No evidence’ coronavirus recovered immune – WHO: Live updates

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No evidence’ coronavirus recovered immune – WHO: Live updates

WHO has warned against issuing ‘immunity passports’ after launching a coalition aimed at quickly finding a vaccine.

by &

  • The World Health Organization’s chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the agency is teaming up with countries and partners worldwide to accelerate work on drugs and a vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Noticeably absent: The United States, which is the hardest hist country in the world.

  • Meanwhile, the WHO has warned against countries issuing so-called “immunity passports” to those recovered from COVID-19, saying there is no evidence yet the previously infected cannot be reinfected.

  • Africa’s coronavirus cases have surged 43 percent in the past week but its countries are dangerously behind in the global race for scarce medical equipment. Ten nations have no ventilators at all. John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the continent is competing with the developed world in terms of obtaining supplies and equipment. “The very future of the continent will depend on how this matter is handled.”

  • The death toll in the United States surpassed 51,000 amid more than 890,000 cases. But the number of daily deaths in New York has gone down, with 422 reported on Friday – the lowest since April 1. Meanwhile, China reported it has not had a new death from the virus in 10 days.
  • Close to 196,000 people have died due to the pandemic, with 2.7 million infected globally, out of whom almost some 781,000 have recovered.

Here are the latest updates:

Saturday, April 25

13:20 GMT – Etihad extends suspension of scheduled flights to at least May 16

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways said it would extend its suspension of scheduled passenger flights until at least May 16 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The airline, which had aimed to partially resume passenger flights from May 1, said in a statement all scheduled services would remain grounded until May 16 at the earliest. Earlier in the day, it had said the suspension would last until May 15.

Etihad and other UAE airlines have been operating outbound-only flights for foreigners who want to leave the Gulf Arab state, which has banned the entry of people from abroad due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

12:50 GMT – South Africa to reopen agriculture sector, allow more manufacturing, retail

South Africa plans to reopen its agriculture sector and allow some manufacturing and retail to resume as the country balances the need to restart economic output and curb the spread of the new coronavirus, trade minister Ebrahim Patel has said.

South Africa has spent a month under restrictions requiring most of the population to stay at home apart from essential trips, leaving many businesses and individuals struggling without income in the recession-hit economy.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday that the government will allow a partial reopening of the economy on May 1, with some industries allowed to operate under a five-level risk system. The country is expected to move onto the fourth level stage of the lockdown on Friday.

“In agriculture, forestry and fishing, that whole sector will begin to reopen, and that will include forestry as well as horticulture and the transport of livestock and animal auctions,” Patel said in a televised media briefing.

India’s lockdown: Narratives of inequality and Islamophobia | The Listening Post

12:30 GMT – Poland to reopen outdoor playgrounds as it eases sports curbs

Poland plans to reopen outdoor sports areas on May 4 and will allow top league football matches to be played at the end of next month, as part of an easing of restrictions put in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Poland started relaxing some of the curbs earlier in April, saying they were costly for the economy. It has reopened forests and parks and eased rules on the number of customers in shops.

By Saturday, the European Union member state of 38 million had reported 11,067 cases and 499 deaths.

“Sport is an important part of the national economy, which contributes to improving health and we are aware how important it is to restore normality,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told a news conference on Saturday.

UN launches global push to accelerate work on COVID-19 treatments

12:10 GMT – Dutch cases rise above 37,000, with 120 new deaths

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Netherlands have risen by 655 to 37,190, health authorities said, with 120 new deaths.

The country’s death toll stands at 4,409, the Netherlands Institute for Public Health (RIVM) said in its daily update. The actual numbers are likely higher, as not all suspected cases are tested, the RIVM said.

11:40 GMT – Low cost airline Wizz to restart some flights from UK’s Luton airport

Low cost airline Wizz Air has said it would restart some flights from London’s Luton Airport on May 1, becoming one of the first European carriers to begin to restore services which have been grounded during the coronavirus pandemic.

Wizz said in a statement on Saturday that cabin crew would wear masks and gloves throughout flights and distribute sanitising wipes to each passenger. Its aircraft would be disinfected overnight, it added.

Flights to several destinations in Romania, plus Budapest in Hungary, Lisbon in Portugal, and Tenerife in Spain would be amongst those to restart, said Wizz.

Gaza artists decorate masks to raise coronavirus awareness

11:20 GMT – Spain’s death toll from rises to 22,902

Spain’s coronavirus death toll has risen to 22,902 up from 22,524 the day before, media outlets, including El Pais and El Mundo, reported.

The number of daily fatalities was 378, a slight increase on Friday’s 367, which was the lowest figure recorded in the past month.

The overall number of coronavirus cases rose to 223,759 from 219,764 the day before.

11:00 GMT – Russia reports 5,966 new cases in past 24 hours

The number of new coronavirus cases in Russia has risen by 5,966 over the past 24 hours, bringing its nationwide tally to 74,588, the country’s coronavirus crisis response centre said.

It also reported 66 new deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, bringing the total death toll in Russia to 681.

The number of coronavirus cases in Russia began rising sharply this month, although it had reported far fewer infections than many western European countries in the early stages of the outbreak.

Outside image - blog - 14 apr - russia update
Migrants wearing protective face masks walk in front of Russian flag graffiti in Moscow, Russia [Maxim Shipenkov/EPA]

10:45 GMT – Sri Lanka reimposes lockdown after jump in cases

Sri Lanka has reimposed a countrywide 24-hour curfew after a surge in the number of coronavirus cases, most of them navy sailors who were searching for those evading quarantine.

The 60 new infections on Friday were the highest in a day. The Indian Ocean island nation has confirmed 420 cases of the virus, including seven deaths. Sri Lanka partially lifted a month-long curfew on Monday during daytime hours in more than two thirds of the country. The new curfew remains in effect until Monday. Police have arrested more than 30,000 violators.

Al Jazeera’s Minelle Fernandez said that there are security checkpoints around the country to enforce the measure.

“There are more than 55,000 police personnel in the field, conducting random checks, along with the three armed forces to enforce this lockdown,” she said.

Nepal quake: Reconstruction still in progress five years on

10:30 GMT – From quake to coronavirus, knee-jerk response from Nepal leadership

Five years ago, 11-year-old Reshma Shrestha from Sindupalchowk district in Nepal stood outside her collapsed house, waiting for the body of her mother and infant brother to be dug out of the rubble. A powerful magnitude 7.8 earthquake had brought down thousands of houses in her district and made many more unlivable.

Five years on, with the country on lockdown as a response to COVID-19, the 16-year-old is afraid of losing loved ones, once again, Al Jazeera’s Subina Shrestha reports.

Read more here.

Daily life affected by the coronavirus in Nepal
The first case of infection in Nepal was detected in early January [Sunil Pradha/Anadolu]

10:20 GMT – Iran death toll rises by 76 to 5,650

Iran’s death toll from the new coronavirus has risen by 76 to reach a total of 5,650, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said on state TV.

The total number of people diagnosed with the disease is 89,328, of whom 3,096 are in a critical condition, he added

10:10 GMT – Outbreak hits Belarus home for disabled children

Several people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in an orphanage for 170 children with developmental disabilities in Belarus, the local authorities have said, without disclosing the exact number of cases.

The first case of the virus had been found in one of the employees at the orphanage, according to the local authorities of the Mogilev region, where the institution is located. After that, tests were conducted with all employees and residents.

“Some have received positive test results. At present, most of them have no symptoms of the disease,” said a statement from the Executive Committee of the Mogilev region.

President Alexander Lukashenko has dismissed fears about the coronavirus outbreak as a “psychosis” and has not closed borders or imposed strict lockdown measures in the eastern European country. There were 8,773 confirmed coronavirus cases in Belarus as of Friday, of which 396 are in the Mogilev region in the east, and 63 deaths in total.

Coronavirus precautions in Minsk
A general view of Nemiga Street is seen amid the coronavirus pandemic n Minsk, Belarus [Anadolu]

09:55 GMT – ‘No evidence’ yet that recovered COVID-19 patients cannot be reinfected: WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that there was currently “no evidence” that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second coronavirus infection.

In a statement, the United Nations agency warned against issuing “immunity passports” or “risk-free certificates” to people who have been infected, saying the practice may actually increase the risk of spread as they may ignore standard advice.

Chile said last week it would begin handing out “health passports” to people deemed to have recovered from the illness. Once screened to determine if they have developed antibodies to make them immune to the virus, they could immediately rejoin the workforce. Several other countries have made similar suggestions.

More:

09:40 GMT – Indonesia reports 396 new cases, 31 more deaths

Indonesia has reported 396 new coronavirus cases, taking the total number to 8,607, data provided by health ministry official Achmad Yurianto showed.

Thirty one more people who had tested positive for the virus died, taking the total number of deaths to 720, according to the data.

The world’s fourth most populous country has been hit hard by the virus, with the highest numbers of deaths in Asia outside of China.

US president Donald Trump announced on Friday he would be sending ventilators and unspecified help to Indonesia at the request of President Joko Widodo.

US nursing homes: Advocates say more coronavirus testing needed

09:20 GMT – Hundreds protest against lockdown at Polish-German border

Hundreds of people who live in Poland and work in Germany protested on Friday evening in the southwestern Polish border town of Zgorzelec against a mandatory coronavirus quarantine for those who cross the border.

The protest was staged on a foot bridge connecting Zgorzelec and the German town of Gorlitz, which functioned as one town before the borders were closed starting March 15.

“I’ve been trapped at home for six weeks, can’t cross the border, go to work. I can’t go back to my students,” Mirella Binkiewicz, a teacher living in Zgorzelec and working in Gorlitz, told Reuters news agency.

Around 300 people gathered at the Polish side and some 100 at the German side, some wearing face masks. The two groups were separated by a provisional metal fence that has been erected in the middle of the bridge to prevent people from crossing the border.

poland border protest
Cross-border workers stage protest at Polish-German border demanding to be exempt from the mandatory quarantine [Reuters]

09:10 GMT – Abu Dhabi’s Etihad extends suspension of scheduled flights to May 15

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad airways has said it will extend its suspension of scheduled passenger flights until May 15.

The airline had previously said it would partially resume passenger flights from May 1.

Etihad and other UAE airlines have been operating outbound-only flights for foreigners wishing to leave the Gulf Arab state, which has banned the entry of foreigners due to the global coronavirus outbreak.

09:00 GMT – Tokyo confirms 103 new cases

Tokyo has reported 103 new cases of coronavirus infections, Kyodo news reported, amid concerns that the start of a holiday season could lead to an increase in infections.

The latest figures bring total coronavirus infections in Japan’s capital city to 3,836 cases, Kyodo reported. Saturday’s daily increase was less than 161 new infections on Friday, and was the lowest since April 20.

On Saturday, the total number of coronavirus infections in Japan had reached nearly 13,000 cases, with 345 deaths, NHK said. The government has encouraged residents to stay indoors as much as possible during the Golden Week holiday period, which begins next week.

Japan Imposes Nationwide State Of Emergency To Contain Coronavirus Pandemic
A cleaner pushes a cart past Tokyo 2020 Olympics adverts at Narita Airport amid lockdown [Carl Court/Getty Images]

08:40 GMT – Britain nears grim milestone of 20,000 deaths

Britain could hit the grim milestone of 20,000 COVID-19 deaths later on Saturday, when the daily count is added to the current toll of 19,506 people who tested positive for the new coronavirus and died in hospital.

The death toll from COVID-19 in hospitals across the UK increased on Friday by 684 in 24 hours to 19,506.

Passing the 20,000 mark will be an uncomfortable moment for the government, whose Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said on March 17 that keeping the toll under that number would be “a good outcome in terms of where we would hope to get.”

Britain has the fifth highest official coronavirus death toll in the world, after the United States, Italy, Spain and France. Scientists have said that the death rate will start to decline quickly only in another couple of weeks.

London charity: Virus layoffs force families into poverty

08:25 GMT – Malaysia reports 51 new cases, 2 deaths

Malaysia has reported 51 new coronavirus infections and two deaths.

The total number of recorded cases is 5,742, with 98 fatalities, the health ministry said in a news conference.

08:20 GMT – Philippines records 17 new deaths, 102 more infections

The Philippines’ health ministry has reported 17 new coronavirus deaths and 102 additional infections.

In a bulletin, the health ministry said total infections have risen to 7,294 while deaths have increased to 494. Thirty more patients have recovered, bringing total recoveries to 792.

Should ‘wet markets’ be banned?

08:15 GMT – India, Pakistan ease restrictions for some small businesses

The Indian government allowed a limited reopening of shops in neighbourhoods and residential areas from Saturday, more than a month after the nation went into a lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, officials said.

Late on Friday the federal home ministry said retail shops could start operations with the staff number reduced by 50 percent, while also requiring appropriate social distancing, wearing of masks and gloves during work.

The sale of liquor and other non-essential items will continue to be prohibited, and no shops in large market places, multi-brand and single-brand malls will be allowed to open for business till May 3.

In neighbouring Pakistan, the government extended the nationwide lockdown till May 9, however, it is switching to a so-called “smart lockdown” from Saturday for targeted tracking and tracing of cases while allowing some industrial and commercial activities to begin under safety guidelines.

Read more here.

Pakistan mosque
People attend evening prayers while maintaining a level of social distancing to help avoid the spread of the coronavirus at a mosque in Karachi, Pakistan [Fareed Khan/The Associated Press]

08:00 GMT – Germany’s confirmed cases rise by 2,055 to 152,438

Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases increased by 2,055 to 152,438, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases has shown – a second day of deceleration after three days of acceleration in new infections.

On Friday confirmed coronavirus cases had increased by 2,337. The reported death toll rose by 179 to 5,500, the tally showed on Saturday.

07:40 GMT – Singapore reports 618 new cases, taking total to 12,693

Singapore has registered 618 new coronavirus infections, its health ministry has said, taking the city-state’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 12,693.

The vast majority of the new cases are migrant workers living in dormitories, the health ministry said in a statement. Seven are permanent residents.

The island of 5.7 million people now has one of the highest infection rates in Asia, according to official figures.

singapore blog entry
People wearing face masks as a prevention measure against the spread of the coronavirus show their identification card as they queue to enter a wet market in Singapore [Roslan Rahman/AFP]

07:30 GMT – Attention turns to China’s north as no new deaths reported for 10 days

China has reported no new deaths from the coronavirus in the last ten days, as attention has turned to northern provinces bordering Russia.

The vast majority of new cases in the country have been imported, according to health authorities.

Attention has now turned to Chinese nationals returning through the border with Russia in Heilongjiang province, Al Jazeera’s Sarah Clarke reported.

“The main cluster, the main focus, is the north of the country. This is where we’re seeing the largest number of imported cases,” she said. “There were 12 new cases reported by the national health commission on Saturday and 11 of those were imported.”

More:

07:15 GMT – Shopping robots come into their own in locked-down English town

A fleet of robots on wheels that deliver shopping in the English town of Milton Keynes have seen their popularity surge as residents are stuck indoors due to the coronavirus lockdown.

The robots, which come up roughly to an adult’s knee height and look like smooth white plastic boxes mounted on six black wheels, are a familiar sight in the town, where they have been delivering groceries for over two years.

But since the government imposed strict social distancing measures on March 23, the devices have been busier than ever, delivering for free to National Health Service (NHS) staff and facing increased demand from the general public.

“Right now we are offering free delivery to all NHS workers within the community. We want to make life a little bit easier for these people in these very, very stressful times,” said Henry Harris-Burland, of Starship, the company that makes the robots. “Lots of them are doing … 80-hour weeks and they don’t have time to go to the local grocery store, so they use our robots for their shopping.”

European countries considering when to lift lockdowns

07:00 GMT – New York City fields spike in disinfectant ingestion after Trump comments: Report

An unusually high number of New York city residents contacted city health authorities over fears that they had ingested bleach or other household cleaners in the 18 hours after President Donald Trump’s suggested that injecting such products could cure coronavirus, the New York Daily News reported.

The Poison Control Center, a subagency of the city’s Health Department, managed a total of 30 cases of possible exposure to disinfectants during the period, a spokesman told the newspaper. During the same period last year, the agency handled only 13 similar cases.

Of the cases reported between Thursday and Friday, nine were specifically about possible exposure to Lysol, while ten were in regards to bleach and 11 about household cleaners in general, the spokesman said.

During the same period last year, there were no cases reported of Lysol exposure.

Commissioner Oxiris Barbot

@NYCHealthCommr

To be clear, disinfectants are not intended for ingestion either by mouth, by ears, by breathing them in any way, shape or form. And doing so can put people at great risk. https://twitter.com/nycHealthy/status/1253720226543386626 

nychealthy

@nycHealthy

Do NOT ingest or inject Lysol or any other disinfectant as a treatment for #COVID19. Household disinfectants are poisonous and can cause serious harm or even death if swallowed or injected. Call the Poison Control Center for info about safe use of products: 212-764-7667

Illustration of household cleaners with text. Text reads, "DO NOT INGEST OR INJECT Lysol or other disinfectants as a treatment for COVID-19. Household disinfectants are poisonous and can cause serious harm or even death if swallowed or injected."

06:45 GMT – Argentina prisoners riot demanding health measures

Dozens of prisoners at a jail in Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires have rioted in a demand for urgent health measures after confirmation of a coronavirus case inside the facility.

Police surrounded the prison, which holds around 2,200 inmates, as explosions were heard during the incident on Friday, an AFP news agency reporters at the scene said.

A group of prisoners managed to climb onto a roof, burn mattresses and throw objects at security guards trying to quell the uprising.Authorities have yet to comment on the riot or whether there are any injuries.

Inmates could be heard shouting demands for a judge to hear their case and for better protection against the pandemic, just a few days after a warden at the Villa Devoto prison was confirmed to have contracted the novel coronavirus.

“COVID-19 in Devoto, genocidal judges,” read a banner hung from the prison roof. “We refuse to die in prison,” read another.

argentina prison
Inmates from Villa Devoto prison burn mattresses during a riot demanding measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus [Juan Mabromata/AFP]

06:20 GMT – Japan economy minister cancels appearances after contact with infected staffer

A key government official in charge of Japan’s economic response to the coronavirus outbreak has called off his public appearances on Saturday to work from home after it was discovered that he had been in contact with a staffer who was infected with the virus.

In a statement, the office said that it had discovered that Nishimura had visited a university hospital last week with an office staff person who later tested positive for the virus.

In past weeks, the minister has become the face of Japan’s economic efforts to deal with the coronavirus.

“Neither the minister nor the staffer who tested positive for the virus has shown any symptoms, but as a precaution, the minister will remain at home until he receives further notice on his condition from health authorities,” the office said in a statement.

Trump ends COVID-19 briefing abruptly after ‘inject disinfectant’

05:45 GMT – Maryland sends out emergency alert after Trump disinfectant comments

The US state of Maryland has sent out an alert telling residents “that under no circumstances should any disinfectant product be administered into the body through injection, ingestion or any other route.”

The message, posted on Twitter on Friday, comes after President Donald Trump in a Thursday press conference asked his administration’s medical experts to look into injecting disinfectants into the body to kill the coronavirus or exposing the body to ultra-violet light.

Experts have said the statements were dangerous and should be not be tried under any circumstances.

Trump later claimed he was being sarcastic and falsely said that only made the comments in response to a reporters question. The president had made the comments without solicitation while looking at his coronavirus response coordinator Dr Deborah Birx and Department of Homeland Security science official Bill Bryan.

Maryland had reportedly received over 100 calls to its coronavirus hotline asking about the president’s comments.

Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MDMEMA)

@MDMEMA

ALERT🚨: We have received several calls regarding questions about disinfectant use and .

This is a reminder that under no circumstances should any disinfectant product be administered into the body through injection, ingestion or any other route.

05:00 GMT – Thailand reports 53 new cases, one new death

Thailand has reported 53 new coronavirus cases and the death of a 48-year-old Thai man who was infected with the virus along with four other family members.

Of the new cases, three were linked to previous cases, one had no known links, and 42 are migrant workers who have been under quarantine at an immigration detention centre in the southern province of Songkhla.

Seven other new cases were reported from the southern province of Yala, where authorities are aggressively testing the population because of high infection rates there, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the government’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration.

Since the outbreak escalated in January, Thailand has reported a total of 2,907 cases and 51 deaths, while 2,547 patients have recovered and gone home.

_____________________________________________________________

This is Joseph Stepansky in Doha taking over the live updates from my colleague Ted Regencia.

______________________________________________________________

04:30 GMT – UN special rapporteur sounds alarm on response to COVID-19

The United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression has sounded the alarm over some of the response to the global health emergency following the coronavirus pandemic.

In a social media post on Saturday, David Kaye showed a summary of his report to the UN Human Rights Council, which concluded that some policies carried out to help contain the deadly disease “may be failing to meet the standards of legality, necessity and proportionality”.

He wrote in the summary that access to information, independent media and other free expression rights “are critical to meeting the challenges of the pandemic.”

David Kaye

@davidakaye

is a pathogen of repression? check out my new report to the @UNHumanRights Council for answers. i call for robust promotion of freedom of expression to advance public health. https://freedex.org/2020/04/24/new-report-covid-19-and-freedom-of-expression/ 

View image on Twitter03:24 GMT – Nearly 60 new cases confirmed on cruise ship in Japan

Nearly 60 new cases of coronavirus infections were confirmed among crew members of an Italian cruise ship docked in Japan, domestic media reported on Saturday.

With testing of all crew members now complete, the new number, reported by public broadcaster NHK, brings the total infections onboard the Costa Atlantica to around 150, roughly one quarter of the vessel’s 623 crew members. TV Asahi said 57 crew members tested positive.

The infection cluster onboard the vessel docked in Nagasaki comes as hospitals are running out of beds in some parts of Japan, where the national tally of virus cases has risen above 12,800. Some 345 people have died, according to Reuters news agency.

Costa Atlantica
With testing of all crew members now complete, the new number, reported by public broadcaster NHK, brings the total infections onboard the Costa Atlantica to around 150 [Kyodo via Reuters]

02:33 GMT – Vanuatu defies shutdown with women’s cricket final

The Pacific island nation of Vanuatu is defying the coronavirus-led shutdown of global sport by scheduling their Women’s Super League cricket final and streaming it on social media on Saturday, Reuters news agency reported.

Most sport around the world, including all international cricket, has been brought to a halt because of the social-distancing measures put in place to control the pandemic.

Vanuatu, some 2,000 kilometres (1,242 miles) off the east coast of Australia, has a population of 300,000 but has not yet recorded a single case of COVID-19.

“We’re lucky here in Vanuatu and life is returning to normal so we thought it was our duty to provide the world with some live sport,” Shane Deitz, chief executive of Vanuatu Cricket, said in a video posted on Twitter.

02:01 GMT – Senior official cited by Trump is subject of investigation

The senior Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official who was thrust into the spotlight by US President Donald Trump to describe the effects of temperature on COVID-19 has been the subject of misconduct allegations for his previous government work.

A Department of Energy Inspector General investigation was still pending on Friday based on evidence submitted by a whistle-blower that William Bryan abused his government position with energy-consulting work in Ukraine.

It is unclear if Trump was aware of that investigation when he called on Bryan at his daily briefing Thursday to explain DHS research that prompted a presidential riff on the potential to cure the virus with disinfectant and kill it with sunlight.

Bryan has been acting under-secretary for the DHS Science and Technology Directorate, since May 2017. Before that, he was president of a consulting firm in Virginia, following previous work with the Department of Energy.

01:35 GMT – China reports 12 new cases, no new deaths

China reported 12 new coronavirus cases on April 24 compared with six new cases on the previous day, National Health Commission data showed on Saturday. Of the new cases, 11 were imported.

The commission also reported 29 new asymptomatic cases, slightly down from the previous day’s tally of 34. Four of these cases were imported.

The total number of confirmed cases in China is now 82,816. The death toll remained the same at 4,632, with no new deaths reported on April 24.

China - coronavirus
China reported no new virus deaths for the ninth-straight day and just six new cases on Friday [Mark Schiefelbein/AP]

01:29 GMT – Polish health minister says safest to delay May election

Poland’s health minister, who is also a cardiologist, has said that delaying the country’s presidential election until 2022 would be “the only safe option” given the coronavirus pandemic.

“One option would be to put this whole issue on hold for two years and really deal with the epidemic. I think that’s the best option and I recommend it,” Minister Dr Lukasz Szumowski told Poland’s Polsat commercial television.

Despite pressure from the opposition, medical workers, the majority of the public and even members and allies of the ruling conservative party, the government has refused to postpone the May 10 ballot.

President Andrzej Duda is running for reelection in the polls.

01:15 GMT – IMF approves $309m in aid for Mozambique

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced the payment of emergency aid of $309m to Mozambique to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.

“The pandemic should have a significant impact on the economy of Mozambique, halting an emerging recovery after two powerful tropical cyclones that struck in 2019,” the institution said in a statement.

00:27 GMT – US Navy wants to reinstate fired captain of aircraft carrier: report

In an extraordinary reversal, the US Navy has recommended reinstating the fired captain of the coronavirus-hit aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, whose crew hailed him as their hero for risking his job to safeguard their lives, officials told Reuters news agency.

The Navy’s leadership made the recommendation to reinstate Captain Brett Crozier to Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday, just three weeks after Crozier was relieved of command after the leak of a letter he wrote calling on the Navy for stronger measures to protect the crew, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Pentagon issued a statement acknowledging Esper received the results of the Navy’s preliminary inquiry into the Roosevelt incident. But it added that Esper wanted to review a written copy of the completed inquiry.

00:17 GMT – Mexico cases, deaths continue to rise

Mexico’s health ministry has confirmed a total of 12,872 coronavirus cases across the country.

The ministry also said the number of deaths has reached 1,221.

00:05 GMT – Britain starts plasma trial

Britain is to start trials to see whether plasma collected from donors who have recovered from COVID-19 could be an effective treatment for patients who are severely unwell with the disease, Reuters news agency reported.

Up to 5,000 severely ill patients with COVID-19 could soon be treated each week with plasma as part of a new approach to treating the virus, the health department said on Saturday.

Plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients can be transfused to patients who are struggling to produce their own antibodies against the virus.

Hello, I’m Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. You can find updates from yesterday, April 24, here.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

www.Somalihouse.com

Somalihouse1@gmail.com

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