Wuhan to test all 11 million residents as China tries to avoid second wave
All 11 million residents of Wuhan will be tested for the coronavirus, officials in the Chinese city where the outbreak began last year said on Friday, as the country marked one month without any reported deaths from the disease.
Beijing also responded to the latest volley from President Donald Trump, who said he didn’t want to speak to President Xi Jinping at the moment, and added that he could cut ties with the world’s second-largest economy if he wanted to.
China called for “maintaining the stable development of Sino-U.S. relations” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told press on Friday.
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April retail sales fell by 16.4 percent, the lowest level on record
April retail sales sank by 16.4 percent to their lowest level on record, as stores and restaurants felt the full weight of a month of coronavirus closures.
The monthly sales data, which measures spending at places such as gas stations, restaurants, bars, and stores, was released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of the Census.
The number was worse than economists had been anticipating, with most having forecast a 12 percent drop.
By comparison, March sales were down by 8.3 percent, which was at that time the worst decline since records began in 1992.
Consumer spending drives around three-quarters of the U.S. economy, but social distancing measures have restricted business operations, limited driving, and forced the closure of most retail stores and food service locations.
Amal Clooney: Coronavirus exacerbates ‘existing human rights crisis’
Catholic churches gradually reopen in Pittsburgh
Catholic churches in the Diocese of Pittsburgh will gradually reopen on Friday in most areas, with private prayers, baptisms and confession allowed, the diocese announced.
Worshipers will be required to follow social distancing rules and wear masks. Daily masses are scheduled to resume on June 1, with a goal of restarting weekend masses over the weekend of June 6 and 7.
“It fills my heart with so much joy to think of the doors of our Churches opening once again,” said Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik. “I’ve heard from so many who have missed praying in their parishes, I’ve missed it too.”
Moscow announces massive antibody testing program
Moscow health officials launched an ambitious antibody screening program Friday to evaluate the population’s immunity levels as coronavirus cases continue to grow across Russia, with more than 260,00 cases reported nationwide.
In a blog post explaining how the effort will work, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said that every several days 70,000 residents will be selected and invited into one of 30 state clinics across the city to be given an enzyme test for Immunoglobulin M antibodies. Sobyanin said the effort was necessary to provide an informed answer to the question of when Moscow can begin lifting a strict lockdown that has been in place for the past six weeks, and is currently not scheduled to end before May 31.
Sobyanin’s decision would seem to be a subtle rebuke to President Vladimir Putin, who earlier this week lifted a federal stay at home order and declared Russia was now ready to begin a gradual easing of restrictions — despite growing case numbers that surpassed a quarter of a million by mid-week, propelling Russia’s outbreak to be the second largest in the world.
Germany begins to loosen quarantine requirement for some travelers
German states have begun to loosen requirements on travelers entering the country in the coming days, with North-Rhine Westphalia now allowing travelers from other E.U. states, as well as the U.K., Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Norway, to forego a 14-day quarantine following arrival.
Other Germans states are expected to lift the quarantine restrictions in the next few days. However, restrictions around who is allowed to enter the country still remain in place. That means only those with a valid reason to enter the country, such as family ties or medical personnel, will be allowed in.
The goal is to restore free travel by June 15, however, a resurgence of the pandemic in these nations could lead to a reinstatement of the stricter measures, officials have said.
Trump says he lost five people to the coronavirus
President Donald Trump said Thursday that he has personally lost five people who contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
“It’s a very tough disease. I lost five people that I know. A couple of very good friends, too, out of it,” he said in an interview with The Washington Examiner.
Trump added that he’s never lost anyone because of the flu. The president did not identify any of the five people and did not elaborate further on who they were.
Last month, Trump’s personal friend and New York real estate mogul Stanley Chera died on from complications of coronavirus.
Masks become fashion accessory in the Ivory Coast
Italy to test 150,000 people to better understand coronavirus epidemic
Italy will begin testing 150,000 people next week across 2,000 areas in an attempt to better understand the extent of its COVID-19 epidemic. The testing, which is due to begin Monday and conclude on May 31, will cover a representative sample of the population and be carried out by 550 Red Cross volunteers.
“This testing program will involve a significant sample of citizens and will allow us to understand the extent of the national spread of the virus,” Agostino Miozzo, head of the government’s scientific committee told Parliament on Thursday.
Italy was one of Europe’s hardest hit countries by the coronavirus with more than 31,600 deaths. It has now slowly started lifting its strict lockdown.
Apple supplier Foxconn sees quarterly profit hit two-decade low
The world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer, Foxconn, saw its first-quarter profit plunge to its lowest in two decades, all but wiped out, after the coronavirus pandemic forced the Taiwanese firm to suspend manufacturing operations in China and knocked demand from customers including Apple Inc.
Net profit for January-March slumped 90 percent from a year earlier — the lowest level since the first quarter of 2000. But Foxconn said the worst of the virus outbreak for the company was over and its main factories in China have resumed normal operation. New growth was to be found in the work-from-home lifestyles being adopted around the world even if the outlook for smartphone and other consumer electronics demand remained bleak, it said.
Its consumer electronics division, much of which is smartphones, is forecast to post a 15 percent yearly decline in sales as the virus is set to have “an enormous” impact on demand. In the first quarter, the division accounted for 42% of revenue.
Just 24 new cases of coronavirus a day in London, new research shows
London could now have as few as 24 new coronavirus infections a day, according to analysis from a team of Cambridge University researchers. Working with Public Health England, the researchers analysed current data up to May 10 to plot the progress of the virus.
Their model shows that the British capital — England’s worst impacted region — is estimated to have had 1.8 million infections since the outbreak began. However, the “R rate” in that area is now the lowest in the country at just 0.4, meaning that 10 infected people will only pass on the virus to four others. In contrast, there are still over 4,000 new cases a day in the Northeast and Yorkshire region of the country where the R is twice as high at 0.8.
England made its first tentative steps toward easing its seven week lockdown Wednesday, with people who can’t work from home urged to return to work. Residents were also given permission to go outside as often as they would like, and to meet one other person from a separate household in a public outdoor space.