• This daily roundup brings you a selection of the latest news updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
  • Today's top stories: US unemployment rate surges to 14.7% for April; Australia announces three-phase plan for reopening; UN chief issues hate-crime warning; children quiz a doctor about COVID-19.

What is the World Economic Forum doing about the coronavirus outbreak?

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic requires global cooperation among governments, international organizations and the business community, which is at the centre of the World Economic Forum’s mission as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

Since its launch on 11 March, the Forum’s COVID Action Platform has brought together 1,667 stakeholders from 1,106 businesses and organizations to mitigate the risk and impact of the unprecedented global health emergency that is COVID-19.

The platform is created with the support of the World Health Organization and is open to all businesses and industry groups, as well as other stakeholders, aiming to integrate and inform joint action.

As an organization, the Forum has a track record of supporting efforts to contain epidemics. In 2017, at our Annual Meeting, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched – bringing together experts from government, business, health, academia and civil society to accelerate the development of vaccines. CEPI is currently supporting the race to develop a vaccine against this strand of the coronavirus.

1. How COVID-19 is impacting the globe

Confirmed coronavirus cases are at 3.85 million worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 269,000 people have died from the virus, while over 1.2 million have recovered.

Confirmed cases in Russia continue to rise. The country has recorded 10,699 new coronavirus infections, marking the sixth day with more than 10,000 positive tests. There are now 187,859 confirmed infections and 1,723 deaths linked to COVID-19.

The US economy lost a staggering 20.5 million jobs in April, the steepest plunge in payrolls since the Great Depression and the starkest sign yet of how the novel coronavirus pandemic is battering the world’s biggest economy, Reuters reports.

The Labor Department’s monthly employment report also showed the unemployment rate surging to 14.7% last month, shattering the post-World War Two record of 10.8%, whihc was reached in November 1982.

But as this piece explains, the recent jobless numbers and unemployment rate don't tell the full story of what is really going on with the US economy. Some economists believe the real unemployment rate in the US could be between 25.1% and 34.6% - worse than the Great Depression.

Image: Trading Economics/US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Australian government has outlined a three-stage plan to allow businesses to reopen and large gatherings and interstate travel to take place by the end of July.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it's time to "get out from under the doona", which is Australian slang for duvet.

Under the first stage, restaurants, cafes, shops, libraries, community centres, playgrounds, and boot camps reopened and gatherings of 10 people in public places will be allowed.

Households will also be able to host five people at home and local and regional travel will be permitted.

The second stage of the framework will see gatherings of up to 20 people allowed, the reopening of gyms, beauty salons, community sport, cinemas, galleries, and amusement parks, and some interstate travel.

By July, the Prime Minister said he hopes to implement the final stage of the plan, which sees "most workers" back in the workplace, pubs and clubs reopened, gatherings of up to 100 people and all interstate travel.

By this point, international travel to New Zealand and the Pacific Islands and some exemptions for international students will also be considered.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said this morning that the COVID-19 outbreak has "unleashed a tsunami of hate and xenophobia, scapegoating and scare-mongering”

Guterres added that migrants and refugees in particular had been "vilified as a source of the virus - and then denied access to medical treatment". Anti-foreigner sentiment has surged online and on the streets, before highlighting antisemitic conspiracy theories and COVID-19-related anti-Muslim attacks.

The Secretary-General appealed for an all-out effort “to end hate speech globally” and stop the spread of fake news.

What would a child ask a doctor about COVID-19? On this week’s World Vs Virus, Dr Ranj Singh, presenter of BBC TV's 'Get Well Soon', takes questions from a panel of youngsters, and shares tips on how best to talk to children about the pandemic.

Two-thirds of people in 20 African countries fear going hungry if they had to quarantine for 2 weeks, according to a survey.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Africa remain comparatively low, at 51,000 as of 6 May. But those numbers are growing fast. And a new report by the Partnership for Evidence Based Response to COVID-19 (PERC) reveals some worrying findings about the impact of coronavirus on the lives of many Africans.

Half of respondents to the survey, conducted in 28 African cities, said they would run out of money if they had to stay home for 14 days. The lowest-income households expected to run out of food and money in less than a week. In Nigeria and Kenya, social media users have admitted that hunger has forced them to violate stay-at-home orders in order to search for food.

People fear they will run out of food if lockdowns are prolonged.
People fear they will run out of food if lockdowns are prolonged.
Image: Image: PERC