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Thursday, April 30: Coronavirus global update

Thursday, 10.17: More than 3,230,433 people have been infected across the world and over 228,394 have died but at the same time 1,007,136 people have recovered.

THE PANDEMIC IN NUMBERS

COUNTRY INFECTED CASES DEATHS DUE TO VIRUS
CYPRUS 843 15
USA 1,064,572 61,669
SPAIN 236,899 24,275
ITALY 203,591 27,682
FRANCE 166,420 24,087
UNITED KINGDOM 165,221 26,097
GERMANY 161,539 6,467

All the latest news in brief as it happens

16:33 England hospital death toll rises by 391 to 20,137

A further 391 people who tested positive for the coronavirus in English hospitals have died, taking the total there to 20,137, health officials said.

Within the 391, 15 of the patients aged between 49 and 97 had no known underlying health condition.

16:20 G7 discuss strategies to accelerate economies

Finance ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) countries on Thursday discussed strategies to accelerate economic activity once they reopened after sweeping lockdowns aimed at containing the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Treasury said.

15:31 McDonald’s hit by lockdown

 McDonald’s Corp missed Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit on Thursday as most of its restaurants limited their services to delivery, drive-thru and take-away to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The world’s largest fast-food company said about 75% of its about 39,000 restaurants around the world were operational as of Thursday, including almost all of its nearly 14,000 restaurants in the United States.

13:59 Spain’s death tally lowest in weeks but economy tanks

Spain recorded its lowest daily coronavirus death tally in six weeks on Thursday, but data showing the economy shrank by the widest margin on record in the first three months of the year laid bare the heavy cost of measures to control the outbreak.

12.24 Irish banks extend coronavirus loan breaks to six months

Ireland’s five retail banks, specialist and non-bank lenders agreed on Thursday to extend loan repayment breaks for customers hit by the coronavirus crisis to six months from three months, their representative body said.

Over 65,000 mortgage breaks and over 22,000 business breaks have been granted to date, the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) said in a statement. Allied Irish Banks Chief Executive told Reuters on Wednesday that its applications for mortgage assistance had stabilised.

12.19 Spain’s coronavirus daily death toll falls to lowest tally in nearly six weeks

The number of fatalities related to the novel coronavirus recorded overnight in Spain fell to 268, the lowest tally in nearly six weeks, the country’s health ministry said on Thursday.

The overall death toll rose to 24,543 on Thursday up from 24,275 on the previous day, the ministry said. The number of cases registered in the country rose to 213,435 from 212,917 the day before.

12.14 Italy PM says to ease coronavirus lockdown on basis of local conditions

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Thursday he would gradually relax the country’s coronavirus lockdown taking into account differences in contagion levels in different parts of the country.

In a speech to parliament, Conte said a new stimulus package to support the economy, due to be presented in a few days, would include 15 billion euros ($16.3 billion) for companies and 25 billion directly for payroll workers and the self-employed.

The lockdown imposed on March 9 will be gradually rolled back from May 4 and agreed with local authorities “taking account of the regions where the epidemiological situation is less severe,” Conte told the lower house of parliament.

12.00 Indonesia says coronavirus infections rise above 10,000

Indonesia confirmed on Thursday 347 new coronavirus infections, taking the total in the Southeast Asian country above 10,000 for the first time with 10,118 infections, health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said.

Yurianto reported eight new deaths, taking the total of fatalities to 792, while 1,522 have recovered.

11.59 More than 400,000 workers signed up to Irish wage subsidy scheme

More than 400,000 workers have signed up for the Irish government’s wage subsidy scheme for businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, up from less than 350,000 at the start of the week, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said on Thursday.

The government agreed last month to pay 70% of wages up to a maximum of 410 euros ($445.83) a week for an initial 12-week period. Donohoe said he was looking at whether the scheme could play a different role in different sectors in the future.

“It’s had a massively positive effect,” Donohoe told Ireland’s Midlands 103 radio station.

11.50 Czechs say coronavirus spread contained, to carefully reopen

The spread of the novel coronavirus has been contained in the Czech Republic and the government will continue to cautiously open up the economy, Health Minister Adam Vojtech said on Thursday.

The country has seen the number of new cases drop below 100 for the past eight consecutive days, and the number of active cases has also been on the decline.

The ministry said the reproduction rate of the virus has dropped to 0.7, which means every newly infected person passes the infection to less than one other person.

It predicted 7,900-9,700 total infections at the end of May, from 7,581 reported as of Thursday morning.

11.42 Malaysia reports 57 new coronavirus cases with two new deaths

Malaysian health authorities reported 57 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, raising the cumulative total to 6,002 cases.

The health ministry also reported two new deaths, bringing the total fatalities to 102.

11.38 Hungarian schools to remain closed until end of May – government

Schools in Hungary will remain closed until the end of May and events with more than 500 participants cannot be held until Aug. 15, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff Gergely Gulyas said on Thursday.

Orban announced on Wednesday that some restrictions outside Budapest imposed to contain the coronavirus outbreak will be lifted starting next week.

11.29 UK ‘Colonel’ Tom’s fundraising total exceeds 30 million pounds

The total raised by Britain’s “Colonel” Tom Moore for health service charities exceeded 30 million pounds ($37 million) on the veteran’s 100th birthday on Thursday.

Moore captured the hearts of a nation during the COVID-19 pandemic by walking 100 laps of his garden to raise money to support frontline health workers.

11.20 Coronavirus reproduction rate in Germany at 0.76 – RKI

The novel coronavirus reproduction rate in Germany is currently estimated at 0.76 on average, the head of the RKI public health authority said on Thursday.

The number is one of several indicators authorities are watching when deciding on loosening coronavirus restrictions for the public. Public health experts say that an R number of 1 or above would make it impossible to loosen.

A number of 0.76 means that, on average, 100 people infected with Covid-19 infect 76 other people. This would mean the number of new infections would come down over time.

11.18 Philippines reports 276 new coronavirus cases, 10 more deaths

The Philippines reported 276 new coronavirus infections and 10 more deaths, bringing its total number of cases to 8,488 and fatalities to 568.

It also said 20 more individuals have recovered, bringing total recoveries to 1,043.

10.48 AstraZeneca CEO says will know whether Oxford’s vaccine works in June or July

The chief executive of British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said it will know by June or July whether a coronavirus vaccine it is working on with the University of Oxford will be effective or not.

“By June, July we will already have a very good idea of the direction of travel in terms of its potential efficacy,” CEO Pascal Soriot told BBC radio on Thursday.

10.35 Russia’s coronavirus case tally passes 100,000 with record daily rise

Russia on Thursday reported 7,099 new cases of the novel coronavirus, a record daily rise, bringing its nationwide tally to 106,498.

The official nationwide death toll rose to 1,073 after 101 people with the virus died in the last 24 hours, Russia’s coronavirus crisis response centre said.

10.34 Ukraine reaches 10,000 coronavirus cases as public chafes against lockdown

Ukraine reached 10,000 coronavirus cases on Thursday as Health Minister Maksym Stepanov urged the public to be patient and not violate lockdown measures that have kept the country’s death toll far lower than in much of western Europe.

The government shut businesses such as cafes, restaurants, markets and cinemas last month, closed its borders to foreign citizens and shut down almost all air and rail travel, causing a spike in job losses.

10.14 London stocks rise on optimism around virus drug, upbeat earnings

UK stock markets rose on Thursday as investors cheered signs of progress in developing a treatment for the novel coronavirus, while Reckitt Benckiser surged after reporting strong demand for its products ahead of the lockdown.

The consumer goods firm said sales of its Lysol disinfectants, Mucinex cough syrup and Dettol soap had jumped in the first quarter and that it now expected performance in 2020 to be better than initially forecast. Its shares rose 3.2%, pushing up the household goods index 2.3%.

10.13 Merkel aide: Social distancing will “certainly” be extended until May 10

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff said on Thursday that social distancing measures in Europe’s largest economy would “certainly” be extended until May 10 for the time being.

Helge Braun told broadcaster n-tv a larger discussion about further steps to ease the lockdown would happen on May 6. Some shops have already reopened.

10.11 Singapore reports 528 new coronavirus cases, taking total to 16,169
Singapore confirmed 528 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, its Health Hinistry said, taking the city-state’s total cases to 16,169.

10.10 UK businesses should stick to lockdown rules – minister

British businesses should not ignore the lockdown rules for pubs and restaurants to stay closed, Britain’s justice minister Robert Buckland said on Thursday, when asked about a plan by JD Wetherspoon to start reopening in or around June.

“I think it would be a mistake for different businesses or individuals to just go off at a tangent and do their own thing. It blunts the effectiveness of any measures we’re taking,” Buckland told LBC Radio

9.50 Britain releases 40 of 4,000 prisoners identified for early COVID release

Britain has released 40 of a possible 4,000 prisoners that were identified for early release, after the government got a better control on the spread of the coronavirus in prisons, Justice Minister Robert Buckland said on Thursday.

“The picture is a much better one than presented itself to me even a month ago,” he told Sky News on Thursday.

9.32 Britain could miss COVID-19 testing target, says minister

Britain could miss its target of carrying out 100,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of April, Justice Minister Robert Buckland said on Thursday.

Some 52,429 tests were carried out on Wednesday, according to the latest figures, putting Britain on course to miss the target set by the health minister.

“Even if it isn’t met, we are well on our way to ramping this up,” Buckland told BBC television.

9.29 Ukraine crosses 10,000 coronavirus cases: health minister

Ukraine now has 10,406 confirmed coronavirus cases and 261 deaths, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov told a briefing on Thursday.

The government has put lockdown measures in place until May 11 and has said it expects the pandemic to peak in Ukraine early next month.

9.11 California likely to announce closure of state’s beaches and parks 

California Governor Gavin Newsom is likely to announce on Thursday the closure of the state’s beaches and parks after crowds jammed beaches last weekend, according to a memo cited by local media, amid concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

The memo was sent by the governor’s office to California’s police chiefs, local media reported. Newsom’s office did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment late on Wednesday.

8.35 Stocks rally on treatment hopes, currencies await ECB

Asian stocks rose to a seven-week high on Thursday, boosted by encouraging early results from a COVID-19 treatment trial, though bonds and currencies stuck to cautious ranges ahead of a European Central Bank meeting later in the day.

U.S. and European stock futures gained throughout the session, with EuroSTOXX futures and FTSE futures last up more than 1% and S&P 500 futures up about 0.7%.

A 1.4% rise in MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares, excluding Japan, has it tracking toward a weekly gain of more than 5%, its best in three weeks.

Optimism in equity markets was driven by positive partial results from a trial of Gilead’s antiviral remdesivir, which showed the drug could help speed recovery from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.

8.06 Virus can affect calendar for years: UEFA executive committee member

The COVID-19 crisis could hit soccer’s international calendar for “two to three years” and potentially affect the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Lars-Christer Olsson, an executive committee member of European soccer’s governing body UEFA has said.

The novel coronavirus, which has infected over 3.13 million people globally causing more than 218,000 deaths, has wreaked havoc on the soccer schedule with Euro 2020 postponed to 2021 and national leagues and continental club competitions on hold.

The Qatar World Cup is set to take place from Nov. 21-Dec. 18, 2022 and Olsson said it was a case of “wait and see” if the quadrennial event would be hit.

7.48 Thailand reports 7 new coronavirus cases, no new deaths

Thailand on Thursday reported seven new coronavirus cases but no new deaths, taking its tally to 2,954 cases while fatalities remained at 54 since the outbreak began in January.

New daily infections have stayed in the single digits for four consecutive days.

7.16 Germany reports 1,478 new coronavirus cases, 173 more deaths

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has risen by 1,478 to 159,119, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Thursday.

According to the tally, 6,288 people have died of the disease, a rise of 173 compared to Wednesday.

5.04 China cancels annual Boao forum due to coronavirus

China has cancelled the 2020 Boao Forum for Asia, which Beijing is trying to promote as the region’s answer to Davos, due to the coronavirus epidemic, the official China News agency reported on Thursday.

The annual conference, initially scheduled for March 24-27, was postponed in early March due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which first emerged late last year in China.

5.03 IMF approves $650 mln in emergency pandemic aid for Dominican Republic

The International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday its executive board had approved $650 million in emergency financial assistance to help the Dominican Republic respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

The emergency assistance will help the Caribbean nation meet urgent balance of payments needs and support essential health expenditure to combat the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus and mitigate its economic damage, the IMF said.

4.23 S.Korea reports no new domestic coronavirus cases, first time since Feb peak

South Korea reported on Thursday no new domestic coronavirus cases for the first time since its Feb. 29 peak, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

KCDC reported four new infections, all imported cases, taking the national tally to 10,765. The death toll rose by one to 247.

4.19 Yemen reports first two deaths from coronavirus

Yemen has reported its first two deaths from the novel coronavirus, its health minister told Yemen TV late on Wednesday.

Yemeni authorities also reported multiple coronavirus infections, five, for the first time on Wednesday, after the United Nations said it feared the disease could be spreading undetected in a country where millions face famine and lack medical care.

3.28 China reports 4 new coronavirus cases vs 22 a day earlier

China reported four new coronavirus cases for April 29, down from 22 a day earlier, data from the country’s health authority showed.

All of the cases were imported, the National Health Commission said. It also reported 33 new asymptomatic cases over the day, up from 26 a day earlier.

3.22 Mexico coronavirus infections rise to 17,799 cases and 1,732 deaths

Mexico’s health ministry on Wednesday reported 1,047 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 163 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 17,799 cases and 1,732 deaths.

The figures were published on the ministry’s website.

3.15 Trump says China wants him to lose re-election race

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he believes China’s handling of the coronavirus is proof that Beijing “will do anything they can” to make him lose his re-election bid.

In an interview with Reuters in the Oval Office, Trump said he was looking at different options in terms of consequences for China for the virus. “I can do a lot,” he said.

3.01 Panama coronavirus cases climb to 6,378, deaths reach 178

Confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in Panama reached 6,378 on Wednesday, a rise of 178 from the previous day, and deaths climbed by two to 178, the health ministry said.

Director of Epidemiology Lourdes Moreno gave the Central American country’s latest data at a news conference.

2.32 Qatar to reduce employees at workplaces in govt, private sectors 

Qatar’s cabinet has decided to extend several measures to stem the spread of coronavirus including the reduction of employees at workplaces in the government and private sectors, state news agency QNA said on Thursday.

The cabinet decided to reduce the number of workers transported by buses to half of the current capacity.


What happened on Wednesday, April 28

EUROPE

  • Britain’s death toll is probably above 27,241, making it one of the worst-hit countries in Europe, the opposition Labour Party leader said.
  • The number of people who have died from coronavirus infection in France rose by 427 to 24,087, while hospitalizations and people in ICU units continued to decline.
  • Spain recorded 325 deaths overnight, against 301 the previous day, but health officials said the epidemic was evolving favourably ahead of a gradual easing of its lockdown next week.
  • Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy climbed by 323 on Wednesday, against 382 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the daily tally of new infections stood at 2,086, broadly stable from 2,091.
  • Big insurers face fresh coronavirus claim threat from the UK hospitality sector.
  • Italy’s crime rate slumped 66.6% in March, thanks to a government lockdown introduced to halt the coronavirus, the interior ministry said.
  • The coronavirus pandemic will plunge Germany’s economy into its deepest recession since World War Two, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said.
  • Russia’s confirmed cases neared 100,000 on Wednesday after 5,841 new cases were registered overnight along with a record daily rise in the death toll.
  • The total confirmed cases in Sweden topped 20,000 on Wednesday.
  • Polish hotels and shopping malls will reopen on May 4 and pre-schools can open on May 6.

AMERICAS

  • More than 1.01 million people have been infected in the United States and 58,605 have died, according to a Reuters tally as of 0200 GMT on Wednesday.
  • U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he is keeping some $259 billion worth of coronavirus aid capital in reserve for new or expanded Federal Reserve lending programs, but is not considering further aid to airlines at the moment.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump greeted as good news reports that a Gilead Sciences Inc experimental antiviral drug might help fight the coronavirus, and infectious disease official Anthony Fauci said data shows it appears to help patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
  • Florida Governor Ron DeSantis prepared to unveil his plan for easing restrictions on businesses in his state, as data showed the U.S. economy contracted 4.8% in the first quarter.
  • The U.S. Navy said it would carry out a broader review into the spread of the coronavirus aboard an aircraft carrier, a move likely to delay a decision on the future of the ship’s fired captain.
  • U.S. consumer advocates are urging Congress to resist growing demands by companies for protections from coronavirus-related lawsuits as states start to ease pandemic restrictions and businesses begin to reopen.
  • Stress tests conducted by Brazil’s central bank show in the COVID pandemic worst case scenario Brazilian banks would need around 70 billion reais ($13 billion) in additional capital to face higher provisions for losses, according to a Financial Stability report.

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

  • The Japanese government is planning to extend the state of emergency over the new coronavirus pandemic by about one month for the entire country, the Nikkei business daily reported.
  • China said its parliament will open a key annual session on May 22, signalling that Beijing sees the country returning to normal.
  • Mainland China reported 22 new cases for April 28, against 6 a day earlier, bringing total infections to 82,858.
  • The Serum Institute of India said it plans this year to produce up to 60 million doses of a potential vaccine against the new coronavirus that is under clinical trial in Britain.
  • Japan’s prime minister said the Tokyo Olympics could not take place next year unless the pandemic is contained, as the city governor requested an extension of Japan’s state of emergency.
  • Indonesia confirmed 260 new infections on Wednesday, taking its total to 9,771, while deaths rose by 11 to 784.
  • The Philippines’ tally of confirmed cases rose to more than 8,000.
  • Australia’s prime minister said bans on international travel and large gatherings would continue even as the government eases lockdowns and moves towards a “COVID-safe” economy and society.
  • Azerbaijan will keep borders closed until May 31.

MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

  • COVID-19 death toll in Turkey has risen by 89 in the last 24 hours to 3,081, Health Ministry data showed.
  • Nigeria will ease new coronavirus lockdowns in three key states over a six-week period from May 4.
  • Yemeni authorities reported multiple coronavirus infections for the first time, after the United Nations said it feared the disease could be spreading undetected in a country where millions are already facing famine.
  • Turkey extended the closure of schools until the end of May
  • Iran’s death toll rose by 80 in the past 24 hours to 5,957.
  • Sudan has postponed a key economic conference meant to formulate subsidy reforms demanded by foreign donors until after the coronavirus pandemic.

ECONOMIC FALLOUT

  • The Federal Reserve, which has pumped trillions in emergency funding into U.S. financial markets, is expected on Wednesday to reiterate its promise to do whatever it takes to support the world’s largest economy.
  • Eurozone economic sentiment suffered its steepest ever decline in April as lockdowns halted much economic activity.
  • Germany slashed its economic growth forecast for this year, predicting the pandemic would plunge Europe’s largest economy into its deepest recession since World War Two.
  • China will roll out measures including tax, credit and foreign trade policies to support economic development in Hubei province.

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