Nations eye COVID-19 lockdown extensions as global cases rise

April 10, 2020

With COVID-19 activity showing some early signs of stabilizing in parts of Europe, some governments are considering extending their lockdown orders, as cases are still surging or picking up in other parts of the continent. 

Meanwhile, cases are accelerating in part of Asia, including Indonesia, Singapore, and Japan, and economic leaders are grappling with the pandemic's economic impact and how to fund the response. 

The pandemic total reached 1,611,981 cases in 184 countries, along with 96783 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard

Ahead of meetings next week with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva today said the economic fallout from COVID-19 pandemic will be the worst since the Great Depression. And she said that while governments have already spent $8 trillion to cushion the blow, she predicted that the world will see only partial recovery in 2021. 

In another financial development, the board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria unanimously approved new COVID-19 response funding, which now totals $1 billion, targeting 54 countries. The group had earlier approved $500 million in grant flexibility, and today's action authorizes $500 million more. 

European countries weigh lockdown extensions. In Italy, the number of new cases and deaths were both up again, following a few days of downturns, a pattern typically seen as outbreak activity starts to stabilize. The country reported 4,202 new cases, up from 3,863 yesterday, along with 610 more deaths, up from 542 the previous day, Bloomberg News reported. 

The nation's lockdown is set to expire Apr 13, but Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is preparing to extend it for two more weeks, with the possibility that some companies and shops will be allowed to open, the report said. 

Spain's parliament is debating a measure to extend the country's lockdown until Apr 26, the BBC reported. The country, the world's second worst-hit country, reported 683 deaths today, down from 757 the day before. 

Both Belgium and the Netherlands are still seeing ongoing steady rises in COVID-19 cases, with each country again reporting more than 1,000 new cases today. The chair of Belgium's coronavirus science committee told Politico that the peak is starting to show. He noted that although Belgium has one of the highest per capita death rates in Europe, it is one of the few countries that includes out-of-hospital deaths in its totals. 

The number of intensive care unit (ICU) patients is still increasing, and the country is worried about outbreaks in nursing homes. Army personnel have been brought in to support staff in two of them. 

In the Netherlands, officials are also seeing early signs of stabilization in the number of hospitalized and ICU patients, Algemeen Dagblad, a newspaper based in Rotterdam, reported. The country's cases are concentrated in North Brabant and Limburg provinces in the south. 

CIDRAP has the report.  

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