Coronavirus: Confinement for half of humanity
Here are the latest global developments in the coronavirus crisis.
More than 3.9 billion people, or half of the world’s population, has been called on or obliged by their authorities to stay at home, according to an AFP database count Thursday.
In the US around 85% of the population is under confinement.
Eritrea declares a 21-day confinement and Sierra Leone announces a three-day lockdown starting on Sunday. Togo decares a three-month “state of emergency” and curfew.
Thailand will introduce a six-hour night curfew beginning Friday.
Nearly 48 000 deaths worldwide
At least 944 032 cases of infection, including 47 993 deaths have been recorded in 187 countries and territories since the epidemic started in December, according to an AFP tally compiled at 1100 GMT Thursday based on official sources.
More than 500 000 infections have been recorded in Europe, which represents more than half the total number of cases worldwide.
Italy has officially 13 155 deaths, Spain 10 003, the United States 5 137 and France 4 032. Belgium has topped 1 000 deaths and mainland China, where the epidemic started, has 81 589 cases and 3 318 deaths.
US lawmakers, pointing to a report by Bloomberg citing US intelligence, accuse China of lying about the extent of its deadly coronavirus outbreak. President Donald Trump follows up, also casting doubt on the accuracy of official Chinese figures.
Fresh lockdown in China
The Chinese county of Jia in central Henan province, with around 600 000 residents, goes into lockdown after a woman who visited the area tests positive, underscoring concerns over a second wave of domestic infections.
Spain’s soaring unemployment
Spain registers a leap of 302 265 jobless claims in March, the biggest on record.
China approves the use of bear bile to treat coronavirus patients, sparking anger among activists and raising fears it could undermine efforts to stop the illegal animal trade.
Apologies and help
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, in an open letter published in La Repubblica newspaper, tells Italy that European nations are ready to help it deal with the coronavirus after initially focusing on “their own home problems”.
The Commission also proposes a bloc-wide guarantee that could raise 100 billion euros ($109 billion) to aid strained national unemployment schemes.
Migrants in quarantine
Greece seals off a migrant camp near Athens after 21 of its residents test positive for the coronavirus — beginning with a new mother at an Athens hospital.
Shoot them dead
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte tells security forces they should shoot dead anyone causing “trouble” in locked down areas. About half the country’s roughly 110 million people are currently under quarantine.
The chief of the Philippine National Police later insists officers will not begin shooting troublemakers dead.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro apologises for posting a video online of a market supposedly hit by shortages, after journalists find the same market to be well-stocked.
Bolsonaro had shared the video on Facebook and Twitter of a wholesale market with aisles emptied of food to support his argument that keeping people home to fight the pandemic will needlessly hurt the economy, kill off jobs and lead to chaos and looting.