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Brazil Deaths Surge; Spain Cases Rise in Reopening: Virus Update
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Brazil surpassed the U.K. in fatalities, and infections tripled in the past two weeks, as officials warned the numbers are likely higher given the low level of testing. Spain, Portugal andGermany reported upticks in new cases as lockdown measures eased.
U.S. unemployment reached thehighest rate since just after the Great Depression as cases rose 2.3%. New York City will hire 10,000 people for an unprecedented effort to trace contacts by people infected with the virus.
European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said politicians must unite to fight the virus’s economic damage. The U.K. governmentdampened expectations the lockdown will be significantly rolled back as scientists warned the infection rate has crept higher in recent days.
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South Africa Reports Record New Cases (4:25 p.m. NY)
A record 663 new infections have been detected in South Africa, bringing the total to 8,895, while the death toll has risen by 17 to 178, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said. The Western Cape province, which includes Cape Town, the second-biggest city and main tourist attraction, has emerged as the epicenter of the disease in the country, accounting for about half the infections and fatalities.
The number of cases has risen over the past 10 days, as screening and testing stepped up. About 5% of those diagnosed with Covid-19 have been hospitalized, with 77 currently in intensive care and 40 of them on ventilators, Mkhize said.
U.S. Cases Rise 2.3%, Matching One-Week Average (4 p.m. NY)
U.S. cases increased 2.3% over the past 24 hours to 1.27 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. That was slightly lower than Thursday’s rate of 2.4% and matched the average daily increase over the past week of 2.3%. Deaths rose 1.9% to 76,475.
Cases in New York rose by 2,938, to 330,407,according to the state’s website. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city would embark on an unprecedented diagnostic-testing program, hiring as many as 10,000 public-health workers to trace contacts of people who are infected.
Florida infections rose 1% to 39,199 while deaths climbed 4.3% to 1,669, according to the state’s health department.
California’s cases increased 3.1%, to 62,512 while deaths climbed 3.2% to 2,585,according to the state’s website.
Texas deaths rose above 1,000 as the state reported the biggest daily increase in cases since its April 10 peak of 1,441. Cases rose by 1,219 to 36,609 Friday, with fatalities totaling 1,004, according to the state’s health department.
France Deaths Rise; Transit Limits Set (2:10 p.m. NY)
France reported 243 deaths and 1,525 new infections on Friday, the public health agency said. Total deaths rose to 26,230 and total cases reached 210,969.
Authorities outlined measures to sharply limit the number of passengers on public transportation starting Monday when the country is set to ease lockdown measures. About half of the Paris Metro’s stations will stay closed as the capital’s commuter network is considered a risk for a new wave of infections.
EU Keeps Border Shut Until Mid-June (1:23 p.m. NY)
The European Union plans to prolong until June 15 a ban on most travel into the bloc, saying the pandemic situation “remains fragile both in Europe and worldwide.” Maintaining the restriction on non-essential travel into the EU for another 30 days is necessary to contain the spread of the coronavirus, said the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm in Brussels. The measure was introduced in mid-March for 30 days and extended a first time last month until May 15.
Italy Cases Decline Slightly (12:48 p.m. NY)
Italy reported the fewest new cases and daily fatalities in three days on Friday. Deaths surpassed the 30,000 threshold, with a total of 30,201 since the start of the pandemic in late February. Civil protection authorities reported 1,327 cases for the 24-hour period, compared with 1,401 a day earlier. Confirmed cases now total 217,185.
Regional leaders are urging Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to allow businesses including shops to open earlier than May 18, as planned, but the government is insisting it must await data on the spread of the virus since an initial easing of a national lockdown on May 4.
Spain, Portugal Cases Rise (10:50 a.m. NY)
Spainreported 1,095 new cases in the last 24 hours, the biggest increase in nearly a week, as the country goes through the first phase of a plan to relax its lockdown after eight weeks of confinement. The total number of cases, adjusted to include changes in data for the Madrid region, rose to 222,857, according to Health Ministry data. Fatalities rose by 229 to 26,299. That compares with an increase of 213 on Thursday.
Portugal, which began easing confinement measures on Monday, reported a bigger increase in new cases for a third day on Friday while the number of patients in intensive-care units fell for a second day. There were 553 new cases, taking the total to 27,268, the government said. Total deaths rose by nine to 1,114. Deaths so far indicate a fatality rate of 4.1%, the health minister, Antonio Lacerda Sales, said in Lisbon on Friday.
U.K. Nations to Ease at Different Times (9:50 a.m. NY)
England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland could start easing U.K.-wide restrictions at different times if medical evidence shows it’s necessary, Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Friday after speaking with Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Sturgeon, who has warned against lifting limits too soon, welcomed Johnson’s acknowledgment that parts of the country “may well need to move at different speeds” if the evidence dictates. Johnson is expected to announce plans to ease the lockdown on Sunday.
The U.K. has 212,629 new cases and 31,315 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Turkey plans to conduct over half a million coronavirus antibody tests to help monitor and contain the spread of the outbreak. The nation’s state-run statistics agency has randomly selected 150,000 households -- or about one in every 165 -- for the tests, according to an official with knowledge of the matter.
The program will improve data on who has already been exposed, said Ates Kara, a member of Turkey’s Science Board, which advises the government on coronavirus measures. Turkey has 135,569 cases and 3,689 deaths, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.