WHO says life with coronavirus must be considered new normal +World updates
Iran Press TV
Tuesday, 21 April 2020 11:11 AM
The World Health Organization (WHO) says life with the new coronavirus must be considered a new normal until vaccination or effective treatment is developed for the disease caused by the pathogen (COVID-19).
Takeshi Kasai, the WHO's regional director for the Western Pacific, said at an online press conference on Tuesday that people had to be ready for a new way of living with the virus.
"At least until a vaccine, or a very effective treatment, is found, this process will need to become our new normal," Kasai said.
He added that any lifting of lockdown measures around the world had to be done carefully and in stages, warning about a resurgent, potentially overwhelming outbreak if restrictions were eased prematurely.
WHO: Still early to identify precise source of coronavirus
Kasai, the WHO official, also stressed that it was not possible to identify the accurate source of the new coronavirus at this stage.
He said no conclusions had been made until now, but he noted that the available evidence suggested an animal origin.
Northwest China sees return of viral cases
China's northwestern province of Shaanxi on Tuesday reported its first coronavirus cases in about three weeks, all of them of Chinese nationals returning from abroad.
The new cases included 21 new infections as well as seven cases with no clinical symptoms. They had been on board a commercial flight from Moscow that landed in Xian, the capital of Shaanxi, on Monday.
Mainland China has recorded 82,758 cases and 4,632 deaths as of Monday, according to the country's National Health Commission.
Thailand records lowest daily coronavirus count
A health official in Thailand said on Tuesday that the country had registered 19 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, the lowest daily count in over a month.
Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the government's Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration, also reported that a 50-year-old taxi driver had died of COVID-19.
Thailand has reported a total of 2,811 cases and 48 deaths so far.
'Singapore facing challenging situation'
The WHO's regional chief also said Singapore was facing "very difficult challenges" from a surge in coronavirus cases, but he emphasized that the country had the healthcare system and risk management capacity to tackle it, citing its prior experience dealing with viral outbreaks.
The city-state has so far recorded 9,125 coronavirus cases, the highest number in Southeast Asia. Its Health Ministry said on Tuesday that it had preliminarily confirmed 1,111 new infections.
Philippines records nine new virus deaths
The Philippines' Health Ministry on Tuesday reported nine new coronavirus deaths, bringing the total fatalities to 437.
The number of confirmed cases also reached 6,599 after 140 new people were infected.
Hong Kong extends restrictions to preserve success after zero new cases
Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced on Tuesday that social distancing measures would be extended for another 14 days to preserve the region's success in containing the disease.
The number of cases in the semi-autonomous Chinese city stands at 1,025, with four deaths.
It recorded zero new cases on Monday for the first time since early March.
A ban on public gatherings of more than four people, initially imposed in the region on March 29, has been extended until April 23, and gyms and entertainment venues such as cinemas are also closed.
Indonesia bans Ramadan exodus
Indonesia, which has 6,760 cases and 590 deaths, announced a ban on a traditional annual exodus where people return to their hometowns and villages at the end of Ramadan in May.
"I have taken the decision that we will ban 'mudik,'" President Joko Widodo told a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, using the Indonesian term for the journey. "That is why the relevant preparation needs to be done."
Nearly 19.5 million people in the archipelago made the journey last year, according to the government.
Italy plans to ease lockdown next month
Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Tuesday that the lockdown measures imposed to combat the coronavirus outbreak would be gradually eased starting from May 4, adding that the government would declare its plans for the gradual reopening before the end of this week amid calls to reopen some activities to avoid an economic catastrophe.
"I wish I could say, 'Let's reopen everything! Immediately! We start tomorrow morning!' But such a decision would be irresponsible. It would make the contagion curve go up in an uncontrolled way and would nullify all the efforts we have made so far," Conte wrote in a Facebook post.
Italy has recorded 24,114 deaths, the second highest in the world after the United States.
Germany's cases jump by 1,785
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany jumped by 1,785 to 143,457, while the death toll increased by 194 to 4,598, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Tuesday.
Denmark firm on ban on large public gatherings
Denmark's Health Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that public gatherings with more than 500 people wouldn't be allowed until at least September 1.
The statement came after earlier media reports said the country would allow larger public gatherings from May 10.
There is currently a ban on public gatherings that exceed 10 people in Denmark, which would remain in place until May 10.
This while several countries are relaxing the restrictions or considering easing them.
Surgeries, schools to resume in Australia
Australia, which saw a fall in infections, is set to re-open schools for more children and to resume many elective surgeries, which were banned in an attempt to free up hospital beds amid expectations of an increase in coronavirus cases, starting from next week.
"We are on the road back and I think we have already reached a turning point," Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters on Tuesday.
Australia has reported about 6,600 infections and 71 deaths.
Iran updates figures
Iran's Health Ministry released a daily update of the coronavirus new cases and deaths on Tuesday.
Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said 88 people had died of the disease during the past 24 hours, bringing the total fatalities to 5,297.
Jahanpour added 1,297 new infections had been recorded, increasing the overall number of confirmed cases to 84,802.
A total of 60,965 patients have recovered and discharged from hospitals, while more than 3,000 others remain hospitalized in critical condition.
Low-risk businesses - including many shops, factories and workshops – have been authorized to resume operations provided they observe safety guidelines.
Iranian schools and universities remain closed. No cultural, religious or sports events will be allowed until further notice.
Prison furloughs for up to 100,000 inmates will remain effective for another month as part of measures to stem the spread of the new coronavirus.
Saudi Arabia to ban praying in the two Holy Mosques in Ramadan
Saudi Arabia on Monday extended the suspension of praying in the Grand Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque, Islam's holiest places, during the fasting month of Ramadan, which will begin later this month.
The number of cases in the six Arab states in the Persian Gulf region has exceeded 28,000, with more than 170 deaths, despite curfews and other restrictions, including the suspension of passenger flights.
Kuwait prolongs curfew
A Kuwaiti government spokesman said on Monday that Kuwait would extend the suspension of work in the public sector, including at government ministries, until May 31 and prolong a nationwide curfew for 16 hours.
The 4 pm to 8 am curfew would go into effect at the start of Ramadan.
Qatar to lift restrictions on infection hotspot
Qatar said it would lift a lockdown imposed since March 17 on a large section of a densely-populated working-class industrial zone that emerged as a hotspot for the outbreak in the country, gradually starting Wednesday.
A government spokeswoman said the decision was made after about 6,500 workers were moved into quarantine between April 14-17 as a precautionary step although they showed no clear symptoms of COVID-19.
Erdogan announces lockdown in 31 Turkish cities
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that a four-day lockdown would be imposed in 31 cities starting Thursday.
Similar measures were imposed in Turkey over the past two weekends.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Monday that confirmed coronavirus cases in Turkey had increased by 4,674 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number to 90,980, and 123 more people had died, taking the toll to 2,140.
Mexico sees deadliest day of violence amid outbreak
In Mexico, the coronavirus outbreak has not reined in typical violence, with 105 murders being reported on Monday despite the quarantine measures imposed by the government to prevent the spread of the disease.
According to official data, Sunday was Mexico's deadliest day this year after the homicide toll surpassed the latest high of 104 people on April 4, 2020.
"We are addressing the issue of the coronavirus, but unfortunately we continue to have problems with homicides," President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday.
"Once we get through this difficult situation," he said in reference to the epidemic, "we are going to give (the criminals) options, alternatives so that they can rejoin public life, be good people."
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