Trump suspends WHO funding. Denmark begins to reopen schools. Spain’s daily death toll falls again.
Confirmed cases worldwide top 2 millions. The latest numbers from Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the spread of the virus, put the confirmed global total of cases at 2,016,020. The researchers say at least 130,528 people have died since the start of the outbreak.
G20 finance ministers agree to suspend poorer countries’ debt payments. The measure will be in effect from 1 May until the end of the year as they prepare for increased spending on healthcare systems.
The UK hospital death toll rises by 761. The Department of Health and Social Care says a total of 12,868 people have now died in hospitals around the UK. The 761 new deaths announced on Wednesday represent a fall on the equivalent figure reported yesterday; 778. The figure is likely to rise once deaths in other settings are taken into account.
New York City revises its death toll sharply upwards to more than 10,000 people. It added 3,778 people who were not tested but who are nevertheless presumed to have died from Covid-19.
Italy reports 578 new deaths. The number of fatalities in Italy rises by 578 on Wednesday, 24 fewer than the increase seen on Tuesday, taking the death toll to 21,645.
The European Union’s medicine regulator estimates it could take a year for a vaccine to be available for widespread use. The European commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, has previously claimed a vaccine could be on the market “before autumn”.
The 107th edition of the Tour de France is postponed until August. The world governing body, the UCI, says the opening stage will now start on 29 August and the finale will take place on 20 September. It was due to begin in Nice on 27 June and conclude in Paris on 19 July.
Oil slumps despite production cuts. US oil prices tumble to 18-year lows of $19.20 (£15.33) a barrel and the benchmark price for Brent crude drop by 5% to $28 a barrel amid gloomy forecasts for demand during the pandemic.
Canadian economy slides 9% in a month. Its statistics agency says the country’s economy suffered a decline of nearly 9% in March – the worst figure ever recorded.
Three rounds of EU-UK Brexit talks are scheduled. Both sides say they remain committed to reviewing progress in June.
US president Donald Trump announced the suspension of funding to the World Health Organization, as well as an investigation into the WHO’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, in a move described by leading health experts as “a crime against humanity”.
The EU has set out a roadmap for its members to ease their coronavirus lockdowns, warning they should move very cautiously to prevent further serious outbreaks.
The World Health Organization also said countries should wait two weeks in between any significant changes to analyse the impact.
The guidance came as countries across Europe start to ease restrictions, with some schools in Denmark reopening on Wednesday and Germany considering lifting restrictions from next week.
Spain’s daily death toll has fallen again, with 523 fatalities recorded in the last 24 hours.
China reported on Wednesday a decline in new confirmed caseson the mainland, although an increasing number of local transmissions in its far north-east bordering Russia remained a concern for authorities, Reuters reports.
Meanwhile, Russia recorded its highest daily jump in cases, taking its total to nearly 25,000.
Pressure is mounting in Japan, where hospitals are asking for donations of plastic raincoats due to a lack of protective gear, and some doctors have resorted to wearing rubbish bags. The number of visitors to the country sank 93% as tourism suffers during the pandemic.
India announced it would allow industry and farming in rural areas to resume, as millions struggle under the country’s strict three-week lockdown.