Reuters Health News Summary

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Australian PM says no evidence coronavirus originated in China laboratory, urges inquiry

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has angered Beijing by calling for a global inquiry into the coronavirus outbreak, said he had no evidence to suggest the disease originated in a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan. U.S. President Donald said on Thursday he was confident the coronavirus may have originated in a Chinese virology lab, but declined to describe the evidence he said he had seen.

Turkey's contact tracers race to contain coronavirus

Two medics in protective suits jumped out of a car in a deserted street in central Ankara and hurried inside a building - one carrying medical equipment and the other, paperwork. Some 15 minutes later, they sped off to their next appointment, one of nearly 6,000 teams deployed across Turkey to try to stem the coronavirus pandemic by tracking down the contacts of those found to have become infected.

Swiss soldiers pick up smartphones to fight COVID-19

In the battle against coronavirus, Swiss soldiers are using smartphones to test a new contact tracing application that could prevent infections while also protecting users' privacy. Switzerland hopes to launch the app on May 11 based on a standard, developed by researchers in Lausanne and Zurich, that uses Bluetooth communication between devices to assess the risk of catching COVID-19.

WHO ministerial to open on May 18; UNICEF seeks flights for vaccines

The annual meeting of health ministers will take place virtually from May 18, with the focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. The shortened agenda will include items essential for "governance continuity" such as election of its executive and a speech by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told a U.N. briefing in Geneva.

Afghanistan likely facing coronavirus 'health disaster': U.S. watchdog

Story continues

Afghanistan, beset by a poor healthcare system, malnutrition, war and other vulnerabilities, likely is facing a "health disaster" from the coronavirus, a watchdog report to the U.S. Congress warns. The report released late on Thursday by Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko could heighten concerns among U.S. officials and lawmakers that the pandemic threatens to derail stalled U.S.-led peace efforts.

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Japan PM Abe leaning towards extending state of emergency, to decide May 4

Japanese Prime |(Minister Shinzo Abe said on Friday he was leaning towards extending the country's state of emergency for about a month as experts said coronavirus restrictions should remain in place until the number of cases falls further. The emergency is now due to expire on May 6 but Abe said the situation remains tough and further cooperation is needed from Japanese citizens, although he would make a final decision on May 4 after consultations with experts.

What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now: VIRUS RHETORIC ESCALATES

Dutch coronavirus cases rise to 39,791 with 98 new deaths: health authorities

The Netherlands' number of confirmed coronavirus cases has risen by 475 to 39,791 health authorities said on Friday, with 98 new deaths. The country's death toll stands at 4,893, the Netherlands' Institute for Public Health (RIVM) said in its daily update.

Coronavirus trial drug remdesivir's maker aims for wide distribution: Gilead CEO

Gilead Sciences, which manufactures remdesivir, is focused on making the experimental coronavirus drug accessible and affordable to as many people as possible once it is approved, Chief Executive Daniel O'Day said on Friday. Gilead has already said it will donate the first 1.5 million doses of remdesivir and O'Day told NBC's "Today" show that the company understood its responsibility to make a difference during the coronavirus pandemic.

Chinese startup Rokid sees opportunity with COVID-fighting smart glasses

A Chinese startup that develops augmented-reality products for use in manufacturing and gaming has found a promising growth area in the midst of a global pandemic - wearable glasses that measure temperatures on the move. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak in late 2019, Hangzhou-based startup Rokid developed a pair of glasses to help screen for symptoms. Rokid Vice President Xiang Wenjie says demand has risen for the company's T1 glasses, developed in only two weeks, after it sold roughly 1,000 pairs to governments, industrial parks and schools.

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