Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
Canada doubles value of coronavirus stimulus package, promises cash, loan delays
Canada has almost doubled the value of an aid package to help people and businesses deal with losses from the coronavirus outbreak, with Ottawa handing out more money than forecast, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said on Wednesday. The package is worth C$52 billion ($36.62 billion), up from an initial C$27 billion outlined last week.
Bolsonaro calls coronavirus lockdown in Brazil's major cities a 'crime'
President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday blasted as criminals the governors and mayors of Brazil's largest states and cities for imposing lockdowns to slow the coronavirus outbreak, drawing fierce backlash as the death toll in the country rose to 57. Bolsonaro has aligned himself with U.S. President Donald Trump in prioritizing the economy over the shutdowns favored by public health experts, who have warned the outbreak in Brazil could trigger a collapse of the healthcare system next month.
Libya battles escalate as coronavirus arrives in country
Battles erupted around Tripoli on Wednesday following intensified bombardment of the Libyan capital, defying international pleas for a truce to tackle the coronavirus after the first case was confirmed in the country. The internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) launched an assault on several fronts early in the day, including an attack on an airbase west of Tripoli, according to both sides.
Cairo, the city that never sleeps, shuts for coronavirus night-time curfew
Egypt and its capital Cairo, a mega-city home to some 20 million people, shut down on Wednesday evening as authorities launched a night-time curfew to tackle the spread of the coronavirus. In a city that never sleeps where restaurants and cafes are usually open until the wee hours, shop owners were closing shutters and commuters rushing home before the start of the 7 p.m. curfew that runs until 6 a.m.
Prince Charles tests positive for coronavirus, Queen Elizabeth in good health
Prince Charles, the 71-year-old heir to the British throne, has tested positive for coronavirus but is in good health and is now self isolating in Scotland with mild symptoms. Charles, eldest son of Queen Elizabeth, is displaying what Clarence House said were mild symptoms but remains in good health and has been working from his Birkhall residence in Scotland. His wife, Camilla, 72, tested negative.
Spain's coronavirus death toll overtakes China's
Spain's coronavirus death toll jumped by 738 overnight to exceed that of China, where the disease originated, as the country struggled to cope with an accelerating health crisis and another senior government minister was diagnosed with the virus. With 3,434 fatalities, Spain now has the second highest number of deaths globally after Italy's 6,820. Nursing homes across the country have been overwhelmed by cases and a skating rink in Madrid has been turned into a makeshift morgue.
Nigerian army prepares for coronavirus lockdown, mass burials
The Nigerian Army is preparing to forcibly transfer the sick to hospital and enforce curbs on movement to try to shield the country from the coronavirus, and is leasing equipment for "possible mass burial", according to an army memo seen by Reuters. The memo from Army headquarters also outlines plans to protect government food storage from looters as Africa's most populous nation braces for the illness to spread further in the country.
Accused Christchurch shooter changes plea to guilty: media reports
The Australian man accused of the attacks on two New Zealand mosques last year entered a surprise guilty plea in a Christchurch court on Thursday to 51 charges of murder, local media reported. Brenton Tarrant, who appeared by video link in a special High Court hearing, also admitted to 40 charges of attempted murder and one terrorism charge, broadcaster TVNZ reported.
Honduran government delivers food to 3.2 million people amid coronavirus lockdown
Armed Honduran soldiers began delivering food to some 3.2 million people on lockdown in their homes on Wednesday, part of the government's efforts stop the spread of coronavirus in a nation with few resources and a limited public health system. So far, Honduras has reported 36 cases of the virus and no deaths. To prevent the virus from spreading, President Juan Orlando Hernandez has suspended public transportation, closed government offices and businesses, and ordered people nationwide to stay indoors at all hours.
Hezbollah deploys medics, hospitals against coronavirus in Lebanon
The Lebanese paramilitary group Hezbollah is mobilizing some 25,000 people including frontline medics and readying hospitals as part of a plan to help confront the coronavirus in Lebanon, it said on Wednesday. "It is a real war that we must confront with the mindset of a warrior," Sayyed Hashem Safieddine, head of the Shi'ite group's executive council, said. "Our role is to complement the government apparatus and not to stand in its place," he said, presenting Hezbollah's plan on its al-Manar TV.