- Total Global Cases: 2,638,024
- Total Global Deaths: 184,235
- Total Global Recoveries: 721,734
- Active Cases: 1,732,055 (1,675,379 in mild condition; 56,676 in critical condition)
- Closed Cases: 905,969 (721,734 recovered; 184,235 deaths)
- The COVID-19 pandemic is now affecting 210 countries and territories around the world, as well as 2 international conveyances.
- Philippines’ COVID-19 cases rise to 6,710.
- COVID-19 cases in Japan rise to 11,965, with Tokyo accounting for over one-third of all COVID-19 cases across the nation.
- Ecuador’s port city became a coronavirus epicenter.
- Germany to start first coronavirus vaccine trial.
- France’s death toll rises by 544, while the number of patients in hospital with the disease falls.
- Sao Paulo, epicenter of Brazil’s COVID-19 outbreak, to begin lifting lockdown measures in May.
Below are some of the latest news and updates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept across the world.
Philippines. On Wednesday, there were 111 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, bringing the country’s total to 6,710. Of that number, 693 patients have recovered as 39 new recoveries were recorded. However, the death toll has risen by 9, bringing the total to 446.
The number of recoveries has seen a significant increase since the DOH stated that they started counting those who have recovered after undergoing home quarantine and receiving a negative test result. Notably, the number of COVID-19 tests being done in the country has decreased since last week after the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) scaled down its operations due to an increase in the number of its employees infected with the virus.
According to the DOH, a total of 1,062 healthcare workers in the Philippines had been infected with COVID-19 as of Wednesday, April 22 – they account for about 16% of the country’s confirmed infections. The infected healthcare workers include 422 doctors, 386 nurses, 30 medical technologists, 21 radiologic technologists, and 51 nursing assistants. The remaining 152 individuals are either frontline administrative personnel or barangay health workers. Twenty-six frontline medical workers had died.
Japan. According to the latest figures from the Health Ministry and local authorities, confirmed COVID-19 cases in Japan increased by 449, bringing the country’s total to 11,965 with 132 new daily infections recorded in Tokyo. With the figures revealing the virus in urban areas in Japan is continuing to rise consistently, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe again called on the country for more cooperation in the fight against the pandemic.
In a statement, Prime Minister Abe says, “To bring an end to this state of emergency as soon as possible, now is the most critical time for us. I’d like to ask the people of Japan to take a fresh look at their behavior and cooperate in attaining the 80 percent cut in person-to-person contact.”
In Tokyo, the epicenter of Japan’s COVID-19 outbreak, the number of confirmed cases has increased to 3,439, accounting for over one-third of all COVID-19 cases across the nation, followed by Osaka Prefecture where cases have risen to 1,380 infections.
Ecuador. Ecuador took early, aggressive measures to stop the coronavirus; however, it could not prevent its largest city, Guayaquil from becoming the epicenter of Latin America’s worst outbreak. A lack of testing and tracking of people who arrived in Ecuador from Europe contributed to the spread of the virus in February.
The first COVID-19 case was officially identified in Ecuador on February 29 – a 71-year-old woman who they labeled as Patient 0. She had returned from Madrid to Ecuador’s largest port city, carrying the virus. It subsequently swept through the population so quickly that authorities could not keep up and within a few weeks, this capital – home to over 2 million people – became the epicenter of Latin America’s worst outbreak.
Ecuador has one of the highest number of COVID-19 cases in all of Latin America – with 10,850 cases and 537 deaths.
Germany. Germany has authorized the first clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine. The first human tests will start before the end of April.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn has announced the first clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine. The Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI) – the regulatory authority that helps develop and authorizes vaccines in Germany – has given the go-ahead for the first clinical trial of BNT162b1, a vaccine against the SARS-COV-2 virus. It was developed by immunologist and cancer researcher, Ugur Sahin, along with his team at pharmaceutical company BioNTech. It is based on their prior research into cancer immunology.
Aside from BNT162b1 which is now in stage 1 testing phase, BioNTech in partnership with Pfizer, is working on three other similar vaccines. Other pharmaceutical companies are also developing vaccines against SARS-COV-2 virus (the virus that causes COVID-19), based on a variety of vaccine platforms in China, Europe, and the United States.
France. On Wednesday, France reported 544 deaths from COVID-19, as the number of people in hospital and intensive care with the disease continues to decline. The daily tally – 2,018 in nursing homes and 336 deaths in hospital – brought France’s total COVID-19 death toll to 21,340.
France became the fourth country after the United States, Italy, and Spain to exceed the 20,000-fatality mark. However, the country has seen a steady decline in the number of patients in hospitals and intensive care units. According to the figures published by French health authorities, the number of patients in hospital has declined for 9 consecutive days, and the number in intensive care units for 14 consecutive days.
France has been under lockdown for five weeks and is due to start lifting some confinement measures on May 11.
Brazil. Governor Joao Doria stated on Wednesday that starting May 11, Sao Paulo, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Brazil, will gradually lift its lockdown measures that began on March 24. Social distancing measures will be lifted by regions, depending on the local conditions. In a statement, Governor Doria says, “There will be differentiated criteria for the new lockdown starting on the 11th, but it will always be in keeping with scientific data gathered by cities and regions in Sao Paulo state.”
Elsewhere in Brazil, Santa Catarina began to lift lockdown measures on Wednesday; however, they maintain limits on mass gatherings, while continuing to keep restaurants and bars closed.
Brazil has 46,182 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 2,924 deaths. Sao Paulo is the hardest-hit state, accounting for about 15,914 cases and 1,134 deaths.