Latest on the spread of the coronavirus around the world

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More than 2.97 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 205,948 have died, according to a Reuters tally, as of 0200 GMT on Monday.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

* For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread, opentmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7in an external browser.

* For a U.S.-focused tracker with state-by-state and county map, opentmsnrt.rs/2w7hX9Tin an external browser.

EUROPE

* Russia reported 87,147 confirmed cases on Monday, surpassing mainland China.

* Spanish authorities prepared to further loosen the country’s lockdown after children were allowed to leave their homes for the first time in six weeks, causing concern about crowds in some areas.

* Belgian hospitals admitted the lowest number of COVID-19 patients since the start of the lockdown, a week before the country starts to ease restrictions.

* German companies have called for coronavirus-related state aid to be tied to climate action, daily Handelsblatt reported.

* Hearings in the U.S. extradition case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not go ahead next month as scheduled because of the lockdown which prevents lawyers from attending court, a British judge decided.

* Britain’s prime minister, back at work after being hospitalised with the disease, said it was too early to relax restrictions.

* Dutch King Willem-Alexander urged all people in the Netherlands to stay at home on Monday, instead of flocking onto the streets clad in orange for the annual Kingsday celebration.

AMERICAS

* The Trump administration is focusing on protocols to keep U.S. factories open, including screening workers for potential cases, White House adviser Peter Navarro said.

* As Americans delay elective surgeries and avoid doctors and hospitals, healthcare spending declines have more than offset the added costs of COVID-19 care, insurance executives and experts say, boosting U.S. health insurers’ profits.

* Lockdowns around Latin America are helping slow the outbreak, but a spike in calls to helplines suggests a rise in domestic abuse, in a region where almost 20 million women and girls suffer sexual and physical violence each year.

 

* Mexico has almost entirely cleared out government migrant centers over the past five weeks to contain the outbreak, returning most of the occupants to their countries of origin.

* Venezuela’s move to allow gold and diamond mining in its Amazon region may worsen environmental damage while also fueling the spread of the coronavirus, according to activists and lawmakers.

* Chile will push ahead with previously announced “release certificates” for recovered patients despite a World Health Organization warning that there was no evidence they are protected from a second infection.

* Argentina will extend a mandatory nationwide quarantine period until May 10, while Honduras will extend the blanket curfew by one week until 2100 GMT on May 3.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* China is dropping a requirement that a number of key virus care products get domestic regulatory approval before export, as long as they are approved in the importing countries.

* China will focus testing for COVID-19 on high-risk groups, the head of a top state research institute said, suggesting that authorities are not about to rush into large-scale testing.

* China’s foreign ministry denied claims that Beijing is spreading misinformation about the coronavirus following a European Union report that said there was “significant evidence” of covert Chinese operations on social media.

 

* Metropolitan Tokyo confirmed 39 more cases on Monday, the fewest since March 30 and the second consecutive day of new cases below triple digits.

* India’s federal medical research agency asked state government to stop using testing equipment from China because of conflicting results.

* Indonesia expects the rate of infections to fall by June, its COVID-19 task force chief said.

 

* Thailand will extend a state of emergency until the end of May, but will consider easing some restrictions on businesses and public activities as the number of new cases has eased.

* More than two million Australians have downloaded an app to trace contacts of COVID-19 patients hours after its release, the government said as states set out plans to expand testing.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Egypt has asked the International Monetary Fund for financial support and will begin talks with it within days.

* Iran, whose death toll death rose by 96 in the past 24 hours to 5,806, plans to reopen mosques in areas that have been consistently free of the outbreak.

* Thirty workers at an offshore oil platform in Equatorial Guinea have tested positive, sources told Reuters.

* Burundi’s political parties started campaigning for next month’s presidential elections despite opposition accusations of intimidation and the coronavirus crisis.

ECONOMIC FALLOUT

* Stock markets rallied on Monday as investors cheered news more countries were easing lockdowns and the Bank of Japan expanded stimulus, though the oil price took another tumble with storage running out.

* Banks in the European Union are to get more capital relief so they can help struggling companies without having to make crippling provisions for loans hit by a looming deep recession, sources said on Monday.

* The Bank of Japan expanded monetary stimulus and pledged to buy an unlimited amount of bonds to keep borrowing costs low, as the government tries to spend its way out of the growing economic pain.

* The outbreak caused business expectations in Finland to collapse more rapidly and widely across different businesses than ever before in 55 years of polling history, the Confederation of Finnish Industries said.

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