Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 5.2 million, death toll tops 336,000

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More than 5.2 million people have been reported to have been infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 336,860 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Healthcare workers in Britain and Thailand have started taking part in a trial to determine whether two anti-malarial drugs can prevent COVID-19, including one that US President Donald Trump says he has been taking.

Americans are back on the road after more than two months of coronavirus lockdowns that kept them homebound, with beach-area traffic tripling since the low point in mid-April, reports released on Friday showed.


DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

At least 1,607,726 cases of the highly contagious novel coronavirus have been reported in the United States and its territories while 95,935 people have died, according to a Reuters tally of state and local government sources. The US diagnosed its first COVID-19 case in Washington state on January 20.

Likewise, Brazil follows the US with a total of 330,890 coronavirus cases. According to Reuters’ interactive graphic tracking the global spread, the UK has the second-highest 36,393 deaths from the viral infection after the US.


EUROPE

‒ Oxford University and AstraZeneca plan to recruit around 10,000 adults and children in Britain for trials of an experimental coronavirus vaccine.

‒ Czech health authorities believe the spread of virus is under control, as the country prepares to open pubs, hotels and relax mask-wearing rules.

‒ Lockdowns will be eased in Spain’s capital Madrid and second city Barcelona from Monday to allow outdoor dining and gatherings of up to 10 people.


AMERICAS

‒ The anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, championed by US President Donald Trump, was tied to increased risk of death in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, according to a large study published in the medical journal Lancet.

‒ The United States called on the World Health Organization to begin work immediately on investigating the source of the coronavirus, as well as its handling of the response to the pandemic.

‒ Canada will ramp up COVID-19 testing and contact tracing as it gradually lifts restrictions and is working closely with Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google on a mobile phone app to help, the prime minister.

‒ Brazil suffered a record of 1,188 daily coronavirus deaths on Thursday and is fast approaching Russia to become the world’s No. 2 COVID-19 hot spot behind the United States.


ASIA-PACIFIC

‒ Coronavirus cases in Singapore topped 30,000 as the city-state reports hundreds of new infections in cramped migrant worker dormitories every day.

‒ Malaysian Prime Minister will be home quarantined for 14 days after an officer who attended a meeting with him this week tested positive for the coronavirus.

‒ Japan’s central bank created its own version of the US Federal Reserve’s “Main Street” lending programme to channel more money to small businesses.

‒ Australia will save around A$60 billion ($39 billion) on a coronavirus wage subsidy scheme after progress in controlling the outbreak and detected reporting halved the number of people expected to be covered by the scheme.

‒ Thailand will maintain its state of emergency over the coronavirus until the end of June, its COVID-19 task force said.


MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

‒ South Africa could see up to 50,000 coronavirus deaths and as many as 3 million infections by the end of the year, scientific models showed on Thursday.

‒ Lebanon’s Health Ministry reported 63 new cases, the largest single-day increase since the outbreak of the pandemic.

‒ The new coronavirus is believed to be spreading throughout Yemen where the health care system “has in effect collapsed”, the United Nations said, appealing for urgent funding.


ECONOMIC FALLOUT

‒ Oil prices tumbled and global equity markets wavered on Friday as China’s move to impose a new security law on Hong Kong further strained US-Sino relations and clouded economic recovery prospects.

‒ Unemployment rates rose and total employment fell in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia in April due to lockdowns, the Labor Department said.

‒ Britain has extended its mortgage payment holiday scheme for homeowners in financial difficulty for another three months.

‒ Billionaire financier George Soros cautioned the European Union’s survival was threatened by the pandemic unless it can issue perpetual bonds to help weak members.

‒ China dropped its annual growth target for the first time and pledged more government spending as the COVID-19 pandemic hammers its economy.



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