Daily update: April 2, 2020
Updated: Apr 8, 2020
Written and compiled by Darcy Miller
The Bigger Picture (London) — As part of youth-focused news organisation Balance the Ballot, THEBIGGERPICTURE founder Darcy Miller has been working with several other writers to produce a daily coronavirus dispatch rounding up all the day’s events. Due to the limitations of Instagram however, these updates have to be extremely concise. Here is our longer, more in-depth roundup of the day’s events, building on Balance the Ballot’s roundup, organised by region. Balance the Ballot’s roundup is here. See the latest statistics at the bottom of this article.
Shinzo Abe said the Japanese government will provide two reusable cloth face masks (per household) to around 50 million households, as disposable mask supplies are running low. Abe’s move proved unpopular, with Twitter users attacking the move and calling it a waste of tax money.
Meanwhile, the opposition called upon Shinzo Abe to call a state of emergency.
The Tokyo government is keeping high schools (that it has jurisdiction over) closed until May 6, asking other authorities to do the same.
The Tottori Prefectural government has been using cardboard and plastic sheets to partition official’s desks.
A domestic airline group said that COVID-19 could result in financial losses of as much as $9.3bn for the Japanese airline industry over the next year.
Rodrigo Duterte, Phillipine president, told police to shoot dead citizens who cause “trouble” amidst a lockdown of the country. On TV, he said that “I will not hesitate. My orders are to the police and military, also the barangay, that if there is trouble or the situation arises that people fight and your lives are on the line, shoot them dead. Do you understand? Dead. Instead of causing trouble, I’ll send you to the grave”.
Additionally, 21 people were arrested in Quezon City after they were supposedly holding an unsanctioned protest, but others claimed that some of the 21 people were just looking for food. Many of the residents of Luzon Island, which has been put under a one-month lockdown, are daily wage labourers and will struggle during this time.
Australia will provide free childcare to all its citizens during the pandemic, said Scott Morrison, who added that child care centres will stay open.
The speaker of Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani, has contracted the coronavirus, and is currently receiving treatment in quarantine.
Cambodia has drafted emergency legislation for a state of emergency declaration which has been criticised as overly authoritarian. It gives the government twelve specific powers, including unlimited surveillance of telecommunications, total control over press and social media, the restriction of freedom of movement and assembly, the ability to seize private property and enforce quarantines. The legislation does not contain a time limit, or any checks or balances - a state of emergency can be declared whenever “the nation is facing a great risk”, such as war or a pandemic, which poses “grave disruption to national security and to public order”. Anyone who disobeys a state of emergency faces 10 years in prison. Critics have pointed out that the vaguely worded legislation could be used by Hun Sen, Cambodia’s PM, to crack down on opposition - he has a patchy track record in terms of human rights, as well.
Tsai Ing-wen has said Taiwan will donate 10 million face masks to countries particularly impacted by the coronavirus. Taiwan has rapidly expanded mask production from 3.2m a day in early February to 13m a day currently, with plans to expand to 15m a day - this allows the country to donate their surplus, which the government said would be headed to their allies, such as the US and Western European countries. Additionally, the government said they were in negotiations with the US, EU and the Czech Republic to formulate and plan anti-viral strategies. Tsai Ing-wen also announced the move on Twitter, adding that the country will also expand output of quinine and share their “use of technology to trace and investigate outbreaks”.
Prayuth Chan-ocha, Thailand’s PM, has announced a nationwide curfew which will be implemented from Friday onwards - the curfew will be from 10pm to 4am. Those who disobey the order face a penalty of up to two years in prison; although some people, including medics, are exempt from the new legislation.
The Hong Kong government said Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK), a public broadcaster, violated “the one-China Principle”, or the idea that the People’s Republic of China is the legitimate China as opposed to the ROC (also known as Taiwan). RTHK reporter Yvonne Tong interviewed Canadian doctor, epidemiologist, and WHO advisor Dr Bruce Aylward about the ongoing pandemic, and asked whether the WHO will reconsider Taiwan’s membership. In response, Aylward pretended to not hear the question, and when asked again, hung up, refusing to respond to the question.
A London teaching hospital almost ran out of oxygen last week, it has been reported, because its ventilators were so overstretched. The NHS has now warned its subdivisions to limit the number of people they put on ventilators, telling hospital bosses in a Monday letter that the risk of this happening again is a “critical safety concern”.
Catalonia, one of the regions most stricken by the coronavirus, has given in and ended its resistance to help from the Spanish army. Last month, Quim Torra, the region’s pro-independence ruler, said that the Spanish military’s assistance was unnecessary. However, as cases have piled up, amounting to over 20,000 cases and thousands of deaths by Thursday, Torra decided to ask for help. While he admitted that he had not informed the public enough about the dire situation in care homes in the region where 362 people have died, he also said that the Catalan government has had to provide 90% of resources to fight the coronavirus and the national government only chipped in 10%. The health minister also requested help.
Most people in Russia will not go to work until the end of April, said Putin, although “essential industries”, along with grocery stores and pharmacies, will function as usual. Determining which industries qualify as essential will be the responsibility of individual regions.
German hospitals have expanded their intensive care bed numbers to 40,000. ¾ of these beds (30,000) are equipped with ventilators.
Ukraine requested that Elon Musk send ventilators to the country after Elon Musk said on Twitter that he had spares that could be shipped to hospitals worldwide, free of charge.
Analysts have pieced together planned schemes by Russia through leaked plans and official statements to crack down on civil liberties to try and flatten the curve amidst the COVID-19 pandemic - with mobile apps tracking users’ whereabouts, CCTV cameras being installed with facial recognition software, and the usage of QR codes, mobile phone data and credit card records.
1.1m people have applied for “immediate financial help” in Germany - €1bn ($1.083 bn usd) has already been spent, with most of the benefactors being hairdressers, restaurants, cosmetics salons, and business consultants. Germany is providing this financial help to support freelancers, the self-employed and small businesses during the pandemic, with companies of up to five workers receiving a one-off-payment of 9,000 euros ($9,747), and companies with up to 10 15,000 euros ($16,246).
The federal stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPT) is almost empty in the US, according to President Donald J. Trump.
Trump is avoiding issuing a national stay-at-home order, despite the fact that many have pressured him to do so.
More than 6.65m people put in unemployment benefit applications last week in the United States; a record number. 3.3m people filed for unemployment the previous week, amounting to 9.95m cases over the last two weeks; more people filed for unemployment over the previous two weeks than in the last six months. It is the fastest rise in unemployment in the entire history of the United States. There have also been accounts of long lines at unemployment offices, jammed phone lines and broken websites across the US.
There has been a 30% increase in the number of burials at Vila Formosa cemetery (in São Paulo, Brazil), the largest cemetery in Latin America.
Data released by New York health authorities showed the class divides of the coronavirus crisis. Poorer areas like Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Corona, Queens have higher numbers of cases per capita than wealthy white neighbourhoods like Manhattan or Brooklyn. People living in one Queens zip code near LaGuardia airport at 4x as likely to test positive than gentrified areas of Brooklyn. As of Wednesday New York City had more than 50,000 cases and 1,374 deaths.
Officials in Fort Lauderdale told The Guardian that they should reach an agreement “in a few hours” to permit 2 coronavirus-hit cruise liners to dock in Port Everglades, as Trump urged Florida authorities to help the cruise liners. The Zaandam cruise liner has been stranded for more than 2 weeks are last entering a port in Chile, whilst Rotterdam, a sister ship, is off the coast of Panama, waiting to dock. Four people on the two ships died, whilst dozens are ill with flu-like symptoms; several South American countries have refused to let the ships dock. Similarly, Florida governor Ron DeSantis was initially reluctant to allow the ship to dock, calling its passengers “foreigners”, but has now offered National Guard support. Trump said that British and Canadian nationals would be immediately evacuated from the country once leaving the soup; cruise operators are obligated to organise flights home for international passengers. Guests who meet CDC health guidelines will be transported home by charter flight once the cruise liner docks, whilst 10 passengers need immediate critical care. Another 45 have mild symptoms and will stay onboard with crew until they recover, it has been reported.
Jack Ma has donated millions of dollars in medical aid, sending millions of masks and hundreds of thousands of testing kits. However, when he tried to send some aid Cuba’s way, he was blocked by the US government. A US haulier hired to carry face masks pulled out, citing sanctions against Cuba that were previously implemented by the US government.
Doctors at a hospital in Northern Mexico have protested working conditions after at least 26 medical staff fell ill with the coronavirus and one died. They are refusing to work until authorities give them the equipment needed to avoid contagion. Personal protective equipment was sent to the hospital, however, a day after the death of one medical professional.
In Guayaquil, Ecuador, CCTV footage has shown bodies abandoned in streets, with coffins dumped outside of hospitals, and bodies left in entrances to hospital emergency rooms as COVID-19 cases rack up. The mayor of the city called upon the government to collect the bodies, demanding, “What is happening with our health system? They don’t remove the dead from houses, they leave them on the pavement, they collapse in front of hospitals. No one wants to collect them.” Ecuador has officially recorded 2,700 cases and 98 deaths, but Guayaquil officials say they have found over 400 bodies (with the deaths due to COVID-19) over the past few days.
COP26, the UN climate talks, have been delayed until 2021. They were scheduled to take place in Glasgow in November.
The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, wrote an article inthe Guardian in which he urged that the world come together to solve the COVID-19 crisis. He said: “Only by coming together will the world be able to face down the Covid-19 pandemic and its shattering consequences. At an emergency virtual meeting last Thursday, G20 leaders took steps in the right direction. But we are still far away from having a coordinated, articulated global response that meets the unprecedented magnitude of what we are facing. Far from flattening the curve of infection, we are still well behind it. The disease initially took 67 days to infect 100,000 people; soon, 100,000 people and more will be infected daily. Without concerted and courageous action, the number of new cases will almost certainly escalate into the millions, pushing health systems to breaking point, economies into a nosedive and people into despair, with the poorest hit hardest.”
Latest data (correct as of 21:28PM GMT, 2ND APRIL, 2020)
TOTAL CONFIRMED: 1,002,159 CASES (744,927 active)
UNITED STATES: 236,339 (active case numbers unavaliable)
ITALY: 116,242 (83,049 currently infected)
SPAIN: 110,238 (74,974 currently infected)
GERMANY: 84,600 (61,241 currently infected)
CHINA: 82,432 (1,863 currently infected)
FRANCE: 59,929 (41,290 currently infected)
IRAN: 50,468 (30,597 currently infected)
UK: 34,164 (30,662 currently infected)
SWITZERLAND: 18,827 (14,278 currently infected)
TURKEY: 18,135 (17,364 currently infected)
JAPAN: 2,384 (1,855 currently infected)
SOUTH KOREA: 9,976 (3,979 currently infected)
SINGAPORE: 1,049 (779 currently infected)
AUSTRALIA: 5,230 (4,618 currently infected)
INDONESIA: 1,790 (1,508 currently infected)
INDIA: 2,536 (2,273 currently infected)
ISRAEL: 6,857 (6,483 currently infected)
TOTAL DEATHS: 51, 485
SOUTH KOREA: 169
SOUTH KOREA: 5,828
UNITED KINGDOM: 135
SOUTH KOREA: 5,828
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