International update: Covid-19 death toll exceeds 170,000 – WHO says worst is yet to come

21st April 2020 (Last Updated April 21st, 2020 11:17)

21 April

Global: More than 170,000 people have lost their lives in the coronavirus pandemic so far, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

World Health Organization chief warns that the worst is still ahead of us. The comments, from WHO director general Adhanom Ghebreyesus Tedros, have revived international concern just as many countries ease restrictive measures aimed at reducing its spread.

Oil price falls to historic low due to the coronavirus. The US oil market collapsed into negative prices for the first time as North America’s oil producers run out of space to store an unprecedented oversupply of crude left by the pandemic. However, Trump has downplayed the oil price drop, saying it’s only “short term”.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which works in prisons worldwide, is stepping up efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus in overcrowded prisons in the Philippines, Cambodia and Bangladesh.

The 193 members of the UN General Assembly on Monday adopted by consensus a resolution calling for “equitable, efficient and timely” access to any future vaccines developed to fight the coronavirus.

US: President Donald Trump has criticised governors who have said they cannot ease lockdowns because they do not have enough coronavirus tests.

The US Treasury Department disbursed $2.9 billion to passenger airlines in the first round of payroll assistance to an industry suffering financially from a pandemic-induced shutdown. The move comes as it is revealed that airlines have cut international capacity to just half a million seats a week from an average of 5.9 million before the coronavirus shut borders and decimated travel demand, according to OAG Aviation Worldwide.

President Donald Trump said he’ll sign an executive order temporarily suspending immigration into the US as the country tries to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Italy: Italy will present a plan this week to ease its lockdown, said Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in a post on Facebook. “A reasonable forecast” is that a detailed restart program will be applied from 4 May, Conte said.

Germany: The number of coronavirus cases in Germany increased by the smallest amount this month as the country starts to gradually loosen restrictions on public life.

Indonesia: Indonesia banned an annual ritual of citizens traveling in large numbers to their hometowns and villages ahead of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr to prevent spread of coronavirus.

China: Hong Kong is extending social distancing restrictions for another 14 days as a precautionary measure, even as the financial hub sees a dropoff in daily infections.