The United Kingdom becomes Europe's epicenter of viruses; South Korea plays baseball
LONDON: Britain on Tuesday became the first country in Europe to confirm that more than 30,000 coronavirus deaths and infections increased dramatically in Russia, even as other nations made great strides to domesticate the virus. China marked its third week without new virus deaths and South Korea restarted its professional baseball season.
In the USA In the US, some states began suspending steps to lift blockade restrictions that are blamed for kicking millions of people out of work and jump-starting the global economy, even as thousands of new infections and deaths were reported daily in the US. USA
Britain seems to overtake Italy as the worst affected nation in Europe. The government says that 28,734 people with COVID-19 had died in the UK. hospitals, nursing homes and other settings, while Italy has reported 29,079 deaths. The counts of both are likely to be underestimated because they only include people who tested positive and the tests were not widespread in Italian and British nursing homes until recently.
However, official UK statistics released on Tuesday that take into account the people who died with the suspected COVID-19 give a more complete picture and put Britain's coronavirus number at over 30,000 dead. Statistics, which run through April 24, show that deaths were a third higher than those of the government. A comparable figure for Italy was not available.
In Russia, the number of infections increased again, with Moscow reporting more than 10,000 new cases over three days in a row.
At the same time, many European countries that have relaxed stringent blocks after new infections subsided were watching their virus numbers cautiously.
We know with great certainty that there will be a second wave, most scientists are sure of that. And many also assume there will be a third wave, Lothar Wieler, head of Germany's national disease control center, said Tuesday.
This week, Italy allowed 4.4 million people to return to work and eased restrictions on personal movement for the first time in two months. Scientists warned lawmakers on Tuesday to prepare for a new wave of infections.
The next few weeks are essentially an experiment to see how the infection curve reacts to relief from the West's first confinement, the head of infectious diseases at the Italian Higher Institute of Health told La Repubblica newspaper.
We are not out of the epidemic. We're still at it, said Dr. Giovanni Rezza. I don't want people to think that there is no more risk and that we return to normal. Widely regarded as a success story, South Korea reported only three new cases of the virus, its lowest total since February 18. Schools will reopen in phases that will begin with high school seniors on May 13, but the highlight on Tuesday was the baseball season.
Spectators were not allowed. Cheerleaders danced beneath rows of empty seats and referees wore protective masks when one of the world's foremost professional sports returned to action in games broadcast to sports fans around the world. The Korean Baseball Organization also employed other protective measures, including fever tests for players and coaches before entering the stadiums.
With the Major League Baseball in the United States still considering plans on what to do with its own season, the American sports network ESPN signed a contract to broadcast six KBO games per week, beginning with the opening of the season on Tuesday among the Samsung Lions. from Daegu and Changwon-based NC Dinos, which the Dinos won 4-0. The country's professional soccer leagues will begin on Friday, also without spectators.
In China, it has been three weeks since new deaths were reported in the country where the pandemic started late last year. Only one new case of infection was confirmed, and fewer than 400 patients are still being treated for COVID-19, health officials said. Other locations in the Asia-Pacific region have also suppressed outbreaks, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand, which has had zero new cases for two days. But experts say India, a nation of 1.3 billion people, has yet to see the peak of its outbreak.
In Britain, which unlike other European nations remains blocked, on Tuesday began a test of a mobile phone application that authorities hope will help contain the outbreak. The app, which warns people if they've been around an infected individual, is being tested on the Isle of Wight, on the south coast of England. The government hopes it can be rolled out across the country later this month.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to soon detail a route out of a national blockade that started on March 23 and runs through Thursday. Critics say the conservative Johnson government responded too slow when COVID-19 began to spread, was unable to contain the outbreak by failing to comprehensively analyze people with symptoms, then failed to trace and isolate the contacts of infected people. Countries that did that, including South Korea and Germany, have reported much lower death rates than those that did not.
The British government's chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, acknowledged on Tuesday that if we had managed to increase testing capacity faster, it would have been beneficial. In France, scientists published a study saying they could have identified a possible case of the new coronavirus dating back to December, about a month before the first cases were officially confirmed in Europe.
The study, conducted retrospectively from incomplete medical records, was said by outside experts to be interesting but inconclusive evidence that the virus started spreading in Europe earlier than previously believed.