Coronavirus cases in India: The total number of coronavirus cases in India now stands at 13,430, and as many as 448 people have died of the disease so far, according to data compiled by Worldometer.
On Thursday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to finalise a second stimulus package for those who have been most affected by the Covid-19-related nationwide lockdown.
World update on coronavirus: Globally, more than 145,516 people have died from Covid-19 so far and the number of confirmed infections has reached 2,182,058, according to Worldometer data. Cases in the US continue to rise, even as President Donald Trump has unveiled a three-stage process for states to end the coronavirus shutdown. Britain, on the other hand, has announced three more weeks of lockdown. Cases have doubled in Europe in the past 10 days, even as the rates of infections in the worst-hit countries have levelled off, leading the World Health Organization (WHO) to warn that Europe might be “in the eye of a storm”.
Coronavirus lockdown in Himachal Pradesh: Tea growers in Kangra worried about their business amid coronavirus lockdown
Coronavirus world update: Jordan PM says state finances under strain
Jordan Prime Minister Omar al Razzaz said spending priorities have changed with strained state finances hit by a sharp contraction in economic activity from a tight lockdown.
Razzaz said the government’s focus was now on covering immediate “current expenditure” and expanding social spending to alleviate hardship by Jordanians hit by loss of income from business closures.
Officials say the crisis has derailed the country’s $14bn budget for this year which had an ambitious plan of capital spending to boost sluggish growth and spur investments.
Coronavirus latest news: Saudi Arabia pledges $500m to combat pandemic
Saudi Arabia, the current G20 chair, said it has pledged $500m to support efforts to combat the pandemic and urged other countries and organisations to help bridge an $8bn financing gap.
Riyadh said it would allocate $150m to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation, $150m to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations, and $200m to other health organisations and programmes.
In a statement, it called on all countries, non-governmental organisations, philanthropies and the private sector to help close a financing gap estimated at over $8bn to combat the pandemic.
World update on coronavirus: Brazil’s Bolsonaro appoints Nelson Teich as health minister
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said that he had appointed oncologist Nelson Teich as the country’s new health minister, shortly after firing his predecessor over disagreements on measures to fight coronavirus.
Bolsonaro, who has criticised social distancing measures for hurting the country’s economy, said in a televised briefing that former minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta had never treated the question of employment as it should have been treated during the pandemic.
Coronavirus pandemic: US Republicans call for WHO chief to resign
Republican US lawmakers called on US President Donald Trump to withhold payments to the WHO until its director general resigns, backing Trump’s criticism of the UN agency’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Seventeen of Trump’s fellow Republicans on the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee wrote a letter to Trump supporting his announcement this week that he was withholding funding for the WHO, and saying he should condition the resumption of contributions on the resignation of Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Coronavirus treatment: Is Plasma Therapy new? Here’s what experts say
Plasma therapy is not a new treatment. It has been used earlier during various viral epidemics. It was used during SARS in 2003 and in 1980 during Spanish Flu. Plasma therapy plays a role when there is no specific treatment for a disease: Dr Sandeep Budhiraja, Max Healthcare.
If we take plasma from a healthy recovered Covid-19 patient (donor) & inject it into a patient who is seriously ill (recipient). The anti-bodies transferred in recipient’s body can reduce load of the virus&severity of the disease:Dr. S Budhiraja,Group Medical Director,Max Healthcare
Govt has introduced a scheme for people who are facing financial difficulties due to coronavirus lockdown
An amount equivalent to 3 months salary can be withdrawn from Provident Fund (PF) balance&it’s an online process: Uttam Prakash, Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, Delhi West
Infections pass two million
The number of reported COVID-19 cases worldwide has passed two million, according to data compiled by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. The milestone comes just two weeks after one million infections were recorded. The United States has the most cases — more than 600,000 — followed by Spain and Italy.
The death toll from the disease has also surged passed 128,000 worldwide. Some 24,000 people have died in the US, while more than 20,000 people have died in Italy.
The pandemic has spread to almost every corner of the globe, with only about a dozen of the World Health Organization’s member states not yet reporting cases. The majority of these are small island-nations in the Pacific Ocean, including Vanuatu, Tuvalu and Palau.
Trump suspends World Health Organization funding
US President Donald Trump said on 14 April that he would halt the country’s funding for the World Health Organization (WHO), pending a review of how the organization has handled the coronavirus pandemic.
The president accused the WHO of mismanaging the outbreak and “covering up the spread” of COVID-19 in a White House press briefing on Tuesday evening. The announcement comes amid criticism of the Trump administration’s own handling of the outbreak, which has now claimed more than 26,000 lives in the United States.
But the WHO warned on 23 January that the coronavirus would be exported from China. And on 30 January, the organization called the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern — its highest alert level.
The United States has contributed more than US$800 million to the WHO over the past two years, making it the largest contributor to the organization’s roughly $2.8-billion annual budget.
Mathematician John Conway dies of COVID-19
Renowned British-born mathematician John Conway died aged 82 on 11 April, reportedly of complications arising from COVID-19.
Conway attained a legendary status among maths and science enthusiasts, mostly by designing mathematical games and puzzles. But his work transcended the boundary between recreational and ‘serious’ maths, turning play into research and vice versa. “He’s been known to carry on his person a few decks of cards, dice, ropes, pennies, coat hangers, sometimes a Slinky, maybe a miniature bicycle, all props he deploys to extend his winning imagination,” wrote biographer Siobhan Roberts in 2015.
His celebrity status was cemented by Martin Gardner’s popular maths column in the magazine Scientific American, which featured many of Conway’s contributions, beginning in 1970 with his Game of Life, a minimalistic 2D model universe in which ‘organisms’ grow and multiply on the basis of simple rules.
Conway had taught at Princeton University in New Jersey since 1987, and his research spanned several fields of mathematics. In algebra, he studied the ‘monster group’, an object that has an enormous — but not infinite — number of symmetries. With the late British mathematician Simon Norton, he formulated the ‘monstrous moonshine’ conjectures, linking the monster group to an entirely different subject in mathematical analysis.
Conway is also remembered for his work on the foundations of quantum mechanics. He investigated the idea of an experimenter’s free will and suggested that “if experimenters have free will, then so do elementary particles”.
United Kingdom launches massive coronavirus diagnostic network
The UK government opened its first mass coronavirus-testing facility on 9 April.
The lab, in Milton Keynes, is the first of three such facilities to open. The others — in Glasgow and Alderley Park in Nether Alderley — are scheduled to open within the next two weeks. In March, the UK government requisitioned polymerase chain reaction machines from university labs across the country in order to outfit these central testing facilities.
The labs — which the government says make up the largest diagnostic network in UK history — will prioritize processing samples from health-care providers who are currently self-isolating, in order to allow them to return to work. The Milton Keynes facility can currently process thousands of tests per day, but is continuing to ramp up its capacity through the use of robotics.
The government hopes to be able to analyse 100,000 coronavirus tests daily by the end of the month, health secretary Matt Hancock reiterated on 9 April. Fewer than 300,000 tests have been carried out in the country so far, according to official reports.
Universities across the United Kingdom and around the world are also running COVID-19 diagnostic tests, as Nature previously reported. But these efforts in the United States have been hampered by bureaucratic and logistical barriers, and a lack of a cohesive national strategy.
CERN scientists join the COVID-19 fight
More than 100 researchers and staff members at CERN are finding innovative ways to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Scientists, engineers and technicians at the world’s largest particle-physics laboratory, near Geneva, Switzerland, are teaming up to fill crucial gaps in the local and international responses to the outbreak — from manufacturing and distributing large quantities of hand sanitizer to designing an open-source ventilator.
One of CERN’s strengths is its ability to connect people across a wide range of expertise and locations, says Beniamino Di Girolamo, a CERN particle physicist and the chair of the CERN Against COVID-19 task force. The group is working closely with local agencies, biomedical experts and the World Health Organization to ensure that CERN’s resources are being put to best use and that its designs are safe for patients.
How the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the world’s biggest physics experiments
One of its main projects so far is the design of the High Energy Physics Community Ventilator, HEV. Because the researchers and technicians who work on CERN’s Large Hadron Collider have extensive experience in managing gas flows and control systems, Di Girolamo says, they were well-positioned to take on this project. The team posted its ventilator designs on the arXiv preprint server on 1 April and is currently soliciting feedback on a prototype from several medical professionals. The design should be ready for production “in a month, maximum”, says Di Girolamo.
CERN staff are also manufacturing 3D-printed masks and face shields, and making hand sanitizer for local emergency-response departments. The centre is offering high-performance computing resources to epidemiologists and virologists searching for a COVID-19 vaccine. And some staff are distributing necessities to elderly and otherwise at-risk community members.
Going forward, Di Girolamo says, the task force plans to continue to source ideas from CERN staff, as well as taking requests from community partners in need of its expertise.
“We cannot just lock down,” Di Girolamo says. “There is a lot of energy at CERN. There are a lot of people who can help.”