(Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday approved a $2.2 trillion aid package – the largest in history – to help cope with the economic downturn inflicted by the intensifying coronavirus pandemic, and President Donald Trump quickly signed it into law.
Commuters at Whitehall Terminal wear protective face masks during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., March 26, 2020. REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs
* More than 551,800 people have been infected globally and nearly 24,900 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
* For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread, open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.
* U.S.-focused tracker with state-by-state and county map, open tmsnrt.rs/2w7hX9T
* Italy recorded 919 deaths from coronavirus, the highest daily toll anywhere in the world, while the number of confirmed cases eclipsed the total in China.
* Latest data from Spain’s health ministry show the death toll stabilising.
* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his health minister tested positive for the coronavirus and said they were self-isolating.
* French health authorities reported 299 new deaths from coronavirus on Thursday, taking the total to 1,995.
* The Kremlin confirmed a coronavirus case in President Vladimir Putin’s administration.
* Germany has proposed using big data and location tracking to isolate people with coronavirus once social distancing slows its spread.
* Switzerland’s government has allowed regional authorities to shut down or restrict economic sectors temporarily if needed.
* Hungary, where the epidemic is expected to peak in June or July, is imposing a two-week lockdown.
* Confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States reached 100,040 on Friday, the highest number in the world, a Reuters tally showed.
* New York plans to build eight temporary hospitals to meet an expected surge in coronavirus patients.
* Brazil’s governors pressed President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday for more federal support after he blasted them as job-killers and undermined their orders with a decree keeping churches open.
* Venezuela and Nicaragua reported their first deaths on Thursday.
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
* Mainland China reported its first locally transmitted coronavirus case in three days and 54 new imported cases, as Beijing ordered airlines to slash international flights.
* Chinese President Xi Jinping told President Donald Trump on Friday that he would have China’s support in fighting the coronavirus.
* Tokyo’s governor’s plea to avoid non-essential outings until April 12 prompted a rush for supplies despite warnings against hoarding.
* Australia is introducing enforced quarantine by midnight on Saturday for returning citizens and will deploy the armed forces to ensure compliance with self-isolation measures.
* Vietnam will limit domestic flights and stop public gatherings for two weeks from Saturday, as it aims to keep the number of cases under 1,000.
* Uzbekistan reported its first death on Friday, as it locked down more cities and districts and declared large bonuses for medical workers.
* Indonesia said it would allow regional authorities to impose lockdowns to control the coronavirus, in a major shift in strategy after previously resisting tougher restrictions.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called for a “voluntary quarantine” in which Turks stay at home except for shopping or basic needs.
* Iraqi doctors say the country may be singularly unprepared for the coronavirus, with the number of cases at 450 and deaths at 40.
* Iran started an intercity travel ban, as its death toll rose to 2,378 on Friday.
* South Africans struggled to adapt to confinement rules, with many city streets no less crowded than normal as a strict lockdown begun and it recorded its first deaths.
* The Israeli army will assist police on street patrols to enforce lockdown.
* Algeria extended its curfew to nine more provinces.
* Stocks across the globe fell on Friday after a historic three-day run-up, as skittish investors kept indices on track for their worst monthly and quarterly performances since 2008, while the dollar fell by the most in any week since 2009. [MKTS/GLOB]
* Canada said on Friday it will cover 75% of wages for small businesses and the central bank cut its key interest rate to the lowest level in a decade.
* The European Central Bank chief urged EU leaders to act more decisively as the bloc feuds over how far to go to cushion the economic hit of the pandemic.
* Investors rushed into cash and out of bonds at a record pace over the past week, BofA’s weekly fund flow data showed on Friday.
* Mexico will likely take the longest in Latin America to recover, S&P said on Friday, a day after it cut ratings of Mexico and national oil company Petroleos Mexicanos.
* The Reserve Bank of India slashed interest rates.
* Pakistan has requested an emergency loan disbursement from the International Monetary Fund.
* Malaysia will launch a $58.3 billion stimulus package, its prime minister said.
* Japan is planning a stimulus that could be worth 10% of its economic output. EVENTS
* The U.S. Open originally scheduled for June 18-21 has become the third of golf’s four major championships to get postponed, the New York Post reported.
* South Korea’s boy band BTS will postpone its North America tour due to kick off in April.
* Italy’s fashion industry body said the men’s fashion shows scheduled for June 19-23 would be held in September.
Compiled by Sarah Morland, Aditya Soni and Ramakrishnan M.; Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Sriraj Kalluvila
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