Coronavirus latest: at a glance

Key developments in the global coronavirus outbreak today include:Virus may never be eradicated – WHOThe coronavirus that causes Covid-19 could become endemic like HIV, the World Health Organization says, warning against any attempt to predict how long it would keep circulating and calling for a “massive effort” to counter it.“It is important to put this on the table: this virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away,” the organisation’s emergencies expert, Mike Ryan, said.Known global death toll nears 300,000At least 295,671 people have died and at least 4.3 million have become infected since the pandemic began, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.The tallies, which are based on official and media reports, are likely to significantly underestimate the virus’s true impact.UN warns of economic hitGlobal trade is forecast to fall by a record 27% in the second quarter of the year following a slump in the export of cars, machine parts and oil.The pandemic has hit the supply and demand for products across the world, leading to a severe decline in world trade, says Unctad, the United Nations organisation that tracks trade flows.Former UK spy chief dismisses Wuhan lab conspiracy theoryThe former head of the UK’s domestic intelligence service poured cold water on White House speculation that Covid-19 may have emerged via a leak from a research laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan.“I am just not aware of any evidence that it is anything other than what people think it is: it came via markets. There are all sorts of hypotheses around, but I just think it is not useful to speculate, worry about all that,” says Andrew Parker, who was the director general of MI5 until two and half weeks ago.Public Health England approves antibody testPublic Health England (PHE) has approved a Covid-19 antibody test kit, the first to receive such an endorsement.The accuracy of the test, which is manufactured by the Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG, was given the all-clear by experts at PHE’s Porton Down facility.Every African country now affectedLesotho, the last country in Africa left unaffected by the pandemic, announced its first case. The virus was detected in one of 81 people tested after arriving last week from Saudi Arabia and neighbouring South Africa, Lesotho’s health ministry said.The country went into lockdown on 29 March to protect itself from the potential spread of the virus from South Africa, which entirely surrounds the kingdom and has the highest number of confirmed cases on the continent.Afghanistan reaches 5,000 confirmed casesThe number of confirmed cases in Afghanistan passed 5,000 as the country’s health ministry warned that easing lockdowns would bring a “catastrophe”.Out of 619 suspected patients tested in the last 24 hours, 259 came back positive, pushing the total number of infections to 5,226. The death toll reached 132, after five more patients died overnight. The number of recoveries stood at 648.Sweden seeks thousands more care workersSweden’s public health authority reported 147 more deaths, as the government announced plans to hire up to 10,000 more nursing assistants and care workers to address shortcomings in elderly care exposed by the pandemic.About half of the 3,460 coronavirus-related deaths reported in Sweden have been among nursing home residents, and another quarter among those receiving care at home.
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