Confirmed coronavirus cases exceed 3.5m worldwide: Live updates | News

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

  • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says there is “enormous evidence” that the virus originated in a lab in China, in a comment likely to add to tensions with Beijing over the outbreak.

  • Australia, Malaysia and India are among countries in Asia that will begin to ease parts of their lockdown on Monday.

  • Afghanistan’s health ministry raised the alarm over the spread of the new coronavirus after a small study with random tests in Kabul suggested that about a third of the capital’s residents could be infected.

  • The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus exceeds 3.5 million. More than 247,000 people have died while about 1.1 million have recovered.

Here are the latest updates:

Monday, May 4

00:20 GMT – Malaysia eases restrictions on business, but some states hold back

Malaysian businesses, including restaurants, have been told they can reopen from Monday providing they adhere to requirements on social distancing, hygiene and contract tracing.

The federal authorities continue to encourage people to work from home, but after a spike in cases over the weekend, some state governments have said they will not ease the restrictions. 

Malaysia reported 122 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, the highest since the middle of April, and two more deaths.

00:10 GMT – Trump claims there will be coronavirus vaccine by year-end

US President Donald Trump has told TV network Fox News that he believes that there will be a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year. He also said he would like to see schools and universities open in September.

00:00 GMT – Australia debates opening of schools, as some restrictions eased

Australia is beginning to ease coronavirus restrictions, but a Sydney schoolboy’s positive test for coronavirus has added to the debate about whether schools should reopen.

The seven year old’s diagnosis prompted the closure of his school, but it was the only new case of the coronavirus in New South Wales (NSW), state premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters.

NSW, home to nearly half the country’s roughly 6,800 confirmed cases of coronavirus is reopening schools on a staggered basis, while neighbouring Victoria state has asked parents to keep children at home until the middle of the year.

The states are also moving at different speeds to lift movement restrictions: NSW has allowed people to make house visits in groups of up to two, while Victoria has said it will consider relaxing its stay-home order on May 11.

Read the updates from yesterday (May 3) here.

Al Jazeera and news agencies

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