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Coronavirus Updates From Around The Globe Today

The coronavirus pandemic has brought the world to a standstill. Here are the latest updates on the COVID-19 crisis from around the globe on Thursday.

Global COVID-19 cases near 5 mn: Johns Hopkins

The total number of global coronavirus cases has increased to nearly 5 million, while the death toll has surged past 328,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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As of Thursday morning, the total number of cases stood at 4,995,712, while the death toll increased to 328,095, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US currently accounts for the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 1,551,668 and 93,431, respectively.

In terms of cases, Russia has the second-highest number of infections at 308,705, followed by Brazil (291,579), the UK (249,619), Spain (232,555), Italy (227,364), France (181,700), Germany (178,473), Turkey (152,587) and Iran (126,949), the CSSE figures showed.

Meanwhile, the UK accounted for the second-highest COVID-19 deaths worldwide at 35,786.

The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are Italy (32,330), France (28,135), Spain (27,888) and Brazil (18,859).

WHO warns against using hydroxychloroquine outside clinical trials
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A senior official of the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned against using hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, the drugs for malaria and other diseases, in the treatment of COVID-19, saying these drugs should be reserved for use “within clinical trials”.

Responding to question on hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine being used to treat COVID-19 patients in certain countries, Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, told a press conference on Wednesday that, despite that, both drugs are already licensed for many diseases, at this stage, they “have been as yet found to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19 or in the prophylaxis against coming down with the disease”, Xinhua reported.

“And in fact the opposite, warnings have been issued by many authorities regarding the potential side effects of the drug and many countries have limited its use to that of clinical trials or during clinical trials or under the supervision of clinicians in a hospital setting that’s specifically for COVID-19, because of a number of potential side effects that have occurred and could occur,” Ryan stressed.

“Having said that, again it is for each national authority to weigh and assess the evidence for and against the use of this drug,” he added.

Ryan said that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are included in the ongoing “solidarity trials” that take place across multiple countries. “And as WHO, we would advise that, for COVID-19, that these drugs be reserved for use within such trials.”

Italy’s death toll from coronavirus up by 161 to 32,330
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A further 161 COVID-19 patients had died in the past 24 hours in Italy, bringing the country’s toll to 32,330, out of total infection cases of 227,364, according to fresh figures on Wednesday.

Nationwide, the number of active infections dropped by 2,377 to 62,752 cases, according to the Civil Protection Department, Xinhua reported.

Of those who tested positive for the new coronavirus, 676 are in intensive care, 40 fewer compared to Tuesday, and 9,624 are hospitalized with symptoms, down by 367 patients over the past 24 hours.

The rest 52,452 people, or about 84 per cent of those who tested positive, are quarantined at home with no symptoms or only mild symptoms.

Recoveries rose by 2,881 compared to Tuesday, bringing the nationwide total to 132,282.

Over 100,000 new COVID cases recorded in last 24 hrs: WHO

Highlighting its continuing peril around the world even as its spread slows in some areas of Asia and Europe and lockdown restrictions are eased, coronavirus has infected 106,000 people in the last 24 hours – the largest number of cases since its outbreak, the WHO said on Wednesday.

Revealing the alarming numbers at his daily briefing, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that two-thirds of those cases came from just four countries, the BBC reported.

The global tally of cases is nearing five million, with more than 324,000 deaths, according to figures collected by Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Centre.

The US currently has the most cases, with 1.5m, followed by Russia, Brazil and the UK.

Africa’s COVID-19 cases pass 90,000 mark
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The number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases across Africa rose from 88,172 on Tuesday to 91,598 as of Wednesday afternoon, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said on Wednesday.

The Africa CDC, specialized healthcare agency of the 55-member African Union, in its latest situation update issued on Wednesday, said the death toll due to the COVID-19 pandemic across the African continent surged from 2,835 on Tuesday afternoon to 2,912 as of Wednesday afternoon, Xinhua reported.

The Africa CDC also disclosed that some 35,808 people who had been infected with the COVID-19 had recovered across the continent as of Wednesday afternoon, registering some 2,002 new recoveries during the past 24-hours period.

Figures from the Africa CDC also show that amid the rapid spread of the virus across the continent, the highly COVID-19 affected African countries include South Africa with 17,200 confirmed cases, Egypt with 13,484 confirmed cases, Algeria with 7,377 confirmed cases, as well as Morocco with 7,023 confirmed cases.

UK COVID-19 deaths hit 35,704 as another 363 patients die

Another 363 COVID-19 patients have died in Britain as of Tuesday afternoon, bringing the total coronavirus-related death toll in the country to 35,704, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said on Wednesday.

The figures include deaths in all settings, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community, Xinhua news agency reported.

As of Wednesday morning, 248,293 people have tested positive for the disease, marking a 2,472 daily increase, the secretary said during the Downing Street briefing.

WHO says will increase funding and improve funding quality
COVID-19 Outbreak: 'No Community Transmission In India', Admits WHO
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The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that it would increase the organization’s funding and improve funding quality in order to expand programs and help countries that need support.

“As part of the transformation agenda, we have developed the first investment case, and we have developed a strategic plan to mobilize resources… we have also developed a strategy to build a foundation which we hope would be established soon and looking for new sources of funding and also expand our donor base,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said here at a press conference on Wednesday, stressing that transformation “has nothing to do with the current situation”, Xinhua reported.

“WHO’s budget is very, very small, it’s not more than $2.3 billion a year and that’s very small… Imagine the budget of a medium-sized hospital… for WHO, which is actually working in the whole world,” he said.

“We started the transformation three years ago. So, we’re working on it and we hope that the challenges we’re facing with regard to financing will be resolved,” he added.

He said the WHO already has a complete strategy to raise funding. “Hopefully when this strategy actually is implemented — we have started already implementing — we don’t see it in terms of just mobilizing funding, but we will expand and strengthen our programs and deliver better to the world to those who need our service.”

The WHO chief also highlighted the organization’s strategy to improve the quality of funding.

“When we started this strategy as part of the transformation, the objectives are to increase funding and improve the quality of the funding itself. And that’s what we’re doing and I hope this will bring better results … and we will expect more money but more importantly better quality money,” he added.

Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said the organization’s “greatest concern” is the core budgets — life-saving funds for frontline health services in some of the most difficult places in the world.

“Much of the U.S. funding that reaches us here actually goes directly out in the emergencies program to humanitarian health operations all over the world, in all sites of fragile and difficult settings. It’s… actually the greatest proportion of funding that we receive from WHO within the emergencies program,” Ryan explained.

“We’ll obviously have to work with other partners to ensure that those funds can still flow,” he stressed.

“So this is going to be a major implication for delivering essential health services to some of the most vulnerable people in the world. And we trust that other donors will, if necessary, step in to fill that gap,” he said.

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