Coronavirus Global Roundup April 17: UK lockdown extended, Indonesia sees surge of cases, Wuhan revises death toll
There are now over 2.2 million cases of COVID-19 across the world and close to 148,000 people have lost their lives to it.
There are now over 2.2 million cases of COVID-19 across the world and close to 148,000 people have lost their lives to it. Several European countries are in the process of easing lockdowns, including Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany and Norway even as the World Health Organization (WHO) continues to warn of the consequences of easing restrictions too quickly.
The UK extends national lockdown by three weeks
Eight hundred and sixty-one new deaths were announced in the UK yesterday, 100 more than the day before. Given the state of affairs in the country, the foreign secretary Dominic Raab, who is standing in for the PM Boris Johnson as he recovers, announced that the country would extend the lockdown for three more weeks. This means that the country will face restrictions until mid-May at least.
He added that until there was not a steady decrease in daily deaths, an increase in diagnostic capacity and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), respite for hospitals, and an indication of no secondary outbreak, it would be difficult to reopen the country.
At last count, the country had over 103,000 cases and over 13,700 deaths.
The UK has also set up the largest clinical trials on existing drugs that may combat COVID-19. Dubbed ‘Recovery’ the clinical trials will recruit over 5,000 patients across 165 NHS hospitals. The drugs included are Kaletra (an HIV drug combination), dexamethasone (which reduces inflammation) and tocilizumab (which can help calm cytokine storms). Convalescent plasma therapy may also be involved in the trials, but this remains under discussion currently. Researchers involved with the process said they expect to see results by June.
Wuhan adjusts death toll up by 50%
China has been under fire lately over accusations of suppressing information about deaths and infections caused by COVID-19. In light of these criticisms, the government raised the death toll in Wuhan by 1,290 to 3,869 - a 50% increase. Officials said these changes were made in accordance with the new understanding of the disease, and that initially hospitals were overwhelmed and could not adequately classify the deaths. The case count was increased by 325 as well, to take infections in the district up to 50,333.
These developments were prefaced by suspicions from within Wuhan; residents commented on overflowing crematoriums and long lines at hospitals. An incendiary investigative report from the Associated Press also presented information on how officials sat on concerning developments for 6 days at the beginning of the outbreak - lost time that has allegedly cost the world dearly.
Indonesia now has the most COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia
Indonesia saw 407 new cases in the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative number to 5,923. This surpasses the count in the Philippines, making it the worst-affected country in the region. According to a projection, the number of cases could rise to one million in the capital, Jakarta, by July if lockdown measures are not taken seriously.
Experts around the world are concerned about the beginning and end of Ramadan when hordes of people might travel in and out of major cities and take the virus with them.
The country has stepped up testing after facing criticism for its tardy response to the pandemic.
For more information, read our article on COVID-19: List of drugs being tested for treatment.
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