Covid-19 around the world: Putin visits Russian coronavirus hospital

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Coronavirus; Philippines death; China
Face masks sold out after it was announced the new type of coronavirus can spread from human to human

The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 382,000 people worldwide, with at least 16,500 deaths.

Here are the latest updates from around the globe:

Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited a Moscow hospital for coronavirus patients and wore a protective suit.

During a visit to the Kommunarka hospital on the outskirts of Moscow, Mr Putin praised its doctors for high professionalism, saying they were working “like clockwork”.

After a meeting with the hospital’s chief doctor, he put on a yellow hazmat suit with a mask and went into the area where patients were treated.

Russia has registered 495 cases of the coronavirus and reported no deaths, which contrasts with the quick spread of contagion in Europe.

Some experts say the low numbers could be attributed to a relatively slow pace of screening.

Until recently, just one lab in Novosibirsk was analysing tests from all over Russia and authorities have moved to open new labs and increase the number of tests.

Greece

Greek police say patrol cars will be using loudspeakers to broadcast messages in 10 languages to notify people of new strict restrictions on outdoor movement.

The police say the broadcasts would be made in Greek, English, French, Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Pashto, Farsi and Dari. The recorded message warns people to stay at home and informs them they need identification documents and special permits to venture outside.

Stringent restrictions on movement in Greece, which has a sizeable migrant and refugee population, were enacted Monday. People are only allowed out for work that cannot work from home or to buy food, exercise or visit the doctor.

Italy

Madrid’s ice-skating rink is now being used as a makeshift morgue, given the rapid increase in deaths in the Spanish capital.

Security forces guarded the outside of the Palacio de Hielo complex on Madrid’s north-eastern outskirts Tuesday, as funeral service vans arrived and entered the building’s underground car park.

Madrid city authorities took up the rink’s offer to use the 1,800 square metre centre after the city’s municipal funeral service said it could take no more coronavirus bodies until it restocked with protective equipment and material.

Madrid is one of the hardest hit of Spain’s 17 regions, with some 1,300 deaths, approximately half the national total.

Vatican City

The Vatican is under pressure to let more of its employees work from home, after several offices remained open even after Italy shut down all non-essential industry.

Vatican employees in three different offices expressed alarm Tuesday that superiors had adopted different policies about working from home, with no uniformity among them.

The concern has been heightened because many Vatican employees live in priestly residences and eat together in communal dining rooms.

Already, members of two separate religious orders in Rome tested positive for the virus, evidence that the close quarters of religious communities can spread the virus.

Handwashing; Coronavirus; Covid-19; NHS

China

The government has lifted the tight lockdown of Hubei province that was imposed to halt the spread of the new coronavirus.

People who are cleared to do so will be able to leave the province.

The city of Wuhan, where the outbreak started in late December, will remain locked down until April 8. China barred people from leaving or entering Wuhan starting on January 23 and expanded it to most of the province in succeeding days.

Top congressional and White House officials negotiating a two trillion dollar (£1.72 trillion) coronavirus rescue package say they expect to reach a deal some time on Tuesday.

Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin and senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer say they spoke by phone with President Donald Trump as they met late into the night at the Capitol. While the sides have resolved many issues in the sweeping package, some disagreements remain.

Washington has been straining to respond to the worsening outbreak, and tempers in congress have flared. Mr Trump is musing openly about letting a 15-day shutdown expire next Monday.

Thailand

The prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha says his government has agreed to declare a state of emergency to implement stricter measures to control the outbreak.

He said his Cabinet agreed at its weekly meeting to put a one-month state of emergency into effect on Thursday. This will give the government enforcement powers not normally available to it.

India

Authorities have cleared a demonstration site in New Delhi that has been continuously occupied by Muslim women since December in protest over a new citizenship law.

Shaheen Bagh was cleared early on Tuesday amid a citywide stay-at-home order.

Indian health officials say there are 446 active cases of Covid-19, and seven people have died from it. Thirty-six people have recovered.

More than 200 million of India’s 1.3 billion people have been on lockdown since Monday, including the metro areas of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai.

Australia

Prisoners regarded as vulnerable to the new coronavirus and low risk to society in Australia’s most populous state would be eligible for early parole under emergency legislation being introduced to the New South Wales Parliament.

It is unclear how many of the state’s 14,000 prisoners could walk free under the legislation proposed by New South Wales attorney general Mark Speakman.

The emergency legislation includes a raft of reforms that Mr Speakman said will provide public authorities with the powers they need to respond appropriately to this once-in-a-century crisis.

Pakistan

An education minister in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province says he has tested positive for the coronavirus, although he did not visit any hospital where infected people are being treated.

Saeed Ghani urged people to follow the policy of social distancing to avoid the disease. He said he still had no symptoms of the infection and he has isolated himself at home.

Pakistan has imposed a lockdown to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

The lockdown also has been extended to Pakistan’s part of disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir after a person was tested positive there.

South Africa

The country’s coronavirus cases leapt again to 554, the most of any country in Africa, as its 57 million people rushed to prepare for a lockdown.

Across Africa, 43 of its 54 countries now have cases, with the total at 1,788. Thirteen countries have reported 58 deaths. South Africa has not recorded one.

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa announced the 21-day lockdown on Monday night, following earlier decisions by Rwanda and Tunisia.

Workers in South Africa will be required to stay at home except for those in essential services including healthcare and security as well as the production and distribution of food, utilities and medical products.

Individuals can leave home only under “strictly controlled circumstances” to access essential items.

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