April, 28 2020 - 10:32 PM
US Chamber cautions against new coronavirus-linked regulations for business
The US Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday said guidelines for reopening businesses after coronavirus lockdowns should be consistent across states, cities and counties, but cautioned that these should not morph into new, enforceable regulations.
In a letter to President Donald Trump and selected governors, mayors and county leaders, the powerful business lobbying group said there was “no playbook for reopening millions of businesses while simultaneously fighting a pandemic.”
In discussions within its own business-focused reopening task force, Chamber officials wrote that converting public health and safety guidance into new regulations could add further challenges to businesses if officials enforced a new “rule book.”
April, 28 2020 - 10:21 PM
Italy's tops 200,000 coronavirus cases, daily death toll rises
Deaths from the Covid-19 epidemic in Italy climbed by 382 on Tuesday, against 333 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the total of people infected since the start of the outbreak topped 200,000.
The daily tally of new infections stood at 2,091, higher than the 1,739 recorded on Monday.
The daily death toll of 382 was the highest since Saturday, and Italy's total number of fatalities since its epidemic came to light on Feb. 21 now stands at 27,359, the agency said — the second highest in the world after that of the United States.
April, 28 2020 - 09:52 PM
Greece unveils plan to ease lockdown, hopes for tourism revival
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis unveiled on Tuesday the country’s plan to ease a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.
“We are ready to proceed to the second phase of our plan: the gradual easing of restrictions,” Mitsotakis said in a televised address, adding that the relaxation of measures would start on May 4 and urging Greeks to remain vigilant.
So far, Greece has registered 2,534 Covid-19 infections and 136 fatalities, faring better compared to other EU countries. It now hopes to restart its economy, which recently emerged from a decade-long debt crisis, without triggering a new wave of infections.
April, 28 2020 - 09:50 PM
Canada province hit worst by coronavirus to announce restart plans
Data released on Tuesday showed the total coronavirus national death toll had risen by more than 10 percent for the first time in nine days, climbing 11.1 percent to 2,766. There have been 49,025 confirmed cases in Canada.
Quebec, the second most populous of Canada’s 10 provinces, accounts for 58 percent of the coronavirus-related deaths and 51 percent of confirmed cases. But given that the vast majority of Quebec deaths have occurred in nursing homes, and among people aged 60 and over, Premier Francois Legault said the province will gradually open schools and businesses.
Legault - who announced on Monday that some schools will be open again next week - is set to address reporters at 1 pm Eastern Time (1700 GMT).
Ontario, the most populous province and another coronavirus hotspot, on Monday said it would not begin lifting restrictions for weeks to come, citing the need to ensure public safety. Federal health officials are due to update their national coronavirus modeling forecasts on Tuesday. On April 9, they predicted the overall death toll was likely to be between 11,000 and 22,000 by the end of the pandemic.
All the provinces have declared health emergencies, shutting down businesses across the country.
April, 28 2020 - 09:38 PM
Coronavirus probably circulating in Yemen, UN says, amid funding shortage
There is a "very real probability" the new coronavirus is circulating in Yemen, the United Nations said on Tuesday, warning that an aid funding shortfall would compromise efforts to combat the virus in one of the most vulnerable countries.
The war-damaged nation, whose population has been weakened by widespread hunger and disease, has reported one laboratory-confirmed Coovid-19 case but due to inadequate testing and a shattered health system aid groups fear a devastating outbreak.
The office of the UN aid chief in Yemen said that based on transmission patterns in other countries and given 17 days have passed since Yemen reported its first case, "agencies are warning there is now a very real probability that the virus has been circulating undetected and unmitigated within communities".
April, 28 2020 - 09:20 PM
US coronavirus cases approach one million, one-third of global infections
US cases of the novel coronavirus were approaching 1 million on Tuesday, having doubled in 18 days, and made up one-third of all infections in the world, according to a Reuters tally.
More than 56,000 Americans have died of the highly contagious respiratory illness Covid-19 caused by the virus, an average of about 2,000 a day this month, according to the tally.
April, 28 2020 - 09:15 PM
Putin extends Russia's non-working period due to coronavirus until May 11
President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday extended a non-working period in Russia aimed at containing the spread of the novel coronavirus until May 11, speaking during a televised meeting with senior government officials and regional heads.
Restrictions were due to be lifted at the end of April, but Putin said the peak of Russia's coronavirus infections had not yet been reached.
He ordered the government to come up with fresh measures aimed at supporting the economy and citizens, and to prepare recommendations on gradually easing the coronavirus lockdown restrictions by May 5.
April, 28 2020 - 08:51 PM
Vietnam PM says to fully resume rice exports from May
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Tuesday agreed to fully resume the country’s rice exports from May, the government said.
“From May 1, rice export activities will be resumed as normal,” Phuc said in a statement on the government’s website.
April, 28 2020 - 08:46 PM
To beat lockdown, Indian man buys 28 tons of onions and drives 869 miles disguised as a seller
A man in India traveled more than 800 miles home disguised as an onion seller in a desperate attempt to reach home during the country's strict coronavirus lockdown.
However, he was sent to quarantine by the local police after reaching his destination.
According to police, Prem Murti Pandey, an employee at Mumbai's airport, loaded a truck with 28 tons of onion and traveled around 1,400 kilometers (869 miles) from Mumbai to his home in Prayagraj, northern India, reports the CNN.
April, 28 2020 - 08:26 PM
Coronavirus cases in India climb towards 30,000; Pakistan mosques a growing worry
India was nearing 30,000 coronavirus infections on Tuesday, second only to China in Asia, a steady rise that would make it difficult to lift a nearly six-week lockdown that ends this weekend, health officials and some government leaders said.
Neighbouring Pakistan also recorded a jump in cases and deaths from Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, and there were concerns that many people were gathering in mosques for Ramadan prayers despite strict rules on distancing.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has allowed some farm and industrial activity to resume in less-affected rural areas after the shutdown of the economy left millions without work and short of food and shelter.
April, 28 2020 - 07:59 PM
In Italy, four generations survive a coronavirus lockdown
Even in Italy, where extended family relations run deep, Marzio Toniolo's tale of a coronavirus lockdown is unusual - four generations cooped up in one house.
They range in age from his three-year-old daughter Bianca to her great-grandfather Gino, 87. The experience tested bonds of love under the stress of cohabitation, and Toniolo believes they have passed the test.
The 35-year-old elementary school teacher, his wife Chiara, 32, and their daughter, were staying in his grandparents' house in San Fiorano, a small town in northern Italy.
April, 28 2020 - 07:52 PM
France to widen Covid-19 testing programme: PM
France will implement a new doctrine on Covid-19 testing from May 11 with the aim of testing everyone who has come into contact with people who are infected, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told parliament.
He said the government had set itself the goal of carrying out at least 700,000 tests per week starting from May 11, when a gradual easing of restrictive measures is due to begin.
“Once a person has tested positive, we will begin to identify and test all those, symptomatic or not, who have had close contact with them. All these contact cases will be tested and will be asked to isolate themselves,” Philippe said.
April, 28 2020 - 07:28 PM
France to outline plans to lift coronavirus lockdown
France will reveal its plans to unwind a six-week-old coronavirus lockdown on Tuesday, joining countries from Asia to the Americas looking to take advantage of falling infection rates to rescue their free-falling economies.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe faces a delicate balancing act, keen to relieve the mounting frustration of people holed up in their homes since mid-March without heightening the risk of a second wave of infections if France moves too swiftly.
April, 28 2020 - 07:11 PM
Nigeria to begin 'phased and gradual' easing of lockdowns in Lagos, Abuja
Nigeria will begin a “phased and gradual” easing of more than four weeks of lockdowns in the national capital and the largest city on May 4, President Muhammadu Buhari said in an address on Monday.
Lagos and Ogun states and the federal capital territory of Abuja entered lockdowns to tame the spread of the new coronavirus on March 30. Confirmed cases of the new virus have roughly quadrupled since a lockdown extension was announced on April 13, to 1,273 cases and 40 deaths, most concentrated in Lagos and Abuja.
April, 28 2020 - 07:08 PM
Kyrgyzstan extends state of emergency until May 10
Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov has extended until May 10 the state of emergency imposed to curb the coronavirus pandemic, his office said on Tuesday, following similar moves by its Central Asian neighbours.
Kyrgyzstan has confirmed 708 cases of the disease and used the state of emergency to lock down major cities and several provincial districts where outbreaks were registered.
April, 28 2020 - 06:49 PM
Italy's prime minister defends snail-paced end to lockdown
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte defended himself on Tuesday from widespread criticism of his highly cautious plans for a slow-placed end to Europe's longest coronavirus lockdown.
The government has said strict curbs put in place seven weeks ago to curb the disease would be eased from May 4, when parks, factories and construction sites reopen.
However shops must remain shuttered until May 18, while restaurants, bars and hairdressers will stay closed until June 1 and students won't be back at school before September.
April, 28 2020 - 06:40 PM
UK not ready to change social distancing measures: PM Johnson's spokesman
Britain is not yet at the point of wanting to change its strict guidelines on social distancing to curb the spread of COVID-19, with the government focusing on reviewing the measures by May 7, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesman said on Tuesday.
"It is important that they remain in place for now. We need to pass five tests before we can think about moving on to the next phase in the coronavirus response. We are not there yet," the spokesman told reporters.
"What we need to be focused on is everybody following the social distancing rules and ensuring that we have got the spread of this virus fully under control."
April, 28 2020 - 06:03 PM
Singapore says its Covid-19 cases may be higher than official tallies
Singapore said on Tuesday that the number of migrant workers infected with coronavirus in the city-state may be higher than official tallies as symptomatic patients had been isolated in dormitories with mass outbreaks before testing.
The nation of 5.7 million people has nearly 15,000 confirmed coronavirus infections, one of the highest in Asia, largely due to infections in cramped bunk-bed accommodation housing more than 300,000 mostly South Asian workers.
On Tuesday, Singapore reported 528 new infections - its lowest in almost two weeks - but authorities said the real number could be greater due to a lag in testing.
April, 28 2020 - 05:49 PM
Thai capital plans to reopen some businesses as coronavirus cases slow
Authorities in Thailand’s capital plan to lift coronavirus curbs over the next few days or weeks for some businesses, ranging from restaurants and hair salons to pet groomers, a city official said on Tuesday, as the pace of new infections slows.
Many businesses in Bangkok have spent more than a month under closure orders, crippling the economy. The re-opening date was not clear as details remain to be worked out, but will be announced on Wednesday, a civic administration spokesman said.
On Tuesday, Thailand reported seven new infections and two more deaths for a tally of 2,938 cases and 54 deaths since the outbreak began in January, while 2,652 patients have recovered. The numbers fit a trend of fewer new cases, down from past weeks in which more than 100 were recorded each day. The government is considering how to relax curbs nationwide, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said, while urging people to keep up vigilance against the virus.
April, 28 2020 - 05:40 PM
Trump urges states to consider opening schools before summer
President Donald Trump says states should "seriously consider" reopening their public schools before the end of the academic year, even though dozens already have said it would be unsafe for students to return until the summer or fall.
Trump made the comments Monday in a call with governors discussing how to reopen their economies, among other topics.
April, 28 2020 - 05:32 PM
Madagascar's president touts herbal drink against COVID-19
As their high school reopened after being closed for a month due to the coronavirus, students in Madagascar's capital city were given face masks and a small bottle of an herbal extract they were told to drink to protect them from COVID-19.
Many grimacing at its bitter taste, the students swallowed the drink and entered school to resume classes, where they were now seated one to a desk instead of two, for safer distance.
April, 28 2020 - 05:21 PM
False belief poison cures virus kills over 700 in Iran
The false belief that toxic methanol cures the coronavirus has seen over 700 people killed in Iran, an official said Monday.
That represents a higher death toll than so far released by the Iranian Health Ministry.
An adviser to the ministry, Hossein Hassanian, said that the difference in death tallies is because some alcohol poisoning victims died outside of hospital.
April, 28 2020 - 05:15 PM
Turkish mosque lights tell the faithful to stay home during Ramadan
The traditional lighting that hangs between the minarets of Turkish mosques, usually packed for evening prayers in the holy month of Ramadan, is urging Turks to stay at home this year as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic.
Known as “mahya”, the tradition of stringing up devotional messages in lights from the soaring minarets of Istanbul’s Ottoman-era mosques is unique to Turkey and dates back hundreds of years.
The process of hanging the lights is overseen by masters of the art. Working from sketches, they set lightbulbs on cords to spell out the desired message, before rolling them onto ropes draped between the minarets of the mosque using a pulley.
April, 28 2020 - 04:57 PM
WHO stepping up shipments but warns on disruption of vaccine, food supplies
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday that it is stepping up shipments of diagnostic tests and protective equipment, with a new focus on Latin America where Covid-19 is spreading.
Paul Molinaro, chief of WHO operations support and logistics, said that global vaccine shipments were disrupted in April and if it continued into May there will be gaps in immunisations as well as disruption in some food supply chains.
April, 28 2020 - 04:46 PM
Thailand approves $5.6 billion in coronavirus aid for farmers, workers
Thailand’s cabinet approved 180 billion baht (4.44 billion pounds) worth of additional cash handouts on Tuesday to help protect farmers and workers against the coronavirus pandemic that is driving the country towards recession.
Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, which has recorded 2,938 virus infections and 54 deaths, stands to shrink the most since the Asian financial crisis of 1997/98 and lose up to 10 million jobs because of the outbreak.
The government agreed to provide cash of 150 billion baht for 10 million farmers. Each farmer will get 15,000 baht, government spokeswoman Naruemon Pinyosinwat told reporters.
April, 28 2020 - 04:27 PM
UK on track to become one of Europe's worst hit in COVID-19 pandemic
Britain is on track to become one of Europe's worst-hit countries in the coronavirus pandemic, according to data on Tuesday that showed deaths from Covid 19 had already topped 20,000 by April 17, including a fast-rising toll in care homes.
April, 28 2020 - 04:16 PM
China says Indian criticism of coronavirus test kits is "irresponsible"
China has criticised India's decision to stop using Chinese testing kits for the novel coronavirus because of quality issues as unfair and irresponsible in the latest strain in their ties.
The Indian Council of Medical Research, the top agency dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, said on Monday it planned to return the kits for antibody tests procured from two Chinese firms because of poor accuracy.
The Chinese embassy said it was deeply concerned by the Indian decision and Chinese authorities had validated the equipment produced by the two firms, Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics.
April, 28 2020 - 04:10 PM
Germans urged to stay home as coronavirus infection rate edges up
Germany’s coronavirus infection rate has edged up from earlier this month and people should stay at home as much as they can despite a lockdown relaxation last week, the head of the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases said on Tuesday.
The virus reproduction rate, dubbed ‘R’, is now at 1.0 in Germany, said Lothar Wieler, president of the Robert Koch Institute. That means one person with the virus infects one other on average. Earlier this month, the rate was at 0.7.
Wieler urged Germans to practise rigorous social distancing despite a slight easing of restrictions on public life.
April, 28 2020 - 03:53 PM
Covid-19 deaths in England and Wales 35% higher than early stats showed: ONS
The death toll involving Covid-19 in England and Wales was 35 percent higher than the daily figures for deaths in hospitals released by the government as of April 17, according to official data that include deaths in the community.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said 21,284 people overall had died as of April 17 with mentions of Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, on their death certificates.
April, 28 2020 - 03:45 PM
Chinese seen staying close to home for first major holiday since coronavirus
China's tourists are set to stick close to home and take advantage of discounts as they take time off for the first major holiday since the easing of coronavirus lockdowns, offering a glimpse of what travel may look like after the epidemic.
A five-day Labour Day holiday from May 1 is being seen as a test for the tourism industry, one of the sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus, which emerged in central China late last year and triggered shutdowns of up to three months.
April, 28 2020 - 03:40 PM
Virus-hit Spain’s jobless rate jumps to 14.4 percent
Spain’s unemployment rate jumped in the first quarter of 2020 to 14.4 percent, figures from national statistics institute INE showed, as a nationwide coronavirus lockdown hit the eurozone’s fourth largest economy.
The jobless rate was up from 13.8 percent in the previous quarter, the highest level in the eurozone after Greece. Spain, one of the hardest-hit nations by the pandemic, imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 14 which has largely paralysed its economy, AFP reported.
April, 28 2020 - 03:30 PM
US coronavirus deaths projected at over 74,000 by August
The US death toll from the coronavirus outbreak could exceed 74,000 by August, according to the University of Washington's predictive model, often cited by White House officials and state public health authorities.
Late on Monday, the university's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) model raised its projected US death toll to 74,073 by August 4, up from nearly 67,000 predicted a week ago, and 60,000 predicted two weeks ago, Reuters reported.
The figure is down from about a month ago, when it projected around 90,000 Covid-19 deaths in the United States.
IHME director Christopher Murray said the death toll would climb if states reopen their economies too early.
Several US states have eased restrictions on businesses, and more are ready to follow.
Stay-at-home orders issued by governors across the United States and subsequent decisions to slowly reopen state economies have turned into highly charged political issues in recent weeks as the shutdowns have hammered the nation's economy.
US coronavirus deaths surpassed 56,000 on Monday, according to a Reuters tally. The United States has by far the world's largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases at more than 993,000.
Globally, cases have topped 3 million, with a total of more than 210,000 deaths, Reuters calculations show.
April, 28 2020 - 03:24 PM
Bangladesh sees record daily spike of 549 coronavirus cases, 3 deaths
Bangladesh today confirmed three more deaths from the novel coronavirus and 549 new cases of infection 4,332 samples in last 24 hours.
With this, the death toll from the deadly virus rises to 155 and the number of total infected person stands at 6,462, The business Standard reported.
April, 28 2020 - 03:13 PM
Czechs report six-week low in daily rise of new coronavirus cases
he Czech Republic has reported its lowest daily rise in new coronavirus cases in more than six weeks as it eases out of a lockdown imposed to curb the spread of infection.
The number of cases rose by 41 on Monday, bringing the total to 7,449, with 223 deaths, Reuters reported.
The central European country with a population of 10.7 million has seen far fewer cases than its western European neighbours after taking quick action to close schools and most shops and require face masks in public.
The daily increase in new cases has been below 100 since April 22 while businesses have put pressure on the government to lift some of its lockdown measures in place since mid-March.
April, 28 2020 - 03:00 PM
Russia reports record daily rises in new coronavirus cases and deaths
The number of new coronavirus cases in Russia climbed on Tuesday to 6,411, a record daily rise, bringing its nationwide tally to 93,558, the country’s coronavirus crisis response centre said.
The number of deaths rose by 72, also a daily record, taking the total number of fatalities to 867, Reuters reported.
April, 28 2020 - 02:41 PM
Singapore confirms 528 new coronavirus cases
Singapore’s health ministry on Tuesday confirmed 528 more coronavirus infections, the smallest daily rise in almost two weeks, taking the city-state’s tally of cases to 14,951.
Most of the new cases are among migrant workers living in dormitories in the city-state, which has among the highest number of coronavirus infections in Asia, Reuters reported.
April, 28 2020 - 02:21 PM
Philippines nears 8,000 coronavirus infections
The Philippines' health ministry on Tuesday reported 19 more coronavirus deaths and 181 infections.
In a bulletin, the health ministry said total deaths have increased to 530 while confirmed cases have risen to 7,958. But 43 more patients have recovered, bringing total recoveries to 975, Reuters reported.
April, 28 2020 - 01:39 PM
Freed from strict lockdown New Zealanders head to fast food outlets, beaches
New Zealanders queued for burgers, fries and coffee takeaway on Tuesday after they were freed from a month-long lockdown, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has credited with eliminating domestic transmission of the coronavirus.
Around 400,000 people returned to work after Ardern shifted the country's alert level down a notch, loosening some of the tough movement restrictions that shut down businesses for weeks, Reuters reported.
April, 28 2020 - 12:46 PM
Germany reports 1,144 new coronavirus cases, 163 more deaths
The number of Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases increased by 1,144 to 156,337, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Tuesday.
The death toll rose by 163 to 5,913, according to the tally, Reuters reported.
April, 28 2020 - 12:19 PM
Australia permits home visits, opens beaches as coronavirus lockdown eases
Australia's most populous state said on Tuesday it will relax some restrictions on movement, as beaches reopened amid hopes a policy of widespread medical testing will help sustain a decline in new cases of the coronavirus.
Bondi Beach and two neighbouring beaches in Sydney were reopened to local residents on Tuesday after being closed a month ago due to large crowds breaking social distancing rules, Reuters reported.
April, 28 2020 - 12:00 PM
Closely watched arthritis drug disappoints in Covid-19 trial
An arthritis drug that was being closely watched for its potential use against Covid-19 has delivered disappointing results in clinical trials, its makers said Monday.
Kevzara, which is made by Regeneron and Sanofi, does not attack the novel coronavirus but instead inhibits an abnormal immune response called a "cytokine storm" that causes the lungs of the sickest patients to become inflamed, leaving them fighting for their lives on ventilators. AFP reported.
April, 28 2020 - 11:35 AM
Thailand reports seven new coronavirus cases, two new deaths
Thailand on Tuesday reported seven more coronavirus cases and two new deaths, bringing the total number of infections since the outbreak began in January to 2,938 cases and 54 fatalities.
The numbers extended a trend in fewer new cases, which had been over 100 per day earlier in past weeks, Reuters reported.
Of the new cases, five were linked to previous cases, one had no known links to old cases and another is under investigation, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the government's Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.
Since the outbreak began, 2,652 patients have recovered and gone home.
April, 28 2020 - 10:51 AM
Mainland China reports 6 new coronavirus cases vs 3 a day earlier
Mainland China reported 6 new coronavirus cases for April 27, up from 3 reported a day earlier, putting its total number of Covid-19 infections to date at 82,836.
The National Health Commission said in a statement on Tuesday the number of imported cases involving travellers from overseas rose to 3 on Monday from a day earlier. New asymptomatic cases, involving patients infected with the virus but not showing symptoms, rose to 40 on Monday from 25 the previous day, Reuters reported.
The total number of deaths in the mainland from Covid-19 remained unchanged at 4,633.
April, 28 2020 - 10:16 AM
Mexico reports 852 new coronavirus cases, 83 deaths
Mexico's health ministry reported on Monday 852 new known coronavirus cases and 83 new deaths, bringing the total to 15,529 known cases and 1,434 deaths.
The government has said the real number of infected people is significantly higher than the confirmed cases, Reuters reported.
April, 28 2020 - 10:00 AM
France daily coronavirus deaths rise to 437
France on Monday reported 437 new deaths from COVID-19 in hospitals and nursing homes over the last 24 hours, marking a rise after lower daily figures in the last days.
The latest deaths brought the total toll from the epidemic in the country to 23,293, the health ministry said in a statement. The day earlier, a far lower figure of 242 people were confirmed to have died, AFP reported.
The latest figures were released as Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is due on Tuesday to reveal how France is to emerge from its anti-virus lockdown on May 11.
Schools are expected to gradually reopen in a controversial move but cafes and restaurants will stay shut for now.
In a continuation of the more positive trends seen over the last weeks, the number of coronavirus patients in intensive care in France fell by 74 to 4,608 while the numbers in hospital fell by 162 patients to 28,055, the ministry said.
April, 28 2020 - 09:23 AM
More than 3 million reported coronavirus cases globally
More than three million cases of coronavirus have been officially registered across the world, with nearly 80 percent in Europe and the United States.
At least 3,003,344 infections have been detected, including 209,388 deaths, mostly in Europe where there are 1,393,779 cases and 126,233 deaths, AFP reported.
The United States, the country where the pandemic is progressing the most rapidly, has 980,008 cases including 55,637 deaths.
The number of detected cases is believed to represent only a fraction of the true number of infections because most countries carry out only limited testing.
April, 28 2020 - 09:17 AM
Hong Kong civil servants to return to work as lockdown eases
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday most civil servants will gradually return to work from May 4, although the government had not yet decided whether to ease travel and social distancing restrictions that are due to expire next week.
The global financial hub reported no new coronavirus infections for a second day on Monday, bringing some relief to a city whose economy has been battered by the disease that came on the heels of crippling anti-government protests, Reuters reported.
Looking to ease the way out of a lockdown, Lam said outdoor sports facilities, libraries and museums would also reopen from Monday although they would still be subject to a ban on gatherings of more than four people.
Social distancing restrictions to halt the spread of coronavirus have seen a relative lull in protests in recent weeks, with some democracy activists expressing concern the rules could be used to curb demonstrations, which Lam rejected.
“When considering whether to continue the restrictions or not, the major consideration is firstly to safeguard public health and to ensure citizens’ health, secondly to consider the impact of these measures on the economy and different industries, and thirdly their psychological impact on people,” Lam said.
The government said last week that social distancing and travel measures would be extended until at least May 7. A key consideration for Lam will also be whether to ease cross-border travel restrictions with mainland China, where the virus is believed to have originated and is now largely under control.
Joining cities around the world in the battle to halt the virus, Hong Kong has shut schools and many people work from home, although some have slowly started to return to offices in the past couple of weeks. It’s rare to see anyone not wearing a surgical mask in the city.
Hong Kong has confirmed 1,038 cases and four deaths since the outbreak began in January.
April, 28 2020 - 09:00 AM
US records 1,303 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours
The United States recorded 1,303 more novel coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours, according to figures reported late Monday by the Johns Hopkins University, with confirmed US cases nearing one million.
The country now has an overall death toll of 56,144, with 987,022 infections, AFP reported.
At least 111,109 people have recovered from the virus.
The 24-hour toll on Monday was in line with Sunday’s, but a sharp drop on Saturday’s figure of 2,494.
More states began lifting coronavirus lockdown orders on Monday but officials said New York — America’s economic engine and coronavirus epicenter — was in no hurry with hospitalization rates still high.
As Colorado, Minnesota, Mississippi and Tennessee were among the latest states to loosen restrictions, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he was preparing to lengthen confinement measures for badly-hit areas.
New York is America’s worst-hit state, with more than 17,300 COVID-19 deaths out of almost 292,000 confirmed infections.
President Donald Trump said he expected to see many US schools reopen before the end of the school year.
“Even if it’s for a very short period of time, I think it would be a good thing,” he told reporters.