France's health minister has reported the country's highest 24-hour death toll recorded in the country since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

Olivier Veran said that 833 people died of coronavirus in hospitals and nursing homes since yesterday.

Though some predicted that the infection rate might start to slow, Veran said that "we have not reached the end of the ascent of this epidemic."

France has only recently started counting nursing home deaths in their Covid-19-related death counts, and previously only reported deaths in hospitals.


The total number that have died from the coronavirus stands at 8,911.

A wrap of pandemic news around the world:

UNITED STATES: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo extended stay-at-home restrictions through the end of the month, citing fresh evidence that the outbreak-fighting rules could be helping the state avoid a worst-case catastrophe. New York state has tallied 4758 deaths from Covid-19, with 599 reported in the past 24 hours. It remains the most impacted US state with more than 130,000 confirmed cases and close to 17,000 people in hospital. But the number of new people entering hospitals daily has dropped, as have the number of critically ill patients requiring ventilators. Recent data suggests the state could be at or near the peak of the outbreak, state officials said. Warning it was no time the relent, Cuomo said schools and nonessential businesses will remain closed until April 29.

WHO: The World Health Organisation's emergencies chief said countries looking to exit their lockdown strategies need to use a "calibrated, step-wise approach" that does not release all the restrictions at once. Dr Mike Ryan said that the lockdowns seen in many countries involve shutdowns of schools, workplaces, and social gatherings in venues such as public places and parks. "It probably would be a bad idea to lift all the lockdown restrictions (at once). The lockdown is pushing the disease down. Once you raise the lockdown, you have to have an alternative method to suppress the infection," Ryan said, explaining countries should have systems in place to detect cases, track contacts, quarantine suspect cases and test widely for the disease.


The Premier of Canada's most populous province says US officials have stopped three million masks from getting to Ontario from manufacturing giant 3M but he says 500,000 of them are being released today. Ontario Premier Doug Ford says getting masks across the US border is difficult after the Trump Administration announced it would prevent the export of N95 protective masks. Ford says he's hopeful Canada will get an exemption.

ITALY: The day-to-day increase in new Covid-19 cases has dipped again in Italy. The nearly 3600 new cases that authorities announced today were the lowest day-to-day increase in 20 days. Another number boosting hopes in Italy's medical community was a small drop, for the third straight day, in the number of intensive care beds occupied by patients with coronavirus infections nationwide. "Substantially, the data confirms the trend" of a slowing of new cases and "gives comfort that the measures of containment against the viral infection are effective,'' said Dr Luca Richeldi, a pneumologist with Rome's Gemelli Hospital. Italy now has at least 132,547 confirmed cases, putting it just behind Spain in total known cases. There were 636 deaths in Italy since yesterday, up from 525 a day earlier. But Richeldi said that overall, a downward trend in deaths was holding, showing a decrease of 20 per cent compared to a week earlier. Today, Italy marks a month under national lockdown aimed at slowing contagion with the virus.



The number of confirmed infections in Turkey surpassed 30,000, after the country's health minister reported 3148 more cases in the past 24 hours. Fahrettin Koca also reported 75 more deaths on his Twitter account, raising the death toll in the country to 649. The total of number of infections in Turkey stands at 30,217.

SPAIN: Spanish investigators released from custody a businessman suspected of involvement in the theft of two million facemasks amid the new coronavirus outbreak. Private news agency Europa Press reports that the man from the northwest Galicia region remains a suspect in the case, which is ongoing. With facemasks in short supply in many parts of the world, Galician authorities say protective equipment for health workers worth 5 million euros were stolen from a warehouse in Santiago de Compostela last February.

GREECE: The country has recorded six more deaths from in the past day, bringing the country's total to 79, another 20 positive cases were detected, bringing the total to 1755. Greece took lockdown measures relatively early on in its outbreak compared to some other European countries, and authorities say the restrictions appear to be working. Nearly all retail businesses have been shut down, and people are allowed out of their homes only for specific reasons. Thousands of fines have been imposed for those violating the lockdown regulations. Civil Protection Deputy Minister Nikos Hardalias urged Greeks to stick to the restrictions. "April will be the most difficult, but the most crucial, month," he said.

GERMANY: Chancellor Angela Merkel says she's as anxious as anyone for life to return to normal in the country. Merkel says "we're still living in the pandemic" and now isn't the time to talk about an end date to restrictive measures. Merkel says "we would be a bad government if we did not intensively, day and night, consider how we can take steps to return to ordinary life while still protecting health. "But, she adds she would be considered 'a bad chancellor, and we'd be a bad government,' if she set an immediate date to end restrictions. European officials are scheduled to hold a video conference tomorrow to discuss the crisis and Merkel said the European Union was "facing its greatest test since its founding" that has hit every nation.

- AP