Coronavirus live news: South Korea records no new domestic cases for first time since February

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04.10.20 | Echo "Cherry Blossoms"

A post shared by Scarves of Dr. Deborah Birx (@deborahbirxscarves) on Apr 10, 2020 at 4:07pm PDT

">[embedded content] 04.10.20 | Echo "Cherry Blossoms"

Strangely, Dr Birx has not had much time to comment on the meaning behind her scarves.

We know that one, an Afework Tekle art silk scarf from Ethiopia, was a gift from a colleague. Another, also Hermes, costs around US£700. Some, like one called Eagle and another called Daughters of the American Revolution, are patriotic.

Then there's the scarf featuring a cherry blossom motif, which may or may not be a reference to BrainDead, a TV show in which aliens living in Washington's cherry trees take over the minds of politicians. It seems likelier that Dr Birx had the Northern Hemisphere spring on her mind - but who knows?

Updatedat 5.57am BST

More now on South Korea, which has recorded no new domestic cases of Covid-19 for first time since February.

The KCDC reported four new infections, all imported cases, taking the national tally to 10,765. The death toll rose by one to 247, while 9,059 have been discharged. Of the total, 1,065 were imported cases, where more than 90% were Koreans, according to a KCDC statement.

South Korea's caseload has been slowing in recent weeks after it recorded hundreds of new cases every day between late February and early March. The government has subsequently relaxed some of its social distancing guidelines. It expected to ease up on more restrictions in coming days if its caseload maintains a decline.

The health authorities also concluded no local transmission occurred from a parliamentary election this month, where authorities took safety measures, including requiring voters to wear masks and plastic gloves when casting ballots. "Twenty-nine million voters participated in the 15 April parliamentary election ... Not one case related to the election has been reported during the 14 days of incubation period," Yoon Tae-ho, director general for public health policy, told a briefing.

Summary

  • The official global death toll passed 225,000, according to Johns Hopkins University data, with the official toll at 227,644.

    At least 3,193,961 people have been infected worldwide.

  • South Korea reports no new domestic cases for first time since 29 February. South Korea reported on Thursday no new domestic coronavirus cases for the first time since its 29 February peak, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
  • Trump says China wants him to lose 2020 election. Trump said that coronavirus has "upset very badly" the US trade deal with China, and that China "will do anything they can to have me lose in 2020."Trump does not see the 2020 election as being a referendum on his handling of the pandemic, he said.
  • Donald Trump has said the federal government will not be extending its coronavirus social distancing guidelines once they expire on Thursday. Meanwhile, the number of Americans who have died of coronavirus surpassed 60,000, a toll far higher than any other country.
  • China's Forbidden City will reopen on Friday, three months after it closed due to the coronavirus crisis - the latest signal that the country has brought the disease under control. The sprawling imperial palace was shut down on January 25.
  • Japan expected to extend state of emergency by a month. Japan's government is expected to extend a nationwide state of emergency for another month, after the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, described the coronavirus outbreak as "severe".
  • US drug trial shows 'clear cut' effect, says top medic. While a Chinese trial demonstrated no "significant clinical benefits" to administering the antiviral drug remdesivir to Covid-19 patients, a separate trial in the US shows a "clear-cut" effect, according to the head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr Anthony Fauci.
  • Police called after New York funeral home puts bodies in trucks. Police were called to a Brooklyn funeral home Wednesday after it resorted to storing dozens of bodies on ice in rented truck, the Associated Press reported.
  • More cases of 'Covid-linked' syndrome in children. Doctors around the world have reported more cases of a rare but potentially lethal inflammatory syndrome in children that appears to be linked to coronavirus infections.

    Nearly 100 cases of the unusual illness have emerged in at least six countries, with doctors in Britain, the US, France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland now reported to be investigating the condition.

  • South Africa's virus cases jump past 5,000 after highest daily rise. The number of coronavirus cases in South Africa surged past the 5,000 mark on Thursday after it saw the largest single-day jump to date, health ministry figures showed. A total of 354 new cases were confirmed on Thursday, bringing the overall total to 5,350, and the number of fatalities spiked by 10 to 103.
  • Half world's workers 'at risk of unemployment'. The International Labour Organisation has warned that almost half the global workforce - 1.6 billion people - are in "immediate danger of having their livelihoods destroyed" by the economic impact of Covid-19, Philip Inman, a Guardian economics writer, reports.
  • Official UK death toll up by 4,419, after the government included deaths outside hospital for the first time. As of 5pm on Tuesday, total of 26,097 patients had died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK, according to Public Health England.
  • Brazil sees record increase in cases. Brazil has reported a record increase in cases, with its ministry of health confirming 6,276 more infections in a 24-hour period, taking the country's total to 78,162.
  • Ireland looks set to extend its lockdown, despite growing calls to ease restrictions and salvage the economy.The taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, said on Wednesday that new cases of Covid-19 infections, deaths and intensive care admissions appeared too high to start relaxing rules that are to expire on 5 May.
  • Swiss government extends ban on large public events. The Swiss government has extended its ban on public events exceeding 1000 people until the end of August, even as it announced the easing of some other restrictions on sporting events, shops, restaurants and museums.
  • Sweden passes 20,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus. The total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Sweden rose past the 20,000 mark on Wednesday, after the Nordic country reported another 681 infections.
  • Five coronavirus cases have been reported in Aden, southern Yemen, by the country's internationally recognised government, raising the prospect that the war-ravaged country will soon also have an outbreak of the new disease.
  • China's parliament is to hold its annual meeting from 22 May - more than two months later than planned.

    Conditions for holding the meeting have been met as the coronavirus situation has improved, decision makers said.

  • Russia's coronavirus case tally neared the 100,000 milestone,after the country reported 5,841 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing its overall nationwide tally to 99,399, Reuters reports.
  • UK government is still aiming for 100,000 daily tests by tomorrow, according to the environment secretary, George Eustice. He said the search for an effective antibody test was still under way and denied that earlier introduction of testing at care homes would have saved lives.
  • The coronavirus outbreak needs to be contained before 2021 Olympics can go ahead, the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, said. "The Olympic Games must be held in a way that shows the world has won its battle against the coronavirus pandemic."
  • The UK prime minister Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds announced the birth of a baby boy. Johnson returned to frontline work on Monday after falling ill with coronavirus and spending time in intensive care.
  • Air passenger numbers are down 99% in the UK, the home secretary told MPs, as she defended the government's decision not to test individuals entering the country.

    On Friday, a total of 9,906 people entered the country.

Trump claims China will 'do anything' to stop his re-election as coronavirus row escalates

The Guardian's Alison Rourke and Lily Kuo report: Donald Trump has claimed that China's handling of the coronavirus is proof that Beijing "will do anything they can" to make him lose his re-election bid in November. In an interview with Reuters, the US president said he was looking at different options in terms of consequences for Beijing over the virus. "I can do a lot," he said, without going into detail.

Trump has increasingly blamed China for the pandemic and on Wednesday again said Beijing should have let the world know about the coronavirus much sooner. He also speculated about retaliation: "There are many things I can do," he said. "We're looking for what happened." For the first time, Trump linked Beijing to his re-election chances in November. "China will do anything they can to have me lose this race," he said, adding that he believed China wants his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, to win the race to ease the pressure on US-China trade relations.

"They're constantly using public relations to try to make it like they're innocent parties," he said of Chinese officials.

Podcast: what has the BCG vaccine got to do with Covid-19?

Sarah Boseley talks to Prof Helen McShane about why there has been interest in the tuberculosis vaccine and whether it could play a role in protecting us against Covid-19:

Papua New Guinea's health minister, who took the job just a few months before the coronavirus outbreak hit, has spoken about his country's fight to prepare for Covid-19, in an exclusive interview with the Guardian.
The Pacific nation just north of Australia is dealing with outbreaks of malaria, dengue fever, drug-resistant tuberculosis and had a recent outbreak of polio.

Its health system is notoriously fractured and underfunded.

PPE to assist with Papua New Guinea's fight against the coronavirus arrives in Port Moresby and is handed to Jelta Wong, Papua New Guinea's health minister, as part of the PNGAusPartnership. Photograph: Australian High Commission Port Moresby

So far there have been eight cases detected in the country of roughly 9 million people, and no deaths. The cases are spread across four regions and the sources of some cases are unknown, sparking fear that there could be widespread undetected community transmission.

There are still grave concerns that Papua New Guinea - which Wong estimates has 600 to 700 doctors, 3,000 hospital beds and just 15 ventilators - is not set up to cope if the outbreak worsens. "Our biggest problem is PPE gear," says Wong. "When we first started out, we didn't have any PPE gear in the country ... the National Department of Health [NDOH] was behind the eight ball. We definitely missed the boat a few times when we tried to get PPE gear and we didn't pay for it in time and we lost out to other countries, the bigger countries."

Updatedat 5.10am BST

NHS looks into taking BAME staff off frontline for their safety

NHS staff from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds will be given different roles away from the frontline under plans to reduce their disproportionately high death rate from Covid-19.

BAME personnel should be "risk-assessed" and reassigned to duties that leave them at lesser risk of contracting coronavirus, under guidance set out by NHS bosses in England.

The move was unveiled in a letter sent on Wednesday to hospital trusts, providers of mental health care, ambulance services and organisations providing community-based healthcare.

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