Two-fifth global population staying home


The tough measures that have confined some two-fifths of the globe’s population to their homes were broadened, despite slivers of hope in stricken Italy and Spain amid the COVID-19 pandemic, report agencies.

Harsh lockdowns aimed at halting the march of the coronavirus pandemic extended worldwide Monday as the death toll soared past 37,600 amid new waves of United States outbreaks. Moscow and Lagos joined the roll call of cities around the globe with eerily empty streets, while Virginia and Maryland became the latest US states to announce emergency stay-at-home orders, followed quickly by the capital city Washington.

In a symbol of the scale of the facing humanity, a US military medical ship sailed into New York to relieve the pressure on overwhelmed hospitals bracing for the peak of the pandemic. The US death toll passed 3,000, while the number of confirmed US infections topped 163,000, a global high. President Donald Trump sought to reassure Americans that authorities were ramping up distribution of desperately needed equipment like ventilators and personal protective gear.

He also offered a stark warning, saying ‘challenging times are ahead for the next 30 days’ as he acknowledged mulling a potential nationwide stay-at-home order. ‘We’re sort of putting it all on the line,’ Trump said, likening the efforts against coronavirus as a ‘war.’ The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases around the world rose above 784,000, with 413,000 of those in Europe, while most of the confirmed deaths are also from the continent, according to an AFP tally.

World leaders — several of whom have been stricken or forced into isolation — are still grappling for ways to deal with a crisis that will have economic and social shockwaves unseen since World War II. Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin discussed ‘closer cooperation’ and addressed plunging oil prices in a Monday call, the Kremlin said.