- Coronavirus-related deaths in the US exceeded 40,000 with nearly half of all casualties in New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the coronavirus curve is “on the descent” after hospitalisations and deaths continue to fall.
- The number of deaths in Italy was the lowest in a week, while the pace of new infections also slowed. Spain registered its lowest daily death toll in almost a month.
- Some countries are moving to ease lockdowns including Iran, which partially reopened its capital, Tehran.
- A group of more than 150 economists in Australia have urged the government to maintain social distancing restrictions as some urge a lifting of the lockdown to save the economy. “We believe a callous indifference to life is morally objectionable,” they wrote.
- Globally, nearly 2.4 million people have been diagnosed with the virus while close to 165,000 have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 612,000 people have recovered.
Here are the latest updates.
Monday, April 20
00:45 GMT – China reports zero deaths for second day
China has just released its latest coronavirus update.
The National Health Commission says there were no deaths reported on the mainland on April 19, the second consecutive day.
It also reported eight new imported cases of coronavirus and 49 new asymptomatic cases.
00:00 GMT – Pence says US has sufficient testing capability to support states
US Vice President Mike Pence says the US has sufficient testing capacity nationwide to allow any of the states to start lifting lockdown orders, providing they meet other criteria required for relaxation.
The other criteria include 14 days of declines in infections and enough hospital capacity to treat everyone who gets sick.
23:40 GMT – Trump says willing to help Iran – if asked
US President Donald Trump says the US would be willing to provide aid to Iran to help with deal with the coronavirus pandemic if Tehran requested it.
“If Iran needed aid on this, I would be willing,” he said at the daily press briefing in the White House.
23:00 GMT (Sunday) – Economists in Australia urge continued lockdown
A group of at least 150 economists in Australia have written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the country’s national cabinet to urge the government to continue social distancing measures, amid a growing debate over whether to ease the country’s lockdown to boost the economy.
“We believe a callous indifference to life is morally objectionable and that it would be a mistake to expect a premature loosening of restrictions to be beneficial to the economy and jobs, given the rapid rate of contagion,” they wrote in an open letter.
“We recognise that the measures taken to date have come at a cost to economic activity and jobs, but believe these are far outweighed by the lives saved and the avoided economic damage due to an unmitigated contagion.”