MIAMI – The World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday that more than 460,000 confirmed coronavirus cases have been detected worldwide and more than 21,000 people have died.
Meanwhile, the United States asked Saudi Arabia to take action to calm the world energy and financial markets in the face of the economic “uncertainty” created by the coronavirus crisis amid the oil price war between Riyadh and Moscow that has sent crude prices plunging.
Also, the New York state government criticized on Wednesday the White House for allowing the state to be the one receiving the second-least amount of funding to alleviate the impact of the spread of COVID-19.
The state is slated to receive $3.1 billion, some 1.9 percent of the total budget, from Washington and 48 other states will receive more funding than that, said Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s communications director, Dani Leve.
On Wednesday, the Univision television network reported that it has closed its main building in Miami after two workers tested positive for the coronavirus. The Spanish-language TV network said it would move its operations to a smaller building it has elsewhere in the Miami area, from which it broadcast all its programs up until 2013 and where it still has fully operational studios.
In other news related to the coronavirus pandemic:
THE VATICAN: A Vatican official living in the residence of Pope Francis has been hospitalized and isolated after testing positive for the coronavirus, which in Italy has killed more than 7,500 people, according to the Italian daily Il Messaggero. This is the fourth coronavirus case registered at The Vatican.
FRANCE: France announced that it will withdraw its troops stationed in Iraq after the decision by the international coalition to “provisionally” suspend the mission to train that country’s security forces because of the coronavirus crisis.
FINLAND: The Finnish government announced Wednesday that it will prohibit people from entering or leaving the Uusimaa region, where Helsinki is located, for at least three weeks and ordered the closure of all local leisure spots to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The move affects some 1.7 million people, about 30 percent of Finland’s population.
CANADA: The Canadian government ordered all travelers returning to Canada from abroad to be placed in isolation. The country currently has 3,281 cases of COVID-19, 489 of them detected in the past 24 hours, along with 30 deaths.
BRAZIL: Brazil raised its death toll from the coronavirus to 57 on Wednesday, 11 more than the day before, and has decided to use chloroquine to treat critically ill patients, starting immediately. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Brazil stands at 2,433 and has been increasing at “more or less” the same rate over the past few days, Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta said.
ECUADOR: About 1,000 people have been arrested in Ecuador for failing to abide by the 15-hour daily curfew implemented on Wednesday running from 2 pm through 5 am, the latest measure to limit the spread of the coronavirus. A total of 1,211 confirmed cases have been registered in the country, along with 29 deaths.
CHILE: Chilean Health Minister Jaime Mañalich announced that a health and home isolation cordon will be imposed on seven districts within Santiago where the majority of the confirmed COVID-19 cases are located.
ARGENTINA: Argentine President Alberto Fernandez announced the suspension of all returns of Argentines or foreign residents who are presently abroad and have asked to come back to Argentina. State-run Aerolineas Argentinas and other airlines had been operating special flights to bring part of the 45,000 citizens abroad back home.
PANAMA: Panama is testing an artificial intelligence system that conceivably can detect in just one or two minutes the coronavirus in infected individuals. At least 443 people have acquired the virus in Panama and eight people have died.
EL SALVADOR: At least 600 people have been “detained” in El Salvador and sent to “containment centers” for allegedly not abiding by the obligatory home quarantine decreed last weekend by the government of Nayib Bukele to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
CARIBBEAN: St. Kitts & Neves and the British Virgin Islands reported their first cases of the coronavirus – two each – making them the final Caribbean territories to report infections.
MALI: Mali has recorded its first coronavirus cases after two citizens tested positive. One of them was a 49-year-old woman who arrived in the country on March 12 from France where she had also tested positive but decided to flee.
GERMANY: The government approved a 750,000 million euro fund to combat the health and economic consequences of the pandemic, equivalent to almost 22 percent of Germany’s gross domestic product, as more than 35,700 cases and 180 deaths were reported.
UNITED STATES: The IMF and World Bank have called for the suspension of payments from the world’s poorest countries “to provide a global sense of relief for developing countries as well as a strong signal to financial markets.”
COLOMBIA: Colombians began a 19-day quarantine as the number of confirmed cases reached 378 with three fatalities and six recoveries.
BRAZIL: President Jair Bolsonaro has continued to undermine the spread of the pandemic and demanded that measures of social confinement be restricted to older and vulnerable people, amid criticism from almost all political sectors.
ISRAEL: A survey of almost half of those infected in Israel, which has 2,030 cases and five deaths, found that 29 percent were infected in places of worship and Jewish religious schools, newspaper Yediot Aharonot reported.
PALESTINE: A Palestinian woman became the first fatality in the occupied West Bank, with her death occurring on the third day of lockdown imposed by the Palestinian government as the number of cases rose to 64.
CHILE: Health authorities reported 220 new infections in the last 24 hours, the biggest spike since the virus appeared in the country three weeks ago, bringing the total to more than 1,140 and the death of a third person.
JAPAN: The Bank of Japan said COVID-19’s impact on the nation’s economy may be prolonged and significant, not just temporary, a conclusion contained in the minutes of a monetary policy meeting held by the central bank on March 16 to address the virus’ impact.
SOUTH KOREA: The country reported 100 new cases on Tuesday, 51 of which were imported, marking the first time imported cases have surpassed local infections, and bringing the total to 9,137 with 3,730 people having recovered and 126 deaths. Amid an increase in cases from North America, South Korea announced it will test and quarantine all passengers from the region starting Friday.
BANGLADESH: Health authorities reported the fifth death in the country amid a nationwide transport shutdown; however, no new infections were reported in the last 24 hours, with the total at 39.
THAILAND: The government reported 107 new cases, bringing the total to 934, with 13 more discharges to total 70, plus four deaths. Four of the 860 in hospital were in critical condition. Thai Airways announced it was temporarily canceling 34 flight routes across Asia and to eight European cities.
CHINA: The National Health Commission announced the number of active cases was at 4,287 and continued to decline despite new infections being recorded. Four deaths were reported on Tuesday while 47 new infections – all imported – were detected, bringing the total number of infections to 81,218, with 3,281 deaths, while 73,650 people had recovered.
AUSTRALIA: Virgin Australia announced it was cutting 90 percent of its domestic flights and temporarily standing down 80 percent of its 10,000 employees, while all flights of its low-cost subsidiary Tigerair will also be suspended. The number of confirmed cases in the country surpassed 2,300 with eight deaths.