International update: Covid-19 global death toll approaches 165,000 – infections near 2.5 million

20 April 2020 (Last Updated April 20th, 2020 10:20)

Global: According to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, the global death toll is approaching 165,000, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The total number of infections worldwide is at 2,394,291.

Health ministers from the Group of 20 leading economies said COVID-19 “has highlighted systemic weaknesses” in health readiness worldwide. The officials commented in a communique issued from Riyadh after a teleconference hosted by Saudi Arabia.

US: US Vice President Mike Pence says the US has sufficient testing capacity nationwide to allow any of the states to start lifting lockdown orders, providing they meet other criteria required for relaxation.

Meanwhile, US crude crashed to below $15 a barrel on Monday, its lowest level for over two decades, as concerns about a virus-triggered demand shock and lack of storage eclipsed an output cut deal.

President Trump said talks between the White House and Democrats in Congress are near an agreement that would add cash to a program aimed at helping small businesses.

China: China has published its daily figures for the virus, reporting 12 new cases for 19 April, down from 16 a day earlier, with no new deaths for the third day in a row. There were also 49 new asymptomatic cases reported on Monday.

South Korea: South Korea reported fewer than 20 new cases of coronavirus for the third day in a row. On Monday, it announced 13 new infections, bringing the nation’s total infections to 10,674.

Malaysia: Malaysia’s parliament will sit for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic on May 18, but only for a single day and with no debates.

India: India ordered airlines not to sell tickets unless they are notified otherwise, stripping them of a key source of cash flow as Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes bolder steps to contain the coronavirus crisis.

France: France reports another 395 coronavirus deaths, as hospital admissions continue to decline.

Spain: Spain registered a sharp drop in its daily death toll on Sunday with 410 new fatalities – the lowest in almost a month.

UK: The British government will charter flights to repatriate the most vulnerable Britons stranded in New Zealand this week.