World coronavirus dispatch: UK PM tests positive and US overtakes China

Medical personnel from BayCare test people for the coronavirus in the parking lot outside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Photo: PTI
With more 85,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus (Covid-19), the US has now overtaken China. More than 1,200 people have died in the country, with 385 alone in New York, one of the most important cities in the world. All this while the US government readies a $2-trillion economic stabilisation plan.

But first, let’s look at the global statistics:

Total Confirmed Cases: 566,269
Total Deaths: 24,423
Total Recovered: 127,768

Nations with the most numbers of cases: US (92,932), China (81,897), Italy (80,589), Spain (64,059) and Germany (49,344)


1.  The US Congress is set to sign offon an economic relief plan on Friday. The $2 trillion plan is meant to save jobs, bailout companies and provide financial assistance to the states most-affected by the pandemic.

Here’s the broad break-up of allocation: Read here

2. The situation is grim, so much so that Donald Trump went back on calling coronavirus ‘ChineseVirus’ and said in a tweet that the US will take assistance from China, “who has been through much and has developed a strong understanding of the virus.”

Also read: How did the US overtake the world in new infections via The New York Times

3. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the coronavirus. He said he took the test after he experienced mild symptoms, and is now in self-quarantine. No word on who all he came in contact with in the recent past. He joins other famous people: Prince Charles,Tom Hanks and his wife, actress Rita Wilson, NBA player Kevin Durant, Game of Thrown
stars Indira Varma and Kristofer Hlvju.

Full list here

3. Some respite: The World Health Organisation has said it is seeing “encouraging signs” in Europe as the number of Covid-19 deaths, fall in several countries. In Italy, deaths have fallen for four consecutive days.

4. But the virus continues to spread across Europe: Spain records the highest single-day deaths -- 769 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 4,858. The country’s health ministry said some testing kits it got from a Chinese vendor turned out to be defective. Read the full story in NYT.

5. South Africa has announced a three-week lockdown, as cases climb to 1,000. Two deaths have been reported. China has announced a temporary ban on all foreign visitors.

6. Stricter rules: In Britain, anyone claiming to have coronavirus who deliberately coughs atemergency workers faces jail for two years. While in Singapore, anyone caught not sitting one-meter apart, as is prescribed, in a public place can be fined up to S$10,000 ($6,990).

7. Demand for ventilators is now 10 times of what is available at hospitals at present, says China’s top medical devices maker Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics Co - Bloomberg


1. The US economy is seen entering a passive recession. A record 3.3 million people claimed for unemployment benefits on Thursday. Economists say a total of 40 million Americans  may lose jobs by mid-April - The Washington Post

2. Most companies in Germany, the automotive hub of the world, are putting hiring on freeze and may lay off workers, according to a survey of 9,000 companies -Financial Times

3. Loss estimates: Facebook and Google may lose $44 billion in global ad revenue in 2020, said investment bank Cowen & Co. – IANS

4. H&M threatens to exit UK leases early without sales revival – Financial Times

5. India’s Reserve Bank of India has cut repo rate, the key rate at which banks borrow from the central bank, by 75 basis points to 4.40 per cent, the lowest ever. The markets were unimpressed. Sensex closed 0.44 per cent down and Nifty 50 was closed up 0.22 per cent.

Don’t miss...

* The Washington Post analyses, in this interactive story, the various approaches to contain the spread of a virus.
* How US labs are rushing to produce new testing kits – Reuters
* What to read in isolation? FT readers’ favorite books

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel