Donald Trump has said coronavirus will “go away without a vaccine” and is expecting 95,000 or more deaths in the US, as Mike Pence’s press secretary tested positive for coronavirus.
The president’s comments, at an event with Republican lawmakers, capped a horror week in the US, in which it was revealed unemployment had risen to 14.7%, up from 3.5% in February, with 20 million people losing their jobs in April.
The news that Mike Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller had Covid-19, having recently tested negative, again brought the danger of the virus to the White House inner circle. Katie Miller is married to the White House immigration adviser and speech writer Stephen Miller. On Thursday one of Trump’s personal valets tested positive to the virus.
The president again appeared to reset expectations for the final US death toll, saying he expected 95,000 or more to die. The current toll stands at just over 77,000, with nearly 1.3 million infections, including nearly 29,000 new infections added to the count on Friday.
The US state department on Friday accused China and Russia of stepping up cooperation to spread false narratives over the coronavirus pandemic, saying Beijing was increasingly adopting techniques honed by Moscow.
“Even before the Covid-19 crisis we assessed a certain level of coordination between Russia and the PRC in the realm of propaganda,” said Lea Gabrielle, coordinator of the state department’s global engagement centre which tracks foreign propaganda.
“But with this pandemic the cooperation has accelerated rapidly,” she told reporters, in a continuing war of words between Washington and Beijing.
Leaders of the US congressional foreign affairs committees weighed in by writing to nearly 60 countries asking them to support Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organization, citing the need for the broadest effort possible to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The move is likely to further inflame Sino-US relations as Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations, and has been excluded from the WHO, due to objections from China, which considers Taiwan to be part of its territory.
Taiwan has been seeking to join a ministerial meeting this month of the WHO’s decision-making body, the World Health Assembly, with backing from Washington and several US allies. Taiwan has argued that its exclusion from the WHO has created a dangerous gap in the global fight against the coronavirus.
China reported one new coronavirus case on Saturday and 15 new asymptomatic cases. the country’s total number of infections stood at 82,887, with the death total unchanged at 4,633, the national health authority said.
In Italy, the head of the infectious diseases department at the renowned Sacco hospital in Milan, Massimo Galli, said the northern city was “a bit of a bomb” in terms of the virus spreading.
“We have a very high number of infected people returning to circulation,” he told La Repubblica, after photographs of people sitting along Milan’s canals enjoying aperitifs in the sunshine, many without wearing masks or respecting physical distancing rules, were splashed over the front pages of the country’s newspapers.
Milan’s mayor, Giuseppe Sala, said the behaviour was “shameful” and threatened to close the well-known aperitif area if people persisted in flouting the rules. Almost 40% of Italy’s infections are in the Lombardy region, of which Milan is the capital.
On Friday, Italy became the first country in the European Union to pass 30,000 deaths from the virus. Britain, which left the EU in January, passed that milestone on Wednesday, and deaths on Friday stood at more than 31,300.
Travellers into the UK will be quarantined for two weeks when they arrive as part of measures to prevent a second peak of the coronavirus pandemic, Boris Johnson is expected to say on Sunday when he lays out his roadmap out of the lockdown. He will announce the introduction of quarantine measures for people who arrive at airports, ports and Eurostar train stations, including for Britons returning from abroad.
People will be asked to provide the address at which they will self-isolate for two weeks on arrival by filling out a digital form, according to a report in the Times newspaper.
Russia on Friday registered more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases for the sixth day in a row, after emerging as a new hotspot of the pandemic. The total number of infections stood at nearly 188,000. The country also recorded 98 new deaths from the virus, for a total of 1,723, and while some officials were considering softening the current lockdown, the WHO warned Russia was going through a “delayed epidemic.”
WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan said in a virtual briefing must “learn some of the lessons” which came at great cost in other parts of the world.
Source : https://www.theguardian.com/