Coronavirus pushes US jobless to Depression level: Live updates

UK scientists have started testing an experimental vaccine as the death toll from the infection hits 190,000 worldwide.

  • 26 million people have sought US jobless aid in the past five weeks since the coronavirus hit. About one in six American workers have lost their jobs, by far the worst string of layoffs since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The US House of Representatives has passed a nearly $500bn spending package to help businesses and hospitals.

  • More than 190,000 people have died due to the pandemic, with 2.7 million infected, out of whom almost 750,000 have recovered.

  • Testing of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine began on healthy volunteers at University of Oxford in Britain, the latest in a cluster of early-stage studies in search of protection against the coronavirus.

  • The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) says there are “worrying upward trends” in early epidemics in parts of Africa and Central and South America, warning that the “virus will be with us for a long time”.

  • The United Nations is warning global hunger could double as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, putting 265 million people at risk.

Here are the latest updates:

Friday, April 24

01:11 GMT – Gilead’s remdesivir showing significant side effect against coronavirus

Researchers studying Gilead Sciences Inc’s experimental coronavirus drug have found that the it failed its first randomised clinical trial, with some showing signficant side effects.

The Chinese trial showed the antiviral drug remdesivir did not improve patients’ condition or reduce the pathogen’s presence in the bloodstream, according to the Financial Times report, which cited draft documents published accidentally by the World Health Organization.

Remdesivir also previously failed as a treatment for Ebola. 

00:55 GMT – US CDC releasing $631m more in response to health emergency

The US Department of Health and Human Services has announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be releasing $631m to state and local governments in response to the COVID-19 health emergency.

Health Secretary Alex Azar said that the money will be awarded to 64 local governments to help states with their efforts to re-open, a controversial policy that has drawn criticism by the opposition and many health experts.

00:11 GMT – Duterte extends lockdown of Metro Manila to May 15

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has extended the lockdown of Metro Manila to May 15.

The extended lockdown announced on Friday also covers several provinces of Luzon, slightly easing the restrictions that previously covered the entire northern island, affecting more than 57 million people.

Duterte was scheduled to make the announcement on Thursday, but cancelled it at the last minute. 

00:01 GMT – Cruise ship linked to Australia’s biggest virus outbreak sets sail

A cruise ship linked to a third of Australia’s coronavirus deaths has left the country after a month docked in local waters, the authorities said on Friday, as an emergency cabinet meeting was expected to ease some social-distancing measures.

The Ruby Princess, owned by Carnival Corp, has become a flashpoint of public anger after being allowed to unload thousands of passengers in Sydney without health checks on March 19.

Hundreds of its passengers later tested positive to COVID-19, about 10 percent of the country’s roughly 6,600 infections and a third of the country’s 77 coronavirus deaths have been traced to the ship.


Hello, I’m Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. You can find updates from yesterday, April 23, here.

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