The COVID-19 pandemic has brought countries around the world to a standstill. Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus crisis from around the globe on Friday.
Global COVID-19 cases top 5.1 mn: Johns Hopkins
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The overall number of global coronavirus cases has surged to over 5.1 million, while the death toll stood at 332,900, according to the Johns Hopkins University.
As of Friday morning, the total number of cases stood at 5,101,967, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.
The US accounts for the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 1,557,140 and 94,709, respectively.
In terms of cases, Russia has the second highest number of infections at 317,554, followed by Brazil (310,087), the UK (252,246), Spain (233,037), Italy (228,006), France (181,951), Germany (179,021), Turkey (153,548), Iran (129,341), India (118,226) and Peru (108,769), the CSSE figures showed.
Meanwhile, the UK came in second after the US with 36,124 COVID-19 deaths.
The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are Italy (32,486), France (28,218), Spain (27,940) and Brazil (20,047).
Donald Trump says US not to shut down in case of 2nd coronavirus wave
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US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that the US would not close in the case of a second coronavirus wave.
"People say that's a very distinct possibility. It's standard. And we're going to put out the fires. We're not going to close the country. We're going to put out the fires," Trump told reporters when asked if he was concerned about a second wave of COVID-19 during a tour of a Ford manufacturing plant in the state of Michigan, Xinhua reported.
"A permanent lockdown is not a strategy for a healthy state or a healthy country. Our country wasn't meant to be shut down," the president said.
"A never-ending lockdown would invite a public health calamity. To protect the health of our people we must have a functioning economy."
The coronavirus has sickened over 1.5 million Americans and caused over 90,000 domestic deaths. The death toll is expected to reach 100,000 by the beginning of June, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Italy looks ahead three months after first COVID-19 outbreak
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The coronavirus infection curve has continued downward overall in Italy, three months after the pandemic officially broke out in the country's northern Lombardy region on February 21.
Nationwide, the number of active infections dropped by 1,792 to 60,960 cases, according to the Civil Protection Department on Thursday. Recoveries increase by 2,278 compared to Wednesday, bringing the nationwide total to 134,560, Xinhua reported.
A further 156 COVID-19 patients had died in the past 24 hours in Italy, bringing the country's toll to 32,486, out of total infection cases of 228,006.
Of those who tested positive for the new coronavirus, 640 are in intensive care, 36 fewer compared to Wednesday, and 9,269 are hospitalized with symptoms, down by 355 patients from Wednesday.
In a report to the Lower House of Parliament on Thursday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte outlined the government's strategy for Phase Two or the post-lockdown phase.
"We realize the challenge that lies ahead is even more difficult and just as dangerous as the one we faced at the beginning of the emergency," he said.
"Exactly three months after the first case was confirmed (in Lombardy), we can state in good conscience that we made the right choice, the only one that could prevent the epidemic from spreading throughout the national territory," Conte said in reference to the March 10-May 3 national lockdown decreed by his government.
Although "the epidemiological picture is not completely resolved," the government believes it is time to return to normality, the prime minister said.
UN launches global initiative to combat COVID-19 misinformation
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The UN on Thursday launched an initiative called "Verified" to counter COVID-19 misinformation by increasing the volume and reach of trusted, accurate information.
"We cannot cede our virtual spaces to those who traffic in lies, fear and hate," said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who announced the initiative, Xinhua reported.
"Misinformation spreads online, in messaging apps and person to person. Its creators use savvy production and distribution methods. To counter it, scientists and institutions like the United Nations need to reach people with accurate information they can trust."
Verified, led by the UN Department for Global Communications (DGC), will provide information around three themes: science, solidarity and solutions. It will also promote recovery packages that tackle the climate crisis and address the root causes of poverty, inequality and hunger, said the United Nations in a press release.
The initiative is calling on people around the world to sign up to become "information volunteers" to share trusted content to keep their families and communities safe and connected. The volunteers will receive a daily feed of verified content optimized for social sharing with simple, compelling messaging that either directly counters misinformation or fills an information void.
The DGC will partner with UN agencies and UN country teams, influencers, civil society, business and media organizations to distribute trusted, accurate content and work with social media platforms to root out hate and harmful assertions about COVID-19.
UK COVID-19 deaths top 36,000
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Another 338 COVID-19 patients have died in Britain as of Wednesday afternoon, bringing the total coronavirus-related death toll in the country to 36,042, the Department of Health and Social Care said on Thursday.
The figures include deaths in all settings, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community. As of Thursday morning, 250,908 people in Britain have tested positive, Xinhua reported citing the department.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told lawmakers on Wednesday that the country will have a "world-beating" test, track and trace operation which will be in place by June 1.
On Thursday, his spokesman confirmed at Downing Street that the contact-tracing app will not be ready at that time, saying that the app would be ready in the coming weeks.
"There is certainly no requirement to have the app in order to have an effective trace and system, which the PM spoke about, in place by June 1," said the spokesman.
Africa's COVID-19 cases pass 95,000 mark
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The number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases across Africa surpassed 95,000 as of Thursday afternoon, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.
The Africa CDC, specialized healthcare agency of the 55-member African Union (AU), in its latest situation update issued on Thursday revealed that the number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases across the continent rose from 91,598 on Wednesday to 95,201 as of Thursday afternoon, registering about 3,603 new cases during the stated period, Xinhua reported.
The death toll due to the COVID-19 pandemic across the African continent also surged from 2, 912 on Wednesday afternoon to 2,997 as of Thursday afternoon, eventually registering about 85 new deaths during the past 24-hours period, according to the Africa CDC.
The Africa CDC also disclosed that some 38,075 people who have been infected with the COVID-19 have recovered across the continent as of Wednesday afternoon, registering some 2,267 new recoveries during the past 24-hours period.
The continental disease control and prevention agency also noted that the virus has so far spread into all of the 54 African countries.
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 18,003 confirmed cases, Egypt with 14,229 confirmed cases, Algeria with 7,542 confirmed cases as well as Morocco with 7,133 confirmed cases.
(With IANS Inputs)