Reuters Health News Summary

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Israel's top court says government must legislate COVID-19 phone-tracking

Citing grave dangers to privacy, Israel's Supreme Court ruled on Sunday that the government must bring its use of mobile phone tracking deployed in the battle against the new coronavirus under legislation. Circumventing parliament in March, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet approved emergency regulations that enabled the Shin Bet internal security service to tap into cellular data to retrace the movements of people infected by the virus.

India's Modi urges citizens to follow lockdown as coronavirus spreads

Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged Indians to comply with a nationwide lockdown and social distancing measures on Sunday, a day after some of the world's toughest restrictions were eased slightly while cases of COVID-19 continued to mount. In a radio address, Modi said the country was in the midst of a "war" and the country's 1.3 billion citizens should not be misled into believing the spread of the virus had been brought fully under control by more than a month of lockdown.

Chile to push ahead with coronavirus 'release certificates' despite WHO warning

Chile will push ahead with previously announced "release certificates" for recovered COVID-19 patients despite a World Health Organization warning that there was no evidence they are protected from a second coronavirus infection. Paula Daza, sub-secretary of Chile's Health Ministry, told reporters on Sunday that while many uncertainties remain about the global pandemic, evidence points to a reduced risk after a first bout of coronavirus.

Next wave of U.S. states prepare to reopen as coronavirus could push jobless rate to 16%

Another wave of U.S. states are preparing to lift coronavirus restrictions this week against the warnings of many public health experts as the White House sees this month's jobless rate hitting 16% or higher. Health experts say increased human interaction could spark a new wave of cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the highly contagious virus that has already killed more than 54,300 Americans.

Italy picks U.S. firm Abbott Laboratories to supply coronavirus blood tests

Italy has picked U.S. healthcare company Abbott Laboratories to supply 150,000 blood testing kits to screen for the new coronavirus as the country prepares to slowly lift a lockdown imposed in March. In a statement, the Prime Minister's office said Abbott had come top of a merit list in a tender bid. It said it would vet the offer and proceed to drawing up a contract with Abbot if nothing arose to the contrary.

French coronavirus deaths reach 22,856 as government eyes how to ease lockdown

The death toll in France from the coronavirus has risen by 242 to 22,856, the health ministry said on Sunday, as the government prepares to see how it might ease a national lockdown that has been in place since mid-March. While the number of deaths from the virus has risen, the rate at which the casualties have mounted has steadily fallen over the last two weeks, emboldening those who want France to start to lift the lockdown measures.

Turkey's coronavirus death toll rises to 2,805, new cases 2,357: ministry

Turkey's confirmed cases of COVID-19 increased by 2,357 in the past 24 hours, and 99 more people have died, taking the death toll to 2,805, Health Ministry data showed on Sunday. The total number of cases in the country stood at 110,130, the data showed, the highest total for any country outside Western Europe or the United States.

Russia at risk of spike in coronavirus cases during May holidays: official

Russia could experience a spike in cases of the new coronavirus if people flout lockdown measures during public holidays scheduled for early May, a top health official said on Sunday. The number of coronavirus cases in Russia began rising sharply this month, reaching more than 80,000 on Sunday after a record 6,361 new cases were registered over the past day.

'Air on your face': Spanish children get outside for first time in six weeks

On foot and with bicycles, skateboards and scooters, Spanish children went outside at last on Sunday, emerging from their homes for the first time after six weeks of living under one of Europe's strictest coronavirus lockdowns. The relaxation came as Spain, one of the countries worse hit by the global COVID-19 epidemic, registered its lowest daily increase in the coronavirus death toll in more than a month. It was a first step as the government plans a gradual process of easing restrictions.

Germany flips to Apple-Google approach on smartphone contact tracing

Germany changed course on Sunday over which type of smartphone technology it wanted to use to trace coronavirus infections, backing an approach supported by Apple and Google along with a growing number of other European countries. Countries are rushing to develop apps to give a detailed picture of the risk of catching the coronavirus, as the chain of infection is proving hard to break because it can be spread by those showing no symptoms.