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World facing off against killer pathogen: Countries report more coronavirus infections, deaths

The outbreak of COVID-19 continues to expand in different countries around the world, although to varying degrees.

Here are the latest:

The number of infections reported in the six Arab countries of the Persian Gulf region has exceeded 16,500, with more than 100 deaths.

Bahrain converts car park into temporary hospital

Bahrain has turned a multi-story car park at a military hospital into an intensive care unit for patients with COVID-19. The 130-bed unit was set up at the car park of the Bahrain Defense Force Hospital in Riffa, south of the capital, Manama.

Bahrain recorded 161 new coronavirus cases, most of them among foreign workers, the country’s Health Ministry said on Tuesday, bringing its total number of infections to 1,522, with seven deaths.

UAE’s Sharjah suspends intercity public transport

Sharjah, one of the emirates of the United Arab Emirates, has halted public transport between cities as of Tuesday until further notice.

The UAE has 4,933 cases and 28 deaths.

Jordan to ban mosque prayers during Ramadan

In a bid to contain the spread of virus, Jordan, which has registered 391 cases and seven deaths, announced a ban on public worship in mosques during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan that begins next week.

Jordan has shut down mosques and public places of worship as part of a ban on gatherings to contain its outbreak.

Chile to free 1,300 prisoners

The Constitutional Court in Chile on Tuesday approved a special law sent by the government of President Sebastian Pinera that would grant amnesty to about 1,300 prisoners at high risk of contracting the coronavirus.

The amnesty is aimed at easing pressure on the country’s prisons, which, according to a Supreme Court report, are a “time bomb” with some 42,000 inmates.

Two Brazil governors contract coronavirus

Two Brazilian state governors said on Tuesday that they had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Governors Wilson Witzel of Rio de Janeiro and HelderBarbalho of the northern state of Para both took to Twitter to announce their diagnoses and call on people to stay home to prevent the spread of the disease.

Brazil, Latin America’s worst hit country, has reported 1,532 deaths so far.

Germany records 2,486 new cases, 285 deaths

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany jumped by 2,486 to 127,584, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday.

The new figure marked an increase after four days of decline.

The country also registered 285 new deaths, taking the total number to 3,254, according to the tally.

South Koreans head to polls despite pandemic

South Koreans headed to the polls on Wednesday for parliamentary elections that are taking place amid the coronavirus epidemic, while many other countries have delayed votes.

The voters were wearing masks and plastic gloves as part of strict safety measures. Early voting also took place last weekend to reduce the number of voters crowding polling stations on Wednesday.

South Korea initially had the second highest number of coronavirus cases in the world behind China, but its massive testing campaign and intensive contact tracing has largely helped the country bring its cases under control.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday reported 27 new cases, bringing the total number to 10,564. The country has registered 225 deaths.

Japan calls on people to limit interactions

Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday urged the Japanese people to do everything in their power to limit interactions with others by 70% to stem the spread of the virus.

He added that the government would consider the request from coalition partner Komeito to give 100,000 yen (933.45 dollars) cash handouts to individuals to help cushion the impact of the outbreak.

Footage shows mass graves being dug in Ecuador

Drone footage filmed on Tuesday appeared to show excavators digging mass graves in the city of Guayaquil in Ecuador.

It also showed containers believed to be holding the bodies of deceased COVID-19 patients, stationed at Guasmo Sur hospital.

According to the Johns Hopkins University, Ecuador has reported around 7,600 confirmed coronavirus cases and nearly 370 deaths.

Thailand prolongs ban on passenger flights

Also on Wednesday, Thailand’s aviation body extended a ban on incoming passenger flights until the end of April as part of efforts to curb the coronavirus.

A government spokesman said that 30 new infections and two deaths had been reported in the country on Wednesday.

Thailand has registered a total of 2,643 cases and 43 deaths since its outbreak escalated in January.

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