More than 21,000 die of coronavirus as cases reach 470,000 worldwide

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The coronavirus pandemic has affected more than 470,000 people worldwide, with more than 21,000 deaths recorded.

Here is the latest on the situation from around the world:

– JAPAN

Tokyo Olympic organisers have cancelled a cultural event featuring collaborative performances of kabuki and opera next month due to the spreading of the coronavirus.

The event had already faced a setback last year after world-famous tenor Placido Domingo withdrew following sexual harassment allegations.



Global coronavirus cases and deaths.

The cancellation follows Tuesday’s agreement between Tokyo’s Organising Committee and the International Olympic Committee to postpone the Tokyo Games until the summer of 2021 due to the ongoing global pandemic.

The revised Tokyo 2020 Nippon Festival, scheduled for April 18, was to feature Japanese kabuki actor Ebizo Ichikawa and opera singers Anna Pirozi and Erwin Schrott in a performance aimed at bringing together the east and the west and contrasting the traditional and the modern.

– MALAYSIA

The king and queen are under quarantine after seven palace staff members tested positive for Covid-19.

The palace said seven staff were taken to hospital on Tuesday and health authorities were trying to identify the source of the transmission.

It said King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and his wife Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah were tested for the virus, but both were negative. The royal couple decided to observe a 14-day self-quarantine from Wednesday, with deep cleansing to be carried out in the palace.

Malaysia, which has 21 deaths and the highest total of cases in Southeast Asia at 1,796, has extended its lockdown by another two weeks to April 14.

– SRI LANKA

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has urged international donor agencies to provide a debt moratorium or debt deferment facility to all developing nations who face the impact of the virus.

Rajapaksa had urged the World Health Organisation to forward his request to multi-lateral and bilateral lending agencies.

He has pointed out that such “a relief would be helpful to manage Covid-19 Social Distancing, Public Health and Social Security Systems in those countries”.

His statement comes as Sri Lanka will have to repay 4.8 billion dollars in external debt this year amid an economy that performed poorly last year. The island nation’s economy suffered a severe blow due to the Easter Sunday bomb attacks by Islamic militants.

– RUSSIA

Government officials announced the halting of all international flights starting from Friday.

An exception will be made for flights bringing Russians home from abroad.

Earlier this month, Russian authorities limited air traffic to regular flights to world capitals and charter flights.

The new measure comes as the number of coronavirus cases in Russia rapidly grows. On Wednesday, the government reported a total of 658 cases, with 163 new cases registered since the previous day. That is a significantly bigger daily increase than in previous weeks, when the number of cases was growing by several dozens a day.

– SOUTH KOREA

The central bank said it will temporarily provide an “unlimited” amount of money to eligible banks and other financial institutions for three months through repurchase agreements as it tries to calm financial markets rattled by the global coronavirus crisis.

The Bank of Korea said the measure was unprecedented but did not provide an estimate on how much money would be supplied to financial markets through the short-term borrowings.

The bank last week executed an emergency rate cut of 0.5 percentage points to help ease the economic fallout from the coronavirus, which brought its policy rate to an all-time low of 0.75%.

Some experts say it is unclear whether traditional financial tools to boost money supplies would be effective now when the global pandemic has damaged both supply and demand, decimating industrial hubs in China and Italy and forcing millions to stay at home under tightened quarantines.



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