Latest on the coronavirus: US death toll overtakes Italy's as Midwest braces
The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus eclipsed Italy's for the highest in the world, surpassing 20,000, as Chicago and other cities across the Midwest braced for a potential surge in victims and moved to snuff out smoldering hot spots of contagion before they erupt.
With the New York area still deep in crisis, fear mounted over the spread of the scourge into the nation's heartland.
Twenty-four residents of an Indiana nursing home hit by COVID-19 have died, while a nursing home in Iowa saw 14 deaths. Chicago's Cook County has set up a temporary morgue that can take more than 2,000 bodies. And Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been going around telling groups of people to “break it up.”
In Europe, countries used roadblocks, drones, helicopters, mounted patrols and the threat of fines to keep people from traveling over Easter weekend. With infections and deaths slowing in Italy, Spain and other places on the Continent, governments took tentative steps toward loosening the weeks-long shutdowns.
Glorious weather across Europe posed an extra test of people's discipline.
Deaths and infections
- The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide neared 1.8 million on April 12 as the pandemic swept across the globe.
- Johns Hopkins University's website showed over 108,994 people have died from the virus.
- The total number of people recovered from COVID-19 reached passed 404,878, according to the data.
- Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google said they will work together to create contact tracing technology that aims to slow the coronavirus spread by allowing users to opt into logging other phones they have been near.
- Uruguay started to repatriate 112 Australians and New Zealanders from a cruise ship hit by coronavirus and stranded in the La Plata River near the capital of Montevideo since March 27, the government said.
- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro took to the streets of Brasilia on April 10, drawing crowds and greeting followers in his latest public pushback against social isolation measures to fight the outbreak.
- Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has extended a nationwide quarantine for another 30 days to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus throughout the crisis-stricken South American nation. Maduro announced the measure on April 11, the same day a fourth shipment of medical supplies arrived from China to fight the virus. So far officials say 175 people in Venezuela have fallen ill and nine have died from the virus.
- Britain's COVID-19 death toll neared 10,000 on April 11 after health officials reported another 917 hospital deaths, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson continued to make "very good progress" in his recovery from the virus.
- Spain registered its lowest one-day increase in deaths from the disease since March 23 on April 11, as thousands of businesses prepared to reopen under a loosening of nationwide lockdown restrictions.
- Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte extended a nationwide lockdown until May 3, though he said a few types of shops would be allowed to re-open next week.
- Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy rose by 619 on April 11, up from 570 the day before, and the number of new cases climbed to 4,694 from a previous 3,951. The daily death toll was the highest since April 6 and the rise in infections was the biggest since April 4.
- Germany's number of confirmed coronavirus infections rose by 2,821 on April 12 to 120,479, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed. That was lower than a 4,133 increase reported on April 11, and marked the second decline after four days of increases. The reported death toll rose by 129 to 2,673.
- France's death toll from the new coronavirus outbreak rose to nearly 14,000 on April 11, but the number of patients in intensive care fell for the third day in a row, raising hopes that a nationwide lockdown is curbing the spread of the disease.
- The number of people in intensive care units fell to 6,883 from 7,004 a day before, down nearly 2 percent, while the number of people in hospital virtually stabilised at 31,320, up by just 53 or 0.2 percent, ministry data showed.
Asia and the Pacific
- The World Health Organization (WHO) said it was looking into reports of some COVID-19 patients testing positive again after initially testing negative for the disease while being considered for discharge. South Korea had reported such cases on April 10.
- The chief minister of Delhi state said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to extend a nationwide lockdown, but the federal government did not confirm this decision.
- China on April 12 reported another 99 virus cases, all but two of them in the province of Heilongjiang bordering on Russia.
- No deaths were reported, leaving China's total at 3,339 among 82,052 cases. Another 1,168 people were under isolation and monitoring for having tested positive for the virus, but were not showing symptoms or might have otherwise contracted it.
- Russia on April 12 reported 2,186 new coronavirus cases, the largest daily increase since the start of the outbreak, bringing the national tally of confirmed cases to 15,770.
- The number of coronavirus-related deaths rose by 24 to 130, the Russian coronavirus crisis response centre said.
- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on April 11 called for citizens across Japan to avoid evening spots like bars and restaurants, NHK reported, in a ratcheting up of social distancing guidance.
- South Korea reported 32 additional cases of the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, a continued downward trend in new infections in the country.
- The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement on April 12 the additional cases increased the country's total to 10,512. It says 7,368 of them have been recovered and released from quarantine and that 13,788 are under tests to determine whether they've contracted the virus. The center says that South Korea's death toll from the coronavirus increased by three to 214.
- North Korea says it'll take more thorough measures to guard against the coronavirus, though it has been maintaining a “very stable anti-epidemic situation.”
- The Korean Central News Agency reports on April 12 that leader Kim Jong Un and other leaders discussed the pandemic during a Politburo meeting in Pyongyang on April 11. It says the leaders agreed that it has become impossible to remove the danger of virus infections in a short time. It says such an environment can create “some obstacles to our struggle and progress.”
- New Zealand has reported only 18 new cases of COVID-19 and no more deaths on April 12 as strict rules on social isolation showed further signs of slowing the spread of the disease. At a daily briefing, Director-General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield says New Zealand now had 1,330 confirmed cases. Five people are in ICUs, one in critical condition. Bloomfield says 471 people had recovered from the virus, including 49 in the last 24 hours as the number of people recovering continues to exceed new cases.
- Thailand reported 33 new coronavirus infections on April 12, for a total of 2,551 cases, as well as three more deaths, taking the southeast Asian nation's toll to 38.
- Two Thai men aged 74 and 44, and a woman aged 65 died, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the government's Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration.
Middle East and Africa
- Iran's death toll from COVID-19 has risen by 117 in the past day to 4,474, health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said on April 12.
- The Islamic Republic has recorded 71,686 cases of the new coronavirus which causes the disease, Jahanpur said. Iran has been the country hardest hit by the pandemic in the Middle East.
- Saudi Arabia's King Salman extended a nationwide curfew until further notice due to the spread of the new coronavirus, the interior ministry said on April 12, after the kingdom reported more than 300 new infections on each of the last four days.
- Last week Saudi Arabia placed its capital Riyadh and other big cities under a 24-hour curfew, locking down much of the population to stem the spread of the virus.
- The WHO warned countries on April 10 to be cautious about lifting restrictions and voiced alarm it was taking hold in Africa.
- Yemen reported its first case on April 10, as aid groups try to prepare for an outbreak where war has shattered the health system and spread hunger and disease.
- The two top Republicans in the U.S. Congress vowed on April 11 to oppose Democrats' demands to boost a proposed $250 billion bill to aid small businesses by adding money for hospitals and state and local governments.
- U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told major airlines on April 10 he wants them to repay some of the $25 billion in cash grants the U.S. Congress approved last month to cover payroll costs as airlines weather an unprecedented crisis, three industry officials briefed on the matter told Reuters.
- The pandemic will trigger the worst economic fallout since the 1930s Great Depression in 2020, with only a partial recovery seen in 2021, the head of the International Monetary Fund said.
- The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits in the last three weeks has blown past 15 million, with weekly new claims topping 6 million for the second straight time.
- European Union finance ministers agreed on half-a-trillion euros worth of support for their economies but left open the question of how to finance recovery.