Read the latest on the spread of the novel coronavirus around the world here
April, 22 2020 - 10:02 PM
Canada's confirmed coronavirus deaths rise by 8% to 1,871 - official health data
The total number of people killed by the coronavirus in Canada rose by just over 8 percent to 1,871 in a day, official data posted by the public health agency showed on Wednesday.
In a statement posted shortly after 11:00 eastern time (1500 GMT), it said the figure for those diagnosed with the coronavirus had climbed to 38,932. The respective figures on Tuesday were 1,728 deaths and 37,382 positive diagnoses.
April, 22 2020 - 09:51 PM
Singapore reports 1,016 more coronavirus cases, 12th death
Singapore’s health ministry on Wednesday confirmed another 1,016 cases of the novel coronavirus, taking the total infections in the Southeast Asian island nation to 10,141.
It also reported its twelfth death, an 84-year-old female and a Singapore citizen, from the disease. She died on Tuesday night.
The health ministry said most of the cases were among migrant workers living in dormitories, a group that accounts for more than three quarters of the city-state’s infections.
April, 22 2020 - 09:35 PM
US believes China failed to disclose coronavirus outbreak to WHO in timely manner: Pompeo
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday said the United States strongly believes that China's ruling communist party failed to report the outbreak of the new coronavirus in a timely manner to the World Health Organization.
Speaking at a State Department news conference, Pompeo also accused China of failing to report human-to-human transmission of the virus "for a month until it was in every province inside of China."
April, 22 2020 - 09:19 PM
Coronavirus crisis shows world could take climate-change action, says UK's Prince Charles
Britain’s Prince Charles said on Wednesday the urgent global response to the coronavirus showed how the world could tackle climate change, and that recovery from the disease presented a chance to create a more sustainable future.
In a statement to mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the heir to the throne, long an environmental campaigner, likened the impact of coronavirus on the world’s population with the effect human behaviour had had on the planet.
“If we look at the planet as if it were a patient, we can see that our activities have been damaging her immune system and she has been struggling to breathe and thrive due to the strain we have put on her vital organs,” Charles said.
“I am confident that we can use this crisis to reset our course by putting people and planet first,” he added.
The 71-year-old prince, who himself has recovered after suffering mild symptoms of Covid-19, has championed environmental causes for decades, warning that global warming and climate change were the greatest threats to humanity.
April, 22 2020 - 08:53 PM
German shoppers not rushing back as stores reopen
German consumers are counting their pennies rather than returning to shop in large numbers as stores gradually reopen after being locked down during the coronavirus crisis, the national retailers association said on Wednesday.
Stores of up to 800 square metres (8,600 square feet) were allowed to open again from Monday, along with car and bicycle dealers and bookstores, provided they adhere to strict social distancing and hygiene rules.
But the HDE association said the mood among shoppers remained very subdued due to concerns about jobs and finances. “Consumers are in a crisis mode, consumer sentiment is in the doldrums,” a spokesman said.
April, 22 2020 - 08:33 PM
South Africa considers flexible restrictions after lockdown
South Africa is considering introducing flexible restrictions on economic activity after it phases out a nationwide lockdown, according to a draft government presentation seen by Reuters on Wednesday.
An “alert system” comprising five levels would identify which sectors are allowed to operate under different risk scenarios and enable the government to alter restrictions swiftly for different parts of the country.
Africa’s most advanced economy last month imposed some of the world’s strictest measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. The initial 21-day lockdown has already been extended by two weeks and is now due to expire on April 30.
April, 22 2020 - 08:13 PM
Few ventilators, little cash: Sudan braces for coronavirus test
With just a few hundred ventilators and international aid slow to materialise, Sudan’s fledgling government knows it has an uphill battle against a coronavirus pandemic that has brought far richer countries to a standstill.
The number of cases of the novel coronavirus is still small and doctors say they are able to cope so far, but they are concerned that a healthcare system that has been underfunded for decades will not be able to cope if numbers spike.
That is an added challenge for the military-civilian transitional government, which is already trying to balance reforms with expectations among Sudan’s 40 million people who want change after long-time leader Omar al-Bashir was toppled.
April, 22 2020 - 07:47 PM
Masks reused and bodies mount as Peru strains under coronavirus
Peru’s hospitals are straining to deal with a rapid rise in the number of COVID-19 infections, with bodies being kept in hallways, masks being repeatedly reused, and protests breaking out amongst medical workers concerned over their safety.
Peru has the second highest number of cases in South America after Brazil, despite a tough lockdown aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus.
Confirmed numbers have risen sharply in recent days, passing 17,000 on Tuesday, double the figure from just one week ago. Almost 500 people have died.
April, 22 2020 - 07:37 PM
Saudi to arrange flights home for residents keen to leave amid coronavirus shutdowns
Saudi Arabia will arrange flights out of the kingdom for non-national residents who wish to return to their home countries during the coronavirus outbreak, the state news agency SPA said on Wednesday.
Those holding valid residency visas should apply online and they will be sent flight details once arranged, SPA reported the interior ministry as saying.
Saudi Arabia has suspended international flights and imposed curfews nationwide to limit the spread of the new coronavirus.
Flights will leave from airports in the capital Riyadh, Jeddah, Madina and Dammam, SPA said.
April, 22 2020 - 07:26 PM
Once victims of their own success, Belgian tourist spots emptied by coronavirus
Belgium’s historic city centres of Bruges and Brussels, usually so busy with visitors that authorities have considered limiting tourists, are facing an unprecedented challenge as the coronavirus pandemic cuts tourism to zero, officials say.
Unlike other top European tourism spots such as Paris and Amsterdam, UNESCO world heritage site Bruges is almost totally reliant on its eight million visitors a year, who bring in 750 million euros annually.
“There are just no more tourists,” said Bruges’ Mayor Dirk De Fauw, saying that even the deadly March 2016 attacks by Islamist suicide bombers in Brussels, which put some tourists off visiting Belgium, were not nearly as bad.
April, 22 2020 - 07:23 PM
Coronavirus a chance to choose new path, says climate activist Greta Thunberg
Countries have a chance to choose a new path as societies begin to return to normal after lockdowns imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, activist Greta Thunberg told an Earth Day event on Wednesday.
Thunberg, who shot to fame as a 15-year-old when she started skipping school on Fridays to protest over carbon emissions outside Sweden's parliament building, said the outbreak showed the need for long-term thinking.
April, 22 2020 - 07:13 PM
Trump says US states safely reopening despite warnings of virus resurgence
President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that US states are safely starting to reopen businesses, even as some public health officials warned that relaxing restrictions too quickly could trigger a new surge in cases of the coronavirus.
His early morning tweet was a show of support for governors in a handful of mostly southern US states who are loosening social distancing guidelines that had shut businesses and largely confined residents to their homes.
April, 22 2020 - 06:45 PM
Pelosi says fourth US coronavirus aid bill to pass Thursday
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she expects the House of Representatives to pass Congress’ latest coronavirus aid bill on Thursday, paving the way for nearly $500 billion more in economic relief amid the pandemic.
Pelosi, in an interview on MSNBC on Wednesday, said House lawmakers were ready to then move on to a fifth effort to continue tackling issues swelling from the nation’s outbreak.
April, 22 2020 - 06:22 PM
Germany's Merkel spoke to Australian PM on coronavirus
German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke to her Australian counterpart on Tuesday about the coronavirus pandemic and their response to it, her spokesman said on Wednesday, adding it would be important to establish facts about the outbreak to learn lessons for the future.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has sought support for an international investigation into the coronavirus pandemic.
A spokesman for the German foreign ministry reiterated the German position that it supported the World Health Organization (WHO) and wanted it strengthened.
April, 22 2020 - 06:14 PM
Chinese city tightens coronavirus travel curbs in biggest outbreak
A northeastern city of 10 million people, grappling with what is now China's biggest coronavirus outbreak, further restricted inbound traffic on Wednesday to contain the spread of the highly contagious disease.
Harbin, the provincial capital of Heilongjiang and its biggest city, has banned entry to residential zones by non-locals and vehicles registered elsewhere, state media said. It had already ordered isolation for those arriving from outside China or key epidemic areas.
April, 22 2020 - 06:06 PM
China to focus on clusters of coronavirus infections in hospitals
China will pay close attention to clusters of coronavirus infections, especially in hospitals, according to a top level meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday.
China’s northeastern city of Harbin has had several clusters of infections in local hospitals.
The government also called for efforts to increase coronavirus testing capability and produce more effective testing equipment, according to a statement on the state council’s website.
April, 22 2020 - 05:40 PM
UN warns of ‘biblical’ famine due to coronavirus
The United Nations (UN) has warned that the world is at risk of widespread famines "of biblical proportions" caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a report, it is estimated that the number suffering from hunger could go from 135 million to more than 250 million, reports the BBC.
David Beasley, head of the World Food Programme (WFP), said urgent action was needed to avoid a catastrophe.
April, 22 2020 - 05:19 PM
Moscow residents open homes to psychiatric patients, disabled children during lockdown
Moscow resident Arina Muratova knew something was wrong when the messages she received from Nina, a patient at Psychiatric Hospital No.22 who has become a friend during her voluntary work there, suddenly lost their usual, optimistic ring.
The hospital had gone into a precautionary lockdown, aimed at preventing the spread of the new coronavirus, and Nina, 26, was feeling more confined than ever.
“They were already living in isolation,” Muratova, who has volunteered for three years at the hospital in the city’s Elk Island park, said. “Now their (living space) had been shrunk to a tiny cube.”
April, 22 2020 - 05:01 PM
Chinese e-commerce giants Alibaba, JD offer bookings for Covid-19 tests
Chinese e-commerce giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and JD have each launched booking services for Covid-19 tests, the companies announced.
The services have been launched as China accelerates testing for the illness and the city of Wuhan, the initial epicentre of the outbreak, opens up from lockdown.
April, 22 2020 - 04:49 PM
Iran coronavirus death toll rises by 94 to 5,391: health ministry
The death toll from the outbreak of the new coronavirus in Iran rose by 94 in the past 24 hours to 5,391, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said in a statement on state TV on Wednesday.
The Islamic Republic has 85,996 diagnosed cases, Jahanpur said.
April, 22 2020 - 04:47 PM
Coronavirus outbreak in Philippines jail sees 123 inmates infected
A prison in the Philippines is suffering from a major outbreak of the new coronavirus with 123 infected inmates, officials said on Wednesday, adding to concerns among activists about contagion risks in some of the world's most overcrowded jails.
The mayor of Cebu City said a new building in the prison capable of handling 3,000 people would be used as an isolation facility to contain an outbreak that accounts for 40 percent of cases in the Philippines' second biggest city.
April, 22 2020 - 04:35 PM
Germany approves first trial of Covid-19 vaccine candidate
Germany's vaccines regulator approved live human testing of a potential vaccine against the Covid-19 virus developed by German biotech company BioNTech, the regulator said in a statement on Wednesday.
April, 22 2020 - 04:16 PM
Johnson under fire over handling of coronavirus crisis
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday faced a call for an inquiry into his government's handling of the coronavirus crisis after failing to fully explain partial death data, limited testing or the lack of equipment for hospitals.
The novel coronavirus outbreak, the worst health crisis since the 1918 influenza pandemic, has left governments across the world grappling with stressed populations, a stalled global economy and overloaded health services.
April, 22 2020 - 04:02 PM
Coronavirus cases in Poland exceed 10,000 weeks before election
Confirmed coronavirus infections surpassed 10,000 in Poland on Wednesday, the highest number in post-communist central Europe, as it slowly eases restrictions on public life ahead of a presidential election set for May 10.
Poland was among the first in Europe to impose stringent curbs on public life such as travel bans, school closures and a shutdown of its borders to try to contain the pandemic.
A deputy health minister said on Wednesday the rise of new infections “had been contained to a degree”.
April, 22 2020 - 03:56 PM
Youths clash with police in new night of trouble in Paris suburbs
Youths clashed with police in suburbs around Paris early on Wednesday, the fourth consecutive night of trouble as strict lockdown rules to tackle the coronavirus have heightened social tensions.
In Villeneuve-La-Garenne north of the capital, riot police ran into a housing estate complex to quell unrest after rubbish and debris had been set on fire.
April, 22 2020 - 03:47 PM
India battles supply snags in race to build affordable ventilators
Indian medical device makers, racing to churn out ventilators as domestic Covid-19 cases spike, have been beset by supply bottlenecks, cost overruns and labour shortages that are delaying their efforts to produce an affordable device.
Ventilators help patients breathe and are seen as critical given severe Covid-19 can lead to pneumonia and lung damage. Experts warn India may run out of devices as it has fewer than 50,000 and may need 20 times that in a peak infection scenario.
April, 22 2020 - 03:34 PM
Spain reports 435 coronavirus deaths overnight, bringing total at 21,717
Spain's death toll from the new coronavirus climbed by 435 in the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday, roughly in line with the 2% increases reported in the past few days.
The cumulative death toll now stands at 21,717, while the number of confirmed infections rose by 4,211 to 208,389, according to the ministry, Reuters reported.
April, 22 2020 - 03:27 PM
Philippines records nine new coronavirus deaths, 111 more cases
The Philippines' health ministry on Wednesday reported nine new coronavirus deaths and 111 new confirmed infections.
In a bulletin, the health ministry said total deaths have increased to 446 while infections have risen to 6,710. But 39 more patients have recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 693.
April, 22 2020 - 03:03 PM
Bangladesh reports spike in Covid-19 cases, 10 new deaths
Bangladesh today confirmed 10 more deaths from the novel coronavirus and 390 new cases of infection after testing 3,096 samples in last 24 hours.
With this, the death toll from the deadly virus rises to 120 and the number of total infected person stands at 3,772, The Business Standard reported.
April, 22 2020 - 02:51 PM
Russia's confirmed coronavirus cases reach 58,000
Russia recorded 5,236 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, bringing its nationwide tally to 57,999, the Russian coronavirus crisis response centre said on Wednesday.
Fifty-seven people with the virus died in the last 24 hours, pushing the death toll to 513, it said, Reuters reported.
April, 22 2020 - 02:43 PM
Spain aims to phase out coronavirus lockdown in second half of May
Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said today his government plans to begin winding down the coronavirus lockdown measures in the second half of May.
Restrictions will be eased slowly and gradually to ensure safety, Sanchez said at a parliamentary session where he will ask lawmakers to extend Spain's state of emergency until May 9, Reuters reported.
The lockdown was first enforced in Spain on March 14.
April, 22 2020 - 02:21 PM
Singapore confirms 1,016 more coronavirus cases
Singapore's health ministry said today it had preliminarily confirmed another 1,016 cases of the novel coronavirus, taking total infections there to 10,141.
The health ministry said most of the cases were among migrant workers living in dormitories, a group that accounts for more than three quarters of the city-state's infections, Reuters reported.
Singapore authorities on Tuesday extended a partial lockdown until June 1.
April, 22 2020 - 01:58 PM
Japan cuts 100,000 tulips to keep the coronavirus distance
Flower lovers in Japan will have to wait until next year to tip-toe through the tulips after a park razed more than 100,000 stems to comply with social-distancing rules to help control the coronavirus.
Officials in the city of Sakura, 50 km east of Tokyo, mowed the tulip beds at "Sakura Furusato Hiroba" and cancelled an annual tulip festival to discourage people from congregating after a coronavirus emergency was declared last week, Reuters reported.
"Many visitors came on the weekend when the flowers were in full bloom. It became a mass gathering so we had no choice but to make the decision to cut the flowers," said Sakiho Kusano, a city tourism official.
Japan's tally of coronavirus infections stood at 11,500 on Wednesday.
Despite the absence of the pink and red flowers that usually carpet the 7,000-square-metre tulip gardens at this time of year, the park is drawing a smattering of visitors.
"It's very, very, very unfortunate. My mood sank when I saw this," 77-year-old visitor Misako Yonekubo said on Wednesday.
The cut flowers were donated to kindergartens.
April, 22 2020 - 01:41 PM
Bulgarian coronavirus cases pass 1,000
Bulgaria said today it had 1,015 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, up from 975 the day before.
Although increases had been gradual for more than a month, the health ministry said the new total represented a climb of more than 300 cases over the last week, Reuters reported.
It added that 47 people had died from the virus, an increase of two from a day earlier.
The number of people who have recovered from the Covid-19 disease increased to 174.
Bulgaria declared a state of national emergency on March 13 and extended it for a further month until May 13 to help stop the spread of the virus.
Like other countries in Europe, Bulgaria has introduced strict curbs on travel between cities and abroad, closed schools, restaurants and bars, and restricted access to parks.
April, 22 2020 - 01:17 PM
No benefit, higher death rate for malaria drug in coronavirus study
A malaria drug widely touted as a potential cure for Covid-19 showed no benefit against the disease over standard care — and was in fact associated with more deaths, the biggest study of its kind showed Tuesday.
The US government funded analysis of how American military veterans fared on hydroxychloroquine was posted on a medical preprint site and has not yet been peer reviewed. The experiment had several important limitations, but adds to a growing body of doubt over the efficacy of the medicine that counts President Donald Trump and right wing news channel Fox News among its biggest backers, AFP reported.
April, 22 2020 - 12:47 PM
Saudi king approves performing Tarawih in the Two Holy Mosques
Saudi king Salman approved performing Tarawih in the Two Holy Mosques and reducing them with the continued suspension of entry of pilgrims, the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques' Affairs said in a statement today.
April, 22 2020 - 12:33 PM
Experts warn of oxygen shortages in poorer virus-hit nations
As the coronavirus pandemic bears down on vulnerable nations in Africa and South Asia, experts say there are only weeks to help fill chronic shortages of what medics need to help people breathe.
Not ventilators, but oxygen itself, AFP reported.
Medical oxygen is a core component of the life-saving therapies hospitals are giving patients with severe cases of COVID-19, as the world waits for scientists to find vaccines and treatments.
April, 22 2020 - 11:49 AM
Mexico enters most serious 'Phase 3' spread of coronavirus epidemic
Mexico has entered what the government calls "Phase 3" of the spread of the new coronavirus, the most serious stage, as transmission of the virus is intensifying, Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said on Tuesday.
Mexico has registered 712 coronavirus deaths and 8,772 infections, with 511 new cases reported on Monday, Reuters reported.
But health officials expect the real number to be substantially higher as Mexico has limited testing capacity. Lopez-Gatell on Thursday said the government's "Sentinel Surveillance" mathematical model estimated there were 55,951 cases across the country.
Lopez-Gatell said the focus of Phase 3 is to further reduce movement of people in public spaces and that it was vital that Mexicans followed government's social distancing instructions to prevent the country's health system from being overwhelmed.
"Today we want to announce the start of 'Phase 3' of the Covid-19 epidemic, remembering that we are in the phase of rapid spread where a large number of infections and hospitalizations are accumulated," Lopez-Gatell said during the daily morning news conference held by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Mexico's leftist leader once again vowed that the country would not enforce "authoritarian" measures such as curfews, which other countries around the globe have implemented.
Mexico has extended government restrictions to contain the coronavirus until May 30 but plans to begin easing up restrictions from June 1 onwards if the current measures are successful.
Lopez-Gatell stressed that Mexico's strategy is based on mitigation measures rather than an effort to extinguish the epidemic, which he said would require "freezing" the country for several years and could lead to an economic collapse.
President Lopez Obrador has placed shielding the poor at the heart of his economic response to the pandemic, but analysts say the government's modest stimulus package pales in comparison with those of other nations in Latin America.
Mexican business groups have also been fiercely critical of the government's financial response, saying it was insufficient as the country braces for what is expected to be its biggest recession in nearly a century.
April, 22 2020 - 11:39 AM
Thailand reports 15 new coronavirus cases, one new death
Thailand today reported 15 new coronavirus cases and one new death, continuing a trend of lower numbers of new cases.
Despite the slowing of new cases, officials remained cautious, Reuters reported.
"The lower numbers are a small success ... but we cannot let our guard down," said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the government's Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration.
The new fatality reported on Wednesday was a 58-year-old Thai woman who had diabetes and high-blood pressure as underlying diseases, said Taweesin.
Thailand has a total of 2,826 confirmed cases and 49 deaths.
April, 22 2020 - 11:19 AM
Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 2,237 to 145,694
Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases increased by 2,237 to 145,694, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday, marking a second consecutive day of new infections accelerating.
The reported death toll rose by 281 to 4,879, the tally showed, Reuters reported.
April, 22 2020 - 10:52 AM
More than 2,700 dead in US from coronavirus in last 24 hours
The coronavirus death toll in the United States — the country with the most fatalities in the pandemic — has climbed by 2,751 in the past 24 hours, the latest tally from Johns Hopkins University showed Tuesday.
The US has recorded more than 800,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to the Baltimore-based university, with 44,845 deaths, AFP reported.
Nearly 40,000 new cases were reported between Monday at 8:30pm local time, and Tuesday at the same time, the university said.
April, 22 2020 - 10:17 AM
France reports 531 new coronavirus deaths, total toll 20,796
France on Tuesday reported 531 deaths from COVID-19 in 24 hours as the number of people in hospital and intensive care continued to decline.
The daily tally — 387 deaths in hospital and 144 in nursing homes — brought France’s total epidemic death toll to 20,796, top health official Jerome Salomon told reporters, AFP reported.
There were 30,106 infected people in hospital, he said — a daily decline of 478 in an encouraging downward trend.
There were also 250 fewer people in intensive care — a crucial marker of epidemic decline — for a total of 5,433, Salomon said. This represented the 13th day of decline in a row.
The total tally included 12,900 people who died in hospital and 7,896 in old age and other care homes.
Salomon said the epidemic remained active in France, adding “we must remain fully mobilised.”
France has been in lockdown since March 17 in a bid to slow the spread of the epidemic. President Emmanuel Macron announced last week that the lockdown will be progressively lifted from May 11.
Schools could gradually reopen then but cafes, cinemas and cultural venues would remain closed, and there could be no summer festivals until mid-July at the earliest.
April, 22 2020 - 09:31 AM
First US state sues China over coronavirus outbreak
The US state of Missouri is suing the Chinese government and the ruling Communist Party over the coronavirus alleging that their deliberate deception has led to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
"The Chinese government lied to the world about the danger and contagious nature of Covid-19, silenced whistleblowers and did little to stop the spread of the disease," Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said. "They must be held accountable for their actions," BBC reported.
The lawsuit seeks damages for the loss of life, human suffering, and economic turmoil that has occurred in the state.
China strongly denies mishandling the crisis.
While Missouri officials called the lawsuit "historic", observers say it will face significant legal and procedural obstacles as US law gives foreign governments immunity from such actions.
April, 22 2020 - 09:13 AM
China reports 30 new coronavirus cases in mainland, up from day earlier
Mainland China reported today 30 new coronavirus cases, 23 of which were so-called imported cases involving travellers from overseas, up from 11 a day earlier.
The National Health Commission said in a statement the number of new asymptomatic patients, who are infected with the virus but not showing symptoms, also rose to 42 from 37 a day earlier, Reuters reported.
A total of 82,788 coronavirus cases have been reported to date in mainland China, while the number of deaths remained unchanged at 4,632.
April, 22 2020 - 08:45 AM
Japan's Nagasaki confirms 33 coronavirus cases on cruise ship docked for repairs
Japan’s Nagasaki prefecture said on Wednesday it had confirmed 33 cases of coronavirus infection on an Italian cruise ship docked for repairs and would carry out further testing on other crew members.
Those who test positive but are asymptomatic will remain on board for monitoring, while others will be transferred to medical institutions, Nagasaki Governor Hodo Nakamura told a news conference. Those who test negative will be sent back to their countries, he said, Reuters reported.
The ship, the Costa Atlantica, is carrying 623 crew members and no passengers.