Spain daily coronavirus death toll lowest in weeks: Live updates

Global death toll from coronavirus surpasses 200,000 as Spain, Italy record lowest fatality rate in weeks.

Healthcare workers assist a COVID-19 patient at one of the intensive care units (ICU) of the Ramon y Cajal hospital in Madrid, Spain, Spain, Friday, April 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
  • Spain has said the number of daily coronavirus-related fatalities fell to its lowest level in more than a month, with 288 deaths in the previous 24 hours.

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) warned against countries issuing so-called “immunity passports” to those recovered from COVID-19, saying there is no evidence yet the previously infected cannot be reinfected.

  • Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has ordered the partial lifting of a curfew in all regions of the kingdom, except in the cities of Mecca and Medina.

  • India allowed a limited reopening of shops in neighbourhoods and residential areas, a month after the country of some 1.3 billion people went into lockdown.
  • Worldwide, the number of confirmed infections stood at more than 2.88 million people, with some 813,000 recoveries. More than 200,000 people have died, according to a tally by the Johns Hopkins University.

Here are the latest updates:

Sunday, April 26

20:30 GMT – Italian government sets May 18 return for football training 

Italian prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that professional sports teams can resume training on May 18, while individual sports can resume practice on May 4.

The move means that the Serie A league could resume playing games in June – albeit without any fans in the stadiums.

Conte said that starting on Monday, Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora “will work intensely with … the soccer system, the professional sports in general, to find a road map that we have already partly defined in terms of the resumption of individual training on May 4 and teams on May 18.

“Then we’ll evaluate if the conditions will allow the leagues that were suspended to be completed,” Conte added. Serie A has been suspended since March 9, when the government ordered a nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus emergency.

19:30 GMT – Honduras to extend lockdown by one week 

Honduras will extend a blanket curfew imposed to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus by one week until 3pm (21:00 GMT) on Sunday, May 3, Security Ministry spokesman Jair Meza said. 

17:55 GMT – European carmakers restart production

Volkswagen will restart production at its Wolfsburg factory in Germany on Monday, the latest of a fleet of European carmakers to take advantage of eased lockdown measures to resume manufacturing.

Encouraged by a fall in infection rates, Germany has allowed small retail stores to reopen, provided they adhere to strict distancing and hygiene rules. Now large corporations are following suit.

BMW also said it is cranking up engine manufacturing starting from Monday.

Iraqi TV show producers hope to provide comfort for Ramadan (3:00)

17:50 GMT – French death toll rises by 242 to 22,856 

France recorded a big fall in its death toll with 242 deaths in the last 24 hours, a drop of more than a third from the previous day. A total of 22,856 people have died since the beginning of March, health officials said.

The number of deaths in hospitals -152 – was the lowest daily toll in five weeks, they said, while 90 people died in nursing and care homes.

17:30 GMT – Canada’s top medical official encouraged by slowing death toll

Canada’s top medical official said she is encouraged the coronavirus death toll was slowing while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said isolation measures should remain for the time being.

The public health agency said the death toll rose by less than 10 percent for the seventh day in a row, increasing by under six percent to 2,489.

Those diagnosed with the coronavirus stands at 45,791, up from 44,364.

17:20 GMT – Portrait of a pandemic: Capturing the spaces we call home 

Lockdown has changed everything – millions have been confined to their homes, public spaces have been left deserted.

While journalists, like everyone else, have struggled to adapt to new and unprecedented working conditions, photojournalists have found opportunity amid the adversity. 

The Listening Post’s Flo Phillips talks to three photographers – each with a unique perspective on life under lockdown, and how it has changed the way we inhabit the spaces in which we live.

Portrait of a pandemic: Capturing the spaces we call home (9:55)

17:15 GMT – Spanish children allowed outside for first time in six weeks  

Streets across Spain resounded with the sounds of children shouting and the rattle of their bicycles on Sunday as millions were allowed to play outside for the first time in six weeks as the nationwide coronavirus lockdown was relaxed further.

Those under the age of 14 have been allowed one hour of supervised outdoor activity per day between 9am (07:00 GMT) and 9pm (19:00 GMT), as long as they remain within one kilometre of their home.

Adults can accompany up to three children, who will not be allowed to use playgrounds or share toys, and must adhere to social distancing guidelines, remaining at least two metres (6.5 feet) from other people. For the time being, schools remain closed.

Read more here

A child rides her bicycle along a pathway, after restrictions were partially lifted for children for the first time in six weeks, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in
A child rides her bicycle along a pathway, after restrictions were partially lifted for children for the first time in six weeks [Albert Gea/Reuters]

16:40 GMT – Turkey records 2,357 new coronavirus cases 

Turkey has recorded 2,357 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, bringing its total number of infections to 110,130, Health Ministry data showed. 

The death toll rose by 99 to 2,805 while the number of recoveries stood at 29,140 as of Sunday. 

16:30 GMT – Britain seeing downward trend in number of hospitalised patients 

Britain is now seeing a very definite downward trend in the number of people who are in hospital with the new coronavirus, the national medical director of England’s health service said.

“We now have a very definite trend in reduced number of people in hospitals. That is most marked in London but you can also see that in the Midlands and the beginnings of that in other areas of the UK,” National Medical Director of NHS England Stephen Powis told a news conference.

“That is definitely showing that our compliance with social distancing is proving to be beneficial, it is reducing the transmission and spread of the virus.”

16:10 GMT – UK coronavirus death toll rises by 413 to 20,732 

Britain’s death toll from the coronavirus rose to by 413 to 20,732, farming and environment minister George Eustice said during a news conference.

Eustice said a total of 152,840 people had tested positive for the virus, an increase of 4,463 from the previous day.

15:20 GMT – Canada coronavirus death toll reaches 2,489

Canada’s death toll from the coronavirus reached 2,489 from 2,350 the previous day, health authorities said. 

The number of infections rose by 1,427 to 45,791, official data posted by the public health agency showed.

14:45 GMT – Ecuadorian woman learns sister is alive after cremating wrong body 

An Ecuadorian woman in coronavirus-ravaged Guayaquil city learned on Friday that her sister was alive, weeks after cremating a misidentified body health authorities had released to her after declaring her sibling dead.

Alba Maruri, 74, was admitted to an intensive care unit on March 27 suffering from a high fever and difficulty breathing, and medical personnel told her family later that day that she had died, Maruri’s sister Aura said by telephone.

A week later, health authorities released what they thought were Maruri’s remains to her relatives, who had the body cremated. On Friday, health workers came to the family’s home to speak to them.

Read more here

Ecuador coronavirus
Funeral workers waiting with a coffin in the back of a pick-up truck outside Los Ceibos hospital [Santiago Arcos/Reuters]

14:35 GMT – French PM to present plan to unwind lockdown 

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe will present the government’s plan to unwind the country’s lockdown to parliament on Tuesday, his office said.

The prime minister’s statement next week will be followed by a debate and a vote.

The lockdown ordered by President Emmanuel Macron has been in place since March 17 to slow the spread of the coronavirus and is due to be lifted on May 11.

14:30 GMT – How do we keep faith under a lockdown?

Much like our daily routines, religious and cultural rituals have been derailed by the coronavirus pandemic.

A global ban on gatherings has meant that holidays like Passover, Easter and Vaisakhi are being celebrated in isolation. The same is happening for Muslims observing Ramadan and Eid.

Even those who are not religious are having to adapt for birthdays, weddings, even the way we mourn the dead.

Start Here explains how centuries of religious and cultural practices have changed. 

How do we keep the faith under lockdown? | Start Here (9:15)

14:00 GMT – Egypt to start discussions with IMF for new financial support: PM

Egypt plans to start discussions within days with the International Monetary Fund on a new, one-year financial support programme, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said.

Egypt has sufficient foreign reserves to deal with economic shocks caused by the new coronavirus outbreak for one or two years, said Central Bank Governor Tarek Amer in a joint press conference. 

12:50 GMT – Dutch cases rise by 655 to 37,845

The Netherlands’ number of confirmed coronavirus cases has risen by 655 to 37,845, health authorities said, with 66 new deaths.

The country’s death toll stands at 4,475, the Netherlands’ National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) said in its daily update.

The RIVM cautioned it only reports confirmed cases, and actual numbers are higher.

12:40 GMT – Indian woman gang raped after quarantined alone in school: Police

An Indian woman was allegedly gang raped in a school in the desert state of Rajasthan where she had been quarantined for a night by the police amid the nationwide coronavirus lockdown, a police official has said.

The incident occurred last week when the victim, a daily wage earner, sought shelter at a police station after walking alone for miles and losing the way to her native village.

In the absence of a quarantine centre, local police housed her for the night in a school building, where she was allegedly raped by three men.

India’s lockdown: Narratives of inequality and Islamophobia | The Listening Post

12:30 GMT – Spanish kids reclaim streets after weeks indoors 

After six weeks stuck at home, Spain’s children were allowed out Sunday to run, play or go for a walk as the government eased one of the world’s toughest coronavirus lockdowns.     

Spain is among the hardest hit countries, with a death toll running at more than 23,000, putting it behind only the United States and Italy despite stringent restrictions imposed from March 14.

But unlike other countries, Spain’s children were kept indoors, with only adults allowed to leave the house to buy food, medicine, briefly walk the dog or seek urgent medical care.  

“The children just went out with my wife. They’re all properly equipped with masks and gloves,” Miguel Lopez, a father of two children aged six and three, and who lives in an apartment in northwest Madrid, told AFP news agency. “It’s like a day out for them, it’s the most interesting thing for them in a month.”

spain coronavirus kids
A woman jumps rope with a girl in Valencia, Spain [Jose Jordan/AFP]

12:10 GMT – Minks found to be infected on two Dutch farms 

Two mink farms in the Netherlands have been put into quarantine after animals were found to be infected with the new coronavirus, the agriculture ministry has said, urging people to report any other likely cases in the animals.

The mink, which were tested after showing signs of having trouble breathing, were believed to have been infected by employees who had the virus, the ministry said in a statement.

The possibility that they could further spread the virus to humans or other animals on the farms was “minimal”, the ministry said, citing advice from national health authorities. 

However movement of the ferret-like mammals and their manure was banned and the ministry said it was studying the outbreak carefully, including testing the air and soil. People were advised not to travel within 400 metres of the farms.

mink coronavirus
Two Dutch farms have reported infected minks [Sergei Grits/The Associated Press]

11:40 GMT – Bangladesh textile workers flout lockdown to demand wages

Hundreds of textile workers in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka have taken to the streets demanding wages, flouting social distancing norms amid a nationwide lockdown to control the coronavirus pandemic.

The second-largest apparel producer after China, Bangladesh is set to lose export revenue of about $6bn this fiscal year as the sector has been hit by cancellations from some of the world’s largest brands and retailers, two industry bodies have said.

“We haven’t got wages since last two months. We have no food, no money. We are left to starve,” said Mohammad Ujjal, a worker at a Dhaka garment factory, who participated in the protest.

Garment workers have held smaller protests in recent weeks to demand wages lost during the crisis. Last month Bangladesh’s government announced a $588m package aid for the crucial exports-oriented sector to pay its workers, but garment manufacturers say funds were not enough to mitigate the crisis.

Coronavirus pandemic threatens Bangladesh garment industry

11:20 GMT – Dozens arrested in anti-lockdown protest in Germany

German police arrested dozens of protesters in Berlin on Saturday for flouting the coronavirus lockdown measures they were demonstrating against.

About 1,000 people turned out for the rally, which has become a weekly event in the German capital.

Saturday’s protest attracted mainly far-left activists but also saw attendance from right-wing supporters and members of fringe groups.

Read more here

Coronavirus restrictions protested in Germany
Protesters took to the streets in Berlin on April 25 to demonstrate against the measures taken to combat the coronavirus outbreak [Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu]

11:00 GMT – Iran says death toll rises by 60 to 5,710

The death toll from the new coronavirus outbreak in Iran rose by 60 in the past 24 hours to 5,710, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said on Sunday.

The total number of diagnosed cases of the new coronavirus in Iran has reached 90,481, he said in a statement on state TV

10:40 GMT – Sri Lanka extends lockdown as cases spike

Sri Lanka has reversed plans to end its virus lockdown on Monday, extending it for another week after a spike in coronavirus infections, including at a naval base.     

Within hours of announcing that the nationwide restrictions imposed on March 20 would be lifted, the government revoked the order and extended it until May 4. Health officials said there had been a jump in cases, including in a densely populated area in the capital, Colombo, where 81 people tested positive.

There has also been an increase in the number of sailors found to be infected with the coronavirus at the Welisara naval base to 65, the officials said.

Sri Lanka: Fishermen unable to sell their catch amid lockdown

10:30 GMT – Russia case tally passes 80,000

Russia reported 6,361 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Sunday, pushing its national tally to 80,949.

Sixty-six people succumbed to the virus in the previous day, bringing the death toll to 747, Russia’s official crisis response centre said.

10:20 GMT – South Korea’s big churches reopen with designated seats, size limits

South Korea’s large churches reopened on Sunday, requiring worshippers to keep their distance and wear masks, after the government relaxed restrictions on religious gatherings aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. 

Onnuri Church, one of the biggest churches in Seoul, required members to sign up online ahead of the service and sit on designated seats to maintain distance.

It has also limited attendance to 700 in a hall with a capacity of 3,000 people, a church official said. Last Sunday, South Korea extended its social distancing policy until May 5 but offered some relief for religious and sports facilities previously subjected to strict restrictions.

A secretive church, the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, was at the epicentre of South Korea’s coronavirus outbreak, with about half of the country’s total infections of 10,728 linked to its members.

south korea church
Pastors wear face masks while maintaining social distancing attend an Easter service at the Yoido Full Gospel Church [Lee Jin-man/The Associated Press]

10:00 GMT – India PM Modi urges citizens to comply with lockdown

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appealed to citizens to strictly comply with a nationwide lockdown and maintain social distancing norms, as cases of coronavirus mounted steadily despite a month-long curfew.

In a radio address, Modi said the country was in the midst of a “war” and urged hundreds of millions of citizens to sustain the “people-driven” fight and not be misled into believing the spread of the virus has been brought fully under control.

“I will urge you that we should not be trapped into over-confidence and nurse the belief that in our city, in our village, in our streets, in our office, coronavirus has not reached and that is why it will not reach” Modi said.

India has reported 26,496 cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, and 824 deaths. The authorities have set up teams to focus on compliance with lockdown measures.

New Delhi coronavirus
A boy wearing a protective face mask rides in a cycle rickshaw in Delhi, India [Adnan Abidi/Reuters]

09:50 GMT – Indonesia reports 275 new cases, 23 more deaths

Indonesia has reported 275 new coronavirus cases, raising the total to 8,882, data provided by health ministry official Achmad Yurianto showed.

The data showed 23 people who tested positive for the virus died, raising the total deaths to 743

09:40 GMT – UK stand-in leader declines to explain lockdown exit strategy

The British government must not rush to ease the coronavirus lockdown and should act cautiously to avoid a second spike in infections and a second lockdown that would damage public confidence, its stand-in leader has said.

Foreign minister Dominic Raab, who is deputising for Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he recovers from COVID-19, was pressed to reveal the government’s thinking on how and when Britain might begin to see an easing of social distancing measures.

“We are at a delicate and dangerous stage and we need to make sure that the next steps are sure-footed,” Raab told Sky News, adding that the government was “doing the homework” behind closed doors on what would happen in the next phase. “It’s not responsible to start speculating about the individual measures.”

‘A very sad day’ as coronavirus deaths in UK hospitals top 20,000

09:30 GMT – Spain records lowest number of new deaths in over a month

Spain has said the number of daily coronavirus-related fatalities fell to its lowest level in more than a month, with 288 deaths in the previous 24 hours.

That took total fatalities to 23,190 from 22,902 the day before, the health ministry said.The overall number of coronavirus cases rose to 207,634 from 205,905 the day before.

blog spain entry
Spain has reported the lowest number of daily new coronavirus deaths in over a month [Sergio Perez/Reuters]

09:20 GMT – Tokyo confirms 72 new cases 

Tokyo has registered 72 new coronavirus cases, Kyodo news agency reported, the lowest daily tally since April 1.

The latest figures bring total coronavirus infections in Japan’s capital city to more than 3,900 cases, according to statistics of Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

On Sunday, the total number of cases in Japan had reached 13,231, with 360 deaths, public broadcaster NHK said. The government has encouraged residents to stay indoors as much as possible during the Golden Week holiday period. 

09:10 GMT – Malaysia reports 38 new  cases, no new deaths

Malaysia reported 38 new coronavirus cases on Sunday with no new deaths, Noor Hisham Abdullah, the secretary general of Malaysia’s Ministry of Health, told reporters at a news conference.

It has so far recorded a total of 5,780 infections, with 98 fatalities.

Businesses in Malaysia turn to produce hand sanitizers
A worker boxes the bottle of hand sanitisers in a small laboratory in Selangor, Malaysia [Syaiful Redzuan/Anadolu]

09:00 GMT – Philippines death toll tops 500

The Philippines’ health ministry has reported seven more fatalities due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, taking the death toll in the Southeast Asian country to 501.

It recorded 285 new cases, bringing the country’s total number of confirmed infections to 7,579.

A total of 862 patients have recovered.

08:40 GMT – Italy to start reopening business on May 4, schools in September: PM to paper 

Italy will start reopening its manufacturing industry on May 4 as part of plans to ease its coronavirus lockdown, and schools will reopen in September, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said in a newspaper interview.

“We are working in these hours to allow the reopening of a good part of businesses from manufacturing to construction for May 4,” Conte told Italian daily La Repubblica.

Conte said companies would have to introduce strict health and safety measures before being allowed to open their gates. But he said some businesses considered “strategic”, including activity that was mainly export-oriented, could reopen next week providing they got the go ahead from local prefects.

Conte said schools would reopen in September but added studies showed the risk of contagion was very high. Teaching remotely was working well, he said.

Capri - italy - reuters
A woman wearing a protective face mask and gloves is seen in Capri [Ciro De Luca/Reuters]

08:20 GMT – UK’s Johnson ‘raring to go’ but faces mountain of problems

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will come under immediate pressure to set out a plan to ease the coronavirus lockdown when he returns to work on Monday after a three-week interruption due to a bad case of COVID-19. 

Johnson, who spent a week in hospital in early April including three nights in intensive care, is “raring to go” as he prepares to return from his country residence to his Downing Street office in London, a source there told Reuters news agency on Sunday.

In his absence, the government has faced growing criticism over complaints from staff in hospitals and care homes that they have received insufficient supplies of protective equipment, and over levels of coronavirus testing that are well below its target. 

With signs of economic calamity and public frustration at strict social distancing measures piling up, the government is facing growing calls to start explaining how it intends to ease the lockdown.

Boris NHS Reuters
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to return to work on Monday [Hannah McKay/Reuters]

08:00 GMT – China says all patients in Wuhan have now been discharged

The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the global coronavirus pandemic began, now has no remaining cases of the infection in its hospitals, a health official has told reporters.

“The latest news is that by April 26, the number of new coronavirus patients in Wuhan was at zero, thanks to the joint efforts of Wuhan and medical staff from around the country,” National Health Commission spokesman Mi Feng said at a briefing.

The city had reported 46,452 cases, 56 percent of the national total. It saw 3,869 fatalities, or 84 percent of China’s total.

Wuhan coronavirus
A man wearing a face mask is seen under a bridge of Yangtze river in Wuhan [Aly Song/Reuters]

07:40 GMT – Germany reports increase of 1,737 in cases

Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases have increased by 1,737 to 154,175, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

On Saturday, confirmed coronavirus cases had increased by 2,055. Germany’s death toll rose by 140 to 5,640, the RKI said on Sunday.

Oxford university begins testing possible COVID-19 vaccine on humans

07:20 GMT – Australia launches controversial tracking app 

The Australian government has launched a controversial coronavirus tracing app and promised to legislate privacy protections around it as authorities try to get the country and the economy back onto more normal footing.

Australia and neighbouring New Zealand have both managed to get their coronavirus outbreaks under control before it strained public health systems, but officials in both two countries continue to worry about the risk of another flareup.

“We are winning, but we have not yet won,” Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said at a televised briefing announcing the app’s launch

The app, which is based on Singapore’s TraceTogether software, uses Bluetooth signals to log when people have been close to one another. It has been criticised by civil liberties groups as an invasion of privacy, others have raised concerns after the app’s data storage contract was awarded to US-based tech giant Amazon. 

07:00 GMT – New York starts antibody testing for front-line medical workers

The US state of New York has begun antibody tests for front-line healthcare workers.

The screening programme will examine whether doctors and nurses working with infected patients have been contracting COVID-19 without showing any symptoms. Antibody testing in New York and other regions of the US have shown infections were far more common than data has reflected. 

New York starts antibody testing medical front-line workers

06:40 GMT – Singapore reports 931 new cases, taking total to 13,624

Singapore has registered 931 new coronavirus infections, its health ministry has said, taking the city-state’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 13,624.

The vast majority of the new cases are migrant workers living in dormitories, the health ministry said in the statement. Fifteen of the new cases are permanent residents. The number of new cases rose from 618 reported on Saturday.

The tiny country of 5.7 million people now has one of the highest infection rates in Asia, according to official figures, due to outbreaks in cramped dormitories housing more than 300,000 mainly South Asian workers.

singapore workers
Migrant workers sit outside their rooms at a dormitory declared as an isolation area in Singapore [Edgar Su/Reuters]

06:20 GMT – Cuba sends doctors to South Africa

Cuba has sent 216 healthcare workers to South Africa on Saturday, the latest of more than 20 medical brigades it has sent worldwide to combat the coronavirus pandemic, in what some call socialist solidarity and others medical diplomacy.

The Communist-run country has sent around 1,200 healthcare workers largely to vulnerable African and Caribbean nations but also to rich European countries such as Italy that have been particularly hard hit by the novel coronavirus.

The administration of US President Donald Trump has urged nations not to accept Cuba’s medical missions on charges it exploits its workers, which Havana denies. But the calls have largely gone unheeded as overwhelmed healthcare systems have welcomed the help.

cuba doctors
Medics and paramedics from Cuba pose upon arrival at the Malpensa airport of Milan, Italy in March [File: Antonio Calanni/The Associated Press]

05:40 GMT – Singapore races to build beds for  patients as cases surge

Singapore is rapidly building bed space for coronavirus patients in cavernous exhibition halls and other temporary facilities as it faces a surge in cases, mainly among its large community of low-paid migrant workers.

The tiny city-state of 5.7 million people has more than 12,000 confirmed infections of the virus that causes COVID-19, one of the most in Asia, due to outbreaks in cramped dormitories housing over 300,000 mainly South Asian workers.

One such facility at Changi Exhibition Centre – home to the Singapore Airshow, Asia’s biggest aerospace gathering – could eventually house over 4,000 patients recovering from the disease and those with mild symptoms.

The first patients, mainly from Bangladesh and India, were moved on Saturday into the vast conference hall, partitioned into rooms for eight to 10 people, with metal beds, plastic storage drawers and fans.

Singapore trails only China, India, Japan and Pakistan in Asia for the number of coronavirus infections. More than 10,000 of those infected, some 80 percent of its total, are foreign workers, many of whom have been placed in “isolation facilities” for people with mild symptoms such as the conference centres.

A view of beds at Changi Exhibition Centre which has been repurposed into a community isolation facility that will house recovering or early COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms [Edgar Su/Reuters]

05:20 GMT – Thailand reports 15 new cases, no new deaths

Thailand has reported 15 new coronavirus cases and no new deaths, bringing the total number of cases since its outbreak in January to 2,922 cases and 51 deaths.

Of the new cases, four were linked to previous cases, another four had no known links, while five new patients are arrivals from overseas who have been under state quarantine.

Two other new cases were reported from the southern province of Yala, where the authorities are aggressively testing the population because of high infection rates there, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the government’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration.

Since the outbreak in Thailand, 2,594 patients have recovered and gone home.

05:00 GMT – Health Canada cautions on use of malaria drugs

Health Canada has cautioned against the use of malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to prevent or treat COVID-19.

The Canadian health department said the two drugs may cause serious side effects, including serious heart rhythm problems. It advised use of the two drugs only if prescribed by a doctor.

The US Food and Drug Administration also cautioned against the use of malaria drugs in COVID-19 patients on Friday. US President Donald Trump has touted the drugs as a possible treatment, although his health experts have urged caution. 


This is Joseph Stepansky in Doha taking over the live updates from my colleague Zaheena Rasheed.


04:38 GMT – Beijing bans ‘uncivilised’ behaviour to improve public hygiene    

The city government of Beijing is banning “uncivilised” behaviour such as failing to wear a mask when ill and not covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

The new set of regulations on public hygiene also require public places to set up one metre distance markers and to provide communal chopsticks and serving spoons for shared meals.

Citizens must also “dress neatly” in public and not go shirtless – an apparent reference to the so-called “Beijing bikini” practice where men roll T-shirts up to expose their stomachs in hot weather. 

04:08 GMT – ‘Is it because I’m African?’: China’s coronavirus racism

A 23-year-old medical student from Sierra Leone says authorities in China’s Guangzhou singled him out for coronavirus testing and quarantine despite him not having left the city since the outbreak began.

He refused, saying if he were to undergo quarantine, his Chinese colleagues will have to go with him.
His experience is not unique. Many African residents of Guangzhou are reporting acts of discrimination amid the pandemic, in a move that is evolving into a major test of China-Africa ties.

Betsy Joles has more on this topic here

03:29 GMT – Vast majority of infected inmates in four US states are asymptomatic

An overwhelming majority of US inmates who tested positive for the coronavirus in prison systems in the states of Arkansas, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia were asymptomatic, according to Reuters.

About 96 percent of 3,277 inmates were asymptomatic, Reuters says, citing records and interviews with officials.

The agency says the numbers are the latest evidence to suggest that people who are asymptomatic – contagious but not physically sick – may be driving the spread of the virus.

US states start to reopen as coronavirus death toll tops 50,000 (2:21)

03:18 GMT – South Korea reports 10 new cases

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it recorded 10 new coronavirus cases and no new deaths at the end of Saturday.

The new infections involve travellers from abroad, while three are in Daegu, the epicentre of South Korea’s coronavirus outbreak. The figure brings the total number of infections to 10,718.

The death toll remains at 240 for a third consecutive day.

‘No new COVID-19 deaths for 10 days’ in China’s Wuhan (2:16)

03:14 GMT – China reports 11 new cases in mainland

Health authorities in China are reporting 11 new coronavirus infections in the mainland, five of which involved travellers from overseas.

The National Health Commission says there were no new deaths in the mainland at the end of Saturday.

The new figures bring the total number of infections in the mainland to 82,827. The death toll remains at 4,632 people.

02:25 GMT – Heatwave draws thousands to California beaches

A heatwave is driving thousands of people to open beaches in southern California, including Newport Beach and Huntington Beach despite stay-at-home orders for people across the state.

“We’re seeing a summer day crowd,” says Brian O’Rourke, a lifeguard battalion chief in Newport Beach in Orange County, which saw an estimated 40,000 people on Friday.

Huntington Beach California US
People sit in groups at Huntington City Beach during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in Huntington Beach, California, US [Kyle Grillot/ Reuters]

California Governor Gavin Newsom is urging people visiting the shore to practise social distancing.

01:22 GMT – Saudi Arabia partially lifts curfew, except in Mecca

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman is ordering the partial lifting of a curfew in all regions of the kingdom, except in the city of Mecca and previously quarantined neighbourhoods, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

The curfew will be lifted between 9am and 5pm from Sunday onwards, while malls, wholesale and retail shops will be allowed to reopen from Wednesday onwards for two weeks.

The kingdom has more than 16,000 confirmed infections and 136 deaths. 

00:44 GMT – Mexico coronavirus cases rise to 13,842

Health authorities in Mexico are reporting 970 new cases of coronavirus infections and 84 additional deaths.

The figures bring the total confirmed cases in the country to 13,842 and the death toll to 1,305.

00:38 GMT – WHO ‘wants to discourage voluntary or coerced self-infection’

Chris Smith, a lecturer at the University of Cambridge, says the WHO cannot afford to back immunity passes until they are sure about the long-term effects of the virus.

“I think the WHO is taking the stance they are because what they want to discourage is the possibility there could be the voluntary or coerced self-infection,” the medical virologist tells Al Jazeera.

“There’s a concern that if people thought this was their passport not just to travel internationally, but to not worry about this any more, there might be a temptation to go out and actively seek out infection. That’ll be a high-risk strategy, it’ll be uncontrolled and as a result it could lead to another surge in cases, surge of transmission.”

00:12 GMT – Tajikistan closes schools, cancels sport events

Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon is cancelling sport events and ordering the closure of schools for two weeks.

The order is unexpected as Tajikistan is yet to acknowledge any coronavirus infections in the country. Alongside schools, theatres and cinemas are also to be closed.

The central Asian nation’s football association says it will suspend its football season until May 10.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives. 

For all the key developments from yesterday, go here

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies