Palestinian refugee camp put under lockdown after the United Nations announced the first confirmed COVID-19 case.
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 warningglobal hunger could doubleas 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.
Here are the latest updates:
Wednesday, April 22
09:50 GMT – Coronavirus second wave may be even worse: US health chief
A second wave of the novel coronavirus in the United States could be even more destructive because it will likely collide with the beginning of flu season, one of the country’s top health officials have said.
Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), called on Americans to use the coming months to prepare – and get their flu shots.
“There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through, and when I’ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they do not understand what I mean,” he wasquoted as sayingin an interview with the Washington Post published late on Tuesday.
“We’re going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time.”
09:35 GMT – In a first, US states sues China over coronavirus economic losses
Missouri became the first US state to sue the Chinese government over its handling of the coronavirus, saying China’s response to the outbreak that originated in the city of Wuhan brought devastating economic losses.
In Beijing, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry dismissed the accusation as “nothing short of absurdity” and lacking any factual or legal basis.
“The Chinese government lied to the world about the danger and contagious nature of COVID-19, silenced whistleblowers, and did little to stop the spread of the disease,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a Republican, said in a statement. “They must be held accountable for their actions.”
09:25 GMT – Spain reports 435 coronavirus deaths overnight
Spain’s death toll from the new coronavirus climbed by 435 in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said, roughly in line with the two percent increases reported in the past few days.
The cumulative death toll now stands at 21,717, while the number of confirmed infections rose by 4,211 to 208,389, according to the ministry.
09:15 GMT – Spanish refugee rescuers now helping in nursing homes
They are used to saving refugees from the seas, but now, Spanish rescuers are using their expertise to help in thecoronavirus pandemic.
Volunteers from Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms are taking patients who have tested positive with the novel coronavirus to hospitals and helping staff in care homes, where thousands of frail elderly residents have died.
09:05 GMT – 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.
08:30 GMT – Philippines records nine new coronavirus deaths, 111 more cases
The Philippines’ health ministry reported nine new coronavirus deaths and 111 new confirmed infections.
In a bulletin, the health ministry said total deaths have increased to 446 while infections have risen to 6,710. But 39 more patients have recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 693.
08:10 GMT – Refugeecamp in Lebanon on lockdown after first case
A Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon has been put under lockdown after the United Nations announced the first confirmed case of coronavirus in one of the country’s numerous and crowded camps.
The patient, a Palestinian refugee from Syria, has been taken to the state-run Rafic Hariri hospital in Beirut, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said in a statement.
Medical experts were due to visit the Wavel camp in the eastern Bekaa Valley later on Wednesday to carry out tests, the agency added.
08:00 GMT – 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”.
07:45 GMT – UK’s Johnson under fire over handling of virus crisis
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced a call for an inquiry into his government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis after failing to fully explain partial death data, limited testing or the lack of equipment for hospitals.
Ed Davey, acting leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats, called for an independent inquiry to review the government’s response to the pandemic.
“The inquiry must have the strongest possible powers given the shocking failures on protective equipment for staff and the slow response of the government – to get to the truth and to give Boris Johnson the opportunity to answer the increasingly serious questions.”
07:36 GMT – 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.
07:30 GMT – 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.
07:15 GMT – Japan cuts 100,000 tulips to keep physical distance
Flower lovers in Japan will have to wait until next year to tip-toe through the tulips after a park razed more than 100,000 stems to comply with social-distancing rules to help control the coronavirus.
Officials in the city of Sakura, 50 km east of Tokyo, mowed the tulip beds at “Sakura Furusato Hiroba” and cancelled an annual tulip festival to discourage people from congregating after a coronavirus emergency was declared last week.
“Many visitors came on the weekend when the flowers were in full bloom. It became a mass gathering so we had no choice but to make the decision to cut the flowers,” said Sakiho Kusano, a city tourism official.
07:00 GMT – 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.
06:45 GMT – 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.
06:30 GMT – Pakistan PM Imran Khan undergoes coronavirus test
Al Jazeera’sAsad Hashimsent this update from Islamabad.
“Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has undergone a test for the coronavirus after he came into contact with an infected prominent philanthropist Faisal Edhi on Wednesday, his physician has said. Khan’s results are expected to be released on Wednesday.
Edhi announced on Tuesday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, after exhibiting some symptoms over four days before subsiding.
He had flown to the capital Islamabad to hand over a 10 million Pakistani rupee ($62,250) cheque for the prime minister’s coronavirus relief fund.”
06:15 GMT – Fauci to 7-year-old girl: Tooth fairy won’t catch virus
Top US health and infectious disease specialistAnthony Faucihas assured a young girl that the tooth fairy is not at risk of infection during the coronavirus pandemic.
The popular doctor will appear on Wednesday as a guest on actor Will Smith’s Snapchat show “Will From Home.”
In a preview clip of their interview, posted to YouTube, a seven-year-old girl called in from Los Angeles with a very pressing question.
“Can the tooth fairy still come if I lose my tooth because of the coronavirus?” asked the girl, who introduced herself as Ava. “And can she catch the virus?”
Fauci was quick to reassure her: “I don’t think you need to worry about the tooth fairy,” he said, smiling.
05:00 GMT – Australia seeks backing for international investigation into coronavirus
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has sought support for an international investigation into the coronavirus pandemic, speaking overnight to US president Donald Trump, as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Australia is calling for an independent review of the origins of the virus and its spread. China earlier accused Australia of parroting the US, which has been critical of China and the World Health Organization (WHO), withdrawing its funding for the UN health body.
04:40 GMT – Japan’s Nagasaki confirms 33 cases on cruise ship docked for repair
Officials in Japan’s western prefecture of Nagasaki say they have confirmed 33 cases of coronavirus on an Italian cruise ship docked there for repairs.
Tests were positive in 33 of 56 close contacts of a single member of the Costa Atlantica’s 623 crew.
“There are a lot of infections on board, and we don’t have the medical system to confirm the health situation and to separate” those testing positive and negative, said Nagasaki governor Hodo Nakamura.
The governor has requested help from the government in Tokyo and the rest of the crew are being tested. The Italian-owned ship has been in the shipyard in Nagasaki since the end of February.
03:50 GMT – Southeast Asian governments urged to step up climate change commitments
ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights are calling on Southeast Asian governments to commit to more ambitious climate and environmental targets to lower the risk of future health emergencies.
APHR noted that the number of emerging infectious diseases had increased since the 1940s alongside deforestation and increasing urbanisation.
“Our governments have to act swiftly against deforestation by increasing protected areas and environmental safeguards against investment projects if we want to reduce the risk of re-living COVID-19 like epidemics,” Sarah Elago, an MP from the Philippines MP said in a statement to coincide with Earth Day.
03:20 GMT – Saudi king approves Tarawih at two holy mosques
Saudi king Salman has approved performing the Tarawih at the two holy mosques, but entry for pilgrims will remain suspended, the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia is planning to ease curfew hours imposed in several cities because of coronavirus during the fasting month of Ramadan, which is due to start this week.
02:20 GMT – China says Australia parroting Trump with coronavirus criticisms
China is accusing Australia of taking instructions from the US in its criticism of China’s response to the coronavirus, after home affairs minister Peter Dutton called on China to be more transparent about the outbreak.
“It is well known that recently some people in the US including high level officials have been spreading an anti-China ‘information virus’,” a spokesperson from China’s embassy in Canberra said in comments posted to its website.
“These days, certain Australian politicians are keen to parrot what those Americans have asserted and follow them in staging attacks on China.”
01:30 GMT – China, South Korea update coronavirus situation
China and South Korea have both reported their latest data on the coronavirus.
China reported 30 new cases on the mainland, 23 of which involved people returning from overseas. The National Health Commission also said the number of asymptomatic cases rose to 42, from 37 the previous day.
In South Korea, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the country had 11 new cases, the fourth day in a row where the number has been below 15. Six of the cases were among overseas travellers.
00:15 GMT – Captive audiences fuel Netflix boom
Netflix says it has more than doubled its own projections for new customers as people living under lockdowns turned to the streaming giant to keep them entertained.
Netflix says subscribers jumped by 15.8 million in the three months from January to March. It earlier predicted the number of paying customers would rise by seven million.
00:00 GMT – Cuomo says Trump agrees to help New York double testing
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he had a “productive” meeting with US President Donald Trump and that the state was aiming to double its coronavirus testing to 40,000 tests a day.
I had a productive meeting with President Trump today.
We agreed that the state will be responsible for managing the actual tests in our laboratories.
The federal government will take on the responsibility of supply chain issues that are beyond states’ control.
Cuomo and Trump met on Tuesday and the president agreed the federal government would help procure the chemical reagents needed to ramp up testing.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
I’mKate Mayberryin Kuala Lumpur.
Read all the updates from yesterday (April 21)here.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES