Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: April 21

(Update: Adds US, Puerto Rico, Latin America)

Miami Desk, Apr 21 (efe-epa).- Here’s a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

US: The state of Missouri on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the Chinese government, the Chinese Communist Party and officials and institutions of that country for their actions in dealing with the coronavirus that, the plaintiff claims, led to “loss of lives” in the state. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said that China had hidden data and denied the nature of the infection, resulting not only in Missourians’ deaths but also in serious economic consequences. So far, Missouri has more than 6,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 220 people have died.

PUERTO RICO: Puerto Rico Health Secretary Lorenzo Gonzalez on Tuesday adjusted downward the number of confirmed coronavirus cases on the island from 1,298 to 915, saying that some cases had been counted more than once, among other things.

BRAZIL: Brazil’s Health Ministry said that 166 people have died of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the official death toll in the pandemic so far to 2,742, while 43,079 confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been detected. Authorities also said that a total of 22,991 people are deemed to have “recovered” from the virus, 56.7 percent of the official case load.

GUATEMALA: The US will donate $2.4 million to Guatemala to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected 294 people in the Central American country and killed seven, the US Embassy here said.

ECUADOR: Ecuador on Tuesday reported that 10,398 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been detected so far, of whom 520 have died along with another 902 unofficial but “probable” deaths from the virus. Guayas province, of which Guayaquil is the capital, remains the epicenter of infection so far, with 7,108 cases, followed by Pichincha province – which includes Quito – with 868 cases.

PERU: The Peruvian Health Ministry on Tuesday reported that 1,512 new coronavirus cases were detected and 39 more people died in the past 24 hours, bringing the case load to 17,837 and the official death toll to 484, as the country’s healthcare system approaches the limit of its ability to handle serious cases.

NICARAGUA: The Nicaraguan government is denying entry to at least 251 Nicaraguans who are stranded in the Cayman Islands, Honduras and El Salvador, the Nicaraguan Human Rights Center reported Tuesday. The Daniel Ortega government notified the Cayman Islands that it is closing its borders indefinitely to all people due to the coronavirus pandemic, Cayman Airways – which made two repatriation flights last weekend – said.

MEXICO: The Mexican government on Tuesday officially declared the start of the massive infection phase of the Covid-19 pandemic here as the number of confirmed cases approached 9,000, with 700 deaths. To deal with the evolving circumstances, the government said it will extend its social distancing requirements from April 30 to May 30 but will not implement more drastic measures. Non-essential economic activities have been paralyzed in Mexico since the beginning of April and the government is urging the public to remain at home, although the quarantine is not obligatory so that it does not affect the more than 50 million poor citizens who live hand to mouth and, in effect, must work to eat.

UNITED KINGDOM: UK health authorities said a further 823 coronavirus-related hospital deaths had been recorded in the last 24 hours, bringing the overall toll to 17,337 as MPs voted to approve using videolink for parliamentary sessions as PMQs are due to kick off tomorrow with Dominic Raab, the foreign minister, stepping in for Boris Johnson, who is still recovering from Covid-19. Health Secretary Matt Hancock told a daily press conference that a research team from Oxford University would begin human trials for a vaccine on Thursday.

AUSTRIA: Sebastian Kurz’s government announced the lockdown would be lifted on 1 May with the resumption of all economic activities except large sports and entertainment events. Schools will gradually start reopening from mid May.

SWITZERLAND: Scientists at the Zurich’s Federal Institute of Technology have developed a biosensor that can detect airborne coronavirus. The experts say the device sends alerts when it detects high levels of COVID-19 in the air.

EDUCATION: Unesco warned 1.5 billion children were unable to continue being schooled from home as countries fight the pandemic with lockdowns because they do not have access to computers.

RUSSIA: The Progress MS-14 spacecraft was disinfected twice ahead of its launch into space on Saturday in a bid to avoid contaminating the International Space Station, Energia a spacecraft manufacturer reported.

EVENTS: Two iconic European events were postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Germany’s Oktoberfest and Spain’s Sanfermins running of the bulls.

INDIA – The total number of coronavirus cases in India rose to nearly 19,000, with the death toll crossing the 600 mark, the health ministry said.

THAILAND: An additional 19 new cases were announced in the country, making this however the lowest figure since Mar. 14 and taking the total to 2,811. It was announced that one person died, with 48 people now having passed. A further 109 people were discharged from hospital after having recovered, with the number now standing at 2,108.

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