Covid-19 UPDATE: Europe and US cases soar, China reports 0 new cases today.

Welcome to Wednesday as we wade through the day’s main Covid-19 coronavirus headlines. Today the number of infected patients will push through 200,000, currently sitting at 198,214 as of 7am this morning, Thai time. 7,965 people have succumbed to the disease. 81,734 people have recovered across the world.

In the past 24 hours Italy, Iran, Spain, France, the US and Germany have all registered 1,000+ new cases of the coronavirus. China has reported no new cases in the past 24 hours, the first time that has happened since the start of the outbreak in early January.

In Thailand 30 new cases were announced yesterday as the past three days more than double the previous total infections in the Kingdom. Bars, clubs, cinemas and schools are being ordered closed in Bangkok and in some provinces across the country. We will publish an up to date list of these closures this morning on The Thaiger.

A 103 year old Chinese grandmother has made a full recovery from Covid-19. News below…

• The US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is warning that the coronavirus pandemic could drive up US unemployment to 20%. Mnuchin’s comments came as he urged his fellow Republican senators to act on economic stimulus measures totalling $1 trillion designed to avert that kind of worst case scenario.

In the same meeting, Mnuchin also said he is concerned the economic ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic could be worse than the 2008 financial crisis.

• Belgium is enforcing restrictions on movement of all people starting today at noon (Belgian time), according to the government. The measures, which will remain in place until April 5, will require citizens to stay at home except for outdoor physical activity and essential travel – going to the doctor, supermarket, post office, bank, pharmacy, gas stations, or in an emergency.

• Coronavirus is now reported in all 50 US states. West Virginia confirmed its first case yesterday.

• Proposed emergency legislation in the UK will allow police and immigration officials to detain a person who is, or might be “infectious.”

“Public support and compliance is crucial and we are grateful for the flexibility people have shown, but we need to ensure police and immigration officers have the authority to enforce these measures where necessary. Therefore, the bill will enable the police and immigration officers to detain a person, for a limited period, who is, or may be, infectious and to take them to a suitable place to enable screening and assessment.”

According to the UK government website, the bill also increases the protections for health professionals and independent workers.

• The drastic measures enforced by China over the past two months have slashed deadly air pollution in the country, potentially saving the lives of tens of thousands of people, according to a Stanford University report.

An assistant professor at Stanford’s Department of Earth System Science, says the better air quality could have saved between 50,000 and 75,000 Chinese people from dying prematurely.

“The reductions in air pollution in China caused by this economic disruption likely saved twenty times more lives in China than have currently been lost due to infection with the virus in that country.”

“Does this mean pandemics are good for health? No,” he said. “Instead it means that the way our economies operate absent pandemics has massive hidden health costs, and it takes a pandemic to help see that.”

• Details of a study claims the Covid-19 coronavirus could remain on contaminated plastic or stainless steel surfaces for up to three days has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Funded by the US National Institutes of Health, the report was posted online last week. Researchers say they compared the “surface stability” of the novel coronavirus with that of the SARS-CoV-1 virus.

It also reported that the coronavirus could linger in aerosols, suspended tiny particles or droplets in the air, for up to three hours.

And some snippets of good news…

• The world’s youngest coronavirus patient, a baby born in the UK, who was likely infected shortly after birth, is said to be “out of danger” and recovering well. The baby was tested minutes after birth at North Middlesex Hospital.

• China has closed down its last coronavirus hospital due to lack of new patients. Wuhan medics were seen celebrating and removing their protective gear after the final coronavirus hospital was shut down. China was able to construct and operate 14 crisis hospitals within weeks of the coronavirus tearing through the country. No new cases were reported in China in the past 24 hours.

• Doctors in India claim they have been successful in treating Coronavirus. Medics at the Sawai Man Singh Hospital in Jaipur say they’ve have succeeded in curing coronavirus patients with a mix of HIV, swine flu, and Malaria meds.

Dr Sudhir Bhandari said… “We provided her treatment following standard protocol and now she has tested negative for the disease, which is a major achievement for SMS Hospital doctors.”

• Researchers at Rotterdam and Utrecht University in the Netherlands say they have discovered an antibody that can fight off an infection from Covid-19. The discovery could lead to an antiviral medication down the track, but also the opportunity for people to test themselves at home – which would save thousands of valuable hours for overwhelmed health services.

• A 103 year old Chinese grandmother has made a full recovery from Covid-19. The grandmother who was infected in Wuhan at the peak of the outbreak has made a full recovery. The 103 year old, Zhang Guangfen,  was cured in less than a week because she didn’t have any underlying health conditions.

May she live many more healthy years!

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