UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has asked leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) to help launch a stimulus package in the trillions of dollars to keep businesses, workers and households afloat in face of the coronavirus. By the end of this year, the cost of this pandemic is likely to be measured in the trillions of dollars, Guterres told G20 leaders in a letter dated March 23.

A man sprays disinfectant in a metro station in Cairo, Egypt on March 24, 2020. Egypt announced on Tuesday that one COVID-19 case died and 36 new cases were detected, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 402. (Photo: Xinhua)

* The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday (March 24) updated the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic situation, saying there was a glimmer of hope in Italy as fewer cases were reported than in the previous days. According to the latest figures from WHO, in the past 24 hours a total of 39,827 newly confirmed cases have been reported, and the global death toll now stood at 16,231.

* Laos has detected the first two confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, Lao Health Ministry officials told a press conference Tuesday. According to Deputy Health Minister Phouthone Moungpak, the two confirmed cases, both Lao nationals, are likely to be imported.

* Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said on Wednesday ( March 25) that he is considering to put the country in a state of emergency after a spike of COVID-19 cases. Cambodia has recorded a total of 93 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 to date.

* Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law that authorizes him to exercise "stand-by powers" necessary to carry out urgent measures to deal with the COVID-19, Senator Christopher Go said early on Wednesday. The act, entitled the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, was passed by the Congress following a marathon special session on Monday. The Philippines has so far recorded 552 COVID-19 cases, including 35 deaths, according to the Department of Health.

* Malaysia is extending the "movement control order" that includes comprehensive restrictive measures for two more weeks till April 14, in an effort to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced Wednesday. In a televised speech, Muhyiddin said the number of cases in the country went up to 1,796 by noon Wednesday after an additional 172 cases had been reported, with total deaths standing at 17.

* Effective from Wednesday, all commuters using all rail systems, including the sky train and underground trains, are required to wear masks, according to the website of the Thai Ministry of Transport on Wednesday. The Ministry of Public Health on Wednesday announced 107 new cases of the COVID-19, tallying a total of 934 cases.

* Myanmar government is planning to draw a plan to provide prompt response to possible COVID-19 infection at internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in the country, state-run media reported Wednesday. At present, the total number of COVID-19 infection cases is three in Myanmar, after the Health and Sports Ministry announced one more case detected in Yangon in early hours of Wednesday.

* The Republic of Korea planned to tighten quarantine measures on all passengers from the United States beginning March 27 amid a growing worry about the imported cases of the COVID-19, the health authorities said Wednesday. In the latest tally, ROK reported 100 more COVID-19 cases for the past 24 hours, raising the total number to 9,137.

* As the Indian government began the 21-day lockdown, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on Wednesday morning across the country rose to 562, the federal health ministry said. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across India is 562. Of these, 519 cases are Indian nationals and 43 foreign nationals.

* The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States topped 50,000 as of 3 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on Tuesday (1900 GMT), according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. The fresh figure reached 50,206 with 606 deaths, the CSSE said.

* The coronavirus pandemic has claimed 6,820 lives in locked down Italy as of Tuesday with the cumulative total number reaching 69,176, according to new data released by the Civil Protection Department.

* The German states of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and Bavaria are planning to admit seriously ill COVID-19 patients from Italy, the minister presidents of the two states announced on Tuesday. As of Tuesday, confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Germany increased by 4,764 within one day to 27,436, according to the federal government agency for disease control and prevention Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

* Portuguese government announced on Tuesday that the suspension of air links with Italy will be extended for another 14 days due to the serious COVID-19 situation in that country, Lusa News Agency reported. COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus, has infected 2,362 people and killed 33 others in Portugal, according to the latest from the health authorities.

* A group of some 100 Spanish engineers are using 3D printing technology to manufacture 50 to 100 medical ventilators a day for patients with the coronavirus, Barcelona Zona Franca Consortium (CZFB) announced on Tuesday.

* The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Britain has reached 8,077 as of Tuesday morning, according to the lastest figure from the Department of Health and Social Care. A total of 90,436 people have been tested across Britain, of which 8,077 were confirmed positive, while 422 patients who contracted the novel coronavirus have died, said the department.

* Russia has registered 57 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, raising its total number to 495, official data showed Tuesday.

* Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged the Canadian parliament to pass emergency legislation against the COVID-19 pandemic for Canadians and businesses. Trudeau said proposed sweeping new powers to let his government spend money without parliamentary approval are needed because the COVID-19 pandemic presents an "exceptional situation."

* The number of the confirmed cases of the COVID-19 in Australia has surpassed 2,000. According to the latest data from the Department of Health, there had been 2,252 confirmed cases in the country as of Wednesday morning, up 23 percent from 1,823 on Tuesday morning.

* A state of emergency has been declared on Wednesday in New Zealand after 50 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the country. New Zealand confirmed 50 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of the confirmed cases in this country to 205, according to the Ministry of Health.

* A total of 51 cases of COVID-19 have been reported within the United Nations (UN) system across the world as of Tuesday, and the physical presence of the staff at the UN Headquarters in New York City is very small, according to a UN spokesman.

* Mexico's government on Tuesday said the country entered stage 2 of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, marked by a rise in the number of patients who contracted the disease locally, probably by coming into contact with someone who had traveled to an affected country. Mexico has registered 367 cases of the virus, which can lead to sometimes fatal pneumonia, and four deaths.

* Canada's second largest airline WestJet on Tuesday announced to lay off 6,900 employees due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly two-thirds of the airline's fleet of 120 aircrafts are currently grounded. As of Tuesday afternoon, the number of COVID-19 cases topped 2,500 in Canada, with a death toll of 26, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

* The Slovenian government announced on Tuesday a package of economic stimulus measures worth roughly EUR2 billion (US$2.15 billion) to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus epidemic. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Slovenia rose by 38 to 480 by 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

* The COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday continued to claim lives in Latin America as imported infections gave way to locally transmitted cases of the novel coronavirus disease. Argentina said that the death toll from the disease outbreak in the country rose to six after two men died. So far, Argentina has reported 387 cases of infections. In neighboring Brazil, the largest country in South America, the number of confirmed cases has risen from 1,891 to 2,201, with the death toll jumping from 34 to 46.

*An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 jolted 219 km southeast of the town of Severo-Kurilsk on the Kuril Islands, Russia at 13:49 local time (0249 GMT) on Wednesday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The epicenter, with a depth of 56.65 km, was initially determined to be at 48.98 degrees north latitude and 157.69 degrees east longitude. No casualties or damage have been reported yet.

* Iran's death toll from COVID-19 approached 2,000 after 122 new deaths were reported on Tuesday; Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia reported the first death from the novel coronavirus.

* The death toll in Turkey due to COVID-19 rose to 44 after seven patients died on Tuesday, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted. On Monday, the number of deaths from the novel coronavirus in Turkey was 37, out of 1,529 diagnosed cases.

* A total of 488 people in Israel were tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 1,930, the Ministry of Health said. This was the biggest single-day rise in Israel in the number of new cases of COVID-19, or novel coronavirus.

* Oman announced Tuesday the suspension of all international and domestic flights to and from all its airports, starting from March 29 until further notice.

* Saudi Arabia registered on Tuesday the first death case from COVID-19 in the kingdom. Saudi Health Ministry announced also the registration of 205 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number to 767, of which 28 have recovered.

* The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday recorded 50 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of infections to 248, the health ministry said. All the new cases' health conditions are stable and are receiving the necessary medical care, the ministry said.

* The Syrian government on Tuesday ordered a partial curfew starting from Wednesday, according to the state news agency SANA. The curfew begins from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and will be applied in all Syrian provinces until further notice, according to the report.

* Sierra Leonean President Julius Maada Bio on Tuesday declared a state of public emergency as a preventive measure against COVID-19. Though no case has been reported in the country, the government has taken a raft of measures to prevent the pandemic including a ban on international flights.

* Moroccan Health Ministry on Tuesday confirmed 27 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number to 170.

Source: Xinhua

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