Trump touts sunlight study to kill coronavirus; The South Korean football league will start in May; Spain reports the fewest deaths from COVID-19 in almost five weeks


The latest news on coronaviruses from Canada and around the world on Friday (this file will be updated throughout the day). Web links to longer stories if available.

6:45 a.m .: The South African president has heartily proposed to show how to wear a face mask after his attempt in a national address leaving the mask covering his eyes.

President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke to reporters on Friday during a visit to the coronavirus treatment facilities, a day after announcing that the country’s foreclosure would be eased slightly on May 1. His clumsy attempt to put on a mask right after the speech was widely shared on social media, where some South Africans thanked him for the moment of comic relief.

6:15 a.m .: Spain has had the lowest number of deaths from new coronaviruses in almost five weeks, while the country remains almost completely locked out due to the most extensive epidemic in Europe.

The death toll rose by 367, the least since March 21 and compared to Thursday’s increase from 440 to 22,524, according to data from the Department of Health released Friday.

As other European countries begin to ease the closings, Spain has yet to release detailed plans to lift the restrictions that have led the nation to an almost complete shutdown for more than a month. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said cautious easing could begin next month as the spread of the virus has slowed and stabilized in recent days.

Its continued expansion may be due to family members who share housing that infect each other and to people who catch it in common areas of buildings, such as elevators, officials said.

5:49 a.m .: In Japan, detainees will join the fight against the spread of coronavirus behind bars, making protective gowns for medical personnel.

Detainees will be assigned to produce protective medical gowns, which are in short supply in many hospitals, endangering many medical workers and fearing they may be infected, justice ministry officials said on Friday.

The ministry said that production of protective gowns will begin in mid-May in 41 of Japan’s 75 prisons, with a target of producing 1.2 million gowns by October, about 200,000 a month. Medical experts say they are also facing severe shortages of N95 masks, face masks and other protective equipment for which Japan has largely relied on imports.

In Japanese prisons, prisoners are put to work, including sewing, carpentry and other manufacturing activities as part of correctional programs. The gowns will be distributed to hospitals via the Ministry of Health, officials said.

5.36 a.m .: The manufacturer of Lysol and Dettol, Reckitt Benckiser Plc, has stated that “under no circumstances” its disinfectant products should be administered into the human body, by injection, ingestion or any other route.

The company issued the notice Friday morning after being asked whether the internal administration of disinfectants “may be appropriate for investigation or use as a treatment for coronavirus” amid recent speculation and social media activities.

President Donald Trump expressed interest in the research presented by Bill Bryan, undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security, on Thursday on whether exposure to moisture or heat kills the virus at a time. faster pace. Trump also mentioned the potential use of disinfectants for the coronavirus.

“As with all products, our sanitizers and hygiene products should only be used for their intended purpose and according to the directions for use,” Reckitt said in its statement on Friday.

5.36 a.m .: The Hungarian Prime Minister said that the government was working on new rules which will allow the country to gradually resume its daily activities from the beginning of May.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on state radio Friday that the current rules requiring people to stay at home as much as possible will be replaced and that the first phase of protection against the coronavirus pandemic will be completed.

He said the new regulations being developed should protect the most vulnerable: the elderly, the chronically ill and the urban.

Orban said Hungary is closely monitoring developments in neighboring Austria, where the pandemic is at a more advanced stage.

As of Friday, Hungary had recorded 2,383 cases of coronavirus, with 250 deaths.

5.36 a.m .: The Turkish health minister compared Istanbul to Wuhan – the Chinese city where the new coronavirus first appeared – as the epicenter of infections in an interview.

“Wuhan in Turkey was Istanbul,” said Minister Fahrettin Koca to a columnist for the pro-government newspaper Sabah in an interview published Friday.

Koca said the spread of COVID-19 in Istanbul had been brought under control by a contact tracing carried out by a team of experts. “They followed trails like medical detectives,” he said and argued that it would have been difficult to contain the virus otherwise.

The latest official figures indicate that 2,491 people have died and 101,790 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed. The largest number of cases is in Istanbul, said the Minister of Health.

The country ranks seventh in the world for the number of confirmed infections, surpassing Iran and China, according to Johns Hopkins University.

5:02 a.m .: Players, coaches and fans have two weeks to get used to the new rules for soccer in South Korea after the K-League announced on Friday that the delayed season will start on May 8.

Jeonbuk Motors will face Suwon Bluewings in the opening game, originally scheduled for February 29.

The league was suspended when South Korea locked out during the coronavirus pandemic, and the players recently resumed training and began playing training games this week.

The league also imposes strict social distancing rules for players on and off the field. On the field, this apparently means that players cannot even converse with teammates or officials during matches, and certainly cannot shake hands.

“Things like not spitting during the game, we can’t be a problem, but not talking to teammates is impossible,” Incheon United captain Kim Do-hyeok told reporters after a game. ‘training. The interviews took place in the field rather than in the usual mixed zone inside the stadium. “If we can’t have conversations on the field, we might as well not play football. “

Kim hopes spectators will soon be back in the stadiums to cheer on the 10 teams from Asia’s oldest professional league. The Korean baseball league has also started preseason games and is scheduled to open on May 5, also in empty stadiums.

Leagues and sporting events in most parts of the world were closed during the pandemic.

“It would be great to play in front of the fans, but if we all play our part in stopping the spread of the virus, they will soon be back in their seats,” said Kim.

Coaches also need to adapt.

Suwon’s coach Kim Do-gyun had trouble communicating with his players while wearing a mask.

“It is true that it is uncomfortable when trying to give instructions during the match,” said Kim. “Right now, however, these are things you need to do. “

4:45 a.m .: Japan is stepping up its efforts to try to contain coronavirus infections by telling people to stay at home for the next week’s vacation, with the aim of ending the country’s near-locking when the period ends in early May.

As the nation enters its third week of emergency, Tokyo’s governor Yuriko Koike on Thursday proposed new measures to prevent citizens from venturing and infecting each other. Big companies should add vacation days to the annual Golden Week vacation to make it a 12-day break starting on Saturday, she said. Calling it “weeks at home,” the mayor asked families to stay in the capital and at home.

“The holiday season is the moment of truth,” Koike told reporters Friday.

4:42 a.m .: Sweden has threatened to close bars and restaurants that do not comply with the recommendations for social distancing from public health authorities.

“We are seeing disturbing reports of outdoor dining and the crowds. Let me be extremely clear. I don’t want to see crowded outdoor restaurants in Stockholm or elsewhere, ”Swedish Interior Minister Mikael Damberg said at a press conference.

On Friday, the Swedish government asked 290 municipalities across the country to report on how restaurants and cafes follow the advice of the Public Health Authority.

“These guidelines must be followed, otherwise operations will be closed,” said Damberg.

Earlier this week, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said that “it is not the number of hours of sunshine or temperature that decides whether or not to listen to the advice of the authorities.”

“Do not think for a moment that we have been through this crisis,” he said at a press conference.

Sweden has opted for relatively liberal policies to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

4 h: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to announce a major rent reduction today to help businesses that cannot afford to pay their owners at a time when their operations are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Federal assistance should be provided in partnership with the provinces and territories, which have jurisdiction over rents.

Small and medium-sized businesses, most of which have been closed since mid-March, are asking for relief as the May 1 deadline for their next rent payment approaches.

Canadian Federation of Independent Business President Dan Kelly told the House of Commons finance committee on Thursday that he is awaiting an announcement today.

Kelly said 70% of the 30,000 CFIB members pay monthly rent for their business space and 55% of them say they cannot afford to pay their rent next month.

Kelly said struggling businesses need a non-repayable rent subsidy, not loans or deferred rent payments.

He hoped that the federal government would cover at least 75% of the monthly rent owed by businesses that were forced to close in order to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

He urged the government to make rent relief “widely applicable” to all small and medium-sized businesses, without imposing a large number of onerous eligibility criteria which he said would encourage some business owners to “give up” .

“If we do, I think we are likely to have the majority, not all, but the majority of our small businesses manage to get through the emergency phase of this (pandemic),” he said. told the committee.

“Remember that businesses have been ordered to close in order to protect society, and it is deeply unfair to bear the costs of keeping real estate open and paying these bills when they are essentially unable to earn a living. returned.”

Trudeau is also scheduled to hold a conference call with the premiers of the provinces and territories this afternoon, during which he is expected to raise another issue of provincial jurisdiction – the tragedy unfolding in long-term care homes under -working where more than half of the deaths in Canada COVID-19 occurred.

Trudeau promised last week that the federal government would raise the wages of front-line workers in institutions for the aged, but said it should be done in consultation with the provinces. The issue was discussed at last week’s Premiers’ conference call, but there was no solution because not all provinces have the same serious problems plaguing long-term care homes in Canada. Quebec and Ontario.

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Since then, the situation has deteriorated, with the two largest provinces calling on the federal government to send soldiers to help care for people in long-term care facilities.

2 h 39: The South African government will begin next week to ease a national lockdown that has devastated the economy, while retaining a series of restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The country will go from maximum disease alert level 5 to national level 4 on May 1, allowing the gradual reopening of certain businesses and industries subject to strict precautions, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday in a television address to the nation.

A maximum of one third of workers will be allowed to return to work. Government ministers will give details of the easing in the coming days, and industry groups will be invited to comment.

“While a nationwide lockdown is probably the most effective way to contain the spread of the virus, it cannot be maintained indefinitely,” said Ramaphosa. “Our people need to eat and make a living.”

The country’s borders will remain closed, travel between provinces will be prohibited, and no large gatherings other than a funeral will be allowed, said Ramaphosa. Restrictions on the sale of cigarettes and certain other products, excluding alcohol, will be lifted and people will be allowed to exercise outside under strict conditions. Buses and trains can resume service.

To ensure the response to the pandemic remains focused, there will be a national alert level and separate levels for each province, district and metropolitan area, allowing for differentiated restrictions, said Ramaphosa.

The government originally imposed a 21-day ban on March 27 to curb the spread of the virus, and then extended it for two weeks. Applied by the police and the military, it only allows people to leave their homes to buy food, collect benefits and seek medical care – unless they provide essential services.

2:25 a.m .: India has registered 1,680 new cases, caused by an outbreak in the central state of Maharashtra. Figures bring India’s total to 22,930. Officials in Mumbai, the state capital of Maharashtra and the financial center of India, plan to administer hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug, prophylactically against COVID-19 in some residents of the city’s overcrowded shantytowns.

1 h 47: South Korea will begin next week to attach electronic wristbands to people who ignore home quarantine orders in its latest use of tracking technology to control its epidemic.

Friday, Deputy Minister of Health, Kim Gang-lip, said those who refuse to wear the bracelets after breaking quarantine will be sent to shelters where they will be asked to pay for housing.

Authorities said about 46,300 people are currently in self-quarantine. The number skyrocketed after the government began imposing 14-day quarantines on all passengers arriving from abroad on April 1, as epidemics worsened in Europe and the United States.

Although the quarantined individuals had to download a tracking application that alerts authorities when they leave their home, some of them were caught dragging their phones behind them.

The wristbands will communicate with phone applications via Bluetooth and will notify the authorities when people leave the house or attempt to remove the wristbands.

1 h 44: Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to return to Downing Street on Monday, the Telegraph reported.

1:04 a.m .: More than 52,000 students have started taking university entrance exams with social distancing measures in place, after a month of delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The exams take place over a month and candidates and staff must wear surgical masks and disinfect their hands. Students will have their body temperature checked at test centers and will have to sign health declaration forms. Any student whose body temperature is above 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) will be refused entry. Offices are spaced just over 3 feet (one meter) apart, with the recommended distance of nearly 6 feet (2 meters) between applicants. The total number of cases in Hong Kong on Thursday was 1,036, with four deaths.

12:24 a.m .: China reported no new COVID-19-related deaths for the ninth day in a row on Friday and only six new cases of the virus.

Two of these people were brought in from abroad, including three from Heilongjiang, on the Russian border, and one from the southern commercial center of Guangdong.

12:14 a.m .: President Donald Trump touted a federal study on Thursday that says sunlight and humidity can weaken the coronavirus – a discovery that prompted the president to float the idea of ​​treating patients with “light to light”. ‘inside the body’.

The Department of Homeland Security study, which the agency described as “emerging”, found that the lifespan of the virus on a surface or in the air could be significantly reduced by exposure to the sun and ‘humidity. But a senior department official warned the Americans to change their behavior based on the preliminary results.

“Our most striking observation to date is the powerful effect that sunlight appears to have on the death of the virus, both on surfaces and in the air,” said Bill Bryan, Undersecretary of Science and technology at the Department of Homeland Security.

Trump, who has used his daily White House briefings to float unproven treatment options in the past, suggested at one point that the government should explore the possibility of bringing “light inside the body ”as a possible treatment, which he said could be done“ through the skin ”. or some other way. The president also appeared to be wondering if the disinfectant could be used to treat patients with coronavirus.

“Is it possible to do something like this, by injecting inside or almost cleaning,” said Trump.

The President jumped between two warnings about the importance of the study to suggest – perhaps as a joke – that he could spend more time outdoors, as in the rose garden, to receive additional exposure to the sun while the pandemic continues.

“I hope people enjoy the sun,” said Trump. “And if it has an impact, it’s great. “

Early studies differed on the impact of environmental factors such as sunlight on the virus, and the DHS report was not the first to suggest a link. On the other hand, warmer states like Louisiana and Florida have also seen a sharp increase in cases of coronavirus.

Offering similar expatiation for his first exhortations of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug as a treatment for the virus, Trump said he was just throwing ideas out. Subsequent studies on the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine have been mixed together at best, and the President has recently spent much less time discussing the drug.

“Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t,” Trump said of the sunlight.

11:33 p.m. John Houghton, a climatologist and influential figure on the United Nations panel that drew the world’s attention to the threat of climate change and received a Nobel Prize, died on April 15 in Dolgellau, Wales. He was 88 years old.

The cause was complications from the new coronavirus, according to granddaughter Hannah Malcolm, who announced the death in hospital on Twitter.

11:17 p.m. New Zealand will look to other sectors to “take over” the economy as prolonged border closings delay visitor arrivals and force some tourism businesses to the brink of collapse, Minister of State said Finance Grant Robertson.

“These border restrictions are going to be in place for a significant period of time,” Robertson said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Friday. “This is an example where New Zealand will have to look to other sectors to take over. “

The tourism industry is destined to receive more support from the government, he said. However, other sectors of the economy will need to make an increased contribution, including primary exports and advanced manufacturing.

Robertson said additional government support, which will be described in the May 14 budget, “will be substantial” without giving details.

11:15 p.m .: An Italian cruise ship docked in a port city of Nagasaki in southern Japan has registered an additional 43 new cases in an epidemic that erupted this week, bringing the total number of infected to 91, local officials.

The epidemic on the Costa Atlantica surfaced on Tuesday when officials from Nagasaki and Mitsubishi Heavy Industry, who are in charge of repair and maintenance of the ship, announced that a crew member had developed a cough and fever.

The ship has no passengers and 623 crew members, whose nationalities are not disclosed. Authorities suspect they have contracted the virus in the city or when the ship has changed crew.

Officials say they plan to have all other crew members tested by the end of Friday

All but one of the infected crew members who have been sent to hospital and are in serious condition remain on board and self-quarantine each in individual rooms.

Japanese authorities are still investigating how the epidemic started on the ship. The case intrigued the authorities because the southern port city has a relatively low number of infections and the ship has been moored since late January.

In Tokyo Minister of Health Katsunobu Kato said central government and Italy should discuss ways to organize the repatriation of healthy crew members, as well as the early departure of two other ships cruise ships, Costa Cerena and Costa Neo Romantica, also moored. in Nagasaki.


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