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A person in a car hands a police officer hand sanitzer outside NYU Medical Center Thursday, April 16, 2020, in New York. - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Number of COVID-19 Infections in US Tops 700,000

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The number of coronavirus cases registered globally reached 2,243,500, including over 154,200 deaths, according to the latest statistics collected by Johns Hopkins University.

The United States still has the highest case count in the world, with more than 701,470 infections registered. This includes at least 37,054 fatalities. Spain is a distant second at nearly 191,000.

Earlier, US President Donald Trump announced that the US government was halting funding for The World Health Organisation while his administration conducted an investigation of the UN agency, claiming that it had impeded Washington's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump also said he is "not happy" with China, where the virus was first registered last December, claiming Washington will explore the source of the virus.

Follow Sputnik's live feed to find out more.

Table of contents
New firstOld first
02:57 GMT 18.04.2020
India Registers 11,906 Active Cases of COVID-19, At Least 480 Dead, 1,991 Recovered
02:54 GMT 18.04.2020
US Registers Nearly 32,000 COVID-19 Infections, 3,857 Fatalities Within 24 Hours - Johns Hopkins University
02:41 GMT 18.04.2020
Number of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in Argentina Rises by 88 to 2,758 – Health Ministry

The death toll has increased by seven to 129 people within 24 hours.

00:56 GMT 18.04.2020
Number of COVID-19 Infections in South Korea Rises by 18 to 10,653, 232 Dead, Over 7,900 Recovered - KCDC

The death toll has risen from 230 to 232 within 24 hours, according to the Health Ministry's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

The number of recovered people has risen by 108 to 7,937.

00:56 GMT 18.04.2020
China Registers 27 New COVID-19 Cases in 24 Hours, No People Died – Authorities

No new cases of the coronavirus have been registered in the province of Hubei, where the city of Wuhan – the epicenter of the pandemic – is located.

00:56 GMT 18.04.2020
US Surpasses 700,000 in Coronavirus Cases - Johns Hopkins University
00:22 GMT 18.04.2020
Total of 6,875 Cases of COVID-19 Registered in Mexico, 546 Dead - Health Ministry

The ministry's director of epidemiology, Jose Luis Alomia, said that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases had increased from 6,297 to 6,875 within 24 hours.

00:21 GMT 18.04.2020
Number of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in Venezuela Rises by 23 to 227 – Minister

Minister of Communication and Information Jorge Rodriguez said that the death toll stood at nine people, while 113 patients had recovered.

23:07 GMT 17.04.2020
US To Send Ventilators to Mexico as Coronavirus Aid - Trump

"I spoke to President of Mexico [Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador] today. Great gentleman. I told him that we are going to be helping him out with ventilators, helping Mexico out. We will be helping some other countries too", President Trump said at a daily briefing Friday. "We are now the king of ventilators. We have hundreds of thousands under construction. We don’t need them ourselves, the governors are in great shape".

23:01 GMT 17.04.2020
WHO Says About 140,000 People Died of COVID-19 Worldwide

Within the past 24 hours, 82,967 new cases of the coronavirus and 8,493 fatalities have been registered, according to the WHO.

A total of 139,378 people had died of COVID-19, while the number of confirmed cases had reached 2.074 million globally.

More than 1.05 million COVID-19 cases have been registered in Europe, while the United States remains the worst-hit country with 632,781 infected people.

22:51 GMT 17.04.2020
Trump Says 80Mln Americans Have Received Stimulus Money, Adds $19Bln in Aid for Farmers
With grain prices falling - and farm profits along with them - some farmers are moving away from genetically modified crops to more lucrative conventional ones.  - Sputnik International
Trump Unveils $19 Billion Relief Program for Farmers
22:43 GMT 17.04.2020
Authorities Estimate COVID-19 Death Toll in US Could Reach 60-65,000 - Trump
21:08 GMT 17.04.2020
Dominican Republic Extends Curfew Till 30 April Amid COVID-19 Outbreak
19:57 GMT 17.04.2020
Several Employees of Russia's United Aircraft Corporation Diagnosed With COVID-19 - Press Service
19:47 GMT 17.04.2020
21 More Patients Diagnosed With COVID-19 Die in Moscow - Response Centre
19:43 GMT 17.04.2020
Brazil's Coronavirus Deaths Surpass 2,000 Amid Political Feud

The number of those infected rose by 3,257 in the past 24 hours to 33,682, a hike of more than 10 percent. The mortality rate stands at 6.4 percent.

19:41 GMT 17.04.2020
California Reports 95 New Deaths From COVID-19, Highest Number Registered Since Virus Relief
19:41 GMT 17.04.2020
New York State Confirms 7,358 New COVID-19 Cases, Total Rises to 229,642 - Governor

According to the press release on Friday, the largest number of COVID-19 infections - 127,352 - had been diagnosed in New York City.

19:23 GMT 17.04.2020
Tunisian President Prolongs Lockdown Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
19:13 GMT 17.04.2020
New Jersey Reports 3,250 New Coronavirus Cases, Death Toll Tops 3,800 - Governor
19:10 GMT 17.04.2020
Number of COVID-19 Deaths Exceeds 150,000 Globally, Over 2.2 Mln Infected - Johns Hopkins University
A view of beds at a shopping mall, one of Iran's largest, which has been turned into a centre to receive patients suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Tehran, Iran, April 4, 2020 - Sputnik International
Global COVID-19 Death Toll Exceeds 150,000 - Johns Hopkins
18:55 GMT 17.04.2020
France Records 761 More Coronavirus Deaths, Toll Rises to 18,681

PARIS (Sputnik) - The number of coronavirus-related deaths in France rose by 761 to 18,681 in the past day, the head of the public health agency said on Friday.

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has declined for a third consecutive day, with 31,190 people remaining in hospitals, Jerome Salomon told reporters.

Of those, 6,027 patients are in intensive care, a dip from the figures reported in the past nine days.

France has so far recorded 109,252 confirmed coronavirus cases, according to data shared by the national health authority. It registered 405 new cases in the past 24 hours.

French President Emmanuel Macron extended the nationwide lockdown on Monday until May 11. The government hopes to start gradually reopening day care centres, schools and universities in a month.

17:54 GMT 17.04.2020
WHO Says Helping Brazil to Buy Millions of PCR Tests to Boost COVID-19 Diagnostic Capacity

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Michael J. Ryan, the executive director of the World Health organization’s (WHO) Health Emergencies Programme, said during a COVID-19 press briefing on Friday that WHO was helping Brazil and other Latin American countries hit by the pandemic to buy polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.

"PAHO [Pan American Health Organization], our regional office for the Americas has been supporting Brazil ... and is helping Brazil to purchase millions of PCR tests, which expand diagnostic capacity with the first batch scheduled to arrive next week. We want to focus on providing technical, operational, and scientific support to Brazil through our regional office for Americas PAHO and to do that consistently and without fail in support of Brazil and all countries in Central and South America and Americas as a whole," Ryan told reporters.

Brazil is the worst-affected country in Latin America, with over 30,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and almost 2,000 virus-related deaths.

17:53 GMT 17.04.2020
Number of COVID-19 Cases in Canada Rises to 31,407 With 1,250 Fatalities - Official

TORONTO (Sputnik) - The number of Canadians confirmed to have contracted the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has increased to 31,407, Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam told reporters on Friday.

The virus-related death toll ticked up to 1,250 in large part due to a sharp increase in fatalities in long-term care facilities.

"I’ll begin with our usual update on the numbers of COVID-19 cases in Canada. There are now 31,407 cases, including 1,250 deaths," Tam said, adding that more than 503,000 Canadians have been tested for the novel coronavirus.

Half of the reported deaths are attributed to care homes, which led to the revision of the expected mortality rates, and officials now project that up to 1,620 Canadians will succumb to complications of the novel coronavirus.

Modelling data provided by federal health officials on April 9 indicated that the number of COVID-19-induced deaths was expected in the 500-700 range by April 16.

The province of Quebec remains the epicentre of the outbreak in Canada as provincial authorities have confirmed 15,857 cases of the disease and 630 deaths.

The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11. To date, almost 2.2 million people have been infected with the novel coronavirus worldwide, of which more than 149,000 have succumbed to the deadly virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.

17:52 GMT 17.04.2020
Russian, US Security Chiefs Discuss Countries' Cooperation on Countering COVID-19

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev and US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien discussed national security cooperation between countries in the field of countering the spread of coronavirus epidemic, the Russian Security Council said in a statement on Friday.

"Patrushev and O'Brien gave particular attention to continued cooperation between Russia and the United States in countering the spread of the new coronavirus infection COVID-19," the statement says.

Other security issues of the two countries were also discussed, it says.

This is the first phone conversation between Patrushev and O'Brien after the latter's appointment.

17:13 GMT 17.04.2020
WHO Says Number of COVID-19 Cases in Africa Rises by 51% Last Week

The number of coronavirus cases in Africa rose by 51% last week, the WHO said, adding that the actual number may be higher due to difficulty in obtaining testing kits.

17:07 GMT 17.04.2020
Norway to Put Some Prisoners on House Arrest With Tracking System Over COVID-19 - Officials

MURMANSK, Russia (Sputnik) - The Norwegian Correctional Service, a government agency responsible for implementing detention and punishment, said on Friday that it would transfer some detainees from prisons to house arrest, requiring them to wear electronic tracking bracelets, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in prisons.

"Correctional service is transferring detainees from prisons to [house arrest under] an electronic tracking system to prevent [COVID-19] infections in prisons, 405 people are transferred to house arrest with electronic bracelets, 94 people have already been released under the same conditions," the government body said in a statement.

One of the measures taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in prisons was to reduce the number of detainees. In early March, about 200 prisoners lived in rooms for two or more people, and by April 8, this figure was reduced to zero, the service said.

So far, more than 6,900 people have been infected with the virus in Norway, and 161 patients have died. No cases of the disease have been reported among the country's prisoners.

17:03 GMT 17.04.2020
Russia Urges US to Provide Medical Aid to Imprisoned Pilot Yaroshenko Who Might Have Coronavirus
Konstantin Yaroshenko - Sputnik International
Russian Ombudswoman Says to Ask US to Treat Yaroshenko Who Reports COVID-19 Symptoms
16:32 GMT 17.04.2020
Germany's Measures to Support Economy Amid COVID-19 Have Positive Effect - Minister

BERLIN (Sputnik) - Measures undertaken by the German authorities to support the national economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic have had a positive effect, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on Friday after a meeting with representatives of the biggest German industrial groups.

"What the German government and relevant ministries have done has received a positive response, and all participants have confirmed that we are on the right track and are helping many businesses overcome the crisis," Altmaier said.

To support small and medium companies, families and self-employed citizens, the German government formed an additional budget of about 156 billion euros ($169.8 billion). Moreover, a stabilization fund of almost 600 billion euros has been set up to support major industrial companies. The government also took additional measures, such as establishing a rent-freeze policy and a simplified procedure for additional payments to companies that shifted have their employees to shorter working hours.

Germany has so far confirmed 133,830 COVID-19 cases with 3,868 fatalities and 81,800 recoveries.

16:04 GMT 17.04.2020
Italy Confirms Its Total Number of COVID-19 Cases at 172,434

The country has registered 575 new coronavirus-linked deaths, a health official said. 

15:58 GMT 17.04.2020
India to Begin Imposing Toll Tax on National Highway from 20 April
15:50 GMT 17.04.2020
Number of COVID-19 Cases in Netherlands Up by 1,235 to 30,400 Over Past Day - Authorities

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The number of people who have contracted the coronavirus disease in the Netherlands has increased by 1,235 over the past 24 hours, bringing the total tally to 30,449, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) said on Friday.

According to the RIVM, the number of COVID-19 fatalities grew by 144 in the past day to 3,459.

15:41 GMT 17.04.2020
Turkey's Coronavirus Deaths Hit Daily High, Toll Rises to 1,769 - Health Minister
15:39 GMT 17.04.2020
New York State COVID-19 Deaths Rise by 630 Over Past 24 Hours - Governor Cuomo

NEW YORK (Sputnik) - The US state of New York has reported another 630 deaths due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a press briefing on Friday.

"The number of deaths, unfortunately, refuses to come down dramatically - 630", Cuomo said. "That is still breathtaking in its pain and grief and tragic."

Cuomo added that by contrast, the number of new COVID-19 hospitalisations, Intensive Care Unit admissions and intubations have been in "undeniable decline" over the last few days.

15:35 GMT 17.04.2020
Paris Rejects US Media Claims of Link Between Coronavirus and Wuhan's P4 Lab
An aerial view shows the P4 laboratory (C) at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on 17 April 2020. - The P4 epidemiological laboratory was built in co-operation with French bio-industrial firm Institut Merieux and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The facility is among a handful of labs around the world cleared to handle Class 4 pathogens (P4) - dangerous viruses that pose a high risk of person-to-person transmission - Sputnik International
France Points to Lack of Facts to Back up US Media Claims of Link Between COVID-19, Wuhan's P4 Lab
15:05 GMT 17.04.2020
Finland Reports 120 New Coronavirus Cases, 7 More Deaths

HELSINKI (Sputnik) - Finland recorded 120 new cases of infection with the coronavirus and seven more deaths in the past 24 hours, the National Institute for Health and Welfare said Friday.

The infection tally now stands at 3,489. A majority of those infected live in the capital of Helsinki and its suburbs, the country's most populous region.

Of them, 208 people are in hospitals, including 73 in intensive care. A total of 82 people have died. The median age of the deceased is 81.

The Scandinavian nation declared a state of emergency on 16 March, closing borders, shutting schools, and asking people to avoid public spaces, in an effort to stop the epidemic from spreading.

14:59 GMT 17.04.2020
Canada Reports 1,771 New Cases Over 24 Hours, 202 Deaths - Health Agency
14:54 GMT 17.04.2020
Michigan Aims to Begin Relaunching Economy on 1 May - Governor
14:51 GMT 17.04.2020
Brussels Airlines Suspends Brussels-Moscow Flights Until March 2021 - Belgian Ambassador

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Brussels Airlines has decided to suspend flights between Moscow and Brussels until March 2021, Belgian Ambassador to Russia Jean-Arthur Regibeau said.

According to the diplomat, no Belgian company working in Russia has so far decided to leave the country amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

"The most notable event in that regard is the decision of Brussels Airlines to suspend air travel between Brussels and Moscow until March 2021. However, [Russia's] Aeroflot will continue serving these destinations even if flights are suspended at the moment", Regibeau said.

The diplomat said it was too early to assess the impact of the coronavirus-caused crisis on Russian-Belgian ties.

"However, it is absolutely obvious that the current crisis that has impacted the global economy and trade will have a negative impact on the economic ties between our countries as well", the ambassador said.

14:40 GMT 17.04.2020
German Economy in Worst Ever Situation Since WWII - Minister

BERLIN (Sputnik) - The German economic situation is graver than it has ever been since the end of World War II, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier warned on Friday.

"The German economy is in a worse situation than anything we have been through in the post-war period, including during the banking and market crisis", he said after a meeting with the country's biggest industrial groups.

Altmaier added however that the core of the economy was healthy, making possible a quick rebound and a 5 percent growth rate as early as next year.

The federal government ditched its long-held commitment to a balanced budget last month to secure some 756 billion euros ($822 billion) in borrowed funding to save struggling businesses of all sizes, freelancers and families.

14:37 GMT 17.04.2020
US, Canada Reach Agreement to Extend Border Restrictions for 30 Days – Sources

TORONTO (Sputnik) – Canada and the United States have reached an agreement to extend the restrictive measures at their shared border as both countries seek to fight the spread of the new coronavirus, multiple sources told CTV News on Friday.

"Canada and the United States have agreed to extend the current closure of the border to all non-essential travel for at least another month as the fight against COVID-19 continues in both countries," the outlet reported, citing sources.

14:33 GMT 17.04.2020
Russian Companies Produce Over 8 Mln Medical Masks Daily, Ahead of Plan - Industry Minister

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian enterprises are already producing over 8 million medical masks per day, more than it was planned, Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said on Friday.

"We now produce more than 8 million masks per day. This is more than what we promised to produce by the end of the month," Manturov said.

Demand for medical masks has increased in Russia due to the coronavirus pandemic. Consumer goods manufacturers and even penitentiary institutions joined the production of masks in Russia.

14:28 GMT 17.04.2020
Number of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in Lebanon Rises by 5 to 668 – Health Ministry

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Lebanese authorities have registered five more coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, bringing the total of those infected to 668, the country’s Health Ministry said on Friday.

The ministry said that the total number of fatalities has reached 21, while the total of recoveries has risen up to 86. Among 668 of those infected 34 cases have been imported.

According to the ministry, the health authorities have conducted over 19,000 tests for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Jordan and Iraq have confirmed 402 and 1,434 coronavirus cases respectively, according to Johns Hopkins University.

14:27 GMT 17.04.2020
Russia to Convert Another 44 Medical Facilities for COVID-19 Response - Health Minister

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Another 44 medical facilities in Russia will be converted into hospitals for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Friday.

"In addition to Moscow, we plan to repurpose 44 medical organizations, which will include more than 5,000 beds," Murashko said during a meeting on the progress of the construction and repurposing of medical facilities in Russian regions.

Earlier in the week, the Moscow coronavirus response centre said that 24 inpatient facilities in the Russian capital would be converted to admit COVID-19 patients in the next 10 days due to the shortage of beds in the city's hospitals.

Russia has so far confirmed 32,008 COVID-19 cases, with 18,105 of them registered in Moscow.

14:24 GMT 17.04.2020
Austria to Reopen Museums in Mid-May, Major Events Prohibited Until September - Authorities

VIENNA (Sputnik) - Austrian Museums could open their doors in mid-May, Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler said on Friday during a briefing, adding that events with big crowds were prohibited until the end of summer amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

"Museums and other similar places may open from mid-May," Kogler said.

The vice-chancellor added that major events that envision large gatherings of people, like musical festivals, would still be prohibited until August 31.

Austria started to gradually lift coronavirus-related restrictions from Tuesday — the country allowed non-essential shops under 400 square meters (4305 square feet), garden centres and hardware stores to open up.

Austria has so far confirmed 14,540 coronavirus cases and more than 400 deaths from complications related to COVID-19.

14:21 GMT 17.04.2020
German State Saxony Makes Wearing Masks in Public Compulsory Amid COVID-19 - Reports

BERLIN (Sputnik) - The eastern German state of Saxony became the first to make wearing masks compulsory when out in public amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in the country, media reported Friday.

German Chancellor had earlier strongly advised citizens to wear face masks while outdoors but stopped short of making it obligatory on the federal level.

According to Focus Online news portal, Saxony Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer said at a news conference in Dresden that the masks can be simple cloth one and not necessarily more advanced FFP2 masks.

"I think we are at a point where we can make it mandatory," Kretschmer said.

The state, with its population of over four million, currently counts more than 4,000 with 95 fatalities from the disease, according to the Robert Koch Institute.

14:18 GMT 17.04.2020
Russia's COVID-19 Aid to Foreign Nations Not Aimed at Sanctions Lift - Medvedev

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia does not count on sanctions lift when it provides assistance to Italy, Serbia and other nations due to the coronavirus pandemic, this help is purely humanitarian, Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev has said in his first interview with Sputnik held through a teleconference

"Of course, not. We do not count on any softening or removal [of sanctions]. This is just ridiculous, No one has ever said this, you can trust me, this has never been discussed in any conversation at any level. Those who say something else are just acting unfairly, trying to achieve some political goals, or just lying unashamedly. We do not even need this. I will say it once again, we are already used to live in such conditions. There is nothing good about it, but there is no tragedy either," Medvedev said.

14:17 GMT 17.04.2020
Russian Military Hospitals Ready to Treat Almost 5,000 COVID-19 Patients- Defence Minister

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian military hospitals are ready to treat 4,900 coronavirus patients and will make even more beds available in the near future, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Friday.

"At the moment, 4,900 beds have been prepared for potential use by the Russian people. By May 15, we will have 7,500 beds ready for our people and 5,200 medical personnel to help treat them," the minister said at a video meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

In addition, the Russian Armed Forces have established a special group of 10,000 military personnel and set aside more than 3,500 medical machines that can be deployed to help the country with the coronations response, Shoigu said.

14:13 GMT 17.04.2020
Russia Conducting Clinical Trials of 5 Anti-Coronavirus Medicines - Health Minister

MOSCOW, April 17 (Sputnik) - Russia currently conducts clinical trials of five drugs for the treatment of the coronavirus infection, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Friday.

"Clinical trials are being conducted today for five drugs, four drugs are going through the state registration via the new procedure established by the government," Murashko said at a meeting on the progress of construction and re-profiling of medical facilities in Russian regions.

The ministry is considering options to accelerate the registration of the coronavirus vaccine, he told Russian President Vladimir Putin, when asked whether the vaccine could be developed faster than the third quarter of 2020.

"Today we have involved all regulatory mechanisms, including via the simultaneous launch of some of them, but we understand that in addition to the vaccine's release, its safety and effectiveness should be confirmed. We, together with the scientific community, with the experts, are developing these options, including possible involvement of vaccines basically targeting other diseases. All options are being considered and developed today," Murashko told Putin.

The minister also said that seven test systems for the coronavirus detection were expected to be registered in Russia in the near future in additional to 12 systems already used by the country's doctors.

Russia must already prepare for the production of a sufficient amount of coronavirus vaccines, Putin said.

"It’s not enough to find the appropriate medicine. We also need to produce it in the right volumes. Of course, we need to take care of this right now. Now we need to prepare for the production process," he said.

The president expressed hope that the work on creating a vaccine against coronavirus in Russia would be completed successfully.

"I want to wish success to everyone who works in this area. We all understand how important these results are for us, and for the whole world as well. We hope that the work will be completed as soon as possible," Putin said.

13:58 GMT 17.04.2020
Number of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in Oman Rises by 50 to 1,069 – Health Ministry

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Oman has increased to 1,069, with 50 having been registered over the past 24 hours, the country’s Health Ministry said in an official statement on Friday.

Among those infected were 26 Omani nationals, and 24 other cases were imported, according to the statement. The total number of recoveries has reached 176.

The death toll has risen by one to five, with a 66-year-old man having died from the disease overnight, the ministry said, reiterating its call to adhere to preventive measures, including social distancing and self-isolation.

The Arab Gulf countries see an everyday increase in cases of the infection and coronavirus-related fatalities.

Saudi Arabia ranks first with its total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, which has reached 6,380 with 83 deaths.

According to the UAE health ministry's official website, the authorities have registered 5,825 cases in the country, with 35 patients having died. Meanwhile, 1,095 have fully recovered.

The total number of coronavirus patients in Qatar and Kuwait has risen to 4,663 and 1,658, respectively. Meanwhile, Bahrain has confirmed 1,700 cases with seven related deaths in the country since the beginning of the pandemic.

13:50 GMT 17.04.2020
Belarus to Reopen Schools on Monday Despite Coronavirus Outbreak

Schools will reopen in Belarus next week despite the continuing coronavirus pandemic, the Education Ministry of the eastern European country announced Friday.

"Classes will resume in secondary schools starting April 20. The fourth academic quarter will last until May 30," it tweeted.

Students have been out of schools since March 30. The government extended the spring break, which was to end on April 4, twice until April 18 as part of the efforts to contain the outbreak.

The number of infection cases in Belarus reached 4,799 on Friday after more than 550 new cases were confirmed the past 24 hours. The death toll stands at 42.

13:26 GMT 17.04.2020
Indian Military Confirms 8 Coronavirus Cases Among Servicemen

The Indian military has detected eight cases of COVID-19 among its personnel, Chief of the Army Staff, Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane, said on Friday.

"So far, we have only eight positive cases in the entire Indian Army, of which two are doctors and one is a nursing assistant. Four are responding well to treatment. And we had one case in [the northern Indian region] Ladakh. Now he is fully cured and has joined duty," Naravane told the ANI news agency.

The case in Ladakh was first reported in late March — a soldier got infected after contacted with his coronavirus-infected father, who returned from Iran in late February.

India has so far confirmed 13,495 COVID-19 cases and 448 coronavirus-related deaths.

13:25 GMT 17.04.2020
Indonesia Registers Record 407 New COVID-19 Cases in Past Day, Total Exceeds 5,900

Indonesia has registered record 407 coronavirus cases across the country over the past 24 hours that brought the overall number of cases to 5,923, the Health Ministry said on Friday.

The ministry stated that 24 COVID-19 patients died in the past day, and the national death toll now amounts to 520 people. A total of 607 people recovered since the start of the outbreak.

 

13:14 GMT 17.04.2020
UK Hospital Death Toll Rises By 847 to 14,576

 The number of hospital deaths from COVID-19 in the United Kingdom has reached 14,576 with an additional 847 deaths counted over the past 24 hours, the Department of Health and Social Care said Friday.

Just under 5,600 new cases of infection have been confirmed as of 9 a.m. in London (10:00 GMT), taking the total to 108,692.

The United Kingdom only counts the number of coronavirus patients who died of the disease in hospitals, leaving many to speculate the true death toll may be much higher.

The health authorities also share no data on recovered patients.

12:50 GMT 17.04.2020
Number of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in Belarus Reaches 4,779 - Health Ministry

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Belarus has reached 4,799 with over 550 of them being registered over the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Friday.

According to the health authorities, so far, 342 patients have been cured and 42 others have died.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Vladimir Karanik told reporters that the number of infections among medical staff rose by 118 to 419, adding that the majority of them were not infected in the workplace.

Earlier in the day, the ministry said that medical aid, including face masks and COVID-19 express tests, arrived from China in the country to help fight the pandemic.

12:48 GMT 17.04.2020
Sweden Ramps Up COVID-19 Testing - Health Ministry

The Swedish authorities have introduced a new strategy for coronavirus testing in the country and the number of tests will be increased to 50,000-100,000 per week, the country's Health and Social Affairs Minister Lena Hallengren said on Friday.

"Today we can announce a new national strategy of increasing the number of people tested for COVID-19. Additional groups that can be tested are police officers, rescue services, people performing critical work for society. The goal is for the employee to get back to work as soon as possible," Hallengren said at a press conference.

Previously, hospital patients, people with severe symptoms, and medical staff were tested for coronavirus. According to Hallengren, these groups will remain priority.

The test will be performed at home by the patient himself, and can be ordered via a special medical service. The sample will then need to be sent to the laboratory. Such a testing system will protect medical staff and save protective clothing.

The Swedish authorities have refrained from introducing strict lockdown measures, with schools, kindergartens, shops and other public places still open across the country. Earlier in the month, media reported that Stockholm's unwillingness to follow the example of other European countries and introduce drastic measures to fight COVID-19 had triggered a backlash among Swedish researchers.

Sweden has so far confirmed 12,540 COVID-19 cases across the country with over 1,300 fatalities.

12:28 GMT 17.04.2020
Iran's Coronavirus Death Toll Nears 5,000 Despite Slowdown in New Cases - Health Official

The number of coronavirus cases in Iran is approaching 80,000 after nearly 1,500 people were diagnosed over the past day, while the death toll is creeping closer to 5,000, Alireza Vahabzadeh, an adviser to the country's health minister, said on Friday.

"[Over the past 24 hours] 1,499 new cases of the coronavirus were detected. To date, a total of 79,494 cases of the infection have been reported. Unfortunately, over the past 24 hours, 89 people have died. To this date, 4,958 people have died," Vahabzadeh wrote on Twitter.

The health official added that over 54,000 people have recovered.

The death toll has for four days in a row been below 100, and the number of new cases is way off the peak of March 30, when over 3,100 new cases were confirmed in a single day.

This marks a significant slowdown in the outbreak, which has nearly rendered the Islamic Republic the worst-affected in the world.

12:19 GMT 17.04.2020
Russia Ranks 2nd Globally in Terms of Numbers of COVID-19 Tests Conducted - Official

Russia currently ranks second globally in terms of numbers of COVID-19 tests conducted in the country, Chief Sanitary Doctor Anna Popova said on Friday.

"The Russian Federation currently ranks second globally in terms of total number of COVID-19 tests conducted," Popova said at a briefing, aired by Russia-24 broadcaster.

She added that COVID-19 detectability was increasing due to the increase in tests conducted.

"In early March we conducted up to 2,000 tests daily, while we now conduct 103,500 tests in a day," Popova explained.

12:12 GMT 17.04.2020
Russia Working on Sending More COVID-19 Tests, Other Aid to Belarus - Foreign Ministry

Moscow is working on sending more medical aid to Belarus, including coronavirus tests, the spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, said Friday.

"I am definitely not saying that the pandemic reached Belarus, but the aid did. We have already sent Minsk several free batches of coronavirus tests and other materials," Zakharova told reporters.

In addition, Rosatom state corporation has sent aid to the hospitals in Grodno region, where it is helping to build a nuclear power station, the spokeswoman added.

"Additional aid deliveries to Belarus are in the works, considering that it asked for such aid in a note dated April 1 this year, it is all official, via diplomatic channels," Zakharova said.

12:05 GMT 17.04.2020
Number of COVID-19 Cases in Estonia Rises By 25 to 1,459 - Health Ministry

The number of people infected with the coronavirus in Estonia rose by 25 to 1,459 in the past day, the country's Health Ministry said Friday.

"Across the country, 1,459 Estonian citizens have tested positive for COVID-19. More than 37,000 tests for the virus have been carried out since January 31. A total of 129 patients remain in hospitals, 11 of them are on ventilators," the ministry said in a statement.

According to the authorities, the overall death toll in the country is 38, while 145 more people were discharged from hospitals.

Meanwhile, Lithuania registered 21 new coronavirus cases in the past day that brought the total toll to 1,149. The Baltic nation's government also said that 32 patients have died since the start of the outbreak, and 210 more recovered.

In neighboring Latvia, the number of COVID-19 cases increased from 675 to 682 over the past day, according to the country's Disease Prevention and Control Center.

11:57 GMT 17.04.2020
Google Saw 18Mln Malicious Emails, 240Mln Spam Messages Related to COVID-19 in 1 Week

Google has registered over 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to COVID-19 as well as 240 million coronavirus-related daily spam messages over the last week, the company said in a blog post.

"During the last week, we saw 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to COVID-19. This is in addition to more than 240 million COVID-related daily spam messages," the company said.

Some examples of scams and phishing attacks include impersonating official organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), seeking donations, distributing malware and trying to capitalize on government stimulus packages.

"The phishing attacks and scams we’re seeing use both fear and financial incentives to create urgency to try to prompt users to respond," Google said.

According to the tech giant’s cloud services arm, it has been able to block 99.9 percent of those messages and was working with WHO to accelerate the implementation of a sophisticated authentication system to prevent bad actors from hijacking the ‘who.int’ domain and masquerading as the organization.

Google said that the malware campaigns and phishing techniques are nothing new but that they have been updated to exploit the heightened attention to the coronavirus pandemic.

11:42 GMT 17.04.2020
European Commission Approves 350Bln Hungarian Forints Aid Scheme to Budapest Amid COVID-19

The European Commission has approved an aid package of 350 billion Hungarian forints ($1.1 billion) to Budapest to support the country's economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission said in a press release.

"The European Commission has approved a HUF 350 billion (approximately €1 billion) scheme to support the Hungarian economy in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The support measures available under the scheme will be financed by the EU structural funds," the press release said.

Moreover, in a separate press release, the European Commission said that it also approved 30 million Croatian kunas ($4.3 million) scheme to support the fishery and aquaculture sector in Croatia amid the outbreak.

According to the European Commission, the aid packages were approved under the State aid Temporary Framework adopted on March 19.

Per the Temporary Framework, EU member states can use the full flexibility foreseen under the country's aid rules to support the economy in light of the pandemic. The document, amended on April 3, provides for the following types of aid governments that can be granted to the working population and businesses ⁠— direct grants, equity injections, selective tax advantages, advance payments and state guarantees for loans taken by companies and others.

Hungary has so far confirmed 1,763 COVID-19 cases and 156 fatalities. Meanwhile, the number of people who contracted the disease in Croatia amounts to 1,791, and 35 people died.

11:42 GMT 17.04.2020
Number of COVID-19 Deaths in Moldova Reaches 54 - Health Ministry

The number of people who have died from the coronavirus disease in Moldova has increased by one, bringing the total death toll to 54, the country's health minister, Viorica Dumbraveanu, said on Friday.

"Unfortunately, as for today, we have registered 54 fatalities. Yesterday, 41 patients were discharged from hospitals. A total of 276 patients have recovered," Dumbraveanu said at a briefing.

The Moldovan authorities previously reported about 2,154 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 53 fatalities, including 10 from Transnistria.

Moldova declared a 60-day state of emergency in mid-March to limit the spread of the virus. The country has also stopped international air traffic and shut down land borders. Starting on March 25, people above 63 years old were prohibited from going out unless urgently necessary.

11:41 GMT 17.04.2020
Percentage of Russia's Asymptomatic COVID-19 Patients Grows to 45-50% - Official

The percentage of Russia's COVID-19 patients without any symptoms has grown to 45-50 percent from the previous 10-20 percent, Chief Sanitary Doctor Anna Popova said on Friday.

"Two wees ago the share of people diagnosed with coronavirus but having no symptoms reached 10-12 percent, 20 percent at most, of all the infected people. Over the past days, the percentage gas grown to 45-50 percent. This is an important figure that shows how actively infected people are detected in the Russian Federation," Popova said at a briefing, aired by Russia-24 broadcaster.

11:40 GMT 17.04.2020
China Charges More Than 2,400 People for Coronavirus-Related Offenses - Reports

China prosecuted 2,416 suspects in 1,980 criminal cases related to the COVID-19 epidemic by Thursday, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday, citing China’s Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP).

In addition, Chinese prosecutors approved the arrest of more than 3,500 suspects involved in similar offenses, according to Xinhua.

Prosecutors filed charges against 26 people for allegedly preventing the fight against the spread of COVID-19, while 572 were prosecuted for creating obstacles for officials who were performing their duties, the news agency said, citing SPP.

Other crimes include intentional injuries, producing or selling fake products, illegal business operations, spreading fake news, fraud and damaging natural resources.

11:40 GMT 17.04.2020
At Least 44 Deportees From US Test Positive For COVID-19 in Guatemala - Reports

At least 44 migrants deported from the United States to Guatemala have tested positive for the coronavirus upon arrival to the Central American nation, CNN reported citing government sources.

The migrants were returned on a flight from Texas on Monday as part of the US zero-tolerance policy for illegal immigrants in the country.

Earlier in the week, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported that 21 employees who worked at detention facilities have tested positive for coronavirus, while 80 employees across the agency had contracted the virus.

Guatemalan Foreign Ministry Spokesman Joaquin Samayoa confirmed that deportation flights from the US to Guatemala have been indefinitely suspended, CNN reported.

11:39 GMT 17.04.2020
Belgium's COVID-19 Death Toll Tops 5,000, Case Count at Over 36,000 - Health Ministry

Belgium has registered 313 new coronavirus-related fatalities over the past 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 5,136, the Health Ministry’s crisis response center said on Friday.

The case count has risen by 1,329 to 36,138. Of these, a total of 7,961 patients have recovered.

At the same time, the Belgian authorities report a decrease in the number of those hospitalized with the coronavirus, as well as patients in intensive care.

On Thursday, the country reported 1,236 new COVID-19 cases and 417 fatalities. The authorities expect a rise in the number of confirmed cases after launching testing in retirement homes.

11:13 GMT 17.04.2020
Oktoberfest Likely to Be Canceled Due to COVID-19 Outbreak
10:09 GMT 17.04.2020
Putin Personally Monitors Increasing Number of Hospital Beds Amid Pandemic - Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin is personally monitoring the situation with increasing the number of hospital beds, medical equipment and protection gear amid the coronavirus pandemic, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.

"The plan and the tactics do not change. You know that the president personally controls the speed of additional capacities introduction, I mean [increasing the number] of equipped hospital beds in regions and fitting these beds with the needed equipment and protection gear," Peskov told reporters.

He added that some regions were facing a high risk due to implementing the tasks set out by President Putin too slowly. However, effort is made to improve the situation, according to Peskov.

Kremlin spokesman noted that there could not be any accurate forecast of the development of the COVID-19 situation in Russia.

"Decisions are made depending on the situation, on the incidence rate. I will say once again that citizens health is prioritized," Peskov added.

09:56 GMT 17.04.2020
Spain's Number of Coronavirus Cases Rises to 188,068 on Friday

Spain's number of COVID-19 cases has increased by 5,252 over the past 24 hours, with the total count reaching 188,068, the head of the Health Ministry's Coordination Center for Health Alerts and Emergencies said on Friday.

The increase in the incidence rate is due to the fact that more tests are now conducted, Fernando Simon explained at a press conference.

09:56 GMT 17.04.2020
Former Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen to be Released From Prison Due to COVID-19 Pandemic
09:41 GMT 17.04.2020
08:32 GMT 17.04.2020
Germany to Make 10 Million Masks Per Week From August - Health Minister
08:16 GMT 17.04.2020
Philippine Health Ministry Reports 25 New Coronavirus Deaths
08:03 GMT 17.04.2020
Russia Registers 4,070 New Coronavirus Cases in 24 Hours, Total Number Reaches 32,007 - Response Centre

Russia has registered 4,070 coronavirus cases in 24 hours, bringing the total to 32,008, the response centre said Friday.

"In the last 24 hours, 4,070 cases of COVID-19 infection were registered in 81 regions in Russia," the centre said.

Of the new cases, 1,959 were registered in Moscow, 472 in Moscow region, 424 in St. Petersburg.

07:38 GMT 17.04.2020
US Supports Russia's Decision to Reschedule Victory Day Parade Due to Pandemic - Ambassador

The United States supports fully Russia's decision to postpone the Victory Day parade due to the coronavirus pandemic and will be happy to celebrate the anniversary of the end of World War II together when circumstances allow, Ambassador John Sullivan said on Friday.

"The defeat of Nazism and fascism represent important events that can never be forgotten and should be celebrated. We fully support Russia's decision to reschedule these celebrations to a time when we are all able to celebrate them properly," Sullivan said in a video address, which the US embassy posted on Twitter.

"The United States looks forward to future opportunities to commemorate the end of World War II," he added.

07:06 GMT 17.04.2020
India Registers Over 1,000 New Coronavirus Cases, Total Exceeds 13,000 - Health Ministry

The number of coronavirus cases in India has risen by more than 1,000 to reach 13,387 with a death toll of 437, the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said Friday.

On Thursday, the total number stood at 12,380 with 414 deaths.

Earlier in the week, the Health Ministry published a list of 170 districts it designated as hotspots of infection. However, some 400 regions where no cases of infection were registered were labeled green zones.

India is currently under the world’s largest lockdown, with some 1.3 billion people ordered to stay indoors.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended the lockdown through 3 May while some agricultural activity will be allowed to resume later in April.

07:02 GMT 17.04.2020
China’s Heilongjiang Confirms 8 COVID-19 Cases Imported From Russia - Health Authorities

China confirmed eight new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours in the Russia-bordering northern province of Heilongjiang, the regional health commission said on Friday, adding that all cases were detected among Chinese nationals arriving from Russia.

Overall, the number of imported cases in the province reached 364, according to the health commission. Moreover, the health authorities registered three new locally-transmitted cases and five asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers over the given period, and thus the number of locally-transmitted cases in Heilongjiang increased to 508. At the moment, 26 people are suffering from the coronavirus, and all of them are located in the city of Harbin.

China as a whole registered 26 new cases of the coronavirus and 52 recoveries over the given period, the state health committee said, adding that no new deaths were detected.

No new cases were confirmed in the city of Wuhan, however, the regional authorities have recalculated statistics of the coronavirus disease, increasing the number of confirmed cases by 325 to 50,333 and the death toll by 1,290 to 3,869 people. New data from Wuhan brings total coronavirus-related fatalities nationwide to at least 4,642.

06:04 GMT 17.04.2020
British Veteran Walking for Health Service, Tom Moore, Has Raised More Than 17 Million Pounds
05:44 GMT 17.04.2020
US-Jailed Russian Pilot Yaroshenko Says He Has COVID-19 Symptoms - Lawyer

Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, who is imprisoned in a US penitentiary facility, said that he was suffering from all COVID-19 symptoms, his lawyer Alexey Tarasov told Sputnik on Friday.

"He says that he has all the symptoms of the coronavirus. He thinks the whole prison got infected," Tarasov said.

The lawyer added that Yaroshenko was currently held in a cell block with up to 100 other inmates.

"Those prisoners who are very weak are occasionally isolated from the cell block," Tarasov said, adding that Yaroshenko only received one face mask so far.

In March, Yaroshenko's defense told Sputnik they had requested to release him due to the threat of COVID-19, while his wife said that her husband had been diagnosed with acute respiratory disease.

"This request is still pending," Tarasov told Sputnik.

Yaroshenko was arrested in Liberia, in May 2010, on suspicion of drug trafficking. A year later, he was extradited to the United States and sentenced to 20 years in prison for taking part in a conspiracy to smuggle a large amount of drugs to the country. The pilot is being held in Connecticut's Danbury prison, where cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed.

05:27 GMT 17.04.2020
Kyrgyzstan Confirms 23 New COVID-19 Cases in 24 Hours – Response Centre

The number of people infected with the new coronavirus in Kyrgyzstan has grown by 23 to 489 within the past 24 hours, the country's COVID-19 response centre said on Friday.

"As of 17 April, 2020, 23 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been registered in Kyrgyzstan," the response centre's spokesperson said.

The list of the recently infected people includes 12 doctors among others.

The death toll from the coronavirus in Kyrgyzstan stands at five people, while 11 other people are in critical condition.

Kyrgyzstan has declared a state of emergency in several cities, including the capital of Bishkek, in light of the pandemic.

05:17 GMT 17.04.2020
Danish Government to Allow Certain Small Businesses Such as Hairdressers, Beauty Salons and Driving Schools to Reopen on 20 April Following Lockdown
05:16 GMT 17.04.2020
Thailand Reports 28 New Coronavirus Cases, One More Death
05:12 GMT 17.04.2020
Coronavirus Cases in Germany Rise to 133,830, Related Death Toll Increases to 3,868 - Robert Koch Institute

Germany has registered 3,380 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, and the total tally reached 133,830, the Robert Koch Institute said on Friday.

According to the institute, 299 new deaths related to the coronavirus were confirmed in the past day, and the overall death toll reached 3,868.

In Germany, 81,800 people have fully recovered since the start of the outbreak, including about 4,700 recoveries over the past 24 hours.

According to the update, the southern state of Bavaria is the most affected with 36,027 cases, followed by North Rhine-Westphalia with 27,030 cases and Baden-Wurttemberg with 26,543 cases. The German capital city of Berlin has so far confirmed 4,945 COVID-19 cases.

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