Coronavirus Global Roundup, April 23: The US approves first self-testing kit while China increases funding to WHO
Globally, over 2.65 million people have now been infected with COVID-19, and more than 185,400 have lost their lives.
Over 2.65 million people have now been infected with COVID-19 , and over 185,400 have lost their lives. In another reality check, the ratings agency Fitch said that the world would experience the worst post-war recession and the situation would be twice as bad as the global recession of 2009. Here are some major developments from across the world.
The US approves first home testing kit
The FDA has given the nod to the first at-home testing kit made by the company LabCorp. To begin with, the kit will only be available to frontline health workers. An online questionnaire and approval from a physician are required to access the kit, which is then mailed to the home address. The kit includes swabs, a collection tube and box to send back to the company who will test the sample and post the results securely online.
The cost of the kit will be $119, and it is expected to hit the market in the coming weeks. The hope is that at-home testing will improve diagnostics and increase the number of people who get tested. Further, since the test can be self-administered, it will also lower the chances of health workers getting infected.
China steps up funding to the WHO after US withdrawal
China said it would donate an additional $30 million to the WHO after the US recently froze its funding to the program. China had donated $20 million in March as well. The US donates the most money to the WHO; between 2018-19, the figure was $893 million, compared to $86 million by China.
President Trump’s decision to temporarily suspend funding has sparked international condemnation, especially given the grave situation the world currently is in.
Twitter will remove dubious posts about COVID-19 and 5G
Twitter has broadened its policy on posts that make false claims about 5G technology and COVID-19 . Posts that incite violence, damage or destruction to critical 5G infrastructure, or include information that could lead to widespread panic and disorder will be removed. Infrastructure in some parts of Europe has been destroyed by mobs after the absurd claim of 5G causing COVID-19 gained popularity.
Twitter said that it won’t be able to remove every post, but only the most incendiary ones that directly threaten lives.
A quiet Ramadan
Countries around the world have adopted various measures to respect physical distancing during the holy month of Ramadan. The WHO, in an interim guidance document, recommended virtual services streamed on televisions or computers.
Egypt has banned group iftars (the evening meal after the fast is broken). Jordan and Iran have banned congregations and prayer meetings as well. Saudi Arabia has ordered prayers to be shortened and has banned public attendance at the holy mosques of Mecca and Medina.
Pakistan has allowed congregational prayers but attendees must respect physical distancing and stay two metres apart from each other.
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