Dubai: No new coronavirus cases in South Korea, a potential breakthrough in the hunt for a better treatment and a drop in global emissions spurred optimism in the fight against the coronavirus on Thursday. However, this was offset by news about the damage to the global economy.
Deaths continued to mount around the world, with COVID-19 having killed more than 227,000 people and infected at least 3.1 million.
Germany's jobless total soared to 2.6 million in April from 2.3 million last month, while France confirmed it had plunged into recession, AFP reported. And in the US, more than 3.8 million laid-off workers applied for unemployment benefits last week, taking the total number of people who have filed for jobless aid in the US to 30.3 million.
Zero infections in South Korea
South Korea, which for a period of time had the world's second-largest outbreak, reported zero new infections for the first time on Thursday, suggesting its aggressive test-and-trace strategy is working. "This is the strength of South Korea and its people," President Moon Jae-in said as he announced the milestone.
South Korea's death toll is around 250 - vastly lower than that of Italy, Britain, Spain and France, which have each recorded at least 24,000 fatalities. The United States tops the table with more than 61,000 fatalities, a third of global deaths.
In the first evidence of successful treatment, a US clinical trial of the drug remdesivir showed that patients recovered about 30 per cent faster than those on a placebo.
"The data shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery," said Anthony Fauci, the top epidemiologist in the United States.
Children as infectious as adults
A new study from Germany has cautioned that children with the new coronavirus may be as infectious as adults. While children have a lower risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19, they may be no less capable of spreading it, Bloomberg reported. Levels of virus in the respiratory tract - the main route via which the pathogen is transmitted - don't appear significantly different across age groups, Christian Drosten, director of the Institute of Virology at Berlin's Charite hospital, and colleagues found.
British World War II veteran honoured for raising funds
In the UK, World War II veteran Captain Tom Moore, who has become a national hero after raising millions for the health service, celebrated his 100th birthday on Thursday with a promotion, military flypasts and a message from the prime minister. Earlier this month, Moore began a fundraising mission by completing laps of his garden with the help of a walking frame, initially setting out to raise just 1,000 pounds. He has since raised more than 30 million pounds, a Guinness World Record for the most money raised by an individual through a walk.
Eat more fries
In Belgium, more than 750,000 tons of potatoes have been lying in warehouses, prompting the government to ask the people to eat more fries. Belgium is the world’s largest exporter of frozen potato products, but the coronavirus crisis has led to a surplus of potatoes in the small European country, as demand has slumped amid a lockdown. Potatoes that could not be processed were being sent to food banks and exported to Central Europe and Africa, where there were shortages. The rest was being made into animal feed or processed into biofuel, officials said.
No extension of social distancing guidelines in US
US President Donald Trump said the federal government will not be extending its coronavirus social distancing guidelines once they expire Thursday. Trump said he plans to resume out-of-state travel after spending more than a month mostly cooped up in the White House, starting with a trip to Arizona next week.