Coronavirus live news: Spain's daily death toll drops below 300 as children allowed out for first time in weeks
Trump steps back from briefings; global deaths pass 200,000; Russia case tally passes 80,000; Sweden’s deputy prime-minster admits problems with strategy; Boris Johnson to return to work on Monday. Trump says briefings ‘not worth the effort’
More than 200,000 people have lost their lives in the coronavirus pandemic. The number of confirmed deaths in the coronavirus pandemic increased to 203,332 on Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University, with 2,908,527 confirmed cases.
French PM to present strategy for emerging from lockdown. The prime minister of France, Edouard Philippe, will on Tuesday present a national strategy for emerging from the coronavirus lockdown to the national assembly, his office told AFP.
Spain’s daily death toll dropped below 300 for the first time in weeks as it partially relaxed the lockdown. On Sunday, children under 14 were allowed out to exercise for the first time since mid-March, and the prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has announced that adults could also be allowed to exercise outside from next weekend if efforts to contain the spread of the virus continue to pay off.
India’s PM urges citizens to abide by the lockdown amid “war” on the coronavirus as new cases continue to rise. Narendra Modi gave a radio address to urge its 1.3 billion citizens to strictly comply with the nationwide lockdown as the number of confirmed cases increased steadily despite the month-long curfew. He said the country was in the midst of a “war” and said Indians must maintain the “people-driven” fight and not be misled into believing the spread of the virus has been brought fully under control.
Beijing cracks down on ‘uncivilised’ behaviour. Beijing’s city government has banned “uncivilised” behaviour, such as not covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, in a new set of regulations to improve public hygiene and combat the coronavirus.
Daily death toll in Iran falls to lowest level in weeks. Officials in Iran, the worst-hit country in the Middle East, said there were 60 deaths from the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 5,710 – but down from an average of about 90 over the past 10 days,
WHO warns against ‘immunity passports’. The World Health Organization has warned against “immunity passports” for recovered patients, seen as a possible tool for countries preparing to reopen their economies.
White House considers replacing health and human services chief. Reports have emerged that Donald Trump’s administration is considering replacing its secretary of health and human services, Alex Azar, because of early missteps in the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Kim Jong-un’s train possibly spotted in resort. As rumours about the health of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un continue to circulate, including reports that he is sheltering from Covid-19, a US-based monitoring group released satellite images of what may have been his train parked at an exclusive resort town in the country’s east.
Australian study finds little transmission between children. A preliminary report, cited by Australia’s chief medical officer as the government advocates the reopening of the country’s schools, says children are unlikely to transmit Covid-19 between each other or to adults.
Saudi Arabia partially lifts curfews, reopens some commercial activity. State media in Saudi Arabia are reporting that the curfew will be partially lifted for all regions starting Sunday, but that a 24-hour curfew will be maintained in Mecca, according to Reuters. Some economic and commercial activities, including retail stores, will be reopened during Ramadan, from 29 April to 13 May.
UK prime minister to return to work on Monday. Boris Johnson willreturn to work on Monday and is “raring to go”, a Downing Street spokeswoman has confirmed. He returns to face a dilemma over whether to ease the coronavirus lockdown, as leading scientists warn that the number of new cases remains much too high.
Sweden’s deputy prime minister, Isabella Lövin, just gave a very interesting interview to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show in the UK.
She was asked whether Sweden’s less-restrictive social distancing measures – bars, borders and restaurants remain open, as do schools for the under-16s – had led to a higher death toll in the country. Sweden’s death rate from Covid-19 is nearly 200 per million people, compared with 31 in neighbouring Finland and 36 in Norway.
Lövin admitted Sweden had a “big problem” with its strategy to protect the elderly and that this was “something we’re learning from”. She said:
We have really a big problem with our main strategy that was to protect the elderly and the most vulnerable. We had Covid-19 contagion in the elderly homes and this is something we’re learning from. This is mainly in the Stockholm area. but we see that we are always prepared to take new measures but we have confined the gathering of people to a maximum of 50 people. There’s also a ban on visiting the elderly at elderly care homes. but it’s a mixture of legally bound measures and very strong recommendations.
Lövin said there was a fear that imposing strict restrictions might backfire, creating lockdown fatigue and causing people to flout measures that “we need to be in place for a very long time – until we have a vaccine or until we know how this pandemic is going to end”.
She said it was “crucial” and “absolutely fundamental” that governments be “as transparent as possible” with their citizens and “treat people like adults: “With that comes responsibility and individual responsibility that you need to listen to what the experts are saying.”
Asked whether Sweden was pursuing a “herd immunity” strategy – allowing a population to build immunity to the virus by letting it spread – Lövin said that was not the aim:
That is not the strategy … The strategy is to try to confine the spread of the virus and limit the deaths and the disease in the population. The experts tells us they don’t even know 100% when immunity is reached in one individual person.
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