While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 26

A medical staff member works at a drive-through coronavirus test centrel in Bangkok on March 25, 2020.
A medical staff member works at a drive-through coronavirus test centrel in Bangkok on March 25, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

Coronavirus: More than three billion told to stay home worldwide

More than three billion people are living under lockdown measures to stem the spread of the killer coronavirus that the United Nations warned on Wednesday is threatening all of humanity.

As the global death toll soared past 20,000 Spain joined Italy in seeing its number of fatalities overtake China, where the virus first emerged just three months ago.

"Covid-19 is threatening the whole of humanity - and the whole of humanity must fight back," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, launching an appeal for US$2 billion (S$2.9 billion) to help the world's poor.

Markets rebounded after Washington vowed to spend US$2 trillion to fend off a US economic collapse, while governments elsewhere are still taking ever more dramatic steps to contain the disease.


Refugees to the rescue? Germany taps migrant medics to battle bug

Five years ago the arrival of a wave of refugees caused much consternation and fuelled support for Germany's far-right. Now, the country is turning to its migrant community to plug an anticipated shortage of medical staff battling the coronavirus.

The German government says it can double its number of intensive care beds, and even produce more ventilators but a medical staffing crunch is shaping up as the Achilles heel of its strategy to fight the coronavirus.

In Saxony, the heartland of the nationalist Alternative for Germany, the regional medical board is advertising for migrant doctors to help tackle an expected rise in cases.


Coronavirus: Italy's slowing infections boost case for lockdowns

Italy's coronavirus infections rate slowed for a fourth successive day on Wednesday as fresh evidence emerged that long and painful lockdowns against pandemics will work.

The latest data from the epicentre of the once-in-a-century outbreak comes with more and more nations weighing whether to shutter their own stores and factories - and for how long.

Analysts at one of the big US investment banks said evidence from Italy this week could determine whether much of the United States "will diverge or follow the Italian trajectory".


Coronavirus: Downturn will be worse than 2008, WTO says

The World Trade Organisation's chief said on Wednesday that projections show the economic downturn and job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic would be worse than the 2008 recession.

"This pandemic will inevitably have an enormous impact on the economy..." director-general Roberto Azevedo said in a video message filmed from his home and posted on the website of the body that creates rules for global commerce.

"Recent projections predict an economic downturn and job losses that are worse than the global financial crisis a dozen years ago," he added.


Wimbledon to hold 'emergency meeting'; postponement or cancellation on cards

Wimbledon could be postponed or even cancelled after All England Club chiefs called an "emergency meeting" for next week to discuss whether to go ahead with this year's tournament amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Wimbledon is set to start in London on June 29, but the continuing spread of the virus has caused havoc with the sporting schedule and the grass-court Grand Slam could be the next major event to be delayed.

The French Open was the first of this year's three remaining Grand Slams to be postponed due to the virus.