(Reuters) – Hundreds of millions of people worldwide were adjusting on Wednesday to once-in-a-generation measures to battle the coronavirus crisis that is not only killing the old and vulnerable but also threatening prolonged economic misery.
– The virus has infected more than 204,000 people across the world and the death toll now exceeds 8,700.
– For interactive graphic tracking global spread: opentmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7in an external browser
– All 50 states in the United States have reported cases, with the total number of known infections surging past 6,400. The Senate is expected on Wednesday to vote on a multibillion-dollar coronavirus bill that passed the House of Representatives over the weekend.
– Nevada shut down all non-essential businesses, including the Las Vegas casinos at the heart of the state’s economy.
– Canada’s prime minister said on Wednesday his government would provide an $18.6 billion aid package directly to Canadian families and businesses.
– Chile’s president declared a 90-day state of catastrophe on Wednesday.
– Brazil, which reported its first death on Tuesday, closed its border to Venezuelans for an initial 15 days, citing strains on the public health system and what its president described as Venezuela’s inability to respond.
– Miners halted operations in Peru on Tuesday and girded for extended supply chain disruptions in neighboring Chile as governments tightened curbs.
– Mexico’s Supreme Court said it would suspend its regular court activities from March 18 to April 19.
– The lockdown in Italy might be extended if the incidence of new cases doesn’t slow, officials said on Wednesday. Lombardy, the region on the frontline of the battle against the virus, appealed to recently retired doctors and nurses to return to work.
– Russian media have deployed a “significant disinformation campaign” to sow panic in the West, according to a European Union document seen by Reuters. The Kremlin denied the allegations, saying they were unfounded and lacked common sense.
– France, which went into lockdown on Tuesday, is receiving 1 million surgical masks and gloves from China. France provided China with some 17 tonnes of equipment after the virus broke out in Wuhan.
– Poland will receive more than 10,000 test kits and tens of thousands of other protective items from China.
– Belgium imposed a lockdown from midday (1100 GMT) on Wednesday until April 5.
– Switzerland has extended border controls and suspended the issue of Schengen and national visas for three months.
– Ukraine, where a lawmaker tested positive, has imposed a state of emergency in the region around the capital Kiev.
– Spain announced a 200 billion euro package to help companies and protect workers and other vulnerable groups.
– Moldova and Turkey reported their first deaths.
– China’s imported cases outnumbered domestic transmissions for a fifth straight day as infected travelers passed through major hubs in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
FILE PHOTO: Members of the Military Emergency Unit (UME) prepare to disinfect the Malaga-Costa del Sol international airport during partial lockdown as part of a 15-day state of emergency to combat the coronavirus disease outbreak in Malaga, Spain March 16, 2020. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
– China’s Hubei province will transfer all arrivals from abroad to a central quarantine facility for 14 days, following a similar policy imposed by Beijing earlier this week.
– Taiwan said it would ban entry for most foreigners as its tally rose by 23 to 100 on Wednesday, most of them imported.
– Thousands of Muslim pilgrims from across Asia gathered at Gowa in Indonesia, just two weeks after a similar event in Malaysia caused more than 500 infections.
– Indonesia’s death toll jumped on Wednesday from five to 19 and Malaysia warned of “a tsunami” of cases if people did not follow new restrictions as infections surged across Southeast Asia.
– Two Vietnamese carriers have suspended flights to major Southeast Asian and European destinations.
– Bangladesh reported its first death on Wednesday.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
– The World Health Organization said on Wednesday that Middle East states need urgently to offer more information about cases.
– Iran’s death toll climbed to 1,135 with 147 new deaths, while the total number of infections reached 17,361.
– Saudi Arabia suspended work in most of the private sector for 15 days and directed businesses to implement work-from-home policies.
– Oman closed all tourist sites and banned gatherings in public places including beaches and parks.
– Jordan’s king approved a law that gives the government sweeping powers to enforce a state of emergency.
– Djibouti and Zambia confirmed their first cases on Wednesday.
– Morocco asked citizens on Wednesday not to leave their homes except to buy essential goods, seek medical treatment or go to work, as a precautionary measure.
– Wall Street resumed a steep slide on Wednesday while bond markets rushed to price in the sheer scale of government support programs and handouts announced over the past 24 hours, – all aimed at softening the economic shock of coronavirus.
– Analysts are slashing growth forecasts for China to lows not seen since the Cultural Revolution ended in 1976.
– Italy is preparing to defend strategically important companies from foreign takeovers, two government officials said on Wednesday, at a time when buyers could take advantage of collapsing share prices.
– Banks borrowed more than $15 billion from the Bank of England’s U.S. dollar repo operations on Wednesday, the largest sum since the financial crisis.
– The Bank of Japan said on Wednesday it would ease monetary policy again “without hesitation” if the economy worsens further.
– South Korea’s central bank said it would hold a repo auction for $793.5 million on Thursday.
– Palm oil plantations in Malaysia stopped operations for the next two weeks to comply with government orders to shut non-essential businesses.
– European airlines demanded urgent tax relief to avoid multiple bankruptcies.
FILE PHOTO: Medical workers in protective suits take an elderly coronavirus patient on a stretcher into an ambulance in the emergency room of the Gemelli Hospital, in Rome, Italy, March 16, 2020. Policlinico Gemelli/Handout via REUTERS
– This year’s Eurovision song contest, which had been due to take place in Rotterdam, will not now go ahead, organizers said on Wednesday.
– The Euro 2020 soccer Championship was postponed for a year
Compiled by Milla Nissi, Amy Caren Daniel and Ramakrishnan M.; Editing by Anil D’Silva, Giles Elgood and Arun Koyyur