Here's what you need to know about the
coronavirus right now:
The jobless lurch upwards
Beyond the daily casualty statistics, the big, sobering
economic number of the week lands on Thursday at 08.30 ET (1230
GMT): New US jobless claims will likely reveal that the number
of Americans seeking unemployment benefits in the last three
weeks has now hit a staggering 15 million.
That will cement the view that the stay-at-home measures
needed to control the novel coronavirus outbreak have thrust the
world's top economy into a deep recession and strengthen
expectations of job losses of up to 20 million in April. The
social costs are as yet incalculable.
From fine to flailing
The speed with which patients are declining and dying from
the new coronavirus is shocking even veteran doctors and nurses
as they scramble to try to stop such sudden deterioration.
The quick turns for the worse are likely products of an
"overly exuberant" reaction by the immune system as it fights
the virus, said Dr Otto Yang, an infectious disease specialist
at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Called a cytokine storm, it occurs when the body
overproduces immune cells and their activating compounds -
cytokines - causing dangerously high blood pressure, lung damage
and organ failure.
Medical staff members arrive for a duty shift at Dongsan Medical Center in Daegu, South Korea. Picture: Kim Do-hoon/Yonhap via AP
Lockdowns on review
In the absence of the still hospitalised Prime Minister
Boris Johnson, the British government will discuss on Thursday a
scheduled review of the country's lockdown measures. Few expect
any easing right now as coronavirus-linked deaths continue to
The same is true in Italy, where Prime Minister Giuseppe
Conte is rejecting calls from businesses to open factories,
while France extended its lockdown past April 15.
103-year-old Ada Zanusso poses with a nurse at the old people's home "Maria Grazia" in Lessona, northern Italy, after recovering from Covid-19 infection. File picture: Residenza Maria Grazia Lessona via AP
A number of countries are, however, expecting to ease
restrictions from next week: Denmark, the Czech Republic and
Austria among them. How they fare will be closely watched
Disunity in the European Union
EU finance ministers will have another go tonight to
overcome differences on more economic support for their
countries, after talks collapsed on Tuesday morning following an
all-night 16-hour videoconference.
Italy's Conte had a word of warning for them. He told the
BBC that Europe's leaders were "facing an appointment with
history" that they could not miss.
"If we do not seize the opportunity to put new life into the
European project, the risk of failure is real."
An image of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and quotes from her historic television broadcast commenting on the coronavirus pandemic are displayed on a big screen at Piccadilly Circus in London.Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP
Containing the 'silent carriers'
China has adopted new measures to curb the spread of the
virus by asymptomatic carriers, whom some state media described
as "silent carriers".
Medical institutions must now report such cases within two
hours of discovery. Local governments then have 24 hours to
identify all known close contacts. Both the patient and close
contacts will be quarantined for 14 days.