The World Health Organisation says it has US$1.3 (A$1.99) billion funding shortfall for COVID-19 efforts, while Italy’s coronavirus death count has topped 30,000.
The head of the World Health Organization says the agency needs US$1.7 (A$2.6) billion to fund its response efforts for COVID-19 for the rest of the year – and that it’s about US$1.3 billion short.
Last month, US President Donald Trump announced he was suspending funding to the UN health agency, saying WHO botched its response to the coronavirus pandemic and was acting as a public relations agency for China.
WHO said previously it was conducting an assessment of what the loss of US funding would mean for its operations.
In a press briefing on Friday, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said WHO’s COVID-19 strategic plan is focused on several objectives, including providing technical and logistical support to all countries, particularly those with fragile health systems.
He said the estimated $1.7 billion “only covers WHO’s needs, not the entire global (community’s) needs”.
Maine is allowing the use of golf courses and most state parks; visits to dentists, barbers and hairdressers; and stay-in-vehicle religious services.
New Hampshire is allowing the restricted reopening of restaurants, hair salons and other businesses throughout May.
Vermont is gradually allowing more commercial activity and outdoor recreation for groups of 10 or fewer, including golf courses and tennis courts.
Rhode Island is taking its first step with a soft reopening Saturday, the day after a stay-at-home order expires.
US health regulators have meanwhile approved the first saliva-based coronavirus test that allows people to collect their own sample at home.
The new at-home option is expected to expand use of the test developed by Rutgers University, which the Food and Drug Administration first authorised last month.
People can use the plastic tube at home to provide a saliva sample and ship it to a laboratory for processing.
The World Health Organisation’s emergencies chief says Russia appears to be facing a “delayed epidemic” as it battles the coronavirus.
Dr Michael Ryan credited the Russian government for having “really shifted its response into a much more aggressive mode” over the last week.
He pointed to large-scale public health and social distancing measures and increased lab testing in Russia, which has experienced a spike in cases long after those in the West and Asia.
“I think Russia is just in a different phase of the of the pandemic and can learn some of the lessons that have been learned at great cost in Asia and in North America and in Western Europe,” Dr Ryan said.
Swiss government officials have backed off plans to require restaurants and bars to take the names and phone numbers of patrons to help fight the coronavirus.
The government now says it’s “optional”.
The reversal comes after privacy advocates, restaurant owners and legal experts expressed concerns.
After nearly two months of closure, most schools, stores and businesses in Switzerland will reopen on Monday because case counts have declined in recent weeks.
Wales will extend its coronavirus lockdown another three weeks.
First Minister Mark Drakeford says in Cardiff it’s too soon to lift most of the restrictions in Wales, and the rest of the UK, since March 23.
He says, “very small and modest adjustments” could be made amid the preference of Wales for a UK-wide approach to easing the lockdown.
Brazil’s fifth largest city, Fortaleza, became the nation’s third metropolis to enter lockdown for COVID-19.
The capital of northeastern Ceará state adopted more intense restrictions for pedestrians and car traffic, including police roadblocks, and allows only essential services.
This week, Maranhão and Pará states imposed a lockdown in their capitals, São Luís and Belém.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro went to the Supreme Court on Thursday to ask that states be forced to roll back restrictive measures, despite the surge in the nation’s cases and deaths.
Kuwait will institute a full lockdown in the oil-rich, tiny nation on Sunday (local time) through May 30.
The government made the announcement on Friday. It comes after the country has upped its testing for the virus, particularly among its vast population of foreign workers.
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