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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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.

Massachusetts prisons locked down after inmate deaths

Massachusetts prisons are on lockdown following the deaths of multiple inmates, the state's Department of Corrections said Saturday.

Beginning Friday, the corrections department is strictly limiting movement within its facilities to allow for greater social distancing. Staff have also been instructed to use personal protective equipment if they need to be within 6 feet of an individual or in an area with inmates who have tested positive for coronavirus. Inmates will eat meals in their units.

Previously, screening areas were implemented throughout the state's 16 prisons. People seeking to enter the facilities must have their temperatures taken and "surveyed for risk factors," according to the corrections department.

An inmate in his 50s died earlier this week from COVID-19, NBC Boston reported. On Saturday, another inmate died from the virus, according to Boston radio station WBUR.

Italians told to keep staying home as infections level off

An almost deserted Piazza del Popolo in Rome on Saturday.Sipa USA via AP

ROME — The government is demanding Italians stay home and not take the leveling off of new coronavirus infections as a sign the emergency is over. The demand follows evidence that more and more Italians are relaxing restrictions.

Top government and regional officials took to national television Saturday after photos were published in leading daily Corriere della Sera and La Stampa showing huge crowds of people out shopping in Naples, Rome, Genoa and even the Veneto city of Padua.

Lombardy vice governor Fabrizio Sala claimed cell phone date showed 38 percent percent of the region’s people were out and about. That’s the highest figure since March 20.

First case confirmed in Falkland Islands

LONDON — The first case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in the Falkland Islands, a remote British territory in the South Atlantic.

The islands’ government says the patient was admitted to a hospital on Tuesday from the Mount Pleasant Complex, a Royal Air Force base. The patient was in stable condition and  not on a ventilator. The Falklands’ chief medical officer Dr. Rebecca Edwards, said authorities were working with the British military on tracing people who may have come into contact with the patient.

The U.K., which maintains a permanent military presence on the islands, has sent in extra army medics to help with the fight against the new coronavirus.

The islands have a population of about 3,000 and lie off the coast of South America. Britain and Argentina fought a 1982 war over the islands, known to the Argentines as the Malvinas.

NY gets 1,100 ventilators with help from China, Oregon

New York secured a planeload of ventilators from China on Saturday, and Oregon was sending a shipment of its own to battle the coronavirus pandemic at its U.S. core, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. But the governor's startling plan to force hospitals elsewhere in the state to give spare ventilators to the fight in New York City apparently hadn't yet materialized, a day after he ordered them to surrender 20 percent of any unused supply to the National Guard for temporary redistribution.

The state got 1,000 ventilators after the Chinese government facilitated a donation from billionaires Jack Ma and Joseph Tsai, the co-founders of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, Cuomo said. He added that the state of Oregon had volunteered to send 140 more breathing machines.

The influx offered some hope after the governor repeatedly warned that the state’s supply of the vital machines would be exhausted in days if the number of critically ill coronavirus patients kept growing at the current rate.

“It’s going to make a significant difference for us,” Cuomo said.