• Trump admin extends lockdown measures until the end of April
  • U.K. deputy chief medical officer says restrictions could last six months

U.S President Donald Trump extended federal coronavirus guidelines, such as social distancing and working from home, until April 30 on Sunday. Trump added that the death rate will peak in two weeks and things will start to return to normal in June. "We can expect that by June 1, we will be well on our way to recovery, we think by June 1. A lot of great things will be happening," he said. The guidelines were announced on March 16 and were meant to expire today. Trump also thanked General Motors yesterday for building ventilators. "As you know, we called General Motors for the Defense Production Act deeds, and they really seem to be working very, very hard," he said.

The president earlier indicated he wanted to open the economy by Easter, and yesterday's statement marks a turnaround in the administration's view of the situation. Trump said, "There would be nothing worse than declaring victory before victory is won - that would be the greatest loss of all." As of March 29, the U.S. has seen 122,653 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 2,112 deaths, according to the CDC. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has predicted the death toll could reach 100,000 to 200,000.

Courtesy WHO.int
Courtesy WHO.int.

Britain's deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries has said the three-week lockdown declared a week ago could go on for six months as the country tries to avoid a second peak in infections. "Three weeks for review, two or three months to see whether we have really squashed it but about three to six months ideally, and lots of uncertainty in that, but then to see at which point we can actually get back to normal," she said. The Wimbledon tennis tournament set to take place from June 29 to July 12 in London will be canceled this week, according to the German Tennis Federation (DTB) vice-president.

The head of the International Monetary Fund said Friday it is clear that the global economy has now entered a recession that could be as bad or worse than the 2009 downturn.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said the 189-nation lending agency was forecasting a recovery in 2021, saying it could be a “sizable rebound.” But she said this would only occur if nations succeed in containing the coronavirus and limiting the economic damage.

In Italy, there are signs that the worst is over as infections slowed, but the government has indicated the lockdown set to expire April 3 will inevitably be extended. In Japan, the Nikkei index fell on Monday after President Shinzo Abe gave an ominous speech over the weekend and investors feared Tokyo will soon be placed under lockdown.

As social distancing in several countries looks set to last months instead of weeks, investors have to confront the possibility of a prolonged crisis that cripples economic activity and leads to a global recession with a U-shaped recovery. Experts are talking about economies going into a "deep freeze" while large government spending keeps businesses and jobs intact. Putting economies on life support for months is unprecedented, and we don't know enough about the virus to make accurate predictions about when precautionary measures will for sure be lifted.