“The masks are old, but they are still functioning,” Mr. Lounema said this weekend. As for how many masks are being stored and where, he said that information was classified.
By Sunday, the global coronavirus cases had increased to more than 1.1 million, with over 64,000 deaths.
In Spain, the authorities reported another drop in the death toll: 674 died overnight — the lowest in 10 days — for a total of about 12,400, second in the world to Italy. With more than 130,000 reported cases, however, Spain had the highest number in Europe as of Sunday morning.
Also Sunday, South Sudan confirmed its first case of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, according to the country’s vice president, Riek Machar. A 29-year-old woman who arrived in the country from Ethiopia on Feb. 28 was being treated in isolation.
In Iran, the death toll rose to 3,603, a health ministry spokesman told state television on Sunday. The spokesman, Kianush Jahanpur, said 151 people had succumbed in the past 24 hours. The nation, the Middle Eastern country worst-hit by the epidemic, now has 58,226 infections, he said.
In Jerusalem, Franciscan friars wearing surgical masks and gloves made house calls on Palm Sunday, delivering olive branches to Christians who are self-isolating as a precaution against the coronavirus. Jerusalem’s churches, like Muslim and Jewish places of worship, are closed to the public.
In the Vatican, Pope Francis celebrated Palm Sunday Mass without the tens of thousands of Romans, tourists and pilgrims who usually throng St. Peter’s Square. Looking pensive and sounding subdued, Francis led the first of several solemn Holy Week ceremonies that will shut out rank-and-file faithful from attending, as Italy’s lockdown measures forbid public gatherings. He said the pandemic should focus people’s attention on what is most important: using one’s life to serve others.