Covid-19 wrap: Over 292 000 global deaths, Lesotho records first case and Australia church fined for bogus cure

2020-05-13 16:08

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

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Coronavirus toll at 11:00 (GMT) Wednesday

Paris – The novel coronavirus has killed at least 292 000 people since the outbreak first emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 11:00 (GMT) on Wednesday.

At least 4 272 880 cases of coronavirus have been registered in 195 countries and territories. Of these, at least 1 462 000 are now considered recovered.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organisation (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections. Many countries are testing only the most serious cases.

Over the past 24 hours, 5 878 deaths and 84 840 new cases have been recorded.

The United States has the highest number of total deaths with 82 389 from 1 370 016 cases. At least 230 287 have been declared recovered.

Britain has the second highest toll with 32 692 deaths from 226 463 cases. Figures compiled by British regional health agencies put the number of fatalities at over 36 000. But these include cases where Covid-19 is only suspected to be the cause, in addition to people who tested positive.

It is followed by Italy with 30 911 deaths and 221 216 cases, Spain with 27 104 deaths and 228 691 infections and France with 26 991 fatalities and 178 225 cases.

 - AFP

Lesotho records first coronavirus case

Maseru – Lesotho, the last African country to have been unaffected by coronavirus, on Wednesday announced it had detected its first case of Covid-19.

The virus was detected on an individual among 81 people who were tested after arriving last week from Saudi Arabia and neighbouring South Africa, the health ministry said in a statement.

"The Ministry of Health informs the Basotho nation and the entire community living in Lesotho, that the country now has the first confirmed case of Covid-19," Director General Dr. Nyane Letsie said.

The patient is a Lesotho national studying in Saudi Arabia.

 - AFP

More than 160 000 coronavirus deaths recorded in Europe - AFP tally

Paris – The coronavirus pandemic has now killed more than 160 000 people in Europe, according to an AFP tally at 13:00 (GMT) on Wednesday.

Nearly three quarters of the 160 455 victims died in the four worst-hit European countries: Britain, Italy, Spain and France. So far, 1 798 209 cases have been recorded across Europe.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organisation (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections.

 - AFP

Virus cases pass 5 000 in Afghanistan as war rages

Kabul – More than 5 000 people have been infected with the new coronavirus across Afghanistan, health authorities said on Wednesday, with the capital Kabul the epicentre of the deadly disease.

The milestone comes as Afghanistan grapples with a surge in violence that is pulling vital attention and resources away from the fight against Covid-19.

Health officials said they have conducted 18 724 tests in the country of about 35 million people and the total number of positive cases was 5 226.

While the official death toll remains low – 132 so far – experts worry the number of fatalities and infections will soar as more tests become available.

The virus is believed to have arrived in Afghanistan via the western province of Herat as tens of thousands of migrants returned from neighbouring Iran, the region's worst-hit country.

Kabul, with more than five million people, has emerged as the new hotspot, with 1 368 positive cases. Herat has 935 confirmed cases, while the southern province of Kandahar, once a Taliban bastion, has 579.

 - AFP

Australia church fined for selling bleach as virus cure

Sydney – A church in Australia has been fined for unlawfully advertising a purported "miracle" coronavirus cure that contains a bleach product, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) said on Wednesday.

The medical regulator said MMS Australia had received 12 fines totalling Aus$151 200 for promoting its "Miracle Mineral Solution" (MMS), which the TGA said contained a high concentration of sodium chlorite – a chemical used as a textile bleaching agent and disinfectant.

MMS Australia is a chapter of the US-based Genesis II Church of Health and Healing, which is subject to a US Justice Department injunction preventing it from selling or distributing its own version of MMS containing the bleach product chlorine dioxide.

A website purportedly linked to the Genesis II Church has listed testimonials claiming – without evidence – that MMS can cure everything from Alzheimer's to malaria.

Australia's TGA said it had fined the church because it was "concerned about the harmful effects that can be caused by the ingestion of MMS".

 - AFP

France puts a cork in champagne sales

Reims – The French champagne industry's trade body suspended early sales of the iconic sparkling wine on Wednesday in an effort to support prices and deal with a huge stock overhang made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.

Champagne is traditionally a drink for celebrations and gatherings, but the coronavirus lockdown orders in much of the world have put a major dent in sales, with lost revenues so far estimated at 1.7 billion euros.

With producers having sold around 100 million fewer bottles so far this year, or about a third of the annual total last year, many are in sore need of cash.

The Comite Champagne that regulates the industry banned until 8 June the pre-sale of bottles that are still in the fermentation process to prevent retail prices from falling steeply.

"It is to preserve the value of the product in a context where we are selling practically nothing," said Jean-Marie Barillere, co-president of the Comite Champagne.

 - AFP

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Read more on:    lesotho  |  spain  |  italy  |  afghanistan  |  uk  |  france  |  australia  |  lockdown  |  coronavirus  |  health

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