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Coronavirus: Latest global developments

These are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

– Massive US relief package –

The US House passes an enormous, $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. Four days after the Covid-19 death toll passed 500,000 in the United States, the sprawling measure backed by President Joe Biden heads to the Senate for consideration next week.

“I hope it will receive quick action,” Biden says. “We have no time to waste. If we act now, decisively, quickly and boldly, we can finally get ahead of this virus.”

– New Zealand city back in lockdown –

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern orders the country’s largest city back into lockdown as more Covid-19 cases are detected there.

The latest restrictions in Auckland will last at least seven days and come less than two weeks after a three-day shutdown in the city.

– Targeted lockdowns in France –

Two French coastal cities, Dunkirk in the north and Nice in the south, enter weekend lockdowns in a bid to curb soaring infection rates there.

Prime Minister Jean Castex calls on the authorities in 20 regions across the country — including the Paris region — to tighten the enforcement of existing measures there to head off the need for a full, national lockdown.

– Czechs tighten restrictions –

The Czech government announces tighter restrictions, including a ban on people leaving their districts, from March 1 to halt a surge in coronavirus infections.

The country tops the world in terms of new infections per 100,000 people over the last 14 days and is second only to neighbouring Slovakia in deaths, according to an AFP tally.

– Fresh restrictions in Brazil –

Brazilian cities and states impose a fresh round of restrictions to try to contain rising infections threatening to overwhelm their already stretched hospitals.

Intensive care units in the country are close to breaking point and the country’s death toll passed 250,000 on Thursday — second only to the US toll worldwide.

– Chile sends oxygen to Peru –

A first shipment of medical oxygen sent by Chile arrives in Peru, to help relieve a shortage for Covid-19 patients.

Almost 200 people a day have died from Covid-19 in Peru in February, four times more than in December, with the oxygen shortage hampering treatment for thousands of patients.

– UK’s adieu to fundraising hero –

Britain bids farewell to Captain Tom Moore, the 100-year-old war veteran who became a global hero after raising millions for the health service during the pandemic.

In a televised funeral, soldiers formed a guard of honour at the small ceremony held by Moore’s family in central England, as a WWII-era plane staged a flypast.

– 2.5 million deaths –

The virus has caused at least 2,518,080 deaths around the world since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources at 1500 GMT.

The US has the heaviest toll with 510,467 deaths, followed by Brazil with 252,835, Mexico with 184,474, India 156,938 and the United Kingdom 122,415.

– Belgian jail in lockdown –

A Belgian jail is under quarantine and inmates confined to their cells after more than half of them test positive for Covid-19.

In addition to the more than half of the 132 inmates who tested positive, around 60 out of 115 staff at the Namur prison in southeastern Belgium have also been infected since a first case was discovered early last week.

– S.Africa gets vaccines –

South Africa receives its second consignment of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines of some 800,000 doses.

The country of almost 59 million people, which has seen nearly 50,000 succumb to the virus, has been widely criticised for a slow procurement of vaccines and lack of strategy.

– French team pulls out of Sevens –

The French women’s rugby sevens team withdraws from a tournament in Madrid shortly before it was due to start after “two suspicious cases of Covid-19” were detected within the team, the French Rugby Federation (FFR) announces.