US has one of deadliest days for coronavirus: Live updates | News

  • At least 3,332 new coronavirus deaths were reported in the United States in a 24-hour period, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, one of the deadliest days since the outbreak began. The total death toll in the country has reached 49,963 amid over 869,000 cases. 

  • 26 million people have sought US jobless aid in the past five weeks since the coronavirus hit. About one in six American workers have lost their jobs, by far the worst string of layoffs since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The US House of Representatives has passed a nearly $500bn spending package to help businesses and hospitals.

  • More than 190,000 people have died due to the pandemic, including 50,000 in the US, with 2.7 million infected globally, out of whom almost 750,000 have recovered.

  • Testing of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine began on healthy volunteers at University of Oxford in Britain, the latest in a cluster of early-stage studies in search of protection against the coronavirus.

  • The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) says there are “worrying upward trends” in early epidemics in parts of Africa and Central and South America, warning that the “virus will be with us for a long time”.

Here are the latest updates:

Friday, April 24

09:10 GMT – Pompeo urges Egypt to keep US prisoners safe

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed to his Egyptian counterpart that Americans detained in Egypt should be kept safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

The State Department on Thursday did not give any details about US prisoners, but three Americans held in Egypt were mentioned in a letter by a bipartisan group of US senators sent to Pompeo this month, asking him to call for the release of Americans detained in several countries, citing the risk from the virus.

Pompeo, in his call with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, “emphasised that detained US citizens be kept safe and provided consular access during the COVID-19 pandemic”, the State Department said in a statement.

Read more here

Mike Pompeo

In Egypt, coronavirus has killed 276 people and infected more than 3,600, the WHO says [File: Andrew Harnik/Reuters]

09:00 GMT – Indonesia reports 436 new cases, biggest daily jump

Indonesia reported its biggest daily jump in coronavirus infections after identifying 436 new cases, taking the total to 8,211, data provided by health ministry official Achmad Yurianto showed on Friday.

Forty-two more people who had tested positive for the virus died, taking the total number of deaths to 689, according to the data.

08:55 GMT – Malaysia reports 88 new cases and one new death

Malaysian health authorities have reported 88 new coronavirus cases and one more death.

That brought the cumulative total to 5,691 cases in Malaysia, with the daily rise remaining in double digits for the eighth straight day.

The country has now reported 96 fatalities due to COVID-19 since the outbreak began.

Ramadan begins: Holy month impacted by global virus outbreak

08:45 GMT – Pakistan using intelligence services to track cases

Pakistan is using a contact tracing system – developed by its intelligence services to combat terrorism – to fight the coronavirus, the country’s prime minister has said, as COVID-19 cases continue to spike in the South Asian country.

Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) service is supporting the government in tracing and tracking people who may have been in contact in with those who test positive for the virus.

“The ISI has given us a great system for track and trace,” said Pakistani PM Imran Khan on a live telecast of a telethon on Thursday. “It was originally used against terrorism, but now it is has come in useful against coronavirus.”

Read more here

FILE PHOTO: Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during a joint news conference with Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (not pictured) in Putrajaya

Khan on Thursday held a telethon to help fund the government’s welfare programme for low-income families [File: Lim Huey Teng/Reuters]

08:30 GMT – US reports 3,332 deaths in 24 hours: Johns Hopkins tally

The US suffered one of the deadliest days of the pandemic with 3,332 fatalities in 24 hours.

The overall death toll in the US now sits at to 49,963, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

The US, the worst-hit country in the world, now has 868,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, up 27,000 from the previous day. Because of a lack of testing, the actual number of infections is likely to be much higher.

Trump suggests injecting disinfectant to treat coronavirus

08:15 GMT – Philippines’ infections top 7,000

The Philippines’ Health Ministry has reported that confirmed cases of the new coronavirus have risen to more than 7,000.

In a bulletin, the ministry recorded 211 new infections, 15 additional deaths and 40 more recoveries. It brought the total cases to 7,192, deaths to 477 and recoveries to 762.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday extended a strict lockdown in the capital Manila until May 15 to try to contain coronavirus infections, but will ease restrictions in lower-risk regions.

07:55 GMT – China: cyber attacks on anti-pandemic institutions should be condemned

China has said that cyber attacks against institutions fighting the coronavirus pandemic should be condemned around the world.

Foreign minsitry spokesman Geng Shuang made the remarks in response to a question about a report by the U.S. cybersecurity firm FireEye that Vietnamese government-linked hackers had attempted to break into the personal and professional email accounts of staff at China’s Ministry of Emergency Management and the government of Wuhan, the Chinese city where the virus emerged last year.

Vietnam’s foreign ministry called the report “baseless” on Thursday. Geng did not directly comment on whether such attacks against Chinese officials had occurred.

07:45 GMT – Experts react with horror to Trump disinfectant idea

Doctors and epidemiologists have reacted with alarm to comments from US President Donald Trump that injecting disinfectant and exposure to ultraviolet rays could help people with the coronavirus.

“Trump is absolutely wrong and irresponsible,” Dr Eugene Gu, whose laboratory is involved in coronavirus testing, wrote on Twitter, adding “Clorox, Tide Pods and Lysol will kill coronavirus. No question about it. But if you are infected then the coronavirus is inside your cells. If you use any of those disinfectants to kill the coronavirus in your own cells then you’ll die right along with the coronavirus.” 

Read more here.


President Donald Trump leads a daily briefing on the coronavirus and has often touted unproven treatments [Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

07:30 GMT – UN virtual meeting accompanied by technical problems

The coronavirus pandemic is making global diplomacy more complicated.

For the first time in its history, the United Nations Security Council has been meeting remotely.

But those sessions have been plagued by technical difficulties.

UN holds virtual meetings, technical problems ensue

07:25 GMT – Singapore records 897 new infections

Singapore has registered 897 new coronavirus infections, taking its total number of cases to 12,075.

The health ministry said the vast majority of the new cases were migrant workers residing in dormitories, many of which are under government-ordered quarantine due to mass outbreaks.

The island of 5.7 million people now has one of the highest infection rates in Asia, according to official figures, behind only China, India and Japan

07:15 GMT – Hundreds of doctors in Bangladesh infected

As coronavirus cases mount in Bangladesh, its government struggles to keep its front-line healthcare workers free from getting infected, which has further strained the country’s medical facilities.

At least 251 doctors had tested positive for coronavirus by Thursday, according to the Bangladesh Doctors Foundation (BDF), as the group blamed a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and infections from patients for the outbreak among the doctors.

Nearly 200 doctors are infected in the capital, Dhaka. So far, Bangladesh has reported 3,772 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 120 deaths.

Read more here

Bangladesh doctor's on duty during coronavirus [Mahmud Hossain Opu/Al Jazeera]

Bangladesh doctor’s on duty during coronavirus [Mahmud Hossain Opu/Al Jazeera]

07:00 GMT – Airlines in Philippines extend flight suspensions to mid-May

The Philippines’ major airlines have said their domestic and international flights will remain suspended until mid-May following the extension of coronavirus lockdown measures in the capital and affected cities and provinces.

Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and the Philippine unit of Malaysia’s Airasia Group Bhd said passenger flights, which were halted in March, will remain suspended. Cargo and special recovery flights will continue, the airlines told Reuters.

06:50 GMT – Britain not asking doctors to compromise on protective gear, minister says

Guidance for personal protective equipment (PPE) in hospitals is based on clinical advice and does not ask doctors to compromise on safety, British health minister Matt Hancock has said, after two doctors launched legal action against the government.

The two doctors, a husband and wife who are expecting a child, have been exposed to patients with COVID-19 and are concerned that current PPE guidance and availability are inadequate to protect them from infection.

“The guidelines for what PPE is used are supported by and entirely based on clinical advice of what is the most effective use of this precious equipment,” Hancock told ITV.

Asked if doctors were being asked to compromise on equipment, Hancock said: “I don’t recognise that.”

London charity: Virus layoffs force families into poverty

06:40 GMT – UK PM Johnson in good shape, says minister

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in good shape and recovering after falling gravely ill with COVID-19, health minister Matt Hancock has said.

“I’m sure he’ll come back as soon as his doctors recommend it,” he told Sky News.

“That decision is for the prime minister in consultation with his doctors. I spoke to him yesterday, he’s on very good form and is clearly recovering.”

06:30 GMT – Sunlight, heat and humidity weaken coronavirus, US official says

The coronavirus appears to weaken more quickly when exposed to sunlight, heat and humidity, a US official has said, in a potential sign that the pandemic could become less contagious in summer months.

US government researchers have determined that the virus survives best indoors and in dry conditions, and loses potency when temperatures and humidity rise – and especially when it is exposed to sunlight, said William Bryan, acting head of the US Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate.

“The virus dies quickest in the presence of direct sunlight,” he told a White House news briefing.

However, the virus proven lethal in several countries with warm climates, raising questions about how much impact seasonal change in the US will have. 

Coronavirus: Trump disagrees with Georgia push to reopen economy

06:20 GMT – Surge in cases in India’s Maharashtra state

A surge in cases of the coronavirus in the central Indian state of Maharashtra has propelled the country to a record 24-hour high.

Health authorities said Friday that Maharashtra recorded 778 new cases on Thursday, bringing India’s total of confirmed cases of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus, to 22,930.

India’s 1,680 new cases Thursday marked its biggest single-day jump since April 19, a day before India relaxed some restrictions for industry in a bid to help employ some of the millions of migrant workers who fled cities for their homes villages when the ongoing lockdown was announced March 24.

Fearing rampant spread of the disease in the city’s crowded slums, officials in India’s financial capital of Mumbai, the state capital of Maharashtra, are developing a plan to administer doses of the Donald Trump-backed anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic against COVID-19 among some slumdwellers.


06:00 GMT – India lockdown worsens access to mental healthcare

One of Prime Minister Narendra Modi government’s most-lauded achievements has been the passage of the Mental Healthcare Act in 2017, which guarantees Indians the right to mental healthcare.

The law also discourages the earlier emphasis on institutionalising or incarcerating such patients, arguing instead for integrating patients within their communities.

However, by not making arrangements for patients during the coronavirus lockdown, the government may be violating its own law.

Read more here

India Islamophobia

A doctor wearing a protective gear prepares to take a swab from a girl to test for the coronavirus in Ahmedabad, India [Amit Dave/Reuters]

05:45 GMT – UK retail sales fall by most on record

British retail sales fell by the most on record in March, official figures have shown, reflecting the hit from the coronavirus shutdown which closed many businesses in the second half of the month.

Sales volumes fell 5.1 percent in March from February, a bigger fall than a median forecast for a drop of 4.0 percent in a Reuters news agency poll of economists. 

05:15 GMT – Hungary to scrap curfew, refocus anti-coronavirus defense: PM

Hungary plans to replace the current lockdown that imposes a blanket curfew over the population with a more fine-tuned version from early May, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told state radio on Friday.

Orban said the new rules will focus on the elderly, the sick and those living in big cities, as those people are exposed to a disproportionate measure of risk. 

More than 26 million Americans apply for unemployment benefits in 5 weeks

05:00 GMT – Australia PM says will be illegal for non-health officials to get data from tracking app

People other than authorised health officials will be banned by law from accessing data collected in government smartphone software to trace the contacts of people with the coronavirus, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said.

“It will be illegal for information to go out of that data store to any other person other than that for whom the whole thing is designed, and that is to support the health worker in the state to be able to undertake the contact tracing,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

Morrison also confirmed the data would be stored by on servers managed by AWS, a unit of US internet giant Inc, but added that “it’s a nationally encrypted data store”.


This is Joseph Stepansky in Doha taking over the live updates from my colleague Ted Regencia.


04:45 GMT – Indonesia to ban air, sea travel until the end of May – officials

Indonesia will temporarily ban domestic and international air and sea travel, with some exceptions, starting this week to prevent a further spread of the coronavirus, the transport ministry said in a statement on Friday.

The announcement came as the holy month of Ramadan began in the world’s largest Muslim majority country, and the government has already banned citizens’ traditional annual exodus from the cities to the provinces during the holiday period..

The ban on sea travel took immediate effect, but the ban on air travel will start on Saturday. The ban will apply across-the-board until May 31.

04:35 GMT – El Salvador parliament evacuated for suspicion of COVID-19

The El Salvador Legislative Assembly suddenly ended its session Thursday evening after news of a suspected Covid-19 contamination in the building, which was quickly evacuated, was announced.

“The Interdisciplinary Epidemiological Control Team in El Salvador has detected a serious suspicion of Covid-19 in the blue living room of the Assembly,” Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele wrote on Twitter.

“We recommend closing the session and self-confining all MPs and staff, while dismissing or confirming suspect cases and their contacts,” said Bukele.

04:18 GMT – Thailand reports 15 new cases, no new deaths

Thailand reported on Friday a total of 15 new coronavirus cases and no new deaths, bringing the overall number of cases since its outbreak in January to 2,854 cases and 50 deaths.

Of the new cases, nine were linked to previous cases and two had no known links.

Four other new cases were reported from the southern province of Yala where the authorities are aggressively testing the population because of high infection rates there, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a government spokesman. Since the outbreak 2,490 patients have recovered and gone home.

04:12 GMT – Hundreds gather in Indonesia’s Aceh to mark start of Ramadan 

Hundreds of worshippers gathered at a mosque in Indonesia’s ultra-conservative Aceh province for prayers marking the start of the holy month of Ramadan, despite fears over the spread of the coronavirus.

People were seen standing shoulder to shoulder during the evening prayer, known as Taraweeh on Thursday at the Baiturrahman Grand Mosque. Only a few had face masks on.

“With us praying together we hope God Allah will bless the world and that this pandemic will be over soon, because we believe if we are praying together (in mosques) Allah will answer our prayers,” said Siti Ramadan, one of those who attended the prayers.

Coronavirus - Aceh

Indonesian worshippers perform an evening prayer marking the first evening of Ramadan despite concerns of the new coronavirus outbreak in Aceh on Thursday night [Zik Maulana/AP]

03:42 GMT – US deaths top 50,000 

US coronavirus deaths hit another grim milestone on Friday topping 50,000, as the number of lives lost in April rises by an average of 2,000 a day, according to the Worldometers website, which tracks the pandemic.

The Johns Hopkins website also showed the death toll inching closer to 50,000.

The total number of US cases hit 868,000 with many states yet to report early on Friday.

US deaths

The total number of US cases hit 868,000 with many states yet to report early on Friday [Seth Wenig/AP]

03:17 GMT – Deadly protest in Venezuela amid the coronavirus pandemic 

A man has been shot dead in southern Venezuela during a protest against rising food prices, the military said amid the coronavirus crisis.

Protesters in Venezuela’s provincial cities took to the streets for a second day on Thursday. Dozens of people demonstrated in Upata, a town of about 100,000 in the southern state of Bolivar, protesting against “rising prices for food and essentials,” according to a report by the Venezuelan army seen by the AFP news agency. 

As of Thursday, Venezuela reported an estimated 311 infections with at least 10 fatalities.

03:05 GMT – Saudi G20 presidency urges more donations to fund COVID-19 response

The Saudi presidency of the Group of 20 leading economies has called for further immediate donations to fund the emergency response to the coronavirus pandemic and develop needed vaccines.

The G20 secretariat said $1.9bn had been donated by countries, philanthropic organisations and the private sector towards an $8bn target set by the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, but more funds were needed.

“Global challenges demand global solutions and this is our time to stand and support the race for a vaccine and other therapeutic measures to combat COVID-19,” Saudi G20 Fahad Almubarak said in a statement.

02:34 GMT – Trump suggests injecting disinfectant to fight coronavirus

US President Donald Trump has suggested that disinfectants could be injected into human beings as part of an experiment to fight the coronavirus.

During his latest news conference on Thursday, Trump also said that ultraviolet rays could be introduced through the skin to test whether it would work in curing the deadly disease.

Read more here

02:20 GMT – Infection tally rises to 91 on Italian cruise ship in Japan

As many as 91 crew of an Italian cruise ship docked in Japan’s southwestern port of Nagasaki are infected with coronavirus, officials said on Friday, as questions persist over how and when they will return to their home countries.

Authorities are racing to complete tests on about 290 of the 623 crew after one of them was found infected this week, Reuters news agency reported.

Those who have tested negative will be repatriated, Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said on Friday, according to Kyodo news agency, a decision welcomed by officials in Nagasaki prefecture.

02:11 GMT – Haiti receives more deportees from US despite fears

Haiti has received 129 of its nationals, including minors on a deportation flight from the United States, days after three deportees who arrived on the previous flight tested positive for the new coronavirus, Reuters news agency reported.

Haiti Foreign Ministry senior official Israel Jacky Cantave told Reuters that Haiti had asked for all the deportees to be tested, but the US government had only agreed to test those with symptoms – a problem given many carriers are asymptomatic.

The poorest country in the Americas, which has limited testing capacity, is placing all deportees in a quarantine facility for two weeks upon arrival.

Haitians - coronavirus

Haitians who were deported from the United States line up as they arrive at a hotel where they will be quarantined as a measure against the spread of the new coronavirus, in Tabarre, Haiti on Thursday [Dieu Nalio Chery/AP]

01:57 GMT – Poll: Few trust Trump’s information

President Donald Trump has made himself the daily spokesman for the nation’s coronavirus response. Yet few Americans regularly look to or trust Trump as a source of information on the pandemic, according to a new survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Just 28 percent of Americans say they are regularly getting information from Trump about the coronavirus and only 23 percent say they have high levels of trust in what the president is telling the public. Another 21 percent only place a moderate amount of trust in him.

But even as many Republicans question Trump’s credibility during the pandemic, the overwhelming majority of 82 percent say they still approve of how he is doing, helping him keep his overall approval rating steady at 42 percent.

01:42 GMT – Belgian port to test virus bracelets amid tech-tracing fears

The Belgian city of Antwerp, Europe’s second-biggest port, is getting ready to test a device aimed at helping thousands of people employed there to respect social distancing.

At Antwerp in Belgium, where some 900 companies operate in an area the size of a small town, two teams of port workers will be wearing a bracelet originally designed to find tugboat crew members that have fallen overboard but now modified to help stop the spread of the disease next month, the Associated Press news agency reported.

The bracelets are worn like a watch. Coated in black plastic, they vibrate when they move to within three meters (about 10 feet) of each other. The vibration strength, similar to that of a mobile telephone but more obvious when attached to a wrist, increases the closer the bracelets get and warning lights flash.

01:28 GMT – China reports six new cases

Mainland China has reported six new coronavirus cases as of end-April 23, down from 10 reported the previous day, putting the total number of COVID-19 infections at 82,804.

China’s National Health Commission said in a statement on Friday that two of the new cases involved travellers from overseas. There were six such imported cases reported a day earlier.

The number of new asymptomatic patients, those infected with the virus but not exhibiting symptoms, rose to 34 from 27 reported a day earlier. The COVID-19 death toll for mainland China remained unchanged at 4,632.

China - coronavirus

The COVID-19 death toll for mainland China remains unchanged at 4,632 on Friday [Mark Schiefelbein/AP]

01:11 GMT – Gilead’s remdesivir showing significant side effects

Researchers studying Gilead Sciences Inc’s experimental coronavirus drug have found that it failed its first randomised clinical trial, with some showing significant side effects.

The Chinese trial showed the antiviral drug remdesivir did not improve patients’ condition or reduce the pathogen’s presence in the bloodstream, according to a Financial Times report, which cited draft documents published accidentally by the World Health Organization.

Remdesivir also previously failed as a treatment for Ebola.

00:55 GMT – US CDC releasing $631m more in response to health emergency

The US Department of Health and Human Services has announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be releasing $631m to state and local governments in response to the COVID-19 health emergency.

Health Secretary Alex Azar said that the money will be awarded to 64 local governments to help states with their efforts to reopen, a controversial policy that has drawn criticism by the opposition and many health experts.

00:11 GMT – Duterte extends lockdown of Metro Manila to May 15

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has extended the lockdown of Metro Manila to May 15.

The extended lockdown announced on Friday also covers several provinces of Luzon, slightly easing the restrictions that previously covered the entire northern island, affecting more than 57 million people.

Duterte was scheduled to make the announcement on Thursday, but cancelled it at the last minute. 

Philippines - coronavirus

The lockdown in Manila has been extended until May 15 affecting more than 12 million people [Aaron Favila/AP]

00:01 GMT – Cruise ship linked to Australia’s biggest virus outbreak sets sail

A cruise ship linked to a third of Australia’s coronavirus deaths has left the country after a month docked in local waters, the authorities said on Friday, as an emergency cabinet meeting was expected to ease some social-distancing measures.

The Ruby Princess, owned by Carnival Corp, has become a flashpoint of public anger after being allowed to unload thousands of passengers in Sydney without health checks on March 19.

Hundreds of its passengers later tested positive to COVID-19, about 10 percent of the country’s roughly 6,600 infections and a third of the country’s 77 coronavirus deaths have been traced to the ship.


Hello, I’m Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. You can find updates from yesterday, April 23, here.

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