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COVID-19: GLOBAL OVERVIEW

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MORE than 1.92 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 120,670 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

* Britain’s economy could shrink by 13% this year due to the government’s coronavirus shutdown, its deepest recession in three centuries, the country’s budget forecasters said. 

* The UK’s true death toll from the coronavirus far exceeds estimates previously published by the government, according to broader official data that include deaths in the community such as in nursing homes. 

* The European Commission plans to narrow controls on the export of coronavirus protective equipment to just a single product – masks – as well as exempt the countries of the western Balkans from the restrictions. 

* France said its total death toll from COVID-19 infections rose above 15,000, becoming the fourth country to exceed that threshold after Italy, Spain and the U.S. 

* Spain and Austria allowed partial returns to work on Tuesday but Britain, France and India extended lockdowns to rein in the new coronavirus. 

* Cycling teams are gearing up for the Tour de France to be held in August rather than the usual July, after French President Emmanuel Macron said big public events would be halted until mid-July.

AMERICAS 

* U.S. deaths from the coronavirus topped 25,400 on Tuesday, doubling in one week, according to a Reuters tally, as officials debated how to reopen the economy without reigniting the outbreak. 

* Canada’s economic shutdown will last for weeks more to ensure that measures to fight the coronavirus are working, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, while the country’s death toll from the outbreak rose more than 12%. 

* President Donald Trump’s May 1 target for restarting the economy is “overly optimistic,” his top infectious disease adviser said. 

* Apple Inc said it would release data that could help inform public health authorities on whether people are driving less during lockdown orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

* Nurses at a public hospital hit by Mexico’s worst coronavirus outbreak were told by their managers not to wear protective masks at the start of the epidemic to avoid sowing panic among patients, nurses and other medical workers said.

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC 

* China approved early-stage human tests for two experimental vaccines as it battles to contain imported cases, especially from Russia. 

* Pakistan announced a two-week extension to the nationwide shutdown, but said some industries would reopen in phases. 

* Taiwan on Tuesday reported no new cases for the first time in more than a month, in the latest sign that its early prevention methods have paid off. 

* Malaysian authorities have begun using COVID-19 antibody rapid tests kits to supplement laboratory tests as the number of cases in the country grow, a senior health official said. 

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA 

* A first “solidarity flight” of medical supplies from the World Health Organization landed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for distribution in Africa. 

* Turkey passed a law that will allow the release of tens of thousands of prisoners to ease overcrowding in jails and protect detainees. 

* Iran’s death toll was approaching 4,700 on Tuesday, following eased restrictions on travel within provinces. 

* Iraq has suspended the licence of the Reuters news agency after it published a story saying the number of confirmed cases in the country was higher than officially reported. 

* Sudan will impose a three-week lockdown on the capital Khartoum after 10 more cases were discovered on Monday. 

* Namibian borders will remain closed and a partial lockdown in force for a further two-and-a-half weeks until May 4, President Hage Geingob said. 

* Uganda extended its lockdown by an extra three weeks until May 5. 

ECONOMIC FALLOUT 

* Equity markets rallied globally as Chinese trade data defied expectations of a deep downturn as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, igniting hopes that world economies can soon recover. 

* The global economy is expected to shrink by 3.0% this year which will be the steepest downturn since the Great Depression, the International Monetary Fund said. 

* Major international creditors have agreed to suspend debt payments owed by the poorest countries this year, France’s finance minister said on Tuesday. 

* Boeing Co reported another 75 cancellations for its 737 MAX jetliner in March, as the coronavirus crisis worsened disruptions from the grounding of its best-selling jet. 

* Around 80% of Portuguese companies still operating or temporarily shut due to the coronavirus outbreak reported a sharp drop in their revenues, at times exceeding 75%, a survey showed.