Read the latest on the spread of the novel coronavirus around the world here
April, 17 2020 - 09:57 PM
Dubai extends 24-hour coronavirus curfew by one week
Dubai, the United Arab Emirates' business hub, has extended by one week a 24-hour curfew imposed as part of a sterilisation drive to control the spread of the new coronavirus, the government's media office said in a Twitter post on Friday.
The UAE has imposed a nationwide nightly curfew since March 26 for the disinfection campaign, but Dubai on April 4 expanded it within the emirate to a 24-hour lockdown for two weeks.
The UAE on Thursday reported 460 new cases and two more deaths from the virus, taking its tally to 5,825 with 35 deaths. It does not give a breakdown for each of the seven emirates.
It has the second-highest infection count after its much larger neighbour Saudi Arabia among the six Gulf Arab states, where the total infection count has surpassed 22,000 with more than 140 deaths.
April, 17 2020 - 09:19 PM
Africa needs more than $200 billion to respond to pandemic, UN chief says
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday urged creditors to grant a debt standstill for all developing countries, not just the poorest, warning that many faced debt distress due to a global recession triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Guterres told a virtual conference on Africa hosted by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund that the continent needed more than $200 billion to respond to the pandemic and mitigate its economic impact.
To mobilize more resources, he said the IMF should allocate new Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), a step that has been opposed by the United States. An SDR allocation is akin to a central bank "printing" new money.
April, 17 2020 - 09:07 PM
Turkey's coronavirus death toll rises by 126 to 1,769 - health minister
Turkey’s confirmed cases of the COVID-19 disease increased by 4,353 in the past 24 hours, and 126 more people have died, taking the death toll to 1,769, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Friday.
The total number of cases in the country stood at 78,546, he said. A total of 8,631 people have recovered from the new coronavirus so far, and the number of tests carried out over the past 24 hours came to 40,270, the minister said.
April, 17 2020 - 08:53 PM
India testing multi-purpose vaccine against the coronavirus
Scientists in India are testing a multi-purpose vaccine that has proved effective against leprosy and boosts immunity in hosts to see if it can help tackle the coronavirus.
The chief of India's largest public-funded research institution disclosed the information on Friday, reports the NDTV.
April, 17 2020 - 08:20 PM
Indonesia reports most coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia
Indonesia reported on Friday 407 new coronavirus cases, taking the total number to 5,923 and surpassing the Philippines as the country with the highest number of infections in Southeast Asia.
The announcement came a day after an Indonesian official said the number of cases could reach 106,000 by July and follows criticism that a low rate of testing has hidden the extent of the spread of the virus.
April, 17 2020 - 08:04 PM
Moscow has more coronavirus cases than state testing shows, private lab data suggest
The novel coronavirus has penetrated more deeply into Moscow’s population than official data show, private testing results among people without symptoms suggest.
Moscow, a city of 12.7 million people, is at the epicentre of Russia’s coronavirus outbreak, having officially recorded 18,105 cases as of April 17, equivalent to just over 0.1 percent of its population.
Early results from the first commercial Russian tests suggest that a much higher proportion of people in Moscow are infected, and that the disease has spread among residents without symptoms.
April, 17 2020 - 07:41 PM
'No one is prepared for this' - Italian doctors fight to keep home patients alive
For doctors in northern Italy, fighting what is still Europe's worst outbreak of COVID-19, the frontlines have moved beyond hospitals as special teams try to keep patients alive at home, away from the saturated wards where thousands have died.
For staff on the so-called USCA (Special Continuity Assistance Units) teams, it has been a draining struggle, initially hampered by a shortage of vital protective gear, that mixes emergency medicine with the shock of losing unprecedented numbers of patients.
April, 17 2020 - 07:28 PM
UK hospital COVID-19 death toll rises 847 to 14,576
The United Kingdom’s hospital death toll from COVID-19 rose 847 to 14,576, as of 1600 GMT on April 16, the health ministry said.
“341,551 people have been tested of which 108,692 tested positive,” the health ministry said.
April, 17 2020 - 07:15 PM
France reports 40% of aircraft carrier group crew test positive for Covid-19
Some 940 of the 2,300-strong crew aboard the Charles De Gaulle aircraft carrier group have tested positive for COVID-19, the French Senate said in a statement on Friday, citing the military's chief medical officer.
After a closed hearing with Maryline Gygax Genero, the Senate said that 500 crew from the carrier itself had shown symptoms of the illness.
The military has defended its handling of the spread of the coronavirus aboard its flagship aircraft carrier.
April, 17 2020 - 06:48 PM
South Asia coronavirus cases hit 22,000 as Maldives locks down capital
The number of people infected with the coronavirus crossed 22,000 in densely populated South Asia on Friday driven by a rise in cases in India as the tiny Indian Ocean island nation of Maldives locked down its capital.
Health officials have warned that the region, home to a fifth of the world's population, could be the new frontline against the disease because of millions living in packed slums and fragile public health systems.
April, 17 2020 - 06:32 PM
Iran parades medical gear, not missiles on Army Day as coronavirus deaths hit 4,958
Iran on Friday paraded disinfection vehicles, mobile hospitals and other medical equipment to mark its national Army Day as the country's death toll from the coronavirus outbreak rose by 89 to 4,958.
The total number of cases of infection in the Middle East country hardest hit by the pandemic rose to 79,494, of which 3,563 were in critical condition, health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said on state television.
April, 17 2020 - 06:26 PM
British scientists say coronavirus outbreak may have started in September
According to a team of scientists led by the University of Cambridge, the first outbreak of the coronavirus could have happened further south than the central Chinese city of Wuhan as early as September.
Investigating the virus' origin, researchers analysed a large number of strains from around the world and calculated that the initial outbreak occurred in a window between September 13 and December 7, reports the South China Morning Post.
April, 17 2020 - 06:03 PM
UK minister: There is no magic wand to get more COVID-19 equipment
Britain’s health minister said on Friday he would love to wave a magic wand to get large quantities of personal protective equipment for the health workers fighting the novel coronavirus outbreak but that there was a global shortage.
“I would love to be able to wave a magic wand and have PPE fall from the sky in large quantities,” Matt Hancock told the British parliament’s Health and Social Care Committee.
“But given we have a global situation in which there is less PPE in the world than the world needs, obviously it is going to be a huge pressure point.”
April, 17 2020 - 05:59 PM
Japan PM Abe backs WHO on coronavirus, in contrast with ally Trump
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed support on Friday for the role of the World Health Organization in the campaign against the new coronavirus, in contrast with US President Donald Trump who has vowed to cut US funding to the agency.
Abe told a news conference he had told fellow Group of Seven leaders on Thursday that "the international community, centring on the WHO, must cooperate to fight this infectious disease, which is having a global impact" and Japan would "firmly" support it.
April, 17 2020 - 05:56 PM
Michelin-star chef serves Belgian homeless after coronavirus closure
The chef at one of Belgium's oldest and most prestigious restaurants, which has been shuttered by the coronavirus, is feeding homeless people once a week, echoing initiatives by chefs across Europe.
Lionel Rigolet of Comme Chez Soi, whose elaborate dishes cost as much as 265 euros ($287), began cooking and serving food to 100 homeless people every Thursday from his kitchen since Belgium went into lockdown on March 18.
April, 17 2020 - 05:51 PM
Dutch deaths April 6-12 2,000 higher than normal: statistics agency
Deaths in the Netherlands in the week of April 6-12 were around 2,000 higher than in an average week, national statistics agency CBS said on Friday.
The National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) attributed 971 deaths to COVID-19 that week.
Around 5,000 people in the Netherlands died that week, the CBS said, up from from 2,900 a year earlier.
April, 17 2020 - 05:50 PM
Swiss coronavirus death toll climbs to 1,059, positive tests top 27,000
The Swiss death toll from the new coronavirus has reached 1,059 people, the country’s public health agency said on Friday, rising from 1,017 on Thursday.
The number of people showing positive tests for the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus increased to 27,078 from 26,732.
The government plans gradual easing of restrictions to curb the epidemic’s spread from April 27, starting with the opening of hairdressers and nail bars.
April, 17 2020 - 05:49 PM
Singapore reports 623 new COVID-19 cases taking total infections to 5050
Singapore reported 623 new coronavirus cases on Friday taking the city-state’s total infections to 5050.
The health ministry said the majority of the cases were foreign workers in dormitories, which now account for more than half of the Southeast Asian nations infections.
April, 17 2020 - 05:41 PM
UK is tight on gowns for front line fighting COVID-19, minister says
The United Kingdom is tight on gowns for front line health workers fighting COVID-19 but hopes to get the right equipment where it is needed by the end of this weekend, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Friday.
A director of a National Health Service trust told the BBC that he needed the phone numbers for Burberry and Barbour, who are making protective equipment, because he did not have enough gowns for his staff working on coronavirus wards.
“We are tight on gowns, that is the pressure point at the moment,” Hancock told the British Parliament’s Health and Social Care Committee. “We have another 55,000 gowns arriving today and we’re working on the acquisition internationally of more gowns.”
When asked if he would ensure gowns got to the right places over the course of the weekend, he said that was the aim of the government. Hancock said that ultimately there was a global shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
April, 17 2020 - 04:45 PM
Deaths from Covid-19 in UK care homes is higher than 2% - health minister
British health minister Matt Hancock said on Friday the rate of deaths due to Covid-19 in care homes was higher than 2 percent, adding he was concerned about how the novel coronavirus was spreading in places housing vulnerable people.
Asked whether it was likely that less than 2 percent of COVID deaths were in care homes, Hancock told a parliamentary committee: "No," adding that the less than 2 percent figure was out of date. "I can say with a high degree of confidence that the number and the proportion are higher than what you say."
April, 17 2020 - 04:31 PM
Austria to let museums reopen from mid-May
Austrian museums and some other cultural spaces will be allowed to reopen from mid-May as part of the country’s step-by-step loosening of its coronavirus lockdown, Austrian Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler said on Friday.
A specific date has not yet been set, Kogler told a news conference, adding that large events involving many people close together, such as festivals, would remain banned until Aug. 31.
April, 17 2020 - 04:28 PM
Spain's number of coronavirus cases rises to 188,068 on Friday
The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Spain rose to 188,068 on Friday, the country’s head of health emergencies Fernando Simon said at a news conference.
Health authorities identified 5,252 new cases of the virus between Thursday and Friday, which represents a 2.9 percent increase.
April, 17 2020 - 04:24 PM
Malaysia reports 69 new coronavirus cases and two new deaths
Malaysian health officials reported 69 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the lowest daily increase since the government imposed curbs on movement and business on March 18, taking the cumulative total to 5,251 cases.
The health ministry also reported 2 new deaths, bringing the total fatalities to 86.
April, 17 2020 - 04:20 PM
Wary of public transport, coronavirus-hit Americans turn to bikes
Add fear to the list of reasons people ride bikes.
"I'm 51 and healthy, but I don't want to get on the subway," said John Donohue, a Brooklyn-based artist who bought a bike two weeks ago. Donohue, who doesn't own a car, says he's not sure when he'll be comfortable on mass transit again.
The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a surge in bike sales across the United States, according to a major manufacturer and a half dozen retailers interviewed by Reuters.
April, 17 2020 - 04:04 PM
UK was too slow to react to the coronavirus outbreak, top professor says
The United Kingdom was too slow to react on a number of fronts to the novel coronavirus outbreak, a leading public health professor told a parliamentary committee on Friday.
"Where were the system errors that led us to have probably the highest death rates in Europe?," Anthony Costello, professor of International Child Health and Director of the UCL Institute for Global Health, told the Health and Social Care Committee.
April, 17 2020 - 03:58 PM
Spain to pay basic income to help poorest weather coronavirus
Spain is planning to pay a basic monthly income to about a million of the country's poorest households to help them weather the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, Social Security Minister Jose Luis Escriva said Friday.
Those receiving the basic income, which will be approved by the cabinet in May, will have incentives to find work, such as being allowed to combine the monthly stipend with wages from a new job for a period of time, Escriva told COPE radio station.
"Without incentives to find a job, there is a temptation to exhaust the stipend and not look on the job market," he said.
April, 17 2020 - 03:50 PM
Lions nap on road during South African lockdown
In South Africa's Kruger National Park, ranger Richard Sowry on Wednesday snapped a pride sleeping on a road which would normally be busy with tourists.
Kruger National Park like other wildlife parks of the country has been shut since 25 March as part of the coronavirus lockdown, reports the BBC.
Sowry said that big cats would usually only be seen by rangers on the roads by night. As a ranger in one of Africa's largest game reserves, Sowry performs an essential service and continues to work during the lockdown, checking on the wildlife and guarding against poachers.
April, 17 2020 - 03:27 PM
Britain's Princess Beatrice cancels wedding amid coronavirus
Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter Princess Beatrice and her fiance Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi have canceled their royal wedding due to the lockdown in the United Kingdom amid the coronavirus pandemic, media reports said on Thursday.
Princess Beatrice had earlier in March scaled back her wedding plans and canceled a planned reception which was due to be held at Buckingham Palace in May.
April, 17 2020 - 03:20 PM
Some people turn to herbal medicine for virus without proof
With no approved drugs for the new coronavirus, some people are turning to alternative medicines, often with governments promoting them.
This is most evident in India and China, densely populated countries with a deep history and tradition of touting such treatments, and where there's sometimes limited access to conventional medicine.
April, 17 2020 - 03:15 PM
In Modi's India, virus fallout inflames divisions between Muslims and Hindus
The purple ink stamped on Iqbal Hussain Siddiqui's hand by Indian health workers was supposed to ensure he stayed home under quarantine.
But the 66-year-old Siddiqui, an egg seller in Mumbai's sprawling Dharavi slum, rubbed it off as best he could and went back to work. The mark would have condemned him to being stuck in an unventilated one-room home without a toilet.
April, 17 2020 - 03:10 PM
Singapore mulls placing workers who recover from COVID-19 on cruise ships
Singapore is assessing whether migrant workers who have recovered from coronavirus might be safer on cruise ships than back in dormitories that have become infection hotbeds, despite problems controlling onboard outbreaks encountered elsewhere.
The city-state has seen virus cases surge in sprawling housing complexes for foreign laborers, recording its biggest ever jump in cases on Thursday, and is looking for new accommodation solutions for hundreds of workers.
April, 17 2020 - 03:05 PM
Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen to be released due to coronavirus outbreak - sources
Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney to US President Donald Trump, will be released early from prison because of the coronavirus pandemic, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters late on Thursday.
Cohen, who has served less than one year of a three-year sentence, will serve the rest of his time in home confinement, one of the sources said. Before his release, he will have to undergo a two-week quarantine to ensure he does not have symptoms of COVID-19, according to the source, who asked not to be identified.
April, 17 2020 - 03:00 PM
China's Wuhan raises coronavirus death toll by 50% citing early lapses
The Chinese city of Wuhan raised its death toll from the novel coronavirus by 50% on Friday, bringing its total to 3,869, amid doubts about the accuracy of China’s data on the disease as global cases mount.
The central city where the virus first appeared in humans late last year added another 1,290 fatalities to the 2,579 previously counted as of Thursday, reflecting incorrect reporting, delays and omissions, according to a local government taskforce in charge of controlling the coronavirus.