BFF-38 Coronavirus: latest global developments

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BFF-38

HEALTH-VIRUS-WORLD FACTS

Coronavirus: latest global developments

PARIS, May 1, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:

– Low-key May Day –

Workers of the world scale back traditional May Day demos amid lockdowns. Many protest online, or put on face masks and follow social distancing rules outside.

There are arrests in Turkey and the Philippines of protesters who flouted strict lockdown measures in these countries.

– More than 233,000 deaths –

More than 233,176 people have died worldwide since the epidemic surfaced in China in December, according to an AFP tally at 1100 GMT Friday based on official sources.

More than 3,264,200 cases have now been reported in 195 countries and territories.

In the United States, which has the highest toll, 63,019 people have died. Italy is the second hardest-hit country, with 27,967 dead, followed by the United Kingdom with 26,711, Spain 24,824 and France 24,376.

– WHO asks China to join virus probe –

The World Health Organization says several investigations into the source of the virus are going on but China is not currently involved, and it invites Beijing to participate.

– Trump accuses Beijing –

US President Donald Trump says he has seen evidence the new coronavirus originated in a Chinese lab.

His statement is immediately undermined by intelligence officials and top diplomat Mike Pompeo, who says: “We don’t know precisely where it began.”

– Caution for China holiday –

Millions of Chinese warily begin a five-day national holiday in one of the first post-coronavirus confidence tests for the country where the pandemic emerged.

The Forbidden City imperial palace in Beijing is among the major tourist sites re-opening after being shut for three months.

– Economic repercussions –

Spain says its GDP is projected to fall by 9.2 percent in 2020, while the unemployment rate would reach 19 percent.

France’s car market plummets 88.8 percent in April, an even sharper fall than the 72-percent contraction in March.

Macao’s gaming revenue is almost wiped out in April, dropping 97 percent.

Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair says it plans to axe 3,000 pilot and cabin crew jobs, or 15 percent of staff.

– Extending confinement –

Brazil’s state of Rio de Janeiro says it will extend stay-at-home orders until May 11, defying President Jair Bolsonaro who is urging the country back to work.

Sierra Leone extends its lockdown for a further three days from Sunday.

– Easing confinement –

South Africa begins gradually easing its strict lockdown, allowing some industries to reopen after five weeks of restrictions and an economy in turmoil.

Among the industries permitted to reopen factories are winter clothing, textile and packaging manufacturing.

Rwanda says it will partially lift its virus lockdown from next week, allowing people to move freely during the day and masks in public will be mandatory at all times.

BSS/AFP/MRU/2016hrs