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[VOA] VOA 2020-04-30

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The Commerce Department said the economy plunged at an annual rate of 4.8 percent as wide swath of businesses shut down to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The decline for the January-March period happened entirely in the last three weeks of March, as the effect of the pandemic swept through the world's biggest economy.

A grim milestone as the US passes 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases. The number comes as several states begin take small steps to reopen for business.

A biotech company says a new experimental drug has proven it can treat covid-19. In a major US government study, Gilead Science's remdesivir is potentially the fist treatment to pass the such test against the virus. Having a treatment could have a profound effect on the global pandemic, that's because health officials say any vaccine is likely a year or more away.

The number of covid-19 cases rose past the 20,000 mark in Sweden on Wednesday with 107 new deaths in the Nordic country. There had been more than 2400 death since the outbreak began.

A public health expert says South Sudan should expect to see a spike in covid-19 cases in the coming days. This comes as 28 new cases were confirmed Tuesday by the country's highest level task force for covid-19, bringing the total to 34.The expert out the University of JB calls the one-day increase in the number of confirmed cases is worrying and said it indicates the virus has been transmitted locally.

The president of Ghana says rigorous testing for coronavirus and tracing the contracts of those found positive has helped Ghana avoid a explosion in cases. President said Wednesday around 110 thousand people had been tested and the share of positive tests has remain consistent around 1.5 percent.

Spanish prime minister PS faced parliament Wednesday, one day after announcing his plan to open the country backup. Measures of the de-escalation include allowing individual outdoor exercises from Saturday as well as haircuts and other personalized services with appointment. In most places, some shops will open on May 11th and socializing will be permitted in outdoor cafes, bars, as well as services in churches and mosques at 1/3 of the capacity. Opposition lawmakers question the government's ability to open up safely as many have complained about the lack of testing.

A senior US trade official said Wednesday China remains "very, very committed" to remaining on track with phase 1 of its trade deal with US. US officials are said to be in constant communication about implementing the trade deal to make sure China fulfill its extensive agreements to buy US goods and services. (MMP)
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