Surgeon General, Trump sound alarm as U.S. cases top 300,000

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: Palm Sunday during coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Turin
A woman wearing a protective face mask prays in Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Turin, Italy, on Sunday.Massimo Pinca / Reuters

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On Sunday, Surgeon General Jerome Adams called on U.S. governors who haven't issued statewide stay-at-home orders to at least "give us a week" of restrictions, as health officials warn of an accelerating rate of coronavirus cases and deaths. This week is going to be "our Pearl Harbor moment," Adams said.

The warning comes after President Donald Trump said "there will be a lot of death" as the U.S. faces its "toughest week" in the fight against the pandemic.

The total number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose to 333,000 on Sunday, with the number of deaths at more than 9,000, according to NBC News' tally. Globally, the death toll is more than 65,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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Daily death toll in Spain drops for third day in a row

Maria Porcel cries on the coffin of her mother, Concepcion Molero, who died at the age of 80 after contracting the virus in Spain on Saturday.David Ramos / Getty Images

The number of virus deaths has fallen for the third day in a row in Spain — showing some hope in the hard-hit country where more than 12,400 have died as of Sunday. On Saturday, the country reported 809 news deaths, and on Sunday it reported 674.

While Spain is second only to Italy in number of deaths and behind only the U.S. in number of reported infections, both Italy and Spain have recently seen a slowing of infections after weeks of lockdown.

Despite this, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Saturday in an address that he would ask parliament to extend lockdown measures by 15 days until April 26.

1st federal inmate to die of virus wrote heartbreaking letter to judge

In the months before the coronavirus infiltrated the U.S., a 49-year-old inmate began drafting a letter inside the walls of a federal prison in Louisiana. The man, Patrick Jones, had been locked up for nearly 13 years on a nonviolent drug charge. He hadn’t seen his youngest son, then 16, since the boy was a toddler.

He was now writing the judge in the hope of receiving a sentence reduction through the newly-signed First Step Act, which offered relief to some inmates convicted of nonviolent drug crimes.

“My child having his own experience of raising his own child would validate my life experience and give meaning to my existence in this world, because 83582-180 has no meaning,” he wrote, referring to his federal inmate number.

The judge denied the request on Feb. 26, 2020. Twenty two days later, Patrick Estell Jones was dead, the first federal inmate to die of the coronavirus.

Read the whole story here.

Iran's president says 'low risk' economic activity to resume next week

Iran recorded 2,483 new cases from the past 24 hours, the country's Health Ministry said Sunday. This brought the total to 58,226 confirmed cases in the worst-hit country in the Middle East

While more than 22,000 of those people have recovered, another 151 people died from the respiratory illness in the country bringing the total number to 3,603 which is up by 151 from the day before, the ministry said. 

However, Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani said in a TV address on Sunday that “low-risk” economic activities would resume on April 11, but that schools, universities and religious venues will remain closed until April 19.

CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings or masks: what you need to know

Queen to call for 'good-humoured resolve' as virus deaths rise in U.K.

Queen Elizabeth normally only speaks to the nation during her annual Christmas Day message, which she is pictured doing here in December.Steve Parsons / AFP - Getty Images file

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II will urge her subjects to show the same “self-discipline” and “quiet good-humoured resolve” that characterized previous generations in a rare address to the nation about the coronavirus epidemic on Sunday.

The monarch will acknowledge the grief, financial difficulties and “enormous changes to the daily lives” felt by many families during “a time of disruption” in a pre-recorded televised address meant to rally the nation.

"I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge. And those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any," the 93-year-old will say, according to extracts released by Buckingham Palace.

Her speech comes as the number of deaths from the respiratory illness in the U.K. climbed over 4,300 on Saturday.

Read the full story here.

Pandemic means Palm Sunday and Holy Week will be held at home

On Palm Sunday, the pandemic has challenged Christian churches around the world to find socially distant ways to begin the Holy Week and to mark the final week of Lent.

Pope Francis — the center of the Catholic church — will be celebrating Mass for Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and Easter in a near-empty St. Peter’s Basilica, instead of the huge square outside filled with Catholics due to Italy's lockdown.

In Argentina, the archbishopric of La Plata encouraged the faithful to use any type of plant at home for a “virtual” blessing during a livestream of Palm Sunday service.

Millions of American Christians will observe Palm Sunday at home this weekend, as the vast majority of U.S. churches have moved services online to comply with stay-at-home rules.

Residents told to wear masks outside at all times in Italy's Lombardy region

Protective masks bearing the names of medical staffers and nurses are pictured pinned to a wall on April 2 at the operative field hospital for coronavirus patients in Lombardy, Italy.Miguel Medina / AFP - Getty Images

Residents in Italy's virus-ravaged Lombardy region will be required to wear masks at all times when they go outside until at least April 13, government officials said Sunday.  

They added that an additional 180 police officers will be deployed to patrol the streets of Milan — Italy’s financial hub and one of the region's main cities. 

The decree was issued as new figures showed 25 nurses and 80 doctors died across Italy as of Sunday, health officials said.

Italy has reported a national death toll of more than 15,000 as of Sunday. However, it has started to see the number of infections leveling off after weeks of nationwide shutdown.

Dubai extends around the clock lockdown for two weeks

Dubai entered an extended two-week lockdown late Saturday night as Gulf states work to limit the virus outbreak. The emirate had been under an overnight curfew along with the rest of the UAE since March 26 but the lockdown will now continue to run around the clock, officials said. The UAE has more than 1,500 reported cases as of Sunday.

In a city known for luxury and a lively nightlife scene, people will only be able leave their homes except for essential purposes and just one family member is permitted to go out at any one time. People working in vital sectors will not be affected.

In neighboring Saudi Arabia, the authorities also announced a lockdown and a partial curfew also starting this weekend, the interior ministry said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia is the country worst hit by the pandemic in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council group of Arab oil monarchies. It has reported more than 2,000 cases.

U.K. PM Johnson’s fiancee says she is ‘on the mend’ from virus symptoms

Carrie Symonds, fiancee of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said she is “on the mend” Saturday, after a week suffering from symptoms of COVID-19. 

“Being pregnant with Covid-19 is obviously worrying,” she wrote on Twitter although she admitted she had not been tested for the respiratory illness. She went on to offer the latest medical guidance to other pregnant women.

Britain's Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says babies are unlikely to be exposed to COVID-19 during pregnancy, and as of now there is also no data suggesting an increased risk of miscarriage.

Johnson himself tested positive for the virus on March 26 and remains quarantined until further notice.

Tokyo governor urges Japanese government to declare state of emergency

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has once again urged the central government of Japan to declare a state of emergency, after 118 new cases of the virus were confirmed on Saturday.

“Until now, I have ‘asked’ everyone to exercise ‘self restraint.’ But we really need to be able to issue a ‘demand’, or even ‘instructions’ with firm legal foundation,” she said at a press conference on Saturday.

In order to do that, the national government needs to declare a state of emergency, she said.  

The number of cases in Japan is on the rise — particularly in its capital city — with more than 3,000 cases in the country. The government's “slow” reaction to the pandemic has also caused unease among business owners in Japan.