The Latest: Australia prime minister supports changes to WHO

The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.


— China reports no new deaths for ninth straight day

— Sharp Corp holding lottery for popular masks

— Australia prime minister supports changes to World Health Organization

CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s prime minister says his government will cooperate with like-minded countries to change the World Health Organization.

Australian agrees with the United States that the United Nation’s agency needs to be reviewed, but Australia continues to support the agency’s valuable work in the Pacific. President Donald Trump has directed his administration to freeze WHO funding, claiming it didn’t deliver adequate early reports on the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters on Friday: “What happens at the upper echelons of these organizations, and how they operate, I think is in need of change.”

“Australia will continue to advocate for that change with like-minded countries who share our concerns,” Morrison said.

“What ultimate decision the United States ultimately takes on funding will be a matter for them. We will certainly want to see an improved set of arrangements at the WHO, and we’ll continue to push for that through the forums as a participant, as a member, as someone who understands and publicly states the value of the work that it does on the ground. So, I think that’s a constructive but not uncritical partner,” he added.


TOKYO — Masks from Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp. have proved so popular with consumers there is going to be a lottery.

Sharp said Friday that access got so massive for online orders, which began Tuesday, not a single sale was completed.

As a fix, Sharp announced a lottery for 30,000 boxes of the masks, each with 50 masks.

A person is entitled to one 2,980 yen ($28) box each.

Applications are accepted all day Monday next week, with lottery winners announced Tuesday.

“We apologize for causing inconveniences to our customers,” spokesman Kentaroh Odaka said.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Sharp, owned by Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., also known as FoxConn, of Taiwan, made displays for TVs and theaters.

Sharp’s masks were shipped from last month, but initially just to medical facilities.

Some Japanese hospitals have complained about a mask shortage. Masks have been sometimes hard to find at stores around Japan.


HONG KONG — Hong Kong’s university entrance examinations began on Friday morning, complete with social-distancing measures, after a one-month delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 52,000 students are expected to sit for the city’s Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) examinations over the next month, the results of which are used to determine university admissions.

As part of safety measures taken to prevent potential transmissions of COVID-19, all examination candidates and personnel are required to wear surgical masks and sanitize their hands. Students will have their body temperature checked at the exam centers, and are required to sign health declaration forms.

Any student found to have a body temperature of above 38 degrees Celsius will be refused entry.

At exam venues, desks are required to be spaced just over 3 feet apart, with the recommended distance being nearly 6 feet between candidates.

The nationwide exams will take place between April 24 and May 25. Candidates were originally meant to take the exams from March 27, but exams were postponed as Hong Kong saw a surge in COVID-19 cases in March.


BEIJING — China on Friday reported no new COVID-19 deaths for the ninth straight day, and just six new cases of the virus.

Two of those were brought from overseas, with three domestic cases in Heilongjiang on the Russian border and one in the southern business hub of Guangdong.

Hospitals are still treating 915 cases, 57 listed as serious, while 999 people are being isolated and monitored as either suspected cases or for having tested positive without showing symptoms. The country’s death toll from the global pandemic first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year remains at 4,632 among 82,804 cases.


Follow AP news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at and


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *