(Reuters) – The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating, the World Health Organization said, with more than 377,000 cases now recorded and infections reported from nearly every country.
** More than 377,400 people have been infected across the world and over 16,500 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
** For an interactive graphic tracking global spread: open https://tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser
** Britain could introduce stronger punishments for flouting new restrictions, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said on Tuesday, following measures imposed on Monday that allow people to go out only for limited reasons.
** France’s prime minister, Edouard Philippe, said the country’s lockdown could last several more weeks and that his government was tightening restrictions even further.
** The death toll in Italy rose by 602 on Monday, the smallest increase for four days, and the number of new cases also slowed.
** Several more U.S. governors joined the procession of states ordering people to stay at home, and President Donald Trump signaled he’s considering a move in the opposite direction.
** The U.S. government said all court hearings for asylum-seeking migrants in Mexico will be rescheduled because of the outbreak.
** The Canadian province of Ontario announced a two-week shutdown of non-essential businesses and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told people to stay at home or face sanctions.
** Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday he would focus his response to the outbreak on helping the poor rather than major companies.
** Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was forced to walk back a decree letting companies suspend pay to workers, following barbs from congressional leaders and rising discontent over his handling of the crisis.
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
** Scientists in Singapore say they have developed a way to track genetic changes that speeds testing of coronavirus vaccines.
** China’s Hubei province will lift curbs on outgoing travelers, and other regions are tightening controls as new infections doubled on Monday because of imported cases.
** Police enforced lockdowns across large parts of India on Tuesday, with curfews in some places, and officials warned that the virus was spreading out of big cities into small towns.
** Australia reported a jump in cases on Tuesday that was almost entirely due to passengers who disembarked from a cruise ship in Sydney several days ago.
** New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, urged citizens to reduce contacts to a bare minimum, as the country prepared for a one-month lockdown.
** Macau will ban visitors from mainland China, neighboring Hong Kong and Taiwan who have traveled overseas in the previous 14 days.
** Kyrgyzstan declared a state of emergency in its three biggest cities, locking them down and imposing a curfew.
** Laos recorded its first two coronavirus cases.
** Malaysia, where the number of cases has jumped sixfold in 10 days, is ramping up testing.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
** About half of Iran’s government employees were staying at home on Tuesday as the country’s death toll exceeded 1,900.
** Turkey imposed restrictions on grocery store opening hours and numbers of shop customers and bus passengers on Tuesday, as its death toll rose to 37.
** Ivory Coast and Senegal declared states of emergency on Monday, imposing curfews and travel restrictions, and Jordan extended a curfew indefinitely.
** Nigeria closed its land borders on Monday after recording its first death.
** South Africa will impose a nationwide lockdown for 21 days from midnight on Thursday.
** Global equities rebounded almost 2% on Tuesday, off near four-year lows, and the dollar slipped as investors pinned hopes on unprecedented stimulus steps by the U.S Federal Reserve and other policymakers to ease strains in financial markets. [MKTS/GLOB]
** Evidence of the devastation to the global economy mounted on Tuesday as activity surveys for March from Australia and Japan showed record falls, with surveys in Europe and the United States expected to be just as dire.
** The pandemic is taking its toll on aerospace manufacturing, with Boeing saying it would halt production of most wide body jets and Airbus restarting only partial output after a four-day shutdown as suppliers cut jobs.
** The U.S. Senate could pass a $2 trillion coronavirus economic stimulus package as soon as Tuesday, negotiators said.
** South Korea doubled a planned economic rescue package to 100 trillion won ($80 billion) on Tuesday to save companies and put a floor under crashing stocks and bond markets.
** Ecuador will use a 30-day grace period on some bonds to delay making around $200 million in interest payments, and will devote those funds to containing the outbreak.
** A final decision on whether to postpone the Tokyo Olympics will be taken in the coming days, two sources in the Olympic movement told Reuters.
** Australia’s A-league soccer season was suspended on Tuesday.
** Formula One expects to run a shortened season once racing can resume.
(Compiled by Aditya Soni, Milla Nissi and Ramakrishnan M.; editing by Ed Osmond, Sriraj Kalluvila and Timothy Heritage)