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Trump's White House briefings may be scaled back after disinfectant comments

Here are the latest updates from around the world.
Image: Children play on the streets of Barcelona on April 26, 2020. Spain eased some lockdown restrictions, now allowing children to leave their homes for up to an hour per day.
Children play on the streets of Barcelona on Sunday. Spain eased some lockdown restrictions, now allowing children to leave their homes for up to an hour per day.David Ramos / Getty Images

As his aides and allies increasingly worry that President Donald Trump's lengthy appearances at his his daily briefings on the coronavirus pandemic may may backfire politically, the White House is considering scaling them back.

It follows widespread mockery and an immediate and universal backlash from the medical community after the president suggested Thursday evening that people might be able to inject household cleaning items or disinfectants to deter the respiratory illness.

The evaluation of Trump's briefings comes as the worldwide death toll for the coronavirus surpassed 200,000 on Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Over 53,000 of those fatalities have been recorded in the U.S. according to an NBC News tally and more than 20,000 in the U.K. making it the fifth nation to reach that grim milestone.

However, in China where the pandemic began, the government reported no new deaths for a 10th straight day.

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All virus patients in Wuhan have now been discharged, China says

The city of Wuhan — where the global pandemic began — has no remaining cases in its hospitals, Chinese health officials said on Sunday.

"The latest news is that by April 26, the number of new coronavirus patients in Wuhan was at zero, thanks to the joint efforts of Wuhan and medical staff from around the country," National Health Commission spokesman Mi Feng said at a briefing.

The city had reported 46,452 cases, 56 percent of the national total. The city had 3,869 fatalities as of Sunday, or 84 percent of China's total death toll.

While the city is now relaxing restrictions after months of strict lockdown, residents of Wuhan are still being tested regularly for the virus, according to Reuters. 

Pope Francis stresses combating malaria must continue as world also fights COVID-19

Pope Francis is stressing that efforts to combat malaria must continue even as the world fights COVID-19.

Concern has been rising that while the world is focused on the pandemic, people suffering from other illnesses could receive less attention. Francis added his voice to that chorus of concern.

“While we are fighting the coronavirus pandemic, we must also continue our efforts to prevent and treat malaria, which threatens billions of people in many countries,” he said during his Sunday blessing.

The World Health Organization has said severe disruptions to anti-malaria campaigns, using insecticide-treated netting against mosquitoes, coupled with difficulties in accessing medicine could lead to a doubling in the number of malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa this year compared to 2018.

America needs universal COVID-19 testing. Here's how we'll get there.

One of the keys to reopening the economy is having enough tests to diagnose coronavirus infections, with the goal being to quickly identify new cases, isolate them, and track down others who may have been exposed.

“We’ve done such a good job of social distancing that we expect the rate of immunity to be quite low, which means we would expect there to be, over the course of the next several months, periodic outbreaks of the disease,” said Dr. Christopher Woods, a professor of medicine and infectious diseases at Duke University. “But now we hope to have the diagnostic tools and the public health tools to contain those outbreaks as they occur.”

Coronavirus testing in the United States has been slow from the start and we’re still only testing roughly a million people a week. Though President Donald Trump said Thursday that we’re doing a “great job” on testing, public health experts have said the number of people tested should be far higher before social distancing eases up — anywhere from 3 million to 30 million a week, to 20 million or more a day.

Read the whole story here. 

India's Modi urges citizens follow lockdown as virus cases rise

People line up to receive free food distributed during the government-imposed nationwide lockdown in Hyderabad, India earlier this week.Noah Seelam / AFP - Getty Images

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to citizens to strictly comply with the nationwide lockdown and maintain social distancing norms, as cases of virus mounted steadily in country of 1.3 billion people.  

Almost a month after lockdown measures were put in place Modi said in a radio address that the country was in the midst of a "war" and urged citizens to sustain the "people driven" fight and not be misled into believing the spread of the virus has been brought fully under control.

"I will urge you that we should not be trapped into over-confidence and nurse the belief that in our city, in our village, in our streets, in our office, coronavirus has not reached and that is why it will not reach," Modi said.

India's high population density, poor sanitation infrastructure, and high rates of internal migration has hastened the spread of the virus. in the country which reported 26,496 cases of COVID-19, and 824 deaths as of Sunday. 

Touch a shadow, 'You're it!': New routines as Denmark returns to school after lockdown

Students in Denmark under the age of 12 returned to school on April 17th after one month of mandatory lockdown.Ziad Jaber / NBC News

The little voices carried over the fence before they were visible: laughter, squealing, yelling. At Kongevejens Skole, a state primary school on the outskirts of the capital, kids playing together is a rare and welcome sight.

Denmark reopened nurseries and primary schools last week after a month of lockdown and, so far, students are adapting to yet another new normal.

On Thursday afternoon, the second graders at Kongevejens Skole were engaged in a heated game of tag. But instead of physically touching, they stepped on each other’s shadows instead.

“Everything is new,” one second grade teacher, Marie Riber Sundgaard, told NBC News. "Even the games."

Read the rest here.

Spain's children allowed outside for the first time in six weeks

As children prepared to go outside for the first time in six weeks, Spain recorded its lowest number of daily-recorded fatalities in a month on Sunday. 

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced an easing of lockdown restrictions on Saturday, which will allow children under 14, one hour of supervised outdoor activity per day between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., within around a mile of their homes. 

In a televised address, Sanchez said Spaniards will be allowed out to exercise alone from May 2 if the number of deaths continues to fall. People living together will be permitted to take short walks together, he added. 

The number of daily virus-related deaths was 288 deaths on Sunday, according to the Spanish health ministry, bringing the total number to 23,190. 

South Korea records 10 new infections as cases continue to slow

South Korea has confirmed 10 new cases of the virus on Sunday, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said as the country’s caseload continues to slow. 

The data brings the country’s total to 10,728 confirmed cases, with 8,717 patients recovered. The additional cases reported Sunday marks the ninth day in a row that South Korea recorded daily increase below 20.

South Korea had recorded hundreds of new cases every day between late February and early March, but after an extensive testing campaign, the government has recently relaxed some of its social distancing rules.

Officials have nonetheless raised worries, however, about possible transmissions by “quiet spreaders,” according to the Associated Press.

U.K.'s Boris Johnson to return to work on Monday

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson will return to work on Monday after recovering from COVID-19 that sent him to intensive care earlier this month, a government spokesperson confirmed.

It comes just as Britain surpassed 20,000 deaths from the respiratory illness on Saturday. The U.K. has the fifth-highest death toll in the world, after the U.S., Italy, Spain and France.

In Johnson’s absence, Britain's government has faced growing criticism over low levels of virus testing, as well as complaints from health workers over a lack of sufficient protective gear.

China reports no deaths for 11th straight day

China's National Health Commission reported no new deaths for the 11th day in a row on Sunday. It confirmed 11 new cases, bringing the total to 82,827 in the country — 77,394 of which have been reported fully recovered. 

Five of the new cases were in Heilongjiang province, a northeastern border area with Russia that has seen a surge in infections. Another was in Guangdong province, a manufacturing and tech region bordering Hong Kong in the south. The other five cases were imported from overseas.

As the number of reported new infections continue to remain low, China has started to lift restrictions on public life. 

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