Covid-19 wrap: Spain sees drop in daily deaths, experts trash Trump and France limits nicotine products

2020-04-24 14:14

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

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Spain sees 367 new virus deaths, lowest daily toll in a month

Madrid – Spain saw 367 people die of the novel coronavirus over the past 24 hours for the lowest daily number of deaths in four weeks, government said on Friday.

The latest figures are the lowest daily toll since 22 March, when 394 deaths were reported. That brought the total fatalities from the pandemic in the country to 22 524, the third-highest number of virus deaths in the world after the United States and Italy.

 - AFP


Experts trash Trump idea of injecting disinfectant to treat virus

Paris – Experts on Friday dismissed as reckless and irresponsible US President Donald Trump's suggestion of injecting disinfectant to treat patients with Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

"Is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside [the body]?", Trump asked at his daily briefing on Thursday, having said that disinfectant knocks out the virus "in a minute".

"Because, you see, it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs," Trump continued, apparently referring to disinfectant. "So it would be interesting to check that out."

In interviews and on social networks, doctors and others dismissed Trump's idea out-of-hand.

"This notion of injecting or ingesting any type of cleansing product into the body is irresponsible, and it's dangerous," Vin Gupta, pulmonologist and global health expert told NBC News. "It's a common method that people utilise when they want to kill themselves."

"We have already seen people mistakenly poisoning themselves by taking chloroquine when their hopes were raised by unscientific comments," noted Parastou Donyai, director of pharmacy practice and the University of Reading, referring to a malaria drug Trump has promoted as a treatment for Covid-19.

 - AFP


Italy to ease virus lockdown over four weeks - report

Rome – Italy is to ease its coronavirus lockdown, the toughest and longest in Europe, over the next four weeks, media reported on Friday, although there was no official confirmation.

"The next four Mondays will mark the country's reopening" following the lockdown implemented last month to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, the Corriere della Sera daily reported.

The Covid-19 pandemic has killed at least 25 500 people in Italy, the world's second highest death toll.

"Everything depends on the infection curve," the best-selling daily said, but if it doesn't rise again "factories making agricultural and forestry equipment can reopen on (Monday) April 27".

Building sites, as well as the textile and fashion industry can restart on 4 May, followed a week later by clothing, shoe and other shops. Finally, bars, restaurants and hairdressers can reopen on 18 May, the paper said.

 - AFP


France limits sale of nicotine products after virus research

Paris – France on Friday limited the sale of nicotine substitutes to avoid stockpiling after research suggested the addictive substance could have the potential to protect people from contracting the coronavirus.

The government said that until 11 May, when the country's lockdown is planned to gradually begin lifting, pharmacies would only be able to sell a maximum of one month's worth of products treating nicotine dependence, such as patches, chewing gum or lozenges. The sale of such products online was suspended entirely.

The move was to "firstly prevent the health risks from excessive consumption or misuse linked to media coverage of the possible protective effect of nicotine against Covid-19," the government said in a statement.

"Secondly it guarantees continuous and appropriate supply to people requiring medical support to stop smoking."

 - AFP


Tiptoeing back to normality, Germany gears up for 2nd virus wave

Frankfurt am Main – Left empty as the coronavirus pandemic forced events to be cancelled, Berlin's exhibition centre Messe is getting a makeover with the help of German soldiers – to re-emerge as a hospital in a few weeks' time.

Wires are still hanging from the ceilings, but when construction is finished, the vast site will be able to host up to 1 000 patients.

Even as Germany begins easing curbs on public life to halt contagion of the virus, authorities are busy ramping up their capacity to deal with a second wave of infections. Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeatedly warned that Germany must not rest on its laurels even if the infection rate has dropped, saying it is still "on thin ice".

Virologist Christian Drosten of Berlin's Charite hospital has also warned that the virus could return with a "totally different force".

"The virus will continue to spread in the course of the next weeks and months," Drosten told public broadcaster NDR, adding that a second wave would be dangerous as it could pop up "everywhere at the same time".

"We may be in the process of completely squandering our headstart," he said, warning against complacency.

 - AFP


Muslims mark Ramadaan with virus lockdowns

Muslims around the world began marking Ramadaan under coronavirus lockdowns with unprecedented bans on family gatherings and mass prayers, while a pushback in some countries has sparked fears of a surge in infections.

Widespread rules have been imposed banning praying in mosques or meeting relatives and friends for large "iftar" meals at dusk – a Ramadaan centrepiece.

 - AFP


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Read more on:    germany  |  spain  |  us  |  italy  |  france  |  health  |  lockdown  |  coronavirus
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