The coronavirus-induced fatalities worldwide reached 2,57,454 Wednesday and the number of infections stood at 3,667,165.
The United States continues to top the charts in coronavirus infections and deaths that stand at 12,04,475 and 71,078 respectively. In terms of the death toll, it is followed by the UK (29,501), Italy (29,315), Spain (25,613), and France (25,538).
Meanwhile, an Italian medical firm has claimed to have developed a vaccine that neutralises the novel coronavirus in human cells. According to tests carried out at Rome’s infectious-disease Spallanzani Hospital, the vaccine has antibodies generated in mice that work on human cells, Italian news agency ANSA reported. (Click here to follow Covid-19 LIVE updates)
Here are the developments on COVID-19 from across the globe:
Should not rush to lift lockdown restrictions: Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin Wednesday said that Russia should not rush to lift coronavirus-related restrictions, warning that any haste in removing preventative measures could undo their work so far.
The country’s coronavirus crisis response centre said earlier on Wednesday that the number of cases had risen by more than 10,000 for a fourth consecutive day and now stood at 165,929. Russia has so far recorded 1,537 coronavirus-related deaths.
Death toll in Iran reaches 6,418
The death toll from the novel coronavirus outbreak in Iran rose by 78 in the past 24 hours to 6,418, the country’s health ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
The total number of diagnosed cases of new coronavirus in Iran, one of the countries hardest hit by the outbreak in the Middle East, has now reached 1,01,650.
US has flattened curve, now in next stage of battle: Trump
US President Donald Trump Tuesday said that the country has flattened the coronavirus curve and now is now in the next stage of battle which is a “very safe phased and gradual reopening”.
“Thanks to the profound commitment of our citizens, we have flattened the curve and countless American lives have been saved. Our country is now in the next stage of the battle. A very safe, phased and gradual reopening of our country,” he said.
Even though the number of infections and cases are rising in the country, there was a sharp decline in fresh cases and deaths in the last week, prompting Trump to make these remarks.
Australia seeks to re-start economy by July
As Australia is starting to lift curbs ad ease restrictions, the government is seeking ways to reopen businesses as soon as July.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will discuss health protocols at the National Cabinet meeting Friday that could enable businesses to open in a “COVID-safe environment”, with the government saying the shutdown was costing the economy A$4 billion ($2.6 billion) a week.
There would be 3 stages to easing restrictions on social distancing for affected industries with cafes, restaurants and retail expected to be among the first to be allowed to reopen. Each state would move at its own pace with the common goal of having most of their economies rebooted by July.
Colombia extends lockdown till 25 May
Colombia’s mandatory quarantine will be extended for another two weeks with some sectors being allowed to restart their work, President Ivan Duque said Tuesday.
“Between May 11 and May 25 we will extend the obligatory preventative isolation but recover space for productive life,” Duque said.
Industrial sectors and sales of cars and other items can re-start from May 11. Manufacturing and construction had already been allowed to return to work. Large events will still be banned, as will the opening of bars and clubs.
The Andean country, which has reported more than 8,600 confirmed cases, leading to 378 deaths, began a national quarantine on March 24 and has previously extended it twice. It had been set to end on Monday.
The Trump administration has initiated talks on winding down the White House Task Force on Coronavirus and gradually delegating its responsibilities to the relevant federal agencies, US Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday.
Addressing reporters, the vice president said, “I think we are having conversations about that and about what the proper time is for the task force to complete its work and for the ongoing efforts to take place on an agency-by-agency level.”
President Donald Trump confirmed the news by saying that the task force has done a “phenomenal job” and the country is starting to open up “I think we are looking at phase two and we are looking at other phases,” he added.
UN chief: Disabled among hardest hit by virus
The United Nations chief says the world’s one billion people with disabilities are among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a video Wednesday that the coronavirus crisis is revealing the extent of exclusion that the most marginalized members of society experience.
He said the pandemic is intensifying the inequalities that people with disabilities already face including living in poverty and experiencing higher rates of violence, neglect and abuse and is “producing new threats.”
UK launches trade talks with the US
The United States and Britain launched formal negotiations on a free trade agreement Tuesday, aiming to work quickly to seal a deal that could counter the economic fallout of the pandemic.
The talks will be conducted virtually and will involve over 300 UK and US staff and officials in nearly 30 negotiating groups.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and UK trade minister Liz Truss said in a joint statement, “We will undertake negotiations at an accelerated pace and have committed the resources necessary to progress at a fast pace, A Free Trade Agreement would contribute to the long-term health of our economies, which is vitally important as we recover from the challenges posed by COVID-19.”
Disney to reopen its park in Shanghai
Disney Tuesday said that it would reopen Shanghai Disneyland to a reduced number of visitors on May 11 after reporting profit cuts by $1.4 billion due to the coronavirus pandemic and closed theme parks around the world. The park would enforce strict social distancing measures on rides and in restaurants.
It is still unclear when Disney’s other parks in Asia, the United States and France would reopen, executives said.
In late January, the coronavirus started battering businesses across Disney’s global portfolio when the company shuttered Shanghai Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland. By mid-March, all of the company’s theme parks were closed, movie theaters went dark, and television and film production were put on hold.
First major city in Brazil declares lockdown
Brazil’s São Luis became the nation’s first major city to begin a coronavirus “lockdown” Tuesday, a measure that underscores widespread fears that health services across Brazil could soon collapse under the pressure of the coronavirus pandemic.
The new lockdown measures covers a total population of 1.3 million people in Sao Luis and parts of 3 other municipalities in the Maranhao state. It allows going outdoors only for groceries, medication and cleaning supplies.
But with 4,227 confirmed cases and 249 deaths, Brazil’s poorest state is still dealing with a significant caseload.
Emmanuel Macron criticised for reopening schools in France
French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed plans to gradually reopen schools next week amid concerns from mayors, teachers and parents about the timing.
More than 300 mayors in the capital region including Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo urged Macron in an open letter to delay the reopening of primary schools scheduled for next week. They denounced an unrealistic timetable to meet the sanitary and safety conditions required by the state including class sizes capped to a maximum of 15. The majority of French children attend public schools.Many parents say they wont send their children back to school.
France starts lifting confinement measures on May 11 with businesses to resume activity and parents to return to work.
South Korea reports only 2 new cases, both imported
South Korea has reported two fresh cases of the new coronavirus as its outbreak continues to slow.
South Korean Prime Minister Chung Syekyun Wednesday called for vigilance and instructed officials to prepare for a possible second wave of infections. He said preventing an overwhelming of hospitals in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area would be key.
With the country flattening its curve, relaxations in social distancing measures are being seen. The republic also prepares to reopen its schools and some of it’s sports events. Figures released by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday brought national totals to 10,806 infections and 255 virus related deaths. The KCDC says both new cases were detected during screening at airports and that no fresh local transmissions were reported from South Korean cities and towns.
US treasury to begin distributing virus relief money to tribes
The US Treasury Department Tuesday said that it will begin distributing out billions to help tribes respond and recover from the coronavirus pandemic more than a week after a congressional deadline and after being sued over who is eligible for the money.
The 22 trillion federal rescue package approved in late March set aside 8 billion for tribal governments. The money was supposed to be distributed by April 26 but the Treasury Department said it was grappling with how to do it.
Payments totaling 48 billion will go to tribes over the next several days based on population.
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China reports 2 new cases, 20 new asymptomatic cases
China reported 2 new coronavirus cases for May 5 and 20 new asymptomatic cases, data from the national health authority showed on Wednesday. This compared with 1 new coronavirus case and 15 new asymptomatic cases reported a day earlier.
China’s total number of coronavirus cases now stands at 82,883, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,633, the National Health Commission said in a statement.
Israel’s main biological research institute IIBR declared a “significant breakthrough” in developing an antibody to the novel coronavirus that can attack the virus and neutralise it within the bodies of those who contract it, country’s Defence Minister Naftali Bennett confirmed.
A statement issued by Bennet’s office said Israel’s Institute for Biological Research (IIBR), mandated to develop a vaccine for coronavirus, has isolated an antibody “that attacks the virus in a monoclonal way and can neutralise it within the bodies of those ill”.