NUMBER OF GLOBAL CORONAVIRUS CASES PASSES 4 MILLION

NUMBER OF GLOBAL CORONAVIRUS CASES PASSES 4 MILLION
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Over 277,000 have died worldwide while more than 1.3 million have recovered as countries weigh easing of lockdown rules.

By Ted Regencia, Virginia Pietromarchi & Hamza Mohamed

BLOW FOR BUNDESLIGA AS DYNAMO DRESDEN SQUAD PUT IN QUARANTINE:

Germany’s plans to restart competitive football on May 16 suffered an early setback after the entire team of second tier Dynamo Dresden was placed in a two-week quarantine following two positive coronavirus tests.

The Bundesliga 2 club announced on their website that tests taken on Friday had revealed two new positive cases and local health authorities had ordered the team into quarantine. “After an intensive analysis of the situation, the health authority in Dresden decided on Saturday that the entire second division squad, including the coaching and support team must now go into a 14-day quarantine at home,” the club said. Dresden was scheduled to play Hannover 96 next Sunday in their first game back following the stoppage that was caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

TRUMP SAYS US TO BUY $3 BN WORTH OF AGRICULTURAL GOODS FROM FARMERS:

President Donald Trump said the United States would buy $3 billion worth of dairy, meat and produce from farmers as unemployment soars and the prices that slaughterhouses pay farmers for animals have fallen in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Starting early next week, at my order, the USA will be purchasing, from our Farmers, Ranchers & Specialty Crop Growers, 3 Billion Dollars worth of Dairy, Meat & Produce for Food Lines & Kitchens,” Trump wrote in a post on Twitter on Saturday.

OBAMA CALLS TRUMP’S HANDLING OF PANDEMIC A ‘CHAOTIC DISASTER’:

Former president Barack Obama has launched a scathing attack on Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, calling it an “absolute chaotic disaster”.

In a leaked web call Friday night with former members of his administration, first obtained by Yahoo News, Obama urges former staffers to join him in rallying behind Joe Biden as he prepares to take on Trump in the November presidential election.

“What we’re fighting against is these long-term trends in which being selfish, being tribal, being divided, and seeing others as an enemy – that has become a stronger impulse in American life,” Obama said. “It’s part of the reason why the response to this global crisis has been so anemic and spotty. It would have been bad even with the best of governments. It has been an absolute chaotic disaster when that mindset – of ‘what’s in it for me’ and ‘to heck with everybody else’ – when that mindset is operationalised in our government.”

FRANCE RECORDS LOWEST DEATH TOLL IN A MONTH:

French health officials announced another 80 coronavirus deaths; the lowest figure recorded over 24 hours since early April. The total death toll stands at 26,310, according to the health ministry. The number of people in intensive care units – a key measure of a health system’s ability to deal with the epidemic – fell by 56, or about two percent, to 2,812. That is less than half the peak of 7,148 seen on April 8. The number of people in hospital with the virus also fell, to 22,614 from 22,724, continuing an uninterrupted three-week fall, and down 30 percent from an April 14 peak of 32,292. France will start lifting its almost two-month-old national lockdown from Monday.

LATEST FROM CANADA:

Canada’s coronavirus deaths increased by 157 on Saturday, taking the total to 4,628. Confirmed cases jumped by 1,381 to 66,780. Separately, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned that if provinces move too quickly to reopen their economies, a flare-up of the pandemic could send Canada “back into confinement this summer”.

ITALY REPORTS 194 NEW CORONAVIRUS DEATHS:

Italy announced 194 new coronavirus fatalities on Saturday, increasing the total death toll to 30,395. The total number of confirmed cases increased by 1,083 to 218,268.  There were 1,034 people in intensive care on Saturday, down from 1,168 on Friday, maintaining a long-running decline, the Civil Protection Agency said.

NEW YORK CHILDREN DIE FROM RARE ILLNESS LINKED TO COVID-19:

Three children in New York have died from a rare inflammatory syndrome believed to be linked to the novel coronavirus, Governor Andrew Cuomo told a daily briefing on Saturday. Cuomo had on Friday disclosed the death of a five-year-old linked to the coronavirus and a syndrome that shares symptoms with toxic shock and Kawasaki disease, which was the first known fatality tied to the rare illness in New York.

UK DEATH TOLL JUMPS BY 346:

The death toll from coronavirus in Britain has risen to 31,587, an increase of 346 in a 24-hour period, Transport Minister Grant Shapps said at the government’s daily news briefing. Also on Saturday, Britain’s deputy chief medical officer said he was confident the coronavirus “R” number, a measure of the rate of contagion, was below 1 across the United Kingdom. “I am confident that our R is less than 1 overall,” Jonathan Van-Tam said at the government’s daily news briefing.

The R number, or effective reproduction number, measures the average number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to. An R number above 1 can lead very rapidly to exponential growth.

‘VIRUS HAS NOT DISAPPEARED’, SPAIN’S PM WARNS:

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says loosening the nearly two-month lockdown will be for naught if people don’t obey social distancing rules.

He reminded Spaniards on Saturday, two days before 51 percent of the nation of 47 million will be allowed to sit at outdoor cafes, “the virus has not disappeared”.

On Monday, many regions not as hard hit by the virus will permit gatherings of up to 10 people and reopen churches, theaters, outdoor markets and other establishments with limits on occupancy. “The struggle goes on and will last until we find a vaccine,” Sanchez said. “Meanwhile, we have to live with the virus, that is why we must reinforce our healthcare system and strengthen its capabilities. “

LATEST FIGURES FROM QATAR:

Qatar reported 1130 new cases of COVID-19, taking the total number of cases in the country to 21,331. The ministry of health also reported one fatality, raising the death toll to 13.  Separately, Qatar Petroleum (QP) announced a price drop of more than 51 percent for Qatar land and marine crudes for April, compared to March.

DECLINE IN OIL AND INVESTMENT ASSET PRICES HIT KUWAIT ECONOMY:

The decline in oil prices and the value of investment assets since the start of the coronavirus outbreak will have an adverse impact on the “financial solvency” of Kuwait, Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah said.

“Kuwait is facing the big and unprecedented challenge of shielding our economy from the external shocks caused by this virus, specifically the decline in oil prices and the value of investments and assets, which will have a negative impact on the financial solvency of the state,” the emir was cited as saying by the state news agency KUNA.

It was not clear if the comment meant that Kuwait could delay the payment of government dues, or whether it was a general statement about the deterioration of the state’s finances as a result of the economic impact of the health crisis.

SIERRA LEONE PRESIDENT ACCUSES OPPOSITION OF INCITING COVID-19 VIOLENCE:

Meanwhile in Sierra Leone, President Julius Maada Bio accused the opposition of inciting “terrorist violence” after deadly disturbances linked to the COVID-19 outbreak in the West African nation.

In a televised address on Friday evening, Bio said that the opposition All People’s Congress (APC) party was involved in violent flare-ups across the country.

He said the party’s silence over its members who allegedly took part in “acts of terrorist violence, senseless loss of lives, injuries and wanton destruction of public and personal property is truly disconcerting”.

At least 11 people died in an attempted jail break and ensuing riot in the capital Freetown last month.

IRAN REPORTS MORE THAN 1,500 CASES:

Iran’s health ministry expressed concern over the number of coronavirus cases reported in the southwestern province of Khuzestan as it confirmed 1,529 new infections nationwide.

“All provinces are showing a gradual drop in new infections … except for Khuzestan, where the situation is still concerning,” spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said in televised remarks. In the past 24 hours, the total number of registered infections rose to 106,220, while the death toll increased by 48 to 6,589.


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