Medical staff test a supermarket employee at a pop-up community Covid-19 testing station at a supermarket carpark in Christchurch, New Zealand. (AP)
Coronavirus latest updates: The number of coronavirus cases worldwide rose to 21,58,250 with as many as 1,44, 243 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. The United States has the highest death toll (32,917) in the world, followed by Italy with 22,170 dead although its population is just a fifth of that of the US. Spain has recorded 19,130 deaths, followed by France with 17,920.
Check out all the latest coronavirus updates from across the globe here:
UK records 847 deaths in a day, toll nears 15,000
The United Kingdom has recorded another 847 coronavirus deaths in hospitals raising the overall total to 14,576. Britains Office for National Statistics has indicated the figure could be around 15 higher though others think it will be more amid growing reports of a sharp increase in coronavirus outbreaks in nursing homes.
NHS (National Health Service) staff clap from the wall of the grounds of St Thomas' Hospital as other people clap them from the public walkway below as they take part in the weekly "clap for our carers" in London, during the lockdown to try and stop the spread of coronavirus, Thursday, April 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Meanwhile, citizens of London applauded the emergency workers, which drew some criticism of London Metropolitan Police. Social media images showed officers and members of the public ignoring rules of social distancing. The tribute featured blinking blue lights from police cars lined up on central Londons Westminster Bridge to thank the National Health Service and other frontline workers.
Pro-Trump protesters push back on lockdown order across US
While most countries have enforced a lockdown to limit the spread of the coronavirus, many Americans in Ohhio are protesting against the stay at home order imposed in the US and are filled with rage about labelling of some workers as essential arbitrary. Among the protesters, who agitated outside Republican Gov Mike DeWines house, Melissa Ackison said she has no fear whatsoever of contracting the virus dismissing it as hype. Supporters of President Donald Trump, ntivaccine advocates gun rights backers and supporters of rightwing causes have united behind a deep suspicion of government's effort to shut down daily life to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
FILE - In this April 13, 2020, file photo Ohio state senate candidate Melissa Ackison, left, and other protesters stand outside the Statehouse Atrium where reporters listen during the State of Ohio's Coronavirus response update at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. (Joshua A. Bickel/The Columbus Dispatch via AP, File)
Russia records over 4,000 Covid-19 cases in a day
In the last 24 hours, Russia recorded a record 4,070 coroanvirus cases totalling down to 32,008 and officials warned that Moscow was two to three weeks away from a peak in infections. Official figures showed more than half of the new cases were registered in Moscow and the surrounding region. So far 273 deaths have been recorded in Russia, including 41 in the last 24 hours. Deputy mayor Anastasia Rakova in a video released on social media said, "The peak in morbidity should arrive in the next two to three weeks." The lockdown in the country will be observed till May 1.
Medical staffers, wearing special suits to protect against coronavirus, one of them with a thermometer, walk inside Sheremetyevo international airport outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 25, 2020. (Aleksandr Avilov, Moscow News Agency photo via AP)
China revises Covid-19 figures in epicentre Wuhan; death toll jumps to 4,632
After sharp criticism of under-reporting of COVID-19 data from other countries, China has revised its death toll to 4,632, reporting 1,290 additional fatalities in Wuhan. The Wuhan municipal headquarters on Friday revised the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths due to the disease, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
In this Feb. 13, 2020, photo, a doctor checks the conditions of a patient in Jinyintan Hospital, designated for critical COVID-19 patients, in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province Top Chinese officials. (Chinatopix Via AP)
As of April 16, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Wuhan was increased by 325 to 50,333 and the number of fatalities up by 1,290 to 3,869. The Wuhan municipal headquarters in a notification said the revisions were made in accordance with related laws and regulations as well as the principle of being responsible for history, the people and the deceased. Explaining the reason for the figure revision, the Wuhan municipality said it was done to ensure that the information on the city's COVID-19 epidemic is open and transparent, and that the data are accurate. (Read more)
The number of Covid-19 cases in India rose to 13,387 Friday as the government began ramping up testing. At least 437 people have succumbed to the disease, while 1,748 have been treated and discharged. Maharashtra remains the worst affected state, with a total of 3,205 cases and 194 deaths, followed by New Delhi with 1,640 infections and 38 fatalities.
US Covid-19 toll crosses 32,000 mark
With a marked increase of 4,491 deaths within a span of 24 hours, the coronavirus toll in the United States touched 32,917 on Thursday. According to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, this is the highest daily toll in the pandemic till date. Over 6,67,800 coronavirus cases have been recorded across the country. New York, the epicenter of the US' epidemic, has registered more than 12,000 deaths across the state alone.
Trump issues fresh rules for 'Opening Up America Again'
Taking note of the rising cases, US President Donald Trump issued fresh guidelines for states to restore normal activity, giving them the "freedom" to act as they see fit. The new rules, under the headline "Opening Up America Again", help ease restrictions in places with low transmission while holding the line in harder-hit locations.
Earlier this week, Trump had said that he had "total" authority to reopen the economy. However, on Thursday, he asked the governors to "call the shots" in their states.
Voters masked against coronavirus line up at Riverside High School for Wisconsin's primary election in Milwaukee. (AP)
Congressional legislation introduced to allow Americans to sue China
Two US lawmakers on Thursday announced to introduce a legislation in the Congress that would allow Americans to sue China in the federal court to recover damages for death, injury, and economic harm caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Introduced by Senator Tom Cotton in the Senate and Congressman Dan Crenshaw in House of Representatives, the legislation, if passed and signed into law, would amend the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act to create a narrow exception for damages caused by Beijing's handling of the outbreak.
If the United States and China come to an agreement to settle the claims, then the private suits could be dismissed, the bill proposes.
A mother and daughter wearing face masks wait to cross a street in the Harlem section of New York. (AP)
Chinese economy worst since 1970s
Due to the virus pandemic, China has suffered its worst economic contraction since at least the 1970s, and weak consumer spending and factory activity, and is likely to face a longer, harder recovery than expected. The world's second-largest economy shrank 6.8% last quarter after factories, shops and travel were closed to contain the infection.
UN concerned over children
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the coronavirus pandemic is putting children "in jeopardy" and has urged families and leaders to protect them. He noted sch
ool closures and lockdowns affect children even though they seem less at risk from the virus itself. He also expressed concern over a global recession causing more child deaths. The UN children's agency had previously cited "income shocks" as a factor in infant mortality.
In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, a worker wears a facemask as he monitors cargo being unloaded from a container ship at a port in Lianyungang in eastern China's Jiangsu Province. (AP)
Italy prepares for immunity Covid-19 tests
As part of its efforts to reopen after a week-long shutdown, Italy will begin administering Covid-19 immunity tests on an initial 1,50,000 people in early May. Italy's commissioner for the pandemic, Domenico Arcuri, told state-run RAI news Thursday that the government hopes the first wave of tests will progressively grow in number and become the national standard.
The European epicentre of the pandemic, Italy has imposed a lockdown through May 3.
Doctor Giovanni Passeri relaxes in the doctor's lounge after completing a routine round of medical examinations during a night shift in his ward in the COVID-19 section of the Maggiore Hospital in Parma, northern Italy, Wednesday. (AP)
China hasn't been transparent about handling of Covid-19: Macron
In an interview to the Financial Times on Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron said that China hasn't been fully transparent about its handling of the coronavirus.
"Let's not be so naive as to say (China) has been much better at handling this." Macron continued: "We don't know. There are clearly things that have happened that we don't know about." He didn't elaborate.
France's foreign minister has summoned China's ambassador this week to express his "clear disapproval" of recent Chinese comments over how France is dealing with the virus crisis.
Amazon has decided to suspend "temporarily" all activity in France, one day after a French court found it wasn't doing enough to protect its workers amid the virus crisis in the country. (AP)
Covid-19 'evolving slowly downward' in France: Official
On Thursday, National Health agency chief Jerome Salomon said that the virus appeared to be receding in France. The virus epidemic looks to have reached a "long plateau" that is "evolving slowly downward," instead of hitting a peak followed by a sharp drop, he said.
Two weeks ago, the country witnessed a 58% weekly jump in deaths nationwide as the virus claimed more and more lives. Salomon said it was unclear how much of the "excess mortality" reported from March 30-April 5 in comparison to previous years was linked to the virus.
France has not been counting people who die with the virus at home. More than 6,000 people are still in intensive care but the number has dropped every day for a week, and the number of people hospitalized fell Thursday for a second day.
People stop in front of Notre Dame Cathedral as the bells ring to mark one year of blaze Wednesday, April 15, 2020 in Paris. (AP)
Russia allows use of hydroxychloroquine
The Russian government has allowed the use of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of coronavirus infection. The drug is not registered for use in Russia, but a Chinese pharmaceutical company provided a large supply to the National Medical Research Center for Cardiology, according to an order from Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, reported by Russian news agencies on Thursday. The order authorizes the center to provide the medication free to institutions treating coronavirus infections.
— Russia Beyond (@russiabeyond) April 15, 2020
Australian distancing measures may last another year
Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned on Friday that social distancing across the country could be extended for another year. "Social distancing is something we should get very used to," he said.
The country has so far avoided the high casualties by shutting down its borders and imposing stringent 'social distancing' measures for the past month.
According to the Associated Press, restaurants, bars and other "non-essential" businesses have closed and public gatherings of more than two people are banned under the threat of fines and even prison, measures that are expected to double the unemployment rate by mid-year.
— Nine News Australia (@9NewsAUS) April 16, 2020
In response, the daily growth rate of reported new infections has steadied in the low percentage single digits, or less than 50 per day, from about 25% several weeks ago, for a total of about 6,500 infections, including 63 deaths.
230 killed in South Korea
As many as 10,635 people have been infected and 230 killed in South Korea. No fresh cases were reported in the hardest-hit city of Daegu where infections have waned.
The country lost nearly 2,00,000 jobs in March as the coronavirus shocked its economy and labor markets.
A currency trader watches monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea. (AP)
Philippines warn of martial law-style rules
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte threatened martial law-style enforcement of a monthlong lockdown in the main northern region of the country as violations of the quarantine continued to rise. In a late-night televised speech Thursday, Duterte said he would order the military and police to strictly enforce social distancing and curfews if compliance would not improve.
"The police and military will enforce social distancing and curfews. They will. It's like martial law. You choose. I don't like it," Duterte said but added that he may be forced to "if the country gets compromised and you won't show discipline".
A village official wearing a protective mask uses a thermal scanner at a checkpoint as part of a precautionary measure against the spread of the new coronavirus in the outskirts of Manila, Philippines. (AP)
Fresh cases in Singapore
Singapore reported 728 new virus cases, a record for a second straight day. The increase was broadly expected after testing was increased among foreign workers. The health ministry said foreign workers accounted for 90% of the new cases, with five new clusters reported in the dormitories crowded with workers who use shared toilets, kitchens and other facilities. Foreign workers account for 60% of Singapore's 4,427 total infections. The government has quarantined workers in their dorms and moved others to reduce crowding.