COVID-19: World death toll surpasses 206,000

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More than 206,000 people have died from the coronavirus pandemic, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. More than Over 2.9 million people worldwide have tested positive.

In the U.S., more than 54,000 people have died, while there have been over 950,000 confirmed cases.

U.S. President Trump’s economic adviser said the U.S. jobless rates from the coronavirus crisis would be comparable to the Great Depression.

All coronavirus patients in Wuhan have now been discharged

The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the global coronavirus pandemic began, now has no remaining cases in its hospitals, a health official told reporters on Sunday.

“The latest news is that by April 26, the number of new coronavirus patients in Wuhan was at zero, thanks to the joint efforts of Wuhan and medical staff from around the country,” National Health Commission spokesman Mi Feng said at a briefing.

The city had reported 46,452 cases, 56% of the national total. It saw 3,869 fatalities, or 84% of China’s total.

Now, China’s focus has shifted to the northeast border province of Heilongjiang, which has seen large numbers of imported coronavirus cases entering from Russia.

China’s health authority had earlier reported 11 new coronavirus cases on the mainland on April 25, down from 12 the previous day, with no fatalities.

Patients remain hospitalized elsewhere in China, including 67 in Shanghai and three in Beijing. Many cities have seen an influx of cases from overseas, prompting the government to curtail international flights and entry sharply.

China reported 3 additional coronavirus cases and no deaths, according to a statement from the National Health Commission. The country has not reported a fatality in 12 straight days, leaving the death toll at 4,633.

It has 82,830 confirmed cases. China reported 25 asymptomatic cases for April 26, including 1 from abroad. It has 974 such cases under medical observation.

Students return to class in Shanghai and Beijing

Tens of thousands of students returned to school in Shanghai and Beijing Monday after months of closures intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus, as China’s major cities gradually return to normality.

Shanghai students in their final year of middle and high school returned to classrooms, while only high-school seniors in Beijing were allowed back on campus to prepare for the all-important “gaokao” university entrance exam.

New York death toll below 400

The daily coronavirus death toll in New York dropped to below 400. Governor Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that the 367 deaths are the lowest daily number of deaths recorded the entire month of April and, while “horrific,” it’s less than half the nearly 800 deaths that occurred in a single day during the pandemic’s peak in New York. “Short term, the numbers are on the decline.” Cuomo said. “Everything we’ve done is working. The policies are working. There’s no doubt that at this point, we’ve gone through the worst.”

China denies spreading coronavirus disinformation following EU report

China’s foreign ministry on Monday denied claims that Beijing is spreading disinformation about the coronavirus following a European Union report that said there was “significant evidence” of covert Chinese operations on social media.

“China is opposed to the creation and spreading of disinformation by anyone or any organization. China is a victim of disinformation, not an initiator,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang at a regular press briefing on Monday.

The report by the EU’s foreign policy arm said state-backed governments including China and Russia were responsible for spreading disinformation on the virus.

The Chinese foreign ministry’s Geng said there was no conclusive evidence that the virus originated in China, and warned that “political maneuvering” behind calls for an independent investigation would not be successful.

Hong Kong has no new cases second day in a row

Hong Kong’s Department of Health confirmed the city had no new cases as of 4 p.m. on Monday. The city, which has 1,037 confirmed infections, has recorded zero virus cases for the second day in a row and for the fourth time in eight days.

Earlier, the Sing Tao Daily reported that the government would consider relaxing mandatory quarantine control on mainland Chinese visitors, allowing civil servants to return to the office and easing restrictions on some business sectors, such as beauty parlors and gyms, should the number of new coronavirus cases continue to be low or remain at zero.

About 800 new cases in Singapore

Singapore reported 799 new infections Monday to take its total to 14,423, including 12 deaths.

The health ministry said the vast majority of the new cases were foreign workers living in cramped dormitories.

Singapore has the third highest number of infections in Asia, after China and India. Despite the sharp rise in infections among foreign workers — who now account for over 80% of the cases — the city-state has said the situation is contained.

Cases decrease in Thailand

Thai health authorities on Monday reported the country’s lowest number of new cases of the coronavirus in more than six weeks, as the government considers easing some restrictions imposed to control the spread of the virus.

Nine new confirmed cases were reported, the smallest single-day increase since March 14. Thailand has confirmed 2,931 cases, including 52 deaths. Officials were detecting more than 100 infections daily in late March and early April.

Thailand said it plans to extend its state of emergency to May 31 to cement progress in reducing infections. The emergency, which was due to expire at the end of April, is set to be extended by another month, Taweesilp Witsanuyotin, a spokesman for the Covid-19 center, said in a briefing.

South Korea may reopen schools

South Korea reported 10 new cases of the coronavirus as officials mull reopening schools.

The figures released by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brought the national totals to 10,738 cases and 243 deaths. Using an active test-and-quarantine program, South Korea has managed to slow its outbreak without lockdowns or business bans. But schools remain shut while providing children remote learning.

S Korean Prime Minster Chung Sye-kyun instructed education officials to prepare hygiene and social distancing measures so the government could announce a timeline for reopening schools no later than early May.

Japan: the case figure is under 100

Japan found 39 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, the second day in a row the figure was under 100 people, Fuji News Network reported without attribution.

The number is also the lowest since 13 on March 30, though figures published Monday tend to be lower because of the weekend. Tokyo reported 72 new cases on Sunday and 103 on Saturday.

Japan is adding 14 more countries, including Russia, Peru and Saudi Arabia, to its entry ban as it steps up border controls while its coronavirus outbreak grows.

Japan has already banned entry from more than 70 other countries, banning foreigners with records of visiting those countries in the past two weeks, while invalidating visas for the rest of the world. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the expansion would take effect Wednesday.

The entry ban and the visa restrictions will last through May. Japan has 13,385 confirmed cases with 364 deaths.

Japan’s central bank is making it easier for cash-strapped companies to get funding and expanding collateral for debt in response to the growing economic damage from the pandemic. The decisions by the Bank of Japan to ease monetary policy include expanding the purchase of commercial papers and corporate bonds and removing the ceiling amount for buying government bonds. The central bank said the economy was facing serious difficulty because of the virus outbreak.

Dubai eases restrictions on virus hotspots

Dubai eased restrictions on two of the city’s coronavirus hotspots, densely populated areas that are home to the gold souk and museums. The Naif and Al Ras areas will return to normal between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. and follow the 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. restrictions in place for the rest of the city, state-run WAM reported.

More than 6,000 tests were conducted among residents in the areas, and no new coronavirus cases were found in the last two days.

1 million Australians download app

More than 1 million people in Australia have downloaded an app designed to accelerate contact tracing.

The government says at least 40% of Australia’s 26 million people need to use the COVIDsafe app for it to be effective. Government officials intend to enact legislation to address privacy concerns. If a user is diagnosed, the app works to identify other users who have been in close proximity for 15 minutes or more in the previous three weeks.

The Australian government hopes the app will let Australia safely reopen the economy by enabling fast containment of outbreaks. Australia has recorded 6,720 cases of the virus, including 83 deaths.

New Zealand easing lockdown

New Zealand reported five new coronavirus cases as the nation gets ready to ease its strict lockdown at midnight Monday. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there has not been widespread community transmission of the virus and the country has so far managed to avoid the worst scenarios for an outbreak. She said it would continue to hunt down the last few cases. Starting at midnight, certain businesses like construction can reopen, but with social distancing. Ardern said the nation was opening up the economy but not people’s social lives.

China warns against probe

China is fighting back against calls for an investigation into its role in the pandemic. China’s ambassador reportedly warned the Australian government that its pursuit of a coronavirus inquiry could set off a boycott by Chinese consumers.

China also cited faults with the U.S. response to the outbreak and called for Washington itself to admit error. “Indeed, lately in the U.S. many people are questioning whether the U.S. government responded in a timely and effective manner and there are concerns,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a daily briefing on Monday.

China industrial profits drop by more than a third

Profits of Chinese industrial companies continued to fall as business activity struggled to recover from the aftermath of the coronavirus. Industrial profits dropped 34.9% from a year earlier in March, improving slightly from a 38.3% decline in the first two months of the year, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

Taiwan consider easing some measures

Taiwan is also studying easing measures as it has had no local confirmed cases for 14 consecutive days, Taipei-based United Daily News reported, citing the island’s Centers for Disease Control.

Italy’s death number decreasing

Italy will start easing lockdown restrictions next week as new cases and fatalities drop.

Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy rose by 260 on Sunday, the smallest daily tally since March 14, the Civil Protection Agency said.

The number of new infections was the lowest since April 20 at 2,324 from 2,357 on Saturday.

Sunday’s death toll was sharply down from 415 on Saturday, to mark the third daily fall in succession.


In Spain, children were on Sunday allowed outside for the first time in six weeks, while a “clear descending trend” in coronavirus cases in the country will soon see authorities outline how the country can move towards “a new normality.”


French PM Édouard Philippe will on Tuesday unveil a national strategy for easing the lockdown, while some “strategic” businesses can reopen this week in Italy, provided they receive clearance from local authorities.

Germany’s cases rise the least this month

The number of new coronavirus infections and fatalities in Germany rose by the slowest pace in a month, as the country took another step in easing restrictions with some schools reopening on Monday.

A total of 157,770 people have been infected with the virus, an increase of 1,257 in the 24 hours through Monday morning, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. New infections held below 2,000 for a third day, and deaths rose by 99 to 5,976.

Government officials continued to warn about moving too quickly in relaxing containment measures even as Bavaria, Hamburg and Berlin reopen schools for pupils taking state exams or graduating this year. Last week, the country relaxed some shop closures in its first step to ease the lockdown imposed more than a month ago.

EU power use rises for first time since lockdown

Electricity use in the European Union rose for the first time in eight weeks, indicating economic activity may be starting to increase as coronavirus infections and deaths decline.

Italy and Germany last week showed signs that they are beginning to consume more electricity, suggesting economic activity was starting to increase in some corners of Europe hardest hit by the pandemic.

Stocks in Asia and Europe

Stocks rallied in Asia and Europe and U.S. index futures rose as investors eyed measures to restart shuttered economies and after the Bank of Japan expanded stimulus measures.

European stocks gained on Monday as several countries began discussing ways to gradually ease coronavirus lockdowns.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was 1.7% in the green, while London’s FTSE 100 was up by more than 1.6%.

Germany’s DAX rose by around 2.2%, while France’s CAC 40 was up by around 1.7%.

“With countries across the world — notably France, Italy, Spain, Australia and New Zealand — aiming to ease some of their lockdown measures this week or next as they try to find the ‘new normal’, the markets rebounded hard on Monday,” said Connor Campbell, a financial analyst at Spreadex.

China’s SSE Composite Index rose by 0.25% on Monday and the Hang Seng was up by almost 1.9% in Hong Kong at market close.

Japan’s Nikkei rose by more than 2.7% after the Bank of Japan pledged to undertake unlimited bond buying to cushion the country’s economy.

Shares on the KOSPI Composite Index in South Korea climbed by almost 1.8%, while Australia’s ASX 200 closed 1.5% in the green.

Futures were also pointing to a higher open for U.S. stocks on Monday.

S&P 500 futures rose by more than 0.5%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose by almost 0.8%, while Nasdaq futures were 0.9% in the green.

Russia: 6,000 cases

Russia reported more than 6,000 cases.

Confirmed cases in Russia rose by 6,198 in the past day to 87,147.

The number of new cases in Russia is slightly lower than on Sunday, when 6,361 new diagnoses were registered. The death toll rose by 50 to 794. The pandemic should plateau in Russia by mid-May and the situation will become “easier” in June, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told the Argumenty i Fakty newspaper earlier.

Johnson urges Britons to maintain lockdown

UK PM Boris Johnson, in his first public statement since returning to work, urged the British people not to let up on the social distancing measures that he said were bringing coronavirus under control, warning that to do so would risk a “second spike” of infection that would do even more damage.

Johnson said in a statement outside his Downing Street office on Monday the country was nearing the end of the “first phase” of the outbreak. “We are now beginning to turn the tide,” he said. “This is the moment of opportunity. It is also the moment of maximum risk.”

Turkey eases restrictions in border crossings

Turkey removed a 14-day quarantine rule for Turkish truck drivers coming in and out of the country. Foreign truck drivers will be able to enter Turkey unless they show any Covid-19 symptoms, but they will have to exit in 72 hours after offloading their goods. The easing does not apply to trucks and their drivers using any of the border crossings with Iran or Iraq.

Beef shortages loom as plants close

Plant shutdowns are leaving the U.S. dangerously close to meat shortages as coronavirus outbreaks spread to suppliers.

Almost a third of U.S. pork capacity is down, the first big poultry plants closed on Friday and experts are warning that shortages are just weeks away.

Brazil, the world’s No. 1 shipper of chicken and beef, saw its first major closure with the halt of a poultry plant owned by JBS SA, the world’s biggest meat company. Key operations are also down in Canada.

U.S.: GOP governor: Hundreds asked about ingesting disinfectants after Trump coronavirus briefing

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said Sunday that his state received “hundreds” of calls after Trump suggested at a press briefing that ingesting household disinfectants could be a treatment for the coronavirus.

“I think when misinformation comes out, or you just say something that pops into your head it does send a wrong message,” Hogan said on ABC News.

The Republican governor continued: “We had hundreds of calls come in to our emergency hotline at our health  department asking if it was — if it was right to ingest Clorox or, you know, alcohol cleaning products, whether that was going to help them fight the virus. So, we had to put out that warning to make sure that people we’re not doing something like that which would kill people.”



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