President’s pandemic taskforce said vaccine would take 18 months; Brazil passes 100,000 cases; New Zealand records no new cases for first time. Follow the latest updates
- Global coronavirus cases top 3.5 million. The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide has passed 3.5 million, according to Johns Hopkins University data, with deaths nearing a quarter of a million. North America and European countries accounted for most of the new cases reported in recent days, but numbers were rising from smaller bases in Latin America, Africa and Russia. There are currently 3,506,924 confirmed cases of the virus, and 247,473 people have lost their lives in the pandemic so far.
- Trump ‘very confident’ there will be a vaccine by the end of this year. US president Donald Trump is “very confident” there will be vaccine by the end of 2020. In a “virtual town hall” with Fox news, Trump said: “We are very confident we are going to have a vaccine by the end of the year.” Trump’s declaration came despite his own pandemic task force predicting it could be another 18 months. The US president also said that up to 100,000 Americans could die in the pandemic.
- Mike Pompeo says coronavirus originated in a Chinese laboratory. US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, claimed there was “enormous evidence” coronavirus originated in a Chinese laboratory – but did not provide any of the alleged evidence. US intelligence had issued a formal statement saying the scientific consensus is the virus was not manmade or genetically modified. When reminded of this, Pompeo replied: ‘That’s right. I agree with that.’”
- France won’t quarantine EU, Schengen area citizens. France said Sunday that it would not quarantine anyone arriving from the EU, the Schengen area or Britain due to the coronavirus, as it prepares to start easing confinement measures after two months of lockdown.
- New Zealand records zero new cases. New Zealand has recorded a day of no new cases of Covid-19 for the first time since before the lockdown.It’s an “encouraging” result, said Ashley Bloomfield, the director-general of health. There have been 1,487 confirmed and probable cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, with 86% of them now recovered. Seven people were still in hospital.
- Japan expected to extend state of emergency until end of May. The Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, is set to extend the country’s state of emergency on Monday, until the end of May, public broadcaster NHK said. The government is also expected to determine new prevention measures for the coronavirus outbreak that has infected around 15,000 people and killed more than 500 in the country, Reuters reports.
- Bolsonaro fuels protests in defiance of health advice. Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, has spent another weekend stirring up street protests in defiance of his own health ministry’s appeals for citizens to stay at home because of coronavirus. Meanwhile, Brazil passed 100,000 confirmed cases.
- UK and France to trial tracing apps. France’s tracing app expected to enter testing week on Monday. France’s state-supported “StopCOVID” contact-tracing app should enter its testing phase a week on Monday when the country starts to unwind its lockdown, a government minister has said. The UK will trial a new coronavirus tracing programme next week on the Isle of Wight, just off the south coast of England, cabinet minister Michael Gove announced as the government looked to minimise the risk of a second wave of infection.