A patient suffering from the coronavirus is treated in ECMO Centre in Moscow, Russia. Reuters
As health officials issued warnings on Tuesday against reopening economies too quickly, the coronavirus struck inside some of the world’s superpowers, with a top aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin diagnosed just days after US Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary also tested positive.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was hospitalised with the coronavirus, the latest in a series of setbacks for the Russian leader as the country struggles to contain the growing outbreak. The announcement of Peskov’s hospitalization came a day after Putin announced Monday that Russia was easing some of its nationwide lockdown restrictions.
Peskov is not the only top Russian government official to come down with the coronavirus. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin revealed April 30 that he had tested positive for the virus, as have two other government ministers. Last month, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson landed in the hospital and has since recovered, underscoring the reach and spread of the virus.
There have been more than 4.2 million confirmed cases of the virus worldwide and more than 287,000 deaths. Russia has reported more than 232,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 2,100 virus-related deaths as of Tuesday, figures experts say are likely significant undercounts.
The climbing death tolls come as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US government’s top infectious disease expert, issued a warning that "the consequences could be really serious” if American cities and states reopen the US economy too quickly. More than 80,000 people have died of the virus in the US.
More COVID-19 infections are inevitable as people again start gathering, but how prepared communities are to stamp out those sparks will determine how bad the rebound is, Fauci told a Senate hearing on Tuesday.
If there is a rush to reopen without following guidelines, "my concern is we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks,” Fauci said.
Dr Michael Ryan, the emergencies chief for the World Health Organisation, said Germany and South Korea have good contact tracing that hopefully can detect and stop virus clusters before they get out of control. But he said other nations, which he did not name, have not effectively used investigators to contact people who test positive, track down their contacts and get them into quarantine before they can spread the virus.
"Shutting your eyes and trying to drive through this blind is about as silly an equation as I’ve seen,” Ryan said. "Certain countries are setting themselves up for some seriously blind driving over the next few months.”
Here is a look at COVID-19 developments around the world.Associated Press
With the disease tearing around the globe and three billion people locked down, countries are desperate to find ways to stop its terrifying spread and deal with a shock that could surpass the Great Depression.
Global deaths stand at over 434,000 and have doubled in seven weeks. Although Brazil's official death toll from the pandemic has risen to nearly 44,000, the true impact is likely far greater than the data show, health experts said, citing a lack of widespread testing in Latin America's largest country.
The outbreak has infected a host of senior officials, politicians, clerics and members of the elite Revolutionary Guards in Iran, the fourth worst-affected nation after China, South Korea and Italy.
Passenger buses are frequently crammed to capacity and seatbelts are not commonly worn, meaning high death tolls from single vehicle accidents are common.
"These policies are a result of the Israeli occupation government's evasion of its commitment to implement the signed peace agreements and its violation of international resolutions," Xinhua News Agency reported quoting the statement.
The fatal victims, two men and a woman, have not been identified, and the injured were taken to the hospital in critical condition, reported KABC-TV, the West Coast flagship station of the ABC television network.