The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to spread globally, with the US and Europe hit the hardest. Here’s what you need to know:
- The US becomes worst hit: The US now has the highest number of confirmed cases in the world, overtaking China and Italy. Today was the deadliest day in the US so far, with at least 233 new deaths reported nationwide. New York City has become the epicenter of the US outbreak.
- Shifting restrictions in China: New local transmissions have fallen to near zero in mainland China, so it’s beginning to lift lockdowns and citizens are returning to normal life. But the number of imported cases from overseas is rising. On Thursday, China announced it would ban entry to foreign nationals holding visas or residence permits.
- Trump and Xi speak: The leaders of China and the US had a telephone call late Thursday Washington time. Just what they discussed is still unclear, but Trump said on Twitter it was a “very good conversation.” Chinese state media said the US President thanked Beijing for sending medical supplies.
- Olympic-sized bill: With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics pushed to 2021, one economist has estimated that Japan could face economic losses of up to $36 billion due to the fallout from the cancelled Games and the country’s worsening coronavirus epidemic.
- Japan struggles: The country saw case numbers spike this week, and the Tokyo governor urged residents to stay at home this weekend. In response, crowds surged to panic buy at supermarkets, while others continued gathering in outdoor parks during the cherry blossom season.
- Events canceled globally: With borders snapping shut and serious public health concerns globally, countless events have been rescheduled. The K-pop group BTS postponed part of their world tour. Art Basel, widely considered to be the world’s biggest art fair, has also been postponed