Spain and Austria ease quarantines, but WHO warns that epidemic peaks have not been passed
Spain and Austria allowed partial returns to work on Tuesday, but the UK, France and India extended quarantines to try to curb the worst pandemic in a century, which the World Health Organization said was “certainly” not peaking..
According to official Reuters figures, nearly 2 million people worldwide have been infected and more than 119,200 have died. The epicenter has shifted from China, where the virus first emerged in December, to the United States, which now has the largest death toll at 23,568..
World leaders, considering easing restrictions on the movement of residents and goods, must balance health and economic risks as isolation measures strangled supply lines, especially in China, and effectively halted economic activity.
The World Health Organization says new cases are declining in parts of Europe, including Italy and Spain, but outbreaks in Britain and Turkey are on the rise.
«The main surge in diseases in the world, 90% of cases occur in Europe and the United States. So we certainly don’t see the peak yet», – WHO spokeswoman said at a briefing in Geneva Margaret Harris.
In Spain, isolation measures and dedication by health services helped slow the rise in deaths, which peaked in early April..
The number of coronavirus deaths on Tuesday rose to 567 on Tuesday from 517 a day earlier, but the country reported the lowest increase in new cases since March 18. The total mortality rate has increased to 18,056 people.
But some Spanish workers have expressed concern that the easing of restrictions could trigger a new outbreak of the pandemic..
«I would rather wait another 15 days at home or at least one more week and then come back», – said Carlos Mogorron, 27-year-old engineer from Extremadura in western Spain.
Several activities, including construction and manufacturing, were allowed to resume. Shops, bars and public places must be closed until at least April 26.
In Italy, where the death toll is 20,465, movement restrictions remain severe. Denmark, one of the first European countries to close, will open kindergartens and schools for children from first to fifth grade on April 15.
Thousands of stores across Austria opened on Tuesday, but the government said it was too early to relax..
About four weeks ago, Austria began to take action by closing schools, bars, theaters, restaurants, non-essential stores and other gathering places. Citizens were instructed to stay at home and work from there, if possible.
In total, 368 deaths have been recorded in Austria, and fewer people get sick every day than in some large European countries. Daily increase in confirmed cases is in low single-digit percentages and hospital admissions have stabilized.
The UK, where the government has been criticized for its slow approach to rolling out testing and for not delivering protective gear to medics, has the fifth highest death rate in the world, and a senior government adviser said the country is at risk of becoming the worst hit in Europe..
British hospital death toll rises to 11,329 on Monday, foreign secretary Dominic Raab said there would be no relaxation of containment measures. The Times said on Tuesday that they will last until at least May 7..
The government had to defend its response to the outbreak. The public asked questions about Boris Johnson, who got sick with the virus and was in intensive care, didn’t he drag too long with the announcement of prohibitive measures.
French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday extended the period of validity of quarantine measures until May 11.
India, the world’s second most populous country after China, extended its nationwide quarantine until May 3 as coronavirus cases surged to more than 10,000.
On Monday, the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin said Russia may need to call on the army to help overcome the crisis. Moscow has warned that the capital may run out of hospital beds in the coming weeks.
According to state media reports, 79 new cases of coronavirus importation were reported in China’s northeastern border province of Heilongjiang on Monday, with all cases of Chinese citizens returning from Russia..
As of Tuesday, China has reported 82,249 coronavirus cases and 3,341 deaths. There have been no deaths in the last 24 hours.
President of the U.S.A Donald Trump, who predicted a return to work after Easter, defended his measures in response to the spread of the coronavirus epidemic.
He said he had no intention of firing a leading U.S. health expert who said earlier intervention could have saved more lives..
Ten U.S. governors on the east and west coasts banded together on Monday in two regional pacts to coordinate a gradual economic recovery as the coronavirus crisis finally began to ease.
In a briefing with reporters, Trump lashed out at the media and their approach to reporting on the fight against the pandemic. Trump said he has supreme authority to reopen the economy.
«President of the United States calls fire on himself», – Trump said.
Country ministers of health «big twenty» will speak on April 19 via videoconference to discuss the impact of the pandemic outbreak.
In the UK, ITV drew a lot of attention after one of its presenters said that no one knows if the conspiracy theory that 5G towers are helping to spread the coronavirus was true or false..
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