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Coronavirus world map: which countries have the most cases and deaths? | World news



Since first being recorded late last year in China, the Covid-19 coronavirus has spread around the world, and been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. By early spring, Europe had become the worst-affected region, with Italy and Spain particularly hard hit. However, differences in testing mean that the number of cases may be understated for some countries.

The number of deaths is a more dependable indicator. The disease is hitting Italy and Spain with particular cruelty. But the trajectory in many countries is the same; the UK and US are a couple of weeks behind Italy in the progress of the epidemic.

Meanwhile in Asia, where the disease began, the spread continues, although in China it seems for now to have passed its peak.

In Europe most countries have closed schools, and many are in lockdown.

Finally, a reminder that most people who contract the disease recover; many may never notice they had it at all.

Due to the unprecedented and ongoing nature of the coronavirus outbreak, this article is being regularly updated to ensure that it reflects the current situation at the date of publication. Any significant corrections made to this or previous versions of the article will continue to be footnoted in line with Guardian editorial policy.

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Rethinking the world’s largest cities in wake of COVID-19




Grammy award-winner Petula Clark famously sang that the “lights are much brighter” downtown, but the coronavirus pandemic may change city centers across the world, as more people choose to work remotely and companies ditch large office towers.

With more than 6.3 million people reported infected globally, lockdowns to stem the spread of the respiratory disease in major cities have forced millions to work from home.

Many may never go back to working full-time in offices.

Twitter has said some of its employees can work from home “forever,” while Google and Facebook employees can work remotely until next year. Big banks have indicated they may not fully occupy their office towers in London and Manhattan.

“In the aftermath of COVID-19, the cityscape may see changes as people and organizations embrace a new way of life,” said Ethan Hsu, head of real estate firm Knight Frank Singapore.

“There could be radical shifts in the way cities and business districts are designed for a modified norm, which could include a reduced physical office footprint,” he said.

More than two-thirds of the global population is forecast to live in urban areas by 2050 — up from 56 percent today, according to the United Nations.

Past epidemics led to massive changes in city planning and infrastructure, including sewage systems and public transit, as well as housing regulations.

With the coronavirus, cities from Amsterdam to Sydney have unveiled measures to improve sustainability, food security and mobility, with more green spaces, wider pavements, bicycle lanes and new technologies to ensure social distancing.

City centers are key economic hubs, with their mix of offices, shops, restaurants, bars, entertainment centers and residences. They are generally well connected by transit systems, and command some of the highest real estate values.

Remote working was already on the rise in many parts of the world before the pandemic. Now, as firms grapple with social distancing rules that limit how many workers can return, they are thinking about what their offices are really for.

That in turn will force planners and city officials to reconsider and redesign central business districts, said Tony Matthews, a senior lecturer in urban and environmental planning at Australia’s Griffith University.

“If daytime working populations fall, new populations are likely to be needed to keep these areas buzzing and generating incomes,” he said.

“Some areas may need to be redesigned if they are no longer economically viable — retail districts, for example. Some office buildings may be demolished or repurposed, with the surrounding infrastructure and public space also changing in time,” he said.

There is precedent for this sort of urban transformation, Matthews added, with cities across the world having converted old industrial structures and decrepit waterfronts into art galleries, cafes, apartments and lively entertainment spaces.

One such example is London’s Canary Wharf, once the world’s largest port, that was redeveloped into a pricey financial district in the 1980s and 1990s.

The 97-acre area, with the regional headquarters of several banks, may be in for another makeover, with Jes Staley, chief executive of Barclays, saying that the notion of putting 7,000 people in a building “may be a thing of the past”.

In New York, the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks led to a decentralizing of office spaces from the downtown area.

In Singapore, where the central business district normally heaves with crowds packing its chic bars and restaurants into the wee hours, most employees want to continue working from home after the lockdown is lifted on June 1, a survey showed.

That would mean less traffic and fewer people taking public transport at peak hours, which may lead to more mixed-use developments and amenities to draw footfall, said Hsu.

“Fewer road-users would mean some space could potentially be freed up for other uses, such as wider foot and cycling paths, parks, event venues and outdoor activity spaces,” he said.

In Washington, recommendations in ReOpen DC — a plan for reopening the city — include allocating sidewalks and streets for residents and restaurants, and temporarily repurposing vacant private spaces.

With “historical inequities” exacerbated by COVID-19, any plan must ensure that everyone has equal access to affordable housing, healthy food, and community facilities, it said.

More people working from home “will have a detrimental economic impact on the city,” said Anjali Mahendra, director of research at the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities.

“However, in trying to balance public health and economic concerns, cities are considering strategies such as moving business outdoors as much as possible, redesigning street and curb space, using parking lanes to create bike lanes,” she said.

With more people using a combination of walking, biking and public transit, “investing in bicycle, pedestrian and micromobility infrastructure can fill essential gaps in last-mile access to public transit now and in the future,” she said.

“It presents an immense opportunity to restructure the transport system to serve the majority,” she added.

In the longer term, while cities will still retain their economic center in the downtown area, there will be a push toward decentralizing commercial activity and for setting up business clusters outside of the city center, said Hsu.

“There will be greater pressure on master planners to re-think urban design to respond to changing lifestyles and behaviors,” he said.

“A new cityscape could be re-imagined.”

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Live: Covid-19 updates from New Zealand and around the world on 3 June




Students will be able to earn additional NCEA credits in changes aimed at supporting secondary school pupils whose learning has been disrupted by Covid-19.

University Entrance requirements have also been modified, with agreement from universities, as have certificate and course endorsements, under the temporary changes announced by the government today.

For each 5 credits a student earns towards their NCEA, they will be entitled to an additional 1 Learning Recognition credit, up to a maximum of 10 additional credits for students undertaking NCEA Level 1, or up to a maximum of 8 additional credits for students at Levels 2 or 3.

“This approach also maintains the credibility and reputation of NCEA by basing additional credits on assessed learning,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said in a statement.

“Students can be confident that an NCEA attained this year will continue to open doors to tertiary study, vocational education or employment.”

University Entrance (UE) will be awarded to students who achieve 12 credits in each of three University Entrance Approved Subjects.

They will still need to attain NCEA Level 3 and meet the literacy and numeracy requirements to be awarded UE.

Students will be awarded a certificate endorsement if they achieve 46 credits at Merit or Excellence level, rather than the usual 50. Similarly, students achieving 12 credits at Merit or Excellence level in a course – rather than 14 – will be awarded a course endorsement.

See the latest updates here:

As Covid-19 spreads around the world, it can be daunting keeping up with the information. For RNZ, our responsibility is to give you verified, up to the minute, trustworthy information to help you make decisions about your lives and your health. We’ll also be asking questions of officials and decision makers about how they’re responding to the virus. Our aim is to keep you informed.

Read more about the Covid-19 coronavirus:

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China withheld data on coronavirus from WHO, recordings reveal | World news




The World Health Organization struggled to get needed information from China during critical early days of the coronavirus pandemic, according to recordings of internal meetings that contradict the organisation’s public praise of Beijing’s response to the outbreak.

The recordings, obtained by the Associated Press (AP), show officials complaining in meetings during the week of 6 January that Beijing was not sharing data needed to evaluate the risk of the virus to the rest of the world. It was not until 20 January that China confirmed coronavirus was contagious and 30 January that the WHO declared a global emergency.

“We’re going on very minimal information,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist and the WHO technical lead for Covid-19, according to the AP. “It’s clearly not enough for you to do proper planning.”

The WHO’s top official in China, Gauden Galea, said in one of the recordings: “We’re currently at the stage where yes, they’re giving it to us 15 minutes before it appears on CCTV [Chinese state TV].”

The report comes amid growing international scrutiny of China’s handling of the outbreak and moves to establish an independent investigation into the origins of the virus, which has infected more than 6 million and killed more than 375,000 people around the world.

What is the World Health Organization’s remit?

The World Health Organization (WHO) was founded as the UN global health body in 1948 in the aftermath of the second world war with a mandate to promote global health, protect against infectious disease and to serve the vulnerable. 

Its current programme envisages expanding universal healthcare to a billion more people, protecting another billion from health emergencies and providing a further billion people with better health and wellbeing.

What does that involve?

The WHO acts as a clearing house for investigation, data and technical recommendations on emerging disease threats such as the coronavirus and Ebola. It also supports eradication of existing diseases such as malaria and polio and promotes global public health.

While its role on emerging diseases is most familiar in the developed world, its practical involvement is far more marked in the global south, where it has been working to expand basic healthcare, support vaccination and sustain weak and often stressed health systems through its emergencies programmes. 

Why is the WHO under fire from Trump?

Trump has presented the freezing of US funding to the WHO as a direct response to what he claims was its slow reaction in raising the alarm over the global threat from the coronavirus and being too “China-centric” in its response. The allegation that the WHO was slow to warn of the risk of human-to-human transmission, and that it failed to cross-examine Chinese transparency early on, is largely not borne out by the evidence. And the organisation’s funding was already in his sights on 7 February, when his administration was suggesting cutting the US contribution by half.

The WHO, to whom the US theoretically contributes roughly 10-15% of its budget as its largest contributor, has been appealing for an extra $1bn to help fight the coronavirus. While the suspension of funding by the US for 60-90 days is relatively small – not least because the US is so far in arrears in its annual payments – the potential for a general US withdrawal from global health funding under the cover of this announcement would be very serious and felt most profoundly in places that need the most support.

Peter Beaumont and Sarah Boseley

The WHO has been criticised for consistently lauding China, even as questions emerged over the suppression of early warnings and information. The WHO chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has praised China for “setting a new standard for outbreak response” in its swift and aggressive measures.

The WHO’s office in China did not respond to a request for comment on the recordings. It said in a statement, reported by the AP: “Our leadership and staff have worked night and day in compliance with the organisation’s rules and regulations to support and share information with all member states equally, and engage in frank and forthright conversations with governments at all levels.”

In early January, Michael Ryan, the WHO’s chief of emergencies, said he feared a repeat of the Sars epidemic in 2002, which Chinese officials initially covered up.

“This is exactly the same scenario, endlessly trying to get updates from China about what was going on,” he said, according to the AP report. “The WHO barely got out of that one with its neck intact given the issues that arose around transparency in southern China.”

Ryan criticised China for not cooperating and advised for applying more pressure on Beijing. “This would not happen in Congo and did not happen in Congo and other places,” he said, apparently referring to the Ebola outbreak. “We need to see the data. It’s absolutely important at this point.”

Warnings and reports of a mysterious Sars-like virus began to filter out of Wuhan city in December but were suppressed by authorities. On 9 January, Chinese state media announced the illness was the result of a new coronavirus but said it was not contagious.

Almost two weeks later, officials admitted the virus was transmittable, as hospitals in the city were already flooded with patients and cases were appearing across the region. Authorities locked down Wuhan on 23 January, but at least 5 million residents had left, travelling across the country as well as overseas before the lunar new year holiday.

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