Live COVID-19 updates: COVID-19 cases top 800,000 worldwide, Indian railways to turn 20,000 coaches into quarantine units

Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-31 21:26:34|Editor: huaxia

BEIJING, March 31 (Xinhua) -- The world is now in a battle against COVID-19, a disease caused by a previously unknown coronavirus that has spread to over 200 countries and regions.

The following are the updates on the contagious illness.

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WASHINGTON -- The number of COVID-19 cases worldwide has exceeded 800,000 on Tuesday, showed data from Johns Hopkins University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE).

As of 07:00 Eastern Time (1100 GMT), there have been 800,049 confirmed cases globally, with 38,714 deaths, while more than 166,768 people have recovered from the disease.

The United States has the most COVID-19 cases, exceeding 164,610, while Italy has reported over 11,591 deaths, the highest among all nations and regions.

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MADRID -- Spain witnessed a new record number of deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, according to a daily update published Tuesday by the Spanish Health Ministry.

The ministry said the total death toll increased by 849 to 8,189, recording 11 more deaths than the worst previous daily tally of 838 deaths reported on Sunday.

The total number of cases increased by 9,222 to 94,417 in Spain, with the capital Madrid remaining the hardest hit, with 27,509 cases and 3,603 deaths.

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BERLIN -- Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Germany increased by 4,615 within one day to 61,913, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced on Tuesday.

The death toll rose to 583 on Tuesday from 455 a day earlier, according to RKI, a federal government agency and research institute responsible for disease control and prevention.

RKI president Lothar Wieler warned at a press conference that he believes the "mortality rate will increase" in Germany.

According to RKI, the average age of people dying from the disease in Germany was 80 years, while the average age of infected people was 47 years. And the average number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants in Germany was 74, although there were "regional differences."

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JAKARTA -- Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Tuesday declared a public health emergency status in the country in a bid to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government, he said, has decided to implement a large scale social restriction policy, while urging local administrations to comply with the policy. "Don't create your own policy," he said.

As of Tuesday, Indonesia has recorded 136 deaths from COVID-19, the highest tally in Southeast Asia, and 1,528 confirmed cases.

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BEIJING -- China reported visible recovery in economic activities in March as the domestic novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation began to ease, with the manufacturing activity index re-entering the expansion zone after a weak February reading, official data showed Tuesday.

The purchasing managers' index (PMI) for China's manufacturing sector firmed up to 52 in March from 35.7 in February, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

About 98.7 percent of China's manufacturing enterprises have reported work resumption, pulling the PMI of enterprises upward dramatically, NBS survey showed.

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NEW DELHI -- Indian railways Tuesday said it was ready to modify 20,000 coaches into quarantine isolation units to increase the quarantine facilities in the country.

The railways said five zones have already prepared prototypes for the quarantine or isolation coaches.

"These modified 20,000 coaches can accommodate up to 320,000 possible beds for isolation needs. Work on modification of 5,000 coaches, which are to be converted initially into quarantine or isolation coaches has already started," reads a statement from the railways ministry. "These 5,000 coaches would be having a capacity to accommodate up to 80,000 beds."

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NAIROBI -- Central banks in sub-Saharan Africa have sharply revised downward their countries' growth forecasts for 2020 as impact of the rapidly evolving coronavirus pandemic on the regional economy could be more severe than expected.

Ghana, one of the world's top ten fastest growing economies, is forecast to see economic growth to slow to five percent this year, or even decelerate to 2.5 percent in a worst-case scenario, due to the negative impact of COVID-19 on crude oil export earnings and domestic production.

In South Africa, the most industrialized economy on the continent, the economy is expected to contract by 0.2 percent in 2020.