UN warns on hunger, as coronavirus cases top 2.5m

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Intl desk report, April 22: More than 2.5 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. More than 170,000 have died, with the US accounting for about a quarter of all deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The United Nations is warning global hunger could double as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, putting 265 million people at risk.

Australia is trying to build support internationally for an independent review of the origins and spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Lack of virus testing stokes fears in world’s refugee camps

More than 70 million people worldwide have been driven from their homes by war and unrest, up to 10 million are packed into refugee camps and informal settlements, and almost none have been tested for the coronavirus.

While the relative isolation of many camps may have slowed the virus’ spread, none is hermetically sealed. Without testing, the virus can spread unchecked until people start showing symptoms. If it does, there will be few if any intensive care beds or ventilators. There might not even be gloves or masks.

“Testing is in short supply even in New York and Norway, but it is nonexistent in most of the countries in the [global] south for the people we try to help,” Jan Egeland, the head of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

More than 2,700 coronavirus deaths in US in 24 hours

The coronavirus death toll in the United States – the country with the most fatalities in the pandemic – has climbed by 2,751 in the past 24 hours, according to the latest tally from Johns Hopkins University.

The US has recorded more than 800,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to the Baltimore-based university, with 44,845 deaths.

Nearly 40,000 new cases were reported between Monday at 8:30pm local time, and Tuesday at the same time, the university said.

Tokyo ‘orphanage’ for babies reports 8 cases: media

A residential-care facility in Tokyo for babies and toddlers reported eight cases of coronavirus infections, local media said.

One staff member at the institution had tested positive for the virus on April 16, prompting a test of its residents, Kyodo News said.

None of the eight children who tested positive were showing major symptoms such as a fever, Kyodo said.

Spain aims to ease lockdown in second half of May

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said his government plans to begin winding down the coronavirus lockdown measures in the second half of May.

Restrictions will be eased slowly and gradually to ensure safety, Sanchez said at a parliamentary session where he will ask legislators to extend Spain’s state of emergency until May 9.

The lockdown was first enforced in Spain on March 14.

Russia records more than 5,000 new cases

Russia recorded 5,236 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, bringing its nationwide tally to 57,999, the Russian coronavirus crisis response centre said.

Fifty-seven people with the virus died in the last 24 hours, pushing the death toll to 513, it said.

Pope urges EU unity over coronavirus

Pope Francis has urged Europe to remain united in overcoming the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, speaking on the eve of an EU summit to discuss a huge but divisive economic stimulus package.

“In these times in which we need so much unity among us, among nations, let us pray today for Europe,” Francis said at the start of his daily morning mass, which he dedicates each day to a different theme related to the global crisis.

He asked for prayers “so that Europe manages to have this unity, this fraternal unity of which the founding fathers of the European Union dreamed”.

Source: News Agencies