April 10, 2020 04:48:11
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved out of intensive care following his hospitalisation with COVID-19 symptoms, and is in “the early phase of his recovery”.
Meanwhile the head of the International Monetary Fund predicts coronavirus will lead to “the worst economic fallout since the Great Depression”, with only a partial recovery anticipated next year, if at all.
This story is being updated regularly. You can also stay informed with the latest episode of the Coronacast podcast.
Friday’s key stories:
Boris Johnson moved out of intensive care
A spokesman for Boris Johnson says the British Prime Minister is now out of intensive care, where he was being treated for COVID-19.
The spokesman said Mr Johnson was “in good spirits” and will continue to be closely monitored.
“The Prime Minister has been moved this evening from intensive care back to the ward, where he will receive close monitoring during the early phase of his recovery,” the spokesman said.
The Prime Minister went into hospital on Monday, and was moved into intensive care the following day after his condition worsened.
The news comes as Britain recorded a slightly lower daily death toll from the virus, with 881 people losing their lives.
However the UK has not reached its peak of the coronavirus pandemic and it is too early too lift its lockdown, the man deputising for Mr Johnson has said.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the British Government is still gathering data to assess the effect the stringent lockdown measures were having on the crisis, and did not expect to be able to say more on changes until late next week.
“The measures will have to stay in place until we’ve got the evidence that clearly shows that we’ve moved beyond the peak,” Mr Raab, who is also First Secretary of State, said during Thursday’s daily news conference.
With sunshine forecast for most of the UK over the Easter weekend there are fears people will flout the government’s advice to stay indoors.
“Let’s not waste the sacrifice so many people have made,” Mr Raab said.
“We mustn’t give the coronavirus a second chance to kill more people.”
Worst recession since Great Depression is coming: IMF
The pandemic sweeping the world will turn global economic growth “sharply negative” in 2020, with only a partial recovery seen in 2021, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said.
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva painted a far bleaker picture of the social and economic impact of the coronavirus crisis than even a few weeks ago, noting governments had already undertaken fiscal stimulus measures of US$8 trillion [$12.6 trillion], but more would likely be needed.
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In remarks prepared for delivery ahead of next week’s IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings, she said the crisis would hit emerging markets and developing countries hardest of all, which would then need hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign aid.
“We anticipate the worst economic fallout since the Great Depression,” Ms Georgieva said
“Just three months ago, we expected positive per capita income growth in over 160 of our member countries in 2020.
“We now project that over 170 countries will experience negative per capita income growth this year.”
KGeorgieva on Twitter: We are faced with extraordinary uncertainty about the depth and duration of the crisis. Global growth will turn sharply negative in 2020. We anticipate the worst economic fallout since the Great Depression.
If the pandemic fades in the second half of the year, the IMF expected a partial recovery in 2021, Ms Georgieva said, but she warned the situation could also get worse.
“I stress there is tremendous uncertainty about the outlook: it could get worse depending on many variable factors, including the duration of the pandemic,” she said.
The IMF, which has 189 member countries, will release its detailed World Economic Outlook forecasts on Tuesday.
15 million Americans seeking benefits
The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits in the last three weeks has topped 15 million.
The Labor Department said first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week that ended on April 4 totalled about 6.6 million, down modestly from an upwardly revised 6.87 million the week before.
Economists in a Reuters survey were looking for 5.25 million new claims in the latest week, with estimates ranging as high as 9.295 million.
Thursday’s weekly jobless claims report from the Labor Department, the most timely data on the economy’s health, will strengthen economists’ expectations of job losses of up to 20 million in April.
The US Government reported last Friday that the economy purged 701,000 jobs in March — that was the most since the Great Recession — and ended the longest employment boom in US history, that started in late 2010.
“America is now in recession and as it appears to deepen, the question is how long it will it take before the US recovers,” S&P Global Ratings chief US economist Beth Ann Bovino said.
With more than 95 per cent of Americans under “stay-at-home” or “shelter-in-place” orders, reports continue to mount of state employment offices being overwhelmed by a deluge of applications.
More than 1.5 million infected globally
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world has surpassed 1.5 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Infections have been reported in 212 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China, in December 2019.
Coronavirus has killed around 91,700 people around the world.
The United States remains the country with the most infections, accounting for more than 360,000 cases, followed by Spain which has more than 150,000 cases.
15,238 people have now died in Spain, making it the country with the second-highest number of fatalities behind Italy, where 18,279 have died.
WHO requests $1.6 billion to fight COVID-19
The World Health Organization (WHO) is preparing to launch an appeal for more than US$1 billion ($1.6 billion) to fund operations against the COVID-19 pandemic through year-end, diplomats have told Reuters.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a speech to diplomats issued by the United Nations agency, said it would release its latest plan “in the coming days”.
It follows the WHO’s initial three-month appeal for $US675 million [$1.07 billion] through April.
“It will be well over $US1 billion, maybe several billion,” a Western envoy said.
A WHO spokesman, asked about this figure, had no immediate comment.
The campaign comes just as US President Donald Trump’s administration reviews its funding of the WHO, whose performance Mr Trump has criticised. The United States is the biggest donor to the Geneva-based WHO.
Aussie ambassador evacuated from Indonesia
Australia’s ambassador to Indonesia is being evacuated based on medical advice, as the spread of coronavirus in the country continues to surge.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has assessed that the risk of coronavirus in Indonesia is now too high for diplomats regarded as most vulnerable.
It’s understood Ambassador Gary Quinlan is regarded as a high risk for acute illness if he were to catch the virus.
He’s being relocated back home temporarily but will continue as ambassador from Canberra.
Andrew Greene on Twitter: As the coronavirus situation worsens in Indonesia, veteran ambassador Gary Quinlan ( @DubesAustralia ) is leaving Jakarta and will return to Australia
Australia’s consul in Bali has already returned for similar reasons.
The ABC has also learnt that an Australian man has died in Jakarta with symptoms of COVID-19, although he was not tested for the disease.
At least one other Australian is known to have been severely ill.
There have been 280 confirmed deaths in Indonesia, with 3,293 cases. But a low rate of testing means the true number of deaths and cases is likely to be far higher.
The number of cases in Indonesia is expected to peak around May.
Iran’s leader says create sense of Ramadan at home
Iran’s Supreme Leader has called on Iranians to create the sense of Ramadan in their homes, since public gatherings are banned as the country tries to contain one of the world’s worst coronavirus outbreaks.
Schools and universities remain closed in the Islamic Republic and a ban on cultural, religious and sports gatherings has been imposed.
Ramadan begins at sundown on April 23 and lasts for 30 days.
“Because of being deprived of public prayings, speeches and so on during Ramadan, we should create the same senses in our homes,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a televised speech.
His remarks came as Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur announced that Iran’s coronavirus death toll has risen by 117 to 4,110.
There are now 66,220 coronavirus cases, he said, noting that 32,309 people have recovered.
Tiger Woods at home after Masters postponement
Instead of flying to Augusta National Golf Club for the Masters this week, Tiger Woods is home in Florida, where the only competition for a green jacket is a putting contest with his 11-year-old son, Charlie.
The first golf major of the year was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In an interview with GolfTV, Woods said he has been at home with his two children and girlfriend, riding bikes for exercise, occasionally playing golf at The Medalist Club and having putting contests with Charlie, with the green jacket going to the winner.
Tiger Woods on Twitter: Masters Champions Dinner quarantine style. Nothing better than being with family.
The postponement of the Masters Tournament means this will be the longest a Masters champion has been able to keep golf’s most famous piece of clothing at home.
Woods, who stunned the sports world in 2019 — when he claimed the jacket for the fifth time and his first major in 11 years — is not required to leave it in his locker at Augusta National until he returns to defend the title, and that won’t be until November at the earliest.
“This is not the way that I would’ve wanted to keep the jacket for a longer period of time,” Woods said.
“I wanted to get out there and compete for it and earn it again, like I did in ’02. But it’s not a normal circumstance, it’s not a normal world.”
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April 10, 2020 03:35:15