US President Donald Trump signed into law a $2.2-trillion aid package to help the world’s largest economy cope with the downturn inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic. The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak first emerged, began lifting a two-month lockdown.
More than 6,15,600 people have been infected by the novel coronavirus across the world and 28,316 have died, according to a tally by news agency Reuters.
Spain’s death toll rose by 832 cases overnight to 5,690, the health ministry said on Saturday, marking a new high in the daily rise in fatalities. The total number of those infected rose to 72,248.
Britain said 1,019 people had died by Friday afternoon, a rise of 260 on the total 24 hours earlier. The number of confirmed cases was 17,089 as of 0900 GMT (2:30 pm in India) on Saturday.
A drive-through testing facility for health workers has begun operating in the car park of a popular resort near London as Britain seeks to ramp up testing for those on the frontline of the epidemic.
Germans have been largely compliant with rules to prevent the coronavirus spread, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday, as her chief of staff said the shutdown would not be eased before April 20.
The number of confirmed cases in Germany has risen to 48,582 and 325 people have died of the disease, statistics from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Saturday.
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.
The US House of Representatives on Friday approved a $2.2-trillion aid package and Mr Trump quickly signed it into law.
Confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States reached 1,00,040 on Friday, the highest number in the world, a Reuters tally showed.
Mr Trump on Friday invoked emergency powers to require General Motors Co to build much-needed ventilators for coronavirus patients after he accused the largest US automaker of “wasting time” during negotiations.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro cast doubt on Sao Paulo’s death toll from coronavirus and accused the state governor of manipulating the numbers for political ends, without giving evidence for his claims.
Asia and the Pacific
Japan’s Abe promised an unprecedented package of steps to cushion the world’s third-biggest economy from the pandemic, saying the country was close to a national emergency as infections surged.
The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak first emerged, began lifting a two-month lockdown on Saturday by restarting some metro services and reopening borders, allowing some semblance of normality to return and families to reunite.
India said it was planning to turn some railway coaches into isolation wards for coronavirus patients, as authorities scramble to prepare the country’s health infrastructure for an expected surge in cases.
Australia stepped up enforcement of social distancing rules on Saturday, implementing fines, closing beaches and threatening stricter measures if people defy pleas to stay at home.
Middle East and Africa
Turkey halted all intercity trains and limited domestic flights on Saturday, as the number of coronavirus cases jumped by a third in a day to 5,698, with 92 dead.
Palestinian groups in Gaza cancelled mass rallies planned for next week along the border with Israel amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus in the densely-populated territory, organizers said on Saturday.
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.
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.
Canada said on Friday it will cover 75 per cent 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.