Latest news on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially the elderly and people with health problems, this can cause more serious illness or death.
– Britain is working on the viral contact tracking app.
– France targets 700,000 tests per week from May 11.
– Slight rise in infections in Germany; deaths remain relatively low.
– France and Spain reveal lock outs.
PARIS – French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe presented a plan to fight the coronavirus by testing all those who have been in contact with an infected person.
Philippe announced the plan by addressing legislators in the National Assembly. He says that when a person tests positive, individuals who have been in close contact with that person – whether or not they have symptoms – will be tested.
Philippe says: “All of these contact cases will be tested and will be asked to isolate themselves. “
He says France is targeting at least 700,000 tests every week when the lockout restrictions start to loosen on May 11.
Philippe says that all high school students in France must wear respiratory masks when they return to school on May 18. Elementary students will not be required to wear masks.
WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, said any loan over $ 2 million in the paycheck protection program would be audited before the loan is forgiven.
The announcement stems from concerns that large companies may have access to a program designed to help small businesses overcome the coronavirus pandemic. Mnuchin said on CNBC that the Small Business Administration will conduct reviews to make sure “the taxpayers’ intention is fulfilled here.”
Mnuchin says it was up to the borrowers to certify that they met the parameters to receive a loan. He says borrowers “have criminal responsibility” if they have fake certification.
Some companies, such as Shake Shack and the Los Angeles Lakers, have repaid the loans.
CANBERRA, Australia – China’s foreign ministry has again rejected Australia’s call for an independent coronavirus investigation, saying a top Australian diplomat agrees that now is not the time for such an investigation. investigation.
Australia’s call for an independent World Health Organization independent investigation into the provenance of the respiratory virus and the agency’s management of the emerging pandemic is weighing more and more on Australia- China.
Chinese Ambassador Cheng Jingye warned in a newspaper interview on Monday that further investigation could trigger a boycott of Chinese consumers of students and tourists visiting the country, and sales of major exports, including beef and wine.
Frances Adamson, secretary of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, responded by calling Cheng to express his concerns about the interview.
The Chinese Embassy released a statement on Tuesday saying that Adamson “admitted that now is not the time to start the exam and that Australia has no details on the proposal.”
MINSK, Belarus – The UN has urged Belarusians to stay at home in the midst of the growing coronavirus outbreak, after the country’s health authorities recorded 900 new infections in the largest daily outbreak.
“It is time to take immediate and wide-ranging measures to strengthen physical remoteness,” said Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecki, resident United Nations coordinator in Belarus. “Stay at home to stop the spread of COVID-19. This will help the medical workers and all of us to cope with the crisis. “
Belarus has reported 12,208 cases of the virus and remains one of the few countries that has not imposed a lockdown despite repeated calls from international organizations.
Tuesday is a national holiday in Belarus, when hundreds of thousands of people flock to cemeteries to honor the deceased. President Alexander Lukashenko has refused to ban the tradition this year and has said he will visit the graves of his ancestors.
Lukhasenko has ruled the country with an iron fist for more than two decades. He repeatedly dismissed worries about the pandemic as “mass psychosis”, saying that Belarus can manage the epidemic without locking it in.
LONDON – An official said the UK government’s virus contact tracing application will be ready in two to three weeks.
Britain and many other countries are developing mobile apps to help reduce infections after relaxing lock restrictions.
Matthew Gould, CEO of the National Health Service’s digital transformation unit, said that a San Francisco-based software company, Pivotal Labs, had done most of the work in creating the app.
He told the European Parliament’s select science and technology committee that the deployment will be part of a larger post-lockout strategy that includes extensive testing.
The app uses Bluetooth signals to connect anonymously when a user comes into close contact with others. The data is kept on the devices. But if users later develop COVID-19 symptoms or get positive test results, they can choose to download the data to a central server so that these contacts can be alerted.
Gould says such an approach would preserve user privacy while allowing authorities to see all patterns of movement of the virus.
WARSAW, Poland – According to Polish authorities, a 100-year-old World War II veteran and former firefighter has recovered from COVID-19.
Iwona Soltys, spokesman for a public hospital in Warsaw, tweeted that Stanislaw Bigos had recovered. She wished him health, positive thinking and energy in the future.
Deputy Interior Minister Blazej Pobozy tweeted that this was “great news from our hospital.” He sent greetings to Bigos and congratulated the doctors.
Poland, a country of 38 million people, has reported more than 12,000 cases of COVID-19 and 570 deaths.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands – A small group chanting “freedom now” and holding banners gathered outside the Dutch parliament building.
The demonstration was one of the first in the Netherlands against government action to contain the coronavirus. Bars, restaurants and museums have been closed since mid-March and people are invited to stay at home as much as possible and observe social distancing if they go out.
The majority of the population has embraced what Prime Minister Mark Rutte has called “smart locking.”
Many stores closed voluntarily because customers were staying inside. Dutch furniture giant Ikea branches opened on Tuesday for the first time since March 17 as part of tough social distancing. The restaurants and children’s play areas of the stores remained closed.
KYIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian authorities have started to ease the lockdown restrictions that have been in place since March 12 to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Government officials in Chernivtsy, a town 500 kilometers (300 miles) west of Kiev, authorized the reopening of food markets on Tuesday while forcing customers to wear masks and observe social distancing.
Authorities in Kiev plan to lift some of the restrictions on May 12 to allow reopening of beauty salons, shops and parks if there are no spikes in new infections. Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said similar progressive measures could be taken across the country.
Ukraine has reported 9,410 cases of coronavirus and 239 deaths.
BERLIN – The German government is counting on Deutsche Telekom and the software giant SAP to develop its application for tracking coronavirus infections.
The German Ministry of Health indicates that the main feature of the application will be to quickly inform users of the contacts they have had with people tested positive for the new virus, allowing them to isolate themselves and thus interrupt the chain of transmission.
Officials say the app will use Bluetooth technology to detect other nearby devices. Anyone tested positive can voluntarily inform their contacts via the application that they may have been exposed to the virus, without revealing their identity.
German authorities have warned that user privacy concerns could hinder adoption of the app.
TALLINN, Estonia – Estonia announces that it will lift the locking restrictions on the populated islands of the Baltic nation on May 18.
Justice Minister Raivo Aeg said movement restrictions will be relaxed for residents of Saaremaa, the largest island of some 32,000 residents, on May 4. Residents of mainland Estonia are free to move between the islands two weeks later, giving the COVID-19 situation in the country “showing signs of relaxation”.
Saaremaa became the hot spot for coronavirus infection after an Italian volleyball team visited the island in early March. Estonian health officials said the Italian team had probably spread the virus.
Saaremaa has recorded more than 20 deaths and 541 cases of coronavirus. Across the country, Estonia has confirmed 50 deaths and 1,660 cases.
BERLIN – The German Center for Disease Control reports that the rate of corona virus infections in the country has increased slightly but that the number of new infections remains at a manageable level.
Lothar Wieler, director of the Robert Koch Institute, says the “R” factor – the number of people infected with each person with COVID-19 – is now 0.96. Authorities have said they will try to keep it below 1 to keep the pandemic manageable for the healthcare system.
It was around 0.7 before Germany eased the lockdown restrictions on April 20 to allow small businesses to open up, while maintaining social distancing. It is too early to say whether this decision has resulted in an increase.
Wieler urges the Germans to respect social distance, to wear masks on public transport or to shop and stay at home when possible.
He said that Germany currently has around 1,000 new infections reported per day, against a peak of around 6,000. The virus has infected nearly 160,000 people in total and killed around 6,000.
VIENNA – Austrian authorities say that the rate of coronavirus infections has stabilized and that it may soon enter a phase of relaxation of the blocking measures.
Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said the country would begin lifting the restrictions from May 1 to the end of June.
Tourism Minister Elisabeth Koestinger said the restaurants will reopen on May 15. She says there will always be restrictions, including reduced hours and no more than four adults at a table and a minimum of one meter (3.3 feet) between tables.
Austria has reported more than 15,000 cases of coronavirus and nearly 600 deaths. The number of new infections has slowed considerably, according to a count from Johns Hopkins University.
NEW DELHI – The Chinese Embassy in India has declared it “unfair and irresponsible” to “label” Chinese test kits purchased by India as “defective”.
India canceled orders for rapid antibody test kits from two Chinese companies on Monday after quality concerns and price controversies.
Chinese Embassy spokesman Ji Rong said, “The quality of medical products exported from China is a priority. It is unfair and irresponsible for some people to label Chinese products as “defective” and to look at problems with bias. “
The order was canceled after a court in New Delhi found that India had been asked to pay more than double what it would cost to import them. The government says it has yet to make any payments.
But Ji Rong said the two companies “stressed” that their kits meet quality standards in China and had been “validated and approved” by the Indian authorities.
Chinese exporters must prove that they are approved for sale in their destination market, in accordance with the rules imposed on March 30 after complaints from several countries regarding defective and substandard goods. On April 10, China said it would inspect each shipment to confirm that the medical supplies meet quality standards.
LONDON – Official figures show that the number of deaths recorded in England and Wales in the week before April 17 was approximately double the usual number.
The Office for National Statistics reports that a total of 22,351 people in England and Wales died during the week, the highest level since comparable records began in 1993. The total was 11,854 more than the five-year moving average.
In its analysis of death certificates, which take longer to compile than deaths recorded in hospitals, the statistical agency said that coronavirus was mentioned as one of the causes of death in 8,758 cases, or almost 40% of the total.
He said that 4,316 deaths involving COVID-19 were registered until April 17 outside of hospitals, including 3,096 in nursing homes. The equivalent number of hospital deaths over the period is 14,796.
Daily figures presented by the government only show the number of people who died in hospitals in the UK, including Scotland and Northern Ireland. As of Monday, 21,092 deaths have been reported in hospitals in the UK.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Malaysian companies have urged the government to end the virus’s closure for a week after a sharp drop in infections.
Daily cases have dropped double-digit in the past two weeks with 31 new infections reported on Tuesday, the lowest since the partial lockdown on March 18. Malaysia now has 5,851 cases with 100 deaths.
The Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the lockout, which was extended until May 12, should be lifted immediately to boost the economy and save jobs. Its chairman Tan Cheng Kiat said in a statement that the decision to end the foreclosure should be based “not on fear but on facts”.
Tan said the lock was intended to smooth the curve, not eradicate the disease. He said vigilance may continue after the lockdown with strict border controls, the closure of areas with viral clusters, social isolation and good health practices.
Health officials acknowledged that the country had entered a recovery phase but were reluctant to end the restrictions too soon until the virus could be completely brought under control.
BERLIN – The German industrial group BDI says that an application to search for possible contacts with coronaviruses should be made available “as soon as possible”.
The powerful lobby group on Tuesday called on the German government to ensure that the data protection measures for the application are “clear” so that it can be deployed quickly.
Iris Ploeger, a senior official at the BDI, said that “the application must be available as soon as possible now so that the economic return of the German industrial nation can succeed quickly. Each additional day of stagnation represents a huge challenge for the German economy. “
Ploeger called the data protection debate “counterproductive”, adding that scientists, officials and businesses should encourage as many Germans as possible to download and use the new app.
Germany has recently backtracked on its central data storage plans, fearing that this would be contrary to the country’s dear concept of privacy.
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