Coronavirus: summary of Covid-19 news on Monday, April 13

Coronavirus live: worldwide cases surpass 2 million

Coronavirus live: total cases, deaths and updates 13/04/2020

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We're going to wind down the live blog for a while, but we'll be back in a few hours with more coronavirus news and reaction as it breaks. Thanks for joining us!

Staggering statistics...

Coronavirus cases surpass 2m worlwide

Trump says US president's authority is "total"

Trump once again sparred with reporters at the White House Press Briefing, taking some by surprise with comments in which he stated the US predisent's authtority "total".

Trump was also asked if he would ever go against the advice of his medical experts on the coronavirus crisis, to which he replied, “I don’t think it would be very likely because I think we’ll be on the same page.”

Trump plays montage in middle of press briefing to show media's downplay of the coronavirus...

Tottenham's furlough U-turn

Following the example of Liverpool, Tottenham have reversed their decision to furlough non-playing staff during the coronavirus crisis following harsh criticism from fans. 

Coronavirus could be spreading in the air faster than WHO estimate 

According to this visual from Bloomberg, one sneeze could infect as many as 5.7 people with the novel coronavirus, more than double the WHO's estimate. 

Serie A return in May could be "dangerous" warns Italian health expert

While half-joking about being a Roma fan, Giovanni Rezza, the chief of the Italian Ministry of Health's department of infectious diseases, said in his opinion the 2019-20 season should be called off.

French PM confirms schools to begin reopening from May 11

In his latest address, French Prime minister Emmanuel Macron has confirmed that France will gradually reopen nurseries, elementary schools, middle and high schools from May 11. However hotels, restaurants, cafés, cinemas and theaters will remain closed.

"There will be no major cultural events until mid-July at the earliest, but everything will be reevaluated every two weeks," said Macron.

He concluded: "We are living through a massive upheaval. We are all vulnerable. There is possibility in this crisis. We will persevere and maintain our humanity. We will have better days and will remember our happy days. Take care of yourselves."

France has so far reported 137,875 cases of Covid-19, with 14,986 deaths and 28,001 people recovered. 

(translation via journalist, Rachel Donadio on twitter: @RachelDonadio)

Man accused of killing wife pretended she was on coronavirus deathbead.

A Florida man accused of killing his wife allegedly tried to cover up her disappearence by pretending she was on her deathbed from coronavirus, the New York Post reports. 

Neighbours claimed to have witnessed hearing a “blood-curdling scream” — and then a woman pleading “No! No it hurts." 

“As the investigation progressed and further evidence collected, it is believed David E. Anthony is responsible for her disappearance and related homicide,” Jupiter police said in a statement posted to Facebook.

Possible vaccine breakthrough in China?

Well, this is certainly some interesting news. 

Raab's UK briefing

Standing in for Boris Johnson today was Dominic Raab. There was more frustration from some listening as the occasional uncomfortable question was side-stepped once again, but he was insistent that the government was trying everything to protect front line staff.

"We understand the importance of getting PPE to the front line whether it’s in care homes or the NHS," he explained.

"I think the strongest practical reassurance they will want and that we can give them is that over the Bank Holiday weekend over 16 million items were delivered and we are straining every sinew to roll them out even further and even faster."

The WHO media briefing

UK daily Covid-19 briefing

You can follow live the United Kingdom's government briefing here. This is scheduled to start at 17:00 BST (18:00 CEST)

India

Tourists told to say sorry 500 times for breaking lockdown rules in India

Ten foreign tourists were given a novel punishment for flouting lockdown measures in India. They had made a pilgrimage to Rishikesh, made famous by the Beatles, at the weekend. But when they were caught taking a stroll down on the banks of the River Ganges, local police decided to give them a punishment they will never forget. Read the full story here.

Google Doodles its love

The search engine giant has been using its main webpage to send messages of thanks to those at the front line of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tottenham reverse decision

After Liverpool's board had seen their poor choice in furloughing staff, now Spurs have realised the same.

The Premier League club Tottenham will not now stand down staff after the backlash faced by fans and media. The club's board members will be taking the pay cut.

North America meat plant workers fall ill, walk off jobs

At a Wayne Farms chicken processing plant in Alabama, workers recently had to pay the company 10 cents a day to buy masks to protect themselves from the new coronavirus, according to a meat inspector.

In Colorado, nearly a third of the workers at a JBS USA beef plant stayed home amid safety concerns for the last two weeks as a 30-year employee of the facility died following complications from the virus.

And since an Olymel pork plant in Quebec shut on March 29, the number of workers who tested positive for the coronavirus quintupled to more than 50, according to their union. The facility and at least 10 others in North America have temporarily closed or reduced production in about the last two weeks because of the pandemic, disrupting food supply chains that have struggled to keep pace with surging demand at grocery
stores.

According to more than a dozen interviews with U.S and Canadian plant workers, union leaders and industry analysts, a lack of protective equipment and the nature of "elbow to elbow" work required to debone chickens, chop beef and slice hams are highlighting risks for employees and limiting output as some forego the low-paying work. Companies that added protections, such as enhanced cleaning or spacing out workers, say the moves are further slowing meat production.

Madrid

Death toll continues to drop in Spain

Figures released by Spanish Health Ministry on Monday morning were encouraging - the number of deaths over the past 24 hours was recorded at 517 - the lowest in almost three weeks. There was a spike in the trend on Sunday, when 619 fatalities were registered in the previous 24 hours but it appears that Spain has passed the peak with number of new cases also on the wane with just a 1.2% increase on yesterday's figures, the smallest increase since the epidemic began.

So far in Spain, 17,489 people have died due to coronavirus-related illnesses, 169,496 positive cases of infection have been reported and  64,727 patients have recovered.

Spain

Spain loosens some lockdown restrictions to save economy

The Spanish government has, however, eased measures as of Monday 13 April to allow some work to start again. There have been 169,496 cases in Spain with over 17,000 deaths but the daily cases and deaths has been in decline now for a couple of days. However, in a sign that the situation was taking a turn for the better, some businesses, including construction and manufacturing, were allowed to reopen.

Metro

Some non-essential workers return in Spain

Spain took the first step in the return to work on Monday morning, as lockdown restrictions were partially  lifted for some non-essential work. The government plans to stagger to the return to normality, gradually allowing certain parts of the economy to get back up and running. The move to let some workers return to work has been criticised by some, who feel it is premature and that the risk of a second wave of infections is still too high.

This morning, members of the municipal police force were handing out protective masks to commuters at Madrid's train and metro stations. Free masks will be handed out during the rush hour period from 06:00-09:00 hours.

Spain has been under lockdown since 14 March with only essential services such as food distribution and supply, medical services and refuse collection allowed to continue. A stay-at-home policy is in place with residents advised to keep indoors - around half a million fines have been handed out by police during lockdown to those who have gone outdoors without a valid excuse.

The number of positive cases and deaths in Spain has been descending since the end of last week but there have been two spikes in the number of fatalities. After reaching the peak number of deaths last week, the current fatalities rate in the country is around 500 per day.

New York records 758 confirmed deaths in a single day

New York State has witnessed the brunt of the Covid-19 virus in the country and has experienced 6 straight days of more than 700 deaths as of April 12.

Confirmed UK coronavirus cases

As of 07:30 BST (08:30 CEST) on Monday 13 April, there had been 85,208 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, with 10,629 deaths in total. A total of 626 individuals have officially recovered from Covid-19.

Baking soda

Coronavirus: Why is baking soda flying off supermarket shelves?

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, baking soda has experienced a major surge in popularity among supermarket shoppers.

Coronavirus: when will the Covid-19 vaccine be ready?

UK researchers believe they may have a vaccine for the coronavirus by September, but authorities in the US have warned it could take up to a year.

Donald Trump has now declared disaster in all 50 US states

With a population of over a half a million people, the state of Wyoming was the last to be declared a disaster zone due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

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