Coronavirus wrap: Global death toll nears 48 000, US jobless claims hit 6.65 million and former Somali PM, 83, dies

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte told police to shoot dead lockdown troublemakers.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte told police to shoot dead lockdown troublemakers. (Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)

Keeping you up to date on the latest novel coronavirus (Covid-19) news from around the world.

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Worldwide coronavirus toll at 11:00 (GMT) Thursday

Paris – The worldwide number of officially confirmed fatalities from the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) rose to 47 993 on Thursday, according to a tally compiled by AFP at 11:00 (GMT) from official sources.

More than 944 030 declared cases have been registered in 187 countries and territories since the epidemic first emerged in China in December. Of these cases, at least 182 700 are now considered recovered.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP offices from national authorities and information from the World Health Organisation (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections. Many countries are only testing cases that require hospitalisation.

 - AFP

US jobless claims surge to 6.65 million - another record

Another week, another economic record shattered as the coronavirus pandemic unleashes unprecedented carnage on the United States economy.

The number of Americans filing for initial unemployment benefits surged to 6.65 million in the week ending 28 March, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Thursday, obliterating the record 3.3 million set the previous week.

Thursday's numbers likely understate the true scale of people thrown out of work, given the self-employed and gig workers only gained eligibility to state and federal unemployment benefits on Friday after President Donald Trump signed an historic $2.2 trillion virus relief package into law. Many state unemployment offices have also been overwhelmed by a tsunami of applications.

Initial jobless claims are the most timely data point for assessing the damage wrought by Covid-19 on the US economy as virus containment measures force businesses to close all over the country, throwing millions out of work.


Former Somali PM, 83, dies of coronavirus in London

Somalia has entered a three-day mourning period after Nur Hassan Hussein, the former prime minister, died in a London hospital on Wednesday after contracting the new coronavirus. He was 83.

Popularly known as Nur Adde, he was the East African country's prime minister from November 2007 to February 2009.

"Recognising the efforts made by the deceased for his country and his people, I hereby declare three days of national mourning, lowering of the flag of the Federal Republic of Somalia to half mast, to give Prime Minister Nur Adde the respect he deserves," President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo said in a statement late on Wednesday.


Rwanda extends virus lockdown for two weeks

Kigali – Rwanda has extended a national lockdown for another two weeks in a bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has so far infected 82 people, according to a government statement issued late on Wednesday.

Rwanda was among the first nations in Africa to impose a lockdown, banning all "unnecessary movements" outside the home, shutting down schools, shops, and public transport.

"To further contain the outbreak, Cabinet extended the existing measures for an additional two weeks, until 23:59 on Sunday, 19 April 2020," read the statement issued after an extraordinary cabinet meeting via video conference chaired by President Paul Kagame.

 - AFP

Duterte tells Philippine police to shoot dead lockdown troublemakers

Manila – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has told security forces they should shoot dead anyone causing "trouble" in areas locked down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

About half the country's roughly 110 million people are currently under quarantine – including millions in deep poverty, left jobless by tough restrictions on movement.

"My orders are to the police and military, also village officials, that if there is trouble or the situation arises that people fight and your lives are on the line, shoot them dead," Duterte said.

"Instead of causing trouble, I'll send you to the grave," he said, adding that the outbreak is getting worse more than two weeks into the lockdown.

 - AFP

Iran warns of months of crisis as virus deaths reach 3 160

Tehran – Iran on Thursday reported 124 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, raising its total to 3 160, as President Rouhani warned that the country may still battle the pandemic for another year.

Health ministry spokesperson Kianoush Jahanpour announced the latest toll in a news conference and confirmed 3 111 new infections over the past 24 hours, bringing Iran's total to 50 468. He said 16 711 of those hospitalised had so far recovered.

Iran has been scrambling to contain the Covid-19 outbreak since it reported its first cases on 19 February.

Rouhani warned at a cabinet meeting on Thursday that there was no quick fix. "Coronavirus is not something for which we can point to a certain date and say it will be completely eradicated by then," he said

 - AFP


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