Russia sees record daily rise in coronavirus cases: Live updates

Russia sees record daily rise in coronavirus cases: Live updates

  • Russia registered a record number of coronavirus cases for the third day in a row, as 7,933 more people tested positive for the virus.

  • South Africa took its first steps towards rolling back one of the world’s strictest coronavirus lockdowns. 

  • A US watchdog warned Afghanistan is likely facing a “health disaster” from the pandemic.

  • The euro zone’s economy shrunk by 3.8 percent in the first quarter, the biggest hit since records began in 1995.

  • Worldwide, the number of confirmed infections stood at more than 3.26 million, with some 233,000 deaths and more than one million recoveries.

Here are the latest updates:

Friday, May 1

12:05 GMT – Bollywood could take two years to recover from pandemic

India’s film industry, Bollywood, will take at least two years to recover financially from the coronavirus pandemic, which is threatening big-ticket projects and putting at risk tens of thousands of jobs.

That was the sombre assessment of about a dozen top producers, distributors and actors from Bollywood during a video conference this week. 

Read more here

12:00 GMT – Italian PM apologises for delay in payout 

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte apologised to Italians on Friday for their economic hardships and promised a brighter future once the lockdown lifts.

Italy will begin to emerge from the world’s longest coronavirus shutdown on Monday and see whether two months of containment were enough to avoid a new contagion wave.

Conte admitted his government was late to pay out more than 50 billion euros ($55bn) assigned to struggling families and businesses.

“I apologise on behalf of the government and assure you that we will continue to press for the payments and financing to be completed as soon as possible,” Conte wrote on Facebook.

Coronavirus: UN chief says world leaders are falling short

10:45 GMT – Macron tells France: Life won’t be normal after May 11

President Emmanuel Macron warned that the end of the national lockdown on May 11 would only be a first step as France looks to pull out of the crisis created by the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Traditional Labour Day protests that usually see thousands of demonstrators on streets were cancelled this year due to the virus outbreak that has killed 24,000 people across France.

“May 11 will not be the passage to normal life. There will be a recovery that will need to be reorganised,” Macron said in a speech at the presidential palace after a meeting with horticulturists.

“There will be several phases and May 11 will be one of them.”


11:30 GMT – India’s COVID-19 app raises surveillance fears

Indian authorities plan to make a contact-tracing mobile app mandatory for everything from taking public transit to going to work, raising concerns among digital rights experts about privacy and increased surveillance.

Aarogya Setu, the app launched by the Indian government earlier this month to stem the novel coronavirus outbreak, evaluates users’ risk of infection based on location, and their medical and travel history. It uses Bluetooth and location services to trace a user’s contacts.

Aarogya Setu application India

While authorities have said the app is voluntary, it has been made mandotory for food delivery workers and some othet service providers, and all federal government employees [Al Jazeera] 

Read more here.

11:20 GMT – Qatar reports 687 new cases, 2 deaths

Qatar’s health ministry reported two new deaths and 687 confirmed coronavirus cases, taking the Gulf state’s total infections to 14,096.

A total of 1,436 people have so far recovered from the virus and 12 have died, the ministry added.

11:15 GMT – China’s Hubei province eases lockdown

China’s central province of Hubei, where the novel coronavirus behind the pandemic was first detected, will lower its emergency response level from Saturday in the latest relaxation of lockdowns put in place to contain the virus.

Hubei will lower the level from the highest to the second-highest from May 2, the province’s health commission said in a post on its public WeChat account. 

Hubei is the last province to lower its provincial emergency response level, a major milestone in China’s fight against the pandemic. The virus is believed to have originated in a wet market in the province’s capital Wuhan in December.

Medical workers collect swabs from high school teachers for nucleic acid tests at a school in Yichang

Medical workers collect swabs from high school teachers for nucleic acid tests at a school in Yichang, Hubei province [China Daily via Reuters]

11:00 GMT – Philippines relaxes virus restrictions 

The Philippines has begun to ease coronavirus restrictions in the country, even as the number of infections and deaths continues to rise nearly two months since a lockdown was imposed on the most populous island.

The government placed areas with few cases of COVID-19 under a more relaxed form of quarantine starting from Friday, allowing work, public transportation and commercial establishments, including shopping malls, to resume operations at a reduced capacity.

The health ministy reported 284 new coronavirus infections and 11 more deaths, bringing its total number of cases to 8,772 and fatalities to 579.

10:30 GMT – Special train ferries stranded Indian migrants

India ran the first train service for migrant workers desperate to return home since it imposed a nationwide lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus.

Relieved and smiling, 1,200 people clapped as they boarded the train at Lingampally in southern Telangana state for Hatia in the eastern state of Jharkhand – a 19-hour journey.

However, railroad authorities said Friday’s service was only a one-off special train and a decision on running more trains will be taken soon.

10:00 GMT – Videos show huge medical equipment backlog in China

Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit has obtained exclusive video revealing a huge backlog of goods at China’s biggest export hub that is slowing the supply of medical equipment urgently needed to protect hundreds of thousands of health workers as they fight the global coronavirus pandemic.

Videos shows backlog of medical equipment at Shanghai airport

Read more here.

09:45 GMT – Iran’s virus death toll rises to 6,091

Iran’s death toll from the outbreak of the new coronavirus increased by 63 in the past 24 hours to 6,091, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said in a statement on state TV.

The total number of diagnosed cases in the country, one of the hardest hit by the outbreak in the Middle East, has reached 95,646, including 2,899 in critical condition, he added.

09:40 GMT – Hungarian F1 GP to be held without spectators 

The Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix scheduled for August can only go ahead without spectators, organisers said in a statement. 

The race at the Hungaroring is due to take place on August 2, but Hungary on Thursday said events with more than 500 participants cannot be held until August 15.

“It is now evident that any F1 race in Hungary can now only be held behind closed doors,” organisers said.

F1 Grand Prix of Hungary

Formula One plans to start its stalled season without spectators in Austria in July followed by the British Grand Prix at Silverstone under similar conditions [File: Mark Thompson/Getty Images]

09:30 GMT – WHO wants China invite for probe into virus origins

The World Health Organization said that it was hoping China would invite it to take part in its investigations into the animal origins of the novel coronavirus.

“WHO would be keen to work with international partners and at the invitation of the Chinese government to participate in investigation around the animal origins,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told AFP news agency in an email.

He said the UN health agency understood there were a number of investigations under way in China “to better understand the source of the outbreak”, but added that “WHO is not currently involved in the studies in China.”

09:25 GMT – Spain’s coronavirus death toll nears 25,000 

Spain’s coronavirus death toll rose to 24,824 as 281 more people died from causes related to the disease overnight, the health ministry said.

The ministry also reported 1,781 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total infections to 215,216.

The previous day’s death toll was 268. Spain has the second highest number of COVID-19 cases worldwide after the US. 

09:10 GMT – The ‘forgotten’ care home victims of coronavirus

Doctor's note elderly care home/Getty Images

Residents of the Amberwood Care Home enjoy a game of picture bingo with carer Sue in Leicester, UK [Tim Keeton/EPA-EFE] 

Vulnerable elderly residents of care homes in the United Kingdom are being neglected amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Read Dr Amir Khan’s note here

09:00 GMT – Indonesia reports 433 new coronavirus cases

Indonesia confirmed on 433 new coronavirus infections, taking the total number of cases to 10,551, health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said.

Yurianto reported eight new deaths, taking the total number of fatalities to 800, while 1,591 people have recovered.

Indonesia has tested more than 76,500 people for the virus.


08:50 GMT – Swiss soldiers pick up smartphones to fight COVID-19

Swiss soldiers are using smartphones to test a new contact tracing application that could prevent coronavirus infections while also protecting users’ privacy.

Switzerland hopes to launch the app on May 11 based on a standard, developed by researchers in Lausanne and Zurich, that uses Bluetooth communication between devices to assess the risk of catching COVID-19.


Swiss soldiers in Chamblon sit in a classroom as they install the contact tracking application created by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) [Denis Balibouse/Reuters]

A hundred soldiers from the Chamblon army base near Lausanne volunteered to download the app and then go about their regular routines for 24 hours.

“If a person eventually gets positively tested, they can upload their ID to the system and then all the other apps can check whether they have been close to that person and can then call the health authorities,” Marcel Salathe, director of the digital epidemiology lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), told Reuters news agency. 

08:40 GMT – Spain’s GDP will contract 9.2% in 2020

Spain’s gross domestic product will contract 9.2 percent this year, Economy Minister Nadia Calvino said, as the coronavirus pandemic battered the economy.

The GDP is expected to grow 6.8 percent in 2021, she said.

The Bank of Spain expected an “asymetric V-shape recovery, with the deepest decrease in the second quarter and then a strong and gradual recovery in the second half of the year,” Calvino said.

Can the global economy recover from coronavirus?

08:30 GMT – Philippines reports 11 new coronavirus deaths

The Philippines reported 284 new coronavirus infections and 11 more deaths, bringing its total number of cases to 8,772 and fatalities to 579.

It also said 41 more individuals had recovered, bringing total recoveries to 1,084.

07:55 GMT – Pakistan’s parliament speaker tests positive 

The speaker of Pakistan’s National Assembly, Asad Qaiser, said he had tested positive for COVID-19, after hosting an iftar dinner to celebrate Ramadan, and meeting Prime Minister Imran Khan and other high officials earlier in the week.

It is not immediately known if Khan will be tested again. He was checked in April, and tested negative, after meeting with the head of Pakistan’s biggest charity organisation, Faisal Edhi, who was subsequently confirmed to have caught the disease.

“I have quarantined myself at home,” Qaiser, who is also a close aide to Khan, said on Twitter.


Qaiser, a close aide to Khan, had hosted an iftar dinner attended by politicians and dignitaries on Monday [File: National Assembly, via AP]

07:50 GMT – Australian PM: No evidence virus originated in China lab

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has angered Beijing by calling for a global inquiry into the coronavirus outbreak, said he had no evidence to suggest the disease originated in a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he was confident the coronavirus may have originated in a Chinese virology lab, but declined to describe the evidence he said he had seen.

National Cabinet Meets To Discuss Relaxation Of Coronavirus Restrictions

Morrison speaks at a news conference on May 1, 2020, at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia [Rohan Thomson/Getty Images]

Morrison said Australia had no information to support that theory, and said the confusion supported his push for an inquiry to understand how the outbreak started and then spread rapidly around the world.

“What we have before us doesn’t suggest that that is the likely source,” Morrison told a news conference in Canberra when asked about Trump’s comments.

“There’s nothing we have that would indicate that was the likely source, though you can’t rule anything out in these environments,” he said.

07:45 GMT – Russia reports record daily rise in cases

Russia reported 7,933 new cases of the coronavirus, a record daily rise, bringing its nationwide tally to 114,431.

The official nationwide death toll rose to 1,169 after 96 people infected with the virus died in the last 24 hours, Russia’s coronavirus crisis response centre said.

07:15 GMT – South Africa eases lockdown

South Africa has begun to gradually loosen its strict coronavirus, allowing some industries to reopen after five weeks of restrictions that plunged its struggling economy deeper into turmoil.

Winter clothing, textile and packaging manufacturing are among the industries permitted to reopen factories. Restaurants will also open, but only for takeaway deliveries.

Some outside activities such as cycling, walking and running will be allowed – but for just three hours in the morning.

Controversial bans on the sale of cigarettes and alcohol will remain in effect.

06:55 GMT – Germany’s confirmed cases rise by 1,639

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,639 to 160,758, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The death toll rose by 193 to 6,481.

German authorities have agreed to reopen playgrounds, churches and cultural institutions such as museums and zoos as part of the gradual loosening of the country’s pandemic lockdown.

06:50 GMT – Irish airline Ryanair plans 3,000 job cuts 

Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair said it plans to axe up to 3,000 pilot and cabin crew jobs, with air transport paralysed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Dublin-based Ryanair added in a statement that most of its flights will remain grounded until at least July and predicted it would take until summer 2022 before passenger demand recovers.

06:40 GMT – Turkey evacuates over 300 nationals from Iraq

More than 300 Turkish nationals were evacuated to Turkey from the Iraqi capital of Baghdad and several southern provinces, upon their repatriation requests due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The Turkish citizens were returned to their homeland through the land route with the support of Turkish ministries and the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad.

The Turkish government has repatriated around 60,000 of its nationals from various countries since the start of the pandemic.

Turkey to deliver medical aid supplies to Palestine

Turkey prepares to deliver medical equipment to Palestine [Esra Bilgin/Anadolu]

06:30 GMT – May Day marks pain for workers hit by virus

The first of May usually brings both protest rallies and celebration rallies marking International Workers‘ Day.

Among the ten of millions of people left idle or thrown out of work by the coronavirus crisis, garment workers have been among the hardest hit as orders dry up and shutdowns leave factories shuttered, giving workers plenty to protest at a time when lockdowns are keeping them at home.

Millions of jobs have vanished in countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia, Cambodia and Myanmar that rely heavily on garment manufacturing as fashion brands cancelled or suspended billions of dollars worth of orders.


06:15 GMT – Heathrow sees April passenger numbers down 97%

London’s Heathrow Airport, traditionally the busiest in Europe, said passenger numbers were expected to be down by around 97 percent in April and they were likely to remain weak until governments fighting the coronavirus outbreak deem it safe to travel.

For the first quarter, revenue fell 12.7 percent to 593 million pounds ($745m).

Heathrow said it had 3.2 billion pounds in liquidity, sufficient to maintain the business at least over the next 12 months, even with no passengers.

The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London

A lady wearing a mask is seen at Heathrow airport, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, London, Britain [Henry Nicholls/Reuters]

06:00 GMT – Hungary PM warns of potential second wave in Oct-Nov

Hungary needs to prepare for a potential second wave of the coronavirus outbreak in October to November, even though the spreading of the virus will likely slow in the summer, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told state radio.

Orban also said if authorities manage to reduce the death rate from the pandemic in Budapest, where 80 percent of deaths have been recorded, only then will current restrictions be eased in the capital city.

Hungary will lift a large part of restrictions in the countryside from Monday.

Hungarian ballet dancer Kovacs performs a choreographic piece he has designed for the 'coronavirus melody' during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Budapest

Hungarian ballet dancer Zsolt Kovacs performs a choreographic piece he has designed for the ‘coronavirus melody’, a musical composition created by MIT scientists from a model of the protein structure of SARS-CoV-2 in Budapest, Hungary [Bernadett Szabo/Reuters]

05:45 GMT – Australia says relationship with China ‘mutually beneficial’

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the country’s relationship with China “mutually beneficial” amid an intensifying row with Beijing over a proposed international inquiry into the coronavirus outbreak.

China, Australia’s top trading partner, has accused Canberra of “petty tricks” in the dispute that could affect diplomatic and economic ties between the countries.

Hello, this is Saba Aziz in Doha, taking over from my colleague Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur.

05:03 GMT – Thailand reports six new coronavirus cases

Thailand reported six new coronavirus cases and no new death on Friday, taking its tally to 2,960 infections while fatalities remained at 54 since the outbreak began in January.

New daily infections have stayed in the single digits for five consecutive days. The six cases also marked the lowest new daily infections since early March, according to Reuters news agency.

King of Thailand

Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida produce a face mask during a visit to an exhibition at a Royal Guard regiment in Bangkok [Royal Household Bureau via Reuters]

04:39 GMT – Australia to consider easing of containment measures

Australia will consider next Friday whether to relax coronavirus-related mobility restrictions, as the growth rate of new infections slows, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday following a national cabinet meeting.

Morrison urged Australians to download an app aimed at tracing contacts of COVID-19 patients, saying it was a pre-condition to relaxing the containment measures.

Australia has reported about 6,700 COVID-19 cases and 93 deaths.

04:24 GMT – Japan’s Naruhito performs ritual

Japan’s Emperor Naruhito marked the first anniversary of his enthronement on Friday with a prayer at palace shrines for the people’s peace and happiness amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Naruhito, wearing a white surgical mask, greeted well-wishers on the sidewalk from a royal car on the way to the palace for the ritual.

Naruhito, 60, ascended to the Chrysanthemum throne on May 1 last year, the day after his father, Akihito, abdicated. In Friday’s closed ritual, Naruhito was to change to traditional outfit to pray for the peace and happiness for the people and the gods of Shinto.

04:24 GMT – Protesters stage May Day rally in Taiwan


Labour union groups gather for a May Day rally while wearing surgical masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus disease in Taipei on Friday [Ann Wang/Reuters]

04:12 GMT – Afghanistan likely facing coronavirus ‘health disaster’

Afghanistan, beset by a poor healthcare system, malnutrition, war and other vulnerabilities, likely is facing a “health disaster” from the coronavirus, a watchdog report to the US Congress warns.

The report by Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) could heighten concerns among US officials that the pandemic threatens to derail stalled US-led peace efforts.

“Afghanistan’s numerous and, in some cases, unique vulnerabilities – a weak health-care system, widespread malnutrition, porous borders, massive internal displacement, contiguity with Iran, and ongoing conflict – make it likely the country will confront a health disaster in the coming months,” the report said.

Read more here

03:19 GMT – Malaysia to allow most businesses to reopen starting on May 4

Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced on Friday that most businesses will be allowed to reopen starting on Monday, May 4, subject to some conditions.

Economic sectors that involve large gatherings of people such as cinema and bazaars, however, will not be allowed to reopen, he said in a televised address.

Muhyiddin made the announcement as he acknowledged that the government has lost an estimated 63 billion Malaysian ringgit ($14.66bn) due to the lockdown following the coronavirus pandemic.  

02:44 GMT – South Korean exports plunge due to coronavirus

The coronavirus crisis sent South Korean exports plunging in April at their sharpest pace since the global financial crisis, signalling a bleak outlook for international trade as the pandemic paralyses the world economy and shatters demand, according to Reuters news agency.

Exports dived 24.3 percent year-on-year in April, trade ministry data showed on Friday, the worst contraction since May 2009. It slid 0.7 percent in the previous month.

The average exports per working day, excluding the calendar effect, also tumbled 17.4 percent, far worse than the 6.9 percent fall seen in March.

South Korea, is Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

02:25 GMT – South Korea reports nine new cases

South Korea reported nine more cases of the new coronavirus Friday, bringing the nation’s total infections to 10,774, out of whom 9,072 have recovered, the Yonhap news agency reported. 

Of the nine new cases, eight cases are believed to come from people who came from overseas, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said in a statement.

The nation’s death toll from the coronavirus rose by one to 248 total.

01:55 GMT – Funeral home in New York ‘overflowing’ with bodies

New York state officials have warned that funeral home could face fines and licence suspensions after police found that one such facility in Brooklyn had resorted to storing dozens of bodies on ice in rented trucks.

Authorities found that the Andrew T. Cleckley Funeral Home had rented four trucks to hold about 50 corpses, Health Commissioner Dr Howard Zucker said Thursday.

A neighbouring business owner called 911 to report that fluids were leaking from one of the trucks, police said.

Health officials issued guidance to all funeral homes that they would not tolerate “any of that kind of behaviour”, Zucker said at the daily coronavirus briefing by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Almost 63,000 people have died of the coronavirus in the US, the majority of which were from New York.

New York

Workers move bodies to a refrigerated truck from the offending funeral home in New York City [Craig Ruttle/AP]

01:25 GMT – Japan to decide whether to extend state of emergency

Japan will formally decide as early as Monday whether to extend its nationwide state of emergency, according to the public broadcaster NHK, after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned citizens to prepare for a “drawn-out battle” against the coronavirus.

The nationwide state of emergency is set to expire on May 6 and the government is planning to extend the emergency for about a month, sources have told Reuters news agency.

Some countries are restarting business activity after closures and social distancing measures to contain the spread of the virus, even as Japan has seen far fewer infections and deaths than hot spots in the United States and Europe.

Japan - Tokyo

The government is planning to extend the emergency for about a month, sources have told Reuters news agency [Eugene Hoshiko/AP]

01:00 GMT – China reports 12 new cases of coronavirus

China’s National Health Commission reported on Friday 12 new coronavirus infections as of the end of Thursday, with 6 being imported cases.

There were almost 84,000 people infected with the virus in China, but about 94 percent of the patients have already recovered. At least 4,637 were officially reported as deaths.

Meanwhile, China announced that it will reopen the Palace Museum in Beijing to the public starting on Friday, May 1.

01:00 GMT – Top US doctor expresses hope for coronavirus drug

News that an experimental drug seems to be the first effective treatment for the new coronavirus has unleashed a flurry of interest.

Talk turned Thursday to how quickly the federal Food and Drug Administration might act on Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir, after preliminary results from a major study found it shortened the recovery time by an average of four days for people hospitalised with the disease, also known as COVID-19.

“You do now have a drug that you have proven can actually work on the virus,” the National Institutes of Health’s Dr Anthony Fauci told the Associated Press news agency.

“Will it be an overwhelming cure? No, of course not. But with its use, “you will free up hospital beds, you will take less stress on the health care system,” he added.

00:40 GMT – Australia plots return of sport as spread of coronavirus slows

The Australian government will meet on Friday to discuss how sport can restart as the number of new coronavirus cases dwindles and states begin to relax restrictions on social gatherings, two sources familiar with the details told Reuters news agency.

Australia has reported about 6,700 cases of the new coronavirus and 93 deaths, significantly below the levels reported in the United States, Britain and Europe. Growth in new infections has slowed to less 0.5 percent a day, compared to 25 percent a month ago.

“The agenda includes the principles for sport and other recreational activities,” one source familiar with the cabinet agenda told Reuters.

00:30 GMT – Mexico reports 1,425 new coronavirus cases, 127 deaths

Mexican health officials have reported 1,425 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 127 new deaths in the country, bringing the total to 19,224 cases and 1,859 deaths in the country.

00:01 GMT – Trump says US can never declare ‘total victory’ over virus

President Donald Trump said Thursday that he believes the US can never declare “total victory” over the coronavirus because too many people have died. But he added that he will count it a win when the virus is gone and the economy fully reopened.

With almost 63,000 Americans fallen to the virus, Trump pointed out that the death rate in the US was lower than in many other countries and he offered the optimistic prediction that the battered economy would be vastly improved in a matter of months and “spectacular” by 2021.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You can find all the key developments from yesterday, April 30, here.

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