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What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

Policemen detain a man for violating the curfew declared by the government amid coronavirus concerns in El Callao, on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. Picture: Rodrigo Abd/AP

Policemen detain a man for violating the curfew declared by the government amid coronavirus concerns in El Callao, on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. Picture: Rodrigo Abd/AP

Published Apr 9, 2020

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Here's what you need to know about the

coronavirus right now:

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The jobless lurch upwards

Beyond the daily casualty statistics, the big, sobering

economic number of the week lands on Thursday at 08.30 ET (1230

GMT): New US jobless claims will likely reveal that the number

of Americans seeking unemployment benefits in the last three

weeks has now hit a staggering 15 million.

That will cement the view that the stay-at-home measures

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needed to control the novel coronavirus outbreak have thrust the

world's top economy into a deep recession and strengthen

expectations of job losses of up to 20 million in April. The

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social costs are as yet incalculable.

From fine to flailing

The speed with which patients are declining and dying from

the new coronavirus is shocking even veteran doctors and nurses

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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.

Medical staff members arrive for a duty shift at Dongsan Medical Center in Daegu, South Korea. Picture: Kim Do-hoon/Yonhap via AP

Lockdowns on review

In the absence of the still hospitalised Prime Minister

Boris Johnson, the British government will discuss on Thursday a

scheduled review of the country's lockdown measures. Few expect

any easing right now as coronavirus-linked deaths continue to

rise.

The same is true in Italy, where Prime Minister Giuseppe

Conte is rejecting calls from businesses to open factories,

while France extended its lockdown past April 15.

103-year-old Ada Zanusso poses with a nurse at the old people's home "Maria Grazia" in Lessona, northern Italy, after recovering from Covid-19 infection. File picture: Residenza Maria Grazia Lessona via AP

A number of countries are, however, expecting to ease

restrictions from next week: Denmark, the Czech Republic and

Austria among them. How they fare will be closely watched

elsewhere.

   

Disunity in the European Union

EU finance ministers will have another go tonight to

overcome differences on more economic support for their

countries, after talks collapsed on Tuesday morning following an

all-night 16-hour videoconference.

Italy's Conte had a word of warning for them. He told the

BBC that Europe's leaders were "facing an appointment with

history" that they could not miss.

"If we do not seize the opportunity to put new life into the

European project, the risk of failure is real."

An image of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and quotes from her historic television broadcast commenting on the coronavirus pandemic are displayed on a big screen at Piccadilly Circus in London.Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

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.

Reuters

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