COVID-19 SITUATION UPDATE WORLDWIDE
TRACK AND TRACE MIGHT NOT BE “FULLY DEVELOPED” IN TIME FOR PLANNED REOPENING OF SCHOOLS, UK MINISTER SAYS
From CNN’s Hilary McGann and Lauren Kent in London
The UK’s track and trace strategy to limit the spread of Covid-19 infection might not be “fully developed” by June 1, the date planned for the reopening of schools, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has admitted.
Speaking to the BBC on Wednesday, Buckland said: “I’m not going to sit here and pretend suddenly on the first of June everything will be uniform,” admitting the track and trace system which includes a mobile phone app “won’t necessarily be as widespread and as full-blown as we would like.”
When he originally announced plans to reopen schools, Education Minister Gavin Williamson said track and trace would “create an inherently safer system” for pupils and staff returning to their classrooms.
The British National Education Union (NEU) has called the proposed reopening plans “reckless,” and urged the government to share the data and models they are basing their evaluations on.
“We are asking and advising leaders not to start planning for 1 June as we do not think it is safe to do that at this stage,” a statement from NEU on Tuesday said, adding they are in “urgent talks” with the Department for Education.
In an op-ed for the Daily Telegraph newspaper, the chairman of the BMA’s Public Health Medicine Committee Dr. Peter English wrote on Tuesday: “We know that the longer children are kept away from the classroom, the greater the harm to their education, life opportunities and wellbeing. For disadvantaged children, this harm is even greater. A focus on arbitrary dates for schools to reopen is polarising.”
“The BMA wants schools to reopen as soon as it is safe to do so and the evidence allows – this could be before June 1 or after. But a zero-risk approach is not possible. This is about ‘safe’ being an acceptable level of risk,” he added.
About 85% of British teachers said they do not think it will be safe to return to school on June 1, according to a survey published by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) on Tuesday.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE CLUBS WATFORD AND BURNLEY CONFIRM POSITIVE CORONAVIRUS TESTS
From CNN's Martijn Edelman
English Premier League sides Watford and Burnley have confirmed positive coronavirus test cases among their clubs. The announcement comes a day after the league revealed six positive cases among 748 players and staff tested.
At Watford, one player plus two members of the staff have tested positive. The club will not be naming those involved, asking that medical confidentiality be respected.
In a statement published on the team’s website, Burnley confirmed assistant manager Ian Woan has also tested positive. The club says Woan is asymptomatic and currently “safe and well” at home.
Players and staff at every Premier League club have started being tested this week, with league bosses hoping to re-start the season in June.
As mandated by government guidelines, players or club staffs who have tested positive will self-isolate for seven days. Teams returned to non-contact training this week, with strict social distancing measures in place at team facilities.
ALL 50 US STATES ARE NOW PARTIALLY REOPENED, DESPITE WARNINGS FROM HEALTH OFFICIALS
From CNN's Christina Maxouris
For the first time since US officials began implementing widespread lockdowns to slow the spread of coronavirus, all 50 states have now partially reopened.
On Wednesday, Connecticut became the final state to begin lifting restrictions, now allowing retail shops and restaurants to reopen their doors.
How the states are doing it: Some states, including Georgia and Texas rolled out aggressive reopening plans. Others have taken a more measured approach; for instance, New York, California and Pennsylvania are only reopening parts of their state reporting declines in new cases. Many cities also remain under stay-at-home orders. In Baltimore, gatherings of more than 10 people are still prohibited and retail stores remain closed.
Experts warn the danger isn’t over: Health officials say Americans remain at risk of catching the highly transmissible and sometimes deadly virus.
Experts have warned that lifting restrictions prematurely may mean thousands more Americans will die and could cause a second spike in cases in parts of the country. The responsibility now lies with individuals to adhere to guidelines, practice safe social distancing and adapt to new habits to keep themselves and those around them safe.
THE PANDEMIC COULD PUSH 60 MILLION PEOPLE INTO EXTREME POVERTY, WORLD BANK WARNS
From CNN’s Sarah Dean in London
The global coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic shutdown could push 60 million people into “extreme poverty,” warned David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group, in a press release Tuesday. The World Bank defines “extreme poverty” as living on less than $1.90 per person per day.
In a press release, the international financial organization said it had set up emergency response operations in 100 countries to respond to the impact of the pandemic. “To return to growth, our goal must be rapid, flexible responses to tackle the health emergency, provide cash and other expandable support to protect the poor, maintain the private sector, and strengthen economic resilience and recovery,” it said in the release.
Threat in Africa: The threat is particularly severe in Africa, warned Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Solomon Dersso, Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. “This health crisis, along with the debt burden of the continent and its already fragile economies, threaten to further drain reserves, cripple nascent job creation schemes and annihilate gains made in social development and efforts to industrialize,” they said in a statement today. “This could throw millions more people into want and poverty, with catastrophic consequences to the human rights of the most vulnerable, including the poor, women and children.”
They called for greater access for Covid-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines, and asked creditors of African countries to freeze or relieve those countries’ debts.
The spread of coronavirus: The pandemic has reached all 54 African states and infected nearly 88,172 people across the continent as of Tuesday, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
The death toll on the continent stood at 2,834, OHCHR said.
THE US HAS NEARLY 92,000 DEATHS FROM CORONAVIRUS
The United States now has at least 1,528,661 cases of coronavirus and 91,938 related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.
New York State remains the hardest hit, with 352,845 cases and 28,558 deaths — that’s 147 deaths per 100,000 residents, the highest rate nationwide. New Jersey, Illinois, and Massachusetts follow next, in that order.
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