Covid-19 wrap | German coronavirus cases increase as lockdown eases, Trump may seek damages from China, and questions over Olympics

2020-04-28 09:57

Keeping you up to date on the latest novel coronavirus (Covid-19) news from around the world.

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German virus spread worsens as lockdown eases

First signs that transmission of the novel coronavirus has again picked up were visible in German official data, just as the country attempts a cautious easing of its lockdown measures.

The reproduction or infection rate under close watch by health authorities mounted again to around 1.0, meaning each infected person passes the virus on to one other, figures from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for disease control showed late on Tuesday.

Ministers and virologists have hammered home the importance of squeezing the number below 1.0.

And the country has seen days of intense media and political debate after Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Germany's federal states against loosening their lockdowns too quickly.

Since mid-April, the infection rate had sunk as low as 0.7 before inching back up again.

Meanwhile the mortality rate from the disease has also been rising day by day.

By Tuesday, it had reached 3.8% according to RKI figures, which remains well below some neighbouring countries such as France.

The latest data showed 156 337 cases in Germany and 5 913 deaths.

- AFP


Trump says US may seek damages from China over virus

US President Donald Trump suggested on Monday that he may seek damages from China over the coronavirus outbreak which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan and spread around the world.

"We are not happy with China," Trump said at a White House briefing. "We are not happy with that whole situation because we believe it could have been stopped at the source.

"It could have been stopped quickly and it wouldn't have spread all over the world," he said.

"There are a lot of ways you can hold them accountable," Trump said. "We're doing some very serious investigations as you probably know."

Trump was asked about a recent German newspaper editorial which called on China to pay Germany $165 billion in reparations because of economic damage done by the virus.

Asked if the US would consider doing the same, the US president said: "We can do something much easier than that."

"Germany is looking at things, we are looking at things," he said. "We are talking about a lot more money than Germany's talking about."

"We haven't determined the final amount yet," Trump said. "It's very substantial.

"This is worldwide damage," he said. "This is damage to the US, but this is damage to the world."

- AFP


Next year's Olympics to be cancelled if pandemic not over: Games chief

The postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be cancelled if the coronavirus pandemic isn't brought under control by next year, the organising committee's president said in comments published on Tuesday.

In an interview with Japan's Nikkan Sports daily, Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori said the Games could not be delayed beyond 2021 if the world remains in the grip of the pandemic.

"In that case, it's cancelled," he said.

- AFP


Canada begins staggered lifting of pandemic lockdown

Canada began a staggered loosening of pandemic restrictions on Monday as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged vigilance and baby steps to avoid a Covid-19 resurgence.

The Atlantic coast province of New Brunswick, after seeing no new cases in just over a week, was first to relax social distancing rules, starting with the opening of parks and beaches.

Saskatchewan is set to allow businesses to reopen next week.

And Ontario and Quebec, which recorded the most coronavirus cases, largely at nursing homes, unveiled tentative schedules for reopening their economies.

"Different provinces and territories will be able to move at a different pace," Trudeau told a daily briefing.

He stressed the need for a gradual and coordinated approach "to make sure we do this very carefully, based on absolutely the best scientific advice".

"If we get this wrong, everything we have done, everything we have sacrificed over the past many weeks, could have been in vain," he warned.

- AFP


See-through solution: deaf Indonesians turn to clear virus masks

Lip-reading suddenly got tricky when everyone covered their face during the coronavirus pandemic, but Indonesian tailors have hit upon the perfect solution - see-through masks.

One husband and wife duo in Makassar on Sulawesi island started producing cloth masks with transparent plastic in the middle to help fellow deaf people.

"Since the pandemic started, everyone is wearing facemasks. For deaf people, we can't understand what others are saying because we can't read their lips," said 52-year-old Faizah Badaruddin.

"There were a lot of misunderstandings," she added.

Badaruddin and her husband used to sew cushions, bed sheets and curtains for customers.

But when orders dried up, Badaruddin looked up instructional videos online to work out how to produce masks for the hearing impaired.

Since early April, the little business has been producing as many as two dozen transparent masks a day in small, medium and large sizes.

- AFP


Virus-hit Spain's jobless rate jumps to 14.4%

Spain's unemployment rate jumped in the first quarter of 2020 to 14.4%, figures from national statistics institute INE showed, as a nationwide coronavirus lockdown hit the Eurozone's fourth largest economy.

The jobless rate was up from 13.8% in the previous quarter, the highest level in the Eurozone after Greece.

Spain, one of the hardest-hit nations by the pandemic, imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 14 which has largely paralysed its economy.

- AFP


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Read more on:    indonesia  |  germany  |  spain  |  us  |  coronavirus
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