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Coronavirus: latest global developments

AFP – Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis.

– Trump threatens Beijing –

US President Donald Trump says he no longer wishes to speak with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and warns he might cut ties over the rival superpower’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Beijing reacts with fury to what it calls “smearing” after US security agencies accused Chinese hackers of attempting to steal intellectual property related to treatments.

– More than 300,000 dead –

The coronavirus has killed 300,140 people worldwide since it surfaced in China late last year, according to an AFP tally on Thursday 2030 GMT based on official sources.

There have been more than 4,403,714 officially recorded cases in 196 countries and territories.

The United States has recorded the most deaths at 85,194. It is followed by Britain with 33,614, Italy with 31,368, France at 27,425 and Spain with 27,321.

– Virus ‘may never go away’ –

“This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away,” says Michael Ryan, the emergencies director of the World Health Organization, drawing on the example of HIV.

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– French fury –

The French government cries foul after Paris-based pharmaceutical giant Sanofi says it would reserve first shipments of any vaccine for the US.

Sanofi chief executive Paul Hudson says the United States has a risk-sharing model that allows for manufacturing to start even before a vaccine has been approved through scientific trials, while Europe does not.

The European Medicines Agency says a vaccine could possibly be ready in a year, based on data from trials under way, but stresses this is a “best-case scenario”.

– A bit more freedom –

The French government announces an 18-billion-euro ($19.4-billion) rescue plan for the beleaguered tourism sector. People will be allowed to depart for summer holidays in July and August, but only in France and its overseas departments.

Japan lifts its state of emergency in most regions, retaining it in top cities Tokyo and Osaka.

Children in Finland return to school, albeit just for a few weeks before the summer holidays.

– Economic impact –

Germany expects the pandemic to wipe almost 100 billion euros off its 2020 tax intake.

New data bring the total US job losses since economic shutdowns began in mid-March to 36.5 million, a figure rivalled only by the Great Depression 90 years ago.

The pandemic will cost the global insurance industry about $203 billion, Lloyd’s of London insurance market forecasts.

The World Trade Organization chief Roberto Azevedo says he will step down on August 31, a year before his term ends.

– Testing –

Authorities in Moscow say clinics will begin mass random testing of residents for coronavirus antibodies on Friday.

Britain says it is in discussions with Swiss pharma giant Roche to mass purchase its coronavirus antibody test after scientists claimed it was “100 percent” accurate.

– Qatar: tough mask law –

Qatar makes wearing a face mask compulsory for everyone who steps outside their home, with violators facing jail time and fines of up to $55,000.

The mayor of Los Angeles orders face coverings must be worn at all times outside the home.