DIGEST

COVID-19 Informer: Was the pangolin to blame for the pandemic?

Fabric face masks could become the new norm after the World Health Organisation updated its guidelines to recommend governments ask everyone to wear one in public areas to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Evidence from studies conducted in recent weeks led to the new guidance. But the WHO stressed that face masks were only one of a range of tools that can reduce the risk of viral transmission, and should not give a false sense of protection.

Amid the global coronavirus pandemic China has ordered its highest level of protection for the armadillo-like pangolin as part of a crackdown on wildlife trade.

The virus is believed to have originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and most scientists say it was most likely transmitted from bats to humans via an intermediary animal such as the pangolin.

Pangolin meat is considered a delicacy by some Chinese and its scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Meanwhile, Brazil has set a new daily record for COVID-19 fatalities, pushing its death toll past that of Italy while its President, Bolsonaro, continues to argue for quickly lifting state isolation orders, arguing that the economic costs outweigh public health risks.

Brazil's Health Ministry said confirmed cases in the country had climbed past 600,000 and 1,437 deaths had been registered within 24 hours, the third consecutive daily record. The nation reported another 1,005 deaths Friday night.

The pandemic has killed more people in Brazil than anywhere outside of the United States and the United Kingdom.

In Australia, thousands of people have respected social distancing measures while turning out to Black Lives Matter protests across the country.

On Friday night, the NSW Supreme Court refused to authorise a Sydney Black Lives Matter protest due to the number of people likely to attend and the threat of the spread of coronavirus.

But on Saturday, just 12 minutes before the protest was due to begin as people began crowding into the CBD, the NSW Court of Appeal authorised the congregation of 5000 people.

With masks over their mouths, thousands gathered in the CBD to show support for the global Black Lives Matter movement and protest against Aboriginal deaths in custody.

Similar scenes of peaceful protest were witnessed in capital cities across the country.

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This story Was the pangolin to blame for the pandemic? first appeared on The Canberra Times.