Leaders of the world’s largest 20 economies will hold a videoconference chaired by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Thursday to discuss how best to coordinate their response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has thrown the global economy into a tailspin, with output crashing and unemployment set to soar.
The videoconference will begin at 1200 GMT.
$2 trillion to fight “strange and evil disease”
After bitter negotiations, the US Senate on Wednesday unanimously backed a $2 trillion bill intended to flood the economy with cash to stem the impact of an intensifying epidemic that Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has called “a strange and evil disease”. The massive rescue package, which would be the largest ever passed by Congress, goes to the House of Representatives for a vote on Friday.
Time-out in US-China blame game ahead of G20 summit
China and the United States have agreed to set aside their differences ahead of the G20 summit to discuss the coronavirus, the South China Morning Post reported, citing a diplomatic source familiar with preparatory talks.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s accusations that China is delaying the sharing of information, and his reference to the coronavirus as a “Chinese virus” – a term President Donald Trump has used – have angered Beijing.
But the message may not have reached the U.S. ambassador to Britain. In an interview with the London Times, he doubled down on criticism of China, accusing it of trying to cover up the epidemic and putting millions at risk.
There are more than 470 000 cases in 200 countries and territories, Reuters figures tallied at 0200 GMT on Thursday showed. Ninety of these places have 100 cases or more.
Deaths linked to the virus rose by 2 400 to more than 21 000 worldwide. Italy recorded the most in the latest daily figures, with over 680 deaths. The death rate in Spain is also very high.
The United States has taken over from Italy as the country reporting the most new cases. It now accounts for roughly a third of all new cases reported in the past day, with almost 15,000 infections, and over 260 new deaths.
The disease has killed more than 900 people in the United States.
Leave now, Australia tells cruise ships
Australia ordered two cruise ships to leave its waters on Thursday, after a liner that docked in Sydney Harbour last week became the primary source of infection.
Cruise ships have become a flashpoint after 147 of 2,700 passengers who were allowed to disembark from Carnival Corp’s Ruby Princess later tested positive for COVID-19.
Prince Charles did not “jump the queue” for testing
A junior British health minister defended Prince Charles and Britain’s coronavirus testing procedures on Thursday, saying the heir to the throne did not “jump the queue” when he was tested and found positive for the disease.
When asked why Charles had a test while millions of frontline health workers have not, Edward Argar told Sky News: “My understanding is that his symptoms, his condition, met that criteria… The Prince of Wales didn’t jump the queue,” he said.
Coronavirus leaves Paris street in 1940s time warp
A Parisian neighborhood has been left stuck in a World War Two time-warp after the makers of a 1940s-era film had to abandon their set before France went into a lockdown.
War propaganda and Socialist posters are plastered on walls along the cobbled Rue Androuet, in the Montmartre district, now lined by a mock jeweler’s store, tailor and off-license in war-time decor. German road signs point towards medical facilities.
“Just in case quarantined Paris wasn’t disorienting enough: my neighborhood was being used as a film set when the lockdown hit. Now the whole block has been frozen in 1941,” resident Tim McInerney wrote on Twitter.
Below is a Live Tracking of the cases, death toll and other information, updated daily: