Coronavirus Live Updates: China Says Wuhan Has No Hospitalized Cases


China says Wuhan has no more hospitalized coronavirus patients.

Wuhan, the original epicenter of the pandemic in China, now has no coronavirus patients in its hospitals, a government official said on Sunday.

The city, an industrial metropolis of 11 million, was the first to experience total lockdown and road bans as its hospitals became overwhelmed with patients. Officials reported 46,452 total infections and 3,869 deaths from Wuhan in a tally published Sunday, though critics believe the actual figures to be higher.

Once debilitated by the virus, Wuhan has been showing signs of recovery and each milestone has been celebrated. Capsule hospitals that had been set up in Wuhan stadiums and gymnasiums were cleared in March, and the government allowed outbound traffic on April 7 after ending its lockdown.

On Friday, health officials said that only one patient had a severe case of the virus in Wuhan. Officials said that as of Saturday the city still had 12 coronavirus cases, but no new infections.

“As our next step, we will carry out the demands of the central government in continuing to guard against transmissions from the outside and rebounds from within,” Mi Feng, the spokesman for China’s National Health Commission, said in a news conference on Sunday.

China on Sunday reported 11 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for the previous day. The latest official tally recorded a total of 82,827 confirmed cases, including 4,632 deaths.

Weeks after entering the hospital for the coronavirus and being treated in an intensive care unit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain will return to 10 Downing Street on Monday to once again lead the government’s response to the pandemic.

Mr. Johnson is “rearing to go,” a Downing Street spokeswoman said by telephone on Sunday.

While battling the virus, the prime minister had deputized Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to carry out certain duties. Mr. Johnson had revealed on March 27 that he was infected, but continued to work. When his condition worsened, he was admitted to St. Thomas’ Hospital in London on April 5. The next day, the prime minister was moved into intensive care after his condition deteriorated, and he was given oxygen treatment. The government said Mr. Johnson did not require a ventilator.

He was discharged on April 12 and was recuperating at Chequers, the prime minister’s country house.

In his absence, each evening a rotating roster of cabinet ministers and two expert advisers have given the nation a coronavirus update from Downing Street. The briefings are the antithesis of the fiery, freewheeling spectacle presided over by President Trump. There is none of the gladiatorial combat of Mr. Trump’s clashes with reporters, none of the awkward moments when the leader second-guesses the scientists and no fulsome expressions of praise by subordinates.

Yet despite the cultural differences, there are deeper parallels between the sessions. And now, Mr. Johnson faces with what one cabinet member called “the political calculus of life and death”: how to ease the lockdown.

The question becomes more urgent as springtime temperatures rise and more people in Britain leave their homes. Already, officials said at a news briefing on Saturday, the number of passengers using London’s subway had risen after falling drastically during the lockdown.

On Sunday, Mr. Raab told Sky News that the government should act cautiously to avoid a second spike in infections and a second lockdown that would damage public confidence.

“We are at a delicate and dangerous stage, and we need to make sure that the next steps are sure-footed,” he said, adding that the government was “doing the homework” on what would happen in the next phase.

Britain had nearly 150,000 confirmed cases as of Sunday, and more than 20,000 deaths.

The Australian government released a voluntary coronavirus tracing app on Sunday, promising to protect the privacy of anyone who downloads it and arguing that the app will help the country continue to keep the virus suppressed.

Brendan Murphy, Australia’s chief medical officer, said he hoped that at least 50 percent of the population with smartphones would download the app, called COVIDSafe. It uses Bluetooth technology to trace interactions and notify people who have come in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

“It is only for one purpose, to help contact tracing, if someone becomes positive, that is all it is for,” Mr. Murphy said.

Australian officials have said that all data will be deleted after the pandemic fades, and they have pledged to make the source code public. But that has not happened yet, and critics contend that the government has not done enough to make the app both easy to use and safe.

It is based in part on a contact tracing app in Singapore, where only a small portion of the population downloaded the software.

Doctors and public health experts said that even if it were flawed, it was an important tool for keeping a lid on the virus in a country that has already made enormous gains, with two states easing restrictions on Sunday to allow for larger gatherings — up to 10 people in Western Australia.

Tony Bartone, the president of the Australian Medical Association, said he would download the app himself and encourage patients, friends and family to do the same.

“The app simply automates a significant component of the current manual process of tracing who has come into contact with Covid-19,” he said.

Early in 2018, 30 microbiologists, zoologists and public health experts from around the world gathered at the headquarters of the World Health Organization in Geneva to draw up a priority list of dangerous viruses — specifically, those for which no vaccines or drugs were in development.

It included “Disease X”: a stand-in for all of the unknown pathogens, or devastating variations on existing pathogens, that had yet to emerge. The coronavirus now sweeping the world, officially SARS-CoV-2, is a prime example.

Ultimately it wasn’t science that stopped significant action from being taken on finding ways to deal with “Disease X.” According to some infectious-disease experts, the scientific tools already exist to create a kind of viral-defense department — one that would allow the pursuit of a broad range of global projects, from developing vaccines and drugs that work against a wide range of pathogens to monitoring disease hot spots and identifying potential high-risk viruses, both known and unknown. What’s lacking is resources.

The work that stalled included efforts to design panviral drugs and vaccines that would be effective against a wide range of strains: all types of influenza, for instance, or a substantial group of coronaviruses rather than just one.

One key obstacle: Such drugs and vaccines are unlikely to be profitable, making them unappealing to pharmaceutical companies.

But as the Covid-19 pandemic unfolds, systems of global cooperation and investment have started to emerge. And the conversation about what it would take to prepare for the next pandemic has started.

Eight months after India revoked Kashmir’s semiautonomous status and brought the region fully under its authority, doctors there say that a state of hopelessness has morphed into a severe psychological crisis.

And a nationwide lockdown that India imposed last month to fight the coronavirus has worsened the problem, the medical professionals say. Police officers block roads with coils of glistening concertina wire. Any residents who step out of their homes, especially in Kashmir’s towns and cities, risk being beaten up.

With that combination of factors at play, mental health workers say Kashmir is witnessing an alarming increase in depression, anxiety and psychotic events. While hard data is difficult to come by, local medical professionals say they are seeing a rise in suicides and an increase in already high rates of domestic abuse.

The Kashmir Valley, tucked into the Himalayas, has few resources to cope. The area has been mired in conflict for decades, with its majority-Muslim population agitating for independence or at least more autonomy from India, which is majority Hindu and controls most of Kashmir. Pakistan controls a smaller slice.

Over all, Kashmir has fewer than 60 psychiatrists. Dr. Majid Shafi, a government psychiatrist, said that last year he saw 100 patients a week. Now he sees more than 500.

“This is just the tip of an iceberg,” Dr. Shafi said. “The crisis is growing.”

China has again changed its regulations on the export of N-95 respirators, surgical masks, ventilators, infrared thermometers and other medical supplies, making it slightly easier to sell them overseas but also putting on importers more of the burden for quality checks.

Millions of coronavirus testing kits, as well as smaller numbers of respirators and other equipment, have been piling up at factories and airports in China as companies and Beijing regulators try to sort out Chinese customs rules. The new rules resolve some of the confusion.

Beijing officials have struggled to strike a balance between preventing the export of unsafe products and not impeding the delivery of better-quality supplies to overseas hospitals. European countries and Canada have complained of shoddy goods, especially respirators and test kits.

China ordered nearly a month ago that medical supplies could be exported only if they met Chinese technical standards for quality. That posed a problem: Many supplies had been manufactured for years in China to meet the technical standards of foreign countries, which are often different.

The new Chinese customs agency rules issued late Saturday say that goods may meet either Chinese or foreign quality standards. But for the first time, the rules require that not only the exporter but also the importer overseas must attest that the goods meet quality standards before the items are allowed to leave China.

Beijing officials “don’t want to take any responsibility or liability for counterfeit or defective products,” said Omar Allam, the chief executive of a trade consulting firm in Ottawa.

Sprawling banquets that convened crowds of relatives have shrunk to modest meals for immediate family. Imams who led prayers in packed mosques have been addressing the faithful over Zoom. And stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines have sapped the nighttime jubilance of cities with large Muslim populations, from Cairo to Jakarta to Dearborn, Mich.

For the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims, the holy month of Ramadan is a social and spiritual high point, a time to gather with friends and family, and to focus on fasting, prayer and scripture.

But the coronavirus is transforming this Ramadan across the world, clearing out mosques, canceling communal prayers and forcing families to replace physical gatherings with virtual meet-ups.

Ramadan, which most Muslims began observing on Friday or Saturday, is the month when Muslims believe God revealed the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad. Fasting from dawn to dusk for those who are able during this month is one of the five pillars of Islam.

But the pandemic has added danger to many of the ways that Muslims have observed Ramadan for generations, forcing modifications.

Some mosques, where people normally pray shoulder to shoulder and crowds spill into the streets, have made efforts to space out the faithful to prevent contagion. Others, from Paris to Brooklyn to Mecca, toward which all Muslims pray, have shut their doors altogether.

The rigors of fasting have birthed a range of social customs. Families stay up all night or wake up before sunrise to eat. Breaking the fast and the nighttime meals that follow are opportunities to gather with relatives, entertain guests and, for the wealthy, give charity by offering drop-in meals at street banquets for the poor.

But for many, this will be a Ramadan like no other, observed more at home than at the mosque, more online than in person, and amid greater uncertainty about the future.

As people in Britain have hunkered down for weeks in close quarters during the coronavirus lockdown, the London police have arrested more than 4,090 people on domestic abuse offenses and recorded over 17,275 domestic abuse cases in the weeks from March 9 to April 19, according to the Metropolitan Police.

That amounts to a 9 percent increase over the same period last year.

Cmdr. Sue Williams of the Metropolitan Police said that the pandemic did not mean that those who suffer domestic abuse should stay silent or that offenders would not be brought to justice.

“The Covid-19 restrictions and ‘stay at home’ instruction is vital to managing this public health crisis, but unfortunately it has also left current and potential victims of domestic abuse even more vulnerable and isolated,” she said in a statement.

She said that anyone subject to abuse “should be assured that they can leave their homes to escape harm or seek help, and they will not be penalized in any way for not maintaining social distancing” or otherwise breaching lockdown restrictions.

Sophie Linden, London’s deputy mayor for policing and crime, said there had been an increase in calls to domestic abuse help lines across Britain along with a rise in domestic abuse cases around the world.

This month, Home Secretary Priti Patel began a campaign to publicize the help available to people suffering domestic abuse amid the pandemic and to encourage the public to support them.

As the United States neared a sobering milestone — 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus — some states were moving to reopen. But even under the most optimistic estimates, it will be months, and possibly years, before Americans crowd into bars and squeeze onto subway cars as they once did.

The relaxed rules varied. Alaska allowed limited in-store shopping at retail stores, and some restaurants in Fairbanks reopened over the weekend. Oklahoma opened state parks. South Carolina allowed access to public beaches, and Georgia recommended that salon owners perform temperature checks at their entrances.

As other states weighed similar moves, they continued to be hampered by a shortage of testing capacity, leaving them without the information that public health experts say is needed to track outbreaks and contain them. The nation conducted about 1.2 million tests from April 16 to April 22, up from about 200,000 tests from March 16 to March 22, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project.

“We are not in a situation where we can say we are exactly where we want to be with regard to testing,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said this week in an interview with Time.

Inside the White House, officials were discussing replacing Alex M. Azar II, the health and human services secretary, after a string of news reports about the administration’s slow response to the pandemic and a separate controversy about an ousted department official, two senior administration officials said.

No imminent changes were planned, but among the possible replacements were Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Dr. Deborah Birx, a key member of the coronavirus task force.

In recent weeks, Mr. Bolsonaro’s dismissive response to the coronavirus pandemic, which he has called a “measly cold” that cannot be allowed to throttle economic growth, generated calls for impeachment at home and bewilderment abroad.

He was already struggling to govern effectively when, on Friday, his star cabinet minister resigned with an explosive speech that basically called his soon-to-be former boss a criminal.

Mr. Bolsonaro became a president without a political party in November, after falling out with leaders of the Social Liberal Party, which had backed his presidential bid. And several political allies — including two of Mr. Bolsonaro’s sons — are under investigation in a series of criminal and legislative inquiries.

Given those challenges, which have left Mr. Bolsonaro isolated, the dramatic exit of his justice minister was seen by critics and supporters of the president as a potentially destructive blow to his grip on power during a public health crisis and a recession.

And while several Latin American leaders have seen a bounce in public opinion as they imposed strict quarantine measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Mr. Bolsonaro’s popularity has dropped amid what critics call a flailing response.

Reporting was contributed by Ben Hubbard, Keith Bradsher, Yonette Joseph, Tiffany May, Mark Landler, Damien Cave, Sameer Yasir, Iliana Magra, Jennifer Kahn, Christopher Clarey, Michael Levenson and Jia Lynn Yang.





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