Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: April 22

(Updates: Adds US, Latin America)

Miami Desk, Apr 22 (efe-epa).- Here’s a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

US: President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order temporarily halting – albeit with certain exceptions – the entry of immigrants into the country, arguing that the Covid-19 pandemic makes the move necessary.

US: New data on Wednesday indicate that the coronavirus began spreading in the US in January – or even earlier – with autopsies on two patients who died in California’s Santa Clara County, the first one on Feb. 6, 20 days earlier than previously thought, indicating that they had been infected with Covid-19. The revelation further highlights the federal government’s tardy response to the pandemic, given that it did not recommend any measures to limit the spread of the virus until March 16.

US: The head of the New York Metropolitan Transport Authority, Pat Foye, criticized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization after 83 of his department’s employees have died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

US: Two domestic cats tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday in New York state, making them the first known pets in the US to be infected with the coronavirus, US health authorities reported.

US: The coronavirus has spread within the Bronx Zoo with zoo officials saying that a total of five tigers and three African lions have been affected to date. The Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages the zoo, had announced on April 5 that one tiger had tested positive for Covid-19, thus becoming the first animal – wild or domesticated – known to have been infected in the US.

US: New York City authorities ordered that the bodies of some Covid-19 victims be temporarily frozen to reduce pressure on local hospitals, morgues and funeral homes, which are all running out of space to hold them. The bodies being frozen are, by and large, unidentified victims or those that nobody has claimed, local media reported.

BRAZIL: The Brazilian Health Ministry on Wednesday reported 165 new deaths from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total so far to 2,906, as the number of confirmed cases of the virus was hiked to 45,757.

COLOMBIA: Colombian authorities confirmed 207 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the local number of cases to 4,536, with 206 deaths.

PERU: Peru’s Covid-19 crisis continued to worsen on Wednesday with the confirmation that 19,250 cases have been detected nationwide, an increase of 1,413 from the day before, while 530 people have died, 46 more than had died as of Tuesday.

CHILE: A group of people in the northern Chilean city of Vallenar tried to burn down the home of a family known to have several members who have been infected with the coronavirus, the local mayor reported.

ARGENTINA: Argentina in recent days has experienced massive outbreaks of the coronavirus in at least three homes for the elderly, two of them in Buenos Aires and one in central Cordoba province, and the national government announced that it will “certainly” file criminal charges against one of those facilities.

NICARAGUA: Nicaraguan university students on Wednesday demanded the partial suspension of classes and that authorities take measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus among the college population.

PARAGUAY: So far, about 81 percent of Paraguay’s confirmed coronavirus cases have been detected in Asuncion and in Central province, the most heavily populated region, the Health Ministry said. At least 213 people have tested positive for Covid-19, of whom 91 are in Central province and 81 in Asuncion. Paraguayan authorities have implemented a health quarantine through April 26, although Health Minister Julio Mazzoleni has said that the situation will be evaluated week to week so that adjustments and/or extensions can be made.

GUATEMALA: Murders have declined by 32 percent in Guatemala so far this year, compared to the same period in 2019, the head of the National Institute of Forensic Sciences, Fanuel Garcia, told EFE, with the decline becoming evident starting in the second half of March after President Alejandro Giammattei on March 15 ordered a halt to all public transportation, closed all schools and a week later imposed an overnight curfew with an eye toward limiting the spread of the coronavirus.

MEXICO: The central state of Mexico, which borders on the capital of Mexico City, on Wednesday released 29 prisoners convicted of minor crimes as part of its policy to reduce overcrowding in local prisons during the Covid-19 pandemic. Another 59 inmates were released last week in the state, where authorities are said to be preparing to release up to 248 more in the coming weeks.

SPAIN: The number of coronavirus-related deaths in Spain jumped 435 overnight to bring the total to 21,717 but authorities said the rate of transmission had stabilized as politicians readied to extend the national lockdown until 9 May.

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