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Coronavirus live news: Boris Johnson in intensive care as Japan declares state of emergency

by Staff reporter
07 Apr 2020 at 11:13hrs | Views
Zimbabwe's health minister has warned people against selling unregistered Covid-19 self-test kits.

Obadiah Moyo told the state-owned Herald newspaper that all test kits have to be evaluated by the local authority first, to establish efficacy and to avoid false results.

Private companies, including some pharmacies, have been selling rapid testing kits.

Zimbabwe has recorded nine positive cases of the virus from around 340 tests, with one death. The government says it is only conducting tests among those who display coronavirus-like symptoms.

Zimbabwe began a 21-day lockdown on 30 March, but the government appears to be easing some restrictions. On Friday, it reversed a ban on the sale of alcohol from supermarkets, even though liquor stores and bars remain shut.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa also announced that farmers and traders will be allowed to bring in their fresh produce to markets.

This came after social media videos showing police seizing and destroying vegetables caused an outcry.
  • 10 confirmed cases

    07 Apr 2020 at 19:32hrs

  • Wuhan reopens its outbound transport

    07 Apr 2020 at 18:12hrs

    Train, road and rail connections have just been re-established in the Chinese city of Wuhan – where the global coronavirus emergency started – for the first time since the 23 January.

    Wuhan police have warned that motorists should expect heavy traffic on roads out of the city, while even with a limited air service, 200 flights are departing on the first day carrying out 10,000 passengers.

    Chinese state media has also shown aerial footage with nearly 100 high-speed trains ready to depart, and highway roadblocks have been removed.

    For more than 10 weeks, millions of people have not been able to leave the city - and, initially, only those with health clearance are permitted to go.

    The re-opening of Wuhan has come just hours after China reported its first day with no new coronavirus fatalities.

    Though many analysts have questioned whether this country has under-reported its rate of deaths and infections, the overall trend does appear to match real life experience.

  • UK hospital deaths rise by 786 in a day

    07 Apr 2020 at 17:38hrs

    The number of coronavirus hospital deaths in the UK has reached 6,159 - an increase of 786 in a single day.

    The Department of Health and Social Care said 213,181 people had been tested as of 09:00 BST on Tuesday, of which 55,242 tested positive.

    Overall, 266,694 tests have been concluded, with 14,006 tests carried out on Monday.

    The daily figure for the number of people tested on Monday does not include data from Manchester and Leeds due to a "data processing delay", while the overall tests figure excludes Northern Ireland, the Department of Health added.

  • Conman posing as Zimbabwe's ambassador to SA seeks 'donations'

    07 Apr 2020 at 17:09hrs

    Zimbabwe's ministry of foreign affairs on Tuesday said an impostor, claiming to be its ambassador in South Africa David Hamadziripi, had been soliciting money and donations from unwitting members of the public, particularly prominent Zimbabweans.

    "The impostor is targeting prominent Zimbabweans, claiming that the ambassador is giving out donations of goods of equipment of some kind. The impostor then asks for money to transport the said donation," Zimbabwe's foreign affairs and international trade's spokesperson Constance Chemwayi said in a statement.

    "Please be advised that Ambassador David Hamadziripi, or the Embassy of Zimbabwe to South Africa is not giving out any donations of any kind. Should you receive any message or call from anyone claiming to be Ambassador David Hamadziripi, and claiming to offer a donation of any equipment or goods and asking for money to transport the said donation, do not entertain him."

    The Harare authorities warned that the person behind the requests "is a fraudster and a conman", and urged the contacted individuals to report the matter to police, and the Zimbabwe embassy in Pretoria, via email

    Zimbabwe's president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, appointed Hamadziripi as Zimbabwe's top envoy to South Africa in 2018, replacing previous ambassador Isaac Moyo, who is now the country's Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) boss in Harare.

    Like Moyo, the soft-spoken Hamadziripi has championed various "economic diplomacy" initiatives across South Africa, and initiated several programmes for Zimbabweans in South Africa to contribute towards the Harare economy.

  • Another 758 hospital patients die with Covid-19 in England

    07 Apr 2020 at 17:07hrs

    A further 758 patients diagnosed with coronavirus have died in England, NHS England has said.

    It brings the total number of confirmed hospital deaths in England to 5,655 - up from 4,897 at the same time on Monday.

  • New York records largest spike in deaths

    07 Apr 2020 at 17:05hrs

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has just updated the death toll in the state, which is still the hardest hit location in the US.

    On Monday, 731 people died from coronavirus complications, the largest single-day rise.

    There are now a total of 38,836 cases and 5,489 deaths in New York.

    Neighbouring New Jersey has just surpassed 1,000 deaths, says Cuomo.

    "We are projecting we are reaching a plateau," in the level of new patients requiring hospital, says the governor.

    He adds that the city and federal government have created around 3,000 new emergency hospital beds to help relieve overcrowded hospitals, where medical workers are beginning to be sickened by the virus in large numbers.

  • What does the UK constitution say about PM's absence?

    07 Apr 2020 at 17:04hrs

    Though the UK's constitution does not have written rules on what happens if a prime minister is indisposed or incapacitated, the constitutional position has been considered as recently as 2017, when the Conservative MP Peter Bone sponsored the Prime Minister (Temporary Replacement) Bill.

    It was described in summary as:

    A Bill to make provision for the carrying out of the functions of the Prime Minister in the event that a Prime Minister, or a person temporarily carrying out the functions of the Prime Minister, is incapacitated; and for connected purposes.

    It received its first reading in September 2017, but was not debated and did not complete its passage through Parliament, so it went nowhere. It means that, in terms of formal written provisions to deal with a prime minister whose ill health interferes with their ability to carry out their functions, little has changed since 1953 when the then Prime Minister Winston Churchill suffered a stroke at a dinner in Downing Street.

    On that occasion the British people were not told anything of the nature of his illness, though they were told he was ill. The country had neither a prime minister nor a foreign secretary as Sir Anthony Eden was seriously ill in the USA.

    Rab Butler, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, was appointed as a new chairman of the Cabinet, and government continued to function. Churchill made a remarkable recovery.

  • 74 further deaths in Scotland

    07 Apr 2020 at 17:03hrs

    Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is holding her daily press conference and confirms that a further 74 people have died with coronavirus in Scotland, taking the total to 296.

    She explains this relatively large number of deaths is due to National Records for Scotland not yet operating a seven-day service, so weekend deaths were an underestimate.

    She also offers her best wishes to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, saying "we are all willing you on, Boris".

  • Spain considering football resumption in May

    07 Apr 2020 at 17:03hrs

    La Liga president Javier Tebas says Spain's domestic football season may resume as early as 28 May in the best-case scenario of options being discussed by the league.

    No Spanish side has played a competitive game since 11 March, when Atletico Madrid knocked holders Liverpool out of the Champions League at Anfield.

    In a conference call with international journalists, Tebas also said La Liga clubs will lose around €1bn (£884m) if the 2019-20 campaign cannot be restarted.

    He also stressed:

    - Three potential restart dates of 29 May, 6/7 June and 28 June were being assessed.
    - Closed-door matches and reduced capacities could be implemented.
    - La Liga had already lost €150m (£133m) in sponsorship and ticket revenue.
    - Spanish football will not ask for any money from central government.
    - Eight clubs across the first and second divisions had laid players off.

  • UK PM Boris Johnson in 'stable condition' - Downing Street

    07 Apr 2020 at 17:03hrs

    The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was stable overnight and is now in good spirits, after he was admitted to intensive care on Monday evening when his coronavirus symptoms worsened, a spokesperson said.

    Johnson is receiving "standard" oxygen treatment and is breathing without any other assistance, they said.

    He has not required mechanical ventilation or non-invasive respiratory support.

    The prime minister has not had a pneumonia diagnosis, the spokesperson added.

  • UK doctors still at risk from 'useless PPE'

    07 Apr 2020 at 17:03hrs

    UK doctors are being put at risk by a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), with some calling the current provision "useless", the British Medical Association (BMA) has warned.

    In a BMA survey of almost 2,000 health workers, more than two thirds of doctors (69%) said they did not feel protected from coronavirus.

    One hospital doctor said: "The quality of our eye protection and apron is useless. Some of the PPE provided feels like a tick-box exercise just for psychological reassurance."

    It comes after paramedic in the London Ambulance Service recently claimed the PPE given to workers would would be more suitable for people making sandwiches.

  • Paris bans daytime jogging

    07 Apr 2020 at 17:02hrs

    The Paris authorities have banned daytime jogging in a bid to reduce contact between people and help slow the spread of the virus.

    Going out for a run is permitted under France's lockdown rules, but in Paris doctors fear too many people are going out during daylight hours and not keeping the correct distance apart.

    The authorities also suspect some people are claiming to be taking their daily exercise, but in fact are just getting out of their homes. So it's been decided to ban jogging between 10 in the morning and seven in the evening.

    Paris has seen a surge of cases of coronavirus in the last week, with no sign yet of the wave having peaked.

  • Trevor Noah receives death threats over Bill Gates Coronavirus vaccine

    07 Apr 2020 at 12:03hrs

    The Daily Social Distancing show host Trevor Noah says he has been receiving death threats after he interviewed Microsoft Founder and philanthropist Bill Gates to discuss coronavirus testing, accelerating vaccine development and how the world will rebound.

    In a tweet on Sunday Noah said, "Now I see why I've been getting death threats for interviewing Bill."

    His tweet was ignited by News24 which issued an apology after reporting that Gates wanted to use Africans to test a new vaccine for Coronavirus.

    When businessman Ali Naka told Trevor to take the vaccines first he said, "Where in this entire interview do you hear either of us saying a vaccine will be tested in Africa? Are you confusing us with those French doctors or are you just trying to get retweets?"

    The interview irked African soccer star Didier Drogba who urged African leaders to stand up and defend their citizens against being used as guinea pigs.

    "It is totally inconceivable we keep on cautioning this. Africa isn't a testing lab. I would like to vividly denounce those demeaning, false and most of all deeply racists words. Helps us save Africa with the current ongoing Covid 19 and flatten the curve."Drogba fumed. "Let us save ourselves from this crazy virus that is plummeting the world economy and ravaging populations health worldwide. Do not take African people as human guinnea pigs! It's absolutely disgusting.

    "African leaders have a responsibility to protect their populations from those horrendous conspiracies. May god protect us!"

  • Coronavirus wreaks havoc in African American neighbourhoods

    07 Apr 2020 at 11:54hrs

    Stark statistics from Chicago health officials have underscored the heavy toll of coronavirus on black Americans.

    Black Chicagoans account for half of all coronavirus cases in the city and more than 70% of deaths, despite making up 30% of the population.

    Other cities with large black populations, including Detroit, Milwaukee, New Orleans and New York, have become coronavirus hotspots.

    The US has recorded nearly 370,000 virus cases and almost 11,000 deaths.

    Globally there have been nearly 75,000 deaths and more than 1.3m cases total.

    What do Chicago's statistics show?

    As of 5 April, 1,824 out of Chicago's 4,680 confirmed Covid-19 cases were black residents, said city officials on Monday.

    That compared with 847 white, 478 Hispanic and 126 Asian Chicagoans.

    Chicago has seen a total of 98 deaths as of Sunday, with 72% of them black residents.

    The disparity is reflected across the state, where black people account for 41% of Covid-19 deaths, despite making up 14% of the population of Illinois.

    Chicago public health commissioner Dr Allison Arwady told reporters that black city residents already lived on average about 8.8 years less than their white counterparts.

    Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the coronavirus was "devastating black Chicago".

    She said city inspectors would be sent into shops to ensure everyone was adhering to social distancing guidelines.

    Mayor Lightfoot also raised the possibility of curfews in areas where people gathered outside liquor stores, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

  • Men more vulnerable to COVID-19 compared to women

    07 Apr 2020 at 11:52hrs

  • Only 10 075 Covid-19 cases in Africa

    07 Apr 2020 at 11:50hrs

    African Union Member States reporting 10,075 COVID-19 cases, 487 deaths, and 913 recoveries.

  • Arrested over virust testing kits

    07 Apr 2020 at 11:48hrs

    The man who posted a video on virus-testing is waiting to appear in Cape Town Magistrate's Court.

    He was arrested in Parow.

  • Man who posted fake 'contaminated' Covid-19 test kits video arrested

    07 Apr 2020 at 11:46hrs

    Police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said the 55-year-old man was expected to appear in court on Tuesday following his arrest on Monday by police from Parow police station in Cape Town.

  • UK senior minister self-isolates

    07 Apr 2020 at 11:43hrs

    UK Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove is self-isolating at home, because a family member is showing symptoms of coronavirus.

    BBC Newsnight policy editor Lewis Goodall says: "Though he will doubtless be working digitally, in lieu of the prime minister the Cabinet Office becomes all the more important.

    "Gove is a central player in coordination - this will make things that bit harder."

  • The symptoms and how to protect yourself

    07 Apr 2020 at 11:42hrs

    Coronavirus infects the lungs. The two main, key symptoms are a fever and a dry cough, which can in some cases lead to breathing problems.

    You have a fever if your temperature is above 37.8C. The cough to look out for is a new, continuous cough. This means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or having three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours.

    How can you protect yourself? The best thing is regular and thorough hand washing,

    preferably with soap and water.

    Coronavirus spreads when an infected person coughs small droplets - packed with the virus - into the air. These can be breathed in, or cause an infection if you touch a surface they have landed on, then your eyes, nose or mouth.

    To read more on symptoms and how to stay safe, click here.

  • Ghana's coronavirus cases rise sharply

    07 Apr 2020 at 11:39hrs

    Ghana's capital Accra and two other main cities are on a two-week lockdownImage caption: Ghana's capital Accra and two other main cities are on a two-week lockdown

    Ghana has confirmed 73 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 287.

    The new cases were announced on early on Tuesday morning.

    The Ghana Health Service (GHS) said the increase in cases was as a result of "enhanced contact tracing and testing".

    The GHS said that the mandatory quarantining of travellers who had arrived in the country between 21 and 22 March, before the borders were closed, had ended.

    Some 1,030 people were quarantined during that period and 105 of them tested positive in two different test phases.

    Ghana's Ministry of Information tweeted a breakdown of the confirmed cases so far:

  • Johnson being treated by 'finest doctors' in UK

    07 Apr 2020 at 11:37hrs

  • Iran's coronavirus death toll rise to 3,872

    07 Apr 2020 at 11:34hrs

    Iran's coronavirus death toll rose to 3,872 with 133 deaths in the past 24 hours, health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur told state TV. The total number of cases climbed to 62,589, with 2,089 new infections, while 3,987 infected people were in a critical condition, he said.

  • French authorities tighten lockdown measures

    07 Apr 2020 at 11:33hrs

    French authorities have tightened their lockdown measures in the capital by banning Parisians from outdoors sports activity between 10am and 7pm local time, aiming to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

    The move came after many French politicians and doctors expressed dismay at the fact that the streets of Paris still feature people jogging or congregating near markets, despite government orders to get people to stay in as much as possible.

    The city's police and mayor's departments said in a joint statement that, from Wednesday, outdoor sports would no longer be permitted between those conventional daytime hours. People looking to go for a run would have to do so between 7pm and 10am.

    France has confined residents to their homes since 17 March to stem the spread of the virus. The measures have been extended until 15 April, and are likely to be extended again.

  • Spain deaths tick up slightly

    07 Apr 2020 at 11:32hrs

    The pace of coronavirus deaths in Spain ticked up slightly for the first time in five days on Tuesday, with 743 people succumbing overnight to reach a total of 13,798.

    That compared to 637 people who died during the previous 24 hours in the nation with the second highest toll of fatalities in the world from the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Total cases rose to 140,510 on Tuesday from 135,032 on Monday, the health ministry said.

  • Queen thanks health workers' 'selfless commitment'

    07 Apr 2020 at 11:31hrs

    The Queen has paid tribute to healthcare professionals fighting the coronavirus pandemic in a new statement to mark World Health Day.

    The monarch, who gave a rare TV address on Sunday, praised workers' dedication and thanked them for their "selfless commitment".

    The message, addressed to healthcare professionals across the Commonwealth and around the world, said: "On the occasion of World Health Day, I want to thank all those in the healthcare profession for your selfless commitment and diligence as you undertake vitally important roles to protect and improve the health and well-being of people across the Commonwealth, and across the world.

    "In testing times, we often observe that the best of the human spirit comes to the fore; the dedication to service of countless nurses, midwives and other health workers, in these most challenging of circumstances, is an example to us all.

    "My family and I send our enduring appreciation and good wishes."

  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth has sent a message

    07 Apr 2020 at 11:29hrs

    Britain's Queen Elizabeth has sent a message of "enduring appreciation and good wishes" to health workers around the world for World Health Day.

    "I want to thank all those working in the healthcare profession for your selfless commitment and diligence as you undertake vitally important roles to protect and improve the health and well-being of people," the Queen said.

    "My family and I send our enduring appreciation and good wishes."

    Photograph: BUCKINGHAM PALACE/AFP via Getty Images

  • Some French cities make face masks mandatory

    07 Apr 2020 at 11:26hrs

    A number of French cities, including Nice, have announced they plan to make face masks mandatory for those who go out.

    The mayor of Nice, the capital of the French Riviera, has said all city inhabitants will receive a mask within eight to 10 days that they can reuse for a month.

    Cannes and a few other places are following suit, and the capital, Paris, has said it is considering introducing the rule.

    This is a complete U-turn as officials have been saying for weeks that nobody needed masks and they were "useless", presumably because there weren't even enough for frontline health staff.

    French agriculture minister Didier Guillaume has said more than 200,000 people have signed up to help farmers who have warned of a catastrophic lack of seasonal workers. Guillaume made an appeal for a "great agriculture army" last month and this is the response.

  • Japan declares a state of emergency after rise in cases in Tokyo

    07 Apr 2020 at 11:23hrs

    Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has declared a state of emergency to fight new coronavirus infections in major population centres.

    He also unveiled a stimulus package he described as among the world's biggest to soften the economic blow.

    Abe announced the state of emergency targeting the capital Tokyo and six other prefectures – accounting for about 44% of Japan's population – for a period of about one month.

    "We have decided to declare a state of emergency because we've judged that a fast spread of the coronavirus nationwide would have an enormous impact on lives and the economy," he told parliament earlier.

    His cabinet will also finalise the stimulus package worth 108 trillion yen ($990 billion) – equal to 20% of Japan's economic output – to cushion the impact of the epidemic on the world's third-largest economy.

    Coronavirus infections in Tokyo more than doubled to about 1,200 in the past week, with more than 80 new ones reported on Tuesday, accounting for the highest number in the country. Nationwide, cases have climbed past 4,000 with 93 deaths as of Monday.

    The emergency gives governors the authority to call on people to stay at home and businesses to close. With no penalties for ignoring the requests in most cases, enforcement will rely more on peer pressure and respect for authority.

    Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike said the city was in talks with the central government to decide what types of facilities it would ask to close or curtail business hours, while reiterating there would be no restrictions on buying groceries and medicine.

  • IMF urged to help the world's poorest countries by cancelling debt payments

    07 Apr 2020 at 11:21hrs

    Nearly 140 campaign groups and charities urged the IMF and World Bank, G20 governments and private creditors to help the world's poorest countries through the coronavirus crisis by cancelling debt payments.

    The call, spearheaded by the British-based Jubilee Debt Campaign, comes a day before a Group of 20 working group tasked with the coronavirus response for developing countries is due to meet.

    Separately, Ghana Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, who chairs the Development Committee advising the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), singled out China - Africa's largest bilateral creditor - to do more to relieve its debt burden.

    The Jubilee Debt campaign urges the immediate cancellation of 69 poor countries' debt payments for the rest of the year, including to private creditors, estimating that it would free up over $25 billion for the countries, or $50 billion if extended through 2021.

  • WhatsApp restricts sharing of forwarded content

    07 Apr 2020 at 11:18hrs

    Facebook Inc's WhatsApp has restricted users to sharing forwarded content one chat at a time after a jump in messages touting bogus medical advice since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

    The pandemic, which has killed more than 70,000 people worldwide, has been accompanied by what the World Health Organization (WHO) has called an "infodemic” of misinformation, prompting governments and other authorities to urge social media companies to do more to combat the problem.

    WhatsApp, which has more than 2 billion users worldwide, said in a blog post it made the change after observing a "significant increase” in the number of forwards since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

    "We believe it's important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation,” the statement said.