For some governments, a happy new step: a day without new local cases.
With social distancing and virus screening policies in place for months in several countries, some governments are now reporting remarkable milestones: no new cases of coronavirus transmitted in the country have been recorded, or no new cases.
South Korea announced on Thursday that for the first time since the peak of the virus on February 29, there were no new domestic cases and only four cases among people from outside the country. The development marked a sharp turnaround for a nation that was beaten very early by the virus – with 909 cases on February 29 alone – and quickly carried out large-scale testing and tracing contracts for new infections to stop the spread of the virus. virus.
This progress was reflected in Hong Kong, which reported on Wednesday that there had been no new cases in semi-autonomous Chinese territory for four consecutive days. The city recorded more than 1,000 cases in total and experienced an upsurge in infections in late March which caused strict travel restrictions, including quarantine of arrivals abroad, social distancing measures and adoption widespread home work policies.
Hong Kong residents wear masks heavily when they go out, even with the recent plunge in new cases.
Other countries flirt with similar successes. Australia reported only nine new cases on Wednesday, and New Zealand had two days in the past week with only one new confirmed coronavirus infection.
Even though its relations with the United States are still turning lower, China has refrained from directly attacking President Trump. Instead, he found an outlet for his fury at the United States in Trump’s warmongering secretary of state, Mike Pompeo.
Pompeo has faced relentless – and apparently coordinated – aggression from Chinese officials and state media over the past week. He has been accused of intimidating, lying and bashing the ruling Communist Party for its management of the coronavirus pandemic while the United States is struggling to cope with it.
Chinese public broadcaster CCTV on Monday declared Pompeo “the common enemy of mankind”. He then hit the nail for the next two nights. Never before has a secretary of state “so dramatically reduced the prestige of the United States,” said one commentator. said.
Another state-run media outlet, Xinhua, the official news service, tweeted clever propaganda, a caricature in which the United States ignored China’s warnings.
The attacks seemed to mark the end of the rhetorical truce that Mr. Trump and the head of China, Xi Jinping, had concluded in early April. The truce was tenuous at best, but it fell apart because the coronavirus ravaged the United States.
In a recent interview with Reuters, Trump suggested that China is trying to influence the outcome of the next presidential election.
“China will do its utmost to make me lose this race,” he said.
In a series of interviews and briefings in recent weeks, he accused the communist government of allowing the coronavirus to spread and suppressing evidence of its appearance. He also raised the possibility that the virus was leaking from a Wuhan laboratory, without detailing any evidence to support his claim.
“What the Chinese Communist Party has done here, so as not to prevent its spread around the world, it is responsible for it,” he said. in an interview on “Fox and Friends” Wednesday. “America must hold them accountable. “
The People’s Daily counterattacked Thursday, warning that “attacking blindly and discrediting other countries will only kill more people”.
Beijing’s major tourist attractions reopen just in time for the extended Chinese vacation weekend, the latest sign that life in China is slowly returning to normal after the coronavirus outbreak.
The Forbidden City announced on Wednesday its intention to partially reopen May 1, Labor Day in China. To encourage social distancing, museum authorities spread visit times and limit the number of visitors to 5,000 per day, a sharp reduction from the 80,000 people who typically cross the sprawling complex in the heart of the Chinese capital. Several sections of the palace park will remain closed to visitors.
Tickets for the five-day vacation were sold out within hours of the announcement.
He Handi, 26, was one of many who tried and failed to get tickets for the Forbidden City. But after weeks of being locked inside, she was determined to soak up the sun, so she made plans with friends to go to the Summer Palace and two other parks in Beijing instead.
“It’s still spring,” said Ms. He, who works for an Internet company. “I want to walk on the grass. “
The National Museum of China, a short walk from the Forbidden City, and Nanluoguxiang, a popular traditional alley lined with knick-knacks and snacks, have also announced plans to reopen to a limited number of people by the weekend. After its partial reopening in March, the Great Wall of China announced that it would expand the number of areas accessible to visitors.
In what has become the new norm in the city, visitors to all tourist sites will have to undergo a preliminary examination including a QR code linked to the person’s state of health and travel history as well as a check of the temperature.
The announcements arrived the same day that China announced it would hold a High-level political rally delayed in Beijing late next month. Since the start of the epidemic in January, Beijing, home to the Chinese political elite, has been subject to some of the country’s strictest restrictions outside of Hubei, the Chinese province where the virus first appeared. The restrictions on wearing a mask in public places and moving around the city are also relaxed.
Britain celebrated a 100th anniversary Thursday like no other for a World War II veteran who grabbed his walker and walked around his garden to launch a record fundraising campaign for frontline medical workers of the coronavirus pandemic, rallying a nation and raising the spirits of people all over the world in the darkest times.
The British flooded a man for fundraising, Tom Moore, with more than 125,000 birthday cards, which were on display at his grandson’s school. Members of the royal family sent him congratulatory messages. The BBC sang “Happy Birthday” to him when he presented him with a cake with a copy of a Spitfire warplane on top.
And Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday delivered a personal message to the veteran on television, calling it “a point of light in all of our lives.”
Mr. Moore summed up everything that Britain seemed to cherish: veterans; courage (he had originally decided to collect £ 1,000 by walking 100 rounds of his garden and took 10 a day until he reached his mark); and heroism of some kind. On Thursday morning, its fundraising page had raised more than £ 29 million in donations for the National Health Service, whose members were hailed as heroes for stubbornly fighting the virus while caring for the thousands of patients infected with the virus. virus, including the Prime Minister.
In recognition of his achievements, he was promoted to the rank of Honorary Colonel of the Army Foundation College, a decision approved by the Queen. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, praised her fundraising efforts in a video posted by Clarence House, saying, “That kind of thing makes you proud to be British, doesn’t it? “
The national celebration came a day after a disappointing wave of deaths from the virus, as Britain for the first time on Wednesday included deaths in nursing homes in the national count of cases and deaths, bringing the country’s total has more than 165,000 cases and 26,000 deaths.
It also happened one day that the Minister of Justice, Robert Buckland, declared that Great Britain could miss its objective of carrying out 100,000 tests of coronavirus per day by the end of April, the objective fixed by the Minister for health. More than 52,400 tests were carried out on Wednesday, according to the latest figures.
Initial results from the federal trial have shown that treatment with an experimental antiviral drug, remdesivir, can accelerate healing in infected patients.
“This is a very important proof of concept because what it has proven is that a drug can block this virus,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute allergies and infectious diseases. However, he warned that the results should be peer reviewed.
As the nation surpassed 60,000 deaths from the virus and states have started to reopen – Florida announced plans for Monday – President Trump and his advisers have embraced optimism. The president pleaded for an emergency program to develop a vaccine, a venture viewed with some skepticism even within the administration. And the White House has offered a revisionist story of the pandemic in which the actions of the administration are not late and inadequate, but bold and effective.
“The federal government has risen to the challenge, and it has been a great success,” said Jared Kushner, son-in-law and the President’s senior advisor, says on “Fox & Friends”. “And I think that’s really, you know, what to say. “
In Yemen, already mired in a devastating civil war, widespread famine and a cholera epidemic, another threat was reported on Wednesday: the first confirmed expansion of the coronavirus in the country.
Authorities in the port city of Aden announced a group of five cases and immediately imposed a two-week foreclosure which included the closure of shops and mosques.
Last month, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called on warring parties in Yemen to adopt an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to help avert the threat of Covid-19.
Since then, the fighting has worsened.
A coronavirus epidemic, combined with renewed fighting, could push the country to the “brink of disaster,” warned Tamuna Sabadze, director of Yemen at the International Rescue Committee.
The virus has already worsened conflicts around the world. In Libya, for example, some people wonder which fate could be worse: death by missile or death by pneumonia.
In the United States, concerns over the pandemic have forced the Department of Defense to juggle two competing instincts: protect troops from the virus and continue its decades-old mission to patrol the world.
And in Yemen, misfortunes are only increasing as the threat of a pandemic looms. A recent wave of torrential rain has exacerbated the cholera epidemic and sudden floods in the south of the country last week took the homes of hundreds of people.
An urban exodus upsets Peru as city dwellers flock to the countryside to live with their families.
In Lima, the capital, bus stations are so crowded with those waiting to escape that families sleep side by side. The highways are lined with pedestrians laden with suitcases and children.
“We only brought a small suitcase,” said Wilson Granda, 28, an unemployed waiter, speaking of a bus station where his young family had been waiting four days to get to his parents’ farm.
In total, at least 167,000 Peruvians in urban areas have registered with local authorities, asking for help to leave the cities and return to their families.
Peru is emerging as one of the Latin American countries hardest hit by the pandemic, at least according to official figures. The country, which has around 30 million inhabitants, is second behind Brazil, with about 30,000 confirmed cases, most of them in Lima.
Now Peru is experiencing a kind of reverse exodus.
For decades, rural families have traveled from the countryside to Lima in search of work. This migration has changed the face of the country, transforming it into one of the most urbanized nations in the world.
The flow of people is part of the migration patterns linked to the virus around the world, which alarm the spread of the contagion in rural areas and worry officials in small towns who are not prepared to support large groups of new people.
The hunt for fans to keep alive those seriously affected by Covid-19 has taken a violent turn in Russia.
Russian law enforcement officers exchanged gunfire with a suspected device-trafficking gang in a raid near Moscow, Russian media closely linked to the security services reported on Wednesday.
Life, an online newspaper, said eight people were arrested on charges of trying to sell 100 fans for 70 million rubles, or about $ 96,000. The state’s official news agency, Tass, also reported the raid, but said the devices were all fake.
President Vladimir V. Putin and other officials have repeatedly warned against fraudsters who are trying to exploit the pandemic for profit.
The Moscow Times reported last month that wealthy Russians, wary of public health care, buy ventilators for their own homes in case family members fall ill with Covid-19.
Putin, seeking to allay fears of a shortage, said Tuesday in a televised speech that Russia had intensified domestic production of artificial respiratory devices and is now producing more than 800 a month. This figure dropped from 60 to 70 at the start of the year.
The reports and research were provided by Gerry Mullany, Declan Walsh, Andrew Higgins, Steven Lee Myers, Claire Fu, Michael Levenson, Amy Qin, Rosa Chávez Yacila, Julie Turkewitz and Yonette Joseph.