COVID-19 Latest Global News and Updates -As Of March 24, 2020

KEY POINTS:

  • Total Global Cases: 381,755
  • Total Global Deaths: 16,558
  • Total Global Recoveries: 102,429
  • Active Cases: 262,768 (250,706 in mild condition; 12,062 in critical condition)
  • Closed Cases: 118,987 (102,429 recovered; 16,558 deaths)
  • The COVID-19 pandemic is now affecting 195 countries and territories around the world.

  • Global COVID-19 cases cross 350,000, death toll passes 15,000
  • The Philippines’ number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has breached the 500-mark.
  • Hubei to lift travel restrictions on Wuhan city in 2 weeks.
  • New Zealand goes into lockdown mode.

Below are some of the latest news and updates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept across the world.

Global. Confirmed infections from the rapidly spreading SARS-CoV-2 virus surpassed 350,000 and global deaths past 15,000 as COVID-19 spreads across Europe and North America. COVID-19 has now affected more than 381,755 individuals and killed at least 16,558. More than 102,429 people have recovered.


Philippines. COVID-19 cases in the Philippines breach the 500-mark, while fatalities remain at 33. Health authorities said that the number of confirmed cases in the country is expected to increase in the coming days as more and more people suspected of contracting the disease get tested following the influx of 100,000 test kits from donor countries South Korea, China, and Brunei.

In virus-hit countries such as Singapore and South Korea, widespread testing was highly instrumental in their fight against the pandemic as it allowed their authorities to isolate and treat infected individuals. However, even with new supplies, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier told Philstar that mass testing – where even asymptomatic individuals exposed to COVID-19 patients are tested – cannot be done in the Philippines due to the country’s ill-equipped healthcare system.


Hong Kong. Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of Hong Kong, stated that Hong Kong will ban all tourists to the city in order to contain the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. She has also said that people coming from Macau and Taiwan, including Hong Kong residents, would have to be quarantined.

Chief Executive Lam also said that the government is willing to bring back overseas Hongkongers, including students studying in the United States, in the United Kingdom, passengers on the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship, and those stranded in Hubei province. However, returnees must abide by the government’s compulsory home quarantine rules. She stated, “I urge anyone who plans to violate the home quarantine rules and anyone who insists on going out, to please think seriously. Can you not wait and restrain yourself for a longer period of time? Please let Hong Kong have a chance at conquering this battle.”


China. Hubei, the province at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, said travel restrictions on the capital city of Wuhan will be lifted starting April 8, which would end a lockdown that began on January 23. The province said travel restrictions for the rest of the province will be lifted starting today, while schools will stay closed until further notice. Hubei has reported most of the COVID-19 cases and deaths in China, with majority of them in Wuhan.

Even as the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases has dwindled in the country, Chinese leaders remain concerned and says that the risk of local outbreaks hasn’t gone away completely.


New Zealand. 40 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in New Zealand today. Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, Director-General of Health, also informed reporters that there are also three new probable cases. There were 155 cases of confirmed and probable cases, and he said that the daily count will now include probable cases. “In these [probable] cases, this is a person who has returned a negative laboratory test but the clinician looking after the person has diagnosed them as a probable case due to their exposure history and their clinical symptoms. These cases are actually treated as if they were a positive laboratory-confirmed case and the actions taken are the same for confirmed cases,” Dr. Bloomfield told media. A total of 4 cases are classified as community transmission, one in Wairarapa and three in Auckland – contact tracing is underway for these cases.

From Wednesday night, New Zealand will also be in lockdown for at least four weeks in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus, which has infected over 150 people in the country. The lockdown requires all people to remain indoors, schools are shut, non-essential businesses will close, and travel is strictly limited.


California. To respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, Gov. Gavin Newsom stated that California requires an additional 50,000 hospital beds. California will expand provision for the required beds through various means. The hospital system, through its surge plan, will provide for an additional 30,000 beds. The state has also acquired three hospitals that will arrange for an additional 3,000 beds. California seeks to acquire the remaining 17,000 beds through various means, including the use of convention centers, fairgrounds, motels, hotels, and other facilities.

Italy. Italy reports 602 new COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total of fatalities to 6,077. Furthermore, Italy’s health ministry reported that there were a total of 63,927 confirmed cases in the country – this one-day rise in the number of new infections was the smallest increase for five days.


United Kingdom. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson mandated people to stay at home to try to stop the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, closing all but essential shops, and warning that those who don’t follow the rules will face fines. As COVID-19 fatalities in the UK jumped to 335, Prime Minister Johnson said people would only be allowed to leave their homes to shop for basic necessities, provide care for others, address a medical need, or to travel to and from work where absolutely necessary.

Matt Hancock, UK Health Secretary, has also said that the army would help deliver personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies to healthcare workers battling the COVID-19 outbreak. In a statement, Hancock said that army trucks would help deliver safety glasses, protective suits, gloves, and masks to all those who need it.


Venezuela. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world, Venezuelan healthcare professionals contended with medicine and medical equipment shortage. Unfortunately, the worst nightmare of Venezuelan healthcare professionals came true earlier this month when COVID-19 was detected in the country. Since then, at least 80 cases of the virus have been confirmed in the country, increasing anxiety in a crisis-stricken country where the healthcare system lacks resources and infrastructure to treat basic diseases.

In an attempt to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, President Nicolas Maduro implemented a nationwide quarantine and restricted travel between states. He stated, “We are preparing for the most dire situation we’ve ever faced before. All of the country will enter a quarantine. It is indispensable and necessary, and it is the answer.” President Maduro also encouraged people to wear face masks, even if it meant improvising them. He also banned people from taking the trains and boarding the metro without wearing masks.

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