Coronavirus: Latest Global Developments

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

US decade of growth ends

The US economy’s decade of expansion ends dramatically in the first quarter of 2020, as the pandemic causes GDP to shrink by 4.8 percent.

The decline is the biggest fall in GDP for the US in 12 years and slightly worse than analysts had expected.

Germany faces painful recession

Europe’s powerhouse Germany “will experience the worst recession in the history of the federal republic” founded in 1949, warns Economy Minister Peter Altmaier.

GDP is expected to shrink by a record 6.3 percent as demand for exports plummets and lockdown restrictions weigh on domestic consumption.

Informal workers in peril

Nearly half of the entire global workforce is in immediate danger of having their livelihoods destroyed by the pandemic, the International Labour Organization warns.

In its third report on the crisis and the world of work, the ILO warns of the impact on the most vulnerable in the labour market and says the risk falls on those workers in the informal economy.

Nearly 225,000 deaths worldwide

Some 224,402 people have died worldwide since the epidemic surfaced in China in December, according to an AFP tally at 1900 GMT Wednesday based on official sources.

In total, 3,141,250 cases have now been reported.

In the United States, which has now passed the one-million-case mark, 59,446 people have died, the most of any country. Italy is the second hardest-hit country, with 26,682 dead, followed by Britain on 26,097 deaths, Spain 24,275 and France 24.087.

Belgium is the country with the most deaths per capita, with 65 per 100,000 people.

Emerging from lockdowns

France’s Prime Minister Edouard Philippe says the country will begin a gradual return to normality from May 11, with shops, markets and some schools reopening and the wearing of masks compulsory on public transport.

Spain will transition out of its strict lockdown in four phases from May 9 through the end of June, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says. Schools will remain closed until September.

Masks across Germany

Face masks are now mandatory in shops across Germany. Nose and mouth coverings are also compulsory on buses, trains and trams.

No carefree travel

Germany extends its warning against worldwide travel until June 14.

“We have not yet reached the point where we can recommend carefree travel,” says Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

Russia extends its entry ban for foreigners, in place since mid-March and to remain until the country has the virus under control, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin says.

Oscars tweak entry rules

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences breaks with its tradition of requiring at least a seven-day run in Los Angeles theatres for films to be eligible for the Oscars.

For the 2021 ceremony, scheduled on February 28, the Academy says films without cinema releases — the fate of many as the pandemic has shuttered movie theatres — will be allowed to contend for the coveted awards.

No photos at famed French festival

A celebrated photography festival in the southern French city of Arles will not take place, organisers say, cancelling the event scheduled for June 29 to 20 September.

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