Coronavirus World Live Tracker: India Extends Nationwide Lockdown


Cases near 2 million as some nations begin to see a path out of lockdown.

With confirmed cases of the coronavirus nearing the 2 million mark, and close to 120,000 dead, the pandemic remains a potent threat around the world even as some countries begin to take careful steps to lift restrictions intended to suffocate the virus.

Outbreaks in many countries are still considered far from their peaks. Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India extended a nationwide lockdown for nearly three more weeks, leaving 1 billion people under severe restrictions and urging Indians not to “let our guard down.”

The Parliament in Turkey approved a measure calling for the release of tens of thousands of prisoners in an effort to stem the spread of the virus behind bars.

In Britain, the plight of patients in nursing homes has risen to the fore after England’s chief public health officer said on Monday that nearly 100 more facilities had registered cases of the coronavirus in a 24-hour period. More than 2,000 homes have reported confirmed cases. The situation drew comparisons to Spain, where nursing homes have were ravaged by the virus.

Rudolf Anschober, Austria’s health minister, cautioned residents to abide by rules put in place to guarantee their safety.

“I urge everyone to take the security measures of this first step of reopening seriously and uphold the regulations of entering shops, maintaining a distance, wearing a protective covering over their mouth and nose, which is also required in public transport,” he said during a Monday news conference.

Shops of 400 square meters, around 4,300 square feet, or less, hardware stores and gardening centers were allowed to reopen, but shoppers are required to wear a mask or covering over their faces and noses and maintain a distance from one another.

The stores are only allowed to admit a limited number of customers at a time and those found in violation of the regulations face fines of 3,600 euros, or around $3,940. Shopping centers are not allowed to reopen until May 2.

Fears are rising for residents of nursing homes in Britain, already seen as a population at risk, after more than 2,000 facilities in the country have reported cases of the coronavirus.

England’s chief medical officer, Prof. Chris Whitty, confirmed the number at a government news briefing on Monday and said that 92 more homes had confirmed cases in the previous 24 hours.

Care England, a charity representing independent care services, has estimated that nearly 1,000 deaths from coronavirus have gone uncounted in care homes; only 20 are noted in the most recent official figures for care home deaths in England and Wales, which run up to March 27.

The government faces criticism for not including deaths in nursing homes in the official daily coronavirus toll. Professor Whitty acknowledged that the published figures of deaths outside hospitals were delayed, and said the government was working to shorten that lag.

Care workers in nursing homes and hospices have also raised the alarm over a severe shortage of personal protective equipment, or P.P.E., and say supplies are being diverted to hospitals.

“Our members are telling us that they simply are not getting the P.P.E. they need,” said Theresa Fyffe, head of the Royal College of Nursing’s independent sector. “And there is evidence of hospices and care homes asking for donations of gloves, goggles and aprons; this situation simply cannot continue.”

Two care workers in the Britain were reported to have died from coronavirus last week, according to the social care charity Methodist Homes.

Data from five European countries has found that around half of the deaths from coronavirus are occurring in care homes, according to a study published by the London School of Economics on Monday.

In an assessment of statistics from Italy, Spain, France, Ireland and Belgium, it found that care home residents accounted for between 42 and 57 percent of reported deaths so far.

Chinese exports of much-needed N95 respirators, surgical masks and other personal protection equipment were delayed for a fourth day on Tuesday as China’s customs agency left unresolved a crucial regulatory issue.

In the meantime, exports are stalling and foreign criticism is rising.

“Double-layering of regulations is excessive and is red tape,” said Omar Allam, a former Canadian trade official who is now the chief executive of a global trade consultancy. “The Chinese are really choking the export of personal protection equipment supplies to the countries that need it most.”

Turkey’s Parliament passed a law on Tuesday that would allow for the release of up to 90,000 prisoners to ease overcrowding and protect detainees from being infected by the coronavirus.

The new law is set to reduce sentences and give early release to 45,000 people in minimum-security prisons, and 45,000 from regular prisons, which amounts to nearly one third of the total prison population. Those released will be ordered to stay at home, as Turkey has been gradually restricting the movement of the population.

The releases will not include those convicted of terrorist related crimes, and so will exclude the vast majority of political prisoners and people imprisoned after an attempted coup in 2016.

The bill was supported by 279 lawmakers, while 51 voted against it, according to the Anadolu Agency, a Turkish state-run news agency. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s political party, the Justice and Development Party, proposed the bill. Its nationalist allies, the Nationalist Movement Party, has been pushing for the bill for months.

The Ugandan musician and opposition politician Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, has come up with a plan to help Africans who have become targets of xenophobia in China: fly them out.

The announcement comes days after Africans in the Chinese city of Guangzhou said they had been subjected to forced evictions and arbitrary quarantines as Beijing ramped up efforts to fight against imported cases of the coronavirus. Anti-foreigner sentiment grew in the southern Chinese city after a recent cluster of coronavirus cases was reportedly linked to the Nigerian community there.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Mr. Wine said he had partnered with an American businessman to airlift Africans and African-Americans affected by the attacks “to a country in Africa that is willing to receive them.”

Together with Neil Nelson, chief executive of the Atlanta Black Star media firm, the two were also ready to evacuate to the United States those who hold American citizenship or permanent residency.

Videos and images of Guangzhou’s black residents facing harassment from police, sleeping in the streets and being refused service in stores and restaurants have surfaced online. On Monday, McDonald’s apologized after a video circulated online showing an employee at one of its restaurants in Guangzhou holding up a sign that read, “From now on, black people are not allowed to enter the restaurant.”

The incidents in China have drawn condemnation from leaders across the African continent, with nations including Nigeria and Uganda summoning their Chinese ambassadors. The authorities in China have said they have “zero tolerance for discrimination” and have promised to work to improve conditions.

China approves human testing for two new vaccines.

The doctor paused before banging on the front gate, gesturing to his companions in hazmat suits and masks to stand back so they would not be the first thing the home’s occupants saw.

While the world may see Japan as a futuristic land of humanoid robots and intelligent toilets, inside its offices, managers maintain a fierce devotion to paper files, fax machines, business card exchanges, face-to-face meetings and official corporate seals.

The stamps, known as hanko or inkan, are used in place of signatures on the stream of documents that fill Japan’s workplaces. They have become a symbol of a hidebound office culture that makes it difficult or impossible for many Japanese to work from home even as the country’s leaders say working remotely is essential to keeping Japan’s coronavirus epidemic from spiraling out of control.

Companies applying for government telework subsidies have reported needing to print out 100 or more pages of documents and deliver them in person.

A survey last month by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism found that fewer than 13 percent of workers were able to work from home. And those who have the option of teleworking fear harm to their careers.

Forced to balance the needs of the office and the risks to their own health, employees like Shuhei Aoyama, 26, say they are losing patience with the country’s work traditions. “It’s not so much our company’s culture as it is Japanese culture that’s causing the problems,” he said.

“Why do we have to put each other at risk just for something trivial like a hanko?” Yoshitaka Hibi, a professor of Japanese literature at Nagoya University, wrote in a Twitter post that was liked more than 28,000 times.

“This is our chance. For the love of god, someone please destroy this custom,” he added.

Reporting was contributed by Ceylan Yeginsu, Abdi Latif Dahir, Megan Specia, Melissa Eddy, Carlotta Gall, Ben Dooley, Makiko Inoue, Keith Bradsher, Kai Schultz, Hari Kumar, Elaine Yu, Kate Taylor, Sebastian Modak, Alissa J. Rubin, William J. Broad, Miriam Jordan, Annie Correal, Ben Dooley and Makiko Inoue contributed reporting.


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