Protests flare in US, coronavirus toll tops 40,000

Coronavirus-related deaths in the US exceeded 40,000 with nearly half of all casualties in New York, as protests against “stay at home” orders flared in a number of states.
The number of deaths in Italy was the lowest in a week, while the pace of new infections also slowed. Spain registered its lowest daily death toll in almost a month.
New Zealand will relax some of its restrictions – among the most stringent in the world – from next Monday.
A group of more than 150 economists in Australia have urged the government to maintain social distancing restrictions as some urge a lifting of the lockdown to save the economy. “We believe a callous indifference to life is morally objectionable,” they wrote.
Globally, 2.4 million people have been diagnosed with the virus while more than 165,000 have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 625,000 people have recovered.

Here are the latest updates.
Monday, April 20
07:25 GMT – Brazil’s Bolsonaro criticised for joining protest against curbs

Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil, has come out in public to support hundreds of people defending military rule and protesting against stay-at-home orders issued by state governors to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

The crowd of about 600 people gathered in front of the army’s headquarters in the capital, Brasilia, on Sunday, Brazil’s armed forces day.

“I am here because I believe in you. You are here because you believe in Brazil. We don’t want to negotiate anything; what we want is action for Brazil,” said Bolsonaro, a former army captain who has expressed nostalgia for the country’s 1964-1985 dictatorship.
07:20 GMT – UK will review how it handled pandemic when time is right: Minister

Britain will review its approach to the coronavirus pandemic to learn what it could have done better, Culture Minister Oliver Dowden has said, following criticism that the government was too slow to react.

“When we’re dealing with an unprecedented crisis like this we’re not going to have perfect 20:20 hindsight vision on this,” he told BBC TV. “Of course we will need to look back and see the things we could have done differently.

“But right now people would not be expecting us to be looking back over the past few months, they would be expecting us to be dealing with this crisis on a day to day basis. We have said that we will of course review all the lessons that we need to learn from this and indeed learn the lessons globally.”
07:10 GMT – Poland may retighten restrictions if cases spike: Minister

Poland may reverse the loosening of restrictions to curb the spread of the new coronavirus if the number of new cases rises significantly, Health Minister Lukasz Szumowski has said.

“It can be always (reversed),” Szumowski told public radio, asked if the loosening of restrictions might be reversed if there was a spike in the cases of new coronavirus infections.

Poland started reopening parks and forests on Monday as the government eased a few of the restrictions that have brought daily life to a virtual standstill. On Sunday, 545 new infections were recorded in Poland, the biggest daily rise to date.
07:00 GMT – Some Australia beaches reopen

Some beaches in Australia’s Gold Coast and in Sydney have reopened as coronavirus cases continue to decline in the country.

The state of Queensland recorded no new infection of coronavirus on Monday, while New South Wales recorded just six new cases.

Coolangatta and Surfers Paradise beaches reopened midday on Monday after closing on April 7, Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate said, according to 7 News. Meanwhile, Coogee, Clovelly, Maroubra and Malabar beaches on Sydney were all reopened on Monday, three weeks after they were closed to prevent the spread of the virus.
06:50 GMT – Ghana uses drones to enable faster testing

Ghana is using delivery drones from US-based startup Zipline to enable it to test people more quickly outside major cities for the novel coronavirus, the company has said.

Ghana has 834 confirmed infections and nine people have died from COVID-19, the disease the virus causes.

Zipline operated its first coronavirus test flight on April 1 and will now fly samples collected from more than 1,000 health facilities in rural areas to laboratories in the capital Accra and to Kumasi, the second-largest city.

“Using contactless drone delivery to transport COVID-19 test samples will allow the government to respond to the pandemic and help save lives more quickly,” Zipline Chief Executive Keller Rinaudo said in a release.
06:40 GMT – UK to collect survivors’ blood for treatment trials

The UK is preparing to collect the blood from COVID-19 survivors to investigate if convalescent plasma transfusions could improve a COVID-19 patient’s speed of recovery and chances of survival.

“NHS Blood and Transplant is preparing to collect COVID-19 convalescent plasma from people who have recovered from this illness,” a spokeswoman said. “We envisage that this will be initially used in trials as a possible treatment for COVID-19.”

“If fully approved, the trials will investigate whether convalescent plasma transfusions could improve a COVID-19 patient’s speed of recovery and chances of survival,” the blood service said.

“We are working closely with the government and all relevant bodies to move through the approvals process as quickly as possible,” it said.06:30 GMT – EU economics chief: 1.5 tn euros in aid needed to tackle pandemic

The European Union’s Economics Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni has told German magazine Der Spiegel that aid worth around 1.5 trillion euros ($1.63 trillion) could be needed to tackle the coronavirus crisis.

“The Eurogroup has now made proposals for aid worth more than 500 billion euros to finance healthcare and short-time work and to help small and medium-sized companies. That leaves at least one trillion euros. This is roughly the amount we need to be dealing with now.”

He said the funds could be raised via the EU’s next multi-annual budget.
06:20 GMT – Norway begins reopening nurseries after month-long closure

Norway, which says it has the new coronavirus under control, has started opening up pre-schools after a month-long closure, according to the AFP news agency.

Authorities have said the reopening was possible because children have been less affected by COVID-19, although some parents have expressed reservations over the decision.

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