At least 270,927 people have died of Covid-19 since the epidemic surfaced in China late last year, according to an AFP tally on Friday based on official sources.
Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis.
– Historic wipeout of jobs –
The US Labour Department reports lockdown wiped out 20.5 million American jobs in April, destroying nearly all the positions created in the prior decade and driving the unemployment rate to 14.7 per cent from 4.4 per cent in March.
Canada announces huge jobs losses too, with three million gone in the last two months, causing unemployment to shoot up to 13 percent — a new rate second only to the 13.1 percent observed during a recession in 1982.
– ‘Tsunami of hate’ –
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calls for an “all-out effort” to end the “tsunami of hate and xenophobia” sparked by the pandemic, without naming specific countries.
– Wartime spirit –
Amid cancelled commemorations for the anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, leaders offer sombre speeches invoking wartime spirit in fighting the pandemic.
“For us Germans, ‘never again’ means ‘never again alone’,” says German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, at a Berlin ceremony.
“If we don’t hold Europe together, including during and after this pandemic, then we are not living up to May 8.”
– Over 270,000 dead –
At least 270,927 people have died of the novel coronavirus since the epidemic surfaced in China late last year, according to an AFP tally on Friday based on official sources.
There have been more than 3,877,772 officially recorded cases across the globe.
The United States is the worst-hit country, with 75,781 deaths. Britain follows with 31,241, then Italy with 30,201 deaths, Spain with 26,299 and France with 25,987.
– Egypt gets tough –
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratifies a host of amendments to Egypt’s emergency law which an international rights group says expands “repressive powers”.
The amendments allow the Egyptian president to close schools, suspend public sector work, ban public and private gatherings and quarantine inbound travellers, among other new powers.
– Milan ‘bomb’ –
Massimo Galli, head of the infectious diseases department at the renowned Sacco hospital in Milan, warns the city is “a bit of a bomb” for the virus, at risk of erupting with residents now free to move around.
“We have a very high number of infected people returning to circulation,” he says in an interview with the Repubblica newspaper, cautioning that the easing of lockdown “may present problems”.
– China gives WHO support, with conditions –
China says it supports a World Health Organization-led review into the global response to the outbreak, but only “after the pandemic is over”, amid increasing global pressure to allow an international investigation into the origins of the virus.
Beijing also gives the green light for entertainment venues, cinemas and sports facilities to reopen nationwide with limited visitor numbers, but does not give a specific timeframe.
– Belarus will vote –
Belarus announces presidential polls will be held on August 9, with strongman Alexander Lukashenko opting not to postpone the vote. The ex-Soviet country has not imposed a lockdown and continues to hold public events.
– Indians homeward bound –
India’s navy begins evacuating from the Maldives around 750 of the hundreds of thousands of Indian nationals stranded worldwide.
The operation forms part of an initial effort to repatriate almost 15,000 Indians from 12 countries where they have been stuck since India banned incoming flights in late March.
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