Coronavirus global latest updates: Over 2.6 million people have been infected while more than 1,80,000 people have been killed due to the coronavirus pandemic worldwide, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. According to an AFP tally based on official sources, nearly two-third of the fatalities have been reported in Europe.
The United States has by far the world’s largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases at more than 8,50,000.
Here is a look at some of the top world updates:
26 million have sought US jobless aid since virus hit
More than 4.4 million laid-off workers applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week as job cuts escalated across an economy that remains all but shut down, the government said Thursday.
Roughly 26 million people have now filed for jobless aid in the five weeks since the coronavirus outbreak began forcing millions of employers to close their doors. About one in six American workers have lost their jobs in the past five weeks, by far the worst string of layoffs on record. That’s more than the number of people who live in the 10 largest U.S. cities combined.
Economists have forecast that the unemployment rate for April could go as high as 20%.
Coronavirus death toll rises to 22,157 in Spain
Spain has recorded 440 new deaths overnight for the new coronavirus, bringing the total confirmed fatalities to 22,157, according to an official data on Thursday. With more than 4,600 new positive infections tested, the reported cases are now over 200,000, although the real number is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested and studies suggest that people can be infected without feeling sick.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Thursday for international cooperation on the development of a vaccination for the new coronavirus, saying that the pandemic transcends borders and can only be countered jointly.
Speaking to parliament in a session where lawmakers sat at a careful distance from one another in line with the country’s social-distancing regulations, Merkel said German scientists were busily researching the virus at home, but that “international cooperation against the virus is extremely important.”
“Science is never national, science serves mankind,” she said. “Thus it goes without saying that when medication or a vaccination is found, tested, released and is ready for use, it must be available all around the world and affordable for the whole world.”
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday, temporarily banning immigration into the US to protect jobs for American workers. Between March 1, 2020, the beginning of the country’s national emergency due to Covid-19, and April 11, 22 million Americans filed for unemployment as most economic activity came to a halt. As of Wednesday, the US remains the worst affected country, with more than 800,000 cases of coronavirus.
Trump tweeted, “I will be signing my Executive Order prohibiting immigration into our country today. In the meantime, even without this order, our southern border, aided substantially by the 170 miles of new Border Wall & 27,000 Mexican soldiers, is very tight – including for human trafficking!”.
The order aims to protect an already distressed labour market from foreign workers. A press release issued by the White House following the publication of Trump’s order said, “It would be unfair to allow Americans out of work due to the coronavirus to be replaced by new immigrant labour brought into the United States.”.
While Trump has supported hard-line anti-immigration policies during his tenure, some critics see this move as taking advantage of the pandemic to pursue his goal of restricting immigrant entry into the US ahead of the November 3 presidential elections.
Warning countries against complacency and urging them to prepare for a long and drawn out fight against the coronavirus, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday said some of them have started to see a resurgence in cases.
“Most countries are still in the early stages of their epidemics and some that were affected early in the pandemic are starting to see a resurgence in cases,” Tedros told Geneva journalists in a virtual briefing.
There were “worrying upward trends” in early epidemics in parts of Africa and central and South America, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
UK’s NHS issues COVID-19 safety reminder for Ramzan
The UK’s state-funded National Health Service (NHS) has issued additional guidance as a reminder for British Muslims to stay away from social gatherings during the holy month of Ramzan in view of the devastating coronavirus pandemic.
As the social distancing measures remain in place to help curb the spread of COVID-19, the NHS said managers and staff working in hospitals and healthcare settings have also been issued advice to cover adjustments over working hours and fasting arrangements for Muslim colleagues.
Ramzan is the holiest month in Islam, when devout Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. It is expected to begin this week, depending on the sighting of the moon.
Battling the second-wave of coronavirus infections, Singapore on Thursday reported 1,037 new COVID-19 cases, more than 1,000 of which are foreign workers, including Indian nationals, mostly working in labour intensive industries and living in packed dormitories. This is the fourth day in a row that Singapore has reported a daily increase of more than 1,000 cases.
Twenty-one of the new cases recorded on Thursday are Singaporeans (citizens) or permanent residents who are also foreigners. The city-state has recorded a total of 11,178 coronavirus infections since the deadly disease broke out here earlier this year. Twelve people have died of COVID-19 related illness.
According to the latest update by Home Ministry, the total number of COVID-19 cases in India have risen to 21,700, including 16,689 active cases, 4,325 recoveries and 686 deaths. Despite the large number of cases being added in the last few days, the spread of the disease in India has slowed down considerably as a result of the lockdown. India took eight days to travel from 10,000 cases to 20,000 cases.
US sees 1,738 new coronavirus deaths in 24 hours: Johns Hopkins
The United States on Wednesday recorded 1,738 deaths from coronavirus in the last 24 hours, a lower toll than the day before, according to Johns Hopkins University. With the new deaths, the total fatalities in the US has risen to 46,583. Over 8,52,000 have been infected across the country so far.
— ABC News (@ABC) April 21, 2020
US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to temporarily suspend the issuance of certain green cards for 60 days amid the virus pandemic. Trump said the order will “ensure that unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs as our economy re-opens.”
The order includes a long list of exceptions, including for those who are currently in the country, those who have valid immigrant visas, people seeking entry to work as physicians and nurses, and the spouses and unmarried children of US citizens. Trump has said he will reassess whether to extend the order in 60 days.
Two New York cats become first US pets to test positive
Two cats in New York have become the first pets in the United States to test positive for the new coronavirus even as health authorities said there is no evidence pets can spread the virus to humans.
The cats, from separate areas of New York state, was suffering from mild respiratory illness and are expected to make a full recovery. It is believed that they contracted the virus from people in their households or neighborhoods, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Animals, pets, can get infected. … There’s no evidence that the virus is transmitted from the pet to a human,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said.
Doctors in New York noticed something strange happening as the coronavirus spread through the city: a large number of strokes in patients and signs of blood thickening and clotting were being detected https://t.co/eNHDl5xWeQ https://t.co/XQo4BiNYf3
— Reuters (@Reuters) April 23, 2020
Trump on Wednesday played down the possibility that the virus could prove to be fatal this winter despite warnings that the virus could combine with the flu to make a complicated comeback.
The US President, who has been pushing for states to begin reopening their economies, said, “It’s not going to be what we’ve gone through, in any way, shape or form. If it comes back, though, it won’t be coming back in the form that it was. It will be coming back in smaller doses that we can contain…. You could have some embers of corona … (but) we will not go through what we went through for the last two months.”
China reports 10 new coronavirus cases in mainland vs 30 a day earlier
China again witnessed no additional deaths besides the 10 fresh cases, six of them brought from outside the country.
Numbers in hospital have dropped to 959, only 63 of which are considered serious cases, while just over 1,000 are under isolation and monitoring as suspected cases or for having tested positive for the virus without showing any symptoms.
Wuhan, which was the epicenter of the global pandemic and had accounted for the bulk of China’s cases and deaths, now has just 69 people in treatment for Covid-19, with just two persons listed in serious condition.
A total of 4,632 deaths among 82,798 cases have been registered in the country, although several nations feel the figures have been under reported.
14 more Covid-19 cases on board Italian cruise ship docked in Japan
Fourteen fresh Covid-19 cases were confirmed on an Italian cruise ship docked for repairs at Japan’s Nagasaki prefecture, bringing the total to at least 48, public broadcaster NHK said on Thursday.
As of Wednesday, 34 crew members on the Costa Atlantica had tested positive for the new coronavirus, raising concerns about its impact on the local community.
The infections onboard Costa Atlantica come after the cases on the Diamond Princess in Yokohama two months ago, where more than 700 were found to be infected, although this time only crew members were on board.
The Italian cruise ship is carrying 623 crew members and no passengers, officials have said.
Social media footage shows women playing tennis across rooftops in Finale Ligure, northern Italy, Saturday, as the country’s coronavirus lockdown continues.
— The Voice of America (@VOANews) April 18, 2020
Toll in Italy crosses 25,000 mark
The death toll in Italy crossed the 25,000 mark on Wednesday to stand at 25,085 after 437 people were killed within a span of 25 hours. The number of positive cases rose 1.5% to 183,857.
Meanwhile, the pressure on health services continued to ease, with fewer people both hospitalized and in intensive care. Italy’s interior minister said none of some 150 migrants rescued by an aid group and quarantined at sea have tested positive for the virus.
UN chief sends ‘warm wishes’ to Muslims amid Covid-19 pandemic
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has repeated his appeal for an immediate cease-fire to all conflicts in the world to fight the virus pandemic as millions of Muslims are set to observe the holy month of Ramadan.
In a statement on Wednesday night, the UN chief sent “warm wishes” to Muslims and noted that this would be a very different Ramadan because many traditional community activities will not be possible as a result of Covid-19.
Guterres stressed that “many people in conflict zones will once again be tragically marking this month with war and insecurity all around.” He repeated his March 23 appeal for a global cease-fire “to focus on our common enemy – the virus recalling the words of the Holy Quran ‘and if they incline to peace, then incline to it’.”
US repatriates over 4,000 Americans from India
The US has so far repatriated over 4,000 Americans from India and efforts are being made to bring back about 6,000 more from the country, a senior US official said, PTI reported.
“In India, we’ve already coordinated the repatriation of more than 4,000 US citizens. We have four more flights scheduled in the coming days,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Ian Brownlee told reporters on Wednesday.
Brownlee said around 6,000 Americans will be repatriated from India in the coming days. “Looking across the entire world, we’re tracking the greatest number (of Americans) are still in South Central Asia, India and Pakistan. And the vast bulk of those are in India — it’s like 6,000 or so. (In) Western Hemisphere, we’re tracking somewhere in the 4,000 range. Africa comes next with about 3,000,” he said.
The director of the office involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine says he was removed from his post in part for questioning a drug praised by President Trump. CNN’s @kaitlancollins reports. https://t.co/8JzLFLY8cV pic.twitter.com/gPmEG0d8CE
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) April 22, 2020
Pakistan health institute receives offer from Chinese firm to collaborate for Covid-19 vaccine: Report
A major Chinese pharmaceutical company has invited a premier national health institute of Pakistan to collaborate in conducting clinical trials of its recently developed inactivated vaccine for Covid-19 in Pakistan, a media report said on Thursday.
The Islamabad-based National Institute of Health (NIH) received the offer from China Sinopharm International Corp for the clinical trials to make it one of the first few countries for the launch of the vaccine, the Dawn newspaper website reported.
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