International Update: Global Covid-19 deaths near 300,000 – WHO warns virus could become endemic

14th May 2020 (Last Updated May 14th, 2020 09:28)

14 May

Global: The number of lives lost worldwide in the coronavirus pandemic is nearing 300,000, according to Johns Hopkins University figures, with 297,197 deaths reported.

The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 could become endemic like HIV, the World Health Organization has said, warning against any attempt to predict how long it would keep circulating and calling for a “massive effort” to counter it.

The United Nations is forecasting that the coronavirus pandemic will shrink the world economy by 3.2 percent this year, the sharpest contraction since the Great Depression in the 1930s, pushing an estimated 34.3 million people into extreme poverty mostly in Africa.

US: A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court decided that an unelected state agency head’s emergency order shutting down the state because of the Covid-19 pandemic is not enforceable.

President Donald Trump plans to name Moncef Slaoui, the former head of GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s vaccines division, and Gustave Perna, a four-star US general, to lead a Manhattan Project-style effort to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, two people familiar with the matter said.

Canada and the US appear likely to extend a ban on non-essential travel until June 21 amid the pandemic, a Canadian government source and a top US official told Reuters.

Russia: The city of Moscow said on Wednesday it had ascribed the deaths of more than 60% of coronavirus patients in April to other causes as it defended what it said was the superior way it and Russia counted the number of people killed by the novel virus. At 242,271, Russia has the second-highest number of confirmed cases in the world after the United States.

UK: Roche Holding AG’s coronavirus antibody test was cleared by a UK health authority, a boost to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he seeks ways to gradually relax lockdown restrictions.

The UK government’s coronavirus aid program for self-employed people received more than £340 million ($416 million) of claims in its first morning of operation.

Italy: Doctors in Italy have reported the first clear evidence of a link between Covid-19 and a rare but serious inflammatory disorder that has required some children to undergo life-saving treatment in intensive care units.

Italy’s government approved a much-delayed €55 billion ($60 billion) stimulus package to rescue an economy crippled by a two-month nationwide lockdown, promising a boost in liquidity for businesses and aid for families in need.

China: Hong Kong authorities are going to screen hundreds of families, local media is reporting, after its 23-day run of no local infections was broken with the diagnosis of Covid-19 in a 66-year-old woman with no recent travel history, and her five-year-old granddaughter.

Japan: Japan was expected to lift a state of emergency across a large part of the country on Thursday, according to Reuters, but Tokyo will remain under restrictions until there is a convincing containment of the coronavirus.

Japanese company Takeda Pharmaceutical could start a clinical trial as early as July for a potential treatment of Covid-19 that is based on antibodies from recovered patients’ blood, company executives said.

Qatar: The Qatari government ordered all citizens to wear masks when they step outside for any reason beginning 17 May, state-run QNA reported. People who violate the order will be subjected to either imprisonment of up to three years, or a fine of as much as 200,000 riyals ($55,000) or both, according to the report.

New Zealand: New Zealand’s finance minister Grant Robertson has unveiled an unprecedented NZ$50bn fund to save jobs and reduce unemployment to pre-coronavirus levels within two years.

Australia: Australia posted its biggest ever monthly rise in unemployment on Thursday because of coronavirus lockdown measures, even as the country begins to gradually ease those social distancing rules.