While some countries are beginning to ease virus lockdowns, there is concern infection rates could accelerate again.
- The number of people around the world confirmed to have the coronavirus has risen to more than three million, and at least 217,000 have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 929,000 people have recovered.
- France has unveiled plans, including the adoption of aggressive testing, for a gradual relaxation of its nationwide lockdown from May 11.
Germany has already loosened some of its restrictions, but people are now being encouraged to stay at home amid concern the infection rate could be picking up again.
- Airbus posted a first-quarter loss of half a billion dollars, while British Airways is set to cut up to 12,000 jobs.
Here are the latest updates:
Monday, April 27
14:35 GMT – Ramadan inside Delhi quarantine centres
Thousands of members of Tablighi Jamaat, a Muslim missionary organisation in India, are still being kept in isolation wards despite testing negative for coronavirus.
“It has been almost a month and three coronavirus tests done on me which came out negative, but I am still here in this centre, not allowed to meet my family or friends,” said member Izhar Ahmad, who was quarantined after a Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi in March was linked to coronavirus infections.
Since then, the organisation’s members have been subjected to a hostile media campaign, with Hindu far-right groups accusing the Muslim community of spreading the virus.
Read Shereena Qazi’s storyhere.
14:05 GMT – US Navy to conduct investigation over USS Theodore Roosevelt
The US Navy will conduct a legal investigation of circumstances surrounding the spread of the coronavirus aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, a move that effectively delays a decision on whether to reinstate the ship’s captain, officials told Reuters news agency.
One of the sources said the wider investigation is intended to last no longer than 30 days and that the intention is to look more closely at an array of issues related to the Roosevelt’s encounter with the virus and how decisions were made.
Captain Brett Crozier had been relieved of his command after he urgently appealed for members of his crew who had fallen ill to be allowed to disembark for medical care in Guam.
13:20 GMT – Switzerland unveils $1.95bn aviation aid package
The Swiss government will ask parliament to approve a 1.9 billion Swiss francs ($1.95bn) aid package for the country’s aviation sector as travel plans have been drastically reduced due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The government is seeking 1.275 billion francs in loan guarantees for the carriers and another 600 million francs for companies that provide services to the industry, including Swissport International, Gategroup and SR Technics.
Governments worldwide have been intervening to prop up carriers as estimated revenue losses have climbed to $314bn, according to the International Air Transport Association.
12:40 GMT – Coronavirus hammered US economy in first quarter
The US economy contracted in the first quarter at its sharpest pace since the Great Recession as stringent measures to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus almost shut down the country, ending the longest expansion in the nation’s history.
The Commerce Department said gross domestic product fell at a 4.8 percent annualised rate in the January-to-March period after expanding at a 2.1 percent rate in the final three months of 2019.
The first-quarter decline was the steepest pace of contraction in GDP since the first quarter of 2009.The decline reflected a plunge in economic activity in the last two weeks of March, which saw millions of Americans seeking unemployment benefits.
12:20 GMT – Germany expects record recession due to pandemic
The German economy is expected to shrink 6.3 percent in 2020 because of the coronavirus, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said, the biggest slump in Europe’s top economy since records began in 1970.
“The effects of the coronavirus pandemic will push our economy into a recession after 10 years of growth,” Altmaier said, adding that the government expected the economy to rebound in 2021.
The government expects the recession to bottom out in the second quarter and economic activity to pick up again after that.
12:10 GMT – Etihad delays return of passenger flights to June 16
Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways said it now plans to start operating regular passenger flights from June 16, delaying the resumption for a second time this month.The airline has opened bookings for flights across its network from June 16, it said in a statement, though cautioned that could change should current restrictions be extended.Etihad on April 25 said it would extend the suspension until at least May 16 due to the coronavirus outbreak. It earlier planned to start resuming flights from May 1.
12:05 GMT – Dutch coronavirus cases rise to 38,802
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Netherlands has risen by 386 to 38,802 health authorities said, with 145 new deaths.The country’s death toll stands at 4,711, the Netherlands’ Institute for Public Health (RIVM) said in its daily update.The RIVM cautioned it only reports confirmed cases, and actual numbers are higher.
11:50 GMT – Boeing to cut staff, plane output after $641m loss
Planemaker Boeing announced sweeping cost-cutting measures after reporting a first-quarter loss of $641m following the hit to the airline business from the coronavirus pandemic.The aerospace giant plans to reduce its workforce by 10 percent through a combination of voluntary and involuntary layoffs and will slash production of its main commercial planes, including the 787 and 777, Chief Executive David Calhoun said in a message to employees that accompanied an earnings release.The company expects to resume 737 MAX production at low rates in 2020, but did not give a timeline.
1:45 GMT – Tunisia to reopen food, construction sectors next week
Tunisia will start relaxing its lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus next week, government ministers said, with the first sectors to be reopened including the food industry, construction and half the public service.Other sectors will be relaxed from May 11, the health minister and the minister in charge of major projects told a news conference, including clothing shops and malls, while some public transport will also resume.
11:30 GMT – Russia extends entry ban for foreigners
Russia has extended an entry ban for foreigners to slow the coronavirus as the country registereda steep risein the number of new infections.The decree barring foreigners from entering the country, which was introduced in mid-March and set to expire Thursday, was extended until Russia has the virus under control, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said”I have signed a government resolution on extending it until the fight against the infection is over and the epidemic situation has improved,” he told officials meeting to discuss Russia’s response to the pandemic.
11:25 GMT – Iran says businesses reopened as no end in sight to virus
Iran reopened for business despite its persistent coronavirus outbreak as there was no end in sight to the crisis, its president said, as 80 new deaths were announced.”Due to uncertainty about when this virus will end, we are preparing for work, activity and science,” said President Hassan Rouhani.”We have to follow all the medical instructions, but work and production are as essential as these precautions,” he told a televised cabinet meeting.The government has allowed many businesses to reopen since April 11 after shutting most down in mid-March to stem the spread of the disease.
11:20 GMT – Newborn Syrian baby recovers from COVID-19
A newborn Syrian baby has recovered from COVID-19 after treatment in Izmir, on the Aegean coast of Turkey.Aziz was diagnosed with the disease just five days after opening his eyes to the world, and he was discharged from the hospital with a round of applause after nearly a month of treatment. Baby Aziz was taken in intensive care unit for newborns as he had difficulty in breathing.
11:00 GMT – Germany extends foreign travel warning to June 14
Germany is extending an existing warning against foreign travel until June 14 to stem the coronavirus pandemic, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.”We have not yet reached the point where we can recommend care-free travel,” Maas said, adding “therefore it is necessary to extend the worldwide travel warning until mid-June”.Europe’s biggest economy has brought home 240,000 stranded tourists in the last four weeks, Maas said, adding that “we’re not going to undertake such an action again in the coming summer”.
10:30 GMT – German, Dutch and Finnish MotoGP races cancelled
MotoGP’s German, Dutch and Finnish rounds in June and July have all been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sport’s governing body and promoter announced.The German Grand Prix had been scheduled for June 21, followed by the Dutch TT at Assen on June 28 with Finland’s new Kymi Ring making its debut on July 12.MotoGP’s season has yet to start, with the first 11 races affected by the virus, and organisers have yet to publish a fully revised calendar.
10:00 GMT – Iran reports 80 new deaths from coronavirus
The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in Iran rose by 80 in the past 24 hours to 5,957, health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said in a statement on state TVThe total number of diagnosed cases of new coronavirus in Iran, one of the countries hardest hit by the outbreak in the Middle East, has reached 93,657, he said.Here is a map showing all the confirmed cases in the region.
09:45 GMT – German company begins testing possible vaccine
German pharmaceutical company BioNTech said it has begun testing a potential vaccine for the new coronavirus on volunteers.BioNTech, which is working with US-based Pfizer, said 12 participants of a clinical trial in Germany have received doses of the vaccine candidate BNT162 since April 23.BioNTech said in a statement that in a next step, it will begin increasing the dose of BNT162 in a trial involving about 200 participants aged 18 to 55.Readmore here.
09:30 GMT – Spain’s daily toll slightly up with 325 new deaths
Spain recorded 325 deaths from the novel coronavirus overnight, up from 301 reported the previous day, the health ministry said. The overall death toll from the virus, however, rose by 453 to 24,275, it said, adding that some of the additional cases were from the previous days.The number of diagnosed cases rose by 2,144 from Tuesday to 212,917, the ministry said.
09:15 GMT – Highest daily jump in COVID-19 deaths in India
India saw its highest jump in deaths related to the novel coronavirus in a 24-hour period even as regional governments prepared to ease lockdown restrictions.A total of 73 people affected by the virus had died since Tuesday morning, taking the country-wide toll to 1,007, the federal health ministry said. The number of positive cases crossed 30,000.The highest number of COVID-19 cases has been reported from Maharashtra, largely in its two biggest cities Mumbai and Pune, and the national capital New Delhi.
9:09 GMT – UK PM announces birth of son after he and fiancee had coronavirus
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds have announced the birth of a healthy baby boy.Both had suffered from coronavirus, but Johnson’s illness was far more severe as he received treatment at an intensive care unit at a London hospital.Both have now recovered and Johnson recently returned to work.
08:50 GMT – Indonesia reports 260 coronavirus cases, 11 deaths
Indonesia confirmed 260 new coronavirus infections, taking the total in the southeast Asian nation to 9,771, according to health ministry official Achmad Yurianto. Johnson, 55, and Symonds, 32, announced in February that they were expecting a child.Yurianto reported 11 new deaths, taking the total number of fatalities to 784, while 1,391 people have recovered. More than 67,700 people have been tested.
08:45 GMT – Poland to reopen hotels and malls on May 4
Poland will reopen hotels and shopping malls on May 4 while it will consider reopening pre-schools on May 6, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said.Poland started relaxing some curbs earlier in April, saying they were costly for the economy. It has reopened forests and parks and eased rules on the number of customers in shops.By Wednesday, the European Union member state of 38 million had reported 12,415 cases and 606 deaths.
08:35 GMT – Beijing to lower COVID-19 emergency response level
Beijing’s municipal government said it will lower its COVID-19 emergency response level on Thursday, removing quarantine requirements for some people arriving from other low-risk parts of the country.The decision by Beijing to lower its emergency response measures to level II from level I comes on the same day China announced that the parliament will begin its key annual session in the capital on May 22.The number of new daily COVID-19 cases in the country have dropped sharply from the height of the epidemic in February.
08:30 GMT – Azerbaijan to keep borders closed till May 31
Azerbaijan will keep its borders closed until May 31 to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, the government said on Wednesday.The former Soviet republic has so far recorded 1,717 coronavirus cases and 22 deaths from the virus.Read more about travel restrictions and border shutdowns around the worldhere.
08:15 GMT – Turkey extends closure of schools to end-May
Turkey has extended the closure of schools until the end of May as part of its measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus, Education Minister Ziya Selcuk said.Ankara announced the initial closure of schools on March 12 after it reported its first case of COVID-19 and now has nearly 115,000 cases with a death toll of nearly 3,000.
07:55 GMT – Russia’s coronavirus cases near 100,000 mark
Russia has reported 5,841 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing its overall nationwide case tally to 99,399.The official nationwide death toll reached 972 after 108 people with the virus died in the last 24 hours, Russia’s coronavirus crisis response centre said.Russia, the world’s largest country by territory, has been on lockdown since President Vladimir Putin announced the closure of most public spaces in late March.Readmore here.
07:40 GMT – Singapore confirms 690 new coronavirus cases
Singapore’s health ministry confirmed 690 more coronavirus infections, taking total cases in the country to 15,641.Most of the new cases are among migrant workers living in dormitories in the city-state, which has among the highest number of coronavirus infections in Asia.Here islistof all the countries with confirmed cases.
07:30 GMT – Turkey sends aid to US to fight COVID-19
Turkey has assured “all means of solidarity” with the United States in “combatting the coronavirus outbreak and normalisation process after the pandemic”. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter to his US counterpart Donald Trump together with the medical aid that Turkey sent to the US on Tuesday to support the country’s fight against the coronavirus as it has reported over one million confirmed cases.Erdogan said he hopes the aid helps US people recover from COVID-19.
07:10 GMT – Global airlines face unprecedented turbulence
The global airlines industry is bleeding billions of dollars in cash, with some carriers already facing bankruptcy and others seeking government help.More than half of the world’s fleet of passenger aircraft has been grounded because of travel bans, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), an airline industry group.European aviation giant Airbusreporteda net loss of 481 million euros ($522m) in the first quarter under the impact of the coronavirus crisis.Read morehere.
07:00 GMT – Japan PM: Impossible to hold Olympics unless virus curbed
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the postponed Tokyo Olympics could not take place next year unless the coronavirus pandemic is contained. “We’ve been saying the Olympic and Paralympic Games must be held in a complete form, in that athletes and spectators can all participate safely,” Abe said in response to an opposition legislator in parliament. “It would be impossible to hold the Games in such a complete form unless the coronavirus pandemic is contained,” he added.
06:30 GMT – Australia to ramp up testing with 10 million more kits
Australia plans to expand screening for the coronavirus after securing 10 million more test kits from China.Australia, which has been one of the most successful countries in containing COVID-19, has so far carried out around 500,000 tests in a population of 25 million people.”These 10 million tests will allow our state and territory public health units to be able to test right through 2020, to provide us with the capacity to contain, suppress and defeat the virus,” Health Minister Greg Hunt told reporters in Melbourne.
06:00 GMT – Pakistan records second deadliest day of pandemic
Pakistan registered its deadliest day from the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, with 26 people dying of the highly contagious COVID-19 virus, taking the country’s death toll to 327 since its outbreak began in late February.Cases also rose by their highest single-day amount on Tuesday, increasing by 806 to 14,885, of which 11,113 are active cases, as per data collected by Al Jazeera.
Tuesday was the second consecutive day for Pakistan to have registered its deadliest day, with 20 deathsrecorded the day before.At least 3,425 patients have recovered since the start of the outbreak, government data says.
05:50 GMT – Qatar sends virus aid to Iran and Algeria
Qatar has sent medical supplies to Iran and Algeria to support their fight against the novel coronavirus.Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani ordered urgent medical aid to be sent to Algeria, according to a report by the state-run Qatar News Agency (QNA).The country also sent aid to Iran for the fourth time with some 16 tons of medical supplies, the report added.
05:45 GMT – Hotels in Poland to be open for summer holidays
Hotels in Poland will be open for summer holidays, traditionally held over July and August in the country, government spokesman Piotr Muller told state radio, while adding that the novel coronavirus infections were still on the rise in the country.On Wednesday, the Polish government is set to announce its decision with regards to re-opening some businesses that were closed until now due to the pandemic.The government has extended school closures until May 24.
05:40 GMT – Tokyo governor calls to extend nationwide emergency
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has called for an extension of Japan’s nationwide “state of emergency,” which requests people to stay home and social distance, to stem the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.”Tokyo is still facing a serious situation and so I would like to have it go on longer,” she told reporters.The state of emergency, declared by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, lasts through May 6.