The Latest: Spain reports rise in daily virus cases, deaths
The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.
TOP OF THE HOUR:
— British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in intensive care, Japan declares national emergency.
— Spain records rise in daily count of coronavirus cases and deaths.
— Cambodia's leader calls for ban on exports of fish and rice.
— Indonesia predicts 95,000 virus infections by the end of next month.
MADRID — Spain is recording again a rise of daily coronavirus infections and deaths for the first time in five days, a result consistent with previous Tuesdays when a weekend backlog of tests and fatalities are reported.
With 743 new deaths in the last 24 hours, some 100 more than the fatalities seen from Sunday to Monday, Spain’s death toll neared 13,800 since the beginning of the pandemic, Health Ministry data showed. The total of confirmed infections rose over 140,000, with 5,478 new ones on Tuesday, 1,000 more than on Monday. Both figures had been declining since April 2.
Authorities have said that cementing the flattening of the contagion arc will be a long process but they have pinned hopes in how pressure is easing in hospitals, mostly in emergency wards.
As part of deescalating measures being debated for coming weeks, Spain’s left-wing government wants to test 30,000 households to draw the national map of the outbreak. The goal is to measure how much has the virus spread beyond hospitals and nursing homes, which had become big contagion clusters.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchéz’s Cabinet is expected to approve Tuesday new measures to cushion the economic and social impact of the pandemic, including subsidies for farmers and flexibility to temporarily hire migrant workers for harvesting vegetables and fruits.
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Cambodia’s leader says he is ordering a ban on exports of rice and fish to ensure there are no local shortages of the staple foods during the coronavirus crisis.
Prime Minister Hun Sen said he wanted to make sure there was a sufficient supply of salt and noodles as well. He appealed to Cambodians to plant vegetables and other crops to supply local markets “during this difficult time.”
Expensive gourmet varieties of rice that Cambodia has contracts to sell abroad are exempted from the export ban.
Hun Sen, speaking Tuesday, also announced that the Lunar New Year holiday scheduled for April 13-16 has been canceled to reduce the risk of people spreading COVID-19.
“It’s not going to be good at all for them if they are very joyful during the New Year’s days, but start mourning after New Year’s when they organize funeral ceremonies,” he said.
Hun Sen in February had been skeptical that the coronavirus would impact Cambodia, but as cases mounted he has imposed restrictions on gatherings and travel and welcomed medical assistance and experts from China.
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian government has been forecasting the new coronavirus may infect about 95,000 people in the country by next month as the virus was spreading rapidly in the past month.
Indonesia marked the biggest daily increase in COVID-19 cases since the country announced its two first cases early last month: 247 people tested positive on Tuesday, bringing the country caseload to 2,738.
Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati revealed the dire estimation during a hearing with the House’s Commission XI which overseeing economic issue at the parliament on Monday to discuss strategic steps that are needed to curb the peak of the virus transmission.
She said the estimate was discussed at a cabinet meeting held by President Joko Widodo earlier based on a projection by the country’s intelligence agency and academic experts.
Widodo has declared a national health emergency and ordered large scale social distancing to contain the spread of the new coronavirus in the archipelago nation, which is home for nearly 270 million.
While Indonesia’s death toll from the new coronavirus outbreak at 221 on Tuesday, it marked the highest in Asia after China.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Denmark says it is planning to reopen next week kindergartners and primary schools for pupils aged up to 11 in a gradual lifting of the country’s coronavirus lockdown.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said late Monday that her government planned opening schools for younger students up until class five first because the requirement to care for them represented a greater burden on society. Reopening is planned for April 15.
She said restaurants, bars and cafes would remain closed for now. Also churches, libraries, sports venues and shopping centers would remain closed until at least May 10.
Denmark will keep in force border controls and ban gatherings of more than 10 people at least until May 10.
Frederiksen stressed the announced gradual easing of the lockdown would take place only if the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases remains stable and there is no major hike by Easter.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Dutch government says homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgages because of the coronavirus crisis will not be evicted.
Banks, housing organizations and the ministry of environment and housing issued a statement Tuesday pledging not to kick people out of their homes in the coming months as restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus wreak a devastating economic toll.
If people whose income has been hammered by the measures are unable to make monthly repayments, “mortgage providers together with homeowners will seek solutions” and not force them to sell their home, the statement says.
The exception to the no-eviction pledge is if a person is found to be running illegal activities in their home, such as a drug lab.
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s professional baseball league says it hopes to start practice games between teams on April 21 before possibly opening the season in early May.
The Korea Baseball Organization said Tuesday the plans were contingent on the country’s coronavirus caseload continuing to slow.
The KBO will advise players to wear face masks in locker rooms and require them to download smartphone apps to report their daily health status to league officials.
South Korea reported 47 new cases for the second consecutive day on Tuesday, the smallest daily jumps since Feb. 20, as infections continued to wane in the worst-hit city of Daegu. The country was reporting around 500 new cases per day in early March.
The KBO announced last month that it was postponing the start of its season, but that it still hoped to maintain a 144-game regular-season schedule.
BEIJING — China and Russia are closing their land border and river port near Vladivostok following the discovery of 59 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus among Chinese citizens returning home via the crossing.
Beginning Tuesday, all Chinese citizens who arrive in the border region aboard Russian domestic flights will be forced to undergo a 14-day quarantine, according to a notice posted on the website of the Chinese consulate in Vladivostok.
Only those holding special passes will then be permitted to travel on the Russian side of the border area, the notice said. It wasn’t clear whether pass holders would be able to cross into China.
In addition, all guesthouses, nursing homes, on the Russian side of the border area will also be closed to outsiders through June 1, the notice said.
“Here, the consulate general strongly recommends and reminds relevant Chinese citizens to fully take into consideration the above situation” and not seek to return to China through the border crossing, the notice said.
JOHANNESBURG — The African continent now has more than 10,000 coronavirus cases. That’s according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fifty-two of Africa’s 54 countries now have the virus, with island nation Sao Tome e Principe the latest to confirm cases.
Only the small kingdom of Lesotho and the island nation of Comoros have not confirmed cases. South Africa has the most cases on the continent with more than 1,600.
The shortage of testing capabilities across the continent has raised concerns that the number of actual cases in Africa could be higher.
MOSCOW — Russian authorities registered more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours for the first time since the beginning of the outbreak.
The government coronavirus task force reported 1,154 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the country’s total caseload to 7,497, with 58 deaths and 494 recoveries.
The epidemic in Russia picked up speed in March, with the number of cases growing exponentially and doubling every few days.
In order to curb the outbreak, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered everyone to stay off work this month, with only essential businesses, such as grocery stores, pharmacies etc., operating. The vast majority of Russian regions are currently on lockdown, ordering residents to self-isolate at home and not go out, unless it’s to buy groceries, medications, walk their dogs or take out trash.
LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spent the night in an intensive care unit of a London hospital after his coronavirus symptoms dramatically worsened.
Cabinet Minister Michael Gove told the BBC that Johnson was receiving oxygen but was not on a ventilator.
Gove says that he’s “receiving the very, very best care from the team at St Thomas’ and our hopes and prayers are with him and with his family.”
The 55-year-old Conservative leader was admitted to St. Thomas’ Hospital late Sunday, 10 days after he was diagnosed with COVID-19, the first major world leader to be confirmed to have the virus.
He was moved to intensive care after his condition deteriorated Monday.
Britain has no official post of deputy prime minister, but Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been designated to take over should Johnson become incapacitated.
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea says it will soon announce a guideline for hospitals on experimental coronavirus treatments using donated blood from patients who survived.
Kwon Jun-wook, an official from South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Tuesday the guideline will draw from the country’s experience with similar treatments on patients who contracted the MERS virus during an outbreak in 2015.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, discovered in 2012, is caused by a coronavirus in the same family as the common cold, SARS and the new virus that’s causing the COVID-19 illness. The 2015 outbreak killed 36 people and sickened nearly 200 in South Korea.
Kwon said officials were examining recent recoveries of two elderly COVID-19 patients at a hospital in Seoul who had been infused with survivors’ plasma — the liquid part of blood that contains antibodies — after other treatment attempts failed to improve their conditions.
He cautioned there’s still no guarantee that plasma treatment will work, and that health authorities and civilian experts are continuing to debate its effectiveness.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand has decided there is some magic in the world after officially declaring children’s favorites the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are essential workers.
That means they can carry on with their work while others stay at home during a monthlong lockdown.
“You will be pleased to know that we do consider both the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny to be essential workers,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday. “But, as you can imagine at this time, of course, they are going to potentially be quite busy at home with their family as well and their own bunnies.”