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Latest on the spread of the coronavirus around the world

Nearly 738,500 people have been infected across the world and about 35,000 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

March 31, 2020 / 07:18 AM IST

Countries affected by the novel coronavirus entered another week of strict quarantine and several nations introduced new economic stimulus to aid citizens and companies hit by the pandemic.

DEATHS, INFECTIONS

* Nearly 738,500 people have been infected across the world and about 35,000 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

* For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread, open in an external browser.

* U.S.-focused tracker with state-by-state and county map.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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EUROPE

* Italy's measures do not seem to be working and it should change its strategy by setting up centres to separate people with suspected symptoms from their families, a prominent Italian scientist said on Monday. In the last three days, new infections have continued at between 5,000 and 6,000 per day.

* The British prime minister's senior adviser, Dominic Cummings is self-isolating with symptoms just days after the British leader himself tested positive.

* France used army helicopters to transport patients from eastern France to hospitals in Germany and Switzerland as the country battled to free up space in life-support units.

* The Russian prime minister asked regional governors to consider Moscow-style restrictions a day after the capital announced a partial lockdown, ordering residents to stay home.

* Cyprus imposed a curfew, extending a broad lockdown introduced two weeks ago after a weekend spike in recorded cases.

* Germany hopes to launch a Singapore-style smartphone app within weeks to help trace infections.

* Hungary's prime minister has secured open-ended emergency powers to fight the outbreak.

* Slovenia imposed restrictions on people moving outside their local municipalities.

AMERICAS

* White House health experts argued strongly with President Donald Trump to extend a stay-at-home order for Americans, a top U.S. health official said.

* Johnson & Johnson said that it and the U.S. government will invest $1 billion to create enough manufacturing capacity to make more than 1 billion doses of a vaccine it is testing.

* Colombia's ELN guerrillas declared a unilateral cease-fire for one month from April 1 in an effort to help stem the spread.

* Argentina extended a mandatory nationwide quarantine until mid-April.

* Uruguay and Bolivia confirmed their first deaths.

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

* China will step up prevention and control of asymptomatic coronavirus cases, state media reported.

* Tokyo's governor called on residents to avoid outings, but said it was up to Prime Minister to declare a state of emergency.

* Police in western India fired tear gas to disperse a stone-pelting crowd of migrant workers defying a three-week lockdown that has left hundreds of thousands of poor without jobs and hungry, authorities said.

* The World Health Organization has not shared with member states information Taiwan provided including details on its cases and prevention methods, its foreign ministry said.

* Vietnam suspended public transport services.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Iran had 117 new coronavirus deaths in the last 24 hours, prompting the Middle East's worst hit country to consider tougher curbs.

* Saudi Arabia will finance treatment for anyone infected with the coronavirus in the country, the health minister said, while the agriculture ministry took steps to boost wheat and livestock supplies.

* An aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tested positive but initial findings indicate she had not posed an infection risk to the 70-year-old leader.

* Zimbabwe began a 21-day nationwide lockdown, following neighbour South Africa in implementing some of the world's toughest anti-coronavirus measures likely to hurt an economy already suffering hyperinflation and food shortages.

* Nigeria ordered the cessation of movement in Lagos and the capital Abuja for 14 days.

ECONOMIC FALLOUT

* Global equity benchmarks rose slightly on Monday despite a drop in oil prices to their lowest levels since 2002, as central banks and the United States tried to contain damage from the rapidly spreading coronavirus that has upended the global economy.

* The International Monetary Fund said relaxing the euro zone's fiscal rules and support from the European Central Bank and European Stability Mechanism is critical to a strong regional response.

* Banks across the euro zone are ditching dividends to shore up reserves as the outbreak threatens to tip the world into a deep recession.

* Switzerland may have to expand its emergency fund for companies after banks loaned out $6.89 billion in the first four days of the scheme.

* Peru is readying a stimulus package worth around 12% of its gross domestic product.

* The outbreak will push Germany into recession in the first half of this year and could result in its output contracting by up to 5.4% this year.

* Collapsing oil prices are costing some OPEC members not only lost revenue when they most need it to tackle the coronavirus crisis, but also market share they may never recoup.

* South Korea will make emergency cash payments to all but the richest families and draw up a second supplementary budget next month.

* Nigeria's currency eased to 415 naira per dollar on the black market on Monday after its president ordered a lockdown of two of the country's biggest cities.

* Singapore's central bank aggressively eased its monetary policy, with the city-state's economy bracing for a deep recession.
Reuters
first published: Mar 31, 2020 07:10 am

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