Coronavirus live news: more cases of ‘Covid-linked’ syndrome in children as UK deaths top Spain and France

Comments · 171 Views

The number of coronavirus cases in South Africa surged past the 5.....e country.

South Africa's virus cases jump past 5,000 after highest daily rise

The number of coronavirus cases in South Africa surged past the 5,000 mark on Thursday after it saw the largest single-day jump to date, health ministry figures showed.

A total of 354 new cases were confirmed on Thursday, bringing the overall total to 5,350, and the number of fatalities spiked by 10 to 103.

“This is the highest number of cases in a 24 hour cycle recorded to date and represents a 73 percent increase relative to the day before,” said the ministry in a statement. The day before, a total 203 new cases had been reported.

South Africa remains the continent’s worst infected country, followed by Egypt.

It is due to start gradually easing its strict lockdown regulations from 1 May. The restrictions have been in place since 27 March.

South African children sit two metres apart as they wait for a meal in the informal settlement of Masincedane, a beneficiary of the 9 Miles Project and Hope Southern Africa (HOSA) COVID-19 feeding scheme in Cape Town, South Africa, 28 April 2020.
South African children sit two metres apart as they wait for a meal in the informal settlement of Masincedane, a beneficiary of the 9 Miles Project and Hope Southern Africa (HOSA) COVID-19 feeding scheme in Cape Town, South Africa, 28 April 2020. Photograph: Nic Bothma/EPA

China to reopen Forbidden City

China’s Forbidden City will reopen on Friday, three months after it closed due to the coronavirus crisis - the latest signal that the country has brought the disease under control, AFP reports.

The sprawling imperial palace sitting across Tiananmen Square was shut down on January 25 as authorities closed tourist attractions and took other extraordinary measures to contain the virus, including locking down an entire province.

Security guards wearing a protective face masks stand near an entrance of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, 20 April 2020.
Security guards wearing a protective face masks stand near an entrance of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, 20 April 2020. Photograph: Wu Hong/EPA

The Palace Museum, which manages the Forbidden City, announced Wednesday that it will reopen from May 1, with a daily limit of 5,000 visitors - down from 80,000 before the pandemic.

Authorities have implemented other measures to reduce risks of infections at the cultural site, which in normal times attracted huge crowds.

Visitors will have to wear masks and show health codes on a special mobile phone app that indicates if they are an infection risk before entering. Temperatures will be taken at the entrance and anyone coughing or showing a fever will be turned away. Visitors will have to stand one metre from each other.

Within half an hour of the announcement, around 2,500 tickets for 1 May were booked, according to the ticketing website.

Updated

A top World Health Organization official declined comment on Wednesday on reports that Gilead Science’s remdesivir could help treat Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, but said that further data was needed, Reuters reports.

“I wouldn’t like to make any specific comment on that, because I haven’t read those publications in detail,” Dr Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s emergencies programme, told an online briefing in response to a question, adding it can sometimes take a number of publications to determine a drug’s efficacy.

“Clearly we have the randomised control trials that are underway both in the UK and US, the ‘Solidarity trials’ with WHO. Remdesivir is one of the drugs under observation in many of those trials. So I think a lot more data will come out,” he said.

Ryan added: “But we are hopeful this drug and others may prove to be helpful in treating Covid-19.”

In case you missed it, here is our full story on the nearly 100 cases of a rare ‘Covid-linked’ syndrome in children reported in at least six countries.

The Guardian’s Ian Sample and Denis Campbell report:

Doctors around the world have reported more cases of a rare but potentially lethal inflammatory syndrome in children that appears to be linked to coronavirus infections.

Nearly 100 cases of the unusual illness have emerged in at least six countries, with doctors in Britain, the US, France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland now reported to be investigating the condition.

The first cases came to light this week when the NHS issued an alert to paediatricians about a number of children admitted to intensive care units with a mix of toxic shock and a condition known as Kawasaki disease, an inflammatory disorder that affects the blood vessel, heart and other organs. So far 19 children have been affected in the UK and none have died.

The French health minister, Olivier Veran, said on Wednesday that the country had more than a dozen children with inflammation around the heart, and while there was insufficient evidence to prove a link with coronavirus, he said the cases were being taken “very seriously.”

At least three children in the US aged six months to eight years are being treated for a similar condition.

Updated

Summary

Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Helen Sullivan, with you for the next few hours.

A reminder that tips, questions, comments and stories from your part of the world are welcome on Twitter @helenrsullivan.

Doctors around the world have reported more cases of a rare but potentially lethal inflammatory syndrome in children that appears to be linked to coronavirus infections.

Nearly 100 cases of the unusual illness have emerged in at least six countries, with doctors in Britain, the US, France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland now reported to be investigating the condition.

This worrying news comes as the UK has included deaths outside hospital in its official figure for the first time, bringing the toll to 26,166: higher than France and Spain’s tolls.

  • The official global death toll exceeded 225,000, according to Johns Hopkins University data, with the official toll at 226,771. At least 3,187,919 people have been infected worldwide.
  • Donald Trump has said the federal government will not be extending its coronavirus social distancing guidelines once they expire on Thursday. Meanwhile, the number of Americans who have died of coronavirus surpassed 60,000, a toll far higher than any other country.
  • US drug trial shows ‘clear cut’ effect, says top medic. While a Chinese trial demonstrated no “significant clinical benefits” to administering the antiviral drug remdesivir to Covid-19 patients, a separate trial in the US shows a “clear-cut” effect, according to the head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr Anthony Fauci.
  • More cases of ‘Covid-linked’ syndrome in children. Doctors around the world have reported more cases of a rare but potentially lethal inflammatory syndrome in children that appears to be linked to coronavirus infections. Nearly 100 cases of the unusual illness have emerged in at least six countries, with doctors in Britain, the US, France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland now reported to be investigating the condition.
  • Half world’s workers ‘at risk of unemployment’. The International Labour Organisation has warned that almost half the global workforce – 1.6 billion people – are in “immediate danger of having their livelihoods destroyed” by the economic impact of Covid-19, Philip Inman, a Guardian economics writer, reports.
  • Official UK death toll up by 4,419, after the government included deaths outside hospital for the first time. As of 5pm on Tuesday, total of 26,097 patients had died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK, according to Public Health England.
  • Brazil sees record increase in cases. Brazil has reported a record increase in cases, with its ministry of health confirming 6,276 more infections in a 24-hour period, taking the country’s total to 78,162.
  • Ireland looks set to extend its lockdown, despite growing calls to ease restrictions and salvage the economy.The taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, said on Wednesday that new cases of Covid-19 infections, deaths and intensive care admissions appeared too high to start relaxing rules that are to expire on 5 May.
  • Swiss government extends ban on large public events. The Swiss government has extended its ban on public events exceeding 1000 people until the end of August, even as it announced the easing of some other restrictions on sporting events, shops, restaurants and museums.
  • Sweden passes 20,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus. The total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Sweden rose past the 20,000 mark on Wednesday, after the Nordic country reported another 681 infections.
  • Five coronavirus cases have been reported in Aden, southern Yemen, by the country’s internationally recognised government, raising the prospect that the war-ravaged country will soon also have an outbreak of the new disease.
  • China’s parliament is to hold its annual meeting from 22 May - more than two months later than planned. Conditions for holding the meeting have been met as the coronavirus situation has improved, decision makers said.
  • Russia’s coronavirus case tally neared the 100,000 milestone, after the country reported 5,841 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing its overall nationwide tally to 99,399, Reuters reports.
  • UK government is still aiming for 100,000 daily tests by tomorrow, according to the environment secretary, George Eustice. He said the search for an effective antibody test was still under way and denied that earlier introduction of testing at care homes would have saved lives.
  • The coronavirus outbreak needs to be contained before 2021 Olympics can go ahead, the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, said. “The Olympic Games must be held in a way that shows the world has won its battle against the coronavirus pandemic.”
  • The UK prime minister Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds announced the birth of a baby boy. Johnson returned to frontline work on Monday after falling ill with coronavirus and spending time in intensive care.
  • Air passenger numbers are down 99% in the UK, the home secretary told MPs, as she defended the government’s decision not to test individuals entering the country. On Friday, a total of 9,906 people entered the country.
Comments