United Nations chief Antonio Guterres has launched an appeal for $2bn in international humanitarian aid to help poorer countries tackle the coronavirus pandemic, as the death toll in Italy and Spain continued to climb.
As the UN launched the initiative, more deaths were reported in Europe – now the epicentre of the pandemic – with Spain recording more than 700 fatalities in 24 hours. It is now the second-worst affected country in the world after Italy.
In the United States, meanwhile, a sweeping $2 trillion measure to aid workers, businesses, and the healthcare system appeared to have stalled by late Wednesday.
More than 467,500 people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 113,800 have recovered, while about 21,000 people have died.
Here are the latest updates:
Thursday, March 25
02:45 GMT – Japan to set up coronavirus HQ, possible emergency declaration
Japan’s government is preparing to set up a special headquarters on coronavirus as early as Thursday afternoon, in a move that could set the stage for declaring a state of emergency over the outbreak, the Kyodo news agency reported.
The prime minister can declare a state of emergency if the disease is seen as posing a “grave danger” to lives and if its spread threatens the economy.
02:30 GMT – Overseas arrivals to South Korea to be refused entry without app
Yonhap news agency is reporting that South Korea will deny entry to people arriving in the country from overseas if they refuse to install an app to monitor them while they are in self-isolation.
02:25 GMT – Border closures, flight suspensions leave people stranded
Countries around the world have advised their citizens overseas to return home as quickly as they can as lockdowns accelerate, borders are sealed off, and even transit passengers banned.
But that’s easier said than done.
Al Jazeera’s Ian Neubauer spoke to people stuck in limbo at Kuala Lumpur’s international airport.
01:50 GMT – Mexico to suspend all non-essential activity from Thursday
Mexico’s Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell says all non-essential activities in the country will be suspended from Thursday.
Mexico has reported 475 confirmed cases of coronavirus and six deaths.
01:20 GMT – South Korea cases rise by 104, five more deaths
South Korea’s just given its latest update. The country confirmed 104 new cases, bringing the total to 9,241, with five more deaths.
Some 414 people were discharged from hospital after making a full recovery. In all, 4,144 people in South Korea have been cured of the virus.
00:10 GMT – China cases climb again; all from overseas
Mainland China has reported a further increase in coronavirus cases – all of them in people returning to the country from overseas.
The National Health Commission reported 67 new cases as of the end of Wednesday, compared with 47 a day earlier.
The number of deaths rose by six to 3,287.
00:00 GMT – Trump administration cut CDC China staff
Reuters news agency is reporting that the administration of US President Donald Trump cut the staff of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) working in China by two-thirds in the two years before the coronavirus emerged.
Most of the reductions were at the Beijing office. The CDC’s headcount in China has dropped from about 47 when Trump took office in January 2017 to about 14 now, Reuters said.
21:59 GMT (Wednesday) – $2 trillion virus rescue bill hits delay in Senate
The $2 trillion economic rescue package to provide aid to American businesses, workers and healthcare systems strained by the coronavirus outbreak has run into last-minute delays in the Senate.
The measure is the largest economic relief bill in US history. More on that story here.
Read all the updates from yesterday (March 24) here.