Update (0720ET): Just days after placing his entire country on a strict lockdown, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.
His symptoms are said to be ‘mild’ and he will continue to run the country while self-isolating, just as Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has done.
- UK PM JOHNSON HAS MILD SYMPTOMS AND WILL SELF ISOLATE
- UK PM JOHNSON WILL STILL BE IN CHARGE OF UK GOVT HANDLING OF CRISIS
In a twitter message, Johnson seems to be doing okay.
Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus.
I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus.
— Boris Johnson #StayHomeSaveLives (@BorisJohnson) March 27, 2020
Johnson is the most high-profile politician to have contracted the virus so far…
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Just a few short days ago, the Dow was still trading below 20k, Italy still had a higher COVID-19 case count than the US and New York City hospitals still had a few available beds. Just a few days later, everything has changed. US stocks have rallied back, erasing roughly half of their losses since they dropped from record highs, and New York has cemented its position as the worst outbreak in the country, as the virus spread widely during the month of February, when US officials were still sitting on their hands.
Though one Republican Congressman from Kentucky is threatening to delay a vote until the weekend by throwing up another procedural hurdle, by all accounts, the House is preparing to vote on Friday on a $2 trillion stimulus package that will dole out money to out-of-work Americans. At the same time, President Trump has continued to press for parts of the country to “re-open” in the coming days.
According to Johns Hopkins data, the global case total has passed 537,000, while the US reported nearly 86k as of Friday morning after the size of the US outbreak surpassed China’s. For the last two weeks, China has reported either no new domestic infections, or just one or two domestic infections. Earlier this week, China shut its borders to foreigners to try and prevent a second wave of the outbreak. China’s travel ban affecting all non-resident foreigners is set to begin at midnight local time, or in roughly six hours.
For 2 weeks, #China reports new #coronavirus cases infected locally as zero or single digits. Health authority says 1 such case in Zhejiang, 54 cases traveled from abroad. https://t.co/26FC6usMOK (Concerns high of 2nd wave from overseas & if asymptomatic cases properly reported.)
— Eunice Yoon (@onlyyoontv) March 27, 2020
The global death total was nearing 26K as of Friday morning, with more than 1,300 deaths counted across the US. According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll 77% of Americans said their lives had been disrupted by the outbreak, while 41% said that somebody in their own community had been impacted, and one in ten Americans claim to personally know somebody who has been infected. Still, Italy’s death toll, at roughly 8,200, remains by far the highest in the world. Iran’s official death toll, thought to be only a fraction of the real number, is still only ~2,300, after announcing another 144 new deaths Friday morning.
Africa has seen the virus spread far more slowly than many health officials feared, but as of Friday, COVID-19 had been detected in nearly every country on the continent.
— Africa CDC (@AfricaCDC) March 27, 2020
South Africa started its official lockdown as of midnight on Friday: the shutdown will impact roughly 57 million citizens in the country. The country, which boasts the largest economy in Africa, reported its first 2 deaths on Friday as well.
Hong Kong reported 65 new coronavirus infections on Friday, its largest daily increase yet, bringing its total confirmed cases to 518, with 41 of the new cases being ‘travel-related’. It’s the latest disappointing news as the China-ruled city hopes to prevent a travel-related resurgence. In Singapore, which has also seen a jump in travel-related cases, intentionally standing or sitting too close to someone has been made a crime punishable by up to six months in jail or a fine of nearly $7,000.
Russia reported 196 new cases of coronavirus, a daily record, taking its official total for those infected with the disease to 1,036. the country reported another death over the last 24 hours, bringing its total to 4. A lockdown that had been imposed on Moscow earlier this week has now been expanded to cover the entire country. Russia’s Interfax news agency cited Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin as asking all Russians to avoid all “non-essential” trips, and to avoid leaving their homes.
As Israel – which has reported roughly 3k cases and 10 deaths – scrambles to stave off an outbreak, the country has deployed about 500 army soldiers to assist police in enforcing the lockdown.
To reduce the number of social contacts, Hungary is joining the ‘lockdown’ club, imposing restrictions on citizens leaving their homes between March 28 and April 11, PM Viktor Orban said he will present a plan of action to restart the economy in the first half of April.
In North Korea, the government said late Thursday that about 2,280 citizens and two foreigners remain under coronavirus quarantine after authorities released thousands of people in past weeks who were confirmed to have no symptoms.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Trump participated in a call Thursday evening where they agreed to “unite to fight” the coronavirus, according to Chinese state media. Xi told Trump China “wishes to continue sharing all information and experience with the US” according to state broadcaster CCTV, while Trump tweeted that the two leaders were “working closely together”.
Just finished a very good conversation with President Xi of China. Discussed in great detail the CoronaVirus that is ravaging large parts of our Planet. China has been through much & has developed a strong understanding of the Virus. We are working closely together. Much respect!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2020
Finally, Spain reported 769 deaths on Friday, its largest daily jump in deaths since the beginning of the outbreak. The country also reported 7,871 new cases, with the total climbing to 64,059.
Meanwhile, as US hospitals prepare to face an onslaught of new severe cases and deaths, many while also dealing with shortages of critical equipment like ventilators, as well as personal protective equipment, a Detroit area health system has developed a contingency plan to deny ventilators and intensive care treatment to coronavirus patients with a poor chance of surviving, according to the Washington Post.
In a rare piece of good news, the suburban Washington State hospital that handled the first onslaught of coronavirus patients weeks ago – a crush of seriously ill and dying nursing home residents that signaled the beginning of the national crisis in the US – is now cautiously optimistic that local officials have succeeded in “flattening the curve”, as the number of new cases has finally tapered off.