- 849 people have died from COVID-19 in Spain in just 24 hours
- Over 800,000 COVID-19 cases have been reported worldwide, with more than 40,000 deaths
- German health authorities warn the pandemic will “carry on for weeks and months”
- Jena is the first German city to introduce the mandatory wearing of face masks
Updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)
16:17 Britain has reported a record daily death toll of 381, more than double the number the previous day’s figure.
“As of 5 p.m. (1600 GMT) on 30 March, of those hospitalized in the UK, 1,789 have sadly died,” the Health Ministry reported on Twitter.
The victims were between the ages of 19 and 98, and all but 28 had underlying health conditions, NHS England said in a statement. Britain’s previous highest daily toll was 260, recorded on Saturday, with the number dropping to 180 on Monday.
More than 25,000 people have tested positive in the UK, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
“The rising death toll in recent days showed the vital importance of the public continuing to stick to the social distancing guidance which has been put in place by the government,” Johnson said in a video-link cabinet meeting. “The situation is going to get worse before it gets better – but it will get better,” the prime minister added.
Meanwhile, the UK is offering a free automatic visa extension to NHS workers with visas due to expire in the next 6 months.
18:11 The official coronavirus death toll in the US has surpassed China’s, with 3,393 fatalities thus far. China has reported 3,300 coronavirus deaths. The US is now ranked third globally in terms of total fatalities, following behind Italy and Spain, who have respectively reported 11,591 and 8,189 deaths.
New York City, the current epicenter of the outbreak, is scrambling to relieve its overburdened health system. A giant convention center in the city as well as the tennis center where the US Open is held have both been converted into temporary hospitals to accommodate the surge in patients. On Monday, a Navy hospital ship with 1,000 beds docked in a city harbor. Over 1,200 deaths have been reported in New York state, the majority in New York City. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called the figures “beyond staggering.”
16:00 The pathogen that causes coronavirus was present in the sewage system of a Dutch city before it confirmed its first cases, scientists in the Netherlands have said in a preliminary report.
If their findings are accurate, waste water surveillance may be a way to determine COVID-19 in communities before testing.
15:35 An 18th person has died from coronavirus at a nursing home in the German city of Wolfsburg in Lower Saxony, making it the nursing home with the most fatalities in all of Germany. The residence for people with dementia has registered 74 cases of coronavirus among the institute’s 145 total residents.
Multiple nursing homes around Germany have suffered severe coronavirus outbreaks and fatalities. In a home in Würzburg in Bavaria, 16 deaths have been reported. Lower Saxony has forbidden all nursing homes in the state from taking on new residents unless the person can confirm they have completed a 14-day quarantine.
Several employees at a hospital in Wolfsburg also tested positive for the virus, causing significant disruption to the health institute. Wider staff testing has revealed only a small number of new cases and the mayor of Wolfsburg has said the hospital should be functioning normally by Wednesday.
15:30 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has proposed a bill that would temporarily release some 45,000 prisoners in response to the possibility of COVID-19 spreading in jails. Another act included in the bill would release an additional 45,000 prisoners permanently.
There are roughly 300,000 inmates in the country’s crowded prisons and the government has been working on reforms to ease pressure on the system, while human rights groups have said coronavirus infections could easily take hold within the jails.
Tuesday’s announcement comes after the number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Turkey rose to 10,827, less than three weeks after it registered its first case. Turkey’s death toll currently stands at 168.
Meanwhile, Turkish defense and electronics companies are working together to produce 5,000 ventilators to help treat COVID-19 patients, the head of a military drone manufacturer has revealed. Baykar Chief Executive Haluk Bayraktar said 100 engineers from his firm, defense contractor Aselsan and household electronics maker Arcelik, were teaming up to have the ventilators ready by the end of May.
In Tunisia, 1,420 prisoners have been released as part of an amnesty to combat the spread of the COVID-19 in the country’s jails, a presidency statement said.
14:50 The Health Service Executive in Ireland has issued guidelines on safe sex and masturbation during the pandemic.
According to the advice, people should only be sexually active with someone they live with and who does not have the coronavirus or symptoms of it. In addition, it is advised to avoid kissing anyone outside your household or who has symptoms of the virus, such as a dry cough or fever.
New York City, one of the hardest-hit coronavirus cities in the world, has issued similar advice.
Its guidelines suggest it is best to have sex only with people close to you and that masturbation will not spread COVID-19, especially if you wash your hands (and any sex toys) with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after sex.
British HIV/AIDS charity Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) released a statement last week saying the need to keep two metres from anyone “has to include not hooking up for sex.”
Dating site statistics in the UK show people are sending more messages online to meet new people, flirt, and swap explicit images. In France, porn sites have been reporting 50% more traffic since the country went into lockdown in the middle of March.
14:20 European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has warned European Union nations that emergency measures should be “limited” and “strictly proportionate.” The head of the EU’s executive arm issued a statement a day after Hungary’s far-right Prime Minister Viktor Orban was granted sweeping powers to rule by decree without a time limit.
Read more: EU warns Hungary over coronavirus power grab
13:42 American Airlines says it will apply for a financial aid package from the US government and it expects to receive $12 billion (€11 billion) as a result. The airline industry is one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic, with airlines across the United States suspending most transatlantic flights and a large number of domestic routes. The US Congress has assigned $50 billion in aid for the airline industry as part of its $2.2 trillion coronavirus economic relief bill approved last week.
Meanwhile, British Airways is suspending all flight’s from London’s Gatwick Airport for the foreseeable future. International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), the owner of British Airways and Iberia, has said it would reduce its flying capacity by at least 75% in April and May.
13:40 German zoos are seeking €100 million ($110 million) in aid, the Association of Zoological Gardens has revealed.
“Unlike other facilities, we cannot just shut down our operations — our animals have to keep being fed and looked after,” association head and Leipzig zoo director Jörg Junhold wrote in a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Junhold said zoos are currently working without incomes, but still have to consider expenses. Large zoos are working on the basis of a weekly loss of some €500,000 due to the crisis, according to the Berlin-based association.
The Association of Zoological Gardens represents 56 zoos across Germany that care for and breed more than 180,000 vertebrate animals, many of which are endangered species.
13:29 Berlin has opened its first hostel for homeless people. The hostel provides 200 beds for use by any person living on the streets of Berlin, regardless of nationality, spokesman for Berlin Social Services Stefan Strauß said Tuesday. There is also a separate floor with 20 spots reserved specifically for women.
“When the coronavirus infection reaches this community, there is the risk of a catastrophy that I don’t even want to describe,” said Werena Rosenke, director of Wohnungslosenhilfe, a German NGO that helps the homeless.
She added that many homeless people are at higher risk of catching the virus due to pre-existing medical conditions. Recent federal figures estimate that there are around 678,000 homeless people in Germany.
12:45 Soccer clubs in Germany’s Bundesliga have agreed that the suspension of the season should be extended until April 30. The German Football League (DFL) stopped both league competitions on March 13. All 36 clubs in both the top flight and second tier of German football accepted the measure after a video conference meeting. With nine rounds of matches left in the Bundesliga, issues such as the league title and relegation are still to be decided.
Playing games behind closed doors once restrictions are partially lifted is considered a likely option.
12:39 Spain’s Health Ministry has reported 849 coronavirus-related deaths over a 24-hour period, a record high for the Iberian nation. It is the fourth consecutive day that Spain has recorded over 800 deaths.
The country has registered almost 100,000 cases overall after some 9,000 people were diagnosed with coronavirus in the past 24 hours.
COVID-19 has now claimed the lives of 8,189 people, forcing the Spanish capital of Madrid to open a second temporary morgue. Last week an ice rink was also being used as a morgue but a second temporary resting place was deemed necessary after the rink became overwhelmed.
11:42 The daily report released by China’s National Health Commission will include the details about asymptomatic coronavirus patients for the first time, from Wednesday, said Chang Jile, a commission official. The decision follows the first rise in mainland infections in five days, and heightened fears that people could be spreading the virus unknowingly.
11:07 Italy held a minute of silence and flew flags at half mast on Tuesday to mourn the 11,591 deceased victims of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Mediterranean nation has recorded nearly a third of all deaths related to the pandemic worldwide. It marks the first time the country has seen so many deaths from a single disaster since World War II.
The virus “is an injury that hurt the whole country,” Rome mayor Virginia Raggi said after observing the minute of silence at noon. “Together, we will get through this,” she said.
Vatican City also flew its yellow-and-white flags at half mast on Tuesday. Italy has over 100,000 reported cases of coronavirus, and has been under a lockdown for the past three weeks. The restrictions imposed are set to last until at least mid-April.
10:18 Ethiopia on Tuesday said it would restore phone and internet service to a restive portion of the country’s west, over fears that the monthslong shutdown was keeping millions from accessing information about the coronavirus pandemic.
Communications were cut in the area known as Wollega, from early January, following conflicts with a rebel group.
The move was largely a response to pressure put on the Ethiopian government to lift the blackout, as the east African country battles its first wave of coronavirus.
”Access to timely and accurate information is essential in a time of crisis, especially as Ethiopia simply does not have the infrastructure to cope with a coronavirus outbreak,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement on March 20, adding that the blackout was “disrupting life-saving services.”
10:12 France, Germany and the United Kingdom have delivered medical supplies to Iran in the first transaction under Instex, a mechanism set up to bypass American sanctions on Tehran, the German Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
“France, Germany and the United Kingdom confirm that Instex has successfully concluded its first transaction, facilitating the export of medical goods from Europe to Iran. These goods are now in Iran,” the ministry said in a statement.
Iran has been the Middle Eastern country most heavily hit by the coronavirus outbreak, with over 40,000 reported cases and almost 3,000 deaths. The country’s efforts to tackle the pandemic have been made more difficult by US sanctions, which prevent it from accessing essential medical supplies.
09:51 A 12-year-old girl in Belgium has died of COVID-19, health officials said on Tuesday. Such a fatality in a person of that age is a “very rare occurrence,” said government spokesman Dr. Emmanuel Andre. The fatality marked the first death of a child due to coronavirus in Belgium. The country currently has almost 12,000 reported cases, and a death toll of 513.
09:33 In football, lower-league clubs are facing an uncertain financial future, with no games being played and no fans in stadiums. So, some of them have come up with some creative ideas in this crisis. Click through our picture gallery here:
09:27 Taiwan took some of the earliest action against the coronavirus outbreak, and was more prepared for the pandemic due to the island nation’s experience tackling the SARS outbreak in 2003, according to one Taiwanese health expert.
“We learned our lessons from the SARS outbreak, where doctors and nurses died while taking care of SARS patients. So the whole of society has been on high alert for the past few years, just to be ready for the next attack of new, emerging diseases,” Chan Chang-Chuan, Dean of the College of Public Health at the National Taiwan University told DW.
Chan also slammed the WHO for what he says was a slow response to the coronavirus outbreak, and its exclusion of Taiwan from membership.
“The WHO has made several mistakes in delaying the claim of [this being a] pandemic,” he said.
Had the WHO included Taiwan, the two could have collaborated to implement more effective solutions at an earlier stage in the pandemic. You can watch the interview via this tweet here:
While China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province, Taiwan sees itself as a separate, sovereign nation. It is recognized by just 14 of 193 United Nations member states.
08:58 The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany’s health research organization, lists the total number of cases in the country as 61,913, while Johns Hopkins University (JHU) says the total number of cases is 66,885. Their reported death rates also differ, with a current death toll of 583 listed by RKI, and JHU suggesting a toll of 645 as of Tuesday.
The disparity in case and death counts are due to the organizations’ different methods of collecting data. JHU researchers combine data from the World Health Organization, national authorities, local media and some Twitter accounts to glean their figures.
Meanwhile, the RKI compiles its numbers in accordance with the Infection Protection Act, meaning that they only publish figures that have been reported to the institute by official health authorities. Some of those figures may also not be officially reported until the next working day, so RKI’s case and death counts are often lower than those JHU reports.
08:30 “The pandemic [in Germany] is continuing and will carry on for weeks and months,” said Lothar Wieler, the head of the Robert Koch Institute. In particular, containment measures to protect particularly vulnerable persons and to expand healthcare capacity will also have to continue.
He added that he is optimistic that the measures would be effective, and that he expects “tangible figures” on the impact of the measures to be available by Easter. The death rate in Germany is currently very low, at just 0.8%, however, he believes that that rate will increase.
“I would like to ask all people to take this disease seriously,” he said, as one study showed that only 41% of Germans believe that COVID-19 is dangerous.
08:22 Official Malaysian government advice, urging women to dress up at home, stop “nagging” and wear makeup while under lockdown has drawn widespread criticism. Malaysia’s Women’s Affairs Ministry issued the “advice” in a series of online posters with the hashtag #WomenPreventCOVID19.
One of the sexist posters depicts a man sitting on a sofa and asks women to refrain from being “sarcastic” if they need help with household chores.
“In the midst of a global pandemic, @KPWKM thought what we need is some good old-fashioned sexism,” wrote one Twitter user.
Women’s groups have warned lockdowns could see a rise in domestic violence, as many will be trapped with their abusers.
08:03 People are not the only victims of the coronavirus pandemic, according to German animal rights groups. Empty city centers could result in the death of thousands of pigeons, who are “starving miserably,” Leonie Weltgen, a species protection specialist with the German Animal Welfare Association told German daily Express.
Because pigeons are loyal to their locations, they will not leave the city centers and will instead starve to death if they are not provided with food soon. As it’s currently their breeding season, many young animals will die in their nests if their parents can no longer feed them,” she said.
The group is now calling on cities to set up feeding points for the pigeons, where they are provided with feed such as corn, grains or seeds.
07:33 The coronavirus pandemic is already having a major impact on the tourism industry, with German travel giant TUI seeking aid. Watch DW’s latest report here:
07:31 Producers of protective facial masks are only delivering the masks to hospitals at inflated prices, and there has been a 3,000% increase in the average cost of a mask since the middle of February, according to a report by German public broadcaster WDR.
The report comes amid calls made by doctors in Germany to boost production of personal protective equipment, which is running low in hospitals due to the coronavirus pandemic.
07:20 Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann is encouraging citizens to address violations of the contact regulations with the person committing the violation, or to report infractions directly to police.
“For example, if someone is standing in line at the supermarket, and someone is not holding the required distance from someone else, it can be pointed out that the rules are not being observed,” Herrmann told RTL. However, citizens should report more serious violations to police.
06:48 The German city of Jena in the eastern state of Thuringia has introduced a facial mask requirement in public spaces, making it the first city in Germany to adopt such a measure.
“In a week, wearing mouth-and-nose protection in Jena sales outlets, local public transport and public buildings will become mandatory,” the city said. Shawls and scarves can be used in addition to masks, as long as they cover the nose and mouth.
Yesterday, Social Democratic Party (SPD) health expert Karl Lauterbach told the German Editorial Network that such a regulation would be “sensible.” The comments followed Austria’s new measures implemented yesterday, requiring people to wear protective masks in supermarkets.
05:48 Vietnam is set to begin 15 days of mandatory social distancing from Wednesday, to curb community transmission of the coronavirus, said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
“From midnight on April 1, everybody is required to stay at home and can only go out to buy food or in emergency cases and must keep at least two meters from others,” he said. Vietnam currently has 204 reported cases and no reported deaths.
05:37 German Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht told German public radio that using tracking technology for personal data to help in the fight against coronavirus would “only be allowed if people consent,” adding that “having the data at our disposal is already a significant invasion of privacy.”
Watch DW’s latest report on data tracking and why it is controversial here:
05:29 The US is considering expanding travel restrictions beyond China, Europe and Iran, US President Donald Trump has said.
“They’ll be staying away and we may add a few more,” he said. “But the guidelines will very much be as they are, maybe even toughened up a little bit. But they’re having a big impact, they’re having a tremendous impact.”
The ban on foreign arrivals already applies to China, Iran, Ireland, the UK, and 26 Schengen Area countries. The US currently has more cases than any other country, with 164,539 reported infections and over 3,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
05:03 Indonesia is set to ban all foreign arrivals to and transits within the country to curb the spread of coronavirus. Foreigners with residence permits and some diplomats will be exempt from the ban, according to Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.
Indonesia currently has 1,414 reported cases and a death toll of 122, according to Johns Hopkins University.
04:46 The coronavirus epidemic is “far from over” in the Asia-Pacific region, a World Health Organization (WHO) official warned on Tuesday.
The current measures to curb the spread of the virus are just buying time for countries to prepare for large-scale community transmissions, according to Takeshi Kasai, Regional Director for the Western Pacific at the WHO.
Everyone must make preparations for widespread transmission, and even countries that are seeing a reduction in case counts should not let down their guard, Kasai said.
04:37 New and controversial lockdown measures came into force in Spain on Tuesday, after Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced that all workers employed in non-essential sectors must stay home until April 9.
Previously, all citizens who could not work from home had been allowed to continue going to and from their workplaces, as part of the emergency measures that have been in place since March 15.
Spain has the highest number of coronavirus infections in Europe, after Italy, with more than 87,000 confirmed cases, and a death toll of 7,916, according to Johns Hopkins.
04:01 South Korea reported 125 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, taking its total number of infections to 9,786. Four more people died of the coronavirus, bringing the total death toll to 162.
03:41 An online concert hosted by legendary musician Elton John raised nearly $8 million (€7.26 million) for two charities, one of them aiming to help Americans deal with the economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis.
The UK-born singer and composer performed from his kitchen, with other famous musicians, including Billie Eilish, the Backstreet Boys, Lizzo, Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, Lady Gaga and Tim McGraw, also remotely taking part in the hour-long “iHeart Living Room Concert for America.”
In addition to the music, the Sunday show also featured stories from nurses, doctors, truck drivers, supermarket employees and other people who are continuing to work as the US faces a pandemic.
02:39 Here is the latest from across Latin America:
Panama: Under new quarantine rules, Panama will separate citizens by gender. Men would be allowed to go out to supermarkets and pharmacies on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, while women would be able to buy supplies on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Nobody will be allowed out on Sunday. The government has also limited the duration of the outing to two hours. The new measures are set to go into effect on Wednesday and last for 15 days. Latest figures: 1,075 infections, 27 deaths, 9 recovered.
Mexico: The government of Mexico declared a health emergency as the number of infections topped 1,000 on Monday. The officials also announced the lockdown measures will stay in place until the end of April, and cut down the maximum size of public gatherings from 100 to 50 people. At the same time, the country’s Health Ministry said people residing in the country would gradually return to work after April 30. Latest figures: 1,094 infections, 28 deaths, at least 35 recovered.
Brazil: President Jair Bolsonaro slammed self-isolation and other measures declared by local authorities as harmful to the economy. “You can’t impose any more quarantine than there already is,” he told Rede TV. Bolsonaro previously compared the coronavirus to a “little flu,” ignored appeals from health officials by meeting groups of his supporters, and warned that stricter measures could push the country toward “chaos.”
On Monday, opposition leaders called for Bolsonaro’s resignation over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. “Enough is enough,” about a dozen of the president’s rivals said in an open letter. “He is committing crimes, spreading false information, lying and inciting chaos.” Latest figures from the country: 4,630 infections, 163 deaths, 120 recovered.
To understand how the Brazilian president polarizes public opinion over the COVID-19 pandemic, read this piece: Bolsonaro polarizes Brazil with lax coronavirus response
Venezuela: The authorities in Venezuela have been “90% effective” when it comes to containing the coronavirus pandemic, said President Nicolas Maduro. However, he warned the outbreak could still spread through local communities. In the next two weeks, the country should “definitely break the chain of contagion” and then move toward relative normality, he said on Twitter. Latest figures: 135 infections, 3 deaths, 39 recovered.
Ecuador: With the coronavirus spreading rapidly in Ecuador, the government has pledged to improve collection of dead bodies after complaints from the residents. Ecuador is under strict quarantine and curfew measures. Some residents of the country’s most populous city, Guayaquil, complained that the strict lockdown prevents them from disposing of their relatives’ remains, forcing them to keep the bodies at home. Latest figures: 1,966 infections, 62 deaths, 3 recovered.
El Salvador: Thousands of people queued up in San Salvador on Monday, in spite of a lockdown order, to seek subsidies promised by the government. Police used pepper spray to disperse the crowds, Previously, the government pledged to give $300 per household to people working informal jobs, such as house cleaners and street vendors, amid the coronavirus crisis. Latest figures: 30 infections, 0 deaths, 0 recovered.
02:10 Finance ministers and central bankers of the Group of 20 major economies will hold a second round of virtual talks on Tuesday to push ahead the coronavirus response, said Saudi Arabia, which currently holds the group’s rotating presidency.
G20 leaders last week pledged a “united front” in the fight against the pandemic, saying they were injecting $5 trillion (€4.5 trillion) into the global economy to head off forecasts of a deep recession.
01:20 The World Bank says economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region will take a hit this year on account of the massive public health crisis unleashed by the novel coronavirus. Under a worst-case scenario, the region could suffer its sharpest downturn since a devastating financial crisis more than two decades ago, the bank said.
The bank’s report projects that growth in the region would slow to 2.1% this year from 5.8% in 2019 under a “baseline” forecast in which economic recovery takes hold this summer.
But under a worse case, in which the adverse effects of the virus spillover into next year, the region’s economy would contract 0.5%, the bank estimates.
In the World Bank’s base case, China, the world’s second-largest economy, would see growth slow from 6.1% last year to 2.3% this year. In the worse-case scenario, growth in China would come to a near halt with a tiny 0.1% gain.
00:42 The US military announced the first death of a service member due to the coronavirus. The disease claimed the life of a New Jersey Army National Guardsman who was hospitalized on March 21.
“Today is a sad day for the Department of Defense as we have lost our first American service member — active, reserve or Guard — to coronavirus,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in a statement, without providing more information on the victim.
“This is a stinging loss for our military community, and our condolences go out to his family, friends, civilian co-workers and the entire National Guard community.”
Hours before announcing the guardsman’s death, the Pentagon said that 568 troops have so far tested positive for the virus, more than double the number declared on Thursday.
Over 450 Defense Department’s civilian employees, contractors and dependents have also tested positive.
00:15 Spain banned funeral ceremonies amid the coronavirus crisis, including vigils attended by friends and family in private homes, regardless of the cause of death. Under the orders announced on Monday, up to three people are allowed to attend a burial or a cremation. The attendees would also be required to maintain a safe distance.
Amid a nationwide lockdown, the government said that “religious celebrations and civilian funeral ceremonies are postponed until the end of the alert” which is currently set for April 11.
Spain has seen 7,340 coronavirus deaths, more than any other country except Italy, where the death toll stands at 11,591. Italian authorities have already implemented similar measures.
00:05 In Germany, consumer groups warn of online scammers taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis.
The fraudsters “want to take advantage of people’s worries and fears to enrich themselves,” said the head of the Federation of German Consumer Organizations, Klaus Müller.
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