International Update: Work on vaccines accelerating – Trump declares victory – New York Covid-19 deaths may be 5,000 higher than official figures

12th May 2020 (Last Updated May 12th, 2020 10:31)

12 May

Global: The global confirmed death toll exceeds 285,000. The number of people known to have died since the pandemic began has reached at least 286,330, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. They say at least 4,177,584 people are known to have been infected.

The World Health Organization says “extreme vigilance” is needed as countries begin to exit lockdowns imposed to curb the virus’ spread.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and the International Council of Nurses are calling on governments to commit to ensuring the protection and safety of nurses and other health workers, especially in resource-poor, disaster and conflict settings.

The World Health Organization chief says there are approximately seven or eight “top” candidates for a vaccine to combat the coronavirus and work on them is being accelerated.

US: New York City’s death toll may be 5,000 higher than official toll. Between 11 March and 2 May, about 24,000 more people died in the city than researchers would ordinarily expect during that time period, a report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

President Trump declared victory over the “invisible enemy” as deaths surpassed 80,000 in the US. “We have met the moment and we have prevailed,” Trump, flanked by ventilators and testing supplies, said during a briefing in the White House Rose Garden on Monday.

The White House ordered everyone entering the West Wing to wear a face mask after Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary tested positive for the coronavirus last week.

The Trump administration plans to distribute $11 billion to states for coronavirus testing, according to senior administration officials.

China: China reports no new domestic cases after spike on weekend. China reported zero new domestic coronavirus infections on Tuesday, after two consecutive days of double-digit increases fuelled fears of a second wave of infections.

Australia: Easing restrictions to boost Australian economy by US$6bn a month. Once Australia removes most social distancing restrictions by July, its economy will be boosted by AU$9.4bn (US$6.15bn) each month, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will say on Tuesday.

Japan: The Japanese Health Ministry is set to approve antigen coronavirus testing kits on Wednesday, a ministry official said on Tuesday, in a move to boost the number of diagnostic tests available to battle the pandemic.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is following the US in speeding up the approval of unproven virus drugs, as he faces new criticism over his plan for exiting a state of emergency and reviving Japan’s economy.

Russia: Putin eases Russia lockdown despite infection surge. The Russian president announces an easing of the nationwide lockdown, even as the country sees a record number of new infections.

UK: Boris Johnson watered down his plan for rebooting the UK economy after employers and labour unions said many workplaces aren’t ready to return to work.