Friday, 5.30: More than 3,917,532 people have been infected across the world and over 270,720 have died but at the same time 1,344,120 people have recovered.
THE PANDEMIC IN NUMBERS
|COUNTRY||INFECTED CASES||DEATHS DUE TO VIRUS|
All the latest news in brief as it happens
11.21 Mood among German Mittelstand worse than during financial crisis – survey
The mood in Germany’s Mittelstand, the small and medium-sized companies that form the backbone of Europe’s biggest economy, is worse than in March 2009, during the throes of the global financial crisis, KfW state development bank said on Friday.
A barometer for the Mittelstand produced by KfW and the Ifo institute showed sentiment dropping by 26 points to -45.4 in April as the coronavirus crisis continued to take its toll. That compared with -37.6 in March 2009 and came after a 20.0 point drop in March 2020.
KfW said Mittelstand firms were more pessimistic about the future than ever before.
11.17 Philippines’ coronavirus deaths inch closer to 700
The Philippines’ Health Ministry on Friday recorded 11 new coronavirus deaths and 120 additional confirmed cases.
In a bulletin, the ministry said total infections had increased to 10,463 while deaths had reached 696. It added that 116 patients had recovered, bringing total recoveries to 1,734.
10.39 European shares ride on U.S.-China talks, earnings optimism
European shares rose on Friday as signs of improving U.S.-China relations gave a fresh dose of optimism for investors counting on the easing of lockdowns to spark a recovery in global growth.
The pan-European STOXX 600 rose 0.7% by 0712 GMT. London markets were closed for a public holiday.
Top U.S. and Chinese trade officials discussed Phase 1 trade deal on Friday, and China said it agreed to improve the atmosphere for its implementation.
That offered some relief to investors worried about rising tensions between the two countries after U.S. criticized China’s handling of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
German industrial company Siemens jumped 5.2% after it announced cost-cut plans to deal with the impact of the pandemic following an 18% drop in industrial profit during its second quarter.
10.06 Denmark to ease coronavirus restrictions further from June 8
Danish museums, amusement parks and cinemas will be allowed to reopen from June 8, the government said on Friday, after it struck a deal with parliament on how restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 could be eased further.
In the third phase of its reopening plan, Denmark will also increase the maximum number of people allowed to meet in public to between 30 and 50, up from a 10-person limit, it said.
Danish shopping malls, schools for the oldest students and restaurants will be allowed to reopen in the coming weeks said the government late on Thursday as it enters the second phase of reopening after curbing the spread of the virus.
The third reopening phase would only take place if the number of infected and hospitalisations did not “increase more than expected,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.
Night clubs, music venues and gyms would remain shut until the fourth phase of the reopening which is expected to start by the beginning of August, it added.
8.40 Japan eyes another stimulus package
Japan will look into additional steps to cushion the economic blow from the coronavirus pandemic, its economy minister said on Friday, signalling that more stimulus measures could be forthcoming as the country sinks into deep recession.
Japan compiled a record $1.1 trillion economic stimulus package in April that focused on cash payouts to households and loans to small businesses hurt by the pandemic.
Ruling coalition lawmakers are ramping up calls for more assistance, as the government’s decision on Monday to extend a state of emergency through May heightens the chance of more bankruptcies and job losses.
8.15 Australia set plan to end most restrictions by July
Australia will ease social distancing restrictions in a three-step process, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday, as Canberra aims to remove most curbs by July and get nearly 1 million people back to work amid a decline in coronavirus cases.
With fewer than 20 new infections each day, Morrison said Australian states and territories on Friday agreed a road map to remove most of the curbs.
Under the first stage of the plan, restaurants and cafes currently limited to takeaway services will be allowed to reopen, but with a maximum of 10 patrons at a time.
If no major outbreaks are recorded states and territories will move to stage two where gyms, cinemas and galleries will be allowed to re-open, although businesses will only be able to have 20 customers at a time.
At this point, states that have closed their borders would start to allow some interstate travel, Morrison said.
7.59 Thailand reports eight new coronavirus cases, no new deaths
Thailand on Friday reported eight new coronavirus cases but no deaths, bringing the total to 3,000 cases and 55 deaths since the outbreak started in January.
Of the new cases, three are from the southern province of Yala where authorities are aggressively testing the population due to high infection rates, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, spokesman for the government’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration.
Five other new cases are migrants who have been detained at an immigration detention centre in southern Songkhla province, Taweesin said. The centre has seen 60 other cases in the past two weeks.
6.27 Pakistan coronavirus cases surge past 25,000, pace quickens
Coronavirus cases in Pakistan surged past 25,000 on Friday, just hours before the government was due to lift lockdown measures, with the country reporting some of the biggest daily increases in new infections in the world.
Officials reported 1,764 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours on Friday, taking the total to 25,837. Deaths rose by 30 to 594.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced plans to begin lifting Pakistan’s poorly enforced lockdown from Saturday, amid fears for the country’s economy as it sinks into recession.
5.53 Australia to ease COVID-19 curbs in 3 stages, targets July for full removal
Australia will ease social distancing restrictions implemented to slow the spread of the coronavirus in a three-step process, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday, with the aim of removing all curbs by July.
Australia imposed strict social distancing restrictions in March, which, coupled with the closure of its borders, is credited with drastically slowing the number of new infections of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
Morrison said Australia’s states and territories will decide when to begin implementing each stage.
5.43 Japan could lift state of emergency in areas with no new virus cases
More Japanese prefectures were reporting zero coronavirus cases on a daily basis, and lifting the state of emergency for those regions was within sight, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said on Friday.
Nishimura, who is also in charge of the government’s overall coronavirus response, added that he still wanted people to try to reduce person-to-person contact by 80%.
Japan this week extended the nationwide state of emergency to the end of May but said it would reassess the situation on May 14 and possibly lift the measures earlier for some prefectures.
5.38 Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 1,209 to 167,300
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,209 to 167,300, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Friday.
The death toll rose by 147 to 7,266, the tally showed
3.50 Mexico experiences most lethal coronavirus day yet with 257 deaths
Mexico’s health ministry on Thursday reported 1,982 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections and 257 additional fatalities, the most lethal day since the pandemic reached the Latin America’s second largest country.
The new figures bring the total number of confirmed cases to 29,616 and 2,961 deaths. However, the government has said the real number of infections is significantly higher than the confirmed cases.
Mexican officials are asking residents to observe social distancing measures ahead of Mother’s Day on Sunday and have closed Mexico City’s main flower market and cemeteries, where people tend to congregate for the holiday.
They have even suggested moving the holiday to July.
2.52 Lyft to require passengers and drivers to wear masks
Lyft will require both passengers and drivers to wear masks and complete a health certification program, including confirming before each ride that they are not displaying symptoms associated with the novel coronavirus, the company said on Thursday.
The move comes as ridesharing companies struggle to maintain revenues with millions of people worldwide under social distancing orders from public health authorities.
Lyft has previously committed to distributing masks to its more than one million drivers, focusing on cities where masks are required by law, said Angie Westbrock, head of global operations, although she declined to say how many masks had been or would be distributed.
1.45 California sets rules to reopen manufacturing; Tesla’s Musk cheers
California has set rules to allow state manufacturers to begin reopening on Friday from a coronavirus lockdown, Governor Gavin Newsom said, drawing an enthusiastic “Yeah!!” on Twitter from Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk.
But Tesla is located in one of the San Francisco Bay Area counties, Alameda, that have a separate lockdown scheduled to last until the end of May. Under that county order, Tesla’s only U.S. vehicle factory, in Fremont, California, is not allowed to operate regularly.
The state order announced on Thursday does not supersede the county plan, Alameda Sheriff’s Office spokesman Ray Kelly told Reuters by text message.
The state plan outlined by the governor includes several requirements for reopening, such as implementing physical distancing, screening workers and training employees on limiting spread of the virus.
Musk has criticized the lockdown and has been eager to reopen the Tesla factory. Musk is also CEO of rocket and spacecraft company SpaceX.
1.22 Brazil registers 9,888 new cases of coronavirus, 610 deaths on Thursday
Brazil’s Health Ministry on Thursday registered 9,888 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 610 related deaths in the past 24 hours, according to a ministry website.
That brought the ministry’s total to 135,106 confirmed cases in Brazil, with 9,146 deaths from the COVID-19 respiratory disease – the most deadly outbreak in an emerging market nation.
00.25 Sperm containing virus raises small risk of COVID-19 spread via sex -study
Chinese researchers who tested sperm of men infected with COVID-19 found that a minority of them had the new coronavirus in their semen, opening up a small chance the disease could be transmitted sexually, scientists said on Thursday.
A study by doctors at China’s Shangqiu Municipal Hospital of 38 men hospitalised with the disease found that six of them, or 16%, tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in their semen.
The researchers said that while the findings were preliminary and based on only a small number of infected men, more research is needed to see whether sexual transmission might play a role in the spreading COVID-19 pandemic.