Coronavirus global news summary: cases and deaths - 28 April

Coronavirus live global: latest Covid-19 news on 29 April

Mark Zuckerberg warns against reopening economy too early

In stark contrast with other tech billionaires such as Elon Musk, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has expressed his concerns about reopening the economy too soon. 

“I worry that reopening certain places too quickly before infection rates have been reduced will almost guarantee future outbreaks and worse future economic and health outcomes,” Zuckerberg said at Facebook’s Wednesday earnings call. 

Zuckerberg's warnings come after news emerged that he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have pledged close to $14 million to study the spread of Covid-19 in the Bay Area.

Ireland health chief does not see restrictions easing this week

Ireland's Chief Medical Officer said on Wednesday he is still not in a position to recommend easing stay-home coronavirus restrictions and does not anticipate a significant change in the coming days ahead of their May 5 expiry date.

"We're at a point where the number of people in intensive care, in a hospital bed is still quite high and if we were to ease restrictions at this moment in time, as opposed to next Tuesday (May 5), we could potentially run into difficulties sooner,"Tony Holohan told a news conference.

"We're advising on Friday, but there are five or six days left between now and May 5,' he said, adding that he did not think the advice would change on Friday when health chiefs meet and make updated recommendations to government." (reporting by Reuters)

Jarid Kushner slammed for "success story" comments

As the US death toll reaches 60,000, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and key figure in his administration, Jared Kushner, has been criticised after hailing the federal government's response to the coronavirus pandemic as “as a great success story”.

“We’re on the other side of the medical aspect of this,” Kushner said in an interview with Fox News. “We’ve achieved all the different milestones that are needed. The federal government rose to the challenge, and this is a great success story.”

Here is what co-founder of the The Democratic Coalition, Scott Dworkin, had to say about Kushner's comments...

An elderly man (L), a resident of Sophia Town, Johannesburg, opens his mouth to receive a testing swab for COVID-19 coronavirus at a screening and testing drive in a tent in the courtyard of Sophia Town Clinic, on April 28, 2020.

South Africa records biggest daily rise in coronavirus cases

South Africa reported another 354 cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, the most new cases recorded in one day and bringing the total in the country to 5,350, the health department said in a tweet.

"This is the highest number of cases in a 24 hour cycle recorded to date and represents a 73% increase on the day before," it said, adding in a separate tweet that the number of deaths had risen by 10 to 103. (reporting by Reuters)

(Photo by AFP: An elderly man (L), a resident of Sophia Town, Johannesburg, opens his mouth to receive a testing swab for COVID-19 coronavirus at a screening and testing drive in a tent in the courtyard of Sophia Town Clinic, on April 28, 2020.)

FDA plans to authorise remdesivir as Covid-19 treatment

France coronavirus death toll above 24,000, number of cases tweaked

The number of people who have died from the coronavirus infection in France rose by 427 to 24,087 on Wednesday, with the rate of increase slightly speeding up again after slowing on Tuesday, the health ministry said in a statement.

According to the ministry, the number of confirmed cases now stands at 128,442, up 1,607 over 24 hours. The figure stood at 129,859 on Tuesday but was tweaked a day after Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said that France would not end its coronavirus lockdown unless the number of new cases falls below 3,000 per day.

"It's a statistical readjustment linked to a change in the sampling", a ministry spokesman said.

The death toll has increased 1.8% over 24 hours, versus 1.6% on Tuesday and 1.9% on Monday. Out of the 24,087 total, 15,053 fatalities occurred in hospitals, a figure up 1.6%, and 9,034 in nursing homes, up 2%.

As Britain added nursing homes deaths to the tally from hospitals to give a total of 26,097 fatalities, it became the third-most affected country in the world behind the United States and Italy and ahead of Spain and France.

The number of people in French hospitals with the COVID-19 infection fell to 26,834 from 27,484 on Tuesday, recording a 2.4% decline, its sharpest since a downward trend began 15 days ago.

The number of people in intensive care fell 4.1% to 4,207, a figure almost half of the 7,148 on April 8 and down for the 21st consecutive day.

Apple and Google to release tracing tech

Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google would release two early versions this week of their proposed technology to slow coronavirus spread to select developers for testing purposes, the companies said on Wednesday, via Reuters.

The two Silicon Valley companies, whose operating systems power 99% of the world's smartphones, had said earlier this month that they would work together to create contact tracing technology to slow the virus spread by allowing users to opt into logging other phones they have been near.

The rare collaboration is expected to accelerate usage of apps that aim to get potentially infected individuals into testing or quarantine more quickly and reliably than existing systems in much of the world. Such tracing will play a vital role in managing the virus once lockdowns end, health experts say. Apple and Google plan to release the final version of their tools by mid-May after the developers complete the testing.

UK testing heading towards 100,000 per day

Britain now has capacity to conduct more than 73,000 tests for the coronavirus per day, foreign minister Dominic Raab said on Wednesday.

The government set itself a target to conduct 100,000 tests per day by the end of April. Raab said the actual daily number of test carried out was 52,429.

WHO update

Football shutdown aids Real Madrid development

With play on the pitch stopped, the New Bernabéu is expected to be delivered ahead of time. And what a stadium it is going to be.

Kiwi decision making

With the southern hemisphere nation claiming to have got rid of the virus that is devastating most of the world, we look into how exactly that happened and what can be learned.

Swiss mistiming

On Saturday, it appeared Switzerland had recorded its first child victim of the coronavirus, until the victim was found to be 109 rather than 9. 

The reason? The country’s outdated medical record-keeping system, which relies primarily on fax rather than electronic record-keeping, had recorded that the victim was born in 1911 rather than 2011. Full story

German flu focus

The coronavirus pandemic is a long way from over, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Wednesday, announcing measures, including ramped-up purchases of flu vaccines, to help ready the healthcare system for a long-term challenge.

'It would be a major challenge for the healthcare system to be confronted with a flu wave and a corona wave at the same time - they have similar symptoms and require similar ventilation capacities,' he said, via Reuters, unveiling plans to make 30% more flu jabs available for the coming autumn-winter flu season. Spahn also said that all employees providing care for the elderly would get a bonus for 'doing a great job at a difficult time'. 

Brussels Airways suspends flights until 31 May

Belgium’s Brussels Airlines, a Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) subsidiary, has extended its suspension of flights until the end of May, it said on Wednesday.

The carrier had previously grounded flights until May 15 but said in a statement it was extending that by two weeks because of "continued low to no demand" as a result of travel restrictions aimed at curbing the coronavirus.

The company said it would extend temporary unemployment for its 4,200 employees. It said it was focusing on potential additional repatriation flights and cargo operations until May 31.

Fortenite

Online video games see 75% boost in Spain

Lockdown imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic has seen a significant boost in the online video game market with the statistic being confirmed by e-sports specialist AcuityAds.

Steam, Call of Duty, Fortenite and Apex Legends are some of the online games that have contributed to this phenomenon confirmed Chief Strategy Officer for the company, Seraj Bharwani.

France outlines tiered structure for easing of lockdown restrictions

The prime minister added the caveat that the lockdown will not be lifted on May 11 if the number of new cases is higher than 3,000 per day – as well as underlining the need for the French to be “disciplined” before that date. People who can work from home will still be expected to do so.

Germany issue daily figures

Germany on Wednesday reported 1,304 more positive coronavirus cases while and 202 more deaths compared to the previous day, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed.

The nation now has a total of 157,641 confirmed cases and 6,115 deaths as a result of the Covid-19 virus.

Spain records 325 Covid-19 related deaths

325 fatalities due to coronavirus were confirmed today by the Spanish Ministry for Health relating to figures for the past 24 hours. The overall death toll for the nation now stands at 24,275.

Russia cases push 100,000 mark

Russia reported 5,841 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing its overall nationwide case tally to 99,399.

 

No Ligue 1 return

The French Prime Minister has announced that no sporting events can take place before September, with the football leagues then not being able to be completed.

Tension between China and Australia grows

China has reacted angrily to Australian calls for an inquiry into the origins of Covid-19. Beijing is determined to avoid any scrutiny of how this pandemic began.

Sanchez

Spain's plan to phase out lockdown

Spain announced a four-phase plan on Tuesday to lift one of the toughest coronavirus lockdowns in Europe and return to normality by the end of June.

Following are the key points of the plan, which will vary from province to province. Advancing through the stages will depend on factors such as how the rate of infection evolves, the number of intensive care beds available locally and compliance with distancing rules. These targets are yet to be announced.

Preparatory Phase 0 (May 4-11)

- Hairdressers and other businesses that offer service by appointment can reopen.

- Restaurants can offer take-away services.

- Professional sports leagues will go back to training.

- Short walks and individual sporting activities allowed starting on May 2.

Phase 1 (about two weeks from May 11)

- All provinces that meet the requirements will move to phase 1 on May 11, except for three islands in the Canaries archipelago - La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa - and the Balearic island of Formentera, where phase 1 begins on May 4 as an exception.

- Small businesses to reopen under strict safety conditions.

- Bars and restaurants can reopen their terraces with no more than 30% occupation.

- Hotels and other tourist accommodation can reopen, excluding common areas.

- Shops and other service providers must set aside preferential times for customers aged over 65 to visit.

- Places of worship will also be reopened, limiting the capacity to one third.

Phase 2 (about two weeks from late May)

- Theatres and cinemas to reopen, filling no more than a third of their capacity.

- Cultural centres such as art galleries and museums will reopen, again operating only at a third of regular capacity.

- Places of worship will increase their capacity to 50%.

- Hunting and sport fishing will be allowed.

- Some schools will reopen, though most will stay closed until September.

Phase 3 (around the end of June)

- Shops will be allowed to open at half capacity with distancing of 2 meters between clients.

- Restrictions on restaurants and bars will be further loosened.

- Opening of beaches.

Covid-19 virus inspires global street artists

The pandemic has seen a series of coronavirus inspired graffiti and street art around the world as showcased in this gallery.

British Airways set to make 12,000 workers redundant 

CEO Alex Cruz issued the warning as the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic hits the aviation business.

Oscars to permit streamed films

The eligibility rules for the Oscars have been changed in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and movies will no longer be required to do a minimum of a one-week theatrical run in the Los Angeles area in order to qualify for the 2021 Academy Awards - meaning direct to streaming movies will qualify.

The Academy's Board of Governors approved the new rules: 

Until further notice, and for the 93rd Awards year only, films that had a previously planned theatrical release but are initially made available on a commercial streaming or VOD service may qualify in the Best Picture, general entry and specialty categories for the 93rd Academy Awards under these provisions:

-The film must be made available on the secure Academy Screening Room member-only streaming site within 60 days of the film’s streaming or VOD release;

-The film must meet all other eligibility requirements.

Hello and welcome to the Wednesday 29 April live global news feed relating to the Covid-19 virus as the fight across the planet continues against the pandemic.

Yesterday, the total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world passed the three million mark with over 215,000 fatalities globally as a result of the Covid-19 virus.

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