Boris Johnson in intensive care over coronavirus: Live updates

UK’s foreign minister steps in for Boris Johnson as prime minister’s condition worsens after being admitted to hospital.

In this handout photo provided by 10 Downing Street, Britain''s Prime Minister Boris Johnson claps outside 11 Downing Street to salute local heroes during Thursday''s nationwide Clap for Carers NHS in

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s condition has worsened since being hospitalised with persistent COVID-19 symptoms and he has been moved into intensive care, his Downing Street office said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 death toll in the US has surpassed 10,000 from more than 356,000 coronavirus cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.

Spain has reported more than 4,000 new cases of the coronavirus with over 600 new deaths on the fourth day the daily totals have declined.

The total number of deaths in Spain from COVID-19 on Monday passed 13,000 among more than 135,000 cases.

Globally, the death toll from COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new virus, has passed 73,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, while the number of infections rose above 1.3 million.

Here are the latest updates:

Monday, April 6

20:49 GMT – South Carolina governor orders residents to stay home

The governor of South Carolina ordered all residents of the state to stay at home except for essential outings to get groceries or exercise.

South Carolina was one of the few US states remaining that had not issued such “stay at home” orders in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Governor Henry McMaster issued the order on social media.

20:42 GMT – Egypt reports 149 new cases, its highest daily tally

Egypt reported 149 new coronavirus cases, its highest daily toll since confirming the first infection in February.

The North African country, which also reported seven new fatalities, has so far recorded 1,322 cases including 85 deaths.

A total of 259 people had recovered from the fast-spreading disease and been released from hospitals as of Monday, Egypt’s Health Ministry said in a statement.

20:22 GMT – Saudi Arabia imposes 24-hour virus curfew in five cities

Saudi Arabia extended the duration of daily curfews in four governorates and five cities, including the capital, to 24 hours to combat coronavirus as confirmed deaths from the disease hit 38.

The kingdom imposed round-the-clock lockdowns on the cities of Riyadh, Tabuk, Dammam, Dhahran and Hofuf, the interior ministry said on Twitter.

The same measures were also imposed on the governorates of Jeddah, Taif, Qatif and Khobar, the ministry added.

First Coronavirus Case In Sub-Saharan Africa Confirmed
The entrance of the Nigerian Army Hospital in the Yaba area of Lagos, Nigeria [George Osodi/Bloomberg]

20:16 GMT – Nigeria seeks $6.9bn to fund coronavirus fight

Nigeria is requesting $6.9bn from multilateral lenders to combat the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Africa’s biggest economy, the finance minister said on Monday.

Read more here.

19:52 GMT – Pandemic protectionism: Nations hoard masks, ventilators, meds

A growing number of countries – US, Germany, India, China – are banning the export of critical equipment and medicines.

Read more here.

19:23 GMT – Boris Johnson in intensive care, Raab to deputise

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s condition has worsened since being hospitalised with persistent COVID-19 symptoms and he has been moved into intensive care, his Downing Street office said in a statement on Monday.

“Over the course of this afternoon, the condition of the Prime Minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital.

“The PM has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is the First Secretary of State, to deputise for him where necessary.”

18:56 GMT- Israel declares coronavirus lockdown for Passover

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a national lockdown would begin on Tuesday and end on Friday to try to stem the spread of the new coronavirus during the Jewish holiday of Passover.

In a televised address, he said travel restrictions would be tightened on Tuesday and that Israelis will be banned from leaving their homes on Wednesday evening, when families traditionally travel to festive Passover “seder” meals.

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man carries trays of eggs as Israeli police patrol nearby to enforce government restrictions set in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), in Mea Shearim neig
Israeli officials have banned people going more than 100 metres from their homes, unless for essential journeys such as food shopping[File: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters]

18:52 GMT – Denmark aims to reopen day cares, schools on April 15: PM

Denmark will reopen day cares and schools for children in first to fifth grade starting April 15, if the numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths remain stable, the country’s prime minister said.

“It will probably be a bit like walking the rope. If we stand still along the way we could fall and if we go too fast it can go wrong. Therefore, we must take one cautious step at a time,” Mette Frederiksen told a media briefing.

17:30 GMT – US death toll surpasses 10,000

The death toll from the new coronavirus in the United States passed the 10,000 mark, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. There were 347,000 confirmed infections in the US.

17:28 GMT – Masks should be prioritised for health workers: WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) voiced concern that the wearing of medical masks by the general public could exacerbate the shortage for health workers who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lockdowns in many places are proving effective in dampening the spread of the virus, but any lifting of restrictions requires a calibrated, step-wise approach based on data, it said.

“Masks alone cannot stop the pandemic, countries must continue to find, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Gheybresus told a news conference.

Inside Story: How will Africa deal with coronavirus? (25:00)

17:21 GMT – France’s daily death toll speeds up

The number of people who died from coronavirus infections in French hospitals increased by 10 percent in the past day to a cumulative total of 6,494, Health minister Olivier Veran told a news conference.

He added that including partial data about the number of people who have died in nursing homes, the total death toll from the disease rose to 8,911 from 8,078 on Sunday, which is also an increase of 10 percent.

In both cases, the rate of increase sped up again after several days of slowing.

17:18 GMT – Kuwait locks down two areas, extends curfew

Kuwait placed a full lockdown on two areas and extended its partial curfew by two hours to run from 5pm (14:00 GMT) till 6am effective on Monday until further notice, a statement from the cabinet said.

It also extended a previously enacted suspension of work for all ministries and government institutions by two weeks until April 26 as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus.

COVID-19: US presidential campaigning moves to digital arena (02:16)

17:15 GMT – Turkey’s death toll reaches 649 with 30,217 total cases

Turkey’s death toll from the new coronavirus rose by 75 on Monday to total 649, and new confirmed cases rose by 3,148 to bring the country’s total to 30,217, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter.

He said 21,400 tests for the COVID-19 disease had been performed in Turkey in the past 24 hours.

16:42 GMT – New York governor extends shutdown until April 29

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that recent data on the novel coronavirus including hospitalisations and deaths suggest the crisis may be hitting a plateau in the state.

Cuomo also told a news briefing that he was extending an order to keep non-essential businesses and schools closed for another two weeks until April 29.

COVID-19: US conducts trials of plasma transfusions (06:59)

16:40 GMT – Canada’s Ontario says US blocked delivery of 3 million masks

The premier of Ontario, Canada’s largest province, said the United States had blocked the delivery of three million face masks designed to help fight the coronavirus outbreak.

Doug Ford told Global News the incident had happened over the weekend and described it as “absolutely unacceptable”.

Read more here.

16:15 GMT – Italy’s daily death toll rises to 636, new cases fall sharply

Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy rose by 636 on Monday, more than 100 higher than the previous daily tally of 525, the Civil Protection Agency said, but the number of new cases fell sharply.

The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on February 21 came to 16,523, the highest in the world.

The total number of confirmed cases increased by 3,599 to 132,547, the lowest daily rise since March 17, underscoring hopes that the illness might be on the retreat thanks to a nationwide lockdown introduced on March 9.

Venice canals run clear due to coronavirus lockdown
San Marco Square stands empty during the coronavirus pandemic in Venice. [Federico Vespignani/Anadolu]

16:14 GMT – Italian post office enlists military police to deliver pensions

The Italian post office will deploy military police to deliver pensions to retired people in a new effort to reduce the contagion from the coronavirus outbreak, Poste Italiane said.

The group signed an agreement with Italy’s Carabinieri, which is part of the police but also has military duties, under which pensioners who are at least 75 years old can authorise officers to withdraw their pensions and deliver them the money.

The accord applies to 23,000 people in Italy and will be in place until the health emergency is over, Poste Italiane and the Carabinieri said in a joint statement.

16:07 GMT – The US’s biggest bank is not cutting dividends yet: Chief

Big banks in the United Kingdom have scrapped payouts to shareholders this year. So have many European banks. But across the pond, the top boss of the biggest bank in the United States by assets is still thinking about it.

JPMorgan Chase & Co’s chief executive Jamie Dimon said in his annual letter to shareholders published on Monday that he sees a “bad recession” in 2020, and that the bank could suspend its dividend payouts to shareholders if the coronavirus crisis deepens.

Read more here.

15:52 GMT – Iran supreme leader approves tapping sovereign wealth fund

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei has approved the withdrawal of one billion euros from the country’s sovereign wealth fund to help fight the coronavirus epidemic, President Hassan Rouhani’s official website said.

The money will be used for the health ministry and the unemployment insurance fund, the statement on the presidency website said.

A medical aid worker sets up and installs a bed at a shopping mall, one of Iran's largest, which has been turned into a centre to receive patients suffering from the coronaviru (COVID-19), in Tehran
A medical worker sets up a bed at a shopping centre turned coronavirus treatment centre in Tehran. [Ali Khara/WANA via Reuters]

15:47 GMT – Daily Mail publisher asks staff to accept shares in lieu of some pay

Daily Mail and General Trust’s media unit has asked staff to take graduated pay cuts, with the difference made up in shares, to help weather the twin hit of less advertising revenue and lower circulation caused by the coronavirus crisis.

“This is an extremely difficult time for our industry,” Jonathan Harmsworth, DMGT chairman and controlling shareholder, said in a letter to DMGT Media staff.

“With the world spiralling into recession, we have seen, and must expect, a significant decrease in advertising revenue; while the current restrictions have also caused a serious drop in circulation.”

15:45 GMT – UK death toll increases by 439 to 5,373

The United Kingdom coronavirus death toll rose by 439 to 5,373 people as of 16:00 GMT on April 5, the health ministry said on Monday.

As of 08:00 GMT on April 6, a total of 208,837 people had been tested of which 51,608 were positive, it said.

15:38 GMT – Sweden’s central bank to offer loans directly to companies

Sweden’s central bank will extend its loan programme to individual companies, it said, in a bid to reach businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The Riksbank announced a loan scheme of 500 billion Swedish crowns ($49bn) last month, intended as a means to provide money to struggling businesses via the country’s banks, but the uptake so far has been limited.

“To enable these changes, adjusted, more generous terms will be applied,” the Riksbank said in a statement. “They also apply to the monetary policy counterparties that have already taken loans within the programme.”

Sunny day views from Sweden
No lockdown, no quarantines have been imposed in Sweden. [Atila Altuntas/Anadolu]

15:36 GMT – Singapore reports 66 new cases, total 1,375

Singapore’s health ministry confirmed 66 more coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of cases in the city-state to 1,375.

Only one was an imported case while the others were locally transmitted. Of the new cases, 35 were linked to clusters at foreign worker dormitories.

Singapore said on Sunday it had quarantined nearly 20,000 workers in two dormitories, made up of mainly Bangladeshi and other South Asian manual workers, after they were linked to at least 90 infections.

15:14 GMT – Merkel: EU faces its biggest test with coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic is the European Union’s biggest test, Chancellor Angela Merkel said, adding that it was important that the bloc emerges strong from the economic crisis unleashed by the coronavirus.

“In my view, Europe, the European Union is facing the biggest test since its foundation,” Merkel said. “We have a big health challenge that is impacting all member states, however differently.”

Coronavirus precautions in Germany
A deserted Brandenburg Gate after gatherings of more than two people were banned. [Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu]

15:12 GMT – Masters 2020 tournament postponed

The 2020 Masters Tournament has been provisionally rescheduled for November 12-15, Augusta National Golf Club has said.

14:58 GMT – Epidemic under control in Norway: Health minister

The COVID-19 epidemic is under control in Norway, the Nordic country’s health minister said, pointing to the low rate of transmission of the disease.

A person carrying the novel coronavirus in Norway contaminates now on average 0.7 other individuals, Bent Hoie told a news conference. The government’s goal was to limit the spread to a maximum of one other person.

The government will decide on Wednesday whether to extend ongoing restrictions, including the closures of schools and nurseries, beyond mid-April.

14:31 GMT – Dow surges almost 900 points

Wall Street’s major stock indexes all rallied at the start of a new trading week on Monday, as investors took heart from a deceleration in coronavirus-related deaths and new cases in Europe, and a drop in virus-deaths in United States hot spot New York State.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened up 892.02 points or 4.24 percent at 21,944.55. The S&P 500 index- a gauge for the performance of US retirement and college savings plans – opened up 3.90 percent while the Nasdaq Composite Index finished the session up 3.75 percent.

Read more here.

Daily Life In New York City Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
A man wearing a protective mask walks by street art in New York City. [Cindy Ord/Getty Images/AFP]

14:20 GMT – Golf-2020 Open Championship cancelled

The 149th Open Championship due to be played at Royal St George’s from July 16-19 has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, golf’s governing body the R&A announced.

“The R&A has decided to cancel The Open in 2020 due to the current Covid-19 pandemic,” it said in a statement. “The Championship will next be played at Royal St George’s in 2021.”

13:45 GMT – IMF encouraged by recovery in China

The International Monetary Fund cited limited but encouraging signs of recovery in China, the first country to suffer the full force of the COVID-19 pandemic, but said it could not rule out a resurgence of the pandemic in China and elsewhere.

Top IMF economists said in a blog that the pandemic caused by the new coronavirus had pushed the world into a recession that would be worse than the global financial crisis, and called for a global, coordinated health and economic policy response.

“The economic damage is mounting across all countries, tracking the sharp rise in new infections and containment measures put in place by governments,” the IMF experts wrote.

13:27 GMT – Boris Johnson: I’m in good spirits doing routine tests

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was undergoing routine tests for coronavirus symptoms but was in good spirits and in touch with his team.

“On the advice of my doctor, I went into hospital for some routine tests as I’m still experiencing coronavirus symptoms,” Johnson said on Twitter.

“I’m in good spirits and keeping in touch with my team as we work together to fight this virus and keep everyone safe.”

13:22 GMT


Hello, I am Tamila Varshalomidze in Doha, Qatar, taking over the blog from my colleague Joseph Stepansky.


China exports ventilators and masks crucial in coronavirus fight (02:38)

12:45 GMT – Kenyan president halts movement in affected areas

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered a halt to all movement in parts of the country affected by the new coronavirus, including capital Nairobi.

“The cessation of movement within the Nairobi metropolitan area shall be for an initial containment period of 21 days with effect from 7 pm Monday the 6th of April 2020, that is today,” Kenyatta said in a televised address.

Kenya has reported 158 coronavirus cases and six deaths.

Read more here.

12:20 GMT – Britain now has 10,000 ventilators: PM spokesman

Britain now has 10,000 ventilators in its healthcare system, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman has said, confirming the number had increased after deliveries from suppliers.

The spokesman also said there were no current plans to ban citizens from exercising outside their homes, and that 16,000 tests for the coronavirus were carried out on Sunday.

12:10 GMT – Poland’s parliament rejects ruling party plan to vote on postal ballot proposal

Polish lawmakers have rejected a ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party proposal to hold a presidential election on May 10 by post, making it more uncertain whether the ballot will take place amid the coronavirus pandemic.

PiS insists the election should be held despite the rising number of deaths caused by the virus. But critics accuse it of sacrificing public health in a bid to support its ally, the incumbent Andrzej Duda, who is running first in the polls. It has proposed replacing voting booths with postal ballots.

Parliament said 228 lawmakers opposed including the plan in the legislative agenda, and 228 were in favour, while three abstained and one did not vote. The tied result meant the PiS motion was rejected.

UK’s Queen Elizabeth praises key workers in coronavirus address

12:00 GMT – Romania will extend state of emergency by 30 days

Romania’s government will extend its state of emergency by another 30 days after the current period ending next week, to help halt the spread of the new coronavirus, President Klaus Iohannis has said.

“We need to do this again. It’s a necessity. People should understand that without this measure, the virus cannot be stopped,” Iohannis told a video briefing.  

Romania has so far recorded 4,057 confirmed cases of infection and 157 deaths.

11:45 GMT – Spain’s government seeks to consolidate contagion slowdown  

Spain’s government wants to consolidate the current rate of coronavirus contagion slowdown in Europe’s second-worst hit country, Health Minister Salvador Illa has said, as Spain enters its fourth week of confinement.

Up to 60,000 recently retired medical staff – aged 70 or less – have been rehired to contribute to the outbreak response, Illa added.

Life under lockdown: Chileans getting creative

11:30 GMT –  China vows to strengthen controls at land borders

China will work to further prevent coronavirus cases imported through its land borders, the Chinese government has said in a statement after a meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.

The risk of the virus being imported into China via land borders is increasing and the number of such cases has exceeded those recorded at airports recently, the statement said.  

Of the 38 imported cases with symptoms recorded in mainland China on Sunday, 20 had arrived in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang after travelling overland from Vladivostok in neighbouring Russia, having flown to Vladivostok from Moscow.

People Mourn COVID-19 Victims In Wuhan On Tomb Sweeping Day
A resident presents flowers during a silent tribute to “martyrs” who died in the fight against the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, Hubei province, China [Getty Images]

11:25 GMT –  Thailand extends ban on incoming passenger flights

Thailand has extended a ban on all passenger flights from landing in the country to curb the outbreak of the new coronavirus, the country’s aviation agency said.

The ban on incoming flights came into effect on Saturday morning and was originally set to run until the end of Monday, according to a previous order by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.

The new order, which extended the ban for 12 more days until the end of April 18, came after the country reported 51 new coronavirus cases and three more deaths on Monday, raising the numbers to 2,220 cases and 26 fatalities.

11:20 GMT –  Germany draws up plans to end lockdown after April 19

Germany has drawn up a list of measures, including an obligation to wear masks in public, limits on public gatherings and the rapid tracing of infection chains, that officials think should allow life to return to normal after lockdown’s scheduled end on April 19.

The proposals, contained in a draft action plan compiled by the Interior Ministry document and seen by Reuters news agency on Monday, say the measures should be sufficient to keep the number of people infected by each person below 1 even as public life is allowed gradually to resume.  

For this to be possible, mechanisms will have to be in place to track more than 80 percent of people an infected person had contact with within 24 hours of diagnosis. In return, schools will be able to reopen on a regional basis and strict border controls will be relaxed, the paper said.

Pandemic profiteering: US cracks down on scammers, price gouging

11:15 GMT –  Accused of ‘piracy’, US denies diverting masks bound for Germany

The US had no knowledge of a shipment of face masks bound for Germany that officials in Berlin have accused it of diverting from an airport in Bangkok, a spokeswoman for the US embassy in Thailand said.

The comment came after Berlin Secretary of Interior Andreas Geisel said on Friday that an order of 200,000 masks bound for Germany had been “confiscated” in Bangkok and diverted to the United States, calling it an “act of modern piracy”.

“The United States Government did not take any action to divert any 3M supplies that were destined to Germany nor did we have any knowledge of such a shipment,” Jillian Bonnardeaux, the spokeswoman for the U.S. embassy in Bangkok, told Reuters new agency.

11:00 GMT –  Head of junior Poland coalition party quits over election plan

Jaroslaw Gowin, the head of Accord, a junior party in Poland’s ruling coalition, has said he is quitting because he opposes the country’s decision to hold a presidential election in May, when the coronavirus outbreak is expected to peak there. 

The biggest party in the conservative alliance, the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS), plans to hold the election on May 10 as scheduled.

“I am resigning… since I think the election cannot be held on May 10… Accord will remain a member” of the coalition, Gowin told a news conference.

Education on hold: School closures disadvantaging Africa’s poor

10:55  GMT – Switzerland deaths hit 584, infections rise to 21,652

The Swiss death toll from the novel coronavirus has risen to 584, the country’s public health agency has said, from 559 people on Sunday.

The number of positive tests also increased to 21,652 from 21,100 on Sunday, it said.

10:45 GMT – India PM Modi, lawmakers agree to 30 percent salary cut

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other top government figures will take a 30 percent salary cut this year, a government minister has said, as the country tackles the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on the economy.

Modi has imposed a three-week lockdown to halt the spread of the virus, but it has left millions without jobs and many of the more vulnerable sections of society struggling for food and shelter.

The federal cabinet has approved a decree under which Modi, along with President Ram Nath Kovind, state governors and members of parliament, will take the salary cut as part of their social responsibility, cabinet minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters.

10:30 GMT – France to see worst post-war downturn this year: Bruno Le Maire

France will likely see its worst post-war economic downturn this year, surpassing the 2.2-percent slump seen in 2009 after the global financial crisis, its finance minister has said.

“We will probably be at more than the negative 2.2 percent in 2009. That shows the magnitude of the economic shock we are facing,” Le Maire told the Senate in hearing by teleconference.

The government estimated last month in an emergency budget update that the economy would contract by 1 percent this year, but has since indicated that it would have to revise that figure.

Members of the French Civil Protection service arrive on site for a rescue operation in Paris, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in France, April 4, 2020. Picture taken Apr
Members of the French Civil Protection service arrive on site for a rescue operation in Paris [Benoit Tessier/Reuters]

10:20 GMT – Iran death toll reaches 3,739

The death toll in Iran from the coronavirus outbreak has reached 3,739, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur has said on state TV

The total number of people infected by coronavirus in the country has reached 60,500, he said.

10:10 GMT – South African telecoms regulator announces emergency spectrum release

South African telecoms regulator ICASA has announced an emergency release of broadband spectrum to meet a spike in internet usage due to the new coronavirus, which has so far infected 1,655 people and killed 11 in the country.

“The emergency release of this spectrum does not … negate the processes that are currently underway for permanent assignment of spectrum through an auction, the process which the Authority had committed to finalise by the end of 2020,” said the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) in a statement.

A man carries home groceries during a nationwide 21 day lockdown in an attempt to contain the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Umlazi township near Durban
A man carries home groceries during a nationwide lockdown in an attempt to contain the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Umlazi township near Durban, South Africa [Rogan Ward/Reuters]

09:45 GMT – Spain reports 4,273 new cases, 637 new deaths, continuing downward trend

Spain has reported 4,273 new cases of the coronavirus with 637 new deaths, the fourth day the daily total for both tallies has declined from the previous day.

The total deaths from COVID-19 in the hard-hit country, which has the second-most cases in the world to date, now stands at 13,055 among 135,032 reported infections.

09:35 GMT – Iran will never ask US for help: Official

Iran will never ask the US to help Tehran in its fight against the new coronavirus, Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi has said, adding that Washington should lift its “illegal” sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

“Iran has never asked and will not ask America to help Tehran in its fight against the outbreak … But America should lift all its illegal unilateral sanctions on Iran,” Mousavi said in a televised news conference.

“They (the US) are trying to force Tehran to accept negotiations with America.”

09:30 GMT – Austria plans to start reopening shops from next week

Austria plans to reopen smaller shops from next week in its first step to loosen a lockdown that has slowed the spread of the coronavirus, as long as the public continues to observe the lockdown broadly, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has said.

Kurz told a news conference that since Austria had acted earlier than most countries, that gave it the ability to reopen shops sooner as well.

If all goes well, it will reopen non-essential shops of less than 400 square metres and DIY shops on April 14, followed by all shops and malls on May 1, he said.

09:15 GMT – Japan to declare state of emergency in some areas: PM

Japan is to declare a state of emergency in Tokyo and six other prefectures as early as Tuesday in a bid to stop the coronavirus, Prime Minister Shinzo Abehas said, with the government preparing a stimulus package to soften the economic blow.

More than 3,500 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Japan, and 85 have died. As the numbers rising, there is particular alarm over the spread in Tokyo, which has more than 1,000 cases, including 83 new ones on Monday.

During a televised news conference, Abe said an emergency, which would last about a month, will give governors authority to call on people to stay at home and businesses to close, but not to order the kind of lockdowns seen in other countries.

Japan mask
Commuters wear masks on their way to work at a station in Tokyo after a spike of coronavirus infections. Japanese have long worn masks during the flu season [Kimimasa Mayama/EPA] 

09:00 GMT – Philippines reports 11 more deaths, 414 new infections

The Philippines’ Health Ministry has reported 11 additional deaths and 414 new infections from of the coronavirus outbreak.

In a bulletin, the ministry said total deaths in the Philippines had reached 163 and cases rose to 3,660, while 73 patients had recovered.

08:55 GMT – Indonesia reports biggest daily rise in cases

Indonesia has confirmed 218 new coronavirus cases, the biggest daily jump since the first cases were announced a month ago, taking the total number of infections to 2,491, a Health Ministry official said.

Achmad Yurianto, the official, said that 11 deaths had been recorded, taking the total to 209, while 192 people had recovered.

08:50 GMT – Poland expects peak of infections in May, June

Poland is still at the beginning of its fight with the coronavirus, with the peak of infections expected in May and June, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said.

Speaking to the lower house of parliament, Morawiecki said Poland has some shortages of medical equipment. It plans to increase within days the number of daily coronavirus tests to 8,000-9,000 from the current 6,000-7,000, he said.

Poland has reported 4,201 coronavirus cases, including 98 deaths.

Poland coronavirus statue mask
Someone has provided Krakow’s famous Eros Bendato (Eros Bound) sculpture with a face mask [Jakub Wlodek/Reuters]

08:40 GMT -Thousands of Pakistanis in UAE want to go home

More than 20,000 Pakistani workers stuck in the United Arab Emirates want to go home, as the Gulf state tightens restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Over 20,000 people had registered since April 3 with the consulate to return to Pakistan, a consulate spokesman told Reuters news agency.

The UAE, which has reported 1,799 coronavirus cases and 10 deaths, has gradually increased curbs, including imposing a nationwide curfew, suspending passenger flights and putting Dubai under lockdown.

08:15 GMT – Czech Republic reports lowest daily rise in cases

The Czech Republic has reported its lowest daily percentage rise in confirmed coronavirus cases, as the country entered its fourth week of restrictions on business and movement.

The country had 4,591 cases as of Sunday midnight, up 2.6 percent from the previous day, the Health Ministry said on its website. This was the lowest percentage increase since early March when the country had a handful of known infections. There have been 72 deaths and 96 recoveries.

08:05 GMT – Tiger at Bronx Zoo tests positive, stunning zoo officials

A tiger at New York’s Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the new coronavirus, in what is believed to be the first known infection in an animal in the US or a tiger anywhere in the world, federal officials and the zoo said.

The four-year-old Malayan tiger, Nadia, was among a group of six other animals to have also fallen ill, the Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages the zoo, said in a statement on Sunday.

She was screened for the COVID-19 disease after developing a dry cough along with three other tigers and three lions, it said, adding that all of the cats are expected to recover.

Read more here.

tiger story inside image
Nadia, a 4-year-old female Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo, has tested positive for the coronavirus [Reuters]

07:50 GMT – Russia cases jump by almost 1,000 in 24 hours

Russia’s coronavirus case tally has risen to 6,343 in the past 24 hours, a record daily increase of 954, the country’s crisis response centre has said.

Cases have been recorded widely, but Moscow remains the epicentre of the outbreak with 591 new cases, the centre said. At least 47 people have died across the country, it said.

07:40 GMT – Podcast: Did Iran flatten the COVID-19 curve?

From the numbers, it was looking like Iran managed to flatten the coronavirus curve, but many in the country remain sceptical of the government data.

They fear Iran’s severe shortage of testing and medical equipment – caused largely by US sanctions – has left the health system with few resources in a fight that is nowhere near over, and could get a lot worse.

Al Jazeera’s The Take podcast speaks to Dr Rasha Ahmadi, an ER doctor in Tehran, Homa, a 27-year-old Iranian teacher, and Hamed Mousavi, a professor of political science at the University of Tehran, about the situation in the country.

07:30 GMT – New Zealand to stick with restrictions despite signs of improvement

New Zealand will stick to its tough curbs to combat the coronavirus, despite some early signs the spread of the illness has been stabilising, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said.

New Zealand started a four-week total lockdown of its population of about 5 million late in March, and declared a national emergency to slow the spread of the virus. The country’s 67 new infections on Monday were the lowest in five days, taking its tally to just over 1,100. It has reported one death.

“Our actions for the remainder of the period in level four will be about doubling down to ensure the gains made in the first half are not squandered in the second,” Ardern told reporters in Wellington.

07:20 GMT – European shares jump as deaths in continent slow

European shares rebounded on Monday as a slowdown in coronavirus deaths in France and Italy raised hopes that sweeping lockdowns were starting to show results.

The benchmark STOXX 600 index was up 2.9 percent at 07:07 GMT, after ending Friday with its sixth weekly decline in seven as the health crisis stalled business activity.

Italian and French bourses jumped 3.5 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively, as data showed Italy reported its lowest daily death toll for more than two weeks on Sunday, while France’s death toll dropped and admissions into intensive care slowed.

The STOXX 600 index has lost more than $3 trillion in market value since February as the slump in economic activity brought many sectors to the verge of collapse, forcing companies to suspend dividends and share buyback to shore up cash.

Employees of the Lantz funeral company, wearing protections, pull the coffin of a victim of the COVID-19 of an EHPAD (Housing Establishment for Dependant Elderly People), in Mulhouse, eastern France,
Funerary employees bring the coffin of a COVID-9 victim out of a home for the elderly in Mulhouse, France [Sebastian Bozon/AFP]

07:00 GMT – Alibaba’s Jack Ma donates 500 ventilators to 54 African countries

Jack Ma, cofounder of tech powerhouse Alibaba, donated 500 ventilators, 200,000 suits and face shields, 2,000 thermometers, one million swabs and extraction kits and 500,000 gloves to all 54 African countries, he said on Twitter.

Ma had previously donated over one million laboratory diagnostic test kits and infection prevention and control materials to the continent.

Public health experts have warned of a severe shortage of supplies, in particular ventilators, across Africa, with the Norwegian Refugee Council warning in March that the Central African Republic had only three ventilators available for COVID-19 patients.

06:45 GMT – UK Johnson will continue to lead government: Housing minister

Prime Minister Boris Johnson continues to lead the government, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has said, after the British leader spent the night in hospital for tests because he was still suffering symptoms of the coronavirus.

“He’s been working extremely hard, leading the government and being constantly updated, that’s going to continue,” Jenrick told BBC TV.

The housing minister added that Johnson is “doing well”.

Read more here.

In this handout photo provided by 10 Downing Street, Britain''s Prime Minister Boris Johnson claps outside 11 Downing Street to salute local heroes during Thursday''s nationwide Clap for Carers NHS in
In this handout photo provided by 10 Downing Street, Britain”s Prime Minister Boris Johnson claps outside 11 Downing Street to salute local heroes during Thursday”s nationwide Clap for Carers NHS initiative to applaud workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic, in London, Thursday, April 2, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (Pippa Fowles/The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.(Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street via AP)

06:35 GMT – Thailand reports 51 new coronavirus cases, three more deaths

Thailand has reported 51 new coronavirus cases and three more deaths, according to a spokesman for the government’s Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration.

Thirteen of the new cases were medical personnel who tended to infected patients or were in contact with them, said the spokesman, Taweesin Wisanuyothin.

More than half of the new cases were in Bangkok, he said. Thailand has confirmed a total of 2,220 cases and 26 fatalities since the outbreak emerged in the country in January.

thailand blog entry
Migrant workers from Myanmar pass through border gate at Myawaddy, Myanmar, after leaving Thailand due to the coronavirus outbreak [Thant Zin Aung/Reuters]

06:25 GMT – Norwegian Air’s March traffic tumbles 60 percent

Norwegian Air’s passenger volume fell by 60 percent year-on-year in March as the company gradually grounded its fleet amid global efforts to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The company has said it will cancel 85 percent of its flights in the time ahead and furlough 90 percent of its staff while seeking financial aid from Norway’s government.

06:10 GMT – Japan considering 6 months for state of emergency: Report

The Japanese government is considering a period of six months for the state of emergency that it is preparing to call in response to the coronavirus pandemic, broadcaster TBS has reported.

The move would cover Tokyo and three neighbouring prefectures as well as Osaka, TBS said, citing unidentified sources. Within the six-month period, these prefectures would decide the length of time for their individual measures, TBS said.

The government is preparing to announce a state of emergency as early as Tuesday, the broadcaster said.


This is Joseph Stepansky in Doha taking over the live updates from my colleague Zaheena Rasheed.


05:40 GMT – Apple to ship 1 million face shields a week

Apple says it will produce one million face shields a week for medical workers battling the coronavirus pandemic.

Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook says the company has designed its own transparent protective face shield and begun mass production at its factories in the US and China.

“We plan to ship over one million by the end of this week,” he says, adding that initial distribution will be focused on the US.

05:07 GMT – Germany reports fourth daily drop in rate of new infections

Germany recorded 3,677 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, marking the fourth straight drop in the daily rate of new cases.

The figure is lower than the 5,936 new infections reported on Sunday, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases.

At least 1,434 people have died from COVID-19 in Germany, while the total number of confirmed cases now stands at 95,391.

04:10 GMT – Virus-hit cruise ship docks in Australia as criminal probe begins

The Ruby Princess, a cruise ship that has become the biggest single source of coronavirus cases in Australia, is docking at a port in southern New South Wales so crew in need of urgent medical treatment can be brought ashore.

Police in New South Wales are launching a criminal investigation into the ship’s allowing infected passengers to disembark in Sydney on March 19.

At least 360 COVID-19 cases, including crew members, are associated with the Ruby Princess. At least six of them are reported to have died.

Read more here.

03:51 GMT – Scots’ medical chief resigns after flouting own rules

Catherine Calderwood, Scotland’s chief medical officer, is resigning after she broke her own advice on staying at home by visiting her second home this weekend and last.

Calderwood said she had agreed in discussions with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Sunday evening that her actions risked distracting from the “hugely important job that government and the medical profession has to do in getting the country through this coronavirus pandemic”.

“It is with a heavy heart that I resign as chief medical officer,” she says in a statement.

Police had earlier issued a warning to Calderwood about her behaviour and Sturgeon had removed her as the public face of the campaign to tackle the coronavirus.

Scotland's First Minister Sturgeon Gives A Coronavirus Briefing
Catherine Calderwood at a coronavirus briefing at St Andrew’s House in Edinburgh, Scotland [Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images]

3:31 GMT – Japan’s Pikotaro redesigns signature song as hand-washing melody

Japanese social media celebrity Pikotaro returned as a leading Twitter trend in Japan with a coronavirus hand-washing song that repurposes his signature Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen (PPAP) to Pray-for-People-and-Peace.

Pikotaro, whose real name is Kazuhito Kosaka, wore the same gold animal print outfit he wore in 2016’s viral PPAP video.

His hand-washing video, shorter than the 2016 two-minute hit, had also been viewed more than 250,000 times on YouTube since it was uploaded on Saturday.

02:47 GMT – Japan ‘set to declare a state of emergency’

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to declare a state of emergency due to a surge in coronavirus infections, according to the Yomiuri newspaper.

The declaration will empower local authorities to instruct the public to stay at home and request the closure of schools and other facilities, according to Kyodo, and will target big cities such as Tokyo and Osaka.

02:25 GMT – Older Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh in ‘imminent danger’

Amnesty International is warning that older Rohingya refugees in overcrowded camps in Bangladesh are being left behind in the humanitarian response to COVID-19.

The rights group says basic accurate information about the illness and measures to prevent its spread is failing to reach people in the camps, especially older refugees.

There are more than 31,500 refugees aged 60 or older among the 860,000 people residing in the camps, according to United Nations figures.

Myanmar Faces Charges Of Genocide
People at a restaurant in a Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh [File: Allison Joyce/Getty Images]

02:05 GMT – Can ‘immunity passports’ ease coronavirus lockdowns?

Going back to work and getting the economy moving again may take a long time in many countries. But there is one idea in the works with the hope that it may ease worldwide lockdowns: the “immunity passport”, a certificate for those who have recovered from COVID-19 and have been declared immune to the virus.

“The idea behind this is that if people get immune through natural infection, they are in a similar situation as someone having received a vaccination. We could use antibody tests as soon as proper tests become available to document that immunity,” says Gerard Krause, who heads the Department for Epidemiology at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Germany’s Braunschweig.

Watch this report from Al Jazeera’s Priyanka Gupta for more on this topic.

1:51 GMT – New cases in S Korea fall below 50 for first time since February peak

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting 47 new cases of the new coronavirus, down from 81 cases a day earlier and the fewest daily infections since its February 29 peak.

The figure brings South Korea’s total infections to date to 10,284.

Three people died from the virus at the end of Sunday, raising the death toll to 136.

1:45 GMT – World sees ‘horrifying surge in domestic violence’ amid pandemic

Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the UN, is appealing for an end to domestic violence as fears grow that victims are unable to escape to safety because of coronavirus lockdowns imposed as the world.

“Over the past weeks, as economic and social pressures and fear have grown, we have seen a horrifying global surge in domestic violence. In some countries, the number of women calling support services has doubled,” he says in a statement.

Governments must make the “prevention and redress” of violence against women a key part of their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, he adds.

01:12 GMT – China reports increase in cases

Mainland China reported 39 new coronavirus cases at the end of Sunday, all but one of them imported from abroad, up from the 30 reported a day earlier, as the number of asymptomatic cases also surged.

The National Health Commission said 78 new asymptomatic cases had been identified on Sunday, compared with 47 the day before.

Only one new death was recorded on April 5, the new data showed.

00:46 GMT – US ‘will reach a horrific point’ in virus deaths

US President Donald Trump is warning of an increase in coronavirus deaths in the US in the coming weeks.

“I think we all know that we have to reach a certain point and that point is going to be a horrific point in terms of death. But its also a point at which things are going to start changing,” the president says.

“We are getting very close to that level right now. The next week and a half, two weeks are going to be very difficult.”

00:30 GMT – Haiti reports first death

Haiti recorded its first death from the coronavirus, a 55-year-old man who had underlying health conditions.

He was one of only 21 confirmed cases in the impoverished Caribbean nation.

00:20 GMT – Trump hopes for ‘levelling-off’ of coronavirus in hot spots

Trump is expressing hope the US is seeing a “levelling-off” of the coronavirus crisis, citing a slight drop in deaths in New York, the hardest-hit state.

“Maybe that’s a good sign,” Trump told reporters, referring to the drop in fatalities.

The death toll in New York state rose to 4,159 on Sunday, up from 3,565 the day before.

00:00 GMT – US braces for ‘hardest, saddest’ week

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Americans shoul brace for “the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives” because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it’s not going to be localised,” the top doctor warned on Fox News on Sunday.

He had a message for the nine governors who have not yet imposed shelter-in-place orders in their states

“If you can’t give us a month, give us what you can. Give us a week. Give us whatever you can to stay at home during this particularly tough time when we’re going to be hitting our peak over the next seven to 10 days.”

Hello, this is Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives, with Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

You can find all of the updates from yesterday, April 5 here.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies