Glimmers of hope, and new challenges, as the world struggles to beat back the virus.

The grim, grinding news from the worldwide struggle with the coronavirus has begun to be leavened by scattered indications that the spread of the scourge might be slowing.

While Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain remained in intensive care Tuesday morning, New York officials expressed cautious optimism that the state and city might be reaching a turning point, and Italy yet again reported a lower daily death toll. China, where the pandemic began late last year, claimed its first day since January with no coronavirus deaths at all.

Wuhan, the Chinese city where the virus first appeared, will lift its lockdown today as other nations began discussing plans to ease restrictions.

But from London to New York, officials warned that lockdowns and social distancing would need to remain in place for some time to ensure that the first signs of success were not swamped by a resurgence of the pathogen.

Investors around the world chose to focus on the upside. Wall Street staged a huge rally on Monday, and the gains were expected to continue on Tuesday as global stocks pushed higher.

In Asia, markets rose on news that Japan would spend some 20 percent of its gross domestic product to stabilize its economy, even as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prepared to declare a state of emergency after infections surged in Tokyo and Osaka.

But Britain was dealing with a crisis that sent shudders worldwide, as its prime minister, 55, was moved into intensive care so he would be near a ventilator should his lungs fail. The government admitted that Mr. Johnson’s condition had deteriorated significantly.

A top White House adviser starkly warned Trump administration officials in late January that the coronavirus crisis could cost the United States trillions of dollars and put millions of Americans at risk of illness or death.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain remained in the intensive care unit of a London hospital on Tuesday morning battling coronavirus symptoms, raising questions not just about the state of his health but about who would lead the country, gripped by a major coronavirus outbreak, in his stead if that became necessary.

Mr. Johnson was transferred to the intensive care unit on Monday after his illness worsened. Aides said he had been moved in case he needed a ventilator to help his recovery. On Tuesday morning, Michael Gove, a senior minister, noted that Mr. Johnson was not on a ventilator but has received “oxygen support.”

As Britain has no written Constitution and no standard line of succession in the case of illness or death of the head of the government, it was for Mr. Johnson to decide who should stand in for him if he became ill. But the man he nominated, Dominic Raab, has been relatively untested, serving as the country’s foreign secretary for less than a year.

While Mr. Johnson remains as the head of the government from his hospital bed, the seriousness of his illness means that could change quickly. At a time of extraordinary challenge, Mr. Raab is already serving as chairman of a key committee on the pandemic as the government battles to control the spread of the coronavirus and stabilize an economy hit hard by the lockdown measures it has imposed.

Previous British prime ministers, including Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher, have had health issues while in power, but had brief periods of absence for planned procedures.

Mr. Johnson could be hospitalized for some time, and at a moment when the government must make major decisions about its coronavirus response. Though some British prime ministers have nominated deputies, Mr. Johnson chose not to do so when he took the role last year.

The last time Britain experienced such a power vacuum was in 1953, when Winston Churchill suffered a stroke and the truth of his condition was kept from the British public.

Before going into intensive care, Mr. Johnson asked Mr. Raab to stand in for him “where necessary.”

Mr. Gove — who has had a lead role in coordinating the government’s coronavirus response, including giving interviews on Mr. Johnson’s state of health — announced on Twitter on Tuesday that he was self-isolating. He felt well, he said, but a member of his family showed symptoms of the virus.

France’s health minister said on Tuesday that the country had not reached the peak of its epidemic and was “still in a worsening phase.” The country has recorded some 74,390 cases in total and 8,911 deaths, with the toll still steadily rising. Monday marked its highest 24-hour death toll yet, with 613 fatalities reported in hospitals.

From dorm rooms and apartments, 52 medical students watched video of themselves roll across their screens. Miles away, their proud families followed online. Gazing into webcams, the students pledged the Hippocratic oath in frayed unison, dozens of different starts and voices, all coming to the same point.

India appeared to be softening its position on blocking the export of hydroxychloroquine, a drug that President Trump has promoted as a possible treatment for the coronavirus.

Those covered by the planned emergency declaration — about 56.1 million people across seven prefectures, or less than half of Japan’s total population — will be strongly urged for the next month to work from home and avoid going out for anything other than essential trips to the market or pharmacy.

Until now, Japan’s health officials have reassured the public that they have prevented the virus from raging out of control, mainly by closing schools, asking organizers of large sports and cultural events to cancel them, and quickly identifying clusters of cases and tracing close contacts to infected people.

But as Mr. Abe, who also announced an economic stimulus package on Monday that he said was worth nearly $1 trillion, prepares to take the nation’s containment measures a step further with an official declaration that is expected Tuesday evening, some experts saw that as a tacit admission that the government’s previous approach was no longer working.

As of Tuesday morning, Japan had confirmed a total of 3,906 cases and 80 deaths from the coronavirus.

Here’s how to help from home.

Sitting at home, it’s easy to feel like there’s nothing you can do to help those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. But there are many things you can do to help medical professionals, the people affected directly by the virus and your local businesses.

“I’ve been an idiot, and I understand why people will be angry with me,” he said.

But Ms. Ardern did not immediately accept Mr. Clark’s resignation, hoping to avoid disrupting the health sector and the government’s response to the coronavirus crisis.

New Zealand has recorded 1,160 cases of infection and one death.

In a state with pockets of deep wariness about both big government and mainstream medicine, the sweeping restrictions aimed at containing the spread of the virus have run into outright rebellion in some parts of Idaho, which is facing its own worrying spike in coronavirus cases.

The opposition is coming not only from people like Ammon Bundy, whose armed takeover of the Oregon refuge with dozens of other men and women in 2016 led to a 41-day standoff, but also from some state lawmakers and a county sheriff who are calling the governor’s statewide stay-at-home order an infringement on individual liberties.

Health care providers and others have been horrified at the public calls to countermand social-distancing requirements, warning that failing to take firm measures could overwhelm Idaho’s small hospitals and put large numbers of people at risk of dying.

Many of the latest claims about the Constitution have come from Idaho’s northern panhandle, where vaccination rates for other diseases have always been low and where wariness of government is high.

At a time when health officials say social-distancing measures are vital to avert catastrophic outbreaks of the kind that could overwhelm hospitals — as happened in Italy — Idaho’s tensions threaten to undermine compliance. While the state was one of the last in the country to identify a coronavirus case, it now has far more cases per capita than California. Blaine County, which includes the popular Sun Valley ski resort, now has the largest per capita concentration of coronavirus cases in the nation.

“Africa cannot and will not be a testing ground for any vaccine,” he said. “We will follow all the rules to test any vaccine or therapeutics all over the world using exactly the same rule.”

“The hangover from colonial mentality has to stop,” he said.

A health official from the Democratic Republic of Congo last week stirred controversy after saying the country would participate in any future coronavirus vaccine tests.

More than 50 African states have so far reported a total of over 10,000 cases and 487 deaths, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As the cases have spread, nations like South Africa have introduced total lockdowns, limited movement within the country like Kenya or imposed night curfews like Egypt. Protesters in Ivory Coast have destroyed a coronavirus treatment center, saying it was too close to their homes.

Turkey has ordered all citizens to wear masks when shopping or visiting crowded public places and announced it will start to deliver masks to every family, free of charge, as coronavirus infections sharply increase in the country of 80 million.

Turkey has over 30,000 confirmed cases of the virus and has registered 649 deaths. More than 1,300 patients are in intensive care units and at least 600 medical workers have been infected, according to figures released by the Health Ministry.

Reporting was contributed by Carlotta Gall, Aurelien Breeden, Martin Selsoe Sorensen, Christopher F. Schuetze, Marc Santora, Megan Specia, Iliana Magra, Maggie Haberman, Mike Baker, Declan Walsh, Andrew Higgins, Carlotta Gall, Patrick Kingsley, Stephen Castle, Mark Landler, Adam Liptak, Sheila Kaplan, Katie Thomas, Motoko Rich, Mike Ives, Richard C. Paddock, Hannah Beech, Jason Gutierrez, Muktita Suhartono and Elaine Yu.

source: nytimes.com

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