Coronavirus Latest Updates: Global coronavirus deaths rose past 2.5 lakh Tuesday after infections topped 3.5 million, even as several countries began easing lockdowns designed to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
Health experts are watching closely as several countries tentatively ease restrictions on movement in a bid to revive global economies, amid fears of recurring infections. In the United States, which has the world’s highest total of infections and deaths, at almost 1.2 million and 68,000 respectively, at least half of the 51 states are moving forward with plans to reopen stricken businesses.
Italy, among the world’s hardest-hit countries, allowed about 4.5 million people to return to work on Monday after nearly two months at home. Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Finland, Nigeria, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Israel and Lebanon were also among countries variously reopening factories, construction sites, parks, hairdressers and libraries.
Here are the developments on COVID-19 from across the globe:
Spain wants to extend state of emergency, will ask Parliament tomorrow
Amid the surging death toll in Spain, the country will ask parliament tomorrow to extend the state of emergency by naother two weeks through May 24. However, the conservative Popular part, the main opposition, is reluctant. Prime Minister Pedro Snchez says extending the state of emergency “is the only instrument that allows the government to limit mobility, in order to prevent contagion, save lives and protect citizens”. In support of the lockdown, Health Minister Salvador Illa said the state of emergency, which has allowed the government to impose a lockdown, has been “essential” in reducing the daily infection rate from 35 per cent to 0.4 per cent. At least, 25,428 persons have lost their lives to the coronavirus with a total of 218,011 infected.
Over 1,700 virus undisclosed deaths reported in New York
New York – US’ epicentre – has reported more than 1,700 undisclosed deaths at nursing homes and adult care facilities as the state faces scrutiny over how it is protecting vulnerable residents during the pandemic. So far, at least 4,1813 people have succumbed to teh virus in the state’s nursing homes since March 1, according to a tally released by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration late Monday that, for the first time, includes people believed to have been killed by the coronavirus before their diagnoses could be confirmed by a lab test. The revised list shows that 22 nursing homes, largely in New York City and Long Island, have reported at least 40 deaths.
Meanwhile, as death toll surges in New York over 25,000, Govrnoe Andrew Cuomo has outlined a plan for re-opening the economy of the state, saying clsong down everyhting forever is not sustainable. “People are all talking about reopening, which we should be talking about. This is not a sustainable situation. Close down everything, close down the economy, lock yourself in the home. You can do it for a short period of time but you can’t do it forever,” he said.
Virus returns long-banned drive-in movies to Iran
Banned since its 1979 Islamic Revolution, the novel coronavirus has brought back the idea of a drive-in movie theatre in Iran. The drive-in theatre was shunned by revolutionaries as it allowed too much privacy for unmarried young couples. It now operates from a parking lot right under Tehran’s iconic Milad tower, showing a film in line with the views of hard-liners. Disinfectants are sprayed on cars hat line up each night in Tehran after buying tickets online for ‘Cinema Machine’. They tune into the film’s audio via an FM station on their car radios.
“It was very fascinating, this is the first time this is happening, at least for people my age,” said Behrouz Pournezam, 36, who watched the film along with his wife. “We are here mostly for the excitement to be honest, the movie itself didn’t matter that much. I didn’t care what movie it is or by whom or which genre,” he said. Iran has reported more than 98,600 cases with over 6,200 deaths, though international and local experts acknowledge Iran’s toll is likely far higher.
Italy experts warn of second wave after reopening
After Italy gradually woke up from the first and longest lockdown in Europe – two months, experts cautioned a second wave of the coronavirus infections to accompany with the reopening of the country. They have called for intensified efforts to identify possible new victims, monitor their symptoms and trace their contacts, Dr. Silvio Brusaferro, president of the Superior Institute of Health said. On Monday, 4.4 million Italians returned to work and restrictions on personal movement were eased after two months.
Brusaferro said the key to keeping the outbreak under control lies in the early isolation of people with suspected infection, more tests and the quarantine of their close contacts. Further, he said a huge investment of resources for training medical personnel to monitor possible new cases would be required.
Greece plans to reopen restaurants in June
With a death toll at 146 and total 2,632 coronavirus infections, Greece is set to reopen restaurants and cafes on June 1 if the virus outbreak keeps slowing. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, in a video conference on Monday discussed with his Cabinet members how to reopen the food sector maintaining social distancing regulations. One possibility was increasing the outdoor space for tables and chairs.
The country began easing its lockdown measures on Monday , opening a limited number of retail businesses, such as beauty salons and bookshops, and people allowed to leave their homes. Greece had imposed a lockdown early in its virus outbreak.
UK becomes virus epicentre of Europe with over 32,000 deaths
Britain has reported the highest number of coronavirus deaths in Europe with over 32,000, so far. The UK government said 28,734 people with COVID-19 had died in UK hospitals, nursing homes and other settings. But official UK statistics released Tuesday that take into account people who died with suspected, rather than confirmed, put Britain’s toll at more than 30,000 dead. Italy has reported 29,079 fatalities. Tallies from both nations are likely to be underestimates because they only include people who tested positive and testing was not widespread in Italian and British nursing homes until recently. In Russia, number of cases rose sharply again with Moscow reporting over 10,000 new infections for three days in a row.
Virus spread to every corner of world, none of us is safe until all: UN chief
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that overcoming the coronavirus pandemic will require the most massive public health effort in history since it is an interconnected world where “none of us is safe until all of us are safe”. “Comprehensive, coordinated public health measures are critical to slow transmission and to save lives. But even countries that have taken such steps remain in jeopardy. And the virus is still likely to strike many countries that are least able to cope. In an interconnected world, none of us is safe until all of us are safe,” he said.
The virus has “spread to every corner of the world, infecting more than three million people and claiming more than 220,000 lives,” Guterres said addressing the European Union pledging conference in Brussels. (Read more)
Over 21,000 Covid-19 cases in Pakistan
At least 24 deaths and over 1,300 new coronavirus infections were recorded in Pakistan totalling to 21,501 cases, the health ministry said. According to the Ministry of National Health Services, Punjab reported 8,103 case, Sindh 7,882, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 3,288 Balochistan 1,321, Islamabad 464, Gilgit-Baltistan 372 and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir 71 cases. So far 222,404 tests were conducted, including 9,857 in the last 24 hours. The nationwide lockdown will be lifted gradually, Prime Minister Imran Khan said, adding that Pakistan cannot afford an indefinite closure.
South Korea sees lowest daily increase as sports resume
South Korea on Tuesday reported its lowest daily increase in coronavirus cases since February 18, continuing a downward trend as the country restarts professional sports and prepares to reopen schools. South Korea’s professional baseball league will begin its new season without fans in the stands on Tuesday, while the pro soccer league will kick off under similar conditions on Friday. The total cases are 10,804 with 254 fatalities.
Turkey announces plan to ease virus restrictions
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Monday what he called a “normalization plan” to gradually ease restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic as the death rate falls, but warned of tougher measures to come should the number of infections rebound.
In a televised address following a Cabinet meeting, Erdogan said shopping malls would be allowed to open starting on May 11, as would barber shops, hairdressers and beauty parlours — as long as they work on a system of appointment and accept customers at half-capacity. Erdogan said that the government is also lifting entry and exit restrictions for seven cities where the coronavirus outbreak has been brought under control. The measure, however, will remain in place for 24 other cities, including Istanbul and Ankara.
Australia and New Zealand discuss possible trans-Tasman “travel bubble”
New Zealand and Australia are discussing the potential creation of a “travel bubble” between the two countries, even as Australia on Monday reported its highest number of coronavirus cases in two weeks. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she has accepted an invite from Australian Premier Scott Morrison to take part in a meeting of Australia’s emergency coronavirus cabinet on Tuesday, stoking anticipation of a travel deal. The neighbouring countries have claimed success in substantially slowing the progress of the coronavirus epidemic to a level well below the United States, Britain and Europe. Still, Ardern warned that more health measures needed to be put in place before trans-Tasman travel could restart.
Trump administration pushing to rip global supply chains from China
The Trump administration is “turbocharging” an initiative to remove global industrial supply chains from China as it weighs new tariffs to punish Beijing for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, according to officials familiar with US planning.
In another development, a White House memo to congressional committees says no member of the administration’s coronavirus task force may agree to testify on Capitol Hill unless the appearance is expressly approved by the president’s chief of staff. Democrats are bristling at the restriction on gathering information about the nation’s response to the pandemic.
California also announced the state’s first tentative steps to reopen from a lockdown giving a green light for retail stores to open this week, though with restrictions. California Governor Gavin Newsom said the nation’s most populous U.S. state, among the two dozen that still has full restrictions in place, would allow some counties to go further if they met certain testing and protection guidelines.
Fight over Brazil leader Bolsonaro’s virus test
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he twice tested negative for the coronavirus but many, including a federal judge, are demanding he share the actual results. Still, the leader has refused. The surreal standoff is the latest flashpoint in a broader battle between a president who has repeatedly tested the limits of his power and democratic institutions. There are concerns that as Bolsonaro pushes back, it could spark a constitutional crisis.
Hawaii has among the lowest Covid-19 infection and mortality rates in the U.S. How did the state slow the spread? pic.twitter.com/O9cDg8qKux
— Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) May 5, 2020
WHO: No evidence that the Covid-19 originated at Wuhan laboratory
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) emergency chief said Monday it has received no evidence from the US government to back up allegations by President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the coronavirus could have originated at a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan. “From our perspective, this remains speculative,” Michael Ryan told reporters in Geneva. “We have not received any data or specific evidence from the US government relating to the purported origin of the virus.” He said WHO would be “very willing” to receive any such information the US has.
Hong Kong will soon ease relaxations
Hong Kong will soon ease social distancing measures after largely containing the spread of Covid-19, Chief Executive Carrie Lam told a briefing Tuesday ahead of a meeting of her advisory Executive Council. “I would just appeal to you to be a little more patient. We will make the decision and announce as soon as possible,” Lam said without specifying a time frame for loosening the rules. It comes after reports the city could relax a ban on gatherings of more than four people and may soon open gyms and movie theaters.
Some other global news
- China reports 1 new case, no additional deaths on May 4
- Russia has more than 10,000 new infections for a second day
- World leaders promised $8 billion for the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen said.
- France may allow religious services to resume before the end of May if a gradual easing of lockdown rules from May 11 did not result in the rate of coronavirus infections increasing.
— Business Insider (@businessinsider) May 5, 2020
- An internal U.S. government document projects a surge in coronavirus cases and a sharp rise in daily deaths by June 1, the New York Times reported on Monday
- Israel on Monday eased many curbs on the public, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu citing the country’s success in containing the virus so far.
- The number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan reached 21,501 after 1,315 new infections were recorded, while 24 people died due to the disease, taking the death toll in the country to 486, the health ministry said on Tuesday.
- Of the 548 active coronavirus cases in Sri Lanka, 327 of them are Navy personnel, officials said on Tuesday. The virus has killed eight people with 752 positive cases in the island nation.