The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.
TOP OF THE HOUR:
__ Trudeau warns U.S. not to block 3M from sending respirators to Canada.
– Family unable to attend 13-year-old British boy’s funeral.
– U.S. military has flown 3.5 million swabs test for coronavirus from Italy to Tennessee.
__ Kudlow: Checks on way and economy will rebound.
TORONTO – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it would be a mistake for the United States to block 3M from sending respirators to Canada.
3M said Friday the Trump administration has requested 3M cease exporting respirators that they currently manufacture in the U.S. to Canada and Latin America. The company says there are significant humanitarian implications of ceasing respirator supplies to health care workers in Canada and Latin America, where 3M is a critical supplier of respirators.
Trudeau noted the U.S. also receives essential medical supplies and personnel from Canada and says they are making that point to the Trump administration. He says that message is getting through.
The prime minister says he is confident that the close and deep relationship between Canada and the U.S. will hold strong and that will not have to see interruptions in supply chains in either direction.
LONDON – A 13-year-old British boy who died from the new coronavirus has been buried at a ceremony his family was not able to attend.
Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab died Monday at Londonâ€™s Kingâ€™s College Hospital. He is the youngest known victim of the pandemic in Britain.
He was interred Friday in a Muslim burial ground in Chislehurst, south London. Mourners wearing face masks stood apart from one another to observe social distancing rules as the boyâ€™s coffin was lowered into the ground by four people wearing in protective body suits and face masks.
None of Ismailâ€™s immediate family could attend because they are in isolation after two of his six siblings developed symptoms of the virus.
Family friend Mark Stephenson said Ismailâ€™s younger brother and older sister have developed mild symptoms including a fever and loss of taste.
He said Ismailâ€™s family was â€œdevastatedâ€ at not being able to attend the funeral but had been â€œvery moved by the warmth and very positive messages of support from peopleâ€ after his death.
WASHINGTON — A senior U.S. general says the military has now flown 3.5 million swabs used to test for the coronavirus from Italy to Memphis, Tennessee.
Lt. Gen. Jon Thomas is deputy commander of the U.S. militaryâ€™s Air Mobility Command. He says a shipment arrived Thursday night and another one is scheduled to arrive Friday with 500,000 more swabs for national distribution.
He says there will be another shipment next week.
Thomas also says the military is preparing for the possibility that it will be needed to transport infected patients. He says there have been no requests for transport yet.
Medical professionals from the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine are training medics at Joint Base Charleston on the use of an isolation system that can be used on aircraft to transport infected patients.
The system is a containment unit that would protect aircrew and other medical personnel while also allowing them to provide care during the flight.
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser on Friday lamented rising unemployment in America due to the new coronavirus.
Larry Kudlow says government checks are on their way and predicted the economy would rebound quickly. He says COVID-19 and stimulus efforts only interrupted what was a strong U.S. economic boom.
Kudlow spoke after the government reported that the U.S. unemployment rate jumped to 4.4% in March from a 50-year low of 3.5%. The job loss of 701,000 was the worst since the depths of the Great Recession in 2009 and foreshadows what’s to come.
“Those numbers and those hardships are going to get worse before they get better,” Kudlow told reporters at the White House.
Earlier on “Fox News Channel,” Kudlow predicted that upcoming economic numbers will be equally negative.
“This is a very deep contraction. The numbers are going to come in very badly,” Kudlow said.
He added: “There’s also no question that we are providing more relief and assistance for unemployment than ever before in our nation’s history.”
He said regular unemployment checks are going out now and that the extra $600 in unemployment money has been given to the states for distribution.
Kudlow said tax rebate checks part of the $2.2 trillion rescue package signed into law March 27 will likely arrive in a couple weeks.
MEXICO CITY – Social distancing measures and calls for Mexicans to remain in their homes have not produced a drop in violent crime.
There had been hope that the measures implemented in late March to slow the spread of COVID-19 would lead to a significant decrease in criminality. But President AndrÃ©s Manuel LÃ³pez Obrador says that has not been seen in the numbers.
LÃ³pez Obrador blamed the stubbornly high murder rate on â€œconfrontations between gangs. They continue disputing territory, clashing amongst themselves.”
He said they were not seeing, as some have suggested, higher incidence of domestic violence because people have been confined to their homes in a stressful situation.
As of Friday, 50 people had died in Mexico of COVID-19 and more than 1,500 had tested positive for coronavirus.
MOSCOW – An international media freedom watchdog says the autocratic ex-Soviet nation of Turkmenistan is largely silent about the coronavirus pandemic.
The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders has corrected its previous report earlier this week about an outright official ban of the word â€œcoronavirus,â€ saying the term was not censored in the Turkmen media.
At the same time, the group reaffirmed that the gas-rich Central Asian nation has put its citizens in danger by deterring the spread of information about the new coronavirus.
The desert Central Asian nation that neighbors Iran so far has reported no cases of the new coronavirus. Iran has reported more than 50,000 cases.
Turkmenistan is one of the worldâ€™s most closed countries and ranked last in the RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.
Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has ruled the country since 2006 through an all-encompassing personality cult that styles him as Turkmenistanâ€™s â€œarkadaq,â€ or protector.
The president is a former dentist and last month ordered the cleaning of public areas with a traditional plant called â€œharmalaâ€ to protect against infectious diseases.
UNITED NATIONS – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says warring parties in 11 countries have responded positively to his appeal for a global cease-fire to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
But there are enormous difficulties in turning words into peace. Fighting has escalated in major conflicts including Yemen, Libya and Afghanistan.
Guterres called on all governments, groups and people with influence â€œto urge and pressure combatants around the world to put down their arms.â€ He called the need is urgent because COVID-19 is now headed to all conflict areas.
Guterres told a briefing at U.N. headquarters in New York on Friday that his appeal 10 days ago was rooted in the recognition that â€œthere should be only one fight in our world today: our shared battle against COVID-19.â€
The U.N. chief cited a growing number of endorsements for the cease-fire from 70 countries, civil society, religious leaders including Pope Francis, and more than one million people in an online appeal.
He said parties to conflicts in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Colombia, Libya, Myanmar, the Philippines, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen have also expressed their acceptance.
But Guterres said: â€œThere are enormous difficulties to implementation as conflicts have festered for years, distrust is deep, with many spoilers and many suspicions.â€
WASHINGTON – The District of Columbia has announced 104 new positive infections of the new coronavirus. That brings the total 757 with 15 deaths.
Mayor Muriel Bowser has issued a stay-home order for Washingtonâ€™s approximately 700,000 residents. Neighboring Maryland and Virginia have done the same.
Bowser has declared a state of emergency, shuttered all schools and ordered all non-essential businesses to close. White House and Capitol tours have been cancelled and the National Zoo, Smithsonian museum network and Kennedy Center have closed.
MOSCOW – The Russian capital has imposed its first fines for violating self-quarantine orders.
Yevgeny Danchikov is head of Moscow’s city services department and was quoted by state television Friday saying three people were fined 4,000 rubles ($57) each after video surveillance cameras recorded them leaving their residences.
The violators had been diagnosed with symptoms of coronavirus infection but allowed to recuperate under quarantine at home. Moscow has imposed a general lockdown requiring most people to say home except to shop for food and medicine or go to workplaces if required.
WASHINGTON – The Pentagon says is it will begin accepting COVID-19 positive patients at Pentagon-supported medical facilities in Dallas and New Orleans that previously had been designated as non-COVID hospitals.
COVID-19 positive patients in convalescent care and those deemed non-urgent cases will be accepted at the Morial federal medical station in New Orleans and at the Kay Bailey Hutchison federal medical center in Dallas. These patients must first be screened at a local hospital.
President Donald Trump on Thursday announced that he had approved New York’s request that COVID-19 patients be accepted for care at the Pentagon-supported Javits center, which previously had taken on non-COVID patients.
The Pentagon also said Friday that screening for care of non-COVID-19 patients on the hospital ship USNS Comfort in New York harbor is being modified in an effort to reduce a backlog at some New York hospitals.
Instead of requiring patients to be tested for COVID-19 at the hospital from which they are being transferred, each patient transferred to the Comfort will be screened by temperature and given a short questionnaire pier-side.
The Pentagon also announced that the number of COVID-19 positive cases in the active-duty military had risen to 978 as of Friday morning. That is up 85 from a day earlier.
PHILADELPHIA – Meek Millâ€™s criminal justice reform group says itâ€™s donating 100,000 face masks to some of the nationâ€™s most notorious jails and prisons.
The celebrity-backed REFORM Alliance says 50,000 masks will go to the Rikers Island jail complex in New York City, 40,000 will be sent to the Tennessee Department of Correction, and 5,000 are headed to the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.
The Philadelphia-based group includes Jay-Z among its founding members and has been pressing the nationâ€™s jails and prisons to thin their inmate populations, improve sanitation, protect prison workers and take other precautions to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Hundreds of inmates and staff at U.S. correctional facilities have tested positive for the virus. Health experts say people inside prisons and jails are at heightened risk because of tight inmate quarters, a lack of sanitation and substandard medical care.
NAIROBI, Kenya – Kenya has told its nearly 50 million people to wear face masks to help protect themselves against the coronavirus.
The health ministry says the East African nation’s textile industry has the capacity to make 60 million masks “immediately” and the sale price should be around 20 Kenyan shillings, which is about 20 cents.
The country has struggled at times with a coronavirus-related curfew and police were accused of shooting dead a 13-year-old and beating or using tear gas on other people.
The country has 122 cases of the new coronavirus. A 6-year-old boy is the latest to die.
LONDON – The European Medicines Agency issued guidance for the compassionate use of experimental drug remdesivir as a possible treatment for COVID-19.
The European drug regulator says remdesivir should only be given to hospitalized critically ill patients suffering from the coronavirus who have no other treatment options.
The EMAâ€™s advice was prompted by requests made from Estonia, Greece, the Netherlands and Romania asking for guidance on how the drug should be used in treating the new coronavirus.
Several clinical trials are already under way to test the effectiveness of remdesivir, which is made by Gilead Sciences.
The World Health Organization has previously described the drug as â€œthe most promising candidateâ€ among the dozens being studied. Remdesivir was originally developed to treat Ebola and there are some limited laboratory data suggesting it is effective against related coronaviruses like SARS and MERS.
BERLIN – Berlin’s top security official is accusing the United States of using “wild west methods” to obtain personal protective equipment. The claim came after a delivery of face masks destined for the German capital was diverted en route from China.
German media reported Friday that hundreds of thousands of masks purchased from manufacturer 3M and intended for Berlin police were diverted to the U.S. as they were being transferred between planes in Thailand.
Berlin officials confirmed that about 200,000 FFP2 masks already paid for by Germany were seized at a Bangkok airport and didn’t reach their intended destination. The masks are the equivalent of the U.S. N95 standard.
Andreas Geisel is the interior minister for Berlin state. He says the diversion of the masks is “an act of modern piracy. This is no way to treat trans-Atlantic partners.”
“Even in times of global crisis there should be no wild west methods,” Geisel said.
He added he wants the German government to demand the United States adhere to international rules.
The U.S. embassy in Berlin didn’t immediately comment.
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