Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: April 20

(Update: adds info from WHO, the US, France, Italy, Latin Amercia)

Miami Desk, Apr 20 (efe-epa).- Here is a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

WHO: The World Health Organization announced Monday that a total of 157,970 people are known to have died from Covid-19, 6,509 more than on Sunday, while 2.34 confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been detected worldwide a little more than three months after the first case was diagnosed outside of China on Jan. 13.

US: Hundreds of protesters turned out on Monday in Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, to demonstrate against the lockdown measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Demostrators, most of them not wearing any facemasks or taking other protective measures, gathered before the state capitol carrying signs and banners supporting President Donald Trump and demanding the reopening of the state.

US: New York state, the epicenter in the US of the coronavirus pandemic, on Monday said that it has definitely passed the peak in the increase in new Covid-19 cases after registering 478 deaths over the preceding 24 hours, the lowest figure in two weeks, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo suggested that a hazard-pay bonus of 50 percent of their salaries be paid to all frontline healthcare workers for their efforts caring for the sick. Although Cuomo said that 14,347 people have died in New York from the virus, The Johns Hopkins University tallied 18,298 deaths in the state because it includes people who died at home without being tested for Covid-19 but who were definitely showing symptoms of the disease.

US: The New York State Nurses Association filed a class action lawsuit on Monday against the state government and two hospital systems claiming that their working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic are dangerous and they have not received enough protective equipment to safely confront the crisis.

FRANCE: French health authorities on Monday said that 20,265 people have died from Covid-19 so far, and 114,657 confirmed coronavirus cases have been detected. Although the burden on the healthcare system is lessening as the increase in the number of cases declines, Health General Director Jerome Salomon said that this is no time for France to let down its guard in dealing with the pandemic.

ITALY: Italy health authorities on Monday, for the first time, reported that 181,228 people have been infected with the coronavirus, but the number of new cases in the past 24 hours – 2,256 – is the lowest since March, thus confirming that the spread of the virus is being brought under control here.

BRAZIL: The Brazilian Health Ministry said Monday that 40,581 confirmed coronavirus cases have been detected in the country, and 2,575 people have died of Covid-19. The number of new cases in the past 24 hours increased by 4.98 percent, authorities said. Sao Paulo state continues to be the epicenter of the pandemic in Brazil, with 14,580 confirmed cases and 1,037 deaths.

BRAZIL: Domestic violence in Brazil has increased by 431 percent since home quarantine measures were implemented, according to a study released Monday by the Brazilian Forum for Public Safety.

CUBA: Cuba has confirmed 1,087 cases of the coronavirus and 36 people have died so far, President Miguel Diaz-Canel said Monday, adding that his desire is to save the country and help “the world” defeat the pandemic.

COLOMBIA: Hunger on Monday led more than 50 female sex workers to turn out to receive one or two weeks’ worth of food being distributed by the Sexual Workers of Colombia Union, given that their incomes have declined precipitously amid the coronavirus epidemic.

PERU: The number of patients in intensive care wards in Peruvian hospitals has increased markedly amid the coronavirus pandemic (from 385 to 525), thus putting a significant strain on hospitals’ ability to treat critically ill people, the government of Martin Vizcarra admitted on Monday. The Health Ministry said that 445 people have died from Covid-19 in Peru so far.

MEXICO: Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum on Monday ruled out implementing a “curfew” to fight the spread of the coronavirus and called on the public to continue following preventive measures such as remaining at home and avoiding groups of people. She also said that Mexico City would not fine or arrest people who refuse to abide by those measures, although certain Mexican states’ authorities have done so.

MEXICO: The Mexican Senate on Monday approved an amnesty law to pardon about 6,000 people being held pending trial or convicted of non-serious crimes with an eye toward reducing the overcrowded conditions in Mexico prisons amid the coronavirus pandemic. The bill was approved in December by the lower house of Congress and now must be signed by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Mexico has 8,261 confirmed coronavirus cases and 686 people have died from Covid-19.

WHO: The World Health Organization has warned that high levels of air pollution could raise the risk of Covid-19 complications. Another study conducted by the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg published Monday said that elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air may be associated with a high number of deaths from Covid-19.

ARGENTINA: Calls to police to report domestic violence grew by 39 percent in the last month coinciding with the lockdown measures, authorities in Argentina reported on Monday.

ALBANIA: The Albanian government has lifted a 40 day lockdown which will see businesses, shops, hotels and campsites resuming activities, although schools, restaurants and bars remain closed for the time being, in a bid to boost the economy which is one of the poorest in Europe.

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