International update: Covid-19 death toll exceeds 175,000 – UN warns of famines of ‘biblical proportions’

22nd April 2020 (Last Updated April 22nd, 2020 10:52)

22 April

Global: Global deaths pass 175,000. At least 177,445 people have lost their lives in the coronavirus pandemic so far, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The World Health Organization says there is evidence that coronavirus came from bats. The WHO said all available evidence suggested the coronavirus originated in bats in China late last year and was not manipulated or constructed in a laboratory. Trump said last week the US was trying to determine whether the virus emanated from a lab in Wuhan in central China.

The UN has warned that 265 million people could starve in a widespread famine caused by the coronavirus. “We are looking at widespread famines of biblical proportions,” David Beasley, chief of the UN’s food relief agency told the Guardian.

Global business leaders are preparing for a drawn-out U-shaped recession due to the impact of coronavirus and many fear their companies won’t survive the pandemic, a survey of thousands of chief executives showed on Wednesday.

US: President Donald Trump lays out some terms of the US immigration ban. At the White House press briefing Trump said the ban, which he will sign on Wednesday, will be in effect for 60 days, after which he will re-evaluate the need. The ban will not affect temporary immigration, he said.

The US Senate passed $484 billion in new pandemic relief funds on Tuesday to bolster a tapped-out small business aid program, pay for coronavirus testing and help hospitals deluged by sick patients.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he had a “productive” meeting with US President Donald Trump and that the state was aiming to double its coronavirus testing to 40,000 tests a day.

The US state of Missouri on Tuesday sued China’s leadership over coronavirus, seeking damages over what it described as deliberate deception and insufficient action to stop the pandemic.

A leading US public health official warned on Tuesday that a new wave of coronavirus hitting the US next winter could be “even more difficult” for America to deal with than the current outbreak.

Italy: Italy is to announce plan to ease lockdown this week as confirmed cases fall by 20. The country’s prime minister said the government would unveil plans for the gradual reopening from lockdown before the end of this week. Italy recorded its first significant fall in infections on Tuesday.

China: China reported 30 new cases on the mainland, 23 of which involved people returning from overseas. The National Health Commission also said the number of asymptomatic cases rose to 42, from 37 the previous day. In South Korea, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the country had 11 new cases, the fourth day in a row where the number has been below 15. Six of the cases were among overseas travellers.

Bad debt at Chinese banks climbed in the first quarter after the coronavirus outbreak brought the world’s second-largest economy to a standstill.