International desk, April 21: The number of deaths worldwide from the novel coronavirus surpassed 170,000 late Monday, according to a running tally by US-based Johns Hopkins University.The university’s data counted 170,261 fatalities while the number of cases and recoveries stood at 2,475,841 and 646,433, respectively.
US death toll hits 42,000
US coronavirus deaths topped 42,000 on Monday, according to a Reuters tally, as more protesters gathered in state capitals to demand an early end to the lockdowns, while officials pleaded for patience until more testing becomes available.
Stay-at-home measures, which experts say are essential to slow the spread of the respiratory virus, have ground the economy to a standstill and forced more than 22 million people to apply for unemployment benefits in the last month.
The United States has by far the world’s largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases, with more than 774,000 infections, up 20,000 on Monday, with several states yet to report.
New reported US cases appear to be slowing from about 30,000 a day last week.
Hong Kong to extend restrictions by 14 days
Hong Kong’s government will extend social restrictions aimed at tackling the coronavirus for another 14 days, the Chine-ruled city’s leader Carrie Lams aid on Tuesday.
Hong Kong recorded zero new coronavirus cases on Monday for the first time since early March. The city has confirmed 1,025 total cases and four deaths since the outbreak began in January.
Hong Kong banned public gatherings of more than four people for 14 days from March 29 and later extended that restriction until April 23.
Game centres, gyms, cinemas and other places of amusement and public entertainment are also closed and foreign arrivals at the airport have been suspended indefinitely.
UN member states demand ‘equitable’ access to vaccines
The 193 members of the UN General Assembly on Monday adopted by consensus a resolution that calls for “equitable, efficient and timely” access to any future vaccines developed to fight coronavirus.
The resolution also highlights the “crucial leading role” played by the World Health Organization, which has faced criticism from Washington and others about its handling of the pandemic.
The resolution, which was drafted by Mexico and received US support, calls for strengthening the “scientific international cooperation necessary to combat Covid-19 and to bolster coordination,” including with the private sector.
China sees 11 new cases
China reported 11 new confirmed cases on April 20, down from 12 a day earlier, with no new deaths, the country’s health authority said on Tuesday.
Of the total, four were imported, down from eight on the previous day, the National Health Commission said in its daily bulletin.
There were seven cases of local infection, including six int he northeastern border province of Heilongjiang and one in the southern province of Guangdong.
China also reported 37 new asymptomatic coronavirus cases on the mainland on April 20, compared to 49 a day earlier.
Mainland China now has an accumulated total of 82,758 cases and 4,632 deaths as of the end of April 20.
Trump hopes for deal on small business programme
US President Donald Trump said on Monday he hoped negotiators in Congress would reach a deal to provide more aid for small businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, with a vote possible in the Senate on Tuesday.
“We hope to have an agreement on that very soon. A lot of progress has been made on that,” Trump said at a White House briefing.
Panama sees nearly 200 new cases
Panama registered 191 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing the country’s total to 4,658 cases, the health ministry said.
Officials also confirmed 10 more deaths, raising Panama’s death toll from the highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the virus to 136.
Colombia extends lockdown
Colombia will extend its coronavirus quarantine until May 11, President Ivan Duque said on Monday, but will allow some sectors like construction tore-open.
The Andean country has nearly 4,000 cases of coronavirus. It has been in lockdown for nearly a month.
Ecuador’s cases top 10,000
Ecuador reported over 10,000 cases of coronavirus on Monday, the fourth-highest tally in Latin America, as the disease ravages the economy of the oil-producing country.
The pandemic in recent weeks has overwhelmed sanitary authorities in the largest city of Guayaquil, the center of the Andean nation’s outbreak, where corpses remained in homes or for hours on streets.
Ecuador recorded its first coronavirus case on Feb. 29 and took 24 days to reach 1,000 cases. It took seven days for cases to double to 2,000, eight days to double to 4,000 and eight days to double again to 8,000, according to a Reuters tally.
The Andean nation has reported a total of 507 deaths, the health ministry said. Officials said they believed another 826 people have died due to the virus, but the cases were never confirmed.