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COVID-19 Latest Updates, April 2: US unemployment claims hit record 6.6 million last week

Coronavirus Latest Updates: The overall death toll has passed 46,000. The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 30,000 people in Europe alone. Italy and Spain account for three in every four deaths on the continent.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Published: April 2, 2020 10:15:21 am
Health workers applaud as people react from their houses in support of the medical staff that are working on the COVID-19 virus outbreak at the Gregorio Maranon hospital in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, April 1, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Coronavirus Latest Updates: record 6.6 million Americans filed unemployment claims last week as the economy struggles to contain the coronavirus outbreak. At least 3.3 million had filed unemployment claims last week, which brings the total unemployment claims to nearly 9.95 million.

Meanwhile, over 9,32,000 people across the globe have been infected since the coronavirus first emerged in China late last year. While the death toll has passed 46,000, nearly 2,00,000 have recovered, according to data compiled by John Hopkins University. The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 30,000 people and infected more than 500,000 in Europe alone. Italy and Spain account for three in every four deaths on the continent.

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The World Health Organization has expressed deep concern about the near-exponential escalation of the new coronavirus pandemic, with the number of deaths doubling in a week. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged citizens around the globe to stand together to fight COVID-19.

“Over the past five weeks, we have witnessed a near exponential growth in the number of new cases, reaching almost every country. “The number of deaths has more than doubled in the past week. In the next few days we will reach one million confirmed cases and 50,000 deaths, ” he said.

Here are the key developments across globe:  

WHO: Over 95% who died in Europe were over 60

WHO’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. (REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)

The World Health Organisation said today that show that more than 95 per cent of people who have died of coronavirus on the continent have been aged over 60.

But Dr. Hans Kluge said age is not the only risk factor for severe disease, adding: “The very notion that COVID-19 only affects older people is factually wrong.” In an online news conference Thursday in Copenhagen, Kluge said ‘young people are not invincible’, echoing similar recent comments from WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The UN health agency says 10% to 15% of people under 50 with the disease have moderate or severe infection.

Also Read | WHO health alert on WhatsApp: Here’s how to connect

“Severe cases of the disease have been seen in people in their teens or 20s with many requiring intensive care and some unfortunately passing away,” Kluge said.

He said recent statistics showed 30,098 people have been reported to have died in Europe, mostly in Italy, France and Spain.

More than 500,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Europe: AFP tally

As of today, more than 500,000 confirmed coronavirus infections have been diagnosed in Europe, over half the global total, according to a tally by AFP. The continent has recorded 508,271 cases and 34,571 COVID-19 deaths, compared to global figures of 940,815 and 47,836 respectively. The worst-hit countries are Italy with 13,155 fatalities and Spain with 10,003 — both have more than 100,000 confirmed infections.

However the true number of cases and deaths is likely far higher as many countries are only testing cases that require hospitalisation.

Spain death toll tops 10,000

Spanish sanitation workers sanitise a neighbourhood. (AP Photo)

Spain’s death toll has crossed the 10,000 mark, the AFP quoted the government as saying. The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 30,000 people in Europe alone, Italy and Spain account for three in every four deaths on the continent. Since emerging in China in December, COVID-19 has spread across the globe, claiming more than 43,000 lives, and infecting more than 860,000 people, according to an AFP tally of officially confirmed cases.

Read | Pressure mounts on Angela Merkel to save Europe from COVID-19

Meanwhile, Spain also registered a leap of 302,265 jobless claims in March due to the “extraordinary impact” of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy, the labour ministry said. It is reportedly the biggest monthly increase on jobless claims on record in the eurozone’s fourth-largest economy, which has been in a nationwide lockdown since March 14 to try to curb the spread of the virus.

Health workers applaud as people react from their houses in support of the medical staff that are working on the COVID-19 virus outbreak at the Gregorio Maranon hospital in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, April 1, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

EU chief apologises to Italy but balks at ‘coronabonds’

Medical workers in protective suits push a patient on a stretcher in front of the Policlinico Tor Vergata, where patients suffering from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are hosted, in Rome, Italy March 30, 2020. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission chief, told Italy that European nations were ready to support it deal with the coronavirus after initially focusing on “their own home problems”. However, Ursula stopped short of agreeing to Rome’s request for the bloc to start issuing joint debt — dubbed “coronabonds” — that could let countries such as Italy address the crisis more cheaply. In a statement to Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper, von der Leyden wrote, “Today Europe is mobilising alongside Italy. Unfortunately, this has not always been the case.”

Read | Global economy could shrink by almost 1% in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic: UN

“It must be recognised that in the early days of the crisis, in the face of the need for a common European response, too many have thought only of their own home problems,” she added. Von der Leyen’s letter opened with an apology but ended with a list of the various ways the EU was already helping Italy deal with the economic consequences of its three-week lockdown.

Italy has extended its closure of businesses and ban on public gatherings until April 13 to help stem infections that have already claimed a world-leading 13,155 lives.

328 new cases and 12 deaths reported since Wednesday in India

About 400 COVID-19 positive cases have been found whose epidemiological linkage can be traced to the Tablighi Jamaat cluster, the health ministry said on Thursday.

Addressing the daily briefing, Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agrawal said 328 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 12 new deaths have been reported since Wednesday. He said 1,965 coronavirus cases have been reported so far in India. “Yesterday, the cabinet secretary through video conferencing with chief secretaries and DGPs asked them to initiate intensive contact tracing of Tablighi Jamaat participants and implement containment measures on war-footing,” Agrawal said.

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After contact tracing and sampling, about 400 positive cases have been identified whose epidemiological linkage can be traced to the Tablighi Jamaat cluster, he said. This includes 173 from Tamil Nadu, 11 from Rajasthan, nine from Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 47 from Delhi, two from Puducherry, 22 from Jammu and Kashmir, 33 from Telengana, 67 from Andhra Pradesh and 16 from Assam. These numbers are increasing as more samples are being tested, Agrawal said.

New York virus toll doubles in 72 hours as hot spots spread

A medical personnel wears personal protective equipment while working at the Samaritan’s Purse field hospital in New York’s Central Park, (AP Photo)

New York rushed to bring in an army of medical volunteers as the statewide death toll from the coronavirus doubled in 72 hours to more than 1,900. As hot spots flared around the US in places like New Orleans and Southern California, the nation’s biggest city was the hardest hit of them all, with bodies loaded onto refrigerated morgue trucks by gurney and forklift outside overwhelmed hospitals.

Read | Halting China’s economy was hard. Restarting it is harder

The wail of ambulances in the otherwise eerily quiet streets of the city became the heartbreaking soundtrack of the crisis. President Donald Trump acknowledged that the federal stockpile is nearly depleted of personal protective equipment used by doctors and nurses and warned of trying times to come. “Difficult days are ahead for our nation,” he said. “We’re going to have a couple of weeks, starting pretty much now, but especially a few days from now that are going to be horrific.”

Israel’s health minister has coronavirus, top officials to isolate

Israel’s health minister, who has had frequent contact with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top officials, has the new coronavirus, the Health Ministry announced Thursday.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Benjamin Netanyahu coronavirus, netanyahu coronavirus, israel pm coronavirus Netanyahu had gone into isolation previously after a top aide tested positive for the virus

Yaakov Litzman and his wife, who also has contracted the virus, are in isolation, feel well and are being treated, the statement said. Requests to enter isolation will be sent to those who came in contact with the minister in the past two weeks, the announcement said.

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The Israeli daily Haaretz reported that the head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency and the National Security Council were asked to go into isolation because of their contacts with Litzman. Netanyahu had gone into isolation previously after a top aide tested positive for the virus, but Netanyahu has so far tested negative.

Nearly 3,000 sailors to leave carrier amid virus outbreak

Nearly 3,000 sailors aboard a US aircraft carrier where the coronavirus has spread will be taken off the ship by Friday, Navy officials said as they struggle to quarantine crew members in the face of an outbreak. So far, fewer than 100 of the nearly 5,000 sailors assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt, now docked in Guam, have tested positive for the virus

US buys ventilators, medical supplies from Russia

US reported over 5,000 deaths and more than 200,000 infections, the highest in the world, due to the fast-spreading COVID-19. As the country wrestles with the pandemic, the nation agreed to buy from Russia ventilators, medical supplies and other personal protection equipment needed to treat patients infected with COVID-19.  The move to buy from Russia comes after a telephonic conversation between US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on March 30.

staff work in a ventilator refurbishing assembly line at Bloom Energy in Sunnyvale, California. (AP Photo)

“As a follow-up to the March 30 phone call between President Trump and President Putin, the United States has agreed to purchase needed medical supplies, including ventilators and personal protection equipment, from Russia, which were handed over to FEMA on April 1 in New York City.” State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said.

Trump to ground domestic flights between COVID-19 hot spots

coronavirus, coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, coronavirus outbreak, coronavirus global death toll, coronavirus India death toll, World news, Indian Express A doctor works in an intensive care unit expanded to handle COVID-19 patients at Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital, in Bergamo, Italy, March 21, 2020. (The New York Times).

President Donald Trump said that he is weighing grounding domestic flights between coronavirus hot spots as he ramps up efforts to try to contain the pandemic’s spread.  Limited flights continue to run between cities like New York and Detroit, though passenger counts have plummeted across the nation. The Transportation Security Administration screened just 146,348 passengers Tuesday, down from 2,026,256 the same day last year.

Read | COVID-19 changed how the world does science, together

The US has also begun repatriation of its stranded nationals, who want to return home, from India which is undergoing a 21-day lockdown to stem the spread of coronavirus pandemic, a senior American diplomat has said, praising the Indian government for extending full support to undertake this “important mission”.

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo)

The repatriation from India is part of the massive effort being undertaken by the US for its citizens from across the world. So far, the US has repatriated over 30,000 citizens from over 60 countries on more than 350 flights. “We began our repatriation efforts from India on Wednesday with a flight that brought in some 170 US citizens,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Ian Brownlee said. “We will begin a steadier flow of flights out of New Delhi and Mumbai in the coming days, really beginning toward the end of this week and into the weekend,” he said in response to a question. There are more than 80 flights scheduled or in the planning stages from various locations, he added.

Read | Asian stocks slip as Trump warns of horrors to come

In related news from the US, a six-week-old infant has died of complications relating to COVID-19, the governor of the US state of Connecticut has said, in one of the youngest recorded deaths from the virus.

Governor Ned Lamont tweeted on Wednesday that the newborn was “brought unresponsive to a hospital late last week and could not be revived.”

Russia confirms 2,777 cases of COVID-19

Russia has earmarked almost USD 18 billion to battle the COVID-19 pandemic as Moscow imposed a strict lockdown. Russia has officially confirmed 2,777 cases of COVID-19 and 24 deaths. A strict lockdown has been put in place across almost all regions, and parliament has approved a coronavirus-focused package of legislation including prison terms of up to seven years for those who cause multiple deaths by flouting protective measures.

France reports highest daily deaths from COVID-19

France on Wednesday reported its highest daily number of deaths from COVID-19 since the coronavirus epidemic began, saying 509 more people had died in hospital to bring the toll to 4,032. There are now 24,639 people hospitalised in France with COVID-19, with 6,017 of them in intensive care, health official Jerome Salomon told reporters in his daily update. The death toll on Tuesday had risen by 499.

The French figures include only those who died in hospital and not those who died at home or in old people’s homes. The number of confirmed cases also rose by 4,861 to 56,989. Many cases however go unregistered because of a lack of testing equipment. France has been in lockdown since March 17 in a bid to slow the spread of the epidemic and officials have repeatedly warned it will take time for the measures to bear fruit. France is currently carrying out 30,000 tests a day, far fewer than in neighbouring Germany.

Australia join race to find potential COVID-19 vaccine

Australia’s national science agency has begun testing potential coronavirus vaccines in an effort to contain the infection. Scientists at Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) are performing the first stage of testing for two vaccine candidates and the results are expected to be clear by June, BBC reported. The pre-clinical trials, cleared by the World Health Organisation, are being conducted on animals. The potential vaccines are being made by Oxford University and US company Inovio Pharmaceutical.

Seven Indians among 74 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Singapore

Singapore has reported its fourth death due to the novel coronavirus, the Health Ministry said on Thursday, a day after 74 new COVID-19 infections, including seven Indians, were confirmed in the country. The total number of infections is 1,000.  Twenty of the new cases are imported, with a travel history to Australia, Europe, South America, Africa, ASEAN and other parts of Asia, said the Ministry.

Twenty-four COVID-19 patients are in critical condition in the intensive care unit. Most of the rest of the 457 confirmed cases, still in hospital, are stable or improving, the ministry said. A total of 245 cases have fully recovered and been discharged from hospitals or relocated to community isolation services.

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