Coronavirus

Worldwide coronavirus death toll climbs to 200,000

There are more than 2.8 million confirmed cases of Covid-19, according to the tally.

It comes after the number of fatalities in the US passed 50,000, as Americans endure the world's deadliest outbreak.

Chinese state media reported the first known death linked to the virus on 11 January. More than 210 countries and territories have since reported cases.

Five countries have now reported death tolls above 20,000 although the way fatalities are counted varies widely.

Some states begin to reopen as US death toll passes 50,000

Salons and spas could reopen in Georgia and Oklahoma while Alaska lifted restrictions on restaurants.

On Friday, President Donald Trump walked out of a shorter than usual briefing, refusing to take questions.

He has faced criticism after suggesting that injecting household disinfectant into patients could be beneficial.

His remarks have been condemned as dangerous by doctors and manufacturers. Disinfectants are hazardous substances and can be poisonous if ingested, and even external exposure can be dangerous to the skin, eyes and respiratory system.

Virgin Australia slumps into administration

The country's second-largest carrier cut almost all flights last month following wide-spread travel bans.

It was already struggling with a long-term A$5bn (£2.55bn; $3.17bn) debt.

The airline is now seeking new buyers and investors, after failing to get a loan from Australia's government.

Virgin Australia chief executive Paul Scurrah said: "Our decision today is about securing the future of the Virgin Australia Group and emerging on the other side of the Covid-19 crisis.

"Australia needs a second airline and we are determined to keep flying."

Coronavirus: YouTube bans 'medically unsubstantiated' content

The Google-owned service says it will remove anything it deems "medically unsubstantiated".

Chief executive Susan Wojcicki said the media giant wanted to stamp out "misinformation on the platform".

The move follows YouTube banning conspiracy theories falsely linking Covid-19 to 5G networks.

Mrs Wojcicki made the remarks on Wednesday during her first interview since the global coronavirus lockdown began.

"So people saying, ‘Take vitamin C, take turmeric, we’ll cure you,’ those are the examples of things that would be a violation of our policy,” she told CNN.

Netflix sign-ups jump during coronavirus lockdowns

Almost 16 million people created accounts in the first three months of the year, the firm said.

That is almost double the new sign-ups it saw in the final months of 2019.

However, the streaming service, which is behind some multi-million dollar productions, said shutdowns have halted "almost all" filming around the world.

People getting back to their roots in backyard gardening amid coronavirus lockdowns

The Pacific has a high dependency on food imports; for example, Fiji imports 85 per cent of its rice from Vietnam and Thailand.

Pacific Beat understands that the Australian government is currently reviewing each Pacific nation's food security risk, with some concern that while borders may be left open for cargo, not all ships may continue to operate.

Disney stops paying 100,000 workers during downturn

The world's biggest entertainment group operates theme parks and hotels in the US, Europe and Asia.

Stopping pay for almost half of its workforce will save Disney up to $500m (£400m) a month, according to the Financial Times.

Disney made operating income of $1.4bn for its parks, experiences and products in the last three months of 2019.

The company said it will provide full healthcare benefits for staff placed on unpaid leave and urged its US employees to apply for government benefits through the $2tn coronavirus stimulus package. 

Plasma treatment to be trialled for coronavirus

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is asking people who have recovered from Covid-19 to donate their blood so they can assess the therapy in trials.

The hope is that the antibodies they have built up will help to clear the virus in others.

The US has already started a major project to study this, involving more than 1,500 hospitals.

When a person has Covid-19, their immune system responds by creating antibodies, which attack the virus.

Over time these build up and can be found in the plasma, the liquid portion of the blood.

The Cook Islands declared Covid-19-free

Starting last night's address to the nation, Prime Minister Henry Puna thanked God for giving people courage and strength during the country's greatest threat in modern history.

He said hundreds of Covid-19 tests taken in the Cook Islands had come back negative, and the country can officially be confirmed as a Covid-free zone - one of the first nations in the world to do so.

This means some of the more restrictive Code Yellow measures introduced in late March to stop the virus, will now be eased.

UK lockdown extended while Japan declares national emergency

"We have just come too far, we've lost too many loved ones, we've already sacrificed far too much to ease up now, especially when we are beginning to see the evidence that our efforts are starting to pay off," Raab told reporters.

Raab is deputising while Prime Minister Boris Johnson recuperates from Covid-19 complications that nearly cost him his life.