US jobless claims top 30m amid coronavirus crisis

  • More than 3.8 million people in the US filed new claims for jobless benefits over the past week, bringing the six-week total since the beginning of coronavirus-related lockdowns to more than 30m.

  • The Eurozone’s economy shrunk by 3.8 percent in the first quarter, the biggest hit since records began in 1995.

  • Worldwide, the number of confirmed infections stood at more than 3.2 million, with some 228,000 deaths and 992,000 recoveries.

  • The chief of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, defended the body’s record in its response to the new coronavirus, saying it has acted “quickly and decisively” since the beginning.

Here are the latest updates:

Thursday, April 30

16:24 GMT – NY governor says may need ‘army’ to trace contacts of patients

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that he would need an “army” of between 6,400 and 17,000 people to trace the contacts of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus as part of a strategy to limit outbreaks.

Cuomo said that former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg would, in coordination with Johns Hopkins University, oversee the recruitment and training of these “contact tracers” and make the program available to governments worldwide.

16:22 GMT – Travel within Europe ‘not on the agenda’: Merkel

The question of allowing travel within Europe as the coronavirus crisis eases is currently “not on the agenda,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

16:09 GMT – Turkey reports new cases, deaths

The number of positive cases in Turkey rose by 2,615, according to the health ministry, brining the total number of cases in the country to 120,204.

The death toll has risen by 93, brining the total number to 3,174.

15:44 GMT – Half the countries in Europe have eased restrictions

The WHO said about half of Europe’s countries had relaxed coronavirus-related restrictions.

Speaking to reporters in Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, Hans Kluge, head of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, said 44 states in the European region had imposed partial or complete restrictions of movement in the fight against the pandemic.

Of those, 21 have begun easing their restrictions, to different extents. An additional 11 countries are planning to do so in the coming days.

However, Kluge warned: “I said before, this virus is unforgiving. We must remain vigilant, persevere and be patient.”

15:26 GMT – Virus threatens fate of abandoned dogs in Greece

As a nationwide lockdown enters its second month in Greece, animal rescue groups and shelters have become overwhelmed with the number of strays piling up in their facilities.

Although dog adoption in central Athens and other urban city centres continues, as some seek companionship in the form of pets during the lockdown, international dog adoption from Greece to countries across Europe and the US has come to a standstill.

Thousands of dogs who were slated to travel abroad to new homes are now stranded in shelters across the country, which has become a popular source for international adoption, waiting for coronavirus travel restrictions to be lifted. As the weeks pass, the backlog of dogs is increasing and the cost of care is becoming unmanageable for some facilities.

15:15 GMT – Could oil crisis radically redefine US-Saudi relations?

An armada of tankers laden with an estimated 50m barrels of Saudi Arabian crude is heading towards United States shores – cargo US shale oil producers regard as a foreign invasion delivered by a lower-cost competitor hell-bent on driving them out of business.

For President Donald Trump, the timing is particularly vexing. With US voters heading to the polls in November, Trump is under fire for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, while the US economy – a cornerstone of his re-election campaign – is being annihilated by lockdowns.

Now an oil price crash rooted in COVID-19 disruptions and aggravated by Saudi shenanigans has many US oil firms staring down the barrel of bankruptcy.

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