Key developments in the global coronavirus outbreak today include:
Known global death toll exceeds 383,000
According to researchers from Johns Hopkins University, at least 6,390,085 people are known to have been infected, while at least 383,226 are confirmed to have died since the outbreak began.
The researchers had reported more than 6.4m known infections but later revised that number. The figures, which are based on official and media reports, are likely to significantly underestimate the scale of the pandemic due to differing testing and recording regimes, as well as suspected underreporting.
UK business secretary self-isolates
The UK’s business secretary Alok Sharma has taken a test and is self-isolating after beginning to feel unwell in the House of Commons chamber. Parliamentary authorities are understood to have given the area a deep clean and MPs were at the time sitting at least 2 metres apart.
Germany to introduce major stimulus package
A €130bn (£116bn) post-lockdown stimulus package has been agreed by the coalition partners running Germany. The country’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, said her conservatives and their Social Democrat coalition partners agreed measures designed to speed up Germany’s economic recovery after resolving differences on incentives to buy new cars and relief for highly indebted municipalities.
Spanish lawmakers extend emergency for two more weeks
Spain’s congress has approved a sixth and final two-week extension of the country’s state of emergency, which has been in effect since 14 March. Wednesday’s vote means the exceptional measures that have underpinned one of Europe’s strictest Covid-19 lockdowns will now remain in force until 21 June.
UK death rate now worse than Spain’s
The UK’s death rate has exceeded that of Spain, data collated by the Worldometers website suggests, as the British health department reports 359 more deaths. According to the site, one of several online services tracking pandemic-related statistics, the UK now has 585 deaths per million people, compared with 580 for Spain.
Official Brazilian death toll exceeds 30,000
A record 1,262 Covid-19 deaths have been recorded in a 24-hour period in Brazil, taking the country’s total death toll to 31,199. But the president, Jair Bolsonaro, continued to downplay the pandemic, even as Brazil’s health ministry says the number of cases has risen to 555,383; second only to the United States.
WHO reports 100,000 new cases a day for five days
The World Health Organization said it has received reports of 100,000 new cases every day for the past five days, as the outbreak gathers pace in various regions around the world.
Its director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, also said the WHO has resumed trials of hydroxychloroquine, an arthritis drug that had been used to treat Covid-19 patients, after reviewing data in studies that apparently showed it was dangerous.