International Covid-19 update | Two million coronavirus cases recorded, Tour de France postponed, Malawi announces 21-day lockdown

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

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Two million coronavirus cases recorded globally: AFP tally

The tallies, using data collected by AFP 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 testing only the most serious cases.

More than two million cases of the new coronavirus have been officially registered around the world, half of them in Europe, according to a tally compiled by AFP at 10:00 on Wednesday based on official sources.

At least 2 000 576 infections, including 126 871 deaths, have been recorded. Europe is the hardest hit continent, with 1 010 858 cases and 85 271 fatalities. The United States, where the virus is spreading most rapidly, registered 609 240 cases, and 26 033 deaths.

Health workers spray germ-killing liquid into the
(Photo by Mohamad Hamzah/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Tour de France postponed to August 29-September 20   

The Tour de France will take place from August 29 to September 20, organisers announced on Wednesday, postponing the race originally slated to start on June 27 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The new dates, the latest ever for the Tour founded in 1903, follow French President Emmanuel Macron's extension on Monday of a ban on public gatherings until mid-July.

While the news comes as a relief to professional cycling teams and fans, it moves the three-week race out of its traditional slot during the summer holidays where festive roadside crowds of around 12 million would be expected.


Worldwide death toll from the novel coronavirus pandemic rises to 126 898

The worldwide death toll from the novel coronavirus pandemic rose to 126 898 on Wednesday, according to a tally compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT from official sources.

More than 2,001,200 declared cases have been registered in 193 countries and territories since the epidemic first emerged in China in December. Of these cases, at least 428,100 are now considered recovered.

In the past 24 hours, 6,885 new deaths and 77,810 new infections have been recorded around the world.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organisation (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections.


Apple data show dramatic impact of virus on movement

Apple has launched a new website that shows with striking graphs how the coronavirus pandemic has slammed the brakes on life around the world.

The tool visualises the movement of people in dozens of major cities and countries around the world based on the number of requests made for directions on Apple Maps since January 13.

It shows the dramatic drop in the number of users driving, walking or taking public transit as governments around the world rolled out increasingly stringent containment measures to stop the spread of the deadly virus.


(Crystal Cox/Business Insider)

Iran says virus deaths below 100 for second day

Iran on Wednesday said new deaths from the novel coronavirus remained in double figures for the second day in a row, as the country gradually reopens its sanctions-hit economy.

Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said 94 deaths from the Covid-19 disease were recorded in the past 24 hours, bringing the overall toll to 4 777.

Another 1 512 people tested positive for the illness.


India, Pakistan to lift some virus curbs to ease economic pain

India will allow industries located in the countryside to reopen next week, as well as resuming farm activities to reduce the pain for millions of people hit by a lengthy shutdown in its coronavirus battle, the government said on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he felt the pain of the poor and on Wednesday the home (interior) ministry released guidelines allowing limited resumption of commerce and industry in the hinterland, less affected by the pandemic.

Neighbouring Pakistan, which also announced a two-week extension to its shutdown to halt the virus, said it would reopen construction activity that provides a lifeline for the largest number of its people after agriculture.

- Aljazeera

Malawi announces 21-day Covid-19 lockdown            

Malawi's President Peter Mutharika on Tuesday announced that the landlocked country will implement a 21-day lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus that has claimed two lives.

In a televised national address, Mutharika said the lockdown will be effective from midnight on Saturday and will end on 9 May.

"This lockdown may be extended beyond 9th May as circumstances warrant”, he cautioned.


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