India, France and Nigeria are among several countries whose leaders are extending lockdowns aimed at stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus, as the number of confirmed cases worldwide topped 2 million.
With the number of infections in his country at more than 10,300, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Tuesday a nationwide lockdown would run through May 3.
French President Emmanuel Macron gave a late Monday televised address saying France’s lockdown would last through May 11, at which time authorities will begin to reopen schools.
“On the French mainland and in France’s overseas territories, the system is under tension and the epidemic is not yet under control. We must therefore continue our efforts and continue to apply the rules. The more they are respected, the more lives will be saved,” he said.
Nigeria also is adding two more weeks to lockdown orders in three states – Lagos, Abuja and Ogun – while Turkey’s president says a 48-hour weekend lockdown will be repeated this week.
By far the most cases have been found in the United States, which accounts for about 600,000 known infections with the hardest-hit area being New York.
There are about 106,000 cases in New York City and 195,000 cases in the entire state, more than Spain or Italy. But Governor Andrew Cuomo declared Monday the “worst is over,” but only if New Yorkers “continue to be smart going forward.”
California was one of the earliest states to tell people to stay home. Governor Gavin Newsom plans to announce Tuesday his administration’s plans for starting to resume normal life.
Giuseppe Fonsino, listens to the speech of French President Emmanuel Macron on TV, in Ville d’Avray, near Paris, Monday, April 13, 2020. Macron said that the country’s coronavirus lockdown will be extended till May 11.
Tuesday also brings small steps away from a total lockdown in Italy, which is allowing some shops to open again. The country has seen steadily improving numbers of critically ill patients after being a hotspot of the outbreak.
The pandemic has battered the world economy, leading many governments to enact massive rescue packages. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has been among those pushing for help for poorer nations that need to focus limited resources on health responses.
The International Monetary Fund gave its approval Monday to a $500-million effort to help 25 countries by canceling six months of their debt payments. Some of those nations include Afghanistan, Congo, Haiti, Mali, Sierra Leone and Yemen.
In the United States, part of the government’s plan to boost the flagging economy is sending cash payments to households to either help people cover their bills amid massive job losses, or to encourage people to spend money and boost business activity.
Those payments are in the process of being distributed, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he expects some 80 million Americans will have the funds in their bank accounts by Wednesday.