International update: Global Covid-19 cases approach 3 million – France, Italy and Spain announce easing of lockdowns

27 April 2020 (Last Updated April 27th, 2020 11:16)

Global: Confirmed cases worldwide approach three million, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The World Health Organisation clarifies its statement about immunity following concern among scientists. The global health body was criticised for saying there was “currently no evidence” that people who recover from COVID-19 will have some immunity from reinfection.

Europe: France, Italy and Spain announce easing of lockdown measures. Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has announced the second phase of the country’s lockdown will begin from 4 May. French prime minister Edouard Philippe will present a national strategy for emerging from the coronavirus lockdown to the national assembly, and Spain partially relaxed its lockdown as its daily death toll dropped below 300 for the first time in weeks.

US: The states of Colorado, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana and Tennessee will join other states in the lifting of lockdown restrictions, as economists predict an unemployment rate of 16% or higher for the month of April.

President Donald Trump called Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar this weekend to say his job is safe, after reports the White House may oust the health chief as the administration faces criticism over its coronavirus response.

Coronavirus cases increased 3.3% from Saturday (25 April) to 957,016, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The national increase in cases was below the average daily increase of 3.6% over the past week.

UK: It will take the UK economy three years to fully recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a leading forecasting group.

Boris Johnson returned to Downing Street on Sunday (26 April) night for the first time since he was admitted to hospital with COVID-19 on 6 April.

New Zealand: New Zealand is preparing to move out of the strictest lockdown measures in the country’s history as the government reported only one new confirmed case of COVID-19 and said it had eliminated the virus.

China: China’s National Health Commission said on Monday (27 April) the mainland had confirmed just three new cases of coronavirus and no new deaths. Of the new cases, two were among people returned from overseas, while the other was in the northern province of Heilongjiang bordering Russia.

Hong Kong’s government would consider relaxing mandatory quarantine controls on mainland Chinese visitors, allowing civil servants to return to the office and easing restrictions on some business sectors, should the number of new cases continue to be low or remain at zero.