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Coronavirus global news summary: cases and deaths - 5 May

Activists Hold May Day Freedom Rally on May 01, 2020 in Commack, New York.
Music online

Learn music, online

One of the students in Natalia Perez Turner's online cello class in Mexico City. Due to coronavirus movement restrictions, music teachers are now giving online lessons.

Going back to school...

Not easy, basically. And probably impossible to do with all the children back. One side-effect: eczema. But for a lot of families being able to send children to school is vital. So many difficult decisions to be made over the next few months. 

Post-Covid-19, the UK must adjust to "a new normal"

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the UK would have to balance the risk from coronavirus with the possible economic and social damage caused by lockdown: "The second phase will be different. We will need to adjust to a new normal, where we as a society adapt to safety ways to work, to travel, to interact and to go about our daily lives. We have never experienced anything like this first stage of Covid-19. As we go forward, we want to make sure the next stage is more comfortable, more sustainable".


Scientific, medical communities reject Chinese lab Covid-19 claims, says US professor

William Schaffner, professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine says that academics have no reason to believe that the novel coronavirus originated in a lab in Wuhan.

"The scientific and the medical communities don't make those statements," he told Xinhua. "We thought we knew when the virus came to the United States, but we didn't, it came much earlier and was beginning to spread long before we recognised it. It looks just like influenza. And so this was influenza season and nobody noticed that we had a new virus".


The situation in Toronto 

Toronto mayor John Tory released the latest figures for the city - there has been a total of 6,448 confirmed cases with 394 currently in hospital - 105 of them in ICU. 469 people have now died of Covid-19 in Toronto. In Canada, positive cases stand at 62,910 with 4,184 deaths.


First major city in Brazil declares lockdown

São Luis became the first major city in Brazil to enforce lockdown restrictions on Tuesday. The lockdown measure covers São Luis and parts of three other municipalities with a total population of around 1.3 million people in the Maranhão state. It forbids people from going outside except to obtain groceries, medication or cleaning supplies.

With 4,227 confirmed cases and 249 deaths, Maranhão's healthcare system has been overwhelmed with 95% of intensive care beds in state-run public hospitals already occupied.  The lockdown will remain in place until 14 May.

Brazil have 108,620 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 7,367 people have died because of the virus.

Coronavirus and sport: the impact of Covid-19 on sporting events around the world


Coronavirus and sport: the impact of Covid-19 on sporting events around the world

The situation in sport around the world: Football, cricket, rugby, surfing, Olympics, golf, tennis, cycling, athletics, motor sports, swimming, baseball, NFL, NHL, baseball, basketball...


Zinaida Korneva, Russia's own Captain Tom 

Zinaida Korneva, a 98-year-old Red Army veteran from St. Petersburg has taken inspiration from Captain Tom Moore's fundraising feats and aims to raise 3 million rubles by 9 May through donations on her website. She is two thirds of the way there already with just under 2 million rubles (25,000 euros) raised.

“You are a strong man and a true soldier. We beat fascism together in 1945 and now we fight this virus together,” Korneva told Captain Tom via a video message. The Moscow Times has more on her fascinating story here


Domestic air travel in Australia could return in July

In a bid to step up contact tracing, Australia's government has launched the CovidSafe app which can be downloaded from their official website. CovidSafe is a tool which allows health authorities to log who has been exposed to coronavirus. So far, 5 million Australians have downloaded the app - about a third of the population who have mobile phones.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed today that some lockdown restrictions will start to be eased as from Friday and hinted that domestic air travel might be able to return in July.


Japan lockdown extended, Remdesivir may be approved on Thursday

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe extended the state of emergency the country has been under by a further three weeks, running to the end of May. In other developments,  Gilead Sciences Inc's antiviral drug Remdesivir may be approved in Japan for domestic Covid-19 patients when the health ministry's review board is held on Thursday, Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said.

Even though Japan has not seen a huge outbreak of coronavirus infections compared to other countries, there are more than 16,000 recorded cases, including 712 from the cruise ship previously quarantined in Yokohama, and 579 deaths, according to public broadcaster NHK.

Police open investigations to identify Madrid residents partying in the street

Madrid's Municipal Police Force have opened an investigation into events which occurred on Saturday in three districts in the capital - Malasaña, Argüelles and Lavapiés. Videos emerged on social media of people singing and dancing in the street on Saturday, which would normally have celebrated the 2 de Mayo fiesta. Spain remains in a state of emergency and while lockdown restrictions were eased at the weekend, residents are still only allowed outside for essential purposes and social distancing must be observed. Walking outdoors and light exercise is allowed between 6-10 am and 8-11 pm. 

Police are trying to identify those in a group of around 20 people who were captured partying, and singing "I'm not staying indoors". They could face fines of up to 1.000 euros.

The videos have shocked the Madrid community - the hardest hit in the country during the coronavirus crisis with more than 13,500 people losing their lives in the past two months.

WHO: "Not surprising" coronavirus reached Europe in late 2019


WHO: "Not surprising" coronavirus reached Europe in late 2019

"Possible more early cases will be found as countries retest samples"

Here's more on the discovery in France of a coronavirus case from late December, which has led the World Health Organization to encourage countries to investigate potential early cases of the coronavirus.

WHO still searching for coronavirus host animal

Despite various theories as to how the coronavirus jumped from animals to humans, the WHO has stated that the exact species remains unknown. 

Saudi Arabia cases spike

Coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia rose by 1,595 on Tuesday, according to local media. 

Hepatitis C drugs could be effective against Covid-19

As the search for a vaccine against the novel coronavirus continues, new research suggests existing Hepatitis C drugs could be effective against Covid-19.  

France's early Covid-19 case may hold clues to pandemic's start

(Reuters) A study by French scientists which suggests a man was infected with Covid-19 as early as Dec. 27, nearly a month before France confirmed its first cases, could be important in assessing when and where the new coronavirus emerged, experts said on Tuesday.

French researchers led by Yves Cohen, head of resuscitation at the Avicenne and Jean Verdier hospitals, retested samples from 24 patients treated in December and January who had tested negative for flu before Covid-19 developed into a pandemic.

The results, published in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, showed that one patient - a 42-year-old man born in Algeria, who had lived in France for many years and worked as a fishmonger - was infected with Covid-19 "one month before the first reported cases in our country", they said.

The World Health Organization said the results were "not surprising".

"It's also possible there are more early cases to be found," WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told a U.N. briefing in Geneva. He encouraged other countries to check records for cases in late 2019, saying this would give the world a "new and clearer picture" of the outbreak.

Independent experts said the findings needed more investigation.

"It's not impossible that it was an early introduction, but the evidence isn't conclusive by any means," said Jonathan Ball, a professor of molecular virology at Britain's University of Nottingham.

Stephen Griffin, an expert at the University of Leeds' Institute of Medical Research, said it was "a potentially important finding" and added: "We must be cautious when interpreting these findings."

Cohen told French television on Monday it was too early to know if the patient, whose last trip to Algeria had been in August 2019, was France's "patient zero".

But "identifying the first infected patient is of great epidemiological interest as it changes dramatically our knowledge regarding SARS-COV-2 (the new coronavirus) and its spreading in the country," he and his co-researchers wrote in the paper detailing their findings.

They said the absence of a link with China and the lack of recent travel "suggest that the disease was already spreading among the French population at the end of December 2019".

Spain cases spike again

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is pressing for another extension to the country's state of emergency until 25 May. 

Stimulus check: will there be a second round in May 2020?


Stimulus check: will there be a second round in May 2020?

The first round of stimulus check payments started being distributed by the Internal Revenue Services in April to help millions of Americans during the outbreak.

WHO denies Trump's China claims

(AFP) The World Health Organisation said Monday that Washington had provided no evidence to support ‘speculative’ claims by the US president that the new coronavirus originated in a Chinese lab.

We have not received any data or specific evidence from the United States government relating to the purported origin of the virus -- so from our perspective, this remains speculative,’ WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan told a virtual briefing.

Tokyo businesses to stay closed until June

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike will ask businesses in Japan's biggest city to refrain from operating until the end of this month, following the central government's extension of the state of emergency, a public broadcaster NHK reported.

The Tokyo government will pay more financial aid to businesses that remain closed during the period, the report said, adding that she will announce details at a media briefing later on Tuesday.

Japan on Monday extended a nationwide state of emergency to May 31, saying the new coronavirus infection rate had yet to drop enough to justify ending measures aimed at slowing the outbreak.

Stimulus check: will there be a second round in May 2020?


Stimulus check: will there be a second round in May 2020?

The first round of stimulus check payments started being distributed by the Internal Revenue Services in April to help millions of Americans during the outbreak.

UK headllines

The coronavirus contact app is the main story in the Uk this morning. The government is pushing for the app to be used by UK citizens in a bid to reopen the economy as quickly as possible. 

Airlines hit hard by coronavirus pandemic

(Reuters) Europe's biggest budget airline Ryanair posted a 99.6% fall in passenger numbers in April, while smaller low cost carrier Wizz Air said numbers plunged 97.6%, as the novel coronavirus halted most flying across Europe.

Ryanair said it flew 40,000 passengers in April compared to the 13.5 million it carried in the same month in 2019. It said it expected numbers to stay minimal during May and June due to ongoing travel restrictions.

Wizz Air said that it carried 78,389 passengers in April, down from 3.3 million in the comparative 2019 period, but its figures will improve this month as it became one of the first European airlines to restart commercial routes from London Luton and Vienna on May 1.

Coronavirus live coverage: welcome

Hello and welcome to our daily live blog on the global coronavirus pandemic, which has now registered over 3.5 million confirmed cases worldwide. We'll endeavour to bring you the latest developments and statistics as they emerge throughout the course of the day.