The jump in cases comes as India prepares to ease some restrictions on movement next week. The Philippines has released almost 10,000 prisoners to slow the spread of infections.
Singapore said that it would begin easing some of its movement restrictions over the next few weeks.
Here’s what you need to know:
- India reports its biggest single-day rise in cases.
- Remdesivir, a drug that failed against Ebola and hepatitis, gets emergency approval to treat Covid-19.
- With over two dozen deaths, London bus drivers fear that they are at risk.
- To ‘decongest the jails,’ the Philippines has freed nearly 10,000 inmates.
- Our New Delhi correspondent shows us a city frozen in fear.
- The Trump administration takes harder actions on China.
- U.S. states tentatively start getting back to business.
India reports its biggest single-day rise in cases.
India reported 2,293 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, its biggest single-day increase yet, according to Health Ministry officials.
The country has recorded 37,336 infections and more than 1,100 deaths from the coronavirus, a relatively low number for a country of 1.3 billion people. But in recent days, outbreaks have worsened in states like Maharashtra, where many cases have been traced to large, overcrowded neighborhoods in Mumbai, India’s business capital.
For more than five weeks, Indian officials have stringently enforced a nationwide lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus, sealing state borders, halting transportation and shutting airspace and most businesses.
India’s Home Ministry announced on Friday that the lockdown would continue until at least May 17, though restrictions on movement are scheduled to loosen next week in districts with few or no infections.
Remdesivir, a drug that failed against Ebola and hepatitis, gets emergency approval to treat Covid-19.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday issued an emergency approval for remdesivir as a treatment for patients severely ill with Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
The F.D.A. rushed to approve the drug under emergency use provisions, after a federal trial demonstrated modest improvements in severely ill patients.
The trial, sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, included more than 1,000 hospitalized patients and found that those receiving remdesivir recovered faster than those who got a placebo: in 11 days, versus 15 days. But the drug did not significantly reduce fatality rates.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the results were “a very important proof of concept” but not a “knockout.” President Trump hailed the drug on Friday as “an important treatment and “really promising.”
Remdesivir is approved only for severely ill patients and only temporarily; formal approval must come later.
Not everyone is convinced that remdesivir will live up to its promise. A study in China, published this week in The Lancet, found no benefit to severely ill patients.
Despite the skepticism, Gilead has been ramping up production and has 1.5 million vials on hand, enough for about 150,000 patients. Those will be provided at no cost, said Daniel O’Day, the company’s chief executive.
With over two dozen deaths, London bus drivers fear that they are at risk.
With a stringent coronavirus lockdown in place and London’s normal bustle largely halted, bold red buses are still offering frequent service to keep essential workers moving.
Now, more than two dozen of those drivers are dead as a result of the virus and some say they fear for their lives, despite new safety measures put in place in recent days.
“I think we all feel the fact that it could be any one of us,” said Lorraine, 62, who drives a route in South London. She asked that her last name not be used so she does not lose her job. While conditions have improved in recent days, she said, the past several weeks had worn on her.
“To be quite honest, I’ve felt real fear,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve felt such fear in all my life that I could die.”
At least 37 of London’s transportation workers, including 28 bus drivers, have died from the coronavirus since the outbreak began in hard-hit Britain, according to the latest numbers, released on Saturday by Transport for London or TfL, the government body that manages public transportation in the city. Around 27,000 people work for TfL, the group said.
While drivers have expressed concerns about the risks of coming into close contact with the public, it is impossible to say with any certainty how those who died became infected.
London, along with the rest of Britain, has been officially locked down since March 23, with all nonessential businesses shuttered, schools closed and public life halted. But like the public transportation of so many other cities, London’s buses and subways are still up and running, shuttling workers to and from the hospitals, grocery stores and other essential workplaces.
Last week, new protective measures were rolled out citywide requiring passengers to enter and exit buses at the middle or back doors where possible and to sit in those sections, well away from the drivers. Passengers don’t have to pay, for now, to avoid coming close to drivers.