US Democrats call on Republicans for coronavirus bill
The two top Democrats in the US Congress called on Republicans to work towards new bipartisan coronavirus legislation, citing a lack of funding for the national testing needed to begin to reopen the US economy.
Two days ago, Republicans renewed their push for a $250bn measure to help small businesses cope with the pandemic while doubling down on their opposition to Democratic efforts to broaden the legislation to include other provisions.
“We have real problems facing this country, and it’s time for the Republicans to quit the political posturing by proposing bills they know will not pass either chamber and get serious and work with us towards a solution,” House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement.
U.S. leads world in deaths
The U.S. has surpassed Italy as the country with the highest number of coronavirus deaths with nearly 22,000 recorded by early Monday and 554,007 cases.
Worldwide, the death toll is more than 114,000, and the number of confirmed cases nears 1.9 million, according to Johns Hopkins University.
After a fall in daily death tolls, Spain and Italy, two countries hard-hit by the virus, were set to begin easing lockdown measures on Monday.
UK conducts 18,000 tests in 24 hours
A total of 18,000 tests for coronavirus were conducted in the UK in 24 hours and the country was making good progress towards its target of 100,000 daily tests, spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
The spokesman said the 18,000 figure applied to the 24 hours up to 0800 GMT on Sunday and excluded Northern Ireland.
“New capacity is coming on stream all of the time and I think we are making good progress,” the spokesman said.
UK’s Johnson focused on recovery
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will follow medical advice on when he should return to work, his spokesman said, declining to speculate on how long his full recovery from the coronavirus might take.
“He was only released from hospital yesterday and any decisions which he makes in relation to when he returns to government work will be following the advice of his medical team,” the spokesman said.
Johnson tested negative for coronavirus before he left St Thomas’ Hospital in central London on Sunday and is continuing his recovery at his country residence of Chequers, the spokesman added.
Pope calls for Protection of women from violence during lockdowns
Pope Francis has said society had to stand behind women victims of domestic violence, as abuse increased around the world during coronavirus lockdowns.
The pope, speaking on a religious and national holiday in Italy and other countries, praised women in frontline roles in helping society weather the crisis, mentioning doctors, nurses, police officers, prison guards and sales staff in stores selling essential goods.
But, speaking from his official library rather than from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, Francis said: “Sometimes they (women) risk being victims of violence in a cohabitation that they bear like a weight that is far too heavy.”
“Let us pray for them, so the Lord grants them strength and that our communities support them along with their families,” he said.
Three Turkish prisoners die of coronavirus
Three Turkish prisoners have died from the coronavirus, Turkey’s justice minister said as he announced the first cases of convicts diagnosed with the disease.
A total of 17 convicts in five open prisons have contracted the virus, Abdulhamit Gul told reporters in the capital, Ankara.
“Three of them unfortunately died during their treatment in hospital,” he said.
Turkey has nearly 57,000 COVID-19 infections and around 1,200 have died, according to health ministry figures published on Sunday.
Spain loosens lockdown restrictions
Hundreds of thousands of people were allowed to return to work for the first time since a coronavirus outbreak in Spain caused the government to impose a lockdown, according to dpa news agency.
People in regions of Spain where Easter Monday is not a national holiday were allowed to leave their homes to go to work in a slight relaxation of a lockdown that has been in place since last month.
Some businesses, including construction and manufacturing, were allowed to reopen, but most of the population are still confined to their homes, and shops, bars and public spaces will remain closed until at least April 26.
Police collect nearly 800 bodies from Ecuador’s virus epicenter
Ecuador has said police removed almost 800 bodies in recent weeks from homes in Guayaquil, the epicentre of the country’s coronavirus outbreak, after COVID-19 – the disease caused by the new virus – overwhelmed emergency services, hospitals and funeral parlours.
Mortuary workers in the Pacific port city have been unable to cope with a backlog, with residents posting videos on social media showing abandoned bodies in the streets.
Spain’s daily death toll falls again with 517 dead
Spain’s overnight death toll from the coronavirus fell to 517 from Sunday’s 619, bringing the total death toll to 17,489, the health ministry said, adding that it was the smallest proportional daily increase since tracking began.
The ministry said in a statement that overall cases rose to 169,496 from 166,019.
Iran reports 111 new deaths from coronavirus
Iran’s death toll from the new coronavirus has risen to 4,585, with 111 deaths overnight, a health ministry official tweeted, adding the total number of infected cases had reached 73,303 in the most-affected Middle Eastern country.
“Fortunately 45,983 of those infected with the virus have recovered … There were 1,617 new infected cases in the past 24 hours,” tweeted Alireza Vahabzadeh, an adviser to Iran’s health minister.
Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur told state TV that 3,877 of those infected with the new coronavirus were in critical condition.
Italian FA hopes for return to training in May
Italy’s football federation hopes that players can be tested for the new coronavirus at the start of May to prepare for the season to restart, its president Gabriele Gravina has said.
Serie A has been suspended since March 9 because of the coronavirus outbreak and it is still not clear when, or if, the season can resume. Players at a number of clubs have been infected.