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Global death toll tops 30,000 as CDC issues travel advisory for 3 states

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: A health public information officer looks at beds at a temporary hospital set up by the California National Guard in Indio on March 29, 2020.
A health public information officer looks at beds at a temporary hospital set up by the California National Guard in Indio on Sunday.Apu Gomes / AFP - Getty Images

The global death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 30,000, according to John Hopkins University, as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued a travel advisory for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, where the coronavirus outbreak has hit the U.S. hardest.

Elsewhere, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote residents urging them to stay home during the country's weeks-long lockdown. Johnson, who recently tested positive for coronavirus, said "things will get worse before they get better." The U.K. has surpassed 1,000 known deaths.

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VA opens its hospital beds to non-veterans to assist New York City

The Department of Veterans Affairs said Sunday that it would be opening up 50 beds in two of its hospitals to help New York City in its efforts to combat the coronavirus. 

Non-veteran patients who need treatment for ailments other than COVID-19, the disease associated with the virus, will be eligible for 35 acute care and 15 intensive care unit hospital beds. The transfer of five non-COVID patients from community hospitals to VA campuses in Manhattan and Brooklyn is already underway, the department said. 

“VA is proud to assist the City of New York while continuing its primary mission of caring for our Nation’s Veterans,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in the Sunday press release.

Governors warn shortages will put their states in 'dire straits' as early as this week

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards appear on "Meet the Press" on March 29, 2020.NBC News

WASHINGTON — Two governors of states seeing a surge in coronavirus cases sounded the alarm Sunday about the lack of resources to respond to the crisis and warned that shortages of ventilators and protective equipment could overwhelm hospitals as soon as this week.

Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said that some hospitals in her state are “already at capacity,” and that even despite receiving new shipments of protective equipment as recently as Saturday, her state is “going to be in dire straits again in a matter of days.”

Read the full story here.

Photo: Shopping in Madrid

People practice social distancing while waiting to enter a supermarket in Madrid on Sunday.Susana Vera / Reuters

Owner of the New York Knicks and Rangers tests positive

Madison Square Garden Company Executive Chairman and CEO Jim Dolan has tested positive for coronavirus.

Dolan is the owner both the New York Knicks and New York Rangers sports teams. He also operates the famed Manhattan arena, Madison Square Garden.

The 64-year-old has been in self-isolation and is experiencing little to no symptoms, according to a tweet from the Knicks Saturday night.

Social distancing halved rate of spread in Australia, PM says as lockdown measures increase

The rate of spread of the novel coronavirus in Australia has halved in recent days, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday as he announced an additional 1.1 billion Australian dollars (about $680 million) to expand telemedicine care and other health services.

The daily increase in cases in recent days was at about 13 percent-15 percent, down from 25 percent-30 percent seen a week ago, showing social distancing measures were working, Morrison said. He acknowledged, however, that these were still strong rates of increase.

As such, Morrison said that public gatherings should not exceed two people, and stressed Australians should go out only when necessary. There are nearly 4,000 confirmed cases in Australia on Sunday and 16 deaths, health officials said.

Also on Sunday, neighboring New Zealand saw its first death related to the virus, with cases rising to 514 confirmed infections.

Spain reports record daily death toll as lockdown is extended

The temporary hospital set up at a pavilion in Ifema convention and exhibition center in Madrid, Spain last week.Comunidad de Madrid / AFP - Getty Images

Spain has reached a daily record for virus deaths with 838 fatalities in the last 24 hours, according to the country's Ministry of Health. This brings the total number to 6,528, the world’s second-highest country behind Italy.

Sunday’s number is slightly up from Saturday when 832 people were reported to have died from the virus. The number of confirmed infections rose by more than 6,500 from Saturday to 78,797 cases on Sunday, the Ministry of Health said.  

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said in a press conference on Saturday that all non-essential workers in Spain are ordered to stay home for two additional weeks of lockdown from Monday until April 9. He added that workers will receive their usual salaries but would have to make up lost hours at a later date.

Sánchez also said the Spanish Ministry of Health has bought healthcare supplies from China, including 659 million face masks. He called the outbreak, “the worst crisis in Europe since World War II.”

Reporter's notebook: The virus renders Rome silent

ROME — “Chiuso.” Italy is closed.

Usually a trip to Rome is a dream assignment. But not when your flight lands and you learn that the prime minister has just declared all of Italy a “Zona Rosa,” or a red zone.

The minute we touched down last week, camera operator Angela Neil and I received alerts on our phones announcing that the rules that had been in place for northern Italy were now the law of the entire land: Only leave your house for essential business; restaurants must close at 6 p.m.; all public gatherings are canceled.

An airport security agent stands guard in a deserted Terminal T1 of Rome's Fiumicino international airport on March 17, 2020, as the T1 is closing and all operations taking place at Terminal T3.Andreas Solaro / AFP - Getty Images

The first sign that things were going to be different on this trip came when we passed through a completely empty customs hall after having our body temperatures checked by security staff wearing masks and gloves.

Read the rest here.

India's prime minister apologizes as lockdown criticism mounts

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the nation’s poor for forgiveness on Sunday, as the economic and human toll from his 21-day nationwide lockdown deepens and criticism mounts about a lack of adequate planning ahead of the decision.

Migrant workers and their families board a truck to return to their villages after India ordered a 21-day nationwide lockdown to limit the spreading of coronavirus disease earlier this week in Ahmedabad, India.Amit Dave / Reuters

Modi on Tuesday announced a three week-lockdown to curb the spread of the virus that has particularly stung millions of India’s poor, leaving many hungry and forcing tens of thousands of jobless migrant laborers to walk hundreds of kilometers from cities back to their native villages.

“I would firstly like to seek forgiveness from all my countrymen,” Modi said in a nationwide radio address.

While he acknowledged the poor “would definitely be thinking what kind of prime minister is this, who has put us into so much trouble,” he urged people to understand there was no other option. 

Modi — whose government on Thursday announced a $22.6 billion economic stimulus plan to provide direct cash transfers and food handouts to India’s poor — however, did not offer any clarity on future plans.

Scottish city-dwellers fleeing to remote areas are told to go home

A sign at Aonach Mor car park as members of the public are asked to stop traveling to the Scottish Highlands in a bid to avoid spreading the coronavirus last week in Fort William, Scotland.Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

In the Outer Hebrides, a remote island chain off the west coast of Scotland, there has yet to be a confirmed case of the coronavirus. But local leaders are worried.

An image shared by lawmaker Angus MacNeil paints a bleak picture of preparedness there: a primitive row of camp beds, each with a thin red blanket and blue pillow, sitting empty in a village hall. No ventilators, no testing kits.

MacNeil’s message, and that of officials across Scotland’s typically tourist-friendly Highlands and Islands region, is clear: Do not come.

But people have not been listening. Last weekend saw a spike in arrivals at northern Scotland’s world-renowned sites of natural beauty. Mountain trails were bustling, campsites full, and mobile-home parks at capacity.

Read the rest here.

U.K.'s Boris Johnson warns 'things will get worse before they get better'

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has written to every household in Britain urging people to stay indoors and save lives during the outbreak. 

Sent out to around 30 million households in the country in the coming days — the letter implores citizens follow the new set of rules and affirms that the government will work to mitigate the coming financial impact, saying it will “do whatever it takes to help you...put food on the table.”

News of the letter being sent to U.K. households comes as the country surpassed 1,000 confirmed deaths. On Saturday, the national medical director of the NHS said that the U.K. will have done well "if it comes through the coronavirus crisis with fewer than 20,000 deaths."

"We know things will get worse before they get better," Johnson's letter said. The prime minister himself has recently tested positive for the virus. On Sunday, senior minister Michael Gove told the BBC that Britons should be prepared for a significant period in lockdown.