COVID-19 LIVE UPDATES: Russia records more than 10,000 new cases in one day
May 9 2020 – 12:27
Shunning virus lockdown, defiant Belarus stages Victory Day parade
Thousands of soldiers marched in Belarus on Saturday to celebrate the Soviet victory in World War 2, as President Alexander Lukashenko rejected calls for lockdown measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Lukashenko, who has ruled the eastern European country since 1994, has called fears over the coronavirus a “psychosis” and variously suggested drinking vodka, visiting saunas or playing ice hockey to beat the disease.
Spectators in stands in the capital Minsk, a few of whom wore masks, looked on as soldiers marched, tanks rolled past and Su-30 fighter jets flew in formation overhead.
Lukashenko’s insistence on going ahead with the display contrasted with neighbour Russia, which scaled back celebrations amid a jump in coronavirus cases and postponed its usual massive military parade on Red Square. Dressed in military uniform and surrounded by generals, Lukashenko said it was unacceptable for Belarus to even think about cancelling the parade.
“There will be people who will condemn us,” Lukashenko said. He told such critics: “do not rush to draw conclusions, let alone condemn us, the heirs of the Victory, the Belarusians … We simply could not асt differently, we had no other choice.”
Belarus has not imposed lockdown measures or social distancing rules, and kept its borders open while countries around the world have closed them.
May 9 2020 – 12:14
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) May 9, 2020
May 9 2020 – 10:38
Pence spokeswoman tests positive for Covid-19
The US vice-president’s spokeswoman became the second White House staffer this week to test positive for the coronavirus, officials said on Friday, even as President Donald Trump continued to go mask-free at a World War II commemoration with veterans in their 90s.
News that staffer Katie Miller had fallen ill boosted fears that the White House is at risk of becoming a viral hot spot just when Trump is leading efforts to wind down nationwide quarantine measures that have devastated the world’s biggest economy.
Miller is spokeswoman for Vice-President Mike Pence, giving her frequent access to high-level meetings. She is also married to top Trump aide Stephen Miller, the speech writer behind the administration’s hardline immigration measures.
May 9 2020 – 10:34
Russia records more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases in past day
Russian authorities said on Saturday they had recorded 10,817 new cases of the coronavirus in the last day, pushing the nationwide tally to 198,676.
Russia’s coronavirus task force said that 104 people had died overnight, bringing the national death toll to 1,827.
Russian coronavirus cases overtook French and German infections this week to become the fifth-highest in the world.
May 9 2020 – 10:29
China to reform disease prevention system after Covid-19 exposes weaknesses
China will reform its disease prevention and control system to address weaknesses exposed by the coronavirus outbreak, a senior health official said on Saturday.
China has been criticised domestically and abroad as being initially slow to react to the epidemic, which first broke out on a large scale in Wuhan.
“This coronavirus epidemic is a big test of our country’s governance and governing ability, and it exposed the weak links in how we address major epidemic and public health systems,” Li Bin, vice minister of the China National Health Commission, told reporters.
Mexico City has hired professional clowns to spray the hands of metro riders with disinfectant and to tell them to ‘wear a face mask — don't be a clown’ pic.twitter.com/FNY08QVT7r
— Reuters (@Reuters) May 9, 2020
May 9 2020 – 9:46
Pfizer to outsource drug production, focus on Covid-19 vaccine
Pfizer said it is in talks to shift more of its medicine production to outside contractors as it prepares for large-scale production of an experimental vaccine to prevent Covid-19, should it prove safe and effective.
The US drugmaker is tapping its network of around 200 outside contractors, which includes Catalent Inc, Lonza Group AG, and Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc, to play a bigger role in producing some of its existing medicines, Mike McDermott, president of global supply at Pfizer, told Reuters in an interview.
That will help Pfizer shift a portion of production at four of its vaccine manufacturing facilities, including one of its largest US factories, towards the coronavirus vaccine while preventing disruptions in supply of its other products, he said.
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) May 8, 2020
May 9 2020 – 9:38
Inter, AC Milan back training after two-month lockdown in coronavirus epicentre
Italian football giants Inter Milan and AC Milan were both back training on Friday two months after a strict lockdown which has hit the northern Italian city hard.
Inter said all their players and staff had tested negative for the coronavirus on Friday, clearing the way for them to return to individual training.
Captain Samir Handanovic led the way in the afternoon as players, including Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku, wearing face masks and some in gloves, arrived at the team’s Appiano Gentile training centre, 35km northwest of Milan.
Their city rival resumed earlier in the week with club technical director Paolo Maldini warning “not going back on the pitch would be a disaster.”
May 9 2020 – 9:30
Coronavirus forces Russia to hold slimmed down Victory Day
Russia marks 75 years since the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War 2 on Saturday, but the coronavirus outbreak has forced it to scale back celebrations seen as boosting support for the Kremlin.
With coronavirus infections rising, President Vladimir Putin last month postponed the highlight of Victory Day celebrations, a massive parade on Red Square that showcases Moscow’s most sophisticated military hardware, to an unspecified date.
In previous years, Putin basked in national pride as he watched Russian tanks rumble across the square with world leaders by his side. But a recent poll gave him his lowest approval rating in more than two decades and the country’s economy is slipping into a deep downturn.
May 9 2020 – 9:00
Oskido and Glen Lewis raise R26,000 for Covid-19 relief with online concert
House music legends Oskido and Glen Lewis joined forces to raise funds for Covid-19 relief, bringing in more than R26,000.
The pair hosted a #LegendLive streaming online concert at the weekend, with donations during the stream going to the eThekwini Covid-19 Fund.