Trump suggests coronavirus linked to Wuhan lab: Live updates

Trump suggests coronavirus linked to Wuhan lab: Live updates

  • US President Donald Trump said China could have unleashed the coronavirus on the world due to some kind of horrible “mistake,” adding that he has seen evidence that the deadly disease, also known as COVID-19, came from a laboratory in Wuhan, where the infection was first reported.

  • More than 3.8 million people in the US filed new claims for jobless benefits over the past week, bringing the six-week total since the beginning of coronavirus-related lockdowns to more than 30 million, as US stocks fall sharply.

  • The eurozone’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 3.25 million, with some 232,000 deaths and more than one million recoveries.

  • The World Health Organization says it is “very concerned” about community spread in a number of countries in West Africa.

Here are the latest updates:

Friday, May 1

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

New York state officials have warned that funeral home could face fines and license 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 neighboring 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 behavior,” Zucker said at the daily coronavirus briefing by New York Gov Andrew Cuomo.

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 Comission 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 of the disease in China, but about 94 percent of the patients have already recovered. At least 4,637 were officially reported as fatalities.

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’s 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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