Coronavirus (COVID-19)

World coronavirus updates Italy and Spain begin easing restrictions

Spain and Italy, the two European countries hit worst by the coronavirus, began easing lockdown measures on Monday for some industries.

By the numbers: COVID-19 had killed more than 118,000 people and over infected 1.85 million globally, per Johns Hopkins data. More than 446,000 people have recovered from the virus.

  • The U.S. has reported the most cases (more than 557,000 from 2.8 million tests). Spain has reported the most cases outside the U.S. (more than 166,000).
  • France reported a decrease in the number of deaths from the novel coronavirus, as the United Kingdom’s toll surpassed 11,300 on Monday.

The big picture: Half the planet’s population is on lockdown. Europeans and Americans are desperate to move beyond the worst of the crisis and return to something approaching normal. But the World Health Organization has cautioned that moving too fast will undermine sacrifices made so far.

What’s happening:

  • China’s National Health Commission reported 108 new infections, 98 of which it said were “imported.” It’s the highest rise in over a month, the New York Times notes.
  • U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a video thanking hospital staff after he was released from hospital his COVID-19 outcome “could have gone either way.” “I owe them my life,” he said earlier.
  • OPEC+, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, reportedly finalized plans Sunday to steeply cut oil production by a combined 9.7 million barrels per day — capping a days-long stretch of global talks that included the U.S. Additional cuts are expected from producers outside the group.
  • Pope Francis led the Easter Sunday mass in a near-empty St. Peter’s Basilica amid the Vatican’s coronavirus lockdown, but thousands were watching it via the Holy See’s YouTube channel.
  • South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 32 more cases Sunday, taking the country’s total to 10,512, “continuing a downward trend in new infections in the country,” AP notes. More than 7,300 South Koreans have recovered from the virus.
  • Crime rates are dropping around the world as the coronavirus keeps people home — but police around the globe are taking extra efforts to enforce social distancing over Easter weekend.
  • Food shortages in richer countries and hunger in poorer ones could be caused by the crisis, as some crops rot in fields and others are subject to export bans.
  • In India, people are able to see blue skies for the first time in years as the country’s three-week lockdown has drastically cut air pollution.
  • Iran started reopening government buildings on Saturday after a brief lockdown.

Between the lines: Policy responsesto the crisis have been every-country-for-itself and — in the case of the U.S. and China — tinged with geopolitical rivalry.

  • But the scientific work under way to understand the virus and develop a vaccine has been globalized on an unprecedented scale.

Source: Axios

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