The World Health Organisation’s chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the agency is partnering with groups to accelerate work on drugs and a vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, noting that “the world needs these tools and needs them fast”.
At least 3,332 new coronavirus deaths were reported in the United States in a 24-hour period, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, one of the deadliest days since the outbreak began. The death toll in the country has surpassed 50,000 amid more than 870,000 cases.
- The number of positive cases in Qatar jumped by 761 in a 24-hour period, marking the Gulf country’s highest daily increase. The total number of cases reported in the country stands at 8,525, with 10 deaths.
More than 190,000 people have died due to the pandemic, with 2.7 million infected globally, out of whom almost 750,000 have recovered.
Here are the latest updates:
Friday, April 24
18:08 GMT – UN launches global push to accelerate work on COVID-19 treatment
World leaders have pledged to accelerate work on tests, drugs and vaccines for COVID-19 and to share them around the globe, but the United States did not take part in the launch of the WHO initiative.
17:35 GMT – France reports new cases
France reported 389 new cases, bringing the total number of positive cases in the country to 22,245.
17:16 GMT – Trump says his remarks on using disinfectant were sarcastic
US President Donald Trump said that he was being sarcastic when he raised the possibility of using disinfectant inside people’s bodies to fight coronavirus.
“I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you, just to see what would happen,” he told journalists at the White House.
Trump said at his daily news briefing on Thursday that scientists should explore whether inserting light or disinfectant into the bodies of people infected with the new coronavirus might help them treat the disease.
17:03 GMT – Belgium set to allow easing of restrictions
Belgium is set to allow a gradual easing of coronavirus restriction measures during May, with shops allowed to reopen and the start of some classes in school.
Restrictions in the country, among the hardest hit by COVID-19, are set to be eased in phases starting from May 4. Currently, only shops selling food, home improvement stores, garden centres and pharmacies can open.
Non-food shops would be allowed to re-open from May 11, albeit with strict social distancing measures, Belgian broadcaster RTBF said. Schools would also reopen their doors to a first set of pupils from May 18, newspaper L’Echo said.
16:55 GMT – US warship hit with coronavirus
A US Navy destroyer has been hit with a coronavirus outbreak as it carried out a counter-narcotics mission, US officials said, dealing another blow to the military as it grapples with the pandemic.
US officials, speaking to Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity, said more than a dozen sailors on board the Kidd had tested positive for the disease.
The Pentagon confirmed an outbreak on the ship, which had been carrying out its mission in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific, and declined to discuss the exact number of sailors infected.
16:30 GMT – Turkey reports new cases, deaths
Turkey’s health ministry reported 3,122 new positive cases, brining the total number of cases to 104,912.
The number of deaths rose by 109 in the past 24 hours, to a total of 2,600.
16:23 GMT – Sanofi CEO warns Europe on vaccine race
Sanofi’s chief executive urged stronger European co-ordination in the hunt for a vaccine against the coronavirus, criticising Europe for being too slow to act in a fiercely competitive global race.
The French drugmaker is working on two vaccine projects, including one in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline. That venture has received financial support from the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.
“It is quite conceivable that if they are successful the American government will ask for Americans to be vaccinated first,” Hudson told reporters.
“There has been too much of a lack of co-ordination at a European level. It is starting to move now but the level of preparedness to the pandemic is very, very low,” he said.
16:14 GMT – Coronavirus came from Europe, not China: NYC governor
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that strains of the coronavirus that first infected his state’s residents came from Europe, not China, and that the ban on travelers from China came too late to halt its spread.
“We closed the front door with the China travel ban, which was right, but we left the back door open,” Cuomo told a daily briefing.
15:39 GMT – France restricts sales of nicotine substitutes after study
France restricted sales of nicotine substitutes after new research suggested nicotine may offer some protection against infection by the new coronavirus.
The Health Ministry said in a decree it aimed to avoid a shortage of products such as nicotine patches for patients and to prevent the wrong use – and overuse – of substitutes used to fight nicotine dependence.
Under the decree, pharmacies are not allowed to sell more than a month’s worth of substitutes until May 11 when France is to begin easing lockdown measures and reopening schools. The decree also said that online sales were suspended.
15:13 GMT – Global leaders back WHO’s plan
Global leaders voiced their support for a WHO initiative to speed the development of drugs and vaccines to tackle COVID-19.
Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the disease pandemic caused by the new coronavirus was the “biggest global threat the world has faced in a generation”, while Spain voiced strong support for the WHO’s “central role” in handling it.
15:17 GMT – US death toll tops 50,000
The total number of deaths in the United States stands at 50,031, according to data gathered by Jhons Hopkins University, while the number of confirmed cases are 870,468.
15:08 GMT – Portugal ramps up testing at care homes
Portugal hopes to conduct 70,000 coronavirus tests by the end of May at care homes, among whose residents around two in five of the country’s coronavirus deaths have occurred.
Around 17,000 tests have been conducted so far at some 200 homes.
The ramp-up, due to cover about 750 homes, aims to contain the spread of the outbreak there “by testing all workers and residents with symptoms”, the labour ministry said.
Portugal has reported 22,797 coronavirus cases and 854 fatalities.
14:58 GMT – Hillary Clinton says ‘don’t poison yourself’
Hilary Clinton Tweeted to her followers “don’t poison yourself” after Trump said researchers should try putting disinfectant into coronavirus patients’ bodies.
“Please don’t poison yourself because Donald Trump thinks it could be a good idea,” she said.