* US President Donald Trump plans to announce new guidelines to reopen the economy on Thursday, despite concerns from health experts, governors and business leaders about a resurgence in cases without more testing and protocols in place.
* US defense secretary said he believed China’s leaders have been misleading and opaque about the outbreak and does not trust that they are being truthful even now.
* Mexico’s government said its health experts have recommended the country extend its current measures until 30 May.
* Mexico could force the closure of companies in non-essential sectors if they refuse to suspend operations during a state of emergency.
* Haiti will reopen its key textile industry next week.
* A two-month-old baby born to Warao indigenous refugees from Venezuela has tested positive, the mayor’s office in the Brazilian city of Manaus said.
* Europe is in eye of the storm, with the number of cases nearing a million, and should move with extreme caution when considering easing lockdowns, the WHO’s regional director said.
* Spain’s national death toll exceeded 19,000, but figures from the region of Catalonia indicated the real total could be several thousand higher.
* Britain’s outbreak is starting to peak but it is too early to lift the lockdown, its health minister said.
* Austria plans to test every retirement home resident as it expands efforts to measure the pandemic’s spread. Hungary is extending lockdown measures by one week from Saturday. The Swiss government will start a gradual relaxation of restrictions from 27 April.
* A study of Dutch blood donors found that around 3% have developed antibodies against the virus, an indication of what percentage of the population may have already had the disease.
* China reported fewer imported cases on Thursday, but said locally transmitted infections rose, with the capital Beijing seeing new local cases for the first time in more than three weeks.
* Japan’s prime minister expanded a state of emergency to include the entire country and said the government was considering cash payouts for all.
* South Korea’s ruling party won an absolute majority in parliamentary elections in a landslide victory propelled by successes in the country’s efforts to contain the virus.
* India charged a Muslim leader with culpable homicide not amounting to murder for holding a gathering last month that authorities say led to a big jump in infections.
* Malaysia approved the use of antigen rapid test kits from South Korea, as it looks to increase its testing among high-risk groups and in places where clusters are detected. Indonesia expects the number of cases to peak between May and June with around 95,000 infections, a government adviser said.
* Australia will retain curbs on public movement for at least four more weeks, its prime minister said, dashing speculation the sustained low growth in new cases could spur a quicker return to normal.
* China said the WHO has said there is no evidence that the virus was made in a lab, after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Beijing “needs to come clean” on what they know.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Iran’s official death toll reached 4,869 on Thursday but a parliamentary report said the actual number could be much higher.
* Oman locked down a textile market in a town popular with tourists as the country reported more than 100 new infections to take its count above 1,000.
* Six Gulf Arab states approved Kuwait’s proposal for a common network for food supply safety.
* The Kingdom of Eswatini recorded its first death on Thursday.
* South Africa will allow mines to operate at a capacity of 50% during a nationwide lockdown.