While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, April 22

US Senate approves nearly US$500 billion more for coronavirus bailout

The US Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved US$484 billion (S$700 billion) in additional coronavirus relief for the US economy and hospitals treating patients sickened by the pandemic, sending the measure to the House of Representatives for final passage later this week.

The Bill, approved by the Senate on a voice vote in a near-empty chamber, was hurried along shortly after congressional leaders and the White House brokered an agreement on the measure.

The House is expected to vote on Thursday on what would be the fourth coronavirus-response law.

Taken together, these four measures amount to about US$3 trillion in aid since last month.

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Coronavirus: US FDA now says smokers may have higher risk of catching bug

The US Food and Drug Administration made a second revision on its stance about the risks of Covid-19 and nicotine, saying that cigarettes also increase the chances of catching the virus that causes the disease.

“People who smoke cigarettes may be at increased risk of infection with the virus that causes Covid-19, and may have worse outcomes from Covid-19,” the agency said in an emailed response to a question from Bloomberg News.

Earlier this month, the FDA had said that smokers may have worse outcomes from Covid-19, but had not been explicit about whether that included their chances of catching the virus in the first place. The clarification comes as researchers and regulators race to study the new virus.

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Coronavirus: British PM starts return to work as virus criticism grows

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tentatively began his return to work on Tuesday after being hospitalised for coronavirus, as parliament returned and criticism grew over the government’s response to the outbreak.

Johnson spoke on the phone to US President Donald Trump about the international response to Covid-19, and officials said he would speak to Queen Elizabeth II in the coming days for the first time in three weeks.

However, his spokesman said the 55-year-old, who spent several days in intensive care, was not yet “formally doing government work” as he recuperated at his official countryside retreat of Chequers.

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Coronavirus: Britain to start human vaccine trials on Thursday

Britain will begin human trials of a coronavirus vaccine on Thursday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, as he argued that the government’s strategy for fighting the disease had succeeded.

“The UK is at the front of the global effort. We have put more money than any other country into a global search for a vaccine and, for all the efforts around the world, two of the leading vaccine developments are taking place here at home,” he said.

The trials will be of a drug developed at Oxford University.

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Football: Uefa recommends completion of league seasons

Uefa remains committed to completing the suspended football season in Europe despite the coronavirus pandemic after making “a strong recommendation” on Tuesday that leagues across the continent be played to a conclusion.

“There was a strong recommendation given to finish domestic top division and cup competitions,” European football’s governing body said in a statement after holding a videoconference with its 55 member associations.

However, it added that “some special cases will be heard once guidelines concerning participation to European competitions – in case of a cancelled league – have been developed.”

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