DUBAI: The Middle East has recorded more coronavirus cases and deaths, with Saudi Arabia’s health minister saying on Tuesday that the number of infected in the Kingdom could hit 200,000.
Wednesday, April 8 (All times in GMT)
18:35 - France is to further extend a lockdown ordered to slow the spread of the coronavirus, with President Emmanuel Macron to again address the nation next week, the French presidency said Wednesday.
The confinement order "will be extended" beyond its current limit of April 15, a presidential official told AFP, adding that Macron will address the nation on Monday evening to present the new decisions on the fight against the virus.
Macron will from now until Monday "speak to a large number of public and private actors - French, European and international - on what is at stake concerning COVID-19 and prepare the decisions that will be announced on Monday to the French," the presidency said.
It will be Macron's third prime time address from the Elysee Palace since the crisis began.
18:21 - Egypt announced 110 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 1,560. It also announced the deaths of nine patients, taking the number of people who have died so far to 103.
18:00 - France says its total death toll (in hospitals and nursing homes) from the virus has risen to 10,869 from 10,328 on Tuesday.
17:30 - New York governor Andrew Cuomo says he never thought he would experience something on scale of 9/11 attacks again, while adding that the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak was "almost unimaginable" to him.
17:20 - Jordan says the virus will have a "deep negative impact" on its economy as the government announces a 48-hour nationwide curfew starting midnight on Thursday until Saturday.
17:15 - The number of deaths from coronavirus in Israel has risen to 73.
17:14 - Turkey's confirmed cases of coronavirus increased by 4,117 in the last 24 hours, and 87 people have died, taking the death toll to 812, the health ministry announced on Wednesday.
The total number of recovered cases stood at 1,846, and the number of tests carried out over the last 24 hours was 24,900, the health ministry said.
Turkey's total confirmed cases stood at 38,226, the ministry said.
16:57 - Algeria announced 104 new cases of coronavirus and the death of 12 patients on Wednesday.
16:47 - Britain's finance minister Rishi Sunak announced on Wednesday an extra 750 million pounds ($930 million) of funding for frontline charities so they can continue their work during the coronavirus outbreak.
"Our charities are playing a crucial role in the national fight against coronavirus, supporting those who are most in need," Sunak said in a statement.
"It's right we do everything we can to help the sector during this difficult time, which is why we have announced this unprecedented 750 million-pound package of extra funding."
The finance ministry cited hospices and charities supporting domestic abuse victims as examples of the kinds of charities that will benefit from the new money.
The funds include 360 million pounds to be directly allocated by the government to charities that provide key services and support vulnerable people.
Another 370 million will be directed towards smaller charities operating in local communities.
The government will also match whatever the public donates in a BBC charity appeal on April 23, the finance ministry said.
16:41 - Britain's economy and people's livelihoods will take a hit due to the coronavirus outbreak which has forced a lockdown of much of society, finance minister Rishi Sunak said on Wednesday, adding that the government had taken the right steps to get through the crisis.
"This will have a significant impact on our economy, and not in an abstract way. It will have an impact on people's jobs and their livelihoods," Sunak said at a news conference.
"I belive we're doing the right things," he added. "I can't stand here and say there isn't going to be hardship ahead, there is ... but I'm confident we will get through it."
16:38 - The British government will hold an emergency response meeting, known as Cobra, on Thursday to discuss how it should deal with a review on lockdown measures, finance minister Rishi Sunak said.
"There will be a Cobra meeting tomorrow chaired by the first secretary of state involving the devolved administrations to talk about the approach to the review," he said, when asked during a news conference about the length of the lockdown.
"We committed that there would be a review in and around three weeks. That review will be based on the evidence and the data provided by SAGE," he said, referring to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.
16:25 - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's condition is "improving" as he battles coronavirus but he remains in intensive care, finance minister Rishi Sunak said Wednesday.
The prime minister was "responding to treatment" and in "good spirits" after spending his third night in London's St Thomas's Hospital, his official spokesman said earlier.
16:11 - Britain reported a record 938 new COVID-19 deaths in its daily update, 152 more than its previous highest toll, as the total number of deaths passed 7,000.
“As of 5pm on 7 April, of those hospitalized in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 7,097 have sadly died,” the health ministry tweeted, up from 6,159 on Tuesday.
14:59 - Iraq announced 80 new cases of coronavirus and four deaths on Wednesday.
14:41 - The Swiss economy could contract by as much 10.4% this year due to the impact of the new coronavirus, the Swiss government said on Wednesday.
The downgrade, from the government's previous forecast of a 1.5% contraction, would occur if there was a prolonged shutdown in Switzerland and abroad, triggering bankruptcies and job cuts. In this L-shaped scenario, there would only be a weak recovery with the economy forecast to grow by 3.4% in 2021.
In a second, v-shaped-scenario, the Swiss government reckoned with a contraction of 7.1% before a stronger bounceback come 2021.
14:27 - Britain on Wednesday said it aimed to roll-out millions of coronavirus tests in months after criticism that it had moved too slowly on the issue, saying a partnership with private firms would help it hit 100,000 tests a day by the end of April.
The Department of Health said that a new testing laboratory set-up by AstraZeneca, GSK and Cambridge University would aim to carry out 30,000 tests a day by May, and Thermo Fisher would continue to supply the UK with testing kits and aim to scale up manufacturing.
13:32 - England's hospital death toll from the novel coronavirus rose 828 to 6,483, the health service said on Wednesday.
The health service said 46 of the 828 patients, aged between 35 and 96 years old, had no known underlying health conditions.
13:20 - The UAE announced 300 new cases of coronavirus and the recovery of 53 patients on Wednesday.
13:19 - The World Trade Organization forecast on Wednesday a plunge of global trade in goods this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic before a likely rebound in 2021.
The WTO gave a wide range for the decline this year, of between 13% and 32%, saying there remained uncertainty about the economic impact of the unprecedented health crisis.
The Geneva-based body said that for 2021 it was forecasting a rebound of between 21% and 24%, with the outcome depending largely on the duration of the outbreak and the effectiveness of policy responses.
12:40 - Oman says the governorate of Muscat will be closed from April 10 to April 22.
12:10 - The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Netherlands rose by 969 to 20,549 as of Wednesday, health authorities said, with 147 new deaths.
11:10 – Egypt will extend its nationwide night-time curfew by 15 days to April 23 to counter the coronavirus spread, Mostafa Madbouly said, and flight suspensions were also extended for two more weeks.
11:05 – Bahrain’s government will pay electricity and water bills of all Bahraini citizens and businesses to help fight coronavirus impact, a statement said.
10:50 – Qatar confirmed 153 new coronavirus cases and 28 recoveries, bringing the total number of people with the virus to 2,210, while 178 have recovered.
10:05 – Belgium recorded 1,209 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 23,403.
10:00 – Morocco reported 58 new coronavirus cases and one fatality, bringing the total number of people infected to 1,242, while 91 individuals have died.
09:40 – Iran’s coronavirus death toll reached 3,993 with 121 new deaths, while infection cases rose to 64,586, a health official said.
09:35 – Spain’s coronavirus cases rose to 146,690 on Wednesday from 140,510 on Tuesday while the death toll increased to 14,555 from 13,798 a day earlier, the country’s health ministry said.
09:30 – India is considering plans to seal off coronavirus hotspots in Delhi, Mumbai and parts of the south while easing curbs elsewhere as a way out of a three-week lockdown that has caused deep economic distress. READ THE STORY
09:15 – Malaysian health authorities on Wednesday reported 156 new cases of coronavirus infection, pushing the cumulative total to 4,119 cases as Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy continues to grapple with the highest rate of infection in the region.
08:30 – Iraq recorded 24 new coronavirus cases in Najaf city. Irbil in Iraq’s Kurdish region meanwhile confirmed 14 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 294.
08:20 – Lebanon reported seven coronavirus cases, among those were people who returned from Madrid on Tuesday.
08:20 – Tokyo has confirmed more than 140 COVID-19 cases, again surpassing single-day record.
08:15 – Philippine health ministry reported five new coronavirus deaths and 106 additional infections.
07:50 – The number of coronavirus cases in Russia rose by more than 1,000 for the second day running, taking the total to 8,672, the crisis response center said on Wednesday.
07:35 – Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday the International Monetary Fund would be guilty of “discriminatory behavior” unless it provides $5 billion in emergency funding to help Tehran fight the coronavirus outbreak. READ THE STORY
06:15 – Israel has recorded 156 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of infected cases to 9,404.
05:25 – Global ratings agency S&P on Wednesday lowered its outlook on Australia’s coveted ‘AAA’ rating to “negative” from “stable” in anticipation of a “material” weakening in the government’s debt position as it splashes out a large fiscal stimulus package. READ THE STORY
05:05 – The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Germany rose by 4,003 in the past 24 hours to 103,228 on Wednesday.
05:00 – Thailand on Wednesday reported 111 new coronavirus cases and 3 more deaths.
02:25 – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent a second night in intensive care battling the coronavirus which has infected more than 55,000 across the UK and killed nearly 6,200. “He stayed at work for you... now pray at home for him,” The Sun tabloid splashed across its frontpage Wednesday while the Daily Express said: “Boris ‘will pull through’.”
Tuesday, April 7 (All times in GMT)
17:50 – During an online conference GCC interior ministers discussed strengthening the Gulf security system to protect the Arabian Gulf, and ensure the safety of GCC citizens and residents, state news agency WAM reported.
16:40 – The UAE Cabinet approved the creation of a “Supreme National Committee for Volunteering in Crisis,” in a virtual meeting, with an aim to create an integrated and sustainable national volunteering system during the coronavirus crisis where all relevant authorities, individuals and institutions cooperate.
15:40 – Bahrain’s Consulate General in Jeddah helped return Bahraini citizens in Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah and Taif in Saudi Arabia to the country, after taking the precautionary measures and ensuring their health and safety before their departure.