Worldwide, more than 1.9 million infections have been reported and over 120,000 people have died from the coronavirus.
The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo rejects US President Donald Trump’s claims of total authority on decisions to re-open the economy, prompting Mr Trump to tweet of “mutiny”.
This story will be updated regularly throughout Wednesday. You can also stay informed with the latest episode of the Coronacast podcast.
New York Governor rebuffs Trump’s ‘total authority’ claim
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo took to morning TV shows on Tuesday to push back against United States President Donald Trump’s claim of “total” authority to re-open the nation’s virus-stalled economy, noting that a president is not an absolute monarch.
“We don’t have a king,” Governor Cuomo said on NBC’s Today.
“We have a president. That was a big decision. We ran away from having a king, and George Washington was president, not King Washington. So the president doesn’t have total authority.”
The Democratic governor, whose state has become the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States with more than 10,800 deaths, was reacting to Mr Trump’s assertion on Monday [local time] that “when somebody is president of the United States, the authority is total”.
@realDonaldTrump: Tell the Democrat Governors that “Mutiny On The Bounty” was one of my all time favorite movies. A good old fashioned mutiny every now and then is an exciting and invigorating thing to watch, especially when the mutineers need so much from the Captain. Too easy!
“Nope,” Governor Cuomo said.
“If he ordered me to reopen in a way that would endanger the public health of the people of my state, I wouldn’t do it.”
Governor Cuomo said any such order would set up a constitutional challenge between the states and the US Government that would go to court.
“The worst possible thing he could do at this moment — to act dictatorial and to act in a partisan, divisive way,” Mr Cuomo added, referring to the President’s impending bid for re-election in November.
“Keep the politics out of it.”
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Steepest downturn since the Great Depression
The global economy is expected to shrink by 3 per cent during 2020 in a stunning coronavirus-driven collapse that will mark the steepest downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.
Australia’s economy is expected to shrink by 6.7 per cent, making it one of the worst-hit economies in the Asian region, according to the IMF.
In its 2020 World Economic Outlook, the IMF predicted a partial rebound in 2021, with the world economy growing at a 5.8 per cent rate, but said its forecasts were marked by “extreme uncertainty” and that outcomes could be far worse, depending on the course of the pandemic.
“This recovery in 2021 is only partial as the level of economic activity is projected to remain below the level we had projected for 2021, before the virus hit,” Gita Gopinath, the IMF’s chief economist, said in a statement.
Tweet Dr Tedros: Very glad to share this news: today, the 1st @UN solidarity flight departs Addis Ababa,
Under the Fund’s best-case scenario, the world is likely to lose a cumulative $9 trillion in output over two years — greater than the combined gross domestic product of Germany and Japan.
Group of Seven (G7) finance officials threw their support behind temporary debt relief to the poorest countries.
In a joint statement, G7 finance ministers and central bankers said they were ready to provide “a time-bound suspension on debt service payments due on official bilateral claims for all countries eligible for World Bank concessional financing” if joined by China and other countries in the Group of 20 major economies, and as agreed with the Paris Club group of creditors.
Meanwhile, estimated global airline losses from the coronavirus pandemic have climbed to $314 billion, 25 per cent more than previously forecast, owing to the severity of the economic downturn and a slower than previously expected reopening of international routes.
The latest forecast from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) represents a 55 per cent drop in 2020 passenger revenue compared with last year.
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Bangladesh factory workers sacked as brands cancel
At least 10,000 garment workers have been sacked in Bangladesh as Western brands hit by coronavirus lockdowns cancel orders, union leaders said.
More than $3 billion-worth of orders have been cancelled or suspended, according to factory owners in Bangladesh, one of the world’s top suppliers of clothes to Western countries.
“We found at least 10,000 workers from 37 factories who lost their jobs. The actual situation could be worse,” said Kalpona Akter, founder of the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity, one of three unions that documented the job cuts.
“These workers won’t get jobs anywhere else for the next two to three months. The factories must take them back and the Government needs to ensure this.”
Bangladesh ranks behind only China as a supplier of clothes to Western countries. The garment industry accounts for more than 80 per cent of its exports and employs about 4 million people, mostly women.
Bangladesh has just over 1,000 cases of COVID-19 and 26 deaths. But a leaked UN memo last month forecast that between 500,000 and 2 million lives could be lost in Bangladesh without intervention.
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Iraq suspends Reuters for three months over COVID-19 report
Iraq has suspended the licence of the Reuters news agency after it published a story saying the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country was higher than officially reported.
Iraq’s media regulator said it was revoking Reuters’ licence for three months and fining it 25 million dinars [$32,000] for what it said was the agency’s violation of the rules of media broadcasting.
The Reuters report, published on April 2, cited three doctors involved in the testing process, a health ministry official and a senior political official as saying Iraq had thousands of confirmed COVID-19 cases, many times more than the 772 it had publicly reported at that time.
In a letter to Reuters, the Communications and Media Commission (CMC) said it had taken the action “because this matter is taking place during current circumstances which have serious repercussions on societal health and safety”.
Reuters said it regretted the Iraqi authorities’ decision and that it stood by the story, which it said was based on multiple, well-placed medical and political sources, and fully represented the position of the Iraqi health ministry.
“We are seeking to resolve the matter and are working to ensure we continue to deliver trusted news about Iraq,” the news agency said in a statement.
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