A hospital trust in the UK has issued a plea to firms which have shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic to donate protective equipment so they can be used by frontline staff.
Goggles and masks are among items that Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust is asking for to help protect healthcare workers.
It comes amid a global shortage of the gear used by medics to keep themselves safe has led to shortfalls in the UK, with at least one GP practice forced to order face shields on Amazon.
In a Facebook post, Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust thanked firms for the food, drink and supplies already provided, then added: “If you have any additional equipment such as goggles or masks that you no longer need due to the shutdown and would be interested in donating please get in touch and we can put them to good use.”
Akhtar Mohammad Makoii
Afghanistan has reported 22 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, pushing the total number of infections to 196 as the disease continues to spread. Four have died in the country after contracting Covid-19, the country’s health ministry also confirmed.
Of the new cases, 12 were reported in western province of Herat, which borders Iran and is Afghanistan’s worst affected area with 143 positive cases of Covid-19. Around 75% of patients brought the virus from Iran, Afghanistan’s health ministry spokesman said.
Six cases have been confirmed in the country’s capital Kabul. One patient tested positive in Farah province, which also has a border with Iran, one of the world’s worst affected countries with around 2,900 deaths.
Afghanistan is implementing a partial curfew in all three provinces which have a border with Iran in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus. But testing remains low and experts fear the full extent of the spread is not known.
In another development, the U.N. Security Council urged Afghanistan’s warring parties to heed the U.N. secretary-general’s call for an immediate cease-fire to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure delivery of humanitarian aid throughout the country, AP reported.
UK government will test 25,000 a day for Covid-19 within a fortnight, minister says
The UK government is aiming to test 25,000 a day for Covid-19 within a fortnight, housing minister Robert Jenrick has said.
Downing Street is facing mounting criticism over a perceived lack of testing compared with other nations, with only 143,186 carried out to date. By comparison, Germany is testing 70,000 a day.
The UK’s Covid-19 death toll jumped 381 in a single day yesterday, with overall fatalities standing at 1,789. More than 25,000 people have tested positive for the virus.
Asked when the country will be up to 25,000 tests a day, Jenrick told Sky’s Kay Burley: “We’ve said that we hope to be in that position by mid-April. We think within days we’ll be able to go from our present capacity, as I say, of 12,750, to 15,000. So that’s a significant increase but still not as far as we’d like it to be.
“And then mid-April is when we expect to be at 25,000. But we now do have enough tests, and this is an important point I was trying to make, to test not just those patients in critical care but to begin to test NHS staff which is obviously absolutely essential.”
Meanwhile, Jenrick also appeared on Good Morning Britain where he was grilled by Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid:
The British housebuilding firm Taylor Wimpey has scrapped annual bonuses and announced its board will take a 30% pay cut.
It comes after the company temporarily closed all of its show homes, sales centres and construction sites due to the coronavirus outbreak.
A planned 2% annual salary increase set to come into force from today for executive directors will be cancelled, the company said. “The objective of these changes is to conserve cash, with a particular focus on protecting the long-term financial security of the business as a whole, for the benefit of all of the company’s stakeholders,” Taylor Wimpey said in a statement to shareholders this morning.
To recap for those waking up in the UK, it has emerged that a British national is among four people who have died on a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship.
Two of those who have died onboard the Zaandam have been confirmed to have had Covid-19, with a further nine people also testing positive, and 189 reporting flu-like symptoms.
The ship, which is carrying more than 200 British nationals and is operated by Holland America cruse line, is embroiled in a bitter dispute over plans to let passengers disembark in the US.
“One of the deceased passengers is from the UK,” a spokesman for Holland America said. “Due to US … laws, we cannot provide any additional medical and health details.”
The Zaandam, and its sister ship the Rotterdam, passed through the Panama Canal on Monday after being denied entry to several ports. Both ships are seeking to dock in Florida later this week.
But Florida’s governor is reluctant to allow disembarkation for the more than 1,000 people aboard the Zaandam. However, Donald Trump appears set to overrule him.
“They’re dying on the ship,” Trump said. “I’m going to do what’s right. Not only for us, but for humanity.”
Lockdown measures in Wuhan, the centre of the coronavirus outbreak in China, may slowly be starting to lift but life is still far from ordinary for the city’s residents.
In one neighbourhood, residents and traders are doing business over two-metre plastic walls set up early in the crisis to enforce social distancing.
Today shoppers stood on chairs to peer over at goods on sale on the other side, shouting down to vendors to check on prices, as well as using payment apps on their mobile phones rather than risk grubby cash, to pick up groceries. Reuters reports:
It’s safer for us to sell behind these barricades,” the owner of a pork stall said.
Whiteboard signs hung up on the barriers told shoppers what was for sale on the other side. Most listed vegetables, rice, oil and meat but one promised crayfish, a local delicacy.
Some supermarkets also reopened on Wednesday, with one attracting a long line of shoppers – everyone spaced 1.5 metres apart – that snaked around blocks.
Some people wore raincoats or shower caps to ward off the virus. All wore masks and all seemed happy to finish with online shopping and delivered supplies.
“It wasn’t fresh,” said one 68-year-old man who gave his surname as Dong as he stood in the queue, referring to the groceries dropped off at his home by volunteers during the lockdown. “They didn’t look good, didn’t taste nice. If we go to the supermarket ourselves we’ll have more choice.”
On 8 April, people in Wuhan will be allowed to leave home for the first time since 23 January.
Hello readers, it’s Simon Murphy here taking the helm of the live blog from the UK to steer you through today’s world coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Global deaths pass 42,000. Data collected by Johns Hopkins University researchers show at least 42,332 people have died across the world. At least 859,556 have been infected.
- US deaths could reach 240,000 according to the White House, whose models indicate at least 100,000 will die. Trump said the country should expect a “very, very painful two weeks.” US deaths currently exceed those in China. Monday was the deadliest day yet for the US, which has now lost more than 4,076 people.
- A British national is among four people to have died on the coronavirus-stricken Zaandam cruise ship embroiled in a bitter dispute over plans to disembark passengers in the US, PA Media news agency reports.
- China’s national health commission on Wednesday reported 36 new Covid-19 cases and 130 new asymptomatic cases, bringing the total number of such cases under observation to 1,367. Previously, China has regarded asymptomatic patients as a low risk and not included them in its tally of confirmed cases.
- A US Navy captain asked permission to isolate crew on shore. The captain of aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, which is facing a growing outbreak of the coronavirus, is asking for permission to isolate the bulk of his roughly 5,000 crew members on shore, which would take the warship out of duty in an effort to save lives.
- Saudi Arabia urged Muslims to wait before making Hajj plans, until there is more clarity about the pandemic.
- Japan remains on the brink of a state of emergency as the rate of coronavirus infections continues to increase in the country, its top government spokesman said on Wednesday.
- Cuba said on Tuesday it was suspending the arrival of international passenger flights and asking all foreign boats to withdraw from the Caribbean island’s waters to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.
- Turkmenistan banned the media from using the word “coronavirus”. An international media freedom watchdog says the autocratic ex-Soviet nation of Turkmenistan has banned the media from using the word “coronavirus”, AP reports.
- California hospitalisations double in four days, ICU patients triple. California governor Gavin Newsom said on Monday that the number of Covid-19 hospitalisations in the state had nearly doubled over the past four days and the number of ICU patients tripled during that time.
- Twenty-eight students who returned to Texas after spring in Mexico have tested positive for coronavirus, although Mexican officials pushed back against the suggestion that they picked up the virus at the tourist spot, Reuters reports.
- France, Spain, Russia and the UK recorded their highest daily deaths. UK deaths were up 381 from 1,408 on the previous 24 hours and represent a 27% day-on-day increase – by far the biggest.
That’s it from me, Helen Sullivan for today. It has been a pretty sombre start to April, even by the standards of this crisis. As New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern said last week, things are going to get worse before they get better.
My colleague Simon Murphy will be taking you through the latest developments for the next few hours.
The Bangladesh government appears to have lifted an internet ban imposed on more than 1 million Rohingya refugees living in cramped camps in Cox’s Bazar.
Wai Wai Nu, Rohingya activist and founder of the Women’s Peace Network, tweeted on Wednesday morning: “I am so happy to hear from my sisters and brothers after long time.”
She urged Myanmar to also lift a long-standing internet ban imposed on Rakhine state. A military crackdown in Rakhine in 2017 forced 730,000 Rohingya people to flee over the border to Bangladesh, where refugees now live in cramped conditions with limited hygiene facilities.
The lifting of the internet ban in Bangladesh follows warnings that panic and rumours were spreading in the camps, and that reliable information was desperately needed.
There are growing fears that the virus could spread rapidly in Cox’s Bazar, where a first case was confirmed last week.Volunteers have been playing public health information from radios and loudspeakers to spread awareness, but said the internet would allow messages to be shared far more quickly.
China pivots to tackle ‘silent’ Covid-19 carriers as US says a quarter of cases may have no symptoms
Chinese authorities have shifted their focus to tackling “silent”, or asymptomatic, carriers of the coronavirus as part of the next phase of the pandemic, amid concern among US health chiefs that a quarter of patients do not suffer symptoms.
The National Health Commission in China said it would start releasing a tally of asymptomatic patients from Wednesday and would order those cases into quarantine for 14 days, after the mainland witnessed its first rise in infections in five days.
Authorities reported 130 new asymptomatic cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of such cases under observation to 1,367.
Recent new infections likely caused by asymptomatic patients have prompted widespread public concern as the country lifts lockdown measures and citizens go back to work.
Those concerns were reflected on Tuesday by Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who said in a rare interview that as a many as one in four cases have no symptoms.
As a result, the CDC was now “aggressively reviewing” its recommendations on use of face masks, potentially extending their use based on the assumption that more people in “high transmission zones” were already infected but without symptoms.
China new cases
China’s National Health Commission on Wednesday reported 36 new Covid-19 cases and 130 new asymptomatic cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of such cases under observation to 1,367.
Previously, China has regarded asymptomatic patients as a low risk and not included them in their tally of confirmed cases.
The move to disclose the number of asymptomatic cases comes amid scrutiny of China’s reported figures, which previously only included people who exhibited symptoms.
The commission said all but one of the 36 new cases was imported from abroad, while seven more deaths from the disease had been reported over the previous 24 hours.
More on Curb Your Enthusiasm star Larry David’s coronavirus message shared late on Tuesday in the US.
The comedian, 72, warned older people are being endangered by those going outside for non-essential trips and “socialising too close”.
In a video shared by the Office of the Governor of California, David said:
“Obviously, somebody put me up to this because it’s generally not the kind of thing I do, but I basically want to address the idiots out there – and you know who you are.
“You’re going out – I don’t know what you’re doing. You’re socialising too close, it’s not good.”
David, who created hit sitcoms Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, said people flouting the stay-at-home order could make elderly relatives ill.
He said: “You’re hurting old people like me – well, not me. I have nothing to do with you. I’ll never see you. But, you know, other – let’s say, other old people who might be your relatives! Who the hell knows.”
David also warned people were missing a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to “stay in the house, sit on the couch and watch TV”. “I don’t know how you’re passing that up,” he added.
A British national has died on the coronavirus-stricken cruise ship heading to Florida
A British national is among four people to have died on a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship embroiled in a bitter dispute over plans to disembark passengers in the US, PA news agency reports.
In what is being described as an unfolding humanitarian crisis, so far two of the four people to have died on the cruise ship Zaandam have been confirmed to have had Covid-19, with nine people aboard testing positive and 189 reporting flu-like symptoms.
“One of the deceased passengers is from the UK,” a spokesman for the Holland America cruise line, which operates the Zaandam, said in an email to the PA news agency.
“Due to US … laws, we cannot provide any additional medical and health details.”
The Zaandam, which is carrying more than 200 British nationals, and its sister ship the Rotterdam, passed through the Panama Canal on Monday after being denied entry to several ports. Both ships are seeking to dock in Florida later this week.
But the state’s governor is reluctant to allow disembarkation for the more than 1,000 people aboard the Zaandam.