.-focused tracker with state-by-state and county map, open https://tmsnrt.rs/2w7hX9T in an external browser.
– European Union finance ministers failed in all-night talks to agree on more economic support, spurring Spain to warn the bloc’s future was on the line without a joint response to the crisis.
– The president of the European Union’s main science organisation quit over frustration at the response to the pandemic.
– Italian ports cannot be considered safe because of the epidemic and will not let charity migrant boats dock, the government ruled.
– British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was “clinically stable” in intensive care on Wednesday and responding to treatment.
– Switzerland’s government, which said its economy could contract by as much 10.4% this year, extended the nation’s restrictions for another week but said a gradual loosening of measures would begin this month.
– The World Health Organization’s regional director described the outbreak in Europe as “very concerning” and urged governments to give “very careful consideration” before relaxing measures to control its spread.
– Pope Francis condemned people he said were exploiting the pandemic to turn a quick profit and decried the “hypocrisy” of how some politicians are dealing with the crisis.
– The European Union is drawing up common rules for using mobile apps to track the spread, aiming to make better use of the technology and address privacy concerns.
– Refugees in eastern German are sewing face masks for pensioners in a retirement home.
– Some 60,000 Americans could die in the pandemic, a university model often cited by U.S. and state policymakers projected, a 26% reduction in its most recent forecast.
– U.S. health officials are planning ways for the country to return to normal if virus efforts work, the top U.S. infectious disease official said on Wednesday.
– Democratic congressional leaders said they would back the Trump administration’s request for another $250 billion for small businesses, but said the bill must include more funding for hospitals, local governments and food assistance.
– Maryland-based biotechnology company Novavax Inc said it had identified a vaccine candidate and would start human trials in mid-May.
– U.S. immigration officials have rapidly deported nearly 400 migrant children intercepted at the U.S.-Mexico border in the past two weeks under new rules.
– Brazil’s health minister said the country faced a “serious problem” getting enough mechanical ventilators and had spoken to China to try and ensure it would be able to fill an order for face masks.
– Ecuador is preparing an emergency burial ground in Guayaquil, the country’s largest city, to address a shortage of burial plots.
– The Chinese city of Wuhan ended its two-month lockdown, even as a small northern city ordered restrictions on its residents amid concern about a second wave of infections.
– India is considering plans to seal off hotspots in Delhi, Mumbai and parts of the south while easing restrictions elsewhere as a way out of a three-week lockdown that has caused deep economic distress.
– Tokyo recorded its biggest daily jump on Wednesday since the start of the pandemic, the city’s governor said on the first day of a state of emergency.
– Expatriates in Hong Kong are buying up masks to send to family and friends back home as supplies return to shops.
– Thailand automatically extends visas for all foreigners who entered legally, to prevent long queues at immigration centres and stem the spread, a senior immigration official said.
– East Timor’s prime minister withdrew his resignation as the government approved a $250-million fund.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
– Most Middle Eastern countries are seeing worrying daily increases in cases but the region still has a chance to contain its spread, a senior WHO official said.
– Lebanon’s food importers, already hit by a dollar crunch, have struggled to book new cargoes as the pandemic threatens supplies and sparks fears of more painful price hikes.
– Egypt will extend a nationwide night-time curfew by 15 days until April 23.
– Ethiopia declared a state of emergency.
– World equity markets edged higher and oil prices stabilized on Wednesday on hopes the coronavirus pandemic is peaking and that more government stimulus measures could be on the way. [MKTS/GLOB]
– The European Central Bank told euro zone finance ministers the area could need fiscal measures worth up to 1.5 trillion euros this year.
– Germany’s economy, Europe’s largest, will probably shrink by 9.8% in the second quarter, its biggest decline since records began, the country’s leading think tanks said.
– The pandemic has cost Austria $12 billion so far, or 2.8% of its annual gross domestic product, according to its central bank.
– China’s government will work on expanding domestic demand and actively boosting consumption as the pandemic makes economic development more difficult, state television reported.
– A second stimulus package India is poised to announce in coming days will be worth around $13 billion and focus on helping small and medium businesses, senior officials said.
– Australia’s conservative government will subsidise the wages of 6 million people for at least the next six months.
– Hong Kong announced relief measures worth $17.7 billion to help businesses and people crippled by the outbreak to stay afloat.
– Nearly 140 campaign groups and charities urged the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, G20 governments and private creditors to help the world’s poorest countries by cancelling debt payments.
(Compiled by Sarah Morland and Milla Nissi; Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Arun Koyyur)