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April 22 coronavirus news
By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Rob Picheta and Zamira Rahim, CNN
The UK will have to rely on social distancing measures until there is a vaccine or a treatment for coronavirus, England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said during the daily Downing Street briefing on Wednesday.
“In the long run, the exit from this is going to be one of two things, ideally. One of which is highly effective vaccine, and there are a variety of ways vaccines can be deployed. They can be deployed for dampening down epidemics, they can be deployed to protect vulnerable people. Or, and or, highly effective drugs so that people stop dying of this disease even if they catch it, which can prevent this disease in vulnerable people," Whitty said.
Whitty cautioned that achieving that goal will take time and that the outbreak will have to be managed through social distancing measure until then.
“Until we have those, and the probability of having those anytime in the next calendar year are incredibly small, and I think we should be realistic about that, we’re going to have to rely on other social measures, which of course are very socially disruptive, as everyone is finding at the moment. But until that point, that is what we will have to do," Whitty said.
"But it's going to take a long time and I think we need to be aware of that," he added.
The Spanish parliament voted to approve the extension of its state of emergency proclamation for the third time until May 9.
The state of emergency was first decreed on March 14, which ordered severe restrictions on movement and business.
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez argued for another extension during a speech on Wednesday morning.
"This extension is different than the others” Sanchez said. "It's the first time I can do this with a carefully optimistic future. It is [the extension] that will begin to de-escalate the rules of confinement", he added.
Sanchez warned parliament members that the next phase of de-escalation and the return to normality “needs to be slow, gradual and therefore secure.”
The prime minister also mentioned that his government is "implementing a control system" for people traveling from inside or outside of Spain "to avoid more imported contagions."
"Each mistake we do now, each challenge we fail, each delay caused by other interests will be a weight we will carry in the next months and years," he added.
Spain has the world’s second highest cases of coronavirus cases, the country has enforced Europe’s strictest restrictions of movement.
There will be no knightings or awarding of other honors at Buckingham Palace in June, and the annual Garter service at Windsor Castle – where Knights of the Garter process with the Queen – has also been called off, a Royal Communications statement Wednesday said.
“For practical reasons in the current circumstances all investitures due to be held at Buckingham Palace in June have been postponed. The annual Garter service at Windsor Castle has been cancelled,” the statement said.
The majority of nurses in Spain say they have been working during the Covid-19 crisis without enough protective equipment, according to a study by the Spanish College of Nursing (CGE).
Of the 11,000 nurses surveyed across Spain, 74% said there were no masks in their work unit and 55% reported a lack of protective gowns.
"Health workers didn't have the most basic protection equipment against the virus, which could explain the extremely high number of workers infected in our country,” CGE, the professional body for the Spanish nursing profession, said in a press release on Wednesday.
However, the Spanish College of Nursing believes there are many more cases among health workers than have been reported, as the study reveals two-thirds of nurses reported having symptoms but weren't able to get tested. The report also reveals 5% of nurses had to work with symptoms. Madrid, the hardest hit by the virus of Spain’s 17 regions, was also the region with the most number of nurses who reported having symptoms compatible with Covid-19.
In a lengthy report about Covid-19, the Ministry of Health said “the high contagion rate among health care workers could be attributed to different factors.” In the initial phase especially when there was less knowledge about how the virus was transmitted, the report said, cases “could have been generated among health care workers improperly protected.”
The College of Nursing study also reveals that many workers said they didn't receive enough Covid-19-specific training to treat infected patients or use the special protective equipment. Some nurses also reported receiving "poor quality" supplies, such as having to reuse or wash masks and gowns, spending up to 14 hours with the same equipment, and reusing it the next day.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has tested negative for Covid-19, Dr. Zafar Mirza, his special adviser on health, announced in a tweet Wednesday.
"I am happy to report that his test is NEGATIVE," Mirza tweeted.
Some background: The decision to test Khan came after Pakistan’s eminent philanthropist Faisal Edhi announced on Tuesday that he has tested positive for Covid-19. Khan and Edhi met in person six days ago.
According to Pakistan’s ministry of health, the number of diagnosed coronavirus cases in the country is now 10,076.
At least 25,085 people have died in connection with Covid-19 in Italy, according to the Italian Civil Protection Agency.
There are now 107,699 active cases of Covid-19 in Italy.
The total number of cases, including deaths and recoveries, is now 187,327.
If the World Food Program’s supply chain breaks down, “people will die and not just of Covid-19, but of starvation,” WFP Director David Beasley told CNN’s Hala Gorani on Wednesday.
Beasley warned that this was not a “sky-is-falling" scenario, but a reality they are currently facing.
“It’s not just food, it’s a number of things. If that supply chain breaks down, we can’t move goods and services, we can’t move supplies,” Beasley said.
“We now know 135 million people are walking towards the brink of starvation. Out of that 135, we feed 100 million, but 30 million depend totally on us."
“So if the supply chain breaks down or if the money falls apart, then if 100 million don’t get food, then 100 million don’t live. Then it’s a very bleak situation, so we are very concerned about this.”
Beasley said the WFP needs $350 million for extra flights to Africa to help move medical professionals into the country because commercial airlines have shut down.
“We have already transported literally millions of testing kits, billions of masks, millions of PPE we have got to keep that rolling out there. That’s where that money comes into play, so we can help these countries in Africa,” Beasley said.
Beasley said the world was already facing the worst humanitarian crisis in 2020 due to wars in Yemen and Syria. Now it’s a “perfect storm of extraordinary proportions,” he said.
South Korean officials say analysis of samples from recovered Covid-19 patients show all had formed neutralizing antibodies, but almost half still showed viral genetic material, Korean Centers for Disease Control (KCDC) Director Dr. Jung Eun-kyeong said at a press briefing Wednesday.
She added that these patients are likely not contagious.
“One can presume that depending on the patient, the virus can stay for different lengths of periods in the body without being completely removed even after neutralizing antibodies had formed. Additional study is underway,” Jung said.
About the analysis: The KCDC conducted analysis on 25 recovered patients to determine whether the Covid-19 virus could be detected. 25 patients had formed neutralizing antibodies against the virus, and 12 patients tested positive for Covid-19. When the samples from the 12 patients were cultivated the results were negative, Jung said.
Samples were taken from 39 cases that retested positive and so far 6 samples did not cultivate the virus. Examination on 33 other samples is ongoing.