Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: March 27

Miami Desk, Mar 27 (EFE).- Here is a roundup of stories around the world related to the coronavirus pandemic:

UNITED STATES: President Donald Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to require General Motors to produce ventilators. Hours after berating GM on Twitter, the president told Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to require the automaker to “accept, perform, and prioritize Federal contracts for ventilators.”

BRAZIL: A federal court struck down President Jair Bolsonaro’s decree exempting federal lottery shops and churches from social-distancing requirements. The court agreed with the Rio de Janeiro state attorney general’s office that the decree “jeopardized the efficacy” of steps taken “to flatten the curve” of Covid-19 infections in Brazil, which has 3,417 confirmed cases and 92 fatalities.

ECUADOR: Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, plans to dig a mass grave for coronavirus victims. The coastal metropolis accounts for more than 800 of the roughly 1,400 cases nationwide, while 25 of the 32 fatalities are from Guayaquil’s surrounding province of Guayas.

PANAMA: Cruise line Holland America said that four passengers aboard one of its vessels died of coronavirus. Another 138 people on the Zaandam are suffering from flu symptoms. The ship, currently in Panamanian waters, is expected to reach Florida’s Port Everglades by March 30.

CHILE: After declining for two consecutive days, the number of new coronavirus cases spiked to 304 on Friday, bringing the total to 1,610, while Chile’s Covid-19 death toll reached five. Nearly two-thirds of the new infections were in the Santiago metropolitan area, where seven municipalities have entered quarantine.

WHO: The number of COVID-19 cases around the world has reached more than 500,000 and there have been at least 20,000 deaths from the virus but 100,000 people, one in five cases, have recovered so far, World Health Organization director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said.

FRANCE: France has extended its nationwide lockdown for another two weeks, until 15 April, Prime Minister Eduoard Phillippe announced Friday, as COVID-19 deaths in the country hit 1,696.

UK: The United Kingdom’s government said new infections were doubling every three or four days – the number of cases hit 14,543, including 759 deaths by Friday.

VATICAN: Pope Francis delivered a solemn Urbi et Orbi benediction in honor of coronavirus victims from the middle of St. Peter’s Square, which was empty of crowds.

CELEBRITIES: Till Lindemann, lead singer of German rock group Rammstein, is in intensive care after contracting Covid-19.

MALAYSIA: Due to “extensive and increasing border restrictions imposed by various countries,” AirAsia Group announced it was “temporarily hibernating” most of its fleet across the network with the suspension or reduction in both international and domestic flights across its AirAsia and AirAsia X bases in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and India.

JAPAN: The Toyota Group announced Friday that it will extend until April 17 the suspension of its production in North America due to the impact of COVID-19, out from the previously announced April 3.

THAILAND: The government announced one new death Friday, bringing the total to five, and 91 new cases to total 1,136 in 52 of 76 provinces, with 97 discharged, up nine from the previous day.

CHINA: China’s President Xi Jinping said Friday in a telephone call with US counterpart Donald Trump that only a collective response by the international community could help tackle the coronavirus crisis, and called for concerted efforts to share information and accelerate research cooperation, state news agency Xinhua reported. EFE

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