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Coronavirus latest updates: Global cases pass 2 million mark; Trump fuels virus lab theory

Coronavirus latest: at a glance
A summary of the biggest developments in the global coronavirus outbreak
Follow our latest coronavirus blog http://www.innd2.com/ for live news and updates
Key developments in the global coronavirus outbreak today include:

Global cases pass 2 million mark
There are 2,064,115 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. The number of people who have died so far in the crisis stands at 137,020. The US is the worst-affected country in terms of infections and the number of deaths, with 639,055 cases – nearly a third of the world’s total – and 30,925 fatalities.

IMF says Asia will suffer zero economic growth this year
Asia’s economic growth this year will grind to a halt for the first time in 60 years, as the coronavirus crisis takes an “unprecedented” toll on the region’s service sector and major export destinations, the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday. The IMF expects a 7.6% expansion in Asian economic growth next year on the assumption that containment policies succeed, but added the outlook was highly uncertain.

Trump fuels virus lab theory
The US president has added credence to a theory that the pandemic began when the pathogen accidentally escaped a Wuhan laboratory, and has further questioned China’s figures on the outbreak. Responding to a question from Fox News on the lab, he said: “Well, I don’t want to say that John, but I will tell you more and more we’re hearing the story.”

New guidelines are set to emerge on Thursday for some US states to ease their lockdowns, with Trump saying governors “champing at the bit” to reopen. Trump did not back down on his decision to halt funding to the World Health Organization.

South Korea’s ruling party wins landslide victory
President Moon Jae-in’s left-leaning Democratic party and its smaller affiliate won 180 seats in the 300-seat assembly – the biggest majority in the national assembly by any party since South Korea’s transition to democracy in 1987, after the coronavirus pandemic turned the political tide in Moon’s favour.

Almost 700 sailors on French aircraft carrier test positive
At least 668 sailors assigned to the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle’s naval group tested positive for the virus, and results are still not in from a third of the tests from 1,767 mariners. In other news from France, Amazon has ordered the temporary closure of all six of its French distribution centres after a French court ruled it was not doing enough to protect its workers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Big events unlikely to resume until 2021, says LA mayor
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday it is unlikely concerts and sporting events will resume until at least 2021, as the city continues to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Garcetti’s comments echo those of New York City mayor Bill de Blasio and California governor Gavin Newsom, both of whom said it will be a long time before gatherings of 100 or more people are commonplace again.

Debt burden eased for poorer countries
G20 finance ministers have agreed to suspend poorer countries’ debt payments to help them prepare for increased spending on healthcare. The measure takes effect from 1 May and lasts until the end of the year. The IMF said Asia’s economic growth would grind to a halt for the first time in 60 years, as the crisis takes an “unprecedented” toll on the service sector and major export destinations.

Ten Britons and a UK stranded in Peru after missing repatriation flight

Ten Britons and a UK resident have been left stranded in Cusco, Peru, after missing a UK repatriation flight on Wednesday because a military aircraft which had been sent to collect them refused to let them board after landing and taking off twice, they say.

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