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Covid-19 wrap | Brazil surges to second in virus cases worldwide, Trump demands churches reopen

Brazil surges to second in coronavirus cases worldwide, Trump demands churches reopen 

Brazil overtook Russia on Friday as the country with the second-highest number of coronavirus infections worldwide behind the United States, as the Americas emerged as a new epicentre of the pandemic.

The World Health Organisation declared Latin America “a new epicentre” of the coronavirus pandemic on Friday as US President Donald Trump demanded churches reopen despite the ongoing Covid-19 threat.

The South American country has now registered 330 890 infections and 21 048 deaths from the new coronavirus, though experts say under-testing means the real figures may be 15 times higher or more.

Brazil’s death toll rose by 1 001 in 24 hours, the third time in four days it has come in over 1 000.          

Surges in infections across much of Central and South America continued to drive the global toll higher even as hard-hit nations in Europe, along with the United States, sought to move into a cautious recovery phase with new infections dipping.

Anti-viral drug effective against coronavirus, study finds            

Anti-viral drug remdesivir cuts recovery times in coronavirus patients, according to the full results of a trial published Friday night, three weeks after America’s top infectious diseases expert said the study showed the medication has “clear-cut” benefits.

Complete results from the research, which was carried out by US government agency the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), were published by leading medical periodical the New England Journal of Medicine.

The United States authorised the emergency use of remdesivir in hospitals on 1 May, followed by Japan, while Europe is considering following suit.

The study found that remdesivir, injected intravenously daily for 10 days, accelerated the recovery of hospitalised Covid-19 patients compared to a placebo in clinical tests on just over a thousand patients across 10 countries.

On April 29, NIAID director Anthony Fauci, who has become the US government’s trusted face on the coronavirus pandemic, said preliminary evidence indicated remdesivir had a “clear-cut, significant and positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery.”

Berlin church hosts Muslim prayer in ‘amazing sign of solidarity’

A church in Germany’s capital, Berlin, has helped a nearby mosque comply with physical distancing guidelines by hosting Friday prayers, in a move hailed as “an amazing sign of solidarity”.

Places of worship reopened in the country earlier this month, but worshippers must maintain a minimum distance from one another of 1.5 metres (five feet).

The Dar Assalam mosque in Berlin’s Neukoelln district, which sees hundreds of Muslims on Fridays, can only accommodate 50 people at a time under the guidelines issued to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Al Jazeera

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