By Al Jazeera
THE toll continues to rise as US and China step up war of words over coronavirus origin and countries ease lockdowns.
• Some 251,059 people around the world have now died from COVID-19, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed cases exceeds 3.5 million, while nearly 1.2 million people have recovered.
• China’s state broadcaster CCTV attacked US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s comments on the origins of the coronavirus as “insane and evasive”.
• Researchers at the University of Washington have nearly doubled their forecast for deaths in the US as lockdowns are eased. The revised estimates follow a New York Times report based on government documents that say the country could see as many as 3,000 coronavirus deaths a day by June 1.
• Italy was among countries in Europe and around the world that began cautiously easing lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Here are the latest updates:
EU has not been naive in dealings with China: Thierry Breton
The European Union has not been naive in its dealings with China, said EU Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton, as rifts emerge between the United States and China over the origins of the coronavirus.
“We are absolutely not naive,” Breton told France Info radio on Tuesday, when asked if the EU might have shown any gullibility in its dealings with China.
Britain said on Monday that China has questions to answer over the information it shared about the coronavirus outbreak, while the United States has scaled up its rhetoric over Chinese culpability for the virus in recent days.
France hoping to deploy StopCovid app by June 2: minister
France is hoping to deploy its state-supported “StopCOVID” contact-tracing app by June 2, the Minister for Digital Affairs, Cedric O.
“We hope to have something by June 2,” Cedric O told BFM Business TV. “We are pursuing our roadmap,” he added.
France’s state-supported “StopCOVID” contact-tracing app should enter its testing phase in the week of May 11 when the country starts to unwind its lockdown, the minister said earlier this month.
How coronavirus measures in Nigeria affect Ramadan
The Muslim holy month of Ramadan is ongoing with many countries around the globe in lockdown due to the new coronavirus pandemic.
This includes Nigeria, which is the most populated country in Africa and home to West Africa’s largest Muslim population.
Here is a look at how the coronavirus restrictions in Nigeria are affecting Ramadan.
Wizz Air passenger numbers plunge 98 percent in April
Hungarian low cost airline Wizz Air said its passenger numbers plunged 98 percent in April compared to the same month last year as the novel coronavirus halted most flying across Europe.
Wizz Air said that it carried 78,389 passengers in April, 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.
The company also said a new airline it is planning to launch with flights between Abu Dhabi in the Middle East and eastern Europe is progressing in line with its initial timeline to start flying this year.
Thailand reports one new coronavirus case
Thailand reported one new coronavirus case and no new deaths, the lowest number of new infections since March 9.
The new case is a 45-year-old Thai man from the southern province of Narathiwat, authorities said.
The number of new cases have been declining in the last two weeks with the exception of a cluster at an immigration detention centre in southern Thailand that has seen 60 new cases in that period, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, spokesman for the government’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration.
Since Thailand’s outbreak began in January, the country has seen a total of 2,988 coronavirus cases and 54 deaths. Taweesin said 2,747 patients have recovered, while 187 are still being treated in hospitals
Names not numbers: Remembering those who died from coronavirus
A piano teacher who imparted to his son a lifelong passion for music, an Indonesian tax consultant who sewed her daughter’s wedding dress, a chef who was a fierce defender of workers’ rights in Italy – these are just some of the people the world has lost to the coronavirus pandemic.
You can find out more about them and others who have died in the outbreak here.
Indigenous leaders in Brazil call for WHO help
Indigenous leaders in Brazil have asked the World Health Organization (WHO) to set up an emergency fund to help protect their communities from the coronavirus.
In a letter to WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, they asked for help to provide personal protective equipment that is unavailable to health workers in tribal reservations and villages.
“It is a real emergency,” Joenia Wapichana, the leader of the appeal to the WHO and the first Indigenous woman elected to Brazil’s Congress, told Reuters.
“Indigenous people are vulnerable and have no protection.”
Many of Brazil’s 850,000 Indigenous people live in remote Amazon areas with little access to healthcare, and Indigenous groups say the government of President Jair Bolsonaro has not included the communities in national plans to fight the virus.
People want lives prioritised over economy: Edelman survey
A substantial majority of people around the world want their governments to prioritise saving lives over the economy, according to the findings of the latest Edelman Trust Barometer, produced by US communications company Edelman.
Overall, 67 percent of the 13,200-plus people interviewed between April 15 and April 23 agreed with the statement: “The government’s highest priority should be saving as many lives as possible even if it means the economy will recover more slowly.”
Just one-third backed the assertion: “It is becoming more important for the government to save jobs and restart the economy than to take every precaution to keep people safe.”
Italy leads Europe in easing coronavirus lockdown measures
The study was based on fieldwork carried out in Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the US.
US researchers double death forecast, citing eased lockdowns
A newly-revised coronavirus mortality model predicts nearly 135,000 Americans will die from COVID-19 by early August, almost double previous projections, as physical-distancing measures are relaxed;
The projections from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) predict the cumulative number of US deaths from COVID-19 will run from as few as 95,092 to as many as 242,890 by August 4 – with 134,475 lives lost representing the most likely, middle ground.
In a previous, April 29, revision, the middle-case figure was 72,400 deaths, within a range between 59,300 and 114,200 fatalities.
Some US states are easing lockdowns; researchers warn that could double the number of coronavirus deaths by August [Cristobal Herrera/EPA]
Germany reports 685 new cases, 139 more deaths
Germany’s Robert Koch Institute says the number of coronavirus cases in the country has risen by 685, bringing the total to 163,860. A further 139 deaths were reported, bringing the total to 6,831.
Fugitive in China gives himself up after failing to get health code
Health monitoring through phone apps is at the centre of China’s return to normal life after the coronavirus outbreak.
The app is colour-coded according to each person’s health status, and allows them to move around, get work and even buy food.
But it seems it has also ensnared a man who had been on the run for more than two decades after a murder. The Global Times says he turned himself in because he couldn’t get the code.
New Zealand reports no new cases for second day
New Zealand has recorded no new coronavirus cases for the second day in a row, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern joined a coronavirus cabinet meeting with Australia.
The two countries discussed opening borders and Ardern said while it was unlikely New Zealand would open its borders to the rest of the world for a “long time”, it was looking to work something out with Australia.
China reports one new case of coronavirus, no deaths
China’s National Health Commission says the country found just one case of coronavirus on Monday, in someone who had returned from overseas. It also reported 15 asymptomatic cases of the disease.
There were no new deaths.
By Al Jazeera