UN warns on hunger, as coronavirus cases top 2.5m: Live updates | News

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  • More than 2.5 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. More than 170,000 have died, with the US accounting for about a quarter of all deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
  • The United Nations is warning global hunger could double as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, putting 265 million people at risk. 
  • Australia is trying to build support internationally for an independent review of the origins and spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Singapore has extended a month-long lockdown that the government has dubbed a “circuit-breaker” until June 1 after a surge in cases.

Here are the latest updates:

Wednesday, April 22

05:00 GMT – Australia seeks backing for international investigation into coronavirus

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has sought support for an international investigation into the coronavirus pandemic, speaking overnight to US president Donald Trump, as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Australia is calling for an independent review of the origins of the virus and its spread. China earlier accused Australia of parroting the US, which has been critical of China and the World Health Organization (WHO), withdrawing its funding for the UN health body.

04:40 GMT – Japan’s Nagasaki confirms 33 cases on cruise ship docked for repair

Officials in Japan’s western prefecture of Nagasaki say they have confirmed 33 cases of coronavirus on an Italian cruise ship docked there for repairs.

Tests were positive in 33 of 56 close contacts of a single member of the Costa Atlantica’s 623 crew.

“There are a lot of infections on board, and we don’t have the medical system to confirm the health situation and to separate” those testing positive and negative, said Nagasaki governor Hodo Nakamura. 

The governor has requested help from the government in Tokyo and the rest of the crew are being tested. The  Italian-owned ship has been in the shipyard in Nagasaki since the end of February.

03:50 GMT – Southeast Asian governments urged to step up climate change commitments

ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights are calling on Southeast Asian governments to commit to more ambitious climate and environmental targets to lower the risk of future health emergencies.

APHR noted that the number of emerging infectious diseases had increased since the 1940s alongside deforestation and increasing urbanisation. 

“Our governments have to act swiftly against deforestation by increasing protected areas and environmental safeguards against investment projects if we want to reduce the risk of re-living COVID-19 like epidemics,” Sarah Elago, an MP from the Philippines MP said in a statement to coincide with Earth Day. 

03:20 GMT – Saudi king approves Tarawih at two holy mosques

Saudi king Salman has approved performing the Tarawih at the two holy mosques, but entry for pilgrims will remain suspended, the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia is planning to ease curfew hours imposed in several cities because of coronavirus during the fasting month of Ramadan, which is due to start this week.

Find out more about this year’s unprecedented Ramadan here.


02:20 GMT – China says Australia parroting Trump with coronavirus criticisms

China is accusing Australia of taking instructions from the US in its criticism of China’s response to the coronavirus, after home affairs minister Peter Dutton called on China to be more transparent about the outbreak.

“It is well known that recently some people in the US including high level officials have been spreading an anti-China ‘information virus’,” a spokesperson from China’s embassy in Canberra said in comments posted to its website. 

“These days, certain Australian politicians are keen to parrot what those Americans have asserted and follow them in staging attacks on China.”

01:30 GMT – China, South Korea update coronavirus situation

China and South Korea have both reported their latest data on the coronavirus.

China reported 30 new cases on the mainland, 23 of which involved people returning from overseas. The National Health Commission also said the number of asymptomatic cases rose to 42, from 37 the previous day.

In South Korea, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the country had 11 new cases, the fourth day in a row where the number has been below 15. Six of the cases were among overseas travellers.

00:15 GMT – Captive audiences fuel Netflix boom

Netflix says it has more than doubled its own projections for new customers as people living under lockdowns turned to the streaming giant to keep them entertained.

Netflix says subscribers jumped by 15.8 million in the three months from January to March. It earlier predicted  the number of paying customers would rise by seven million.

00:00 GMT – Cuomo says Trump agrees to help New York double testing 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he had a “productive” meeting with US President Donald Trump and that the state was aiming to double its coronavirus testing to 40,000 tests a day.

Cuomo and Trump met on Tuesday and the president agreed the federal government would help procure the chemical reagents needed to ramp up testing.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

Read all the updates from yesterday (April 21) here.

Al Jazeera and news agencies

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