COVID-19 Latest (March 26): Spain, Italy, US Rising Deaths, Moscow Closes Down

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Spain has recorded 3,434 deaths from coronavirus, the health ministry announced Wednesday – making it the country with the second-highest death toll in the world.

That’s an increase of over 27% on Tuesday’s figures. The country now has 47,610 cases in total.

In China, where the outbreak began, 3,281 people have died, according to its National Health Commission.

Italy has the highest death toll in the world. It has now reported 8,215 deaths and 80,539 confirmed cases according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. That’s a 10% death rate, also the world’s worst.

A top Spanish health official, Fernando Simon, said Wednesday that he expects the number of Covid-19 cases to continue increasing in the coming days, despite having said earlier this week that he expected infections to peak soon.

Moscow Buttoning Up due to coronavirus surge

Moscow is closing all restaurants, cafes, bars, shops and parks from March 28 until April 5 for the “stay-at-home holidays” announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, the city’s mayor said in a statement.

“The restrictions introduced today are unprecedented in the modern history of Moscow and will create many inconveniences for the everyday life of every person,” said Mayor Sergey Sobyanin on Thursday. “But believe me, they are absolutely necessary in order to slow the spread of coronavirus infection and reduce the number of cases.”

Exceptions will be made for grocery stores and pharmacies, and restaurants that deliver food are also allowed to stay open. Moscow residents were urged to refrain from attending religious sites.

Russia has seen its sharpest spike in numbers in the past 24 hours, adding 182 confirmed coronavirus cases, 136 of which are in Moscow. The total number of cases in the country now stands at 840, with three deaths, according to Russian health authorities.

The Russian government has also moved to ban all regular and charter international flights starting from March 27, per government decree.

Putin said last week Russia had managed to slow the spread of coronavirus thanks to early and aggressive measures — and the number of confirmed cases is surprisingly low, despite Russia sharing a border with China and recording its first case back in January.


U.S. deaths from the pandemic have now topped 1,000, in another grim milestone for a global outbreak that is taking lives and wreaking havoc on economies and established routines of ordinary life. Worldwide, the death toll climbed past 21,000, according to a running count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The Senate has unanimously passed an unprecedented $2.2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems overrun by the virus and its fallout.

Value of Life: President Donald Trump’s desire to reopen the coronavirus-battered economy in a matter of weeks has thrust the administration into the delicate position of weighing the revival of commerce versus the value of American life. Washington reporters Aamer Madhani, Laurie Kellman and Kevin Freking have that story.

More from the AP U.S. Team:

  • Hospitals: In several states, they are rushing to find beds for a coming flood of COVID-19 patients, opening older closed hospitals and repurposing other medical buildings. Simple math is spurring hospital leaders to prepare.
  • Legal Questions: Growing numbers of Americans say state and federal governments are starting to trample civil rights in the name of public health during the outbreak.
  • Mormon Church: In Utah, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is suspending all temple activity because of concerns over the coronavirus.
  • One Good Thing: Noting daily acts of kindness. Veterinary hospitals from North Carolina to New York to Colorado are giving vital equipment and supplies to their human-focused counterparts to fight the spread of COVID-19.

More from the AP Global Team:

  • Lebanon’s Gut Punch: The pandemic has managed to do what various ruinous wars could not in Lebanon: Close bars, restaurants and entertainment spots across the tiny Mediterranean country, Bassem Mroue and Zeina Karam report from Beirut.
  • India’s Poor: Officials distribute food rations to the poor and newly unemployed, victims of the new social distancing norms, as residents from the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh to the south Indian state of Karnataka flooded into food shops during limited windows.
  • Virtual G-20: Leaders of the world’s most powerful economies will convene virtually today to coordinate a response to the fast-spreading new coronavirus. Saudi Arabia is presiding over the G-20 this year and the meeting is being chaired by King Salman.
  • Brazil’s Defiance: Governors rise up against President Jair Bolsonaro over his call to reopen schools and businesses. They dismiss his argument that the “cure” of widespread shutdowns to contain the spread of the coronavirus is worse than the disease.
  • Daily Bread: In France, the fight against COVID-19 is being waged one baguette at a time. The iconic loaf and the daily ritual of buying it have become loaded with moral, civic and public health considerations that could never have been imagined before life was turned upside down.
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