“Trust us, the worst is yet ahead of us,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned on Monday about the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Although he did not specify exactly what the worst could look like, the WHO has previously warned of the future spread of the virus throughout Africa.
However, new research suggests that only a tiny proportion of the global population – maybe as few as 2% or 3% – appear to have antibodies in the blood. Ghebreyesus cautioned countries that have began loosening lockdown laws, saying “easing restrictions is not the end of the epidemic in any country”:
The ‘worst’ of Covid-19 is yet to come warns World Health Organization – video
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s political opponents have condemned her decision to keep the country’s tough lockdown restrictions in place for a further five days beyond the initial four-week lockdown period.
“We have stopped a wave of devastation,” the prime minister said on Monday as she announced that the strictest period of national shutdown would continue until just before midnight on Monday 27 April. Marginally looser rules – level-3 restrictions – will then be in place until 11 May.
The country recorded one death from Covid-19 on Tuesday, taking the toll to 13. Five new cases were registered and 1,445 people in total in New Zealand have had the coronavirus.
The opposition, led by National party leader, Simon Bridges, reversed earlier support for Ardern on the need for a lockdown. Business owners felt as though they were “sacrificial lambs” due to the shutdown measures, Bridges told a parliamentary committee.
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Australian economy likely to face biggest output contraction since Great Depression
Australia’s reserve bank governor, Phil Lowe, says the country’s economy faces the biggest contraction in output since the Great Depression.
The RBA expects:
Australia is likely to experience “the biggest contraction in national output since the 1930s”.
The decline is estimated to be 10% over the first half of 2020, with most of the decline in June quarter.
Total hours work are estimated to decline by 20%, a “staggeringly large number”, Lowe said.
Unemployment is expected to be 10% by June.
The RBA also predicts negative inflation, for the first time since the 1960s.
Lowe sounds a positive note though: “As a country we are up to the task … all arms of public policy are pulling together.”
Follow the latest on this story with the Australia coronavirus live blog.
Visa conditions that block thousands of migrants in the UK from accessing most state-funded benefits, tax credits and housing assistance should be suspended during the Covid-19 crisis, the shadow immigration minister has said.
Most migrants from outside the European Economic Area with temporary permission to remain in the UK have “no recourse to public funds” status, including sponsored skilled workers, family members of British citizens, self-employed people, investors, entrepreneurs and asylum seekers. The NRPF rules also apply to undocumented migrants.
There have been warnings that without other sources of financial support, some temporary migrants with NRPF status may feel compelled to continue working and risk exposing themselves and others to coronavirus.
The Grenfell Tower inquiry could resume by Zoom videolink, as the inquiry’s solicitor sets out options for restarting hearings during coronavirus crisis.
The public inquiry into the disaster could resume in virtual form, its senior legal adviser has told bereaved people and survivors.
An online system has been successfully tested by role-playing barristers, and hearings could be restarted within weeks if the option is chosen following a consultation launched on Monday.
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Here is everything we know so far about Trump’s tweet saying he plans to sign an executive order temporarily halting immigration to the US.
Donald Trump has been accused of “xenophobic scapegoating” after he announced he will order a temporary ban on immigration into the US to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
There were no other details on the timing or scope of the president’s proposed executive order and no official policy statement from the White House.
Instead there was a lone tweet issued by Trump at 10.06pm on Monday. Without warning, he wrote: “In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy” – a phrase he commonly applies to Covid-19 – “as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”
The post generated instant uncertainty. Similar moves by Trump in the past have triggered mayhem at airports in America and beyond as well as legal challenges. Such an order would be a far-reaching use of executive power from a president who last week claimed he had “total” authority over states’ efforts to reopen their economies.
Zimbabwe faces malaria outbreak as it locks down to counter coronavirus
Nyasha Chingono reports for the Guardian from Harare:
At least 131 people have died from malaria in Zimbabwe in a new outbreak, adding pressure to a country already struggling to deal with Covid-19.
The fatalities occurred in 201 outbreaks recorded across the country, according to the Ministry of Health. Meanwhile Zimbabwe’s lockdown has been extended by two weeks to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
An aerial view shows multitudes of people queuing to enter a shopping mall to restock food supplies on April 20, 2020, in Entumbane township, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Photograph: Zinyange Auntony/AFP via Getty Images
Malaria transmission is seasonal and unstable, causing sickness and death across all age groups. In Zimbabwe, epidemics occasionally occur during the warm and wet season, particularly in February, March and April.
Health experts predict the figures will continue to rise across the country, although the true figures may well be masked by families being unable to access clinics or failing to report cases.
The World Health Organization warned on Tuesday that any lifting of lockdowns to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus must be gradual, and if restrictions were to be relaxed too soon, there would be a resurgence of infections, Reuters reports.
“Lockdown measures have proved effective, and people must be ready for a new way of living to allow society to function while the coronavirus is being kept in check,” said Takeshi Kasai, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific.
Governments considering lifting lockdown measures should do so carefully and in stages, and continue to monitor the epidemic situation, he said. So long as the coronavirus is circulating, no country is safe from a potentially overwhelming outbreak, he said.
“Individuals and society need to be ready for a new way of living,” he said.
More than 13,400 people linked to a Covid-19 outbreak in a village on the outskirts of the Vietnamese capital Hanoi have tested negative for the coronavirus, the government said on Monday.
Supported by the mass quarantine of tens of thousands and an aggressive contact-tracing programme, Vietnam has recorded just 268 cases of the novel coronavirus so far, and no deaths. The country has stayed clear of the virus for four consecutive days so far, Reuters reports.
Medical staff in protective gear prepare to collect swab samples from residents of Ha Loi village in Hanoi, Vietnam, 11 April 2020. Photograph: Luong Thai Linh/EPA
The government said in a statement: “97.7% of the total samples tested negative for the virus. Results of the rest will be released in coming days.”
Ha Loi village, 32km (20 miles) from the capital city, was considered an epicentre and was placed under lockdown since April 7, after 13 people living there, including a Samsung Display worker, were infected.
Vietnam’s health ministry on Monday said over 200 samples linked to the Samsung Display worker also tested negative for the virus.