Coronavirus Latest Updates: Nearly three months after imposing it, China on Wednesday ended its lockdown in Wuhan, the city where the world’s first coronavirus case emerged. Today’s reopening came after only three new coronavirus cases were reported in the city in the previous three weeks, and a day after China reported no new deaths for the first time since January. Controls on outbound travel were officially lifted just after midnight in China.
Halfway across the world, the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalised in New York is plateauing, even though the number of deaths in the state hit a single-day high. New York recorded 731 new coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, marking the biggest one-day jump in the outbreak. The state’s death toll since the beginning of the outbreak is now 5,489. It has overtaken Italy in terms of overall coronavirus cases and is second in the world only to Spain.
Spain, meanwhile, recorded 757 deaths on Wednesday, making it the second successive rise in daily toll, news agency AFP reported.
According to a Reuters tally, the US has the highest number of infections at 398,785 with 138,836 reported cases in New York, followed by Spain (141,942), Italy (135,586) and France (110,070). However, Italy has reported the most deaths at 17,127, followed by Spain (14,045), France (10,328) and the UK (6,159). Globally, the deaths toll rose to 82,119 on Wednesday, while the total numbers of infections have crossed 1.4 million at 1,430,141. The number of active cases stand at 1,429,437. Around the world, 300,767 people have recovered from the disease.
Here’s the top global news on COVID-19 that you should know this morning
China ends Wuhan lockdown
After 11 weeks of lockdown, thousands boarded the first trains and planes leaving Wuhan as the last restrictions on movement were lifted Wednesday in the Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic began.
Wuhan’s unprecedented lockdown was a model for countries trying to stop the coronavirus. With the restrictions ending, Hubei’s provincial capital begins another experiment: resuming business and ordinary life while preventing more illnesses.
The city’s 11 million residents are now permitted to leave without special authorisation as long as a mandatory smartphone application powered by a mix of data-tracking and government surveillance shows they are healthy and have not been in recent contact with anyone confirmed to have the virus. In Wuhan, sickness and death have touched hundreds of thousands of lives, imprinting them with trauma that could linger for decades.
Coronavirus cases recorded in Europe pass 750,000: AFP
According to an AFP tally, more than 750,000 coronavirus cases have been recorded across Europe. That accounts for more than half of the cases identified worldwide so far, although the official figures probably reflect a fraction of the actual number. With at least 750,276 cases and 58,627 recorded, Europe Europe remains the continent hit hardest by the pandemic.
To date, 1,438,291 cases of novel coronavirus have been recorded across the world, and 82,726 deaths. Italy has been the worst-hit country, recording 17,127 fatalities out of 135,586 cases. Spain has recorded 14,555 deaths from 146,690 cases.
‘Now is not the time to relax measures’: WHO Europe
Despite “positive signs” from some countries, it is too early to scale back measures aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus, the World Health Organization’s European office said Wednesday. “Now is not the time to relax measures,” WHO regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, told a news conference. “It is the time to once again double and triple our collective efforts to drive towards suppression with the whole support of society.” Kluge called on “all countries” to strengthen their efforts in three main areas.
Here are the three main points that WHO wants countries to focus on:
1. Protecting health service workers, including training and making sure they have the necessary support structures.
2. Authorities needed to focus on stopping and slowing the spread of COVID-19 by using public health measures aimed at separating “healthy people from suspected and probable cases”.
3. Governments and authorities had to continuously communicate with communities to make people conform to “current and possible future measures”.
Trump says new data projections reveal fewer deaths
As the number of deaths in the US due to coronavirus on Tuesday crossed 12,700, with a record 1,900 fatalities in a single day, President Donald Trump sought to assure a grieving nation that new data projections reveal fewer deaths than originally thought. “We’re looking to have far fewer deaths than originally thought. I think we’re heading in that direction, but it’s too early to talk about it,” Trump told reporters at his daily White House news briefing.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 7, 2020
He also said that African American community are more susceptible to coronavirus. “We are actively engaging on the problem of increased impacts there’s a real problem, and it is showing up very strongly in our data on the African-American community, he said.
Meanwhile, Trump threatened to cut funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), saying the international group “missed the call” on the coronavirus pandemic. He said the US is “going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO”, before insisting minutes later: “I didn’t say I was going to do it.”
The US, so far, has conducted 1.87 million tests, he said.
Spain daily virus deaths 757, second successive rise
Spain recorded a second successive daily rise in coronavirus-related deaths with 757 fatalities, lifting the total toll to 14,555, the health ministry said Wednesday as quoted by AFP. The number of new infections in the world’s second hardest-hit country after Italy also grew to 146,690, up from 140,510, it added.
French death toll passes 10,000
In a daily update, a French health official said 607 more people have died in hospitals and 820 more have died in nursing and care homes across the country, bringing the overall total to at least 10,300. France is the third country known to have passed the 10,000 mark.
South Korea tightens border
South Korea plans to take further steps to tighten border controls to slow coronavirus infections imported from abroad as outbreaks worsen in Europe and the United States. South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun during an anti-virus meeting on Wednesday said Seoul will suspend visa-free entries and visa waivers with countries imposing entry bans on South Korean nationals and employ further restrictions to repel foreigners traveling on “unnecessary and non-urgent purposes.”
South Korea has been enforcing two-week quarantines on all passengers arriving from abroad since April 1. South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday reported 53 new cases of the coronavirus and 8 more deaths, bringing national totals to 10,384 infections and 200 fatalities.
Japan declared a Coronavirus Emergency. Is it too late?
For months, Japan has confounded the world by reporting a relatively low rate of coronavirus infections without imposing the kind of stringent measures used by other nations. As the country now declares a state of emergency in the face of a worrisome rise in cases, medical experts are wondering whether the move Tuesday has come just in time to avoid calamity or is too little, too late. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the declaration would apply to Japan’s biggest population centers for the next month. By reducing human-to-human contact, he said, “the expansion of infections can be turned to a decline in two weeks.”
Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?
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