Coronavirus live news: recoveries pass 1m as Trump contradicts intelligence on virus origin

US jobless toll reaches 18.4% of working-age population; Germany and Spain ease lockdowns; outbreak increasing in Africa. Follow the latest updates

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Medical staff at the Louisa Jordan hospital stand during a UK wide minutes silence to commemorate the key workers who have died with coronavirus on 28 April 2020 in Glasgow, United Kingdom.Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
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Hungary needs to prepare for a potential second wave of the coronavirus outbreak in October-November, even though the spreading of the virus will likely slow in the summer, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told state radio on Friday, according to a report by Reuters. Orban also said if authorities manage to reduce the death rate from the pandemic in Budapest, where 80% of deaths have been recorded, only then will current restrictions be eased in the capital city. Hungary will lift a large part of restrictions in the countryside from Monday.

Migrant workers on Spanish farms that provide fruit and vegetables for UK supermarkets are trapped in dire conditions under lockdown, living in cardboard and plastic shelters without food or running water. Thousands of workers, many of them undocumented, live in settlements between huge greenhouses on farms in the southern Spanish provinces of Huelva and Almeria, key regions for European supply chains. Local union activists have been supporting the migrants, bringing them water, food and basic supplies since Spain declared a lockdown in mid March.

Clare Carlile from Ethical Consumer, a UK charity supporting the local activists, says the situation is the result of years of neglect of workers. “They got visited by the Spanish army on the 18th of March and told to stay put, even though in some places running water is several kilometres away. Now, with Covid fears, a water truck comes twice a week.

If you are at work and miss it you must walk several kilometres for water after a hard day. “Failure of employers provide basic rights has for years created dire circumstances for the inhabitants of the settlements. Now, the pandemic has pushed the situation to crisis point.”

London’s Heathrow airport, traditionally the busiest in Europe, said passenger numbers were expected to be down by around 97% in April. Reuters reports that for the first quarter, revenue fell 12.7% to GBP593m (£745m) and adjusted EBITDA fell by 22.4% to GBP315m. Heathrow expects passenger numbers to remain weak until governments across the world fighting the coronavirus outbreak deem it safe to travel.

The airport said it had GBP3.2bn in liquidity, sufficient to maintain the business at least over the next 12 months, even with no passengers.


A passenger wears a mask as he arrives at Heathrow airport. Photograph: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

Updatedat 7.39am BST

Morning, I’m Aamna Mohdin taking over the liveblog from my colleague Helen.

Please do send tips and comments to aamna.mohdin@theguardian.com or you can tweet me at @aamnamohdin

Carmela Fonbuena reports for the Guardian: Philippine provinces considered to have a low to moderate number of coronavirus cases began easing lockdowns on Friday 1 May, amid concerns from local officials and residents who are wary that the real scale of the outbreak cannot be known until the country conducts more testing.

“Many provinces are still just seeing imported cases from other areas. When [strict lockdowns are] lifted they expect imported cases to come in,” said former health secretary Manuel Dayrit. The rules remain unclear.

The government initially said religious gatherings will be allowed provided physical distancing is observed, but it’s now under review following concerns raised.


Medical personnel in protective take a break from treating patients at a parking lot converted into a Covid-19 isolation facility in Quezon city, Metro Manila, Philippines. Photograph: Ezra Acayan/Getty Images

The Philippines recorded 8,488 cases as of 30 April, including 568 deaths. The numbers are believed to be higher as the country of 110 million people has tested less than 100,000 individuals.

It’s a testament to its poor healthcare system as many hospitals struggle to meet requirements for coronavirus testing. The decision made by a national government taskforce on coronavirus put several local officials in a difficult position. In the provinces of Ilocos Norte, La Union, and Albay, where residents oppose the government decision, local leaders cannot extend strict lockdowns without government approval.

“Lifting will only return the virus into a second wave,” said Joey Salceda, a lawmaker from Albay province, which recorded three deaths among total 28 cases but he is afraid there are undetected cases. Metro Manila will remain in strict lockdown but certain restrictions will be lifted to allow some government infrastructure work to continue. Groups of overseas Filipino workers stranded in the capital due to provincial lockdowns have been allowed go home, too.

Updatedat 7.33am BST

Although this development is definitely worth mentioning again, too:

Helen Sullivan (@helenrsullivan)

Japanese aquarium urges public to video-chat eels who are forgetting humans exist The aquarium’s plea has attracted plenty of support, under the Japanese hashtag #PleaseRememberHumans.https://t.co/exENdCEoAo

May 1, 2020

With that, I’m ducking away. My colleague Aamna Mohdin will be with you for the next few hours.

Summary

Here are the most important developments from the last few hours:

  • 1 million people have recovered from coronavirus. According to Johns Hopkins University data, more than a million people have now recovered from coronavirus infection, with the total at 1,014,524.

    Infections worldwide stand at 3,256,570. More than 233,300 people have died in the pandemic so far.

  • Boris Johnson says UK ‘past the peak’. The prime minister promised to set out next week how schools and workplaces could safely reopen once lockdown restrictions were eased, as he claimed the UK was past the peak of the coronavirus outbreak. Despite announcing an increase of 674 in the death toll of the virus, taking it to a total of 26,771, Johnson suggested the worst was over.
  • US jobless toll amounts to 18.4% of working-age population. Thirty million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since 21 March.

    The White House let its two-week-old economic reopening guidelines expire on Thursday as half of all US states forged ahead with their own strategies for easing restrictions on restaurants, retail and other businesses shuttered by the coronavirus crisis, Reuters reports.

  • Trump claims he has seen evidence that Covid-19 originated in Wuhan lab. When the president was asked if he has seen anything that gives you a “high degree of confidence” that coronavirus originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Donald Trump replied: “Yes, I have.” His own government experts say the virus was ‘not manmade or genetically modified’. US intelligence agencies have been under pressure to link coronavirus to Chinese labs. Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, later said of the lab theory: “What we have before us doesn’t suggest that is a likely source”.
  • Protesters, some armed, gather inside Michigan state capitol. Hundreds of protesters, some armed, gathered inside Michigan’s state capitol on Thursday as state lawmakers debated the Democratic governor’s request to extend her emergency powers to combat coronavirus.
  • Major US airlines will require passengers to cover their faces during flights. American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines said on Thursday they will soon require passengers to cover their faces during flights, following the lead of JetBlue Airways, Reuters reports.
  • British BAME Covid-19 death rate ‘more than twice that of whites’. The death rate among British black Africans and British Pakistanis from coronavirus in English hospitals is more than 2.5 times that of the white population, according to stark analysis by the Institute of Fiscal Studies.
  • UK food banks face record demand. The first two weeks of the coronavirus lockdown triggered an unprecedented rise in food bank use as the economy was hit and household incomes plunged, data from hundreds of emergency food aid charities reveals.
  • Jacinda Ardern’s popularity surges during lockdown. An opinion poll in New Zealand has found the prime minister’s approval rating jumped to 65% during the country’s nearly five-week strict lockdown. It puts her in a strong position ahead of this year’s general election.

    Her Labour party also did well, achieving a 55% approval rating.

Updatedat 7.21am BST

UK papers, Friday 1 May

Coronavirus live news: recoveries pass 1m as Trump contradicts intelligence on virus originNeil Henderson (@hendopolis)

THE GUARDIAN: ‘We are past the peak’ says ?@BorisJohnson? #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/UP4qBsCxWt

April 30, 2020

Coronavirus live news: recoveries pass 1m as Trump contradicts intelligence on virus originNeil Henderson (@hendopolis)

TIMES: Britain ‘past peak’ of virus #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/dtQ0j6PgPz

April 30, 2020

Coronavirus live news: recoveries pass 1m as Trump contradicts intelligence on virus originNeil Henderson (@hendopolis)

INDEPENDENT: Virus to spread again from care homes #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/TxABg4BbKk

April 30, 2020

Coronavirus live news: recoveries pass 1m as Trump contradicts intelligence on virus originNeil Henderson (@hendopolis)

TELEGRAPH: ?@BorisJohnson? pledges to reveal road map out of lockdown #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/zcFHrsS31g

April 30, 2020

Coronavirus live news: recoveries pass 1m as Trump contradicts intelligence on virus originNeil Henderson (@hendopolis)

FT: US stocks on brink of best month since 1987 #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/Eqo2ZtXXKj

April 30, 2020

Coronavirus live news: recoveries pass 1m as Trump contradicts intelligence on virus originNeil Henderson (@hendopolis)

SCOTSMAN: We’re past the peak #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/a6pKrY0zQD

April 30, 2020

‘Australia has earned an early mark’

Australia has brought forward its decision on easing restrictions to next Friday 8 May in a further sign that the country is successfully flattening the curve. Australia, which in late March recorded around 400 new cases of the virus a day, now consistently has fewer than 20 new cases daily. Restrictions on movement were put into place at the end of March, including the closure of schools in some states, as well as restaurants, pubs and some businesses, as well as restrictions on the number of people who can gather together.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was due to announce which of these restrictions would be lifted on 11 May after discussion with state premiers, but says the announcement has been brought forward three days, with a cheerful Morrison telling a press conference on Friday that “Australians have earned an early mark.” He added that “we didn’t expect to be in this position six weeks ago”.


Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, flanked by Australia’s chief medical officer Brendan Murphy, speaks at a press conference on Friday. Photograph: Rohan Thomson/Getty Images

Australia’s chief medical officer, Brendan Murphy, said Australia will begin testing cohorts of asymptomatic people in an attempt to ensure early detection of any new outbreaks and avoid a second wave.

That cluster testing will be focused on groups that have a high risk of exposure or work with vulnerable people, like aged care workers or healthcare workers. Teachers are among those who might get tested. Says Murphy:


We need to test more people.

If we are going to get on top of those small outbreaks … we cannot afford to have an outbreak that takes off so that we get a second wave when we reduce restrictions such as a number of other countries have seen. So our testing has to be very good.

He says that the case data shows that most people who transmit the virus do still have symptoms, so anyone with any symptoms should get tested.


The most important thing in testing is for anyone who has respiratory symptoms, a cough or a cold or a sore throat, to get tested … get tested and don’t go to work.

Updatedat 6.50am BST

Cholera and coronavirus: why we must not repeat the same mistakes

Coronavirus is not the only pandemic the world faces. There is another one raging right now.

Since cholera first spread across the globe, two centuries ago, it has killed about 50 million people. In the time it takes you to read this article, another five people will have died from it. It is now mostly ignored in the west, but in other parts of the world, it has never gone away.

While I will surely be able to offer my patients in England a coronavirus vaccine in a year or two, and while western health systems will be reinforced to be more ready for a potential future outbreak, I worry that we may repeat the mistakes of cholera: conquering coronavirus everywhere except for the poorest parts of the world.

Updatedat 6.53am BST

Trump said he had seen evidence that Covid-19 emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan, contradicting experts in his own administration who said it was not man made or genetically modified. Morrison said he has not seen any evidence to suggest that’s the case, but says Australia is still pushing for an independent investigation into the origin of the disease.


What we have before us doesn’t suggest that that is the likely source. There’s nothing that we have that would suggest that that is the likely source but you can’t rule anything out in this scenario.

He says the virus did originate in Wuhan, but “the most likely scenario that has been canvassed related to wildlife wet markets”.

That is why Australia wants an “objective independent” investigation, he says.


While that can’t be ruled out its not something we have seen any hard evidence of that that is the position.

Morrison says an independent investigation would look at what happened and why it happened.


So we can learn if something similar could happen in any part of the world so the world will be able to respond quicker.

Because clearly in these cases time is everything.

Updatedat 6.10am BST

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