Italy now has more coronavirus deaths than China, the Commonwealth Bank has warned that the economic fallout will be greater than that of the GFC and the Americans have been urged not to travel anywhere abroad.
This story is regularly updated. You can also stay informed of the latest episode of the Coronacast podcast.
The key moments on Friday
Italy exceeds China’s death toll
A total of 427 deaths have been recorded in Italy in the past 24 hours, bringing the national count to 3,405.
In comparison, 3,245 people died in China since the virus first emerged in Wuhan city late last year.
However, Italy has far fewer confirmed cases: 41,035 on Thursday against 80,907 in China.
The Italian epidemic did not come to light until it was first reported in the north of the country on February 21st.
The country’s hospitals said they were overwhelmed and the government prepared prolong emergency stop measures.
Coronavirus will have a worse impact than GFC, the bank warns
Commonwealth Bank chief Matt Comyn warned of fallout from the spread of coronavirus it will hit harder than the global financial crisis of 2008.
“There are every reason to be concerned at this particular moment,” Comyn told ABC’s The Business.
At ABC News Breakfast this morning, treasurer Josh Frydenberg was asked, “Are we going towards a large-scale depression?”
Here is how he replied:
“Well, what I can tell you is that the Australian economy has approached this health crisis, which is having a significant economic impact, from a strong position. We are using all the means at our disposal to support the economy.”
Yesterday, the Reserve Bank reduced interest rates to a record low of 0.25 percent in a year emergency move.
Banks expected to announce measures to help customers
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says banks will announce a “very significant” package of measures to help their customers who are struggling financially, saying it is in their best interest.
“They want their business, which they lend money to, they want it to survive,” he told Channel Seven’s Sunrise Seven.
Frydenberg said the federal government is also working on a second “very substantial” economic incentive package, in addition to the previously announced $ 18 billion package.
“What the second package will do is try to mitigate the blow for those Australians who may have lost their jobs and continue to support small businesses,” he said.
The Americans urged not to go anywhere abroad
The United States has raised its travel warning to the whole world the highest levelurging Americans not to go abroad and urging those already abroad to return immediately to the country due to the impact of the coronavirus epidemic.
“If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans could be severely disrupted and you may be forced to stay outside the United States for an indefinite period of time,” said the consultant.
Australia announced similar travel tips earlier this week, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison stating that people should not “go overseas” because of the “annual event“.
All foreign travelers will be prohibited from entering Australia from 9.00pm tonight AEDT.
The UN says the world is “at war with a virus”, an almost certain global recession
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the world is “at war with a virus” and warned that a global recession, “perhaps of record size”, it’s almost a certainty.
He said that the global scale of the crisis requires “coordinated, decisive and innovative political action” by the major world economies.
“We have to recognize it the poorest and most vulnerable countries, especially women, will be most affected, “He said.
Mr Guterres welcomed the one next week emergency summit of the leaders of the group of 20 major economic powers to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying: “The extent of the response must correspond to its scope”.
The virus takes a life “every 10 minutes” in Iran
Coronavirus is killing one person every 10 minutes in Iran, a ministry health spokesman said the death toll in the most affected country in the Middle East rose to 1,284.
Kianush Jahanpur, head of public relations and information from the ministry of health and medical education, also tweeted that “about 50 people are infected with the virus every hour” in the country.
Alireza Raisi, Iran’s deputy minister for health, said the total number of infections had reached 18,407 in the Islamic Republic.
The government ordered the closure of schools and universities and prohibited sports, cultural and religious encounters. Iran has also closed four sacred Shiite shrines.
The virus also dampened Iran ‘s celebrations for the Nowruz New Year starting on Friday.
AFL players get their first taste of stadiums without fans
Last night, Richmond and Carlton kicked off the AFL season in the face of an empty MCG, when in the past two seasons 90.151 (2018) and 85.016 (2019) showed up for the same appointment.
Senior ABC Forum commentator Alister Nicholson said he was “not footy as we know it”.
“The atmosphere is very different tonight,” he said.
It was a similar story in Sydney, as the second round of the NRL started with the Bulldogs hosting the Cowboys in an empty Olympic stadium in Sydney.
AFL and NRL players and supporters will have to get used to games played without crowds following the federal government’s decision ban mass gatherings during the coronavirus crisis.
The Cannes Film Festival has been postponed
The Cannes Film Festival in France has postponed its 73rd edition.
The film festival, probably the most prestigious in the world, was supposed to take place from 12 to 23 May, but the organizers claim to be thinking of moving the festival until late June or early July.
“See you soon,” said the festival in a note.
Real virus positive tests
Prince Albert of Monaco turned out to be positive for COVID-19, becoming the first monarch who was diagnosed with the disease.
A palace statement says the 62-year-old was tested for the virus earlier this week and that his health “inspires no worries.”
The prince will continue to work from his private apartments and will be carefully monitored by his personal doctor and specialist from the Princess Grace Hospital Center in Monaco.
Prince Albert urged the 39,000 inhabitants of Monaco to adhere to the quarantine rules to stop the spread of the virus.
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Airline staff become healthcare professionals
Over a thousand redundant workers from SAS airlines are offered in Sweden accelerated health training to help Sweden’s besieged health system fight coronavirus.
SAS laid off 10,000 employees, or 90% of its workforce, temporarily because the demand for flights “more or less disappeared” after many European countries closed their borders or advised against traveling.
In late March, Sophiahemmet University will run a three-day pilot program for 30 people, hoping to extend the course to hundreds more in the near future.
“There are incredibly knowledgeable people who will be able to offer relief to our health care immediately after completing the training so that doctors and nurses can devote even more time to patient care,” said the university principal.
Students will be trained provide information to patients and their families, sterilize beds and equipment and basic administrative tasks.
In Australia, Qantas and Jetstar will temporarily cut two thirds of their 30,000 employees from late March until at least the end of May. Virgin Australia is rooting its international fleet.
Queen “ready to act”, Invictus Games announced
The queen issued a message later leaving Buckingham Palace with Prince Philip to settle at Windsor Castle, saying that she and her family “are ready to do our part” to help deal with the coronavirus crisis.
“As Philip and I arrive in Windsor today, we know that many individuals and families across the UK and around the world are entering a period of great concern and uncertainty,” reads a Buckingham Palace statement.
The queen said that the history of the nation was “shaped by people and communities coming together to work together”, and that she was “enormously grateful for the expertise and commitment of our scientists, medical professionals and emergency services and public. “
“Many of us will have to find new ways to stay in touch with each other and make sure our loved ones are safe. I am sure we are up to that challenge,” he said.
In the meantime, the Invictus Games, created by Prince Harry to help sick and injured war veterans, announced that it would be postpone the event until next year.
It was to take place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in May.
African nations are a new frontier
Multiple African countries closed their borders on Thursday when the local spread of the coronavirus threatened to turn the continent of 1.3 billion people into a new alarming front for the pandemic.
The head of Africa of the World Health Organization, dr. Matshidiso Moeti, said about 10 days ago that there were five countries with the virus.
Now, 34 of Africa’s 54 countries have cases, with a total close to 650. Moeti claimed he was a “extremely rapid evolution”.
In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni has banned the presence in bars and clubs, defining limiting “happiness” a new front in preventing viruses.
“Drunks sit close to each other. They talk with the saliva coming out of their mouth. They are a danger to themselves,” he said.
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India to try a curfew
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to citizens observe a curfew on March 22 from 7:00 to 21:00 as part of an experiment to test social isolation to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“If you think India has been spared and that everything is OK, and you won’t be affected by the pandemic, then it’s a wrong way of thinking,” he said.
In a speech to the nation, Modi also asked people to come up to their balconies on Sunday at 5pm and beat pots, clap or ring the bells to show their appreciation for those on the front lines including medical staff.
To date, India has recorded only three deaths and 176 confirmed coronavirus cases.
What coronavirus experts say:
Iran (Islamic Republic of,