As of midday on March 24th, the total count of COVID-19 cases surpassed 386,000.
Out of that total, 102,401 have recovered, and 16,751 have died.
Currently, China still leads the pack with the most total cases, but it also has the most recovered, and now has roughly half the fatalities that Italy does.
Chinese authorities will remove restrictions on entry and exit from Hubei province on March 25. According to a statement released by the State Health Committee of the region, the restrictions in Wuhan city will be lifted on April 8th, if all goes according to plan.
According to the document, this decision was made against the background of improving the epidemiological situation in the region.
“From 00:00 hours on March 25th, with the exception of the district of Wuhan, the restrictions on roads in Hubei will be lifted and the traffic on entry and exit will be restored. People leaving Hubei will be able to move on the basis of health code,” the document read.
“From 00:00 hours on April 8th, restrictions on travel on transit roads will be lifted in Wuhan, and the transport connection to enter and leave the city will be restored,” it continued.
Quarantine in Wuhan and Hubei Province has been in effect since January 23rd.
In Italy, the new cases on March 23rd were 4,789, to a total of 63,927. The new fatalities amounted to 601, to a total of 6,077. Approximately 7,500 have recovered so far.
This marked a two-day reduction in the number of infected and deaths, and a glimmer of hope that this downward trend might continue, despite the peak not having been reached yet.
Meanwhile, in Spain the situation is just ramping up.
A temporary morgue was opened in Madrid. Due to the high mortality from coronavirus in the Spanish capital there was nowhere to store the bodies of the dead.
The morgue was established in the ice palace on an area of 1800 square meters. On the evening of March 23rd, vans of the military emergency unit began to transport bodies there.
According to the country’s Ministry of Health, in Spain more than 33,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus were registered, more than 2,000 people died.
Throughout the country, 2,355 people remain in intensive care units. The majority of COVID-19 infections and deaths in Madrid are one-third of all cases and half of those who die.
The US is currently the country most in jeopardy of a widespread epidemic, as the number of cases are mounting up, and if it keeps going, it will surpass the infections of Italy in just a matter of days, possibly even the total cases of China.
On March 23rd, the US registered 10,168 cases, and by midday on March 24th, it has registered 2,434 cases. In total 582 people have died to the virus, and 295 have recovered.
Germany, on the other hand has 30,000 cases, and only 130 deaths, which puzzles experts, and causes them to question how that is possible.
Hospitals in the German state of Saxony will take on at least six Italian coronavirus patients who are unable to receive treatment in their own country, state premier Michael Kretschmer said.
“The Italian government asked us a few days ago whether we could help by taking care of patients who are not being taken care of in Italy,” Kretschmer said.
Following consultation with doctors over hospital capacity in the eastern German state, Saxony has agreed to welcome six Italian patients to hospitals in the cities of Dresden and Leipzig, he added.
“In Italy they are now making an ethically very difficult decision…choosing six people to be put in the aeroplane,” said the state premier.
Kretschmer said that the treatment of Italian patients would be a chance for doctors in Saxony to learn about the novel coronavirus, and also a sign of solidarity.
“This is a very important sign that we are also able to help others,” he said.
In Iran, the country is struggling with the spreading of COVID-19 and humanitarian supplies from Europe are impeded by US sanctions.
A great evil is being perpetrated by the #Trump regime against the people of #Iran. Lorries packed with medical supplies destined for Iran, to fight #Coronavirus, are being stopped by #Romania & #Bulgaria obeying US sanctions & economic warfare on Iran. From @SamiRamadani1 pic.twitter.com/sr0tJ624Oy
— tim anderson (@timand2037) March 23, 2020
The UK, Europe and the International Monetary Fund, in addition to Russia and China have urged Washington to ease the sanctions, so that Tehran can receive help in dealing with the spreading disease.
“The U.K. has quietly prodded the Trump administration to ease sanctions because of the crisis, the Guardian reported, without saying where it obtained the information,” Bloomberg reported. “On March 17, Iran granted temporary release to British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been in jail in Tehran since 2016.” This is being seen as part of a significant broader thawing in UK-Iran relations amid the pandemic crisis.
Iran’s recently releasing some 85,000 minor offenders from its packed prisons across the country has resulted in the early good faith return of foreign nationals previously accused of spying.
“On Saturday, a French scholar detained in Tehran was released after he showed signs of the coronavirus, while an Iranian engineer held in France and wanted by the U.S. was released by authorities there,” Bloomberg reported. “The apparent prisoner exchange was denounced by the U.S., which had sought the Iranian engineer’s extradition.”
For the first time in 50 years, Tehran turned to the International Monetary Fund for assistance:
“Iranians say that their economy is weak and unable to cope with the humanitarian toll because of the U.S. sanctions. Last week, Iran turned to the International Monetary Fund for the first time since the 1960s for aid, though Ali Vaez, the Crisis Group’s Iran project director, said the U.S. may try to block the IMF loan in order to keep up the pressure on the regime.”
It remains unclear if Washington would ease up, or it is willing to go all the way in its “maximum pressure campaign” and its attempts to enforce its hegemony over the Middle East.
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