(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Reviewing and renewing lockdowns
The British government holds a Cobra meeting on Thursday chaired by Dominic Raab, first secretary of state, to discuss how to deal with a review of lockdown measures that is based on evidence and data from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.
In Italy, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte urged sticking with the rigid lockdown, rejecting calls from businesses to open factories, while France extended its lockdown past April 15, though the increase of hospital deaths appeared to be slowing again.
Disunity in the European Union
EU finance ministers failed to agree on a joint response on more economic support for their countries, despite talks that stretched into the night on a 16-hour videoconference.
German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said a deal on the package worth half a trillion euros was close, and he hoped it could be clinched when the ministers meet again from 1500 GMT.
Mauro Ferrari, president of the EU’s main science organisation, the European Research Council, has quit the post he took up in January, citing institutional resistance and bureaucratic infighting over his proposal for a big scientific programme to combat the coronavirus.
In a statement, the ERC said it regretted Ferrari’s comments on his resignation, adding they were “at best … economical with the truth”.
From fine to flailing: rapid health declines shock medical workers
The speed with which patients are declining and dying from the new coronavirus is shocking even veteran doctors and nurses as they scramble to try to stop such sudden deterioration.
The quick turns for the worse are likely products of an “overly exuberant” reaction by the immune system as it fights the virus, said Dr Otto Yang, an infectious disease specialist at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Called a cytokine storm, it occurs when the body overproduces immune cells and their activating compounds – cytokines – causing dangerously high blood pressure, lung damage and organ failure.
(Open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in a separate browser for an interactive graphic to track the global spread.)
Containing the ‘silent carriers’
China has adopted new measures to curb the spread of the virus by asymptomatic carriers, whom some state media described as “silent carriers”.
Medical institutions must now report such cases within two hours of discovery. Local governments then have 24 hours to identify all known close contacts. Both the patient and close contacts will be quarantined for 14 days.
‘Black box’ taken off cruise ship in Australia coronavirus homicide probe
Police carrying out a homicide investigation into Australia’s deadliest infection source have removed the Ruby Princess’ ‘black box’.
The cruise ship, owned by Carnival Corp, has become a flashpoint of public anger after authorities granted permission for passengers to disembark last month without health checks.
Hundreds of them later tested positive for the virus and 15 died. About 1,000 crew of various nationalities remain on board at an industrial port south of Sydney.
(For a selection of updated, curated coronavirus coverage, click here)
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