Coronavirus latest: Trump denies he reacted too slowly to pandemic

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The US president has denied accusations he rebuffed advice in February on how to control the outbreak. His own medical advisor, however, appeared to contradict Trump’s version of events.

  • The number of infections worldwide nears two million, with almost 115,000 reported deaths
  • The US is the hardest-hit country, with more than half a million cases, but lockdown measures could be eased in May

Updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)

03:11 A US district judge has ruled that Alabama cannot ban abortions as part of the state’s response to the outbreak. Judge Myron Thompson released a preliminary injunction sought by clinics to stop the state from prohibiting abortions as part of a ban on elective medical procedures during the pandemic. Thompson said abortion providers can elect whether a procedure can wait.

“Based on the current record, the defendants’ efforts to combat COVID-19 do not outweigh the lasting harm imposed by the denial of an individual’s right to terminate her pregnancy, by an undue burden or increase in risk on patients imposed by a delayed procedure, or by the cloud of unwarranted prosecution against providers,” Thompson stated.

03:00 The final repatriation of 500 German travelers in New Zealand will happen tonight, in a Lufthansa flight from Auckland to Frankfurt. To mark this occasion, Auckland’s Sky Tower will be lit up in colors of the German national flag as the A380 does a low pass over the harbor nearby. New Zealand had one of the largest number of Germans stranded overseas (around 12,000) after travel restrictions over Covid-19 took place.

02:15 Here is the latest from across the Americas:

Mexico: Health officials have confirmed 442 new infections and 23 new fatalities. Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said Mexico might have as many as 26,500 people infected saying a large number who are infected probably don’t have symptoms or not diagnosed. Latest figures: 4,219 infected, 273 deaths, 1,772 recovered.

United States: The US may be ready to start slowly reopening in May, some of the government’s top officials have suggested, as hopes rise that the outbreak was peaking. President Donald Trump had earlier wanted the world’s largest economy to be “raring to go” by Easter Sunday. However, most of the country remained at a standstill and churches took celebrations online to prevent the spread of the virus that has killed more than 22,000 people across the country. Meanwhile, Trump has defended his record amid accusations that he was slow in responding threats of an outbreak in the US. Latest figures: 556,044 infected, 22,073 deaths, 42,735 recovered.

Canada: A number of countries, principally Canada, have asked Iran to postpone downloading data on the black boxes from a downed Ukrainian international flight, due to travel restrictions. Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) president Kathy Fox stressed that the nations concerned are “anxious for the download and analysis of the recorders to proceed,” but that all the countries “provided a consistent response, indicating that traveling was impossible at this time, and likely for some time to come.” There were 57 Canadian citizens who perished in the plane crash on January 8. Latest figures: 24,299 infected, 717 deaths, 7,172 recovered.

Brazil: A 97-year-old lady has become the country’s oldest survivor of the coronavirus. Gina Dal Colleto was hospitalized on April 1 and her chances appeared minimal. However, Dal Colleto has now been released in a wheelchair from Sao Paulo’s Vila Nova Star hospital to applause from doctors and nurses. Brazil is the worst hit country in Latin America. Latest figures: 22,192 infected, 1,223 deaths, 173 recovered.

Peru: The health ministry reported it has carried out 45,272 rapid tests as of April 12. Peru has so far registered 7,519 cases, with 193 fatalities. Latest figures: 7519 infected, 193 deaths, 1,798 recovered.

Ecuador: President Lenin Moreno and his cabinet members have taken 50% pay cuts. The political figures made the move as the South American country fights to stave off the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. Latest figures: 7,466 infected, 333 deaths, 501 recovered.

El Salvador: Congress has extended a national emergency that allows the government to prolong certain health measures. The extension will mean lawmakers now have an extra four days, during which they said they would look to work with the government of President Nayib Bukele, and work on problems connected to the economy, health and human rights. Latest figure: 125 infected, 6 deaths, 21 recovered.

01:09 Peruvian police have arrested a Chinese citizen for illegally carrying out coronavirus tests with kits stolen from the South American country’s health ministry. Tianxing Zhang was arrested in Lima, Peru’s capital, as he was about to conduct tests with two women at the door of their house, police confirmed. Both women had paid Zhang to conduct a rapid home test.

The 36-year-old “was proceeding to carry out rapid tests for COVID-19 that he had stolen” from the Lima Sur health authority where he worked, according to a police statement. Zhang was wearing a mask and a light blue medical apron when he was arrested by the state security police.

00:49 A recap of yesterday’s events:

Pope Francis offered sympathy to those who weren’t able to say goodbye to their loved ones, while calling on EU nations to show solidarity. He made the comments during his Easter mass that was livestreamed to millions across the globe.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected the resignation of Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu. Earlier on Sunday, Soylu said he was resigning over the bungled two-day curfew in major Turkish cities.

In the US, Anthony Fauci, the pandemic expert who has been advising the Trump administration, said parts of the country could begin easing restrictions in May, echoing sentiments expressed earlier by Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

Italy reported its lowest number of deaths since March 19, with a toll of 431. The figure marks a significant drop since the day prior, when it reported 619 deaths. It also reported a decrease in cases and number of people in intensive care.

In Germany, Frankfurt police were attacked by a mob of around 20 people with stones and iron bars while trying to enforce social distancing measures. Meanwhile, Germany is set to lead the “coronavirus presidency,” when the country takes the helm of the rotating EU Council presidency in July.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson left hospital, praising the country’s National Health Service (NHS). The government, though, has been warned that the UK risks having the highest death toll from COVID-19 in Europe as the total number of fatalities from the disease in UK hospitals surpassed 10,000.

00:26 US President Donald Trump has rejected claims as “fake news” that he ignored warnings of the outbreak, going against expert advice on social distancing.

Trump took to Twitter to deny the accusations, saying: “If the Fake News Opposition Party is pushing, with all their might, the fact that President Trump ‘ignored early warnings about the threat,’ then why did Media & Dems viciously criticize me when I instituted a Travel Ban on China? They said ‘early & not necessary.’ Corrupt Media!”

The president’s comments come in the wake of a New York Times report stating that US public health adviser, Dr Anthony Fauci, and other senior officials had advised Trump to implement social distancing measures in February. At the time, these suggestions were dismissed by the president, only for him to backtrack a month later.

Asked on CNN why the administration did not heed the advice, Fauci said: “You know … as I have said many times, we look at it from a pure health standpoint. We make a recommendation. Often, the recommendation is taken. Sometimes, it’s not. It is what it is. We are where we are right now.”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

If the Fake News Opposition Party is pushing, with all their might, the fact that President Trump “ignored early warnings about the threat,” then why did Media & Dems viciously criticize me when I instituted a Travel Ban on China? They said “early & not necessary.” Corrupt Media!

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00:05 Welcome to DW’s coverage of the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic. Catch up on all of Sunday’s developments here.

Source: ayanewz/agencies, report.

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