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Coronavirus latest update, April 1: UN calls pandemic worst crisis since WW2

Coronavirus latest update, April 1: UN calls pandemic worst crisis since WW2

Coronavirus Latest Updates: The number of positive coronavirus cases around the world crossed 8,50,000 while at least 42,000 people have died. Italy and Spain accounted for half the deaths, while the toll in US crossed China's. According to a data collected by Johns Hopkins University researchers, 177,857 people who were infected have since recovered.

UN's secretary general, António Guterres said the coronavirus pandemic as the most challenging crisis since the second world war.

New York has become the nation's biggest hotspot, with around 1,550 deaths statewide, most of them in New York City, which braced for things to get much worse in the coming weeks. A 1,000-bed emergency hospital set up at the mammoth Javits Convention Center began taking non-coronavirus patients to help relieve the city's overwhelmed health system. A Navy hospital ship with 1,000 beds was expected to begin accepting patients Tuesday.

An indoor tennis center that was supposed to host the US Open tournament is being turned into a hospital as well. Nearly 80,000 former nurses, doctors and others are said to be stepping forward to help deal with the crisis. Officials said they are doing background checks and making sure they are fit for duty.

Around the city, workers in protective gear have been seen putting bodies of victims into refrigerated trailers. At some hospitals, like Lenox Hill in Manhattan, the trucks are parked on streets, along sidewalks and in front of apartments. Cars and buses passed by as corpses were loaded by forklift at Brooklyn Hospital Center. People captured some of the scenes by cellphone.

Spain records 849 new deaths

Spain reported more than 849 new deaths, pushing the toll above 8,000 and forcing Madrid to open a second temporary morgue after an ice rink pressed into service last week became overwhelmed. Dozens of hotels across Spain have been turned into recovery rooms, and authorities are building field hospitals in sports centers, libraries and exhibition halls.

Meanwhile, in France, nearly 500 have died in 24 hours. The country's health authorities announced an increase of 499 deaths of patients in its hospitals on Tuesday; the biggest rise since the start of the pandemic.

White House stresses dire US death toll predictions

President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned Americans to brace for a "hell of a bad two weeks" ahead as the White House projected there could be 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the US from the coronavirus pandemic even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained.

But Dr Deborah Birx, part of the team leading the US response to the pandemic, says the model doesn't assume every American does everything they're supposed to do, "so it can be lower than that". In the United States, over 800 fresh deaths have been recorded on Tuesday, by far the most for a single day, news agency Reuters reported.

Turkmenistan bans media from using the word 'coronavirus'

An international media freedom watchdog says the autocratic ex-Soviet nation of Turkmenistan has banned the media from using the word "coronavirus."

Reporters Without Borders said Tuesday the word also has been removed from health information brochures distributed in schools, hospitals and workplaces. The gas-rich Central Asian nation that neighbors Iran so far has reported no cases of the new coronavirus. Iran has reported more than 44,000 cases.

Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said people wearing face masks or talking about the coronavirus are liable to be arrested by plainclothes police. Ranked last in the group's 2019 World Press Freedom Index, Turkmenistan is one of the world's most closed countries. Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has ruled the country since 2006 through an all-encompassing personality cult that styles him as Turkmenistan's "arkadaq," or protector.

Iraq extends curfew

Iraq has extended a nationwide curfew until April 19 amid a rising rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases as the country improves testing capabilities. Under the curfew, first imposed on March 17, all but essential businesses have been shuttered and inbound and outbound flights suspended in Baghdad and local airports across the country.

Twice a day clarion calls by Iraqi authorities instruct citizens to stay at home. Iraq is seeing a gradual increase in confirmed coronavirus cases as testing capabilities improve. By Tuesday, at least 50 people had died among 694 cases, according to a statement from the Health Ministry

Israel converts missile-production facility into production of breathing machines

Israel's Defense Ministry says it has converted a missile-production facility into an assembly line producing breathing machines to help the country confront the coronavirus pandemic. The ministry announced Tuesday that the facility, operating at a factory belonging to state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries, produced its first 30 ventilators. Israel Aerospace said it built the production line in several days with Inovytec, an Israeli maker of medical equipment. Israel Aerospace says it expects the line to make hundreds of machines per week.

The facility is normally used to produce the U.S.-Israeli "Arrow" missile defense system, satellites and the "Beresheet" unmanned spacecraft that attempted a lunar landing last year. "Turning a missile production line into a ventilator assembly plant is a very complex task," said Dr. Dani Gold, the ministry official leading the effort. Israel has reported 5,300 cases of coronavirus. Twenty people have died.

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