COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak – Pandemic Threatening Grave Consequences

As the death toll due to new coronavirus is increasing at an alarming rate, concerns are growing about the deadly virus that is a fast-spreading epidemic in China. Cases of infected people have crossed over 24,637,500 while the death toll exceeding more than 835,000.

The number of people falling ill with or dying of viral pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus is rising rapidly, despite quarantines of millions of people and other measures to try to prevent the epidemic from spreading further.

The deadly virus has not only spread in every province of China but several countries across the globe as well. It has been carried by travelers to other countries, including the United States.

What is the Novel Coronavirus?

Very little is known of this virus and it does not have a name yet. It had been temporarily named 2019-nCoV, meaning “novel coronavirus”. On February 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially named the new coronavirus – “COVID-19”.  According to the director-general of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the ‘CO’ stands for corona, the ‘VI’ for virus and the ‘D’ for disease.

Scientists and public-health officials have been trying to learn more about this new virus that belongs to the family of coronaviruses.

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that consist of a core of a genetic material surrounded by an envelope with protein spikes that gives it an appearance of a crown. Crown in Latin is called ‘corona’, hence the name ‘coronaviruses’. This family of viruses mostly infects mammals including bats.

COVID19 Coronavirus electron microscope image

COVID-19 Coronavirus in yellow, emerging from cells in blue and pink cultured in lab as seen under electron microscope / Image: NIAID-RML

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) spread in China in 2003 and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) which infected the people in Saudi Arabia in 2012, belongs to the coronavirus family. Several known coronaviruses circulate in animals and have not yet evolved to infect humans except SARS and MERS.

These viruses were originally transmitted between animals and humans. For instance, SARS was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS traveled to humans from camels.

Origin of COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak

As very little is known about this virus, it is still unclear how it spread and what was the primary carrier of the virus. But, it is believed that a seafood and live animal market in Wuhan is the epicenter of the outbreak. Most of the people with viral pneumonia were exposed to Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market in Wuhan, Hubei Province of China.

It is believed that the patients got sick from being in contact with some infected animal and later it was transmitted to other people they came in contact with. The primary carrier of the disease is still unknown and the exact dynamics of transmission of the virus is yet to be determined.

In late December 2019, China first announced the outbreak of mysterious pneumonia, but it appeared that the officials in the country were quite clear on a few things. The WHO was informed about the outbreak on December 31, 2019.

Could China Have Downplayed Coronavirus Outbreak?

Health care workers in protective suits attending to novel coronavirus patients at ICU in a hospital in Wuhan / Image: Reuters

The COVID-19 was initially thought to have jumped to humans from bats as it has been found to share many genetic similarities to two coronaviruses in bats, but others have suggested it may have come from snakes, although this idea has been widely dismissed by virologists.

Most recently, endangered pangolins, whose scales are heavily used in Chinese traditional medicine, are being proposed as a likely carrier for the virus. Some researchers have suggested that a bat coronavirus may have combined with another coronavirus in pangolins to produce the strain now infecting humans.

What are the symptoms?

According to WHO, the symptoms of COVID-19 can have mild to severe effects causing fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties to pneumonia, SARS, kidney failure, and even death. The disease can be asymptomatic as in many cases the patient did not display symptoms despite having the virus in their system.

The groups most at risk are the people in close contact with animals, e.g. live animal market workers; caring for the infected, e.g. family members and medical care workers. While the exact transmission dynamics is still unknown, the rate of human-to-human transmission is rather high.

However, it is clear that the virus attacks the immune system and other organs. People with underlying diseases are more likely to have died after being infected. Besides elderly and sick people, the long-term smokers are at risk too, as their lungs could be an easy target for the virus.

How is the virus transmitted?

While it is likely to have originated in animals, the transmission of the new coronavirus from person to person can occur. However, the exact dynamics are unknown.

Researchers are still studying the exact parameters of human-to-human transmission. It is assumed that upon coming in contact with the infected person, another person can get infected.

The scientists have guessed that the virus-likely takes about 5-6 days to give rise to symptoms once it has infected a person. COVID-19 is most similar to two bat coronaviruses known as bat-SL-CoVZC45 and bat-SL-CoVZXC21; its genetic sequence is 88 percent the same as theirs.

Electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (in yellow) among human cells (in pink) – virus was isolated from a patient in the U.S / Image: NIAID-RML

New virus’ DNA is about 79 percent the same as that of the SARS coronavirus and approximately 50 percent similarities to that of the MERS virus.

The behaviour of coronaviruses outside the host as to how long they can survive on different surfaces / Image: AFP

Another reason that the number of infected people spiked overnight is China’s huge population. Being the world’s most populous country, China became an easy target for this fast-spreading coronavirus.

Meanwhile, people have related the symptoms of the disease to the flu. But, the researchers and scientists deny this relation.

According to a scientist, social-distancing guidelines for coronavirus to stay 6 feet from others may be inadequate. MIT associate professor Lydia Bourouiba, who has researched the dynamics of coughs and sneezes for years, warns in newly published research that the current guidelines are based on outdated models from the 1930s.

Rather than the assumed safety of 6 feet, Bourouiba warns that “pathogen-bearing droplets of all sizes can travel 23 to 27 feet.”

Her research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, also warns that “droplets that settle along the trajectory can contaminate surfaces” and “residues or droplet nuclei” may “stay suspended in the air for hours.”

According to another study, Italian scientists discovered that the virus could be carried over longer distances, increasing the number of people infected. They have found the coronavirus on tiny particles of air pollution, the study suggested that still has to undergo the scientific peer-review process.

Air samples were collected at two sites in Bergamo province in northern Italy’s Lombardy region, the area of the country hit hardest by the pandemic. Testing found a gene highly specific to COVID-19 in multiple samples from the province, one of the most polluted in Italy.

Previous studies have also shown that air pollution particles do harbor microbes and that pollution is likely to have carried the viruses causing bird flu, measles and foot-and-mouth disease over considerable distances.

Patients with severe Covid-19 are twice as likely to have had pre-existing respiratory diseases and three times as likely to have had cardiovascular problems. And decades of gold standard research have shown air pollution damages hearts and lungs.

The overlap of highly polluted places, such as northern Italy, and pandemic hotspots is stark and preliminary studies point in this direction, while a link between the 2003 Sars outbreak and dirty air is already known.

Confirming the impact of air pollution on the severity of Covid-19 could make a real difference by showing the response should be boosted in places with poor air quality. But doing the scientific studies required in the midst of a global pandemic and with imperfect data is difficult.

What’s being done?

Scientists and health officials are trying to find treatment and vaccine for the virus. Besides finding the cure, there are few other things that scientists are trying to figure out, including how the virus is transmitted, how easily it spreads, and how many people are infected but don’t develop symptoms.

Scientists are striving to develop ways to fight this previously unknown threat. Virologists are attempting to engineer a vaccine. Others are seeking drug treatments that can help those fallen sick with the infection.

The authorities first warned people about going in and out of Wuhan, but eventually, they put the whole city under quarantine since January 23, 2020. Public transportation within the city and flights in and out of the city were also cancelled.

Once the areas surrounding Wuhan were pulled inside the sealed-off zone days later, a total of 35 million people had been effectively put into lockdown in Hubei Province.

The people are instructed to stay indoors and wear good quality masks to protect themselves from the virus. They are advised to stay away from the infected people and wash hands in case they come in contact with the infected.

Could China Have Downplayed Coronavirus Outbreak?

A worker measuring body temperature of people leaving a supermarket in Qingshan district, Hubei / Image: Reuters

As it is still unclear as to which animal was the carrier of the infection, the Chinese government has banned the sale of wild animals in local markets, restaurants and online channels.

Most of the international and domestic flights have been cancelled and Wuhan has been completely shut down. The other countries have also advised people not to visit China and people coming back from China are being quarantined for two weeks.

Difficulties in Developing a Cure

Anti-viral drugs are an efficient way to cure viral infections as they interfere with the virus’ ability to enter our cells, disrupts its ability to hijack our cellular system to replicate or prevents it from escaping infected cells.

Unfortunately, there not many effective anti-viral drugs for coronaviruses. One potential treatment for coronavirus could be the anti-viral drug “remdesivir” which was initially developed to treat the Ebola virus.

Infographic Credit: Uniserve

The problem in finding a potential cure for coronaviruses is their ability to mutate at an exponential rate and they can potentially develop resistance to anti-viral treatments. Their mutating speed and ability to change their characteristics makes them hard to vaccinate against.

Vaccines tend to train the immune system to target a particular feature, such as a protein structure, on the shell of the virus. But, due to the continually altering appearance of the virus, our immune system finds it hard to recognize different infections. It is partially why the common cold has been so difficult to develop a vaccine against.

The new coronavirus’s RNA can travel through the air, and might spread by way of small particles exhaled by infected people.

The speculated theory that it attacks the immune system and prevents the body from making antibodies to fight off the virus is quite unnerving and it could be true as the virus is continually evolving, making it very difficult to develop a cure.

Alex Shalek at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, Jose Ordovas-Montanes at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and their colleagues studied airway cells from people with influenza. Both influenza virus and COVID-19 invade the respiratory tract.

However, various studies speculate that the new coronavirus invades human cells after one of its proteins binds with ACE2, a protein found in cells in many human organs, stating that it technically attacks the immune system. But little has been known about that crucial interaction.

When a foreign microbe intrudes on the body, the immune system usually makes proteins called antibodies that help to fight off the invader.

After recovering from infection with COVID-19, many people have high levels of antibodies against the virus. But a recent study finds that in some recovered patients, such antibodies are present at very low levels — and in some cases are undetectable.

A team led by Jinghe Huang and Fan Wu at Fudan University in Shanghai, China measured antibodies to the novel coronavirus in 175 volunteers who had recovered from mild infections.

About 30% of the volunteers — and especially those under the age of 40 — never developed high levels of COVID-19 coronavirus antibodies, suggesting that other immune responses helped rid them of their infections.

Severity of the Epidemic

Experts fear that this outbreak could turn into a pandemic – an ongoing epidemic affecting two or more continents. Despite the extraordinary travel restrictions and quarantines now imposed by China and other countries, including the US, the novel coronavirus is now circling the globe and could have global consequences of a pandemic.

At first WHO said that it is not yet a global health emergency. But, given the high number of infected people and the rising death toll, it has now been declared a global health emergency. It is the sixth global health emergency in the last two decades.

Could China Have Downplayed Coronavirus Outbreak?

Workers carrying out disinfect in Jianghan district amidst the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak  / Image: Reuters

It is believed that closing down of shared borders may not entirely stop the spread of the virus, but it could slow it down to buy time for the development of drug treatment and vaccine.

Most reported deaths in this outbreak have been in older people with underlying diseases such as heart diseases, hypertension, and diabetes. It is a similar demographic who is most at risk of dying from illnesses like the flu.

The total death toll has surpassed that of SARS and MERS. The number grows larger every day, reflecting a local health system overwhelmed by the fast-moving, alien pathogen, making even the most basic care impossible.

Virologists have explained the severity of the COVID-19 coronavirus. A coronavirus usually infects human body in one of two ways: as an infection in the lungs that includes some cases of what people would call the common cold, or as an infection in the gut that causes diarrhea.

COVID-19 coronavirus starts out in the lungs like the common cold coronaviruses, but then disrupts the immune system that can lead to long-term lung damage or death.

Every coronavirus infection starts with a virus particle, a spherical shell that protects a single long string of genetic material and inserts it into a human cell. The genetic material instructs the cell to make around 30 different parts of the virus, allowing the virus to reproduce.

Hoaxes about COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak

As people online search for information about the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, they can easily encounter a barrage of misleading and potentially dangerous information. Social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have been working to promote factual content and some are prioritizing misinformation on their platforms.

Still, efforts by these social media platforms have not managed to stop the spread of misleading or outright false hoaxes about the outbreak of COVID-19 in the form of posts and videos that have racked up thousands of shares.

Hoaxes about the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak:

While scientists are still unclear on how or where the virus developed, there are theories circulating on social media implying that the outbreak is linked to a “bio-weapons research gone wrong” at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a research institute that houses Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory.

A different hoax says that the virus was stolen from Canada and sent to Wuhan to be weaponized. Another popular theory is that a vaccine for the new coronavirus already exists and it all is a “set up” to sell vaccines.

Seems like people are implying fictional theories on the outbreak.  The 2011 movie “Contagion” which was about a virus outbreak, portrays the much relevant scenario of COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan. However, the movie also argues that the misinformation is as contagious as the virus and dangerous too.

WHO has been answering the public queries regarding the virus outbreak, advising the public on how to protect themselves from it, and also busting the various myths and hoaxes regarding the same.

Did China downplay the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak?

It is suspected that China might have downplayed the outbreak of the novel coronavirus as it did during the SARS outbreak of 2003 that infected over 8,000 people and killed 774 people. During the SARS outbreak, Chinese officials attempted to conceal cases from WHO inspectors and limit information, both internally and externally.

A study published in The Lancet reveals that the earliest case dates back to December 1, 2019, whereas the officials show the first case recorded on December 12.

The contrast between the Lancet report and official news coming from China has raised concerns about the truthfulness of information coming out of China. Critics and citizens are skeptical that Chinese officials are under-counting the number of illnesses and are classifying deaths that might have been from the virus.

The website from researchers at Johns Hopkins has been updating the world with the severity of the situation. It collects data from various sources: the WHO, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China (NHC), and two other sites.

Moreover, the origin of the virus is tracked down to the seafood market in Wuhan, but one-third of the cases are of people who had not visited that market. The revelation indicated two possible explanations: either the patients got infected from infected animal somewhere else or the human-to-human spread.

Could China Have Downplayed Coronavirus Outbreak?

A masked store worker in Wuhan during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak / Image: Reuters

Besides, it is crucial to understand the earliest days of an outbreak as it not only helps to understand how deadly and transmissible a virus is but also at how there is been such a rapid spread of the virus. Comprehending the initial days of outbreak and cases could help in a better understanding of the virus.

China is also suspected to have lied about the actual death toll due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. However, if the information has been withheld, it would be a violation of the International Health Regulations.

Although China shared the DNA sequencing of the virus shortly after announcing the outbreak, it really hasn’t been forthcoming with additional information about the virus from different times in different regions.

The Chinese scientists haven’t shared the virus itself with other national labs. This information is crucial to understand ‘whether the virus mutated, how and also about its transmissibility’.

Chaos and Despair Unraveled

Amidst the rising death toll, the death of Dr. Li Wenliang was reported by China’s state-run paper Global Times, but it was then retracted, creating confusion. The hospital said that he was in critical condition and later revealed that he couldn’t be saved.

The doctor, who warned the medical community about severe pneumonia cases in December, was reported to have died of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. Authorities censored information and silenced the whistle-blowers who tried to sound the alarm, including Wenliang. He was reprimanded by the Wuhan authorities for that warning.

It appears that Chinese authorities have been trying to censor the news that is crucial to update the world on the horrors of the situation. In the early days of the virus’ spread, prevarication and delay by local officials also allowed the pathogen to circulate more widely among the unsuspecting masses.

Another report in The New England Journal of Medicine also shows that there were already seven health care workers infected by January 11, which clearly reveal the possibility of human-to-human transmission. But, this information was kept from the public until January 18.

Even after it became clear that people are falling sick with viral pneumonia, which is highly transmissible, authorities still allowed large-scale public events to take place. The magnitude of the situation fully became apparent to the wider public when the celebration of China’s annual Lunar New Year holiday was cancelled.

The public anger has been stirred by the fact that authorities didn’t act quickly enough to inform the public and contain an epidemic that began unfolding in December. China’s desperate attempts to control the narrative, quiet dissenters, and contain outgoing information is fueling public anger.

People and authorities have been demanding freedom of speech and political reforms in China. Since the death of the 34-year-old doctor’s death, two open letters demanding free speech have circulated on social media, one signed by 10 professors in Wuhan. Meanwhile, the WHO has been updating the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak situation in and outside China.

Gloabal Coronavirus Affected Countries - Total number of confirmed COVID19 Cases

Coronavirus affected countries across the globe as on 12, March 2020 / Image: WHO

At the same time, the situation in the Hubei region is deteriorating. Until March 12, the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in Hubei was stabilizing, but then the number increased and the number of cases of infected people crossed over 126,000 worldwide.

China has meanwhile temporarily banned the catching, selling or eating wild animals. However, the scale of the crackdown, which has netted almost 40,000 animals including squirrels, weasels and boars, suggests that China’s taste for eating wildlife and using animal parts for medicinal purposes is not likely to disappear overnight, despite potential links to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, patients and medical staff had been going through supplies and equipment rather quickly, leaving a huge pile of medical waste behind.

Garbage contaminated with bodily fluids or other infectious materials is becoming a bigger concern for hospitals as they brace for a surge in patients sick with COVID-19, worldwide. Eventually all that used gear piles up as medical waste that needs to be safely discarded.

In Wuhan, where the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak was first observed, officials not only built new hospitals for the escalating number of patients, but had to construct a new medical waste plant and deploy 46 mobile waste treatment facilities too.

Hospital there generated six times as much medical waste at the peak of the outbreak as they did before that. The daily output of medical waste reached 240 metric tons, about the weight of an adult blue whale.

The CDC says that medical waste from coronavirus can be treated the same way as regular medical waste. Generally, to ensure the contaminated trash from health care facilities doesn’t pose any harm to the public before going to a landfill, it’s typically burned, sterilized with steam, or chemically disinfected.

However, medical centers have more to worry than waste. The disease is spread out beyond hospitals. Some people who have minor symptoms are recovering at home. Others who are asymptomatic might not know that the waste they are throwing out could be contaminated. That could end up generating plenty of virus-laden garbage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Amidst COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, people have many questions regarding the disease, its spread, and prevention. Here are answers to a few frequently asked questions.

How can you protect yourself from COVID-19 coronavirus? 

Following basi hygiene precautions can protect you from the infection. Frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Stay away from sick people and keep at least 1-meter distance between you and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching mouth, eyes or nose to prevent the infection.

Which sanitizers are effective?

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are effective for somewhat protection from the novel coronavirus.

How likely you are to get infected?

The chances of you catching the virus mostly depend on you. The location and the people whom you are frequently in contact with also affect these chances. If you are taking all the necessary measures, then the risk of you getting infected is quite low.

Should you be worried about COVID-19?

Sickness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. But, it can cause serious illness in some cases. According to the WHO, about 1 in every 5 people who catch it need hospital care. It is quite normal to be worried about catching the infection.

Who is at the most risk of severe illness?

While there are still many unknown things about COVID-19, the virus mostly affects older persons and persons with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer, or diabetes).

Are antibiotics effective to cure COVID-19?

Antibiotics do not work against viruses, they only work on bacterial infections and therefore, antibiotics don’t work on COVID-19. They should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment of coronavirus.

Is there a treatment or vaccine for COVID-19?

No, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19. However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illnesses should be hospitalized.

Does disinfecting surfaces prevent the spread of the virus?

According to the studies, disinfecting surfaces can prevent the spread of coronavirus to some extent. The common household disinfectants, including soap or a diluted bleach solution, can deactivate coronaviruses on indoor surfaces.

How long does COVID-19 last on surfaces?

According to the WHO, it is not certain how long the virus survives on surfaces, but it is similar to other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronavirus may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. If you think surface may be infected, clean it with a common household disinfectant, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub thereafter.

Should you avoid public gatherings and events?

The WHO and various other health organizations advice against public gatherings and events. Keeping social contact to a minimum number of people has been recommended to prevent yourself and others from the infection.

Should you wear a mask?

Wearing a mask is advisable only if you are sick with coronavirus symptoms or taking care of an infected person. Disposable masks can be worn only once if you are not ill or tending to an infected person, then you are wasting the mask.

How to put on, use, take off and dispose of a mask?

If you are not a health worker, a caretaker or infected, then using a mask is not necessary. Remember to clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water before touching the mask. Look for tears or holes. Ensure the proper side of the mask faces outwards (the colored side).

After use, take off the mask; remove the elastic loops from behind the ears while keeping the mask away from your face and clothes to avoid touching potentially contaminated surfaces of the mask. Discard the mask in a closed bin immediately after use. Use alcohol-based hand rub or wash your hands with soap and water.

UPDATE  (February 18, 2020):

While the scientists and medical workers are working on finding a cure to the new coronavirus, another medical worker has lost his life to the deadly virus. Liu Zhiming, the director of Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan, died on February 18 after being infected with COVID-19. China said last week that six medical workers had died from the virus, while 1,716 have been infected.

Meanwhile, China will abandon trade-war tariffs on imports of selected US medical equipment from March 2, as the country battles to contain the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. The move comes as doctors and nurses treating virus patients in China’s overstretched hospitals struggle to deal with the health crisis amid a shortage of basic medical items.

UPDATE (February 20, 2020):

Scientists all across the globe are working hard to develop a treatment or vaccine to fight the COVID-19. Meanwhile, a group of researchers has figured out the shape of the spike protein in  the new coronavirus. According  to Jason McLellan, senior author of the study and an associate professor of molecular biosciences at the University of Texas at Austin, it will help in figuring how to target the virus.

UPDATE (February 21, 2020):

On February 19, Iranian health officials confirmed that two elderly people had tested positive for coronavirus posthumously. Health Ministry spokesman of Iran, Kianush Jahanpur revealed in his tweet that the outbreak originated in Qom and that two more people had died from the disease.

The rapid spread of coronavirus in Iran has left WHO worried as the city of Qom is a popular destination for Shiite pilgrims. Many Middle East countries have seen an increase in the confirmed cases of COVID-19, including the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Egypt, and Israel.

However, Iranian authorities have not implemented sufficient measures to stop the spread of coronavirus. Parliamentary elections were held Feb. 21, and the Iranian government did not want to affect voter participation. As the situation in Iran worsens, Iraqis are demanding that stronger action be taken to halt the spread of the virus.

A few days ago, Hubei Province decided to count “clinically diagnosed” cases in its numbers. These were the patients who showed all the symptoms of COVID-19 but either had not been able to get a test or were believed to have falsely tested negative. It allowed doctors to use CT scan to confirm such coronavirus infections without a test.

Later, the government guidelines changed and “clinically confirmed” were excluded from the tally of confirmed cases. The patients must have a positive lab test result, otherwise they will be listed as “suspected”.

All these changes created confusion among the people and to add to it, Hubei health authorities announced another new development. Tu Yuanchao, deputy director of Hubei Health Committee, said at a press conference that the provincial government has banned the practice of reducing the number of already confirmed cases.

UPDATE (February 22, 2020):

Meanwhile, the WHO has said that the window of opportunity to contain this deadly virus was narrowing, as the cases with no clear link with China is rapidly increasing outside of China, including the rise of cases in Middle Eastern countries.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has for weeks insisted the low number of cases of COVID-19 outside the epicentre of the deadly outbreak in China’s central Hubei province presented a “window of opportunity” to contain the international spread.

​However, recently he said that;

we are still in a phase where containment is possible… our window of opportunity is narrowing.

He called on the international communities to act quickly as the virus has infected over 77,500 people and killed more than 2,300 of them.

UPDATE (February 27, 2020):

A large number of people have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus in South Korea. The authorities believe a large number of cases in the country attended a Shincheonji service or have been in contact with attendees.

The religious group, which is an offshoot of Christianity, is now at the heart of South Korea’s COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, particularly in the city of Daegu. The religious group says it is cooperating with local authorities and has shut down all church services and gatherings.

Meanwhile, the death toll has increased in Iran, Italy and South Korea. Over 2,750 people have lost their lives globally.  At least 80,000 people have been diagnosed with the illness, worldwide. While, the cases in Europe, the Middle East, and America are escalating, there has been a decline in the fresh cases in China.

The pet dog of a coronavirus patient in Hong Kong has been found to have a ‘low level’ infection. However, the dog will be further tested to confirm whether it has really been infected or it was just a result of environmental contamination.

The WHO has been in talks with organizers of the Tokyo Olympics. However, no decision has been made to cancel the major sporting event amidst COVID-19 outbreak.

UPDATE (February 28, 2020):

As it is said – desperate times, desperate measures; the process to develop an effective cure for coronavirus is becoming desperate by the minute. The scientists have been working round-the-clock to find a cure for deadly COVID-19. In another desperate attempt, thousands of lab monkeys were infected with MERS-CoV, a cousin of the novel coronavirus. The infected monkeys were given remdesivir – an antiviral drug that was initially developed to cure Ebola virus.

The infected monkeys were separated in different groups, several were given the drug before being injected with the virus, others received it after being infected, and few didn’t receive the drug at all. Scientists are hoping that the results would help them understand and invent a drug or apply the same one with few modifications to cure COVID-19.

Amidst the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, the 2020 Geneva Motor Show (GIMS), which was scheduled to start in the beginning of March, has been canceled after the Swiss government banned mass gatherings of 1,000 or more people due to rising concern over the virus. The ban is effective immediately and runs at least until mid March.

Meanwhile, Tokyo Disneyland will be closed till March 15 due to concerns about rising COVID-19 cases in Japan. All of Walt Disney’s theme parks in Asia will remain temporarily shut. Both Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea will remain closed after a government recommendation that big gatherings and events be curtailed for a time period of two weeks.

20 cases of coronavirus have emerged in Britain. The feelings of fear and panic have shrouded people in Britain as there has been a rise in coronavirus cases in past few days.

The scientists believed that coronavirus could not survive in hot regions. However, Nigeria has confirmed its first COVID-19 case in the sub-Saharan region. It is the most populous country of Africa and has raised concerns about the rapid spread of this deadly virus.

Germany has quarantined over 1,000 people in the most populous state as the number of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus rose above 50. Schools and kindergartens were also shut in the district of Heinsberg in North Rhine-Westphalia as the number of cases linked to the cluster reached 20.

Given the circumstances owing to COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, this year’s Everest climbing season may impact with many trekkers from countries including China, South Korea, Italy and Japan cancelling their expeditions due to lack of government preparedness to deal with the epidemic.

UPDATE (March 2, 2020): 

Rising cases of novel coronavirus in the US has left the government and citizens concerned. There are at least 89 confirmed cases in the country. While New York, Rhode Island, and Florida have announced their first confirmed cases, two people have died in the Washington state.

UPDATE (March 5, 2020):

Chinese government experts are of the opinion that new cases of coronavirus infections are likely to drop in Wuhan toward the end of March due to the rise in overall temperature. There already has been a significant decline in the fresh cases of infected people. 

UPDATE (March 6, 2020): 

Amidst the escalating COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak throughout the world, a controversial research paper has made a claim that the new coronavirus has evolved into two distinct strains and it is possible to be infected with both. However, some experts disagree by saying that it could be an error.

Meanwhile, Bhutan has confirmed its first coronavirus case. A 76-year-old patient from America has recently visited India before going to Bhutan. The patient has been isolated in COVID-19 hospital and kept on oxygen support considering his age and underlying conditions.

UPDATE (March 7, 2020):

More countries have been reporting first cases of COVID-19 inside their territories. The virus has infected more than 100,000 people and killed over 3,500 people in more than 90 countries. In South Korea the number of confirmed cases has reached over 7,000 within a few days, while the US is battling to contain the outbreak on the Grand Princess cruise ship that has 21 people positively infected with coronavirus.

UPDATE (March 8, 2020):

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte decided to put millions of people under lockdown in northern Italy due to a rise in COVID-19 cases. This action is one of the toughest responses implemented outside of mainland China and is likely to put the entire Lombardy region and 14 other provinces under travel restrictions.

Italy has seen a dramatic rise of 1,247 confirmed novel coronavirus cases on March 7. The country has now recorded 5,883 cases and 233 deaths, the most fatalities outside mainland China and the biggest outbreak in Europe.

UPDATE (March 9, 2020):

While the three confirmed cases of COVID-19 early on have been recovered, a new surge of fresh cases has left the health officials of the country worried. A three-year-old child in Kerala has been tested positive with the new coronavirus and has been put in an isolated ward at Ernakulam Medical College. The total number of cases in the country has reached over 40.

Meanwhile, five more cases have been confirmed in Northern Ireland, taking the total number of infected people to 12. Two more cases have been diagnosed positive in the Republic of Ireland, bringing the total number there to 21.

UPDATES (March 11, 2020): 

More cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the Indian subcontinent in the past couple of days. After being diagnosed with coronavirus, an 89-year-old woman is said to be in critical condition at the Kottayam Medical College, Kerala. She was infected after coming in contact with her infected daughter who recently returned from Italy, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 52.

In Jaipur, an 85-year-old man who had recently returned from Dubai has been found “presumptive positive” for coronavirus in the first test.

Moreover, a British MP, Nadine Dorries, a minister in the health department, has been tested positive for coronavirus. Health officials are trying to trace from whom she got the virus and whether she has infected other people she has been in contact with.

Meanwhile, the USA has seen a rise in coronavirus cases reaching over 1,000 with 31 dead. New cases in China have significantly dropped. There has been a decline in fresh cases in South Korea as well, though a cluster of new cases in Seoul is likely to reverse the positive change.

The number of infected people is likely to rise as Qatar announced 238 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in just one day. The total number of cases has reached over 260 in the energy-rich Gulf state.

Given the severity of COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, operators running expeditions on the north side of Mount Everest were notified that China has cancelled all permits for the spring season.

UPDATE (March 12, 2020): 

The rising number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India has left the citizens and authorities worried. With new cases in Maharashtra, the total number of coronavirus cases is nearing 70 in the country.

As the novel coronavirus has found a foothold in every continent except Antarctica, the WHO has declared the COVID-19 crisis a pandemic. The outbreak has infected over 118,000 people in 114 countries and killed more than 4,200 people.

UPDATE (March 13, 2020): 

As the coronavirus cases surge at a rapid rate, President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency to provide disaster funding, speed up the U.S. response to the crisis and offer “maximum flexibility” to attack the problem.

The administration increased its efforts after the WHO declared the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. The situation has led to school closures and postponing of iconic sports events.

Meanwhile, the WHO has urged to intensify their actions to combat COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, imploring countries “not to let this fire burn”, as Spain said it would declare a 15-day state of emergency from March 14.

Europe has become the epicenter of the epidemic, where the virus has spread through 27 EU states and has infected 25,000 people, with more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined apart from China.

According to a recent CDC projection, the US COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak could infect an estimated 160 million to 214 million people over a period of more than a year and kill anywhere from 200,000 to 1.7 million people in the country. Although this estimated projection did not factor in the ongoing efforts to address the epidemic, the mortality rate is terrifying.

The scientists and virologists have been assessing the value and efficiency of remdesivir drug to combat COVID-19. Experimental tests of the drug on severely infected patients have shown mixed results and its potential in curing the coronavirus still remains unclear.

 UPDATE (March 14, 2020):

According to a media report, scientists in Israel are likely to announce the completion of the development of a vaccine for COVID-19 in the coming days. Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported that scientists at Israel’s Institute for Biological Research have recently had a significant breakthrough in understanding the biological mechanism and qualities of the virus, including better diagnostic capability, production of antibodies for those who already have the coronavirus and development of a vaccine.

The number of cases in the US has reached over 1,700 with more than 40 deaths. 328 cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in New York, including 96 residents of New York City. 46 states have been recorded with coronavirus cases, with New York, Washington State, and California with more than 200 confirmed cases.

In India, more than 80 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus with two deaths. India’s Supreme Court has said it will only hear urgent cases from Monday and has restricted the number of people who can enter a courtroom.

Karnataka has banned all gatherings including weddings, sports events and conferences for a week as the country attempts to slow the spread of the virus. Malls, movie theaters, pubs and night clubs have also been shut.

UPDATE (March 15, 2020):

The global health organizations are under a lot of pressure to find a cure as soon as possible as the total cases of COVID-19 has surpassed 169,300 worldwide, with more than 6,500 deaths. While one of the federal government is trying to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the CDC has recommended that no gatherings with 50 people or more, including weddings, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events or conferences, be held in the US for the next eight weeks.

Meanwhile, the city and union leaders are working on plans for emergency child care for essential city workers whose children attend public schools. New York City’s public school system will remain shut for a week. Public schools in Long Island and Westchester will also close this week.

The U.S. death toll rose to 69 across 12 states, with the total number of confirmed cases surging to 3,774. The worldwide death toll topped 6,500.

Italy has been the hardest hit country outside of China with coronavirus with a 3,590 more coronavirus cases in just one day. According to the officials, the number of deaths rose to 1,809 –  a 25 percent increase over the day before and the largest one-day death toll yet of any country.

According to the WHO, the 368 deaths in Italy has exceeded the highest single-day number China reported at the height of its outbreak. China’s highest daily toll was on February 13, when the country reported 254 new deaths.

Struggling to contain the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, like Italy and France, Spain is now on lockdown with about 8,000 people infected and almost 300 dead. The streets are empty and people are recommended to stay indoors.

Meanwhile, the total number of confirmed cases in India has increased over 110. The 19 new cases detected include 15 from Maharashtra, which surpassed Kerala as the state with the highest number of reported cases.

UPDATE (March 17, 2020): 

The WHO has urged the countries to test all suspected cases in order to stop the spread of coronavirus. The United States and countries across Europe have closed schools, entertainment venues and all but essential services, in an effort to combat the virus.

Coronavirus cases have surpassed 182,000 all over the world with more than 7,100 deaths. As per the Union Health Ministry, total cases in India have risen to 137, with three deaths due to the virus. The government has put 54,000 people across the country under community surveillance.

Directorate General of Civil Aviation had forbidden airlines from ferrying travelers from the European Union, the United Kingdom and Turkey. The authorities in the state of Uttar Pradesh have shut down schools and colleges till April 2 amidst the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country.

Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido has lifted its state of emergency, less than three weeks after its governor, Naomichi Suzuki asked residents to remain indoors after a spike in the number of local cases of the virus.

In the US, the virus has now spread to all 50 states. California will likely need nearly 20,000 additional hospital beds to treat patients and is looking at bringing a Navy ship to serve as a floating hospital. There are 598 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the state, a 21 percent increase from the previous day.

Meanwhile, Australia has announced a travel ban to the country for all non-residents and non-citizens, affecting 9 pm, March 19 evening.

Italy has reported an additional 475 deaths from the virus and France imposed a draconian lockdown unseen during peacetime.

The coronavirus has now infected more than 200,000 people and killed more than 8,000 globally, with over 83,000 people having recovered from the infection.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for more “aggressive” action to curb coronavirus in Southeast Asia after the European Union, now at the epicentre of the pandemic, moved to seal off its borders.

Meanwhile, the Indian subcontinent has reported a total of 169 confirmed cases, including 25 foreigners. 15 out of the 169 have either been cured, discharged or migrated out of the country.

Amidst the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, a recent study, which has not been yet peer-reviewed, showed that blood group A is at high risk of getting infected with the coronavirus. The study undertaken by the Chinese researchers focused on 2,173 patients with COVID-19 from three hospitals in Wuhan and Shenzhen.

Analysis of the data revealed that blood group A had a significantly higher risk for COVID-19 compared with non-A blood groups. The team compared the distribution of blood types in the normal population in each area with their samples of patients with the virus in each area.

According to the study, the normal population in Wuhan has a blood type distribution of 31 percent type A, 24 percent type B, 9 percent type AB, and 34 percent type O. Whereas, those with the virus were distributed as 38 percent type A, 26 percent type B, 10 percent type AB, and 25 percent type O.

UPDATE (March 20, 2020):

The death toll in Italy has risen in the last 24 hours by 427 to 3,405, surpassing the total number of deaths so far registered in China, officials said, as the tally worldwide nears 10,000.

The total number of coronavirus cases in Italy has reached over 41,000, while cases in Germany, Iran and Spain rose to more than 15,000 each. COVID-19 cases in the US have also reached past 14,000, while the number of deaths hit 200, forcing the state of California to order a statewide lockdown. Malaysia has reported 900 confirmed cases of a novel coronavirus, the highest number in Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, the world has stepped up efforts against the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak by closing schools, shutting down cities and imposing strict border controls.

UPDATE (March 21, 2020):

As per the recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, COVID-19 can live in the air and on surfaces from several hours to several days, depending n various conditions. The study has found that the virus is viable for up to 72 hours on plastics, 48 hours on stainless steel, 24 hours on cardboard, and 4 hours on copper. It is also detectable in the air for three hours.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in Italy has left the whole world concerned and scared. The Italian government has called on the military to enforce lockdown in the country amidst the rising deaths. There have been over 47,000 cases with more than 4,000 deaths, the death toll has surpassed the number of fatalities in China. Nearly 6,000 new cases were confirmed within the last 24 hours.

In order to curb the spread of the highly contagious novel coronavirus, Google has launched a website to inform the public about essential information pertaining to COVID-19 guidance and testing. The site, which is currently focused on the United States, details resources and links regarding the deadly respiratory illness, and in the next several days, the website will be available in more languages and countries.

UPDATE (March 22, 2020):

According to leading Rhinologists in the UK, a sudden loss of smell, known as ansomia or hyposmia, could be a symptom of coronavirus, even if the patients experience no other symptoms.

As suggested by the evidence from South Korea, China and Italy, many COVID-19 patients may have experienced the loss of smell, therefore, the British Association of Otorhinolaryngology has called on authorities to advise anyone with loss of smell and taste to self-isolate.

UPDATE (March 23, 2020): 

A team of researchers has reported that nearly 70 drugs and experimental compounds may be effective in treating the coronavirus. According to them, some of the medications are already used to treat other diseases, and repurposing them to treat Covid-19 may be faster than trying to invent a new antiviral from scratch. 

The list of drug candidates appeared in a study published on the web site bioRxiv. The researchers have submitted the paper to a journal for publication.

New Zealand has 102 confirmed coronavirus cases with no casualties, while China has reported no new coronavirus cases in the Hubei region for the fifth straight day. In the US, the total number of cases surpassed 35,200 with 471 deaths. New York has the most 15, 160 confirmed cases in the country.

The total number of cases in Italy has reached over 59,100 and more than 5,400 deaths, with 651 dead in one day. The number of people killed in France by the novel coronavirus increased by another 112 to a total of 674.

A total of 16,018 cases of infection had been recorded in France while warning this was an “underestimate” as not all of those with the virus had been tested, even though 4,000 tests were now being done every day.

Meanwhile, Canada has announced that it won’t send a team to this year’s Tokyo Olympics amidst the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak unless the event is postponed. Australia is planning for the possibility of a postponement.

This news comes after Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said for the first time that postponing the Games is a possibility, and the International Olympics Committee said it was considering rescheduling.

UPDATE (March 24, 2020):

While the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has reached all across the world, the US government and Chinese government seems to be playing the blame game over the origin and misinformation of the virus that has taken lives of over 16,500 and infected more than 381,600 people, worldwide.

Meanwhile, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the US has crossed above 46,400 with over 550 casualties.

South Korea reported 76 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus and nine more deaths. South Korea now has a total of at least 9,037 cases and 120 deaths, whereas Italy has a total number of cases over 63,900 with 6,077 deaths. The country recorded 602 new deaths on March 23.

In the UK, the number of those who have died from the disease the virus causes, COVID-19, increased by 54, bringing the toll in the country to 335 among 6,650 cases. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered residents across the country to stay at home.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned “the pandemic is accelerating” with it taking 67 days for cases to reach the 100,000 mark globally, 11 days for cases to reach 200,000 and just four days for cases to reach 300,000.

UPDATE (March 25, 2020):

An increasing number of countries around the world are closing borders and locking down cities to curb the spread of the coronavirus — but such measures are not “sustainable,” said an expert on infectious disease epidemiology.

India’s 1.3 billion people have joined the global lockdown triggered by the coronavirus, as the World Health Organization (WHO) expressed concern at the acceleration of the pandemic in the United States and Italy recorded another large increase in deaths from COVID-19.

India’s “total lockdown” began at midnight (18:30 GMT on Tuesday) and will continue for 21 days.

In Italy, where more people have died than anywhere else in the world, the death toll rose to 6,820.

The WHO has warned the United States, the country with the most cases after China and Italy, risked becoming the next epicentre of the outbreak even as the country’s President Donald Trump, insisted the country could be back to work in three weeks. There have been 53,200 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country.

The number of new cases in South Korea jumped by 100, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It reported six new deaths. That brings the country’s total to 9,137 confirmed cases, and 126 fatalities.

In Europe, Spain recorded more than 700 deaths over the past 24 hours, surpassing China in the total death toll, making the country now second to only Italy.

UPDATE (March 26, 2020):

The royal office has announced that Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth II’s son and the heir to the British throne, has tested positive for coronavirus and is now self-isolating in Scotland. This creates concerns as to whom the Prince has been in contact with, in the royal family.

The Prince of Wales is only displaying mild symptoms and is otherwise in good health, Clarence House said in a statement. It is unknown how the 71-year-old caught the virus because of his recent busy schedule of public events.

The Queen, 93, remains in “good health” and is “following all the appropriate advice with regard to her welfare,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Italy reported 683 new deaths in the coronavirus pandemic, bringing its total to 7,503, whereas Spain has confirmed a total number of cases over 46,500 with more than 3,600 deaths.

US leaders struck an agreement on a sweeping $2 trillion measure to aid workers, businesses, and a healthcare system strained by the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak.

However, the deal seemed to have stalled, as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has reached over 69,000 with more than 1,000 deaths.

UPDATE (March 27, 2020):

According to two new reports, three babies in China may have contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus in the womb shortly before birth. However, experts say that the evidence in these cases is inconclusive and does not prove that novel coronavirus can pass from mother to child during pregnancy. Further research on the matter will prove or discard this theory.

Meanwhile, in the United States, more than 83,500 people have tested positive for COVID-19, edging out Italy, which has reported the most deaths, and China, where the virus was first detected in December in the metropolis of Wuhan.

Italy has a total of 80,500 patients with over 8,200 deaths, whereas China has recorded more than 81,200 cases with over 3,200 casualties. The US has surpassed the highest number of confirmed cases, with New York emerging as epicenter with more than 37,200 infected cases.

Millions of 15-minute home coronavirus tests are set to be available on the high street or for Amazon delivery to people self-isolating, according to Public Health England (PHE), in a move that could restore many people’s lives to a semblance of pre-lockdown normality.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed that he has tested positive for coronavirus after experiencing mild symptoms and is now self-isolating at 10 Downing Street in line with the medical advice.

Meanwhile, a 101-year-old man has been released from hospital after recovering from the novel coronavirus. The man was admitted to hospital in Rimini, northeast Italy, last week after testing positive for COVID-19 and has recovered within a week.

UPDATE (March 28, 2020):

More than 100,000 people in the United States have now been infected with the coronavirus, a grim milestone that comes on the same day the national death toll surpassed 1,500. Earlier this week the country surpassed the case totals in China and Italy. The number of known cases has risen rapidly in recent days as testing ramped up after weeks of widespread shortages and delays.

Italy recorded its single biggest rise in deaths, with 969 more victims, to bring its total number of fatalities to 9,134. The country now has 86,498 cases, surpassing China to record the grim distinction of the second-most infections in the world, behind the U.S.

Spain’s Health Ministry reported another 7,800 infections for a total of 64,059. Deaths climbed by 769 to 4,858 — the world’s second-highest total after Italy’s 8,214 fatalities. Spain says 9,444 health workers have contracted the coronavirus. That’s nearly 15% of the total number of cases.

For the past two days, New Yorkers have been dying at a rate of one every 17 minutes, according to the latest citywide statistics. On both Thursday and Friday, another 84 people died in the city from the coronavirus, as the number of positive cases and of those who are critically ill also climbed.

The COVID-19 death toll in the city was 450 as of Friday evening, up from 366 reported fatalities in the morning. Total citywide coronavirus cases rose to 26,697, up 4.4 percent from the 25,573 earlier today.

The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has surged by 919 to 9,134, easily the highest daily tally since the epidemic emerged on February 21. Before that, the largest daily toll was registered on March 21, when 793 people died.

The total number of confirmed cases rose to 86,498 from a previous 80,539, taking Italy’s total past that of China, where the coronavirus epidemic emerged at the end of last year. The United States already surpassed China’s tally of cases.

UPDATE (March 30, 2020):

The virus is rapidly spreading through US and the death toll is rising. To avert more chaos and crisis, President Donald Trump has extended the voluntary national shutdown for a month, bowing to public-health experts who told him the coronavirus pandemic could claim over 100,000 lives in the country, if not enough is done to fight it.

The total number of cases in the US has escalated far more than that of China and Italy, and has reached over 142,500 with more than 2,500 deaths. Meanwhile, Italy and Spain have also witnessed rise in number of infections – over 97,600 and 80,100 respectively.

According to media reports, a 57-year-old female shrimp seller in China’s Wuhan city has been identified as one of the first victims of coronavirus, which has claimed nearly 40,000 lives, worldwide. The coronavirus ‘patient zero’, who made a full recovery in January after month-long treatment, believes the Chinese government could have checked the spread of the disease had it acted sooner.

The patient developed a cold in early December, believed it to be common cold and went to a local clinic for treatment where she was given an injection. However, her illness persisted and she visited the hospital a couple of times.

If the medical system had been more efficient and careful, the world could have been saved from the pandemic.

UPDATE (March 31, 2020):

Spain has reported 849 new deaths from the coronavirus, the highest overnight jump since the start of the pandemic, bringing the total number of fatalities in the country to 8,189. The US has over 164,000 confirmed cases, the highest number in the world, and more than 3,000 deaths.

Around the world, more than 800,000 people have been confirmed to have the virus, and nearly 165,000 have recovered. More than 37,500 people have died.

The Netherlands has reported 175 new deaths from the coronavirus, bringing its total number of fatalities to 1,039. Meanwhile, the number of confirmed infections increased by 845 to 12,595, the Netherlands’ National Institute for Health said.

Italy’s government said that it would extend its nationwide lockdown measures against a coronavirus outbreak, due to end on Friday, at least until the Easter season in April, as the number of new infections declines.

The death toll has risen by 812 in the last 24 hours, reversing two days of declines, although the number of new cases rose by just 4,050, the lowest increase since 17 March, reaching a total of 101,739.

UPDATE (April 1, 2020):

Chinese health authorities have begun reporting on asymptomatic cases of the coronavirus as part of an effort to allay public fears that people could be spreading the virus without knowing they are infected with it. Besides the asymptomatic cases, there are reports of 35 new imported cases.

The authorities revealed the presence of 1,541 asymptomatic cases carrying COVID-19 coronavirus, which has raised concerns of a second wave of infections amid the relaxation of stringent measures in the country that were initiated to contain the deadly disease at the beginning of the year.

Meanwhile, China has reopened its markets selling bats, pangolins and other animals for human consumption. It seems people haven’t learnt a lesson from the coronavirus outbreak. However, the markets are under watchful eyes of guards, who ensure no one is able to take pictures of the blood-soaked floors, slaughtering of dogs and rabbits, and scared animals cramped in cages.

The total number of deaths in the US from coronavirus pandemic reached over 4,000 early today, more than double the number from three days earlier. The number of deaths was 4,076 — more than twice the 2,010 recorded on March 28.

The number of confirmed US cases has reached 189,510, the most in the world, though Italy and Spain have recorded more fatalities.

Spain’s health authorities confirmed that the total number of coronavirus cases in the country increased by 9,222 to 94,417, a higher daily rise in new cases than on Sunday and Monday when 6,549 and 6,398 new cases were confirmed respectively.

UPDATE (April 2, 2020): 

The death toll in Spain passed 10,000, as the country hard-hit by the virus reported its highest number of deaths in a single day since the outbreak began, with the total rising by 950 to reach 10,003 among 110,238 infections.

Meanwhile, a small, lightweight, portable and easy to use ventilator originally created by an Indian robot scientist and a neurosurgeon is offering hope in the country’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Because it doesn’t need much power to run, and can be set up anywhere, the AgVa portable ventilator is allowing less-critical patients to be moved back home. As the coronavirus toll rises in India, the production of AgVa’s ventilator shot up from 500 a month to 20,000.

France registered 509 deaths from COVID-19, its highest daily death toll so far, bringing the total number of coronavirus fatalities to 4,032. The new figure is a slight increase from the 499 fatalities in France during the previous 24-hour period, while the total number of cases has reached nearly 57,000, an increase of 9%.

In the US, a six-week-old infant has died of complications relating to COVID-19, in one of the youngest recorded deaths from the virus. Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont tweeted yesterday that the newborn was “brought unresponsive to a hospital late last week and could not be revived.” Number of the cases in the US has reached over 216,700 with over 5,100 people dead.

UPDATE (April 3, 2020): 

France reported 471 more deaths from COVID-19 on April 2, bringing the country’s death toll from the coronavirus epidemic to 4,503. Surprisingly, the French figures include only those who died in hospital and not those who died at home or in old people’s homes.

Italy had the most deaths, more than 13,900, followed by Spain. The United States had the most confirmed cases of any country, more than 240,000.

The US recorded 1,169 COVID-19 fatalities in the past 24 hours, the highest one-day death toll recorded in any country since the global pandemic began. The total death toll in the country has reached 5,926.

Spain recorded 950 deaths overnight, taking toll to 10,000. The total number of positive cases has reached 110,238.

UPDATE (April 6, 2020):

The number of cases nationwide Sunday climbed to at least 337,270 with at least 9,637 dead. Of those deaths, 1,344 were reported on Saturday – the most fatalities recorded in the US in a single day. In New York, a total of 122,031 cases have been recorded so far with over 4,150 deaths.

Italy, Spain, and France report a decline in daily coronavirus deaths. Their governments don’t plan to lift lockdowns and social distancing restrictions anytime soon.

Europe saw further signs of hope in the coronavirus outbreak Sunday as Italy’s daily death toll was at its lowest in more than two weeks and its infection curve was finally on a downward slope. In Spain, new deaths dropped for the third straight day.

Britain recorded 708 new coronavirus deaths Saturday while Italy reported 631 deaths. With 621 more deaths reported on Sunday, Britain has 4,934 virus deaths overall among 47,806 cases.

Meanwhile, India has banned all exports of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug that President Donald Trump has repeatedly touted as a “game-changer” in the fight against COVID-19. Exports of the drug and its formulations are prohibited “without any exceptions” and with immediate effect.

The trade regulator had last month restricted overseas shipments of the drug, allowing only limited exceptions such as on humanitarian grounds and for meeting prior commitments.

UPDATE (April 7, 2020):

Japan has declared a state of emergency, as the country struggles with the coronavirus outbreak, months after the first domestic cases  were reported. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that “basic economic activity” will continue in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka, the seven affected prefectures, with public transport and supermarkets remaining open, but urged people to exercise social distancing and avoid unnecessary trips.

The declaration comes as Japan reported 252 new cases of the coronavirus and seven more deaths Monday, bringing the total number of infections to over 4,600, with 91 deaths.

According to the CDC, children diagnosed with coronavirus in the US typically have mild cases. However, some severe cases in children are being reported and three children have died. Cases in children make up less than 2 percent of reported cases in the US.

The report analyzed 149,760 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country between February 12 and April 2. Of these cases, only 2,572, or 1.7 percent were children younger than 18 years old.

After the first SpaceX coronavirus cases were reported in March, six more employees at Elon Musk’s rocket company have tested positive for the coronavirus as of Monday.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has warned India saying that there may be retaliation if India did not allow the supply of Hydroxychloroquine drug used in the treatment of coronavirus.

UPDATE (April 8, 2020): 

The US recorded the most coronavirus deaths in a single day with more than 1,800 fatalities reported on April 7. It brings the total number of deaths in the country to nearly 13,000. The US has more than 398,000 confirmed cases, the highest number in the world.

Meanwhile, the family of American singer-songwriter John Prine has confirmed his death from complications related to coronavirus.

In Spain, 757 people died over the past 24 hours, which has raised the total death toll to 14,555. The total number of cases in the country has reached nearly 142,000.

Globally, the number of people diagnosed with the virus now exceeds 1.4 million. According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, more than 82,000 people have died while more than 300,000 have recovered.

UPDATE (April 9, 2020): 

104-year-old Italian, Ada Zanusso, has recently recovered from the coronavirus and she recommends courage and faith to a path of recovery from COVID-19 that has killed nearly 89,000 people, worldwide. 

Spain reported 683 daily coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours, a lower number of fatalities compared to the previous two days. Meanwhile, for the second straight day, the US recorded nearly 2,000 fatalities, while in Britain the daily death toll hit a record 938 in one day.

The Netherlands reported 1,213 coronavirus cases, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 21,762, with 148 new deaths.

Meanwhile, in Australia, police wearing protective gear boarded a cruise ship to seize evidence and question crew members of the vessel linked to hundreds of coronavirus infections and 15 deaths across the country.

About 2,700 passengers disembarked from the ship on March 19 in Sydney and it has since become the largest source of coronavirus infections in Australia. More than 600 cases of COVID-19 and 15 deaths are linked the to the ship, the Ruby Princess.

UPDATE (April 10, 2020): 

There have been several well-documented symptoms associated with coronavirus, including a sore throat, dry cough and a high fever, as well as loss of taste and smell. Now, it seems that conjunctivitis (also known as pink eye) has been reported as another symptom in some patients who have contracted the virus.

Recently, a nurse told news reporters in the United States that she and her colleagues from a Life Care Center in Washington state suspected that conjunctivitis could, in fact, be a significant tell-tale sign that someone has contracted COVID-19.

Meanwhile, In the United States, the death toll has surpassed 16,600, with 1,783 new deaths in 24 hours, according to a map by the Johns Hopkins University. However, the number of newly hospitalised patients in the hardest-hit state of New York has dropped to a one percent increase, giving a glimmer of hope.

In the United Kingdom, the death toll rose by 881 in 24 hours, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved out of intensive care but remained in hospital. Meanwhile, new cases in Italy and Spain, the hardest hit countries in Europe, have continue to level off after appearing to peak.

Philippines has reported 18 more coronavirus deaths and 119 new infections. The death toll in the Southeast Asian country has reached 221, while confirmed cases totaled 4,195.

Russia has reported 1,786 more coronavirus cases, its largest daily rise so far, which took the national tally of confirmed infections to 11,917. According to the officials, the number of coronavirus-related deaths rose by 18 to 94.

Yemen reported its first case of the novel coronavirus as aid groups try to prepare for an outbreak in a country where war has shattered the health system and spread hunger and disease.

South Korean officials reported that nearly 100 people thought to be cured of the novel coronavirus have tested positive again. Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said during a briefing that the virus may have “reactivated” in the patients rather than them becoming reinfected.

Health officials in the country said it is unclear how or why this has happened in the 91 patients, but an epidemiological investigation is underway. Approximately 10,450 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in South Korea, and 208 people have died. According to a Johns Hopkins map, more than 7,110 patients have recovered from the virus.

UPDATE (April 13, 2020):

COVID-19 has now infected  1,853,155  people worldwide and 114,200 people have been killed due to this pandemic.

Spain’s total death toll from the coronavirus rose to 17,489 on Monday, up 517 from 16,972 on Sunday. The number of confirmed cases has reached 169,496, up from 166,019 the previous day.

With signs indicating the situation was taking a tentative turn for the better, some businesses, including construction and manufacturing, were allowed to reopen. However, most of the population were still confined to their homes, and shops, bars and public spaces will remain closed until at least April 26.

Meanwhile, deaths in Italy from the epidemic rose over the weekend to 19,468 and the number of new cases climbed to 4,694 from a previous 3,951.

The United States, the current epicenter of the virus recorded 2,000 deaths a day, a first for any country. The country overall has witnessed 22,115  deaths and have surpassed Italy’s death toll of 19,899.

UPDATE (April 14, 2020): 

India’s nationwide coronavirus lockdown, the biggest in the world, will be extended until at least May 3, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said. The three-week lockdown of the nation of 1.3 billion people, which started on March 25 midnight, was scheduled to end on Tuesday midnight.

Meanwhile, around 300,000 nonessential workers are estimated to have gone back to their jobs in Spain’s Madrid region on Monday as the country began a partial lifting of lockdown restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus.

Spain has been one of the countries worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 170,000 confirmed cases so far the highest in Europe, and second only to the US. The country has now recorded a total of more than 17,700 deaths.

In the US, over 588,300 confirmed cases have been reported, with more than 23,600 deaths. At least 1,500 new U.S. fatalities were reported on Monday, below last week’s running tally of roughly 2,000 deaths every 24 hours. Likewise, the number of additional confirmed cases counted on Monday, about 23,000, was well below last week’s trend of 30,000 to 50,000 new cases a day.

UPDATE (April 15, 2020):

Internal documents obtained by The Associated Press and experts estimate, based on retrospective infection data, that while the Chinese officials secretly determined they were facing an epidemic, the public was not warned for almost six days.

Meanwhile, the city of Wuhan, at the epicenter of the disease, hosted a mass banquet for tens of thousands of people; millions then began traveling through for Lunar New Year celebrations. President Xi Jinping warned the public on the seventh day, Jan. 20. But by that time, more than 3,000 people had been infected during almost a week of public silence.

Bill Gates said that President Donald Trump’s decision to withhold funding to the World Health Organization pending a review of its handling of the coroanvirus pandemic is as dangerous as it sounds.

UPDATE (April 16, 2020): 

Connie Titchen, who is a 106-year-old great grandmother, maybe the oldest person in the United Kingdom to beat coronavirus. Three weeks after testing positive for COVID-19, Titchen was discharged from Birmingham City Hospital in the UK.

The head of WHO said he regrets Trump’s decision to halt funding for the organization but called for world unity to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The International Monetary Fund says the global economy is expected to shrink by 3 percent this year – the biggest contraction since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Meanwhile, Asia’s economic growth likely to drop to zero in 2020, a first for the region in 60 years.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Netherlands rose by 1,061 to 29,214, health authorities have said, with 181 new deaths. The total death toll in the country is 3,315.

Germany has set out a roadmap for cautiously lifting coronavirus lockdown measures, while in the U.K., the government is set to extend the country’s lockdown, amid growing calls for an explicit exit strategy. Germany announced Wednesday that small shops will be allowed to re-open from Monday April 20, as long as hygiene and social distancing measures are in place.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday, his government is trying to determine whether the coronavirus emanated from a lab in Wuhan, China, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Beijing “needs to come clean” on what they know.

UPDATE (April 17, 2020):

According to a regional WHO official, coronavirus cases in Africa could surge from just thousands now to 10 million within three to six months, according to provisional modelling.

Saudi Arabia has announced Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr prayers will take place at home amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chinese city of Wuhan has raised its number of coronavirus fatalities by 1,290 to 3,869, most of China’s total. That brings the total fatalities nationwide to at least 4,642.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has announced “a phased approach” to ease restrictions of movement on Americans.

UPDATE (April 20, 2020): 

According to Turkey’s health minister, the country’s confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 82,329, overtaking neighboring Iran for the first time to register the highest total in the Middle East.

The United Kingdom’s health ministry has said hospital death toll from COVID-19 in the country rose by 888 to 15,464 as of April 17.

Meanwhile, Trump said China should face consequences if it was “knowingly responsible” for the coronavirus pandemic. The US-China relationship was good “until they did this”, he said, citing a recent first-phase agricultural deal aimed at quelling a trade war between the two countries.

New deaths from the coronavirus in Spain increased by 410 on Sunday, the lowest rise in deaths in around a month for the country with the third-highest coronavirus death count in the world. Russia added another 6,060 new cases on Sunday — its highest daily rise yet.

Malaysian health authorities on Sunday confirmed 84 new coronavirus cases and one new death since Saturday, bringing the country’s total confirmed cases and deaths to 5,389 and 89.

UPDATE (April 21, 2020):

The WHO said available evidence suggests that the novel coronavirus originated in bats in China late last year and it was not manipulated or constructed in a lab.

New deaths attributed to the coronavirus in Spain rose by 430 that brings the total death toll in the country to 21,282. This is a slight rise in deaths after a 4-week low of 399 daily deaths on Monday. Spain also reported nearly 4,000 new infections to a total of 204,178, a 2 percent day-to-day increase in line with the average for the past four days.

Indonesia reported 375 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, taking the total in the Southeast Asian country to 7,135. Health officials reported 26 new coronavirus deaths, taking the total to 616.

The Philippines’ health ministry recorded nine new coronavirus deaths and 140 additional confirmed cases. Total number of coronavirus deaths has reached 437 while infections have risen to 6,599. About 41 more patients have recovered, which takes the total of recovered patients to 654.

UPDATE (April 25, 2020): 

The United States is by far the hardest-hit country in the global pandemic, in terms of both confirmed infections and deaths. The total confirmed cases in the country have reached nearly 927,150 with 52,400 deaths.

Despite the sharp drop in the death toll, down from 3,176 on Thursday, health experts have said confirmation of a downward trend in the country’s outbreak would require a sustained decline in cases and deaths.

Gyms, hair salons and tattoo parlors had a green light to reopen Friday in the state of Georgia. As the southern state lifted restrictions on a list of businesses that also included nail salons and bowling alleys, President Donald Trump warned that Governor Brian Kemp may be moving too fast.

Meanwhile, in a Thursday press conference, President Trump asked his administration’s medical experts to look into injecting disinfectants into body or exposing the body to UV light to kill the coronavirus. Experts have said the statements were dangerous and should be not be tried under any circumstances.

After this baffling statement, the US state of Maryland has sent out an alert telling residents “that under no circumstances should any disinfectant product be administered into the body through injection, ingestion or any other route.”

COVID-19 coronavirus has killed over 195,900 people, worldwide. The hardest hit continent is Europe with 1,16,221 deaths and 1,296,248 cases. The country with most deaths is the United States with 49,963, followed by Italy with 25,549, Spain with 22,157, France with 21,856 and Britain 18,738.

UPDATE (April 27, 2020):

In Spain, the number of daily coronavirus-related fatalities fell to its lowest level in more than a month, with 288 deaths in the previous 24 hours. the country has over 219,700 confirmed cases, with 23,190 deaths.

France recorded a big fall in its death toll with 242 deaths in the last 24 hours, a drop of more than a third from the previous day. A total of 22,856 people have died since the beginning of March. There have recorded over 124,500 cases. The number of deaths in hospitals -152 – was the lowest daily toll in five weeks, while 90 people died in nursing and care homes.

Turkey has recorded 2,357 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, bringing its total number of infections to 110,130. The death toll rose by 99 to 2,805 while the number of recoveries stood at 29,140 as of Sunday.

Meanwhile, India allowed a limited reopening of shops in neighborhoods and residential areas, a month after the country of some 1.3 billion people went into lockdown. The country has recorded over 27,800 confirmed cases with over 870 deaths.

UPDATE (April 29, 2020):

Russia’s crisis response center reported 99,939 cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, having reported an additional 5,841 cases in the last 24 hours. The total number of reported fatalities remains relatively low, however, at 972 deaths. Russia says it has carried out 3.3 million tests.

Spain’s daily death toll has risen again Wednesday with the health ministry reporting 325 deaths Wednesday, up from 301 reported the day before. The overall death toll from the virus rose by 453 to 24,275. The country now has 212, 917 cases of the virus, the ministry said, up 2,144 from the previous day.

UPDATE (April 30, 2020):

COVID-19 confirmed cases in United States have crossed 10,63,600, with over 61,400 deaths making the country the worst-hit country globally with coronavirus.

Next to United States is Spain with 2,36,899 cases including 24,275 deaths becoming the second most affected nation that has been hit by coronavirus. Italy coronavirus confirmed cases have also crossed 2,00,000 mark taking overall cases figure to 20,3591 with more deaths than Spain reported that is 27,682. Meanwhile, France at present has 1,66,420 confirmed coronavirus cases including 24,087 deaths.

Meanwhile, Trump has launched an investigation into the WHO’s role in the spread of coronavirus and have accused it of siding with China during the pandemic. Pending an investigation, the President has stopped US aid to the WHO.

UPDATE (May 2, 2020):

Deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy climbed by 285, while the daily tally of new infections fell to 1,872.  Russia’s nationwide tally of confirmed coronavirus cases surged past the 100,000 mark after a record daily rise in new infections. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin told President Vladimir Putin that he had been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.

The coronavirus is ravaging Brazil’s poor, tightly-packed neighbourhoods where the disease is harder to control. There were 92,000 cases in Brazil with 6,400 deaths reported as of Friday.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany rose by 945 to 161,703, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Saturday. The death toll rose by 94 to 6,575.

UPDATE (May 4, 2020):

Germany’s Robert Koch Institute reported 679 new cases bringing the country’s total to 163,175. There were also 43 deaths. Some 6,692 people have now died from the disease in Germany.

China has reported three new cases – all among people returning from overseas – bringing the total to 82,880. The National Health Commission also reported 13 new asymptomatic cases. No new deaths have been reported.

The daily rate of new cases worldwide has been sitting in a 2%-3% range over the past week, versus a peak of around 13% in mid-March, prompting many countries to begin easing lockdown measures that have upended businesses and crippled the global economy.

The loosening of restrictions has proved controversial, however, as experts debate the best strategy to ensure there is no large “second wave” outbreak.

UPDATE (May 6, 2020):

US President Donald Trump is winding down the taskforce leading the country’s coronavirus response even as data shows more than 71,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and more than 1.2 million have been diagnosed with the disease.

The United Kingdom now has the highest death toll in Europe as cases rise fast in Russia, which reported more than 10,000 cases for the fourth successive day.

India will begin flights on Thursday to bring home some 400,000 citizens stranded overseas by travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, prompting some worries over the risk that imported infections could fuel contagion in the country.

The United States continues to top the charts in coronavirus infections and deaths that stand at 12,04,475 and 71,078 respectively. In terms of the death toll, it is followed by the UK (29,501), Italy (29,315), Spain (25,613), and France (25,538).

Israel’s shadowy Biological Research Institute confirmed that it has isolated an antibody it believes could be used to develop treatments against the COVID-19 virus, and said it was ahead of the world in its efforts, though it also warned that medication was still at least several months away.

This development would not be useful in the creation of a vaccine, but would rather be a move toward a drug treatment for those who have already contracted the disease. The antibody has also not yet been tested outside of a Petri dish.

UPDATE (May 8, 2020):

Apparently, the world is playing at with looser lockdowns, which risks a second and bigger surge of coronavirus. After enduring weeks of coronavirus lockdowns, more than 100 million travelers in China flocked to key tourist sites this week, while businesses including barbershops, nail salons and shopping malls reopened in parts of the United States.

Families separated by strict physical-distancing rules in Italy reunited for the first time in two months, and Spaniards rushed out of their homes to exercise after being cooped up for seven weeks.

WHO warns coronavirus could kill 83,000-190,000 people in Africa in the first year and infect between 29 million and 44 million during that period if it is not contained. Russia’s coronavirus cases, which now stand at over 187,000, have overtaken France and Germany to become the fifth-highest total in the world.

Spain’s daily death toll from the coronavirus rose to 229, up from 213 on the previous day. Overall deaths rose to 26,299 from 26,070 on Thursday and the number of diagnosed cases rose to 222,857 up from 221,447 the day before.

Japan’s household spending plunged 6 percent in March and while over-time pay shrank 4.1 percent.

Italy’s economic capital Milan is a virus time “bomb” at risk of erupting with residents now free to move around after two months under a pandemic lockdown, a virologist has warned.

UPDATE (May 12, 2020):

China’s health authority said that the reappearance of local clusters of coronavirus cases in recent days suggests that counter-coronavirus measures cannot be relaxed yet.

 The World Health Organization (WHO) is appealing for more funding to accelerate vaccine development for about seven to eight “top” candidates, according to the UN agency’s chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Russia is due to start easing coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday, despite reporting a record number of cases the previous day.

The death toll in Indonesia passed the 1,000 mark as the country recorded 16 new fatalities and 484 new infections. Indonesia has now reported 1,007 deaths and 14,749 cases.

Meanwhile, Spain ordered a two-week quarantine for all overseas travelers coming to the country from May 15. Travelers will have to remain locked in and will only be allowed to exit for grocery shopping, go to health centers and in case of “situation of need”. The quarantine has been enforced for all travelers incoming to Spain between May 15 and May 24, when the state of emergency is due to end.

UPDATE (May 18, 2020):

India has recorded its biggest single-day surge with 5,242 new cases of coronavirus and 157 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the country’s infection tally to more than 96,000, the most in Asia.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic has tipped Japan’s economy into its first recession in four-and-a-half years.

Spain has reported a daily death toll below 100 for the first time in two months, while Italy’s was the lowest since the start of its lockdown.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro continues to defy social distancing rules, joining a demonstration outside his office on Sunday and posing for selfies with supporters even as health ministry data shows the country’s outbreak deepening.

US President Donald Trump hit back at his predecessor, Barack Obama, for being “grossly incompetent” after Obama criticised the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Obama told college graduates in an online address that the pandemic showed many officials “aren’t even pretending to be in charge”.

UPDATE (May 22, 2020): 

India has registered its biggest jump of coronavirus cases in 24 hours with 6,000 new cases as the country loosens a nationwide lockdown. The country of 1.3 billion people reported a total of over 118,000 confirmed cases, a roughly five percent increase from Thursday’s figures. Included in the total are 3,583 deaths.

Russia has reported 150 new fatalities, a record daily rise, taking the country’s official national death toll from the virus to 3,249.

Malaysian health authorities reported 78 new coronavirus cases, raising the cumulative total to 7,137 cases. The health ministry also reported one new death, bringing the total fatalities up to 115.

Thailand will maintain its state of emergency over the coronavirus until the end of June, its COVID-19 task force said, in an effort to keep infections under control as the government prepares to ease restrictions further.

UPDATE (May 27, 2020): 

Spain began 10 days of mourning on Wednesday in memory of the more than 27,000 people who have lost their lives to the coronavirus. Flags are flying at half-mast until June 5.

South Korea has seen its highest spike in cases in 49 days with a new cluster now emerging around an online delivery depot west of Seoul.

A new study is warning that Brazil could be facing a death toll of 125,000 people by early August while the WHO has warned the Americas are the new epicentre.

UPDATE (May 29, 2020):

Russia has announced that 232 more people died from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours in a record one-day increase in the country.

China again reported no new cases as US President Donald Trump renewed attacks on Beijing over the coronavirus pandemic. He called the virus “a very bad gift from China”.

Meanwhile, India’s coronavirus death and case tolls have passed China’s, after the country recorded 175 new fatalities and 7,466 new cases.

The English Premier League and Italy’s Serie A are set to resume in June after a near-three month suspension over coronavirus fears.

According to a senior official, Bulgaria plans to lift an obligatory 14-day quarantine from June 1 for travellers from some European Union countries, but not those states with the biggest coronavirus outbreaks.

UPDATE (June 2, 2020):

Latvia will open its borders to most European countries without requiring visitors to self-isolate as the Baltic nation prepares to exit emergency coronavirus measures.

France’s coronavirus death toll rose by more than a 100 for the first time in 13 days, as the country enacts a new easing of lockdown measures.

UPDATE (June 6, 2020): 
The World Health Organization (WHO) changed its position on face masks and is now encouraging people to wear them in crowded places, citing anecdotal evidence that supports their value in stopping the spread of the coronavirus.

United States President Donald Trump called for a shift in strategy against the coronavirus pandemic to focus resources on protecting “high-risk populations” while calling for a total end to stay-at-home orders in states throughout the country. The country has a total of 1,935,430 cases with 110,655.

Meanwhile, with more than 34,000 coronavirus deaths, Brazil now has the third-highest toll in the world, whereas India has surpassed Italy with 236,650 cases to become sixth most infected country.

UPDATE (June 13, 2020):

India reported its biggest single-day jump in coronavirus infections as the country passed the grim milestone of 300,000 cases.

Brazil became the country with the second-highest coronavirus death toll in the world with 41,828 fatalities, surpassing the death toll of the United Kingdom and second only to the United States.

Pakistani authorities have identified and sealed off nearly 1,300 hot spots to contain the increasing rate of COVID-19 infections in the country. The sealing of high-risk area comes as Pakistan reported 6,472 news cases on Saturday, the country’s highest single-day total. Pakistan has confirmed a total of 132,405 cases, including 2,551 deaths.

UPDATE (June 19, 2020):

The United Kingdom’s chief medical officers have agreed to lower the country’s coronavirus alert level from four to three. Whereas in India, the total number of cases has reached over 380,500 with more than 12,500 deaths and the situation is not likely to get better any time soon as the country has eased the lockdown restrictions.

Meanwhile, German biopharmaceutical company CureVac has started a clinical trial for a vaccine against the novel coronavirus.

In Honduras, President Juan Orlando Hernandez became the latest world leader to be hospitalised after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Indonesia has reported 1,041 new coronavirus cases, taking the total numbers of infections to over 43,800.

UPDATE (June 29, 2020):

Global coronavirus cases have exceeded over 10 million and more than half a million people have died from the coronavirus. The United States accounts for about a quarter of all deaths.

Pakistan’s COVID-19 cases have passed the 200,000 mark after 3,602 new infections were reported on Sunday.

The Australian state of Victoria has found 75 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours – the highest daily count in two months.

Russia has reported 6,719 new cases of the novel coronavirus, the lowest one-day reported increase since April 29, pushing its nationwide tally to 641,156. The national coronavirus taskforce said 93 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 9,166. Only US and Brazil have reported more cases than Russia.

UPDATE (July 4, 2020):

India recorded its highest single-day count of 22,772 coronavirus cases and 442 deaths. Meanwhile, Brazil passed 1.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases, as cities reopen bars, restaurants and gyms sparking fears infections will keep rising.

Spain’s northeastern Catalonia region locked down an area with around 200,000 residents near the town of Lerida following a surge in cases of the new coronavirus.

Cases in Tokyo have risen to a two-month high, driven by the spread of the virus in the capital’s night spots. Of Saturday’s tally, 100 were people in their 20s and 30s, Kyodo news agency said, citing Koike.

At the same time, Britain’s finance minister urged people to “eat out to help out” the economy claw its way out from a historic decline sparked by the coronavirus crisis. England has finally reopened its beloved pubs and the rest of the hospitality sector after more than three months of lockdown. Britain’s shutdown has been one of Europe’s longest because of an official death toll of 44,131 – that only trails those of the United States and Brazil.

The Louvre in Paris, the world’s most visited museum and home to the Mona Lisa, reopens on Monday but with coronavirus restrictions in place and parts of the complex closed to visitors. The Louvre has been closed since March 13, which according to its director Jean-Luc Martinez, has already led to losses of over 40 million euros.

UPDATE (July 9, 2020):

The Australian state of Victoria has imposed broad restrictions on nearly five million people, including in Melbourne, in an attempt to halt the spread of the new coronavirus.

Humanitarian group Oxfam says as many as 122 million people could go hungry this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, warning that up to 12,000 people could die each day from hunger linked to the social and economic impacts of the disease.

Moreover, the WHO has acknowledged “evidence emerging” of the airborne spread of the novel coronavirus, after a group of scientists urged the global body to update its guidance on how the respiratory disease passes between people.

But in an open letter to the Geneva-based agency, 239 scientists in 32 countries outlined evidence showing that floating virus particles can infect people who breathe them in.

UPDATE (July 11, 2020):

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said it was not possible to shut down the country’s economy despite the surge in coronavirus cases.

India’s coronavirus cases surged past 800,000 with the biggest single-day spike of 27,114 cases, causing multiple states to impose lockdowns in high-risk areas.

UPDATE (July 13, 2020):

The United States has reported another record increase of COVID-19 infections, with more than 66,500 new cases confirmed in the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile, India’s coronavirus cases have reached over 878,200 with a record surge of 28,700 cases in the past 24 hours. The upsurge in infections has prompted the authorities to announce a week-long lockdown in the city of Bangalore.

South Africa has reported 13,497 new coronavirus cases, reaching a total of 264,184, including 3,971 deaths. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said the country will immediately ban the sale of alcohol to reduce the volume of trauma patients so that hospitals have more beds open to treat COVID-19 patients.

A Mexican Air Force plane carrying the remains of 245 Mexican migrants who died of COVID-19 in New York arrived in Mexico City. The urns were taken from the plane and placed on a table adorned with white flowers for a brief ceremony.

UPDATE(July 15, 2020):

Researchers in the United States say that the first vaccine tested in the country had worked to enhance the immune systems of the patients and is set for final testing. This is the number of cases nationwide increased by 65,682 for a total of 3.45 million with at least 919 new deaths added to the tally of around 136,000.

According to a study by Dutch scientists, the blood from severely ill coronavirus patients on ventilators was found by researchers to be highly inflammatory and harmful to the body.

South Africa has surpassed the United Kingdom in its number of confirmed coronavirus cases. It has now the world’s eighth-highest number of confirmed cases with 298,292 and over 4,300 deaths.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said that New Zealand must prepare for new coronavirus outbreaks as the pandemic spreads worldwide, but will not drop its elimination strategy if community transmission was discovered.

Meanwhile, India’s coronavirus patients have reached over 936,100, with over 24,300 people dead.

UPDATE (July 20, 2020):

Several banks banks in Hong Kong closed branches or curtailed their working hours on Monday after a spike in the number of new coronavirus cases over the weekend, with 100 infections reported in a 24-hour period – the most since the pandemic began in January.

United States President Donald Trump has insisted that the coronavirus will be brought “under control” even as the country reported at least 67,574 new coronavirus cases and at least 877 new deaths in the country.

Italy’s Lazio region, which includes Rome, is warning citizens that local lockdowns might have to be ordered if there are more clusters of coronavirus infections.

UPDATE (July 25, 2020):

The WHO reported a record rise in global coronavirus cases, with the total rising by 284,196 in the past 24 hours. About 15.7 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19, while more than 638,000 have died. More than 8.98 million people have recovered.

France advised its citizens not to travel to the Spanish region of Catalonia to help contain the spread of COVID-19. Meanwhile, India reported more than 49,000 fresh cases of the coronavirus with 740 new deaths, marking the biggest daily surge in infections. The total number of cases has reached over 13 lakh.

Vietnam has announced a ban on wildlife imports and would close wildlife markets in response to renewed concerns about the threat from diseases that can jump from animals to humans. At the smae time, South Korea reported 113 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours – its first daily jump above 100 in nearly four months.

UPDATE(July 28, 2020):

A new coronavirus cluster in a port city in northeast China has spread to five other regions, prompting fresh restrictions. In recent months a number of small outbreaks have given cause for concern, with China reporting 68 new infections.

Meanwhile, the world’s biggest COVID-19 vaccine trials got underway on Monday with the first of 30,000 planned volunteers helping to test shots created by the US government along with pharmaceutical company Moderna.

Indonesia has reported 1,748 new coronavirus infections, bringing its tally to 102,051 confirmed cases overall. The number of deaths in the Southeast Asian nation related to COVID-19 rose by 63, bringing the total to 4,901. At the same time, India’s coronavirus cases have reached over 1,483,156.

Update(August 29, 2020):

In a recent turn of events, Japanese researchers said that low concentrations of ozone can neutralise coronavirus particles, potentially providing a way for hospitals to disinfect examination rooms and waiting areas.

Scientists at Fujita Health University told a news conference they had proven that ozone gas in concentrations of 0.05 to 0.1 parts per million (ppm), levels considered harmless to humans, could kill the virus. The experiment used an ozone generator in a sealed chamber with a sample of coronavirus. The potency of the virus declined by more than 90% when subjected to low level ozone for 10 hours.

Meanwhile, Russia’s coronavirus cases surpassed 980,000 after the country reported 4,829 new cases in the last 24 hours.

South Korea extended social-distancing rules in the capital, Seoul, amid a triple-digit rise in cases, while India reported another record jump in daily cases. New Delhi has reported the world’s highest single-day caseload every day since August 7.

France has reported 7,379 new confirmed coronavirus cases, a new post-lockdown record following the 6,111 record. The total number of confirmed cases rose to 267,077, while the cumulative number of deaths from COVID-19 rose by 20 to 30,596.

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