Coronavirus has infected more than 2.4 million people around the world, with the death toll passing 170,000.

Here are the latest updates on the pandemic from around the world:

VATICAN CITY

Pope Francis is urging world leaders to draw lessons from the coronavirus pandemic and work together to protect the planet and the most vulnerable from environmental destruction and exploitation.

Francis issued the appeal on Wednesday as he marked the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

He said: “As the tragic coronavirus pandemic has taught us, we can overcome global challenges only by showing solidarity with one another and embracing the most vulnerable in our midst.”

Francis has marked the lockdown period by praying each day for different sectors affected by the pandemic, from doctors and nurses to inmates and the elderly.

Francis cheered initiatives of young people to remind older generations of their failure to protect the planet, agreeing that: “We have no future if we destroy the very environment that sustains us.”

INDIA

After rolling out a contact-tracing app, Arogya Setu, that is aimed at helping citizens identify their risk of infection, India is planning to use wristbands that will be fitted with the same app.

A government document detailing the specifications for the wristband says it will “trace contacts & connections of infected persons” and also “identify unknowing contacts with infected persons”. This, officials said, would be used to monitor the movement and body temperature of quarantined patients, at home and in hospital, and help make sure they do not break quarantine.

Officials added that the wristband will ease challenges for health workers by letting them know if potential patients have been to high-risk areas. The wristband would also be used for those delivering essential services, such as groceries or medicines.

SOUTH KOREA

The top infectious disease expert says patients can still test positive for coronavirus even after their bodies develop antibodies.

The findings, based on a small sample of patients, came as officials explore why some Covid-19 patients relapse after their release from hospital.

Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of South Korea’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, said officials have so far tested 25 patients who developed neutralising antibodies to resist further infections, but 12 still tested positive for the virus.

However, virus samples collected from the 12 cases could not be cultivated in isolation, indicating a loss of infectiousness.

PAKISTAN

Doctors with the Pakistan Medical Association have written a letter pleading with the country’s religious clerics and the prime minister to reverse a decision to leave mosques open during the fasting month of Ramadan, warning it could result in an explosion of Covid-19 cases.

Large gatherings will worsen the numbers and overwhelm a health care system that has fewer than 3,000 acute care beds for a population of 220 million people, said Qaiser Sajjad, secretary general of the Pakistan Medical Association and one of the authors of the letter.

The numbers are escalating at roughly 500 a day, he said, and the large gatherings at mosques during Ramadan are certain to overcome doctors and paramedics, he warned in an interview.

The government has called for social distancing in mosques but has left it to local clerics to enforce the regulations, even as mosques have openly defied earlier orders to limit their congregations to five.

Prime minister Imran Khan has dismissed criticism, ordering police not to harass worshippers going to mosques even as other Muslim countries close mosques.

USA

Health officials say two people died with coronavirus in California weeks before the first reported death in the US.

Santa Clara County officials said the people died at home on February 6 and 17. The first reported death in the nation from the virus was on February 29 in Kirkland, Washington.

JAPAN

Officials say 33 more crew members on an Italian-operated cruise ship docked in southern Japan have tested positive, a day after the first case from the ship was reported.

The Costa Atlantica has been docked in Nagasaki since late January for repairs and maintenance by the Mitsubishi Heavy Industry. The potential for an outbreak surfaced on Tuesday when a crew member, identified only as a foreign national, tested positive for the virus.

The ship is carrying 623 crew members, including a Japanese translator, but no passengers.

None of the crew had serious symptoms and they are being self-quarantined in single rooms, officials said.

CHINA

The country has again reported no new deaths from coronavirus, but registered 30 more cases — 23 brought from abroad.

Of the domestic cases, all seven were reported in Heilongjiang province, near the Russian border where a field hospital has been set up to deal with a new flare-up related to people coming home from abroad.

China has reported a total of 4,632 deaths among 82,788 cases, the bulk of them in Wuhan where officials recently raised the death toll by 50% after a review of records.

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