World Coronavirus Dispatch: Iran sees Covid-19 scare lasting 1-2 years

Topics Coronavirus | Iran

Medical staff of the Intensive Care Unit of the Casalpalocco COVID-19 Clinic in the outskirts of Rome tend to patients. Photo: PTI
Europe is botched up, with deaths and new coronavirus cases continuing to rise. Spain on Sunday recorded 838 fatalities, bringing its toll to 6,528 – second only to Italy, which had on Friday confirmed a one-day record of 969.

The US, too, seems far from recovery. The number of cases in that country climbed to 8,238 overnight. President Donald Trump has said he is considering putting the New York region under quarantine, along with New Jersey and Connecticut.

Meanwhile, South Africa, the epicentre of the virus spread in the continent, is now under a lockdown. Most of the 59 million people in the country will self-isolate for the coming three weeks. Also, New Zealand has reported its first coronavirus death.

Let’s take a look at the global statistics (at 10 pm IST on March 29):

Total confirmed cases: 685,623

Change over the previous day: 39,266

Total deaths: 32,137

Total recovered: 149,215

Nations with most cases: US (125,313), Italy (92,472), China (82,122), Spain (78,797), and Germany (58,247)

Source: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center (

Prisoners’ riot in Thailand: On Sunday, prisoners at a facility in northern Thailand rioted and set on fire parts of the complex over concerns that they might catch the coronavirus due to proximity with inmates. The prison houses 2,000. Read more here

Outbreak could last 1-2 years: Iran, which has seen its death toll rise sharply to 2,640, might not see complete recovery from the coronavirus anytime soon. President Hassan Rouhani said the spread of coronavirus had slowed in some provinces, “but the country may have to learn to live with the disease for one or two years”. Read more here.

No domestic transmission in China: The national health ministry of China, where the coronavirus originated, has said that “domestic transmission has basically been stopped”. There were only 45 new cases reported on Saturday, down from 54 the previous day. Parts of Wuhan, where the virus originated, have also been opened for travel. Read more here

WHO used WhatsApp to inform South Africans: The World Health Organization said that its use of WhatsApp information services, which deliver information on demand about the coronavirus, was so successful in South Africa that it wanted to expand the effort across the globe. Read more here.

Long Reads

How Singapore waged war on coronavirus: Timely preparation, aggressive testing, tracing of carriers, and luck helped make the city one of the safest places in the world for patients of the disease. Read more here.

Economic Downturn – now white-collar workers are being laid off: Shock waves of the pandemic are being felt in industries well beyond the hardest-hit – travel, hospitality, and restaurants. White-collar workers — tech, marketing and professional employees among them — are facing layoffs, pay cuts and furloughs, as their companies sharply curtail operations or suspend them altogether. Read more here.


Industry-wise impact of the coronavirus:


Abbott unveils 5-minute test kit: Abbott Laboratories launched a portable coronavirus test machine that shows up results in five minutes. It has received emergency approval from the US FDA, and the company has said it will ship 50,000 starting April 1. Read more here.

UK Changes insolvency laws: The UK has announced new insolvency measures to prevent businesses unable to meet debt obligations due to the impact of coronavirus from being forced to file for bankruptcy. The changes include a temporary moratorium for businesses currently undergoing a restructuring process. Read more here.

Sovereign wealth funds dump stocks: Sovereign wealth funds from oil-producing countries, mainly in West Asia and Africa are on course to dumping up to $225 billion in equities, according to Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, as plummeting oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic hit state finances. Read more here.

Essential Reads

How long does the virus survive on surfaces? Research shows that the coronavirus strand could survive up to three days on surfaces like plastic and steel. It can last up to a day on cardboard. While WHO says the virus is not transported through air, researchers say it can stay suspended for half an hour. Read more here.

Also read this: The right way to do your laundry. More here

Bookmark Worthy

A complete timeline of coronavirus: Read it here

Tokyo’s delayed Olympics – Who pays bills for another year? Read it here.

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