President Trump shied away Wednesday from issuing domestic travel restrictions or a national lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic that, in a best-case scenario, is expected to kill between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans. Asked at a White House briefing if he was considering limiting domestic air travel, Trump said he was thinking about it, a phrase he frequently applies to subjects he wishes to avoid discussing. We're thinking about doing that, but at the same time we just, to start these airlines and to start this whole thing over again is very tough, John [Roberts, Fox News reporter].
The Chinese city of Shenzhen has banned the eating of dogs and cats as part of a wider clampdown on the wildlife trade since the emergence of the new coronavirus. Scientists suspect the coronavirus passed to humans from animals. Some of the earliest infections were found in people who had exposure to a wildlife market in the central city of Wuhan, where bats, snakes, civets and other animals were sold.
The two states have instituted increasingly restrictive measures and are among the 23 states with stay-at-home orders. Both states are led by Democratic governors who have earned praise from President Donald Trump for their response to the crisis. The disease is still spreading in both states, and the number of new cases and deaths reported each day is still climbing.
On Wednesday Iran warned the U.S. it was “warmongering during the coronavirus outbreak,” after it deployed Patriot air defense missiles to Iraq.
Elon Musk's ventilator giveaway may do more harm than good. After weeks of brushing off the COVID-19 pandemic as "dumb," the billionaire Tesla founder earlier this week announced he had 1,000 "FDA-approved ventilators" and ended up donating 40 to New York City's hospital system. Except the devices Musk gave away aren't powerful enough to use in the ICU, and health officials have actually warned against using them on COVID-19 patients because they could spread the virus further.
Wuhan doctor Ai Fen, who expressed early concerns about the coronavirus to the media, has disappeared and is believed detained by Chinese authorities. Fen, the head of emergency at Wuhan Central Hospital, was given a warning after she disseminated information about the coronavirus to several other doctors. The reprimand from her boss came after Fen took a photo of a patient's positive test results and circled the words 'SARS coronavirus' in red.
REUTERS/Marko Djurica The Chinese government is rebuffing the notion that its face masks exported to other countries were "defective" and suggested that the nations did not "double-check" the instructions. China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday claimed in a tweet that the "true story" behind the alleged faulty face masks imported by the Netherlands was that the Chinese manufacturer explicitly "stated clearly that they are non-surgical." Representatives from the Chinese government in recent weeks shifted the narrative surrounding the coronavirus's origins by questioning its validity.
Early this week, the streets of the central Israeli city of Bnei Brak were bustling with shoppers as ultra-Orthodox residents, obeying their religious leaders, ignored pleas to stay home in the face of the coronavirus threat. The city has become a lightning rod for anger and frustration by some secular Israelis who allege insular Haredi communities — with disproportionately high numbers of confirmed cases — are undermining national efforts to contain the virus. The pandemic also has threatened to upend deep-seated customs in the religious world, including blind obedience to religious leaders and the belief that religious studies and traditions take precedence over the rules of a modern state.
Afghanistan has begun its first face-to-face talks with the Taliban on exchanging thousands of prisoners. Details of the initial meeting in Kabul emerged on Wednesday, ahead of a planned second day of talks, as Afghans observed tight restrictions on movement because of the coronavirus pandemic. Under a US-Taliban deal, the government will free 5,000 Taliban prisoners, while the militants will release 1,000.
Iran on Thursday reported 124 new deaths from the coronavirus, raising its total to 3,160, as President Rouhani warned that the country may still battle the pandemic for another year. Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour announced the latest toll in a news conference and confirmed 3,111 new infections over the past 24 hours, bringing Iran's total to 50,468. Iran has been scrambling to contain the COVID-19 outbreak since it reported its first cases on February 19.
The head of the World Health Organization has voiced deep concern over the “rapid escalation” and global spread of the new coronavirus pandemic, as the United States nears a grim milestone of 5,000 deaths. The stark warning comes as the United States barrels towards marking 5,000 coronavirus-related deaths, with more than 4,800 already recorded across the country as of early Thursday morning. Having first emerged in China in December, four months later it is the United States that has registered by far the highest number of coronavirus cases, more than 210,000 as of Thursday, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Police in Pakistan will enforce a strict lockdown to prevent people from going to mosques to offer Friday prayers and fuel a rise in coronavirus infection, officials said, after failing to prevent large congregations last week. Health experts have warned of an epidemic in South Asia, home to a fifth of the world's population, that could easily overwhelm its weak public health systems. The government in Pakistan's southern province of Sindh, home to the country's largest city, Karachi, will enforce a "curfew-like" lockdown for three hours beginning 12 noon Friday to deter people from coming out of their homes for prayers, officials said.
Border closures and strict lockdowns prompted by the Covid-19 crisis have disrupted the migrant trail through Central America and Mexico, forcing some would-be migrants to postpone their journeys – and stopping many others in their tracks. The result has been a deterrent more effective than any wall Donald Trump could build. Activists across the region have reported a steep decline in the number of migrants coming from Central America since the restrictions were implemented.
Astronomers have revealed the best evidence yet for an elusive cosmic oddity: the intermediate black hole. These medium-sized black holes are smaller than supermassive black holes, but larger than stellar-mass black holes. Supermassive black holes, it turns out, may form from intermediate-mass black holes.
Neurologists around the world say that a small subset of patients with COVID-19 are developing serious impairments of the brain. Although fever, cough and difficulty breathing are the typical hallmarks of infection with the new coronavirus, some patients exhibit altered mental status, or encephalopathy, a catchall term for brain disease or dysfunction that can have many underlying causes, as well as other serious conditions. The patient, who had chronic lung disease and Parkinson's, was flailing his arms and legs in jerky movements, and appeared to be having a seizure.
Thomas Peter/Getty The US intelligence community has determined that the Chinese government concealed the extent of its coronavirus outbreak and gave false statistics to other countries, Bloomberg News reported, citing three US officials. Officials transmitted a classified report of their findings to the White House last week. Bloomberg described its sources as saying that the report's main conclusion was that China's public reporting of coronavirus cases was "intentionally incomplete" and that its numbers were fake.
President Donald Trump slammed 3M Co in a tweet late on Thursday after earlier announcing he was invoking the Defense Production Act to get the company to produce face masks. At a White House briefing on the coronavirus pandemic earlier on Thursday, Trump announced he had signed a Defense Production Act order for 3M to produce face masks.
California's governor on Thursday said small businesses can keep up to $50,000 in sales tax receipts for the next year as the COVID-19 outbreak has forced people to stay home and many shops to close. The move means businesses with $5 million in sales or less will get up to a year to give the state up to $50,000 in sales taxes they collect from customers. It's essentially an interest-free loan aimed at keeping small businesses afloat in a state where the governor has ordered everyone to stay home to prevent the spread of a virus that has so far killed 233 people.
Shenzhen has become the first Chinese city to ban the sale and consumption of dog and cat meat. It comes after the coronavirus outbreak was linked to wildlife meat, prompting Chinese authorities to ban the trade and consumption of wild animals. Shenzhen went a step further, extending the ban to dogs and cats.
Thailand will introduce a six-hour night curfew in a bid to control the spread of coronavirus, authorities said Thursday, warning anyone who breached the order faced a two-year jail term. Exemptions will be made for essential staff, including medical workers, food and fuel transport staff, and postal services. The number of infections in Thailand has soared past 1,800 -- up more than 80 percent from a week ago -- and the death toll has nearly quadrupled to 15 as of Thursday.
A Pakistani court on Thursday commuted the death sentence of the main person accused in the 2002 kidnapping and murder of an American Wall Street Journal reporter, Daniel Pearl, and acquitted three other co-accused in the matter. All four had been convicted in connection with Pearl's kidnapping and murder, including British-born Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who was sentenced to death in 2002 for masterminding the murder. Pearl, 38, was investigating Islamist militants in Karachi after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States when he was kidnapped in January 2002.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced Thursday that a bipartisan House committee will investigate the federal response to coronavirus pandemic and ensure that congressional funding is spent wisely. “The committee will be empowered to examine all aspects of the federal response to the coronavirus, and to assure that the taxpayer dollars are being wisely and efficiently spent to save lives, deliver relief and benefit our economy,” Pelosi said during a conference call with reporters. House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., will chair the newly formed House committee, Pelosi said.
The European Union's top court ruled on Thursday that Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic had broken the law by refusing to host refugees to help ease the burden on southern states such as Greece and Italy after a surge in migrant arrivals from 2015.
COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. Coronaviruses belong to a group of viruses that infect animals, from peacocks to whales. A coronavirus infection usually plays out one of two ways: as an infection in the lungs that includes some cases of what people would call the common cold, or as an infection in the gut that causes diarrhea.