Spain plans to extend its lockdown by two weeks as the virus killed close to another 400 people Sunday, bringing the total number of reported deaths to more than 2,000.
Greece also announced a nationwide lockdown starting today.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was self-quarantining after her doctor tested positive for coronavirus, as the country barred groups of more than two people from gathering, with the exception of families. This is Chancellor Merkel addressing the German public during a Sunday broadcast.
Chancellor Angela Merkel: “The overwhelming majority of people understand that it’s now down to every individual, that everybody can and must do their bit to stop the virus. … That’s how we show that we care for older people and the sick, for whom the virus is the most dangerous. In short, that’s how we save lives.”
In Gaza, the first two coronavirus cases were announced Saturday. Authorities have shut down restaurants and cafes and suspended Friday prayers as residents fear an outbreak will further cripple a health system already suffering from Israel’s blockade, which causes constant shortages of medicine and poor sanitation services. With a population of over 1.8 million people, the besieged Gaza Strip is also one of the most densely populated places on Earth and has often been called an “open-air prison.”
Meanwhile, shelter-in-place orders were announced in the occupied West Bank, where around 60 cases have been reported.
On Sunday, Syria announced its first confirmed case of COVID-19 as humanitarian groups warn of the catastrophic effects the disease will have in the war-torn country.
In Afghanistan, a health official confirmed the country’s first coronavirus-related death Sunday.
In Nigeria, health authorities are warning against self-medicating, after two patients overdosed on the anti-malaria drug chloroquine, which President Trump has praised as a possible treatment for coronavirus. Tests are currently being carried out with anti-malarials in the U.S. and other countries, but the FDA and the WHO have not approved its use as a treatment for COVID-19. Back in the U.S., lupus patients have reported shortages of the drug hydroxychloroquine — which is used to treat both malaria and lupus — following Trump’s recent statements.
The International Olympic Committee said Sunday it is still weighing options for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, including postponement. The Japanese government also appears to be open to a postponement following earlier rejections of the idea. Canada and Australia said they would not send their athletes to Japan this summer and urged for a one-year postponement.
Here in the United States, cases have now topped 35,000 and over 450 deaths. The U.S. now has the third most confirmed cases worldwide. A widespread lack of testing nationwide means the actual number of cases, however, is likely significantly higher.
Around one out of every three Americans or U.S. residents are now under stay-at-home orders as Ohio, Louisiana, Delaware and the city of Philadelphia became the latest places to announce lockdown measures, joining the states of New York, New Jersey, Illinois, California and Connecticut.
New York has around half of coronavirus cases in the U.S., with nearly 17,000 known infections and 150 fatalities. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo urged the federal government to take over the production and acquisition of much-needed medical supplies as states have had to compete with one another for the fast-dwindling resources. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned the city is just 10 days away from massive shortages of critical supplies as he blasted Trump for his response to the pandemic.
Mayor Bill de Blasio: “Right now I have asked repeatedly for the military to be mobilized, for the Defense Production Act to be used to its fullest, to get us things like ventilators, so people can live who would die otherwise. Chuck, I can’t be blunt enough: If the president doesn’t act, people will die who could have lived otherwise.”
The New York-Presbyterian hospital system announced Sunday it would no longer allow any visitors for patients giving birth, including partners. The World Health Organization has said that all pregnant people, including those with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infections, should have the right to have a chosen companion present during labor.
Disgraced Hollywood mogul and convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein has tested positive for COVID-19, according to local reports. He is currently being held at the Wende Correctional Facility in western New York but was previously at Rikers Island, as well as a patient at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan. At least 38 people at Rikers — including prisoners and staff — have tested positive for the coronavirus as fears mount over the disease ravaging prison populations. At least 23 people have been released from Rikers so far. Hundreds of prisoners around the country have been released in recent days as part of an effort to curb prison populations amid the coronavirus crisis. The first confirmed case at a federal prison was reported at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York. Trump said at his Sunday press briefing the White House is considering releasing elderly and nonviolent federal prisoners.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in the Afghan capital Kabul today amid the mounting coronavirus crisis as he attempts to move forward the historic U.S.-Taliban peace deal, which has been strained by ongoing violence and political turmoil. Pompeo is meeting President Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah, who both claimed victory in September’s elections.