Daily News Roundup

May 19, 2020

TUESDAY, MAY 19

US President Donald Trump is taking a malaria drug to lessen symptoms should he get the new coronavirus, even though the drug is unproven for fighting COVID-19.

Mr Trump told reporters he has been taking the drug hydroxychloroquine and a zinc supplement daily “for about a week and a half now.”

Mr Trump has continued to promote hydroxychloroquine despite little evidence of its ability to prevent or treat COVID-19, and warnings from his administration’s top medical professionals.

Mr Trump said his doctor did not recommend the drug to him, but he requested it from the White House physician.

“I started taking it, because I think it’s good,” Mr Trump said. “I’ve heard a lot of good stories.”

“What do you have to lose?”

The drug has the potential to cause significant side effects in some patients and has not been shown to combat the new coronavirus.

In other COVID-19 news: 

  • NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell has warned parents to send their children to school from next week or risk them being marked absent. Campuses had been open in NSW only for the children of essential workers for the past eight weeks in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus. However, from Monday, all students at public schools are being ordered to return full-time. Health authorities in NSW have confirmed two new coronavirus infections — both from people who had recently returned from overseas and were in quarantine hotels.
  • Queenslanders are being warned not to assume we have beaten coronavirus and “it is unlikely that we will, ever” despite a large drop in cases. Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said 42 Queensland cases of COVID-19 have no traceable source, including an infected nurse working at a Rockhampton aged care facility. “These are the cases that worry me,” Dr Young said. “This is why we cannot assume we have beaten this virus — we haven’t. It is unlikely that we will, ever.  “We’ll have to find ways of managing it and the hope of course is for a vaccine to assist us in that.”
  • The using OF saliva to shine a cricket ball could be a thing of the past when the sport resumes, with the International Cricket Council (ICC) recommending a change to the laws in the wake of the novel coronavirus. The committee, chaired by former Indian spinner Anil Kumble, unanimously agreed to recommend a ban on saliva although players will still be allowed to use their own sweat to try and achieve the fabled ‘reverse swing’. “We are living through extraordinary times and the recommendations the committee have made today are interim measures to enable us to safely resume cricket in a way that preserves the essence of our game,” Kumble said.

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China says it will impose tariffs of around 80 per cent on barley imports from Australia from Tuesday, as more than 110 nations join the push for a COVID-19 inquiry, Reuters newsagency reports.

The move came as Chinese President Xi Jinping defended China’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak and said it will support a “comprehensive review” led by the World Health Organization into the global response after the virus is brought under control.

Mr Xi told the World Health Assembly in Geneva that China had been open and transparent about the coronavirus outbreak which started in Hubei province in late 2019, and said his country would support an investigation “conducted in an objective and impartial way”.

“This work needs a scientific and professional attitude, and needs to be led by the WHO,” Mr Xi told the assembly via a video message.

“And the principles of objectivity and fairness need to be upheld.”

The draft resolution calls for an impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation of the international response to the pandemic.

It doesn’t mention China but Australia’s push for the inquiry has angered Beijing, and shortly after Australia’s call, said China said it would impose a huge tariff on barley and block some beef imports.