- Total Global Cases: 422,959
- Total Global Deaths: 18,907
- Total Global Recoveries: 109,144
- Active Cases: 294,908 (281,813 in mild condition; 13,095 in critical condition)
- Closed Cases: 128,051 (109,144 recovered; 18,907 deaths)
- The COVID-19 pandemic is now affecting 197 countries and territories around the world.
- Global COVID-19 cases cross the 400,000-mark.
- Senator Aquilino Pimentel III second senator to test positive for COVID-19.
- 2020 Tokyo Olympics postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Indian Prime Minister will lockdown a country of 1.3 billion people for 21 days –the world’s largest lockdown.
Below are some of the latest news and updates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept across the world.
Philippines. The Philippines’ number of COVID-19 cases surged to 552, and the death toll has reached 35. Out of the 552 total cases in the country, 322 were reported in the last 4 days. To manage the COVID-19 countries that continues to rage in the country, the Congress has granted President Rodrigo Duterte special temporary powers.
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III announced today that he tested positive for COVID-19 – this makes him the second member of the upper chamber who has acquired the disease. In a statement, Senator Pimentel said, “I was informed late last night March 24, 2020 that I have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The swab was taken last Friday, March 20, 2020. “I have quarantined myself upon the doctor’s advice and consistent with the protocol. I feel I am, with God’s help, on the way to recovery.”
Zamboanga City reported its first COVID-19 case – a 29-year-old male from Barangay Sinunuc, Zamboanga City, who recently traveled from Manila. He exhibited mild symptoms, such as chills and fevers on March 15 and tested positive for the disease. He is now reportedly stable and recovering slowly. In a Facebook post, Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco has stated, “Over the past days, we have been implementing measures to stem the spread of the global COVID-19 pandemic through the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine.”
Japan. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Japanese organizers has announced that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has been postponed to a date no later than summer 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time in its 124-year modern history, the COVID-19 pandemic has compelled the Olympics – which was schedule to start from July 14 and end on August 9 this year – to be postponed.
In a statement, the International Olympic Committee said, “In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.”
Malaysia. Today, the Malaysian Health Ministry announced 106 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the tally of infections to 1,624. The country also recorded one new death, bringing the death toll to 15. Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah, Health director-general Datuk, said that of the new cases, 43 are related to the Sri Petaling mosque tabligh cluster. The rest of the 63 cases are connected to other clusters which are still under investigation.
During a press conference, Dr. Noor Hisham said, “As for the fatality, we recorded one case today involving a 71-year-old man (Case 1,519), believed to have had close contact with Case 703, a tabligh participant. The victim had a history of chronic illness and started treatment at the Sultanah Fatimah specialist hospital in Muar on Mar 18. He was pronounced dead at 5:35am today.”
India. India will start the world’s largest lockdown as Prime Minister lockdown country of 1.3 billion people for 21 days.
In a televised address today, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the entire country will be under lockdown for the next 21 days, starting midnight tonight. In his statement, PM Modi said, “To save India and every Indian, there will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes.” He also announced an emergency financial package of Rs150bn ($1.97bn) for healthcare.
So far, there have been over 500 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths reported in the country.
Australia. The federal Australian Government and the regional government of Queensland have pledged a total of $13 million to University of Queensland (UQ) to support the development of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. In January, UQ’s COVID-19vaccine was one of the first three candidates to receive funding from the Norwegian non-profit Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). In March, this partnership was extended to include California-based Dynavax Technologies.
CEPI gave up to $10.6m into UQ’s molecular clamp technology, which is patented by UniQuest. The university hopes that this additional fund will help cut the timeline for an effective vaccine against the COVID-19 pandemic from 18 months to 1 year. Researchers hope to begin clinical trials by July.
Dr. Keith Chappell, the university’s School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences senior research fellow said, “The containment procedures being put in place within Australia and internationally will slow the spread of the virus and we want to use that time as effectively as possible. Accelerating our work to find a safe and effective vaccine brings us a step closer to translating a fundamental research discovery through to the full scale manufacture for the global populace.”
South Africa. After a rapid rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases, the South African government is mobilizing its military to impose a strict 21-day lockdown on the entire country. Beginning Thursday night, the ban on citizen movement will become the biggest lockdown on the African continent. And it is being imposed earlier than in most other countries around the world that have tried the same strategy.
With around 500 confirmed cases and no deaths so far, South Africa has not been hit as hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as many other countries. However, based on global trends and its own projections, the South African government believes that it could see hundreds of thousands of cases within a few weeks if nothing is done.
In a televised speech to the nation, President Cyril Ramaphosa said, “Swift and extraordinary action is required if we are to prevent a human catastrophe of enormous proportions in our country. This is a decisive measure to save millions of South Africans from infection and save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. While this measure will have a considerable impact on people’s livelihoods, on the life of our society and on our economy, the human cost of delaying this action would be far, far greater.”
New Jersey. New Jersey reports 17 new COVID-19 deaths for largest single day total. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said his state has seen an additional 17 fatalities from COVID-19, the largest death toll reported over a single day. The new number bring New Jersey’s total number of COVID-19-related deaths to 44. New Jersey also recorder 846 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the state total to 3,675.