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Members of the medical staff in protective suits are reflected in a mirror during the treatment of a patient suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in an intensive care unit at Havelhoehe community hospital in Berlin, Germany. - Sputnik International

Live Updates: US COVID-19 Cases Surpass 850,000 - Johns Hopkins University

The pandemic continues to spread across the world, with the highest number of cases registered in the United States - over 850,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, in Europe, Spain and Italy remain the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus, leading in the number of infected and death toll respectively.

Countries continue to impose quarantine measures, however, some nations in Europe have announced plans to ease social distancing restrictions and open businesses, or even begun to lift them, believing it won't worsen the situation.

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02:48 GMT 24.04.2020

SEOUL (Sputnik) – The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Korea has risen by six to 10,708 over the past day, the Health Ministry's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said on Friday.

The death toll has not changed within the same period of time and stands at 240 people, according to the KCDC.

A day earlier, South Korea registered eight cases of COVID-19 and two fatalities.

The number of recovered people has risen over the past day by 90 to 8,501.

The country has conducted more than 569,000 coronavirus tests, with the results of 9,600 tests being processed now.

02:39 GMT 24.04.2020

BEIJING (Sputnik) – China has registered two new imported cases of COVID-19 and four cases of internal transmission within the past 24 hours, with no people having died of the disease, the National Health Commission said on Friday.

“The National Health Commission received information about 82,804 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by a new type of coronavirus from 31 provinces [regions and municipalities], including 915 currently ill people. 57 people are in critical condition, 4,632 have died, 77,257 people have been discharged from hospitals,” the commission said in a statement.

No new cases of the coronavirus have been registered in the province of Hubei, where the city of Wuhan – the epicenter of the pandemic – is located.

The number of confirmed cases in Hong Kong stands at 1,035 people, with four patients having died and 699 more having been discharged from hospitals. Forty-five people have been infected with the disease in Macao, with 27 of them having been released from medical facilities. The number of infected people in Taiwan amounts to 427, with six of them having died and 253 others recovered.

01:46 GMT 24.04.2020

BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) – Argentina has confirmed 147 new cases of the coronavirus across the country within the past 24 hours, with the total number of people infected with COVID-19 having reached 3,435, the national Ministry of Health said.

A day earlier, Argentina recorded 144 new cases of the coronavirus disease.

"Today, 147 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, bringing the total number of [COVID-19] positive tests in the country to 3,435," the ministry said in a daily bulletin on late Thursday.

The death toll has increased by six to 165 people within the same period of time.

00:54 GMT 24.04.2020

CARACAS (Sputnik) – The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Venezuela has risen by 13 to 311 within the past 24 hours, President Nicolas Maduro said.

A day ago, the Venezuelan authorities recorded 10 new cases of the coronavirus disease.

"We have 13 new cases ... The total number of cases has reached 311," Maduro said in a televised address on late Thursday.

The president added that 126 patients had recovered, while 10 people had died of the coronavirus.

23:19 GMT 23.04.2020

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US President Donald Trump during a press briefing said 23 US states are showing a decline in new coronavirus cases and 46 reported a drop in hospitalizations.

"In 23 states, new cases have declined... 46 states report a drop in patients showing coronavirus-like symptoms," Trump said at the White House on Thursday.

Trump said he will have a conference call with US governors on Friday.

US Vice President Mike Pence said 16 states are preparing plans to reopen their economies gradually and highlighted that more than 4.9 million COVID-19 tests have been administered.

The US state of Pennsylvania will begin reopening its economy on 8 May, Pence said.

22:58 GMT 23.04.2020

TORONTO (Sputnik) - The Canadian province of Saskatchewan will begin phasing out on May 4 some of the restrictions implemented to fight the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Premier Scott Moe announced at a press conference.

“Phase 1 [of the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan] will begin on Monday, May 4,” Moe said on Thursday evening. “On that date, medical services such as dentists, optometrists… will be allowed to open.”

Fishing and boat launches will begin on May 4, according to Re-Open Saskatchewan plan also released on Thursday.

In accordance with the plan, phase 1 will also see of golf courses as well as parks and campgrounds reopened on 15 May and 1 June, respectively.

Moe said despite some of the reprieve, certain restrictive measures such as physical distancing and a cap on mass gatherings will remain in place.

Phase 2 will see retail business and some personal services - hair salons and barbershops, among others - open their doors on May 19 and maintain - barring a few exceptions - a maximum capacity of ten individuals at any one time.

Phase 3 will entail reopening remaining personal services, dining establishments, fitness and wellness facilities, childcare facilities, all the while increasing the acceptable capacity of gatherings to 15.

21:59 GMT 23.04.2020

BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) – The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Brazil has increased to 49,492, the National Ministry of Health said on late Thursday.

The number of infected people has risen by 3,735 within the past 24 hours, which is over 1,000 more than a day earlier.

The death toll has reached 3,313 people, with 407 fatalities registered over the past day. A day earlier, the Brazilian authorities reported about 165 new fatal cases.

More than 26,500 patients have already recovered from the disease, the ministry added.

21:56 GMT 23.04.2020

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US capital may start the new school year early if the situation regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic allows such a move, Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said.

"We are planning to be able to start our school year early if we are able to have in-person session," Bowser said on Thursday.

On 17 April, Bowser announced that the academic year will end on 29 May, three weeks ahead of schedule, and that distance learning will continue until that date.

In addition, Bowser said the authorities are still planning for either remote or in-person summer schools.

The mayor said she will provide updates on the direction the authorities will take by 15 May.

Washington, DC public schools are scheduled to start 2020-2021 academic year on 31 August, according to the local authorities’ plans revealed in February.

21:01 GMT 23.04.2020

BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) - Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra on Thursday extended the state of emergency declared over the coronavirus outbreak until 10 May.

"We have been briefed by experts and talked to the council of ministers... and decided to extend the state of emergency by another two weeks," he told reporters.

The curfew and mandatory quarantine took effect on 15 March and were to expire this Sunday. But the president said the infection curve continued to climb.

The Andean nation has so far confirmed 20,914 cases of infection with the new coronavirus, including 572 virus-related deaths. More than 7,400 patients have recovered.

20:49 GMT 23.04.2020

TEL AVIV (Sputnik) - Israel has registered 211 new COVID-19 cases, which brings the total number of people infected with the virus in the country to 14,803, the Health Ministry said on Thursday.

Israel also confirmed one more coronavirus-related fatality, and the total COVID-19 death toll increased to 192.

As of Thursday, 139 patients are in critical condition, with 109 of them in need of lung ventilation treatment.

At the same time, the number of recoveries increased by 277 over the past 24 hours and reached 5,611.

20:29 GMT 23.04.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - South Africa is set to gradually ease coronavirus-fuelled lockdown and revive some of its economic activities after the end of April, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday in a statement.

“We have accordingly decided that beyond Thursday 30 April, we should begin a gradual and phased recovery of economic activity,” Ramaphosa said.

South Africa has imposed level five quarantine, meaning that the country is under the full lockdown. The authorities decided to reduce the level to forth and reopen some business activities under strict safety measures starting from 1 May.  Nonetheless, the country’s international borders would remain closed and travel between provinces would still not be allowed.

South Africa has so far confirmed 3,953 COVID-19 cases and 75 coronavirus-related deaths.

20:18 GMT 23.04.2020

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US state of California has registered 115 new coronavirus (COVID-19) related deaths in its deadliest day since the beginning of the pandemic, Governor Gavin Newsom said on Thursday.

"We have tragically lost 1,469 lives in CA, including 115 yesterday - our deadliest 24 hours yet," Newsom said on Twitter.

California has registered 37,369 confirmed positive cases, 3,343 people remain in the hospital, including over 1,200 in the intensive care, he added.

The US coronavirus case count has topped 856,000 with more than 47,200 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

19:44 GMT 23.04.2020

BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - Many member states of the European Union have not yet reached the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, and the health crisis is far from being manageable, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday during a press conference.

“The health situation is by far not fully under control, and many member states have not yet reached the peak,” von der Leyen said.

The president of the commission added that the virus knows no borders and that some countries of the EU were hit harder than the others. She called for the cooperation within the bloc for recovery to be symmetric.

Europe remains one of the main epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic, with Spain, Italy and France being hit hardest by the virus.

19:15 GMT 23.04.2020

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The number of US novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases has surpassed 850,000, Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center data revealed on Thursday.

The US now has registered 856,209 cases overall, according to the data, including 47,272 deaths.

19:01 GMT 23.04.2020
18:40 GMT 23.04.2020

ANKARA (Sputnik) - The number of coronavirus cases in Turkey has increased by 3,116 over the past day and surpassed 101,000, while the number of deaths has grown by 115 to 2,491, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Thursday.

"Today, 3,116 new cases have been identified, with a total of 101,790 infected. We have lost 115 patients today, with a total death toll amounting to 2,491. A total of 18,491 patients recovered", Koca told reporters.

According to Koca, the situation with the coronavirus in Turkey is "better than yesterday".

18:40 GMT 23.04.2020

NEW YORK (Sputnik) - The preliminary fatality rate from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the US state of New York is at 0.5 percent, Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a press briefing on Thursday.

According to a new study, which tested 3,000 residents for COVID-19 antibodies, the rate of the infection in New York stands at 13.9 percent. This means up to 2.7 million people might have been infected statewide, instead of the total of 263,460 cases officially reported by the Department of Health.

"If the infection rate is 13.9 percent, then it changes the theories of what the death rate is, if you get infected", Cuomo said. "If you look at what we have now as a death total, which is 15,500, that would be about 0.5% death rate".

"It is still preliminary", he added.

The governor also noted that the reported number of people who have passed away due to COVID-19 - 15,500 - is going to go up, because the official data includes only fatalities that occurred at hospitals and nursing facilities, not counting home deaths.

18:39 GMT 23.04.2020

TORONTO (Sputnik) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a new $780 million package supporting vaccine research and clinical trials as well as expanded testing capacity during his daily novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic briefing on Tuesday.

"We are putting in place an additional $1.1 billion dollars [$780 million USD] for a national medical and research strategy to address COVID-19", Trudeau said. "This plan has three pillars: research on vaccines and other treatments, support for clinical trials, and expanding national testing and modelling".

The prime minister pointed out that $82 million of the total sum will be directed to the development of a vaccine and treatments against the deadly disease, while $471 million will go towards supporting clinical trials.

A further $249 million is being allocated for expanding testing capacity and modelling, Trudeau said. According to the prime minister, some of this funding will be allotted to a new "immunity task force" commissioned with conducting serology testing – blood tests looking for the presence of antibodies indicative of exposure to the virus and subsequent immune response.

The funding announced today is in addition to the $200 million committed to COVID-19 research on 11 March.

The prime minister has repeatedly stressed that the daily constraints that much of the population is adhering to will be the new normal until a vaccine is developed for COVID-19.

17:07 GMT 23.04.2020
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15:51 GMT 23.04.2020

NEW YORK (Sputnik) - New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said that the number of people who have died from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on Wednesday dropped to 438 from 474 fatalities recorded on the previous day.

"The number of lives lost is still breathtakingly tragic - 438", Cuomo said on Thursday.

According to Cuomo, on Tuesday, a total of 474 New York residents passed away due to COVID-19.

15:45 GMT 23.04.2020

ROME (Sputnik) - An experimental vaccine against the new coronavirus will go into the human trial phase in Italy this summer, the consortium behind the effort announced Thursday.

Italy's ReiThera, Germany's Leukocare and Belgium's Univercells have teamed up to accelerate the development and mass production of the drug.

"ReiThera is currently preparing for a COVID-19 first-in-human trial to be started in Italy in summer 2020", the consortium said in a statement.

The biotech companies plan to simultaneously manufacture and stockpile the vaccine to make some 6 million doses available early next year.

15:38 GMT 23.04.2020

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US national capital area, including the city of Washington, DC and parts of neighbouring states of Maryland and Virginia, has registered more than 30,000 coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and 1,1146 deaths since the beginning the pandemic, local officials said on Thursday.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser reported 155 new COVID-19 cases in last 24 hours while the Maryland and Virginia health departments registered another 1,637 new cases. This is the biggest single-day increase in the region since the beginning of the outbreak.

"Tragically, 139 District residents have lost their lives due to COVID-19", Bowser said in a statement, adding that the city currently has 3,361 positive tests.

Maryland authorities registered 680 COVID-19 related deaths and 15,737 cases, governor spokesperson Kata Hall said on Twitter.

The state of Virginia confirmed 10,998 cases and 372 deaths, caused by the coronavirus, the Health Department said.

15:36 GMT 23.04.2020

TORONTO (Sputnik) - Canada’s death toll from novel coronavirus (COVID-19)-related complications increased by 157 to 2,028, updated data from the country’s Public Health Agency revealed on Thursday.

The number of confirmed infections increased to 40,824, the Public Health Agency data showed.

The province of Quebec remains the epicentre of the outbreak in Canada, accounting for more than half of all confirmed cases - 20,965 - and 1,134 deaths.

The dire situation in Quebec has garnered national attention and prompted the federal government to deploy Canadian military personnel to deal, in part, with the dozens of outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the province. The Canadian Rangers have been assisting in two northern communities in Quebec for weeks.

15:32 GMT 23.04.2020

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US Department of Defence reported in a press release on Thursday that an additional 147 US service members have tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the past 24 hours.

A total of 3,725 US military personnel have tested positive for the novel coronavirus to date and at least 1,135 have recovered, the release said.

The Defence Department also reported 20 new COVID-19 cases among civilians within its ranks, which brings the combined total of infected service members and civilians to 5,901.

The Defence Department did not report any new deaths caused by the disease and the death toll stands at 25.

13:23 GMT 23.04.2020
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday in a statement to mark the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan observed by Muslims called for an immediate global ceasefire so that the international community can focus all its efforts on combating the coronavirus pandemic.

The UN chief extended his congratulations on the beginning of Ramadan, noting that this year, many Muslim community activities would be affected by measures introduced across the world to curb the virus. In particular, Muslims will not be able to pray in mosques, as governments have closed them to avoid mass gatherings amid the pandemic.

"I recently called for an immediate global ceasefire to focus on our common enemy — the virus. I repeat that appeal today, recalling the words of the Holy Quran 'and if they incline to peace, then incline to it'", Guterres said in his message.

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"I think it's dreadful we can't get more people tested. That's why ... we do upscale the ability for people to access these tests", Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis told ITV. "We are determined to deal with this".

08:03 GMT 23.04.2020
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"Over the past 24 hours, 4,774 COVID-19 cases have been registered in 81 regions. Of these, 2,282 (or 47.8 percent) were identified as contact cases with people showing no clinical symptoms", the response centre said in a statement, adding that Russia has so far confirmed 62,773 COVID-19 cases in 85 regions, which is an 8.2 percent increase from Wednesday's 57,999.

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"Indicators show we are moving in the right direction, for example, the average number of cases originating from one patient is reducing, and the number of recoveries is higher than the number of new cases every day. This is an interim success. These figures inspire hope, but I should say that this intermediate result is fragile", Merkel said in her address at the country's parliament.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The United States and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will convene their foreign ministers for a special summit via a videoconference on Thursday night to discuss cooperation amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The summit is expected to begin at 01:00 GMT.

The ministers are expected to convey the US and ASEAN’s commitment to enhancing cooperation in pursuit of a timely response to COVID-19. In particular, they are expected to discuss the use of ASEAN-led public health mechanisms during the pandemic and the maintenance of regional supply chains for the free flow of food, medical equipment, and other essential products.

Additionally, the ministers are expected to pledge their country's commitment to supporting one another's nationals throughout the crisis.

The ministers are expected to exchange best practices and experiences in tackling COVID-19, explore cooperation in mitigating the pandemic's social and economic impacts, and discuss economic recovery in the post-crisis period.

The summit will be chaired by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Lao Minister of Foreign Affairs Saleumxay Kommasith. They are expected to issue a joint statement outlining concrete initiatives within the agreed cooperation framework after the summit.

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