Italy reported 525 cases in one day – its lowest daily toll in two weeks and a possible indication that the tide could turn into the deadliest disaster the country has known since the Second World War.
“This is good news, but we must not let our guard down,” said the head of the civil protection service, Angelo Borrelli, to journalists.
The country recorded the highest number of deaths in the world, with 15,887 deaths and just under 129,000 cases of Covid-19.
France reported its lowest daily toll in a week and in Spain, officials said the number of deaths had dropped for the third day in a row, with 674 deaths.
The good news came when Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said that Europe needed a common “Marshall Plan” to recover from the pandemic. The Marshall Plan was an aid program launched by the United States in 1948 to help Western European countries recover after the Second World War, which injected $ 15 billion into reconstruction efforts.
In Italy, Pope Francis, head of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, called on people to show courage in the face of the pandemic.
The old pontiff, who has himself undergone two tests for the virus, celebrated his Palm Sunday Mass live. But Saint Peter’s Square was deserted from the usual crowd and the basilica was almost empty.
And as Christians prepare for Easter this weekend, the holiest event on their religious calendar, many churches around the world are closed and masses are being broadcast on television and social media.
On the other side of the Atlantic, US President Donald Trump highlighted the positive signs of change in Europe as a sign of hope: “We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. , after a few minutes earlier, a dark note, with: “In the days to come, America will suffer the peak of this terrible pandemic. “
American surgeon general Jerome Adams warned that it was going to be “the hardest and saddest week in the life of most Americans.” He added, “It will be our time in Pearl Harbor, our time on September 11. “
The total death toll in the United States was close to 10,000, more than three times the number killed in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. As of Sunday evening, there were 337,000 infections across the country. Exactly a month ago, the country only confirmed 214 cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, also said that the promising figures from Italy and Spain “give us hope for what our future may be.”
Birx also announced strict test results, including that in the state of New Jersey, 42% of tests for Covid-19 returned positive. In Connecticut and Michigan, it was 20%.
In a moody exchange during the briefing, Trump called a reporter “false news” for asking why the president kept saying he was “not a doctor,” but at the same time he was pushing hard. use of the antimalarial drug. , hydroxychorloquine. Trump spent much of the briefing saying there was nothing to lose by trying the drug and boasted that the administration had stocked 29 million pills.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s best infectious disease doctor, warned that there was no evidence to support the use of the drug for Covid-19, but Trump refused to let him answer a question to this topic during the briefing.
Elsewhere, news on coronaviruses included:
- In the United Kingdom, the Queen made a rare speech on television to calm the public’s nerves in the face of the deadly epidemic. But the monarch’s speech was overshadowed by news that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital 10 days after being diagnosed with coronavirus.
Japan was to declare an emergency as early as Tuesday, Japanese media reported.
South Korea has reported fewer than 50 new cases for the first time since February 29.
China has reported 39 new cases of Covid-19, 38 of which were imported. There has been one death across the country, in the city of Wuhan, where the virus started.
Scotland’s chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood has resigned after being criticized for not following her own social distancing advice when visiting her second home.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has re-registered as a doctor and will work one shift per week during the coronavirus crisis.
In Australia, many famous beaches on the country’s Gold Coast have been closed due to non-compliance with social distancing rules.
Iran, whose economy has been hit twice by the virus and punished US sanctions, said it would allow “low risk” economic activity to resume as daily infection rates fell for a fifth consecutive day.
Ethiopia, Haiti and Barbados have reported their first deaths from coronaviruses.