(Reuters) – Reported cases of the coronavirus crossed 2.07 million globally and more than 138,400 people have died, according to a Reuters tally as of 1400 GMT on Thursday.
A health worker checks a mans temperature during door to door screening in an attempt to contain the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Jika Joe informal settlement in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, April 16, 2020. REUTERS/Rogan Ward
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread, open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.
* For a U.S.-focused tracker with state-by-state and county map, open tmsnrt.rs/2w7hX9T in an external browser.
* U.S. President Donald Trump plans to announce new guidelines to reopen the economy on Thursday, despite concerns from health experts, governors and business leaders about a resurgence in cases without more testing and protocols in place.
* U.S. defense secretary said he believed China’s leaders have been misleading and opaque about the outbreak and does not trust that they are being truthful even now.
* Mexico’s government said its health experts have recommended the country extend its current measures until May 30.
* Mexico could force the closure of companies in non-essential sectors if they refuse to suspend operations during a state of emergency.
* Haiti will reopen its key textile industry next week.
* A two-month-old baby born to Warao indigenous refugees from Venezuela has tested positive, the mayor’s office in the Brazilian city of Manaus said.
* Europe is in eye of the storm, with the number of cases nearing a million, and should move with extreme caution when considering easing lockdowns, the WHO’s regional director said.
* Spain’s national death toll exceeded 19,000, but figures from the region of Catalonia indicated the real total could be several thousand higher.
* Britain’s outbreak is starting to peak but it is too early to lift the lockdown, its health minister said.
* Austria plans to test every retirement home resident as it expands efforts to measure the pandemic’s spread.
* Hungary is extending lockdown measures by one week from Saturday.
* The Swiss government will start a gradual relaxation of restrictions from April 27.
* A study of Dutch blood donors found that around 3% have developed antibodies against the virus, an indication of what percentage of the population may have already had the disease.
* China reported fewer imported cases on Thursday, but said locally transmitted infections rose, with the capital Beijing seeing new local cases for the first time in more than three weeks.
* Japan’s prime minister expanded a state of emergency to include the entire country and said the government was considering cash payouts for all.
* South Korea’s ruling party won an absolute majority in parliamentary elections in a landslide victory propelled by successes in the country’s efforts to contain the virus.
* India charged a Muslim leader with culpable homicide not amounting to murder for holding a gathering last month that authorities say led to a big jump in infections.
* Malaysia approved the use of antigen rapid test kits from South Korea, as it looks to increase its testing among high-risk groups and in places where clusters are detected.
* Indonesia expects the number of cases to peak between May and June with around 95,000 infections, a government adviser said.
* Australia will retain curbs on public movement for at least four more weeks, its prime minister said, dashing speculation the sustained low growth in new cases could spur a quicker return to normal.
* China said the WHO has said there is no evidence that the virus was made in a lab, after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Beijing “needs to come clean” on what they know.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Iran’s official death toll reached 4,869 on Thursday but a parliamentary report said the actual number could be much higher.
* Oman locked down a textile market in a town popular with tourists as the country reported more than 100 new infections to take its count above 1,000.
* Six Gulf Arab states approved Kuwait’s proposal for a common network for food supply safety.
* The Kingdom of Eswatini recorded its first death on Thursday.
* South Africa will allow mines to operate at a capacity of 50% during a nationwide lockdown.
* Europe led world stock markets higher as tentative moves to reopen parts of the some of its larger economies and a bounce in oil offset some truly dismal global economic data.
* Hedge fund Elliott Management said global stocks could ultimately lose half of their value from February’s high, according to a letter sent to clients.
* The United States opposes creation of liquidity through issuance of the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights as part of the response to the pandemic, U.S. treasury secretary said.
* The Federal Reserve’s program to back emergency government loans to small businesses is “fully operational,” the central bank said.
* Britain’s economy looks set for a record contraction after figures showed retail spending plunged by more than a quarter and one in four firms stopped trading temporarily.
* The Philippine central bank cut its benchmark interest rate for the third time this year, bringing it to a record low of 2.75%.
* China has not seen large-scale exodus of foreign capital amid the outbreak, the commerce ministry said.
* Mexico’s president said the government would provide an additional one million loans to small businesses.
* Russia is set to spend more than 2 trillion roubles ($26.96 billion) on its anti-crisis programme.
Compiled by Milla Nissi; Editing by Tomasz Janowski