India puts its 1.3 billion people on lockdown as grim scenes hit Spain
As coronavirus deaths and infections surged in Europe and the U.S. on Tuesday, India, with 1.3 billion people, or one-sixth of the Earth’s population, ordered the biggest lockdown in the world. A flicker of hope that Italy might be turning the corner faded after officials reported an increase in new cases and deaths. And Spain had so many bodies it commandeered an ice rink to store them.
More than 400,000 people worldwide have been infected and over 18,500 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.
With infections in the U.S. exceeding 50,000, including more than 690 deaths, public-health experts have warned that failing to maintain social distancing would balloon infections to the point the healthcare system would be overwhelmed and many more would die.
In one of the outbreak’s first celebrity deaths, Terhomes rence McNally, the Tonywinning playwright whose credits included “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Ragtime,” “Love! Valour! Compassion!” and “Master Class,” died in Sarasota of complications from the virus at age 81, his representative said. McNally was a lung-cancer survivor who lived with chronic inflammatory lung disease.
Los Angeles County reported what might be the first confirmed U.S. death of a child from the new coronavirus. County public-health director Barbara Ferrer said it’s a “devastating reminder that COVID-19 infects people of all ages.” The child lived in the Mojave Desert city of Lancaster north of Los Angeles, but other details weren’t immediately released.
Spain, meanwhile, registered a record one-day increase of nearly 6,600 new infections and a leap of more than 500 in the death toll, to almost 2,700. The country started storing bodies in an ice rink converted to a morgue until they could be buried or cremated. Also, army troops disinfecting nursing
discovered elderly people living amid the corpses of suspected coronavirus victims. Prosecutors opened an investigation.
Spain’s interior minister said police have arrested more than 900 people for defying the government’s order to stay home.
As healthcare workers worked around the clock, they also struggled with scarce supplies.
“All over the country, you see examples of workers inventing homemade suits using plastics,” said Olga Mediano, a lung specialist at a hospital in Guadalajara, a city outside Madrid. “The protective suits are fundamental because without health workers we won’t be able to do anything.”
Relatives of elderly people and retirement-home workers were fearful.
“We live in anguish. We have no information whatsoever,” said Esther Navarro, whose 97-year-old mother has Alzheimer’s and is at a home in Madrid.
In Italy, a jump in the number of new deaths and cases over the last 24 hours dashed hopes fed by two days of declines. The 743 deaths reported Tuesday pushed Italy’s toll past 6,800, by far the highest of any country.
“Woe to whoever lets down the guard,” Health Minister Roberto Speranza said. “Now, more than ever, the commitment of everyone is needed.”
In a distinct shift in the crisis, some 85% of new infections are coming from Europe and the United States. Chinese authorities said they would finally end the two-month lockdown in hard-hit Hubei province, where the outbreak began.
World Health Organization spokeswoman Margaret Harris said cases around the world are expected to increase “considerably.”
In Britain, confusion rippled through the country after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a threeweek halt to all nonessential activity.
The government told most stores to close, banned gatherings of three or more people and said everyone apart from essential workers should leave home only to buy food and medicine or to exercise. But photos showed crowded trains on some London subway lines.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted: “Ignoring these rules means more lives lost.”
For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever or coughing. But for some older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. More than 100,000 people have recovered.
Elsewhere around the world, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi decreed a “total lockdown” of the country for 21 days. India has reported about 500 cases.
“To save India and every Indian, there will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes,” Modi said.
Neighboring Pakistan ordered its railways shut down as infections climbed past 900.
The Philippine Congress approved a bill declaring a national emergency and authorizing President Rodrigo Duterte to launch a huge program and tap private hospitals and ships to help as the outbreak starts to take hold. The country reported more than 550 cases.
In contrast to other European countries, Germany offered some hope that it has flattened the exponential spread of the virus, which has infected some 30,000 people. The death toll was relatively low at about 130, and Germany has even taken in patients from France and Italy for treatment.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government approved a massive aid package to counter the economic fallout, offering more than $1.1 trillion to tide over small companies and entrepreneurs and pump capital into bigger companies.
SPAIN STARTED STORING BODIES IN AN ICE RINK UNTIL THEY COULD BE BURIED OR CREMATED. ALSO, ARMY TROOPS DISINFECTING NURSING HOMES DISCOVERED ELDERLY PEOPLE LIVING AMID THE CORPSES OF SUSPECTED VIRUS VICTIMS.
Military members take bodies for cold storage at the Palacio de Hielo ice rink on Tuesday in Madrid. Spain registered a record one-day increase of nearly 6,600 new infections and a leap of more than 500 in the death toll, to almost 2,700.