Coronavirus Latest Updates: The number of global infections due to the novel coronavirus disease on Friday reached 3,276,373, with the US reporting the highest number of infections at 1,069,424. Italy has the highest death toll in the world with 27,967 fatalities. Follow coronavirus LIVE updates
The United Nations chief on Friday said that he hopes many countries in the world will follow the remarkable example of South Korea, which he said has been extremely successful in addressing the coronavirus pandemic and is planning to tackle climate change in its recovery from COVID-19. “We hope that this example of the Republic of Korea will be followed by many other countries in the world,” Guterres said at a news conference.
Meanwhile, South Korean exports plunged in April due to the pandemic. Exports dived 24.3% year-on-year in April, trade ministry data showed on Friday, the worst contraction since May 2009 but slightly slower than a 25.4% fall tipped in a Reuters survey. It slid 0.7% in the previous month. The average exports per working day, excluding the calendar effect, however, tumbled 17.4%, far worse than a 6.9% fall seen in March.
Here are the latest COVID-19 developments from around the globe:
Hundreds gather in Greece for May Day amid pandemic restrictions
Hundreds of protesters gathered in central Athens and the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki to mark May Day, despite government’s appeal to unions to schedule their demonstrations next week, after the lockdown measures begin to ease. Holding banners and red flags and donning masks and gloves, protesters stood roughly two meters (6.5 feet) apart from each other as they waited for the march to begin.Civil Protection Deputy Minister Nikos Hardalias has stressed Greeks will not be able to go on countryside trips as they frequently do, and he appealed to trade unions to transfer their usual May Day marches to the first Saturday after lockdown restrictions have been eased.
Japan extends state of emergency by another month
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the coronavirus state of emergency that is supposed to end next week will have to be kept in place roughly for another month. Citing a report by experts on a government task force, he said Japanese medical systems are still under severe pressure with the number of confirmed cases far exceeding 10000 even though Japan has averted explosive infections as in many other countries and the spread of the infections has somewhat slowed under the ongoing state of emergency.
We still need you to continue cooperating and thats the experts view Abe said. He said he instructed Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura who is tasked with the coronavirus measures to urgently prepare to extend the measures for about a month. Japan has more than 14000 cases with over 400 deaths according to the health ministry though experts say there could be several times more patients.
Pakistan’s parliament speaker tests positive for coronavirus
Pakistan’s National Assembly speaker has been tested positive for Covid-19, after hosting an iftar dinner to celebrate Ramadan, and meeting Prime Minister Imran Khan and other high officials earlier in the week. So far, it is not known if PM Khan will be tested. Last month in April, Khan was checked for the virus and was tested negative, after meeting with the head of Pakistan’s biggest charity organisation, who was subsequently confirmed to have caught the disease.
The National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, is currently in recess, though opposition parties have been calling for it to convene to discuss the government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, where the number of cases has risen to 16,817, including 385 deaths. (Read more)
Malaysia to reopen most businesses from Monday, ahead of lockdown end
Malaysia has decided to reopen most economic sectors and business activities from next week Monday, days before a two-month lockdown is scheduled to end. As coronavirus cases in the country fell sharply in recent weeks, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin says there is a need to revive the economy as the country has lost 63 billion ringgit (USD 14.7 billion) since a partial lockdown began March 18. Malaysia has, so far, reported 6,002 Covid infections and 102 deaths.
The lockdown is scheduled to end on May 12, however, the PM has decided to open restaurants from Monday with strict social distancing rules and health guidelines in effect. The stringent guidelines will include health screening for staff and customers, and registering details of visitors. (Read more)
On May day, the PM in a televised speech said mass gatherings will still be banned, which means places such as schools, cinemas and worship houses will stay shut, and group sports are prohibited. Further, he mentioned that Muslims cannot return to their villages to celebrate the end of the fasting month, as interstate travel will remain banned.
US President Donald Trump Thursday said the World Health Organization should be “ashamed of” itself, as he likened it to a public relations agency for China. The Trump Administration has launched a probe into the role of the WHO on coronavirus, and has temporarily suspended the US’ financial assistance to it.
“I think that the World Health Organization should be ashamed of themselves because they are like the public relations agency for China,” Trump told reporters in the East Room of the White House.
“They shouldn’t be making excuses when people make horrible mistakes, especially mistakes that are causing hundreds of thousands of people around the world to die. I think the World Health Organization should be ashamed of themselves,” said the President.
Families walk in the sunshine along a boulevard in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, April 26, 2020, as the lockdown to combat the spread of coronavirus continues. On Sunday, children under 14 years old will be allowed to take walks with a parent for up to one hour and within one kilometer from home, ending six weeks of compete seclusion. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Half of US states easing coronavirus restrictions as jobless numbers grow
The White House let its 2-week-old economic reopening guidelines expire on Thursday as half of all US states forged ahead with their own strategies for easing restrictions on restaurants, retail and other businesses shuttered by the coronavirus crisis.
The enormous pressure on states to reopen, despite a lack of wide-scale virus testing and other safeguards urged by health experts, was highlighted in new Labor Department data showing some 30 million Americans have sought unemployment benefits since March 21. The jobless toll amounts to more than 18.4% of the U.S. working-age population, a level not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Deflation fears creep back in Japan as pandemic hits prices
Consumer prices in Japan’s capital city fell for the first time in three years in April and national factory activity slumped, data showed on Friday, increasing worries the coronavirus pandemic could tip the country back into deflation. The darkening outlook in the world’s third-largest economy is already heightening calls for bigger spending, even after parliament approved an extra budget to fund a $1.1 trillion stimulus package to cushion the blow from the pandemic.
“The government will work with the central bank to ensure Japan absolutely does not slip back into deflation,” Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told a news conference on Friday. Core consumer prices in Tokyo, a leading indicator of nationwide inflation trends, slipped 0.1% in April from a year earlier, government data showed, dashing expectations for a 0.1% rise and following a 0.4% increase in March.
It was the fir April 2017.
Several commercial airlines in the US including the American Airlines, the Delta Airlines and the United Airlines on Thursday announced that they have made it mandatory for passengers and crew members to wear masks in their flights. The announcement comes days after three European airlines Lufthansa Airlines, Swiss Airlines and Austrian Airlines made masks mandatory for their passengers during their flights.
The Jet Blue and the Frontier Airlines from the US had also made similar announcement early this week. The Southwest Airlines, which is the only major airlines left in the US to do so, on Thursday said that an announcement in this regard is coming. The American Airlines said that starting May 11, it will require all customers travelling to wear a face-covering (or mask) while on board the aircraft.
This new requirement is part of the airline’s ongoing commitment to prioritizing customers’ and team members’ wellbeing in the face of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it said.
China reports 12 new coronavirus cases vs four a day earlier
China reported 12 new coronavirus cases for April 30, up from four a day earlier, data from the country’s health authority showed on Friday. Six of the cases were imported, the National Health Commission (NHC) said, up from four a day earlier. Of the domestic transmission cases, five were in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang and one in the northern region of Inner Mongolia.
China reported no domestic transmission cases a day earlier. The NHC also reported 25 new asymptomatic cases for April 30, down from 33 a day earlier. The total number of confirmed cases in the country has reached 82,874. With no new deaths on Thursday, the toll remained at 4,633.
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