Covid-19 wrap | US and Brazil coronavirus deaths spike, Germans forced to wear masks, and Nigeria eases lockdown

Covid-19 wrap | US and Brazil coronavirus deaths spike, Germans forced to wear masks, and Nigeria eases lockdown

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

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More than 2 200 US coronavirus deaths in 24 hours: tracker

The number of daily deaths from coronavirus rose again in the US on Tuesday, a tally from Johns Hopkins University showed, as the country's total fatalities surpassed those of Americans in the Vietnam War.

In a 24-hour period to 20:30 (00:30 GMT), there were 2 207 additional deaths, the Baltimore-based university said, after the daily toll had fallen to around 1 300 on Sunday and Monday.

The total number of US deaths from new coronavirus have reached 58 351, passing the 58 220 which the National Archives records as US losses from combat and other causes, including accidents, in the years-long Southeast Asian war.

Also on Tuesday the United States recorded its one millionth case of new coronavirus, about one-third of the entire world's case load, according to Johns Hopkins data.


Germans now have to wear masks in shops

From Wednesday, masks will be needed to enter shops across Germany. Face coverings were already compulsory on buses, trains and trams.

"We all need to take care that we don't end up with more infections," said Lothar Wieler, president of Berlin's Robert Koch Institute for disease control.

Germany is being closely watched as data on infection rates showed mixed results.

Italy, Spain and France have been the worst affected European countries, with each reporting more than 23 000 deaths.

Spain said restrictions would be slowly lifted over the next two months, while Italians will be able to exercise outdoors and visit relatives from next week - but hugs and handshakes will not be allowed.


Nigeria eases restrictions because of the 'cries of the people'

Nigeria plans to ease lockdown measures, despite warnings from experts of a second wave of contagion if restrictions are lifted too hastily.

In Nigeria's largest city Lagos, bus driver Taju Olonade said the decision showed authorities had finally listened "to the cries of the people".

"For almost one month I have not earned a penny," he said. "I hope life will soon return to normal."

More than three million people worldwide are known to have caught the respiratory disease that first emerged in China in December, but the actual figure is thought to be much higher as many countries only test the most serious cases.


Brazil passes 5 000 deaths from Covid-19: official

Brazil, the South American country worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, has registered more than 5 000 deaths from Covid-19, the health ministry announced on Tuesday, pushing the toll above that of China.

A record 474 deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours, with the number of infections rising to 71 886, the ministry said.

China, where the virus first emerged before spreading across the world, has recorded about 4 600 deaths.

The ministry said Brazil's toll could be higher than Tuesday's official figure of 5 107, as the cause of 1 156 further deaths are under investigation.

Experts believe the overall number of Covid-19 cases could be 12 to 15 times higher, due to a large number of undetected cases given the lack of testing availability across the country's 210 million population.

Deaths among vulnerable indigenous communities rose by 15 on Monday, a jump of 50% in the past five days, according to the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil.

President Jair Bolsonaro regularly expresses his impatience with restrictions imposed by the state governors to slow the disease's spread and has pushed hard for economic activity to restart.


Pence flouts US hospital's mask policy during visit

US Vice President Mike Pence did not wear a face mask during a Tuesday visit to the Mayo Clinic, violating the prestigious medical centre's policy despite his team being warned in advance.

Video showed Pence visiting staff and a patient in a crowded hospital room without wearing a mask.

The Minnesota-based centre's policy states: "Part of our protocol for ensuring your safety is to require all patients, visitors and staff to wear a face covering or mask while at Mayo Clinic to guard against transmission of Covid-19."

The clinic said in a statement that it had "shared the masking policy with the VP's office".

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its advice to recommend that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings where it is difficult to maintain adequate physical distance at all times, such as in grocery stores and pharmacies.

This is because a very high proportion of people infected with the coronavirus are believed to be asymptomatic and because recent research has shown that it may in certain circumstances be possible to infect others through normal speaking and breathing.

Pence, US President Donald Trump, and other senior White House officials have pointedly ignored the advice, leading to speculation it is a co-ordinated decision to downplay the severity of the crisis.


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