Coronavirus update: China says all patients discharged from hospital in Wuhan, Boris Johnson returns to work after recovery
The coronavirus crisis has seen countries around the world enforce unprecedented restrictions.
Chinese authorities say everyone who was being treated for coronavirus in hospital in Wuhan has now been sent home. In Germany, officials say Chinese diplomats asked them to put out “positive public statements” about Beijing’s handling of the crisis.
This story is being updated regularly throughout Monday. You can also stay informed with the latest episode of the Coronacast podcast.
Monday’s top stories
Boris Johnson back in Downing Street after COVID-19 recovery
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is back at Downing Street and set to resume work.
A spokeswoman confirmed he had returned after spending two weeks at Chequers, his country residence, where he was recovering from COVID-19.
His stand-in, Dominic Raab, said Mr Johnson would resume work full time on Monday and was “raring to go”.
On his desk, Mr Johnson will find a letter from Opposition Leader Keir Starmer urging him to set out when and how a lockdown designed to slow the spread of coronavirus might be eased.
However Mr Raab, the Foreign Secretary, has said speculation about this risks diluting the message that people must stay at home.
“We are at a delicate and dangerous stage and we need to make sure that the next steps are sure footed,” he told Sky News.
The official number of deaths related to COVID-19 in hospitals across the United Kingdom has risen to 20,732, while the number of confirmed cases stands at 152,840.
No COVID-19 patients in hospital in Wuhan
No coronavirus patients remain in hospital in Wuhan, China, where the virus first emerged.
China’s National Health Commission said all COVID-19 patients in the city had been discharged.
However, the risk of imported cases remains high and cluster outbreaks have been reported in some places such as north-east China’s Heilongjiang Province.
Since the outbreak in Wuhan, coronavirus has spread around the world, infecting 2.9 million and killing more than 203,000 people.
The news comes as schools across China begin to reopen. Only teachers and students who return a negative tests result and do not have symptoms are allowed to enter the schools.
China asked for positive commentary, Germany says
Chinese diplomats approached German Government officials in an attempt to encourage them to make positive statements on how Beijing is handling the coronavirus pandemic, according to the German interior ministry.
“The German Government is aware of individual contacts made by Chinese diplomats with the aim of affecting positive public statements on the coronavirus management by the People’s Republic of China,” the ministry said in a letter seen by Reuters.
“The Federal Government has not complied with these requests.”
The letter was dated April 22 and was sent to Green Party MP Margarete Bause in response to her question on whether Chinese diplomats had contacted German officials with the goal of encouraging them to make positive remarks.
The comments by the interior ministry were first reported by the Welt am Sonntag newspaper. The paper cited the Chinese embassy in Berlin as rejecting the report as untrue and irresponsible.
The embassy could not immediately be reached for comment on Sunday and the Chinese foreign ministry did also not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
China has been under scrutiny for its response to the virus.
Chile to push ahead with coronavirus ‘release certificates’
Chile will go ahead with a controversial plan to issue release certificates that will allow people who recover from COVID-19 to return to work.
The World Health Organisation has warned there is no evidence that recovering from coronavirus gives people immunity from catching it again.
But an official from the country’s health ministry said while many uncertainties about the virus remained, evidence pointed to a reduced risk after a first bout.
“One of the things we know is that a person who has lived through the disease is less likely to become ill again,” sub-secretary of Chile’s Health Ministry Paula Daza said.
Pitt’s Dr Fauci pokes fun at Trump on Saturday Night Live
Oscar-winning actor Brad Pitt has made an appearance on Saturday Night Live, playing the role of Anthony Fauci, America’s top public health adviser, to fact-check US President Donald Trump’s claims about coronavirus.
“Tonight I would like to try to explain what the President was trying to say,” Pitt, dressed in a wig and glasses, says. “Miracles shouldn’t be Plan A.”
After a clip in which Mr Trump appears to float the question of injecting disinfectant or hitting the virus with a “very powerful light”, the video cuts to Pitt as Dr Fauci with his head in his hands.
“I know I shouldn’t be touching my face, but … ” he says.
Dr Fauci has has assumed national prominence as a leader in the fight against the coronavirus.
The top infectious diseases expert has won widespread praise for his public messaging as COVID-19 spreads across the US, infecting more than 939,000 to date.
But Mr Trump recently retweeted a post calling for Dr Fauci to be sacked, but Mr Trump later said he did not intend to fire the leading health expert.
Pitt poked fun at that too before finishing the show’s opening segment by thanking Dr Fauci for the messaging he has been delivering to Americans.
Chechnya goes bald in lockdown
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has urged people in the south-east Russian region to shave their heads while hairdressers are closed due to the coronavirus lockdown.
“All our beauty salons are closed so, like our ancestors did, I decided to shave my head,” he said on Instagram, according to Agence France-Presse, encouraging others to do the same.
Top officials and members of emergency services then followed suit, uploading photos of themselves with freshly-shaven heads.
Confirmed coronavirus cases in Russia have surpassed 80,000, with 747 deaths recorded.
‘As bad as anything we’ve seen before’
White House advisers hope to come up with several options to present to US President Donald Trump for “big thoughtful policies” to help rebuild confidence in an economy battered by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Trump economic adviser.
Nationwide lockdowns to curtail the spread of the virus have impacted the US economy, closing businesses and causing rising unemployment, with a record 26.5 million Americans filing for jobless benefits since mid-March.
“We’re going to need really big thoughtful policies to put together to make it so that people are optimistic again,” White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett told reporters, warning the US jobless rate would likely hit 16 per cent or higher this month.
Mr Hassett said it was possible the economy could quickly rebound when it reopened, but warned things were likely to get worse before they got better.
“I think the next couple of months are going to look terrible,” Mr Hassett said.
“You’re going to see numbers as bad as anything we’ve ever seen before.”
Police die from COVID-19 while enforcing lockdown in Peru
Due to strict quarantine rules, workers have been living on the side of the road for days blocked by police from returning to their homes.
Seventeen police officers in Peru who had been involved in enforcing the nation’s coronavirus lockdown have died of COVID-19.
Peru’s former Interior Minister Carlos Moran was sacked on Friday, after being criticised for failing to provide officers with masks and medical care.
His replacement Gaston Rodriguez said there was no excuse for personal protective equipment such as masks and hand sanitiser not reaching police personnel.
More than 1,000 officers in the country have contracted coronavirus. There are more than 25,000 confirmed cases in Peru and 700 deaths.