COVID-19: "One Billion Infections" IRC Predicts, unless ....

Source: People's Daily, Xinhua, CGTN, China Daily, Global Times, iFeng, Baidu, AP, CNN, Global  News Agencies, Majdi


One Billion Infections Predicted BY IRC

A member of the Yemeni Civil Defense sprays disinfectant on a tank truck in Sanaa, on Sunday, April 12. Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) estimates that there could be up to one billion coronavirus infections in crisis-affected countries unless swift action is taken to curb its spread. 

In a worst-case scenario, it warns that could result in up to 3.2 million deaths.

The IRC said an analysis of potential response scenarios found COVID-19 could cause between 500 million and 1 billion infections and between 1.7 and 3.2 million fatalities in those vulnerable countries. 

These numbers should serve as a wake-up call, said IRC President and CEO David Miliband. The full, devastating and disproportionate weight of this pandemic has yet to be felt in the worlds most fragile and war-torn countries. 

In a statement, the IRC said it had compiled the estimates based on modeling and data produced by Imperial College London and the World Health Organisation.

The 34 crisis-affected countries the IRC refers to are: Afghanistan, Burundi, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Colombia, Cte dIvoire, DRC, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Greece, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, Venezuela and Yemen.

Oxford scientists hopeful vaccine could be widely available by September

In the global race to find a vaccine, Oxford University just jumped way ahead of the pack. Human testing is already underway, and scientists say they're hopeful a coronavirus vaccine will be widely available by September.

Technology the lab had already developed in previous work on inoculations for other viruses, including a close relative of COVID-19, gave it a head start.

"Well personally, I have a high degree of confidence about this vaccine, because it's technology that I've used before," said Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology at the university.

The vaccine takes the coronavirus' genetic material and injects it into a common cold virus that has been neutralized so it cannot spread in people. The modified virus will mimic COVID-19, triggering the immune system to fight off the imposter and providing protection against the real thing.

A Rush of Local News

Twenty-two new confirmed COVID-19 cases were registered on the Chinese mainland on Tuesday, including 21 imported and one domestic, according to China's National Health Commission. 

The commission also reported 26 new asymptomatic patients and no new deaths. 

Hong Kong: Most civil servants will gradually return to work from May 4.  Outdoor sports facilities, libraries and museums would also reopen from Monday but they would still be subject to a ban on gatherings of more than four people. A raft of epidemic-prevention measures are due to expire on May 7, including 14-day quarantine for all arrivals from the Chinese mainland, restrictions on venues including restaurants and bars, and limited public gathering of no more than four people. The government will soon announce whether to extend these measures based on suggestions from experts and various sectors. 


Heilongjiang: Three nucleic acid tests and one antibody test are now necessary for all inbound personnel in NE China's Heilongjiang Province to reduce the risk of imported COVID19 cases: provincial govt. 

Hubei: The transportation service of 39 trans-provincial highway transportation routes in central China's Hubei Province will be resumed starting Thursday, according to Hubei Highway Passenger Transportation Group Co., Ltd.

Road tolls back on May 6: Ministry of Transport said that toll roads will resume charging from midnight on May 6. Special lanes on expressway toll station will be set for vehicles of epidemic control: CCTV

A village doctor from E China's Jiangxi was sentenced to 8 months in prison as he broke the rules by receiving a suspected #COVID19 patient who had shown symptoms, but offered no required referral services, causing 48 people's isolation aftermath.

China National Biotec Group may be a good candidate to create the world's first #COVID19 #vaccine, Chinese experts said, after a second inactivated COVID-19 vaccine developed by the group entered clinical trials on Tuesday. 

Medical Team to Kuwait: The Chinese government has decided to send a team of medical experts to Kuwait to help the country fight COVID-19, China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang announced on Tuesday.

A Rush of News

Countries easing lockdowns: New Zealand is "not out of the woods," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, as it entered its first day of transitioning to Level 3 from the toughest restrictions of Level 4. Austria's lockdown won't be extended when it ends on Thursday, and Australia's iconic Bondi Beach reopened. Hong Kong will start loosening some measures and public services will resume Monday after the city reported no new confirmed cases for the fourth time in eight days.

Greece will gradually ease lockdown restrictions starting Monday. The restrictions on the movement of citizens will be lifted. However, citizens will still not be allowed to commute outside their county of residence for at least two weeks. Some businesses such as bookstores, electronic and sporting goods stores, as well as hair salons will be allowed to reopen on Monday. Other retail stores can resume business on May 11, except for shopping malls which will open on June 1, according to the prime minister.

Russia will "face a new and grueling phase of the pandemic," President Vladimir Putin said in a televised statement Tuesday. Putin said Russia will extend its self-isolation guidelines through May 11.

France cancels its 2019-2020 football season: Professional sports will not continue the 2019-2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Tuesday. "The 2019-2020 season of professional sports, especially football, will not be able to resume," Philippe Said.

Kylian Mbapp of Paris Saint-Germain (left) is challenged by Lukasz Piszczek (right) of Borussia Dortmund during the UEFA Champions League in Paris, France on March 11. UEFA/Getty Images

France will begin to ease lockdown restrictions on May 11, after the country's prime minister said they will have enough masks to meet the need.

Portugal will end its current state of emergency on Saturday, the countrys President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa announced on Tuesday.

Scotland's government is recommending that people wear face coverings in situations where maintaining social distancing is difficult, such as on public transportation or inside food shops, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Tuesday. 

Two million Australians download app: A coronavirus contact tracing app has been downloaded more than 2 million times since it was launched in Australia on Sunday. The COVIDSafe app is voluntary and designed to help health authorities trace people who may have come into contact with someone who has Covid-19.

Spain's active workforce shrank by 285,600 people in the first quarter, Spains National Statistics Institute reported on Tuesday. The unemployment rate rose to 14.4%, up from 13.8% in the fourth quarter of 2019. The number of newly jobless was listed at just 121,000. But the Statistics Institute said "inactive" workers increased by 257,000 in the first quarter and "it's probable that many workers who lost their jobs were listed as 'inactive'" rather than unemployed.

US oil prices are still plunging as investors continue to fret about an excess supply of crude at a time when no one wants any.  West Texas Intermediate plummeted more than 14% to $10.95 during Asian trading hours Tuesday, accelerating earlier, dramatic declines. The US benchmark, of oil to be delivered in June, settled at $12.78 a barrel on Monday -- a drop of more than 20%. 

The lower house of the Czech parliament extended until May 17 the state of emergency.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ordered the renewal for three months of a long-running state of emergency, citing health as well as security concerns.

Monaco will begin to relax some coronavirus confinement measures starting on Monday. However, its famous gambling halls and beaches will remain closed until June, the government confirmed today. Beginning Monday, May 4 shops (except for cafes and restaurants) and beauty salons will be permitted to open. However, gatherings of more than five people will be prohibited, and working from home will continue to be recommended. 

US Deaths Estimate Up to 74,000: The scientists at the University of Washington whose data models are most often cited by the White House and state health officials have raised their prediction of how many people the coronavirus will likely kill in the U.S. by more than 14,000, now stands at 74,000 deaths.

Hard-Hit Countries/Regions Official Announcements

Note: The news under this section are according to official reports in these countries; the numbers might not necessarily correspond to the data in the Global table, at the top of this article, which is calculated based on Beijing 24 hours time zone at around 10:00 AM. 

Turkey: The number of people who have diedrose by 92 in the last 24 hours to 2,992, health ministry data showed, continuing a downward trend. The total number of cases rose by 2,392 to 114,653, the data showed.

Italy: Deaths climbed by 382, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the total of people infected since the start of the outbreak reached 201,505. The daily tally of new infections stood at 2,091. People registered as currently carrying the illness fell to 105,205, including 1,863 people in intensive care. Of those originally infected, 68,941 were declared recovered.

Pakistan recorded 20 deaths from the coronavirus on Monday, the highest since the outbreak began and bringing the total death toll to 301. The number of cases rose by 751 to 14,079.

Iran announced 71 deaths, brought to 5,877 the overall death toll. Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said 1,112 people tested positive that took to 92,584 the total number of infections.

Spain recorded 1,308 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, taking the country's total number of cases to 210,773, its health ministry said on Tuesday. The death toll has risen by 301 to 23,822, the ministry added. 

Russia has reported 6,411 new novel coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, a record daily rise, bringing the total number to 93,558. The number of deaths rose by 72, also a daily record, taking the total number of fatalities to 867.

British Airways Could Lay Off 12,000 Workers

A British Airways Airbus A380 passenger jet is moved by an aircraft tractor at London's Heathrow Airport, on April 2. Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

The parent company of British Airways said it is set to cut up to 12,000 jobs as part of a restructuring plan as the carrier grapples with the fallout of the pandemic.

IAG said it was still deliberating its options but that it was "likely that they will affect most of British Airways' employees and may result in the redundancy of up to 12,000".

Passenger demand will take "several years" to return to 2019 levels, it added.

Another airline, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)said it is laying off up to 5,000 employees because of the coronavirus lowering demand for air travel. 

SAS said it is operating a limited domestic network in Norway and Sweden and expects its important summer season to be much quieter.

The airline said the cuts will be split, with about 1,900 full-time positions in Sweden, 1,300 in Norway and 1,700 in Denmark.

England and Wales' coronavirus death toll 54% higher than daily stats showed

Pre-dug graves for Covid-1 deaths are seen in Maker Cemetery on April 14, 2020 in Maker, England. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 115,000 lives and infecting over 1. 9 million people. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images) Dan Mullan/Getty Images

The number of coronavirus-related deaths in England and Wales up to April 17 is 54% higher than the UK governments daily updates for the corresponding period, according to new figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

According to the ONS, there were 22,351 deaths in England and Wales up to that date that were registered by April 25.

By comparison, the governments daily update from the Department of Health and Social Care only accounts for coronavirus deaths in hospitals and doesnt take into account the lag in reporting some deaths. The corresponding number released by the DHSC for April 17 is 14,451 for England and Wales. 

Tokyo Olympics will be canceled next summer if pandemic not over, Games chief says

Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori said the rescheduled Games will be canceled if the coronavirus pandemic is not over by next summer, according to an interview published today in Japanese newspaper Nikkan Sports.

Asked by Nikkan Sports about whether the Games would be postponed again if the pandemic was not over by the summer, Mori said: "No. It will be canceled then. The Olympics was canceled in the past for problems like war. We are fighting against an invisible enemy now."

This is the strongest statement on canceling the Olympics from the organization, which had routinely said it was focusing on holding the Games as the outbreak of Covid-19 grew into a pandemic.

The Olympics and Paralympic Games set to be held this summer in Tokyo were rescheduled to start on July 23, 2021.

Sweden says its coronavirus approach has worked. The numbers suggest a different story

Sweden has been an outlier during the coronavirus outbreak.

The country has not joined many of its European neighbors in imposing strict limits on citizens' lives, and images of people heading to work on busy streets, or chatting at cafes and bars have raised eyebrows.

Younger children have continued to go to school, although universities and schools for older students have switched to distance learning. Businesses -- from hair salons to restaurants -- have remained open, although people have been advised to work from home where possible.

Among Nordic countries -- which share similar cultural, geographical and sociological attributes -- the contrast with Sweden is great. 

  • Finland declared a state of emergency, closed schools and banned gatherings of more than 10 people on March 16.

  • Denmark announced widespread closures on March 11, and was among the first countries in Europe to close borders, shops, schools and restaurants.

  • Norway began introducing travel restrictions in mid-March, and has since closed schools and businesses such as hair and beauty salons.

The death rate in Sweden has now risen significantly higher than many other countries in Europe, reaching more than 21 per 100,000 people, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University, controlled for population.

By contrast, Denmark has recorded more than seven deaths per 100,000 people, and both Norway and Finland less than four. 

As Germany lockdown eases, spread of coronavirus worsens

Lower Saxony's Prime Minister Stephan Weil and a worker wear protective masks at the Volkswagen assembly line after the company restarts Europe's largest car factory after coronavirus shutdown in Wolfsburg, Germany [Swen Pfoertner/Pool via Reuters]

First signs the transmission of the coronavirus has again picked up were visible in German official data, just as the country attempts a cautious easing of its lockdown measures.

The reproduction or infection rate - under close watch by health authorities - mounted again to 1.0, meaning each infected person passes the virus on to one other, figures from the Robert Koch Institute for disease control showed.

Pence forgoes a face mask at Mayo Clinic, appearing to violate policy

Vice President Mike Pence during a visit to the Mayo Clinic. 


US Vice President Mike Pence was captured on camera without a mask during a visit to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota on Tuesday, violating Mayo Clinic policy that all staff and visitors wear masks amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Mayo Clinic took to Twitter almost immediately, writing that Pence was informed of the policy ahead of time, but the clinic later deleted the tweet.

Pence, who is tasked with leading the Coronavirus Task Force, instantly sparked criticism online when he was pictured without a mask near masked staff members and a masked patient at the clinic. According to the radio pooler present, all media members were told to wear masks and all but perhaps two others visible in the building were wearing masks.


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