Worldwide Infections and the World’s Response

(AP) — Around the world, the coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 343,400 people and killed more than 14,700.

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JOHANNESBURG
South Africa’s coronavirus cases jumped to 402 on Monday — an an increase of 128 cases from the day before; it is the country with the most cases in Africa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is to speak to the nation about the growing threat and many expect him to announce new restrictive measures.

More than half of South Africa’s total cases are in Gauteng Province, which includes Johannesburg and Pretoria. Johannesburg has 5.7 million people, 10% of the country’s South Africa 57 million.

Egypt, with 372 cases, has the second-highest toll in Africa. South Africa has not reported a death from the disease.

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TAIPEI
Taiwan will ban airline passenger transits through the country starting Tuesday, through April 7.

Taiwan confirmed 26 more Covid-19 cases, bringing the number of confirmed cases in the island to 195.

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WARSAW
Poland has joined those calling for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pakistan dispatched the army on Monday to enforce the coronavirus lockdown in Karachi. (AP photo/Fareed Khan)

The Polish Olympic Committee said there is too much uncertainty to go ahead. It said that because of the rising number of Covid-19 cases, “Polish athletes have increasingly limited training options, Olympic qualifications are being canceled and there is too much uncertainty.”

The pandemic is also hitting some of Catholic Poland’s best-loved traditions, such as the blessing of food in churches on Holy Saturday.

Poland’s bishops have advised against holding the tradition this year to avoid drawing the usual crowds to churches. People bring baskets of food to church that are placed together on a large table, the foods get a blessing and a sprinkle of Holy Water from the priest, as do the families gathered around the table.

With a “national quarantine” in place in the fight against the spreading virus, the bishops advise against the blessing and against the use of Holy Water in Easter liturgies in April.

One of Poland’s biggest hospitals, the University Hospital in Krakow, has closed almost all wards to new patients after a few of its employees tested positive for coronavirus.

Only the contagious diseases ward, dedicated to treating Covid-19, remains open. All patients in the hospital will be tested for coronavirus during the week, or some seven days after they had contact with the infected medics. Experts say that to be effective, the tests need to be taken about a week after potential exposure to the virus.

The hospital provides educational and practical base to medical students of the Jagiellonian University. All schools and universities in Poland have been closed.

A nation of 38 million, Poland has confirmed 649 cases of coronavirus infection. Seven patients have died.

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DUBLIN
Irish premier Leo Varadkar warned that further restrictions may be made on people’s movements during the coronavirus pandemic because of failure to follow social distancing advice.

Varadkar said more recommendations are needed in light of weekend images of crowded public places in Ireland. They will be delivered Tuesday.

The Irish government has said four people have died from the Covid-19 disease and there are 906 confirmed cases.

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CANBERRA
Australia’s Parliament passed $48.4 billion in economic stimulus measures to dampen the impact of the coronavirus.

A scaled-down Parliament passed the legislation in a single day Monday. Dozens of lawmakers have been excused from attending to reduce the chances of spreading Covid-19.

A fourth lawmaker said on Monday he had contracted the disease.

Australia has more than 1,700 confirmed cases in a population of 25 million; seven people have died of it.

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BERLIN
The German government approved another large aid package to help companies and people affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The aid package breaks six years of balanced budgets by borrowing 156 billion euros ($167 billion) to finance it.

The government said Monday that it will give small companies and self-employed people aid of up to 15,000 euros each over three months.

The decision was made at a Cabinet meeting that Chancellor Angela Merkel joined by telephone.

Merkel went into home quarantine Sunday evening after learning that a doctor who administered a vaccination to her had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The new package comes on top of a previous pledge of at least 460 billion euros in loan guarantees to help Europe’s biggest economy handle the fallout.

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PRAGUE 
Czech authorities have established an air bridge with China to acquire medical equipment. The effort was done with help from NATO and Czech and Chinese airlines.

NATO provided a giant transport An-124 Ruslan plane as part of its program to help participating allies transport heavy and outsized cargo.

The first flight from the city of Shenzhen in southeastern China delivered 117 tons of equipment. Two more NATO backed flights are expected later in March.

Also, two planes by the China Eastern airline arrived on Friday and Sunday while the first plane by Czech airline CSA landed in Prague early Monday.

They all have been loaded with millions of face masks and respirators, protective googles and suits as well testers for the virus much needed by the health sector.

Interior Minister Jan Hamacek said three flights a week will be landing with the supplies for at least six weeks.

The Czech Republic has reported 1,165 cases of Covid-19, and one death.

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CAIRO
Egypt’s state-run television has reported the death of a senior military officer from coronavirus.

Major General Safea Abdel-Halim Dawood tested positive to the virus after his participation in sterilization efforts with the military. He was head of major projects at the engineering authority of the Egyptian armed forces.

Dawood was the second-highest official infected by the virus to date in Egypt, which has reported around 330 cases and 16 deaths.

On Sunday, the military announced the death of Maj. Gen. Khaled Shaltout, who also was infected while taking part in sterilization.

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SAN JUAN
The second death from Covid-19 in Puerto Rico is a tourist from the United States.

The Health Department said the victim is a 73-year-old man who was vacationing in the U.S. territory with his wife and had other health problems.

The island has 31 confirmed coronavirus cases and at least 69 pending test results. Police have detained and cited more than 200 people for violating a two-week curfew imposed last week.

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MADRID
The number of new infections of the coronavirus in Spain rose for the second day in a row.

Spain’s new 4,517 cases Monday brought the overall number since the beginning of the outbreak to 33,089. The day-to-day increase of around 15% is similar to the day before.

The exponential growth of infection was lower than in previous days, but the number of deaths jumped by 462. Spain now has 2,182 fatalities.

The Spanish government said Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo has been hospitalized with a respiratory infection and doctors are testing her for the coronavirus.

Spaniards are beginning their second week of confinement as worry spreads for the collapse of the country’s healthcare system amid an influx of Covid-19 patients requiring assisted respiration.

The Spanish government is seeking parliamentary approval to extend the state of emergency for two more weeks, until April 11, but harsher measures such as halting overall industrial production have been ruled out.

No incoming travelers from outside Europe’s Schengen border area are allowed into the country starting Monday.

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LONDON
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said people ignoring the government’s social distancing advice are “very selfish.”

Hancock warned on BBC radio the government may have to take “more action” if people continue to ignore the government’s advice to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

His comments came after a series of images over the weekend showing crowds congregating in open spaces.

Snowdonia National Park in Wales, which saw “its busiest-ever visitor day” on Saturday, urged the government to be more explicit in its advice.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that Britain may soon have to endure an Italy-style lockdown if people continue to disregard the advice.

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DHAKA
Bangladesh has reported three deaths from the coronavirus. The number of confirmed infections is 33.

Meerjady Sabrina Flora, director of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research, said that six new infections were reported Monday. The new infections include two children younger than 10, a doctor and two nurses.

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BUDAPEST
Hungarian lawmakers will discuss a government proposal to extend the state of emergency declared on March 11.

The bill would allow Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government to rule by decree. The government would not need parliament to approve new or amended laws so long as it considers it necessary because of the epidemic.

The government has asked the opposition to agree to the urgent passage of the legislation, which would require support from four-fifths of lawmakers. Orban’s hardline right-wing Fidesz party and a small ally control two-thirds of the seats.

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LISBON
 A community of nuns living in silence at a Portuguese convent have offered tips on how to make the best of being stuck at home during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The nuns living in central Portugal say people should take the opportunity to develop their creative side and eat meals together as a family.

They say in an article for the Roman Catholic news agency in Portugal, Ecclesia, that people should place value on the simple things in life — a friendly word, a tender gesture, taking time to listen to others.

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TOKYO
Japan’s health ministry said Monday that two former passengers of a cruise ship died, becoming the ninth and 10th fatalities from the Diamond Princess.

The two men had tested positive for the virus while on board and were treated at hospitals. The ministry didn’t disclose the direct cause of their deaths.

Japan now has 1,801 confirmed cases, including 712 from the ship. The death toll now totals 51, including 10 from the ship.

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VATICAN CITY

Pope Francis has canceled his planned day trip to Malta on May 31 due to the coronavirus.

The Vatican on Monday made official what was widely expected, given Italy’s nationwide lockdown to try to contain the virus and Malta’s decision to bar air traffic from Italy. Italy is the epicenter of Covid-19 in Europe, registering nearly 60,000 infections and more than 5,400 deaths.

The May 31 trip had been Francis’ only confirmed foreign trip of 2020. The Vatican said it would be rescheduled.

He had hoped to travel to Iraq this year, but those hopes were dashed after the security situation deteriorated when a U.S. airstrike killed an Iranian general. Francis was also rumored to be planning a trip to Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea, but church officials in East Timor said that trip too, was off.

Despite the virus, Francis is continuing to meet daily with his top advisers.

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PARIS
Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga are the latest luxury fashion labels ramping up supplies of surgical masks to help the fight against Covid-19.

The Kering Group, which owns the labels, said French workshops that usually make luxury clothes for Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga will switch over to manufacturing masks. It said production will begin “as soon as the manufacturing process and materials have been approved by the relevant authorities.” It did not say how many masks the workshops will be able to make.

Kering said it will also buy and import 3 million surgical masks from China for donation to the French health service.

The world’s largest luxury group — Paris-based LVMH — has also said it has reached a deal with a Chinese industrial supplier to deliver 10 million masks to the French population.

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GENEVA
The World Health Organization says criminals are increasingly posing as WHO officials in an effort to swipe information or money from people during the coronavirus crisis.

Spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said Monday that attackers are using “multiple impersonation approaches” such as fraudulent phone calls and phishing on email and through social media.

The U.N. health agency said it is working to debunk such attempts and alert local authorities. It has set up a website to help people prevent fraud during the coronavirus outbreak.

“Always take time to think about a request for your personal information, and whether the request is appropriate,” WHO said.

WHO said its official emails come from the “who.int” domain.

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The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for content.

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