International Covid-19 update | China denies cover-up, virus cases top 32 000 in Russia, Belgium death toll passes 5 000


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

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China denies cover-up in coronavirus outbreak

China on Friday denied Western suggestions it had covered up the extent of its coronavirus outbreak and rejected US allegations it has an overly cosy relationship with the World Health Organisation.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian acknowledged that the virus's rapid spread had contributed to undercounting that resulted in China raising its death toll earlier on Friday, but added "there has never been any concealment, and we'll never allow any concealment".

The allegations China is too close to the World Health Organisation (WHO), were an attempt at "smearing" Beijing, Zhao said.

Security personnel wearing hazmat suits stand in front of the Wuhan Leishenshan Hospital in Wuhan, in China’s central Hubei province on 11 April, 2020. (Noel Celis / AFP)

Virus cases top 32 000 in Russia, 'difficult weeks' ahead

Russia said on Friday it had recorded 32 008 coronavirus cases, including a record 4 070 in the last 24 hours, with officials warning that Moscow was two to three weeks away from a peak in infections.

Official figures showed more than half of the new cases were registered in Moscow and the surrounding region. So far 273 deaths have been recorded in Russia, including 41 in the last 24 hours.

Deputy mayor Anastasia Rakova warned the city "will face difficult weeks" ahead. "The peak in morbidity should arrive in the next two to three weeks," she said in a video released on social media.


Belgium virus death toll passes 5 000

The novel coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 5 000 people in Belgium, officials said Friday, confirming its high per-capita mortality ratio compared to most other European countries.

A further 313 deaths recorded in the past 24 hours have pushed the overall toll to 5 163, health authorities said in a daily news conference.

Half of the fatalities were reported from old-age care homes, and the other half from hospitals in the country of 11.5 million inhabitants.


Virus outbreak in Germany under control: health minister

The coronavirus pandemic in Germany is "under control" thanks to measures imposed after an early surge in cases, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Friday.

Imposing restrictions to keep people home from mid-March had been successful, Spahn told reporters in Berlin, as the country prepares to ease the measures and ramp up production of protective masks.

"The infection numbers have sunk significantly, especially the relative day-by-day increase. The outbreak is today again under control."


Denmark further eases coronavirus restrictions

Denmark will begin to open up more businesses next week as it further eases virus restrictions, officials announced on Friday.

Following late-night negotiations between the main political parties, the government announced a deal for extending the first phase in the country's return to normality.

"No one wants to keep Denmark closed for a day more than strictly necessary. But we must not move faster than what allows us to still keep the epidemic under control," Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said in a Facebook post.

Danish courts will also start to hear more cases after being limited to handling only critical ones.


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