Live COVID-19 updates: Growth rates revised down, Thailand's Phuket International Airport to close from April 10 to 30

Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-31 23:13:17|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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BANGKOK -- Thailand's Phuket International Airport will be shut from April 10 to 30 after Phuket Province sealed its entry points by land and sea amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana told the media on Tuesday that he ordered the closure of the airport as the total number of COVID-19 cases in the province rose to 62 on Monday with infections mostly found related to entertainment venues near Patong beach, normally packed with foreign tourists.

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ADDIS ABABA -- The death toll from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the African continent has reached 172 as confirmed positives cases surpassed 5,255 as of Tuesday, the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) revealed.

The Africa CDC, specialized agency of the 55-member African Union (AU), in its latest situation update said the cases were spread across 47 African countries.

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GABORONE -- Botswanan President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Tuesday announced the establishment of a COVID-19 relief fund amounting to two billion pula (about 168 million U.S. dollars).

In his statement on declaring a state of public emergency in Botswana regarding the COVID-19 outbreak in Gaborone, Botswana's capital, Masisi said the fund is aimed at providing relief to citizens of Botswana during the planned lockdown, which begins from the midnight of April 2.

During the lockdown period, all individuals across the country will be expected to adhere to a more severe form of social distancing where movement out of the home is only restricted to those performing essential services and transporting essential goods.

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HANOI -- Vietnam's GDP is expected to grow by 4.9 percent this year, about 1.6 percentage points lower than the previous projection, according to a latest World Bank report.

Despite favorable prospects for the Vietnamese economy in the medium term, the country's GDP growth will be affected negatively by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank said in a report titled "East Asia and Pacific in the Time of COVID-19," published on Monday.

Vietnam is estimated to gain a GDP growth of 3.82 percent in the first quarter of this year, the lowest in the 2011-2020 period, the country's General Statistics Office announced last Friday.

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PHNOM PENH -- Cambodia's economic growth is projected to slow sharply to 2.5 percent in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a World Bank's report released on Tuesday.

The country's growth last year was strong at 7.1 percent, said the bank's East Asia and Pacific Economic Update.

"The outbreak caused sharp decelerations in most of Cambodia's main engines of growth in the first quarter of 2020, including weakened tourism and construction activity," the report said.

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MOSCOW -- Russia has registered a total of 2,337 cases of COVID-19 in 73 regions of the country as of Tuesday, including a daily record of 500 new cases in the last 24 hours, official data showed.

The death toll rose to 17 after eight patients in four regions died of the disease, Russia's coronavirus response center said in a statement. So far, 121 people have recovered, including 55 in the last 24 hours.

Moscow remains the worst hit part of the country, with 387 new cases confirmed in the past 24 hours, raising the total number of infections to 1,613 in the Russian capital.

To contain the spread of the coronavirus, President Vladimir Putin declared a week of paid leave for all citizens beginning on March 30. As of Tuesday morning, 32 of Russia's 85 regions have introduced mandatory self-isolation for all residents, and new regions are joining, Russian media reported.

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GAZA -- Qatar started on Tuesday distributing 10 million U.S. dollars to 100,000 poor families in the Gaza Strip to help them fight COVID-19 epidemic.

Each family would receive 100 dollars, Qatari Committee for Reconstruction of the Gaza Strip said in a statement, and the process of distributing the funds would take two weeks.

Qatar earlier pledged a 125-million-dollar anti-coronavirus aid package to Gaza in case of the spread of the novel coronavirus. The Health Ministry in Gaza, a Palestinian coastal enclave that has been under Israeli blockade for more than 13 years, has so far reported 10 COVID-19 cases.

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DHAKA -- Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said the government may extend the ongoing shutdown by a few more days to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bangladesh had declared a 10-day shut down effective from March 26 to April 4.

Two more people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Bangladesh, making it 51 total confirmed cases in the country on Tuesday.

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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.