Coronavirus Latest Updates: On Tuesday alone, the Covid-19 toll in US increased by more than 2,750 deaths to take overall casualties over 45,000 deaths — by far the highest in the world. At least 2,553,853 have been infected worldwide and over 1,76,000 people have died since the outbreak began. The US also tops in the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases with over 8,10,000 cases, almost four times as many as Spain(200,210), the country with the second-highest number. It is followed by Italy (181,228), France (156,480) and Germany (147,065).
The World health Organisation, late on Tuesday confirmed that all available evidence suggests the novel coronavirus originated in animals in China late last year and was not manipulated or produced in a laboratory.
Key developments in the global coronavirus outbreak today include:
Bangladesh to extend public holiday till May 5
Bangladesh on Wednesday decided to extend the ongoing general holiday till May 5 amid worsening coronavirus outbreak which has killed 120 people and infected 3,772 people so far, according to a media report. State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain said the government has decided to extend the nationwide shutdown of offices and work places to May 5, PTI reported.
A formal notice announcing the extension will be published on Thursday, he said. On Wednesday, Bangladesh recorded 10 more deaths from the novel coronavirus, raising the toll to 120.
Greta Thunberg urges world leaders to cooperate
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg is urging world leaders to act together to cope with crises and to listen to science experts. The 17-year-old Swede says the climate crisis may not be as immediate as the corona crisis but we need to tackle this now otherwise it will be irreversible. She calls the virus outbreak a tragedy. She says world leaders must put differences aside and make decisions that in the long run may be necessary.
Top officials at the World Health Organization are being targeted by hackers as they work on the global response to the coronavirus pandemic. The WHO’s security team has seen an increasing number of attempted cyber-attacks on the officials since mid-March, according to the organization’s chief information officer, Bernardo Mariano. WHO itself hasn’t been hacked, but employee passwords have leaked through other websites, he said.
In an interview Tuesday, Mariano said that some of the attacks had been perpetrated by suspected nation-state hackers. The targets have included WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, as well as Bruce Aylward, a senior WHO envoy who led a Covid-19 response team in China.
In addition, there had also been a recent “sustained attempt” to hack into computers operated by a team of four WHO employees in South Korea, as well as an incident last week targeting staff at the organization’s Geneva headquarters, Mariano said.
One-month-old infant recovers from coronavirus in Thailand
A one-month-old Thai baby, the country’s youngest coronavirus patient, has successfully recovered from the illness thanks to a team of medics and the use of a cocktail of antiviral drugs, a doctor said on Wednesday.
After close consultations with pharmaceutical physicians and other medical experts, the team decided to use four antiviral drugs to cure the baby.
“The strategy used to treat this child was to give him medication for 10 days,” Visal Moolasart, the paediatrician who treated the baby at the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute in Bangkok, told Reuters.
“We conducted a health check on him every day and three to five days after that, his X-rays showed signs of gradual recovery.”
Small shops reopened on Wednesday in Berlin as a few nations began easing coronavirus restrictions to restart their economies, but trepidation expressed by some workers and customers indicated a return to normality is still a long way off.
Restrictions were also being eased in Denmark and Austria. In France, long lines built up outside the few McDonald’s drive-thrus that started serving customers again. In the US, some states were relaxing restrictions amid vocal protests by those demanding to return to work.
Although some former virus hot spots like Italy, Spain, China and New York have seen a reduction in their daily death tolls and new hospitalizations, other areas are facing a resurgence of the new coronavirus.
As people across the globe stay home to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, the air has cleaned up, albeit temporarily.
Smog stopped choking New Delhi, one of the most polluted cities in the world, and India’s getting views of sights not visible in decades. Nitrogen dioxide pollution in the northeastern United States is down 30 per cent. Rome air pollution levels from mid-March to mid-April were down 49 per cent from a year ago. Stars seems more visible at night.
People are also noticing animals in places and at times they don’t usually. Coyotes have meandered along downtown Chicago’s Michigan Avenue and near San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. A puma roamed the streets of Santiago, Chile. Goats took over a town in Wales. In India, already daring wildlife has become bolder with hungry monkeys entering homes and opening refrigerators to look for food.
British lawmakers will upend 700 years of history on Wednesday when they question ministers by video link – an unprecedented and largely untested ‘hybrid parliament’ arrangement forced by the coronavirus outbreak.
As Britain endures its fifth week of a national lockdown, with businesses shuttered and citizens ordered to stay at home, parliament returned from an extended Easter break on Tuesday and will question stand-in leader Dominic Raab at 1100 GMT.
A maximum of 50 lawmakers will be physically allowed in the debating chamber, with another 120 permitted to join in via Zoom video conference beamed onto television screens dotted around the walls of the 18th century wood-panelled room.
Spain to let children out, aims for lockdown easing by late May
Spain aims to begin winding down its coronavirus lockdown in the second half of May, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Wednesday, though restrictions could come back if the epidemic worsens again in one of the worst-hit nations.
With the world’s second most infections, more than 200,000, and Europe’s second highest death toll, 21,282, Spain has imposed one of the severest lockdowns, including a controversial bar on children leaving homes even for walks.
It has taken a few tentative easing steps, including allowing some workers to return from last week and giving permission for children to go outside from next weekend, but most restrictions remain in force.
With the epidemic seemingly having passed its peak, measures will be eased slowly and gradually to ensure safety, Sanchez said at a parliamentary session where he will ask lawmakers to extend the state of emergency until May 9.
“We will be going back-and-forth depending on how the pandemic evolves,” he said.
On Tuesday night, the government bowed to public pressure and said children under 14 would be able to take short walks outside under supervision.
Tensions arise as EU leaders mull huge virus recovery plan
European Union leaders are preparing for a new virtual summit to take stock of the damage the coronavirus has inflicted on the lives and livelihoods of the bloc’s citizens and to thrash out a more robust plan to revive their ravaged economies. As some Europeans take their first tentative steps out of confinement to return to work or school, and as businesses on the continent cautiously open their doors, the leaders will endorse urgent spending measures and debate a massive recovery plan they hope to introduce in coming weeks.
Around 1 million people in Europe and Britain have now tested positive for the coronavirus and more than 100,000 of them have died over half of the world’s death toll according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
UN agency: 1st virus case recorded in Lebanon refugee camp
A Palestinian woman from Syria has become the first refugee living in a camp in Lebanon to test positive for the coronavirus, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees said Wednesday.
The agency, UNRWA, said the woman lives in one of the camps in eastern Lebanon’s Bekaa region. It said all necessary measures have been taken and the patient was transferred to the government-run Rafik Hariri Hospital in Beirut, adding that the agency will cover the entire cost of her treatment.
Lebanon is home to more than 1 million Syrian refugees and other Syrians who are residents. It is also host to tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees and their descendants, most of them living in squalid camps with no access to public services, with limited employment opportunities and no rights to ownership.
Trump said he would be placing a 60-day pause on the issuance of green cards in an effort to limit competition for jobs in a US economy wrecked by the coronavirus. The order would include “certain exemptions,” he said, but he declined to outline them, noting the order was still being crafted.
“By pausing immigration we’ll help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens, so important,” Trump said at the White House. “It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labor flown in from abroad.” Trump also announced reopening of at least 20 states in the United states, which accounts for 40 per cent of the population in the country. He said: ” The country has to get back to working, we will reopen is with utmost safety.”
Pakistan PM Imran Khan undergoes test
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday underwent a test for COVID-19 after a well-known philanthropist, who Khan had met recently, tested positive, The Dawn reported. The results are expected later in the day.
Currently, Pakistan has nearly 9,800 confirmed cases and the death toll stands at 209. On Tuesday, Khan had warned that mosques will be forced to shut down during the upcoming month of Ramzan if people did not follow the official directives issued to contain the spread.
Trump agrees to help expand coronavirus testing in New York
President Donald Trump and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have made an apparent deal on increasing testing. Cuomo, a Democrat whose state is the epicenter of the US coronavirus epidemic with nearly 20,000 deaths, said the Republican president agreed on a plan for doubling New York’s coronavirus screening capacity to 40,000 tests per day.
”The New York Metropolitan area has been the epicenter of the outbreak here in America and the Federal government has spared no expense or resource to get New Yorkers the care they need and the care they deserve.”
We are with you, New York! 🗽 pic.twitter.com/BLSs60rmcH
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) April 22, 2020
Under that plan, Cuomo said, the federal government will procure and furnish the test kits and related materials, including the chemical reagents that have sometimes been in short supply.The state will be responsible for expanding the capacity of some 300 laboratories conducting the tests and hiring the necessary staff.”
China reports no new deaths again
China on Wednesday again reported no new deaths from the coronavirus, but registered 30 more cases –23 of them brought from abroad. Of the domestic cases, all seven were reported in Heilongjiang province near the Russian border where a field hospital has been set up to deal with a new flare-up related to people coming home from abroad. Just over 1,000 people are hospitalized for treatment, while about the same number are under isolation and monitoring as either suspected cases or after testing positive but showing no symptoms. China has reported a total of 4,632 deaths among 82,788 cases, the bulk of them in Wuhan where officials recently raised the death toll by 50% after a review of records.
Meanwhile, the state of Missouri filed a lawsuit against the Chinese government over the coronavirus, alleging that nation’s officials are to blame for the global pandemic.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court by the state’s top lawyer, alleges Chinese officials are “responsible for the enormous death, suffering, and economic losses they inflicted on the world, including Missourians.”
Saudi approved performing Tarawih in mosques amid coronavirus
Saudi king Salman approved performing Tarawih in the two holy mosques and reducing them with the continued suspension of entry of pilgrims, the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques’ Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday. Saudi Arabia plans to ease curfew hours it imposed on several cities during the month of Ramadan to allow people more time to shop for essential needs within the boundaries of their neighborhoods, state news agency (SPA) reported on Tuesday.
A total of 11,631 people have been infected in the country while 1,640 recovered. The toll, meanwhile reached 109.
India moves to procure more Covid-19 test kits from Korean firms
With Chinese testing kits having come under the scanner, India is stepping up procurement and production of testing kits from South Korean companies. Officials on Tuesday said that a South Korean company has agreed to make and supply 5 lakh rapid antibody testing kits at its facility in Manesar, Haryana.
UK funds for vaccine trial
The UK’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, said a team from the University of Oxford would begin trials for a vaccine on people from Thursday. He said the government had made £20m available to the team to accelerate their efforts, which were first announced last week, as well as making £22m available to researchers at Imperial to support their phase-two trials.
The country’s hospital deaths rise by 823 The Department for Health and Social Care published the latest UK hospital death figures.
There were 823 new deaths, taking the total to 17,337. Official figures also show Covid-19 fatalities in care homes in England and Wales more than quadrupled in a week, rising to 1,043.
Italy reports fall in infections
Italy records first significant fall in infections Italy reported 534 new deaths on Tuesday, 80 more than on Monday, bringing the death toll to 24,648. But the number of people currently infected with the virus fell by 528 to 107,709, the first significant fall since the outbreak began. Italy’s total cases to date, including victims and survivors, rose by 2,727 to 183,957.
Virus cancels world events
The worldwide cancellation of major events that weren’t scheduled to be held for months is signaling just how gradual a process reopening economies could be amid the coronavirus pandemic. Spain called off the Running of the Bulls in July, the U.S. scrapped the national spelling bee in June and Germany canceled Oktoberfest five months away, making it clear Tuesday that the effort to beat back the coronavirus and return to normal could be a long and dispiriting process. Amid growing impatience over the shutdowns that have thrown tens of millions out of work, European countries continued to reopen in stages, while in the U.S., one state after another _ mostly ones led by Republican governors _ began taking steps to get back to business.
With deaths and infections still rising around the world, the push to reopen has set off warnings from health authorities.
Japan’s Nagasaki confirms 33 coronavirus cases on cruise ship docked for repairs
Japan’s Nagasaki prefecture said on Wednesday it had confirmed 33 cases of coronavirus infection on an Italian cruise ship docked for repairs and would carry out further testing on other crew members. Those who test positive but are asymptomatic will remain on board for monitoring, while others will be transferred to medical institutions, Nagasaki Governor Hodo Nakamura told a news conference. Those who test negative will be sent back to their countries, he said.The ship, the Costa Atlantica, is carrying 623 crew members and no passengers, local media reported. The confirmed number of cases rose to 11,512 and 281 people have died so far.
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