Hello, and welcome to our continuing global coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. This is Helen Davidson in Sydney to take you through the next few hours.

Here’s a quick look at the latest big developments:

Global confirmed death toll passes 195,000

According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, at least 195,920 people are confirmed to have died worldwide, while at least 2.7 million are known to have been infected.

The figures are likely to significantly underestimate the true scale of the pandemic due to suspected under-reporting and differing testing regimes.

Political adviser attends independent scientific advisory meetings

Questions are being raised about political interference as it emerges that the UK prime minister’s chief political aide has been participating in meetings of the government’s group of independent scientific advisers; membership of which Downing Street had insisted on keeping secret until the list was leaked to the Guardian.

After the news emerged, No 10 acknowledged that, while Dominic Cummings and another adviser have been attending and participating in the committee’s meetings, they are not members of the committee.

US authorities warn doctors against prescribing hydroxychloroquine

The US Food and Drug Administration warned doctors against prescribing the malaria drug Donald Trump has been touting, citing reports of sometimes fatal heart side effects among patients.

The warning excluded hospital and research studies.

Chinese delegation goes to North Korean leader’s aid – report

China has dispatched a team to North Korea that includes medical experts to advise on the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, according to a Reuters report. The news agency cites three people familiar with the situation.

The trip by the Chinese doctors and officials comes amid conflicting reports about the health of the North Korean leader. There was no indication of what, if anything, it signalled in terms of Kim’s health.

Air France to get state backing

The airline will receive a €7bn (£6.1bn) loan package backed by the French government to avert a cash crisis brought on by the pandemic, the country’s finance minister Bruno Le Maire announces.

France will issue €3bn in direct loans and guarantees on another €4bn in bank lending to the carrier, part of airline group Air France-KLM, Le Maire said.

US navy captain should be reinstated, say officials

Senior officials recommend the reinstatement of the commander of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, who was fired after he pleaded for help with a coronavirus outbreak onboard.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, officials told the Reuters news agency the recommendation to reinstate Captain Brett Crozier was made during a meeting on Friday between the US defence secretary, Mark Esper, and navy leaders.

UK records 684 more hospital deaths

The Department for Health and Social Care reports 684 more deaths in UK hospitals, bringing the death toll to 19,506. Friday’s update also showed an increase of 5,386 confirmed cases, bringing the UK total to at least 143,464.

Recoveries outstrip infections in Spain

Authorities in Spain, which has seen the second largest number of confirmed cases in the world, pointed out that more people are being diagnosed as cured than are falling sick for the first time since the beginning of the outbreak.

On Friday, there were 2,796 new infections confirmed while 3,105 overcame the infection. “With all the effort that we have done, the evolution of the epidemic is obviously beginning to be where it should be,” said Fernando Simón, the ministry’s health emergency centre coordinator.

Italy to ease lockdown, local media report

Newspapers in Italy are reporting that the country’s lockdown, the longest and toughest in Europe, is to be eased over the next four weeks. There has been no official confirmation, however.

Source link