(Reuters) – Reported cases of the coronavirus have crossed 2.26 million globally and 154,613 people have died, according to a Reuters tally as of 1400 GMT on Saturday.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread, open https://tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.
* For a U.S.-focused tracker with state-by-state and county map, open https://tmsnrt.rs/2w7hX9T in an external browser.
*As some U.S. states look to start reopening their coronavirus-battered economies amid protests from supporters of President Donald Trump anxious to get back to work, hardest hit New York state began mandating the wearing of masks or face coverings in public to contain the pathogen’s spread.
*An official charged with overseeing how the U.S. government handles $500 billion in bailout funds said he will also monitor how companies use the cash, including for share buybacks, dividends and staff compensation.
* The U.S. coronavirus crisis took a sharp political turn as President Donald Trump lashed out at four Democratic governors over their handling of the pandemic after having conceded that states bear ultimate control of restrictions to contain the outbreak.
* U.S. coronavirus deaths topped 35,400 on Friday, rising by more than 2,000 for the fourth day in a row, according to a Reuters tally, as some states announced timetables for lifting restrictions aimed at blunting the pandemic.
* Better-than-expected social distancing practices have led an influential research model to lower its projected U.S. coronavirus death toll by 12%, while predicting some states may be able to safely begin easing restrictions as early as May 4.
*Some of the neediest residents of Colombia’s capital Bogota have started receiving food donations, while dozens living on the street were given a chance to shower and change clothes, as the city rides out a five-week lockdown to contain the coronavirus.
* Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei said a large number of migrants on a deportation flight to Guatemala from the United States this week were infected with the coronavirus, adding that U.S. authorities had confirmed a dozen cases.
* France will try to avoid setting different rules for older people and other forms of discrimination once the government starts easing its coronavirus confinement measures, the French President’s office said.
* Spain’s death toll from coronavirus rose at a slower pace but surpassed 20,000 fatalities as the government mulled whether to ask parliament for a third extension of the confinement imposed in one of the world’s hardest hit countries.
* Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy rose by 575 on Friday, up from 525 the day before, while the number of new cases declined slightly and scientists warned that infections were now mainly happening among family members.
* Doctors and health workers criticised the British government for suggesting that gowns used to protect them while treating coronavirus patients could be re-used, as supplies run low across the country.
* Russia said its death toll from the novel coronavirus had risen to 313, an overnight increase of 40, as it posted a new record daily jump in new cases.
* France said there was no evidence so far of a link between the new coronavirus and the work of the P4 research laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the current pandemic started.
*Pakistan has lifted restrictions on congregational prayers at mosques, but put in place a host of safety conditions to avert the further spread of the coronavirus in the country, a statement said.
*Hundreds of workers poured onto the streets of Bangladesh’s port city of Chittagong, flouting social distancing rules to demand work and wages during the coronavirus shutdown.
* Japan, alarmed by rising coronavirus deaths and the spectre of the collapse of the medical system, is scrambling to expand testing with drive-through facilities and general practitioners helping to collect samples.
* Singapore’s health ministry confirmed 942 more coronavirus infections, a new daily record, the vast majority of which are among migrant workers living in dormitories.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* The Nigerian president’s chief of staff, Abba Kyari, died on Friday from COVID-19, making him the most high profile person in the country to die in the coronavirus outbreak.
* Iran’s death toll from the new coronavirus rose by 73 in the previous 24 hours to reach 5,031 on Saturday, health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpour said on state TV.
* Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti said Muslim prayers during Ramadan and the Eid al-Fitr feast should be performed at home if the outbreak continues.
* African leaders, the IMF and the World Bank appealed for rapid international action to help African countries respond to the coronavirus pandemic that will cause the continent’s economy to shrink by 1.25% in 2020, the worst reading on record.
* Dubai has extended by one week a 24-hour-a-day curfew imposed as part of a sterilisation drive to control the spread of the coronavirus, the government said in a Twitter post.
* The Holy Fire ceremony symbolising Jesus’ resurrection was lit in a deserted Jerusalem, without the joyful throng of Orthodox Christian pilgrims who normally attend a spectacle that brings the Easter season to a colourful climax.
* Canada will invest C$2.5 billion ($1.8 billion) in measures to help the hard-hit oil and gas industry during the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed 1,250 people in the country, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
* Global stocks rallied on President Donald Trump’s plans to revive the coronavirus-hit U.S. economy and a report about a clinical trial for a potential drug to treat COVID-19.
* Gold dropped about 2% on Friday after President Donald Trump’s new guidelines to re-open the U.S. economy and encouraging early data related to a potential COVID-19 treatment drove investors towards riskier assets.
* Some moderate Democrats key to their party’s control of the U.S. House of Representatives are urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi to move quickly to replenish a fund to help small businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, saying other party priorities can wait.
* China’s economy contracted for the first time on record in the first quarter as the coronavirus shut down factories and shopping malls and put millions out of work.
(Compiled by Sarah Morland and Devika Syamnath; Editing by William Maclean)