This roundup summarises the most important news stories around the world in the last two weeks (April 15 to 30, 2020).
There are now more than three million confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, with over 200,000 deaths. With one million cases, the United States now accounts for about a third of the total cases and about a quarter of the total deaths. In addition to the immediate healthcare implications, the International Monetary Fund said the world economy has almost certainly entered a recession – with a projected three per cent global contraction in 2020 – matched in severity only by the Great Depression.
And as president Donald Trump announced that the country would suspend its funding for the World Health Organisation, the last COVID-19 patients were discharged in Wuhan, China, the original outbreak epicentre of the pandemic. However, the country also raised the coronavirus death toll in city by 50 per cent, and also reported a 6.8 per cent year-over-year economic contraction in the first quarter. The report marked the China’s first quarterly GDP decline since official records were published in 1992.
In other pandemic-related news: South Korea became the first country to hold parliamentary elections since the start of the pandemic, held under tight virus controls. The party of president Moon Jae-in won a decisive victory.
Saudi Arabia and Russia ended their oil-price war with a deal for oil-producing countries to cut output – approximately 10 per cent of the global supply – over the next two months. Even so, oil prices crashed to a record lows and the price of a barrel of oil went negative, which has never happened in the history of the markets.
And in other news around the world:
- Canada: In the country’s deadliest shooting, a man posing as a police officer killed at least 16 people during a shooting rampage across multiple towns.
- Israel: Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and rival Benny Gantz signed a unity deal to form an emergency government, thereby ending a year of political deadlock.
- South Korea: A fire at a construction site killed at least 36 people.
- United States: Former president Barack Obama formally endorsed his former vice president Joe Biden for president. And at least 32 people died after tornadoes and severe storms hit several southern states.