Latest COVID-19 updates in Africa, Europe 1

Latest COVID-19 updates in Africa, Europe

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

– More than 1.5 million cases –

Officials have recorded 1,519,269 cases and 88,981 deaths across 192 countries and territories since the virus emerged in China in December, according to an AFP tally at 1100 GMT Thursday based on official sources.

The United States is the hardest-hit country in terms of cases, with 432,132 — 14,817 of whom have died

Europe is the hardest-hit continent in terms of cases, with 787,744, of which 62,402 are deaths. Italy has the highest death toll (17,669) followed by Spain (15,238). France has 10,869 deaths and Britain 7,097.

– Recession fears in Africa –
The World Bank warns sub-Saharan Africa in 2020 could slip into its first recession in a quarter of century because of the pandemic.

– France to extend confinement –
France will further extend its lockdown beyond its current limit of April 15.

President Emmanuel Macron will address the nation on Monday next week for what will be his third prime time address from the Elysee Palace since the crisis began.

– EU disunity hampers response –
EU finance ministers will hold a videoconference later on Thursday for the week’s second late-night crisis talks to try to agree terms to allow hard-hit members to access funds.

While Madrid and Rome seek assistance to rebuild their economies, Germany rejects the idea of joint borrowing and the Netherlands is blocking a compromise solution.

– Yemen ‘coronavirus ceasefire’ –
A unilateral ceasefire in Yemen’s long war begins, declared by the Saudi-led coalition. Riyadh says it hopes the initiative to prevent coronavirus in the country will lead to a wider political solution.

– Key conference on oil –
Top oil producers will meet via teleconference to discuss a possible cut in output. The meeting is seen as the best chance of providing support to prices now near two-decade lows.

– Divided UN seeks consensus –
The UN Security Council is set to discuss the pandemic for the first time after weeks of disagreement, especially between the US and China.

– Taiwan demands apology –

Taiwan demands an apology from the chief of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, after he accused the island’s government of leading personal attacks against him and his agency’s response to the pandemic.

Taiwan describes Tedros’ comments as “baseless”.

– Empty pews –
Christians and Jews around the world prepare to celebrate Easter and Passover in unusual new ways because of confinement measures.

Churches will be empty, Christians will be obliged to watch services such as the Urbi et Orbi blessing from Pope Francis on television or over social media and Jews will mark the Passover holidays in their own homes rather than as communities.


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