Coronavirus updates: US Navy battles growing outbreak on hospital ship

narvikk/iStock(NEW YORK) — A global pandemic of the novel coronavirus has claimed the lives of nearly 120,000 people around the world.

More than 1.9 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.

Since the first cases were detected in China back in December, the United States has become the worst-affected nation, with more than 582,000 diagnosed cases and at least 23,649 deaths. The number of cases in New York state alone is higher than in any single country.

Here’s how the news is developing Tuesday. All times Eastern:

7:14 a.m.: Positive cases top 15,000 in Africa

At least 15,284 people across Africa have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 815 of them have died, according to data released Tuesday by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The cases span all but two of the continent’s 54 nations.

South Africa has the highest national tally with 2,272 positive cases. Egypt is not far behind with 2,190 cases, according to the Africa CDC.

6:43 a.m.: France extends nationwide lockdown till May 11

French President Emmanuel Macron has extended a lockdown for his country till May 11.

Addressing the nation Monday night, Macron said he sees “hopeful signs” since imposing the nationwide lockdown on March 17 to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Macron said schools will reopen “progressively,” starting from May 11. However, cafes, restaurants, cinemas, concert halls, museums and hotels will remain closed and large gatherings won’t be allowed until mid-July.

An announcement is expected this week on either a postponement or an outright cancellation of cycling’s biggest race, the Tour de France, which is slated to kick off in Nice on June 27.

France is one of the worst-affected countries in the pandemic, with more than 137,000 diagnosed cases and nearly 15,000 deaths, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

6:21 a.m.: India extends nationwide lockdown through May 3

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced an extension to the nationwide lockdown for the country’s 1.3 billion people.

In a televised address to the nation, Modi explained the lockdown will now remain in effect through May 3 but some restrictions on people’s movement may be loosened after a week to help low-income employees and those working in the agriculture sector.

The restrictions will be relaxed only in areas that don’t show any deterioration in the spread of the novel coronavirus, Modi said.

India seems to have fared well in the pandemic so far, with just over 10,500 diagnosed cases and 358 deaths, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

5:39 a.m.: Austria and Italy reopen some shops as lockdown slowly eases

Austria and Italy slowly began to reawaken Tuesday after a month of lockdown measures to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In Italy, where more than 20,000 people have died from COVID-19, a limited number of stores and small business were allowed to reopen their doors Tuesday. Shops selling books, stationary and children’s clothes could reopen, along with a few specific small business and activities, including forestry, fertilizer production, wholesale paper and cardboard distribution, and computer manufacturing.

All businesses must ensure a number of safety rules, including social distancing, twice-a-day disinfection of the space, access to disinfecting gel for all workers, health information placed on front doors and masks required in all closed spaces.

Lombardy and other hard-hit regions in Italy’s north have decided to maintain their restrictions for longer.

Thousands of shops reopened Tuesday in Austria, one of the first European countries to follow Italy in imposing strict measures.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz outlined a step-by-step plan last week to relax the lockdown and reopen parts of the economy, starting with non-essential shops under 4,300 square feet as well as home improvement stores and garden centers.

Social distancing measures remain in effect and Austrians are still encouraged not to leave their homes unless absolutely necessary. All shoppers are required to wear face masks.

3:30 a.m.: Seven crew members on USNS Mercy test positive for virus

A growing number of crew members aboard the USNS Mercy hospital ship docked in Los Angeles have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

A total of seven medical treatment facility crew members have now been infected and are currently isolated off the ship, according to U.S. Navy Cmdr. John Face, a 3rd Fleet spokesman. The first positive case was confirmed on April 9.

Face said everyone who was considered to have been in close contact with the infected individuals remain in quarantine off the ship and have tested negative, with the exception of one crew member who was the fifth positive case.

“The ship is following protocols and taking every precaution to ensure the health and safety of all crew members and patients on board,” Face told ABC News in a statement early Monday. “This will not affect the ability for Mercy to receive patients at this time.”

After arriving in the Port of Los Angeles last month, the USNS Mercy began treating non-coronavirus patients from area hospitals to help free up resources for COVID-19 patients.

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