US virus deaths near 35,000; joblessness 22 million: Live updates

US President Donald Trump lays out guidelines for reopening the economy even as UK and Canada promise to keep lockdowns.

US President Donald Trump has announced “a phased approach” to ease restrictions of movement on Americans, even as the coronavirus death toll in the country continues to rise nearing 35,000, and with cases soaring to 667,000 as of 01:00 GMT on Friday.

Trump’s move came on the same day the government reported 5.2 million more Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the four-week total to 22 million – the worst stretch of US job losses on record. The losses translate to about one in seven American workers.

More: 

  • A timeline of the Trump administration’s coronavirus actions

  • World reacts to Trump withdrawing WHO funding

  • Who is to blame: President Trump or the WHO?

Worldwide, the number of infections has now reached 2,152,000, with nearly 145,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally, prompting some governments, including that of the United Kingdom and Canada to extend the lockdown.

Meanwhile in Mexico, health officials reported 450 new cases of the coronavirus and 37 new deaths, bringing the country’s total to 6,297 cases and 486 deaths.

Here are the latest updates:

Friday, April 17

00:32 GMT – Trudeau says Canada’s restrictions with US to remain

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that the country’s border restrictions with the US will remain in place “for a significant amount of time” as the two countries fight the coronavirus outbreak.

Washington and Ottawa agreed last month to clamp down on non-essential travel while allowing trade to continue across their long shared frontier.

“As we move forward, there will be special thought given to this relationship. But at the same time we know that there is a significant amount of time, still, before we can talk about loosening such restrictions,” Trudeau told a daily briefing.

00:21 GMT – Balkan states agree to coordinate coronavirus response

Health ministers of the Western Balkan countries have agreed to facilitate any joint action in the fight against the coronavirus, according to the Kosovo Health Ministry.

A statement on  Thursday said Kosovar Health Minister Arben Vitia had telephone calls with his colleagues in the region in which they agreed that “transport routes for goods, health personnel and medical equipment remain free.”

All countries are in lockdown and only goods can cross their borders.

COVID-19 has infected 8,801 people and killed 233 in the six Western Balkan countries.

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Hello, I’m Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. You can find all the updates from yesterday, April 16, here.

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