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Coronavirus wrap | Trump, Biden bury hatchet, China records no deaths, and the world needs nurses

Coronavirus wrap | Trump, Biden bury hatchet, China records no deaths, and the world needs nurses

Keeping you up to date on the latest novel coronavirus (Covid-19) news from around the world.

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Trump, Biden finally bury hatchet to talk on coronavirus

Democrat Joe Biden and President Donald Trump finally spoke by phone on Monday, both sides confirmed, ending days of teasing and squabbling between the presidential election rivals to discuss the national coronavirus upheaval.

The call marked a rare moment of unity for the country seven months before election day and during a frightening health and economic crisis.

"We had a really wonderful warm conversation," centred on the pandemic, Trump said at a regular briefing by his coronavirus task force.

"He gave me his point of view and I fully understood that," Trump said, adding they spoke for about 15 minutes. "I appreciate his calling."

Biden's communication director confirmed the two men had "a good call".

Biden "shared several suggestions for actions" the administration can take "to address the ongoing coronavirus pandemic", Kate Bedingfield said on Twitter.

He also "expressed his appreciation for the spirit of the American people in meeting the challenges facing the nation", she added.

The idea of a telephone call between Trump and Biden, who is self-isolating at home like much of the country, had been in the air for days.


World short of six million nurses, WHO says

As Covid-19 captures global headlines, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned on Tuesday that the world needs nearly six million nurses.

The UN's health agency along with partners Nursing Now and the International Council of Nurses underscored in a report the crucial role played by nurses, who make up more than half of all health workers worldwide.

"Nurses are the backbone of any health system," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.

"Today, many nurses find themselves on the frontline in the battle against Covid-19," he noted, adding that it was vital they "get the support they need to keep the world healthy".

The report said that there are just under 28 million nurses on the planet.


China reports no new coronavirus deaths for first time

China on Tuesday reported no new coronavirus deaths for the first time since it started publishing figures in January, the National Health Commission said.

Cases in mainland China have been dwindling since March, but the country faces a second wave of infections brought in from overseas, with health officials reporting nearly 1 000 imported cases in total.

China's health authorities reported 32 new cases nationwide, all of which were imported.

There were also 30 new asymptomatic infections, health officials said, bringing the national total to 1 033. Around a quarter of the current total of asymptomatic cases were also imported from overseas.

Last week, China began disclosing the number of asymptomatic cases for the first time, after growing public concerns over the potential of "silent" carriers to spread the disease.


As morgues overflow, New York struggles with Covid-19 dead

Refrigerator trucks parked outside hospital doors, overwhelmed undertakers, and talk about temporary burials in parks: America's coronavirus epicentre of New York is grappling with how to deal with the dead.

As the Big Apple's death toll from Covid-19 soared to 3 485 on Monday, images of bodies covered in sheets being transported on stretchers by health workers in protective suits are a common sight outside hospitals.

The trucks are storing bodies that are accumulating too quickly for funeral directors to pick them up directly from hospitals.

On Monday morning, AFP saw nine bodies loaded into trucks outside Wyckoff Hospital in Brooklyn.

Several undertakers interviewed by AFP said they were struggling to deal with New York state's coronavirus death toll of more than 500 a day.

Between Friday and Saturday, a high of 630 deaths were recorded.

"The majority of funeral homes do not have refrigeration or (have) limited refrigeration," said Ken Brewster, owner of Crowe's Funeral Homes in Queens.

"If you don't have the space... you need those trucks," added Brewster, whose small business has been bombarded with requests for funeral services for Covid-19 patients over the past week.


- AFP