France unveils relaxation of COVID-19 brakes, Italian Prime Minister defends measures

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Masks of France

Municipal employees of Dunkirk wearing face masks stand in front of a house during a distribution of cloth masks to residents, in anticipation of the end of isolation on May 10, in Dunkirk, in the north of France, on April 28, 2020, the 43rd day of a lockdown in France aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 disease, caused by the new coronavirus.
Image credit: AFP

Dubai: New measures to facilitate the locking of COVID-19 were announced Tuesday, France taking the lead and Spain to announce similar measures later.

Beginning next week, Italians will be able to exercise outdoors and visit loved ones – but only if they wear masks and refrain from hugs and handshakes. In Germany, which allowed some stores to reopen last week, experts warned of a rush to lift the lockdowns after new data shows a slight increase in infection rates.

Locking France Saved Thousands

In France, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the foreclosure had saved tens of thousands of lives, but it was time to loosen the restrictions to prevent economic collapse. The death toll in France exceeded 23,000 on Monday, the fourth highest in the world behind the United States, Italy and Spain.

“We are going to have to learn to live with the virus,” Philippe told parliament, adding that the country would emerge from isolation on May 11, unless it was dangerous to do so.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe delivers a speech to present the government’s plan to cancel the country’s foreclosure against coronaviruses in the National Assembly, as a foreclosure is imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Paris, France on April 28, 2020.
Image credit: Reuters

UK plans death toll

In the UK, new published data has shown that Britain is on the brink of one of the worst coronavirus deaths in Europe.

The Office for National Statistics said that 21,284 people died in England as of April 17, with COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificate.

Brazil hot spot

There was also concern that Brazil would become the next big hotspot for the coronavirus amidst President Jair Bolsonaro’s insistence that it is just a “little flu.” The epidemic in Brazil has pushed some hospitals to the breaking point, with signs that an increasing number of victims are now dying in their homes. “We have all the conditions here for the pandemic to become much more serious,” said Paulo Brandao, virologist at the University of Sao Paulo.

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United States seeks damages from China

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has said he could seek damages from China for the devastating coronavirus epidemic that has killed more than 56,000 people in the United States. Beijing immediately responded, accusing US politicians of “telling naked lies” about the virus that emerged in China late last year and infected more than three million people and killed 211,000 people worldwide .

Some US states have decided to lift the restrictions despite warnings from health experts – but to the delight of some citizens.

New Zealand lifts lock

New Zealanders indulged in fast food and coffee for the first time in five weeks on Tuesday, as the country lifted its strict lockout. In Australia, hundreds of surfers and swimmers rushed into the waves of Bondi Beach in Sydney, five weeks after the area was closed down by police due to a large crowd who disregarded social distancing rules.

Italian PM defends himself

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte defended Tuesday against widespread criticism of his very cautious plans to slowly end the longest coronavirus lockout in Europe.

The government has said that the strict restrictions put in place seven weeks ago to fight the disease will be relaxed from May 4, the date of the reopening of parks, factories and construction sites. However, stores are expected to remain closed until May 18, while restaurants, bars and hairdressers will remain closed until June 1 and students will not be back to school until September.

“If I could go back, I would do it all over again,” Conte told La Stampa daily. “I cannot allow myself to be influenced by public opinion, even though I understand these feelings myself. “

American doctor commits suicide

A senior emergency doctor at a Manhattan hospital who cared for many coronavirus patients committed suicide on Sunday, said his father and the police.

Dr. Lorna M. Breen, medical director of the New York Presbyterian Allen Hospital Emergency Department, died in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she was staying with her family, her father said in an interview.

Breen’s father, Dr. Philip C. Breen, said she had described devastating scenes of the coronavirus workup on patients.

– with contributions from Reuters and Bloomberg

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