China lifts Wuhan travel ban; US, UK report record deaths - GulfToday

China lifts Wuhan travel ban; US, UK report record deaths


A woman arrives by ambulance to Wyckoff Hospital in New York. Bryan R. Smith/AFP

China lifted a travel ban on Tuesday on residents of Wuhan, where the coronavirus pandemic began last year, and reported no new deaths, but the situation remained grim elsewhere as Britain and New York State recorded their highest number of fatalities yet.


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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remained in intensive care, meanwhile, after being admitted to a London hospital on Monday evening, 10 days after being diagnosed with the virus.

His spokesman said the 55-year-old Conservative leader was in stable condition and "good spirits." He was receiving "standard oxygen treatment" and has not required a ventilator.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is seen on the background at the central business district. File/Reuters

The shocking hospitalisation of a major world leader underscored the global reach of COVID-19, which has put more than four billion people -- over half of the planet -- on some form of lockdown, upended societies and battered economies worldwide.

Amid warnings that worse is yet to come, death tolls mounted in a crisis that has now claimed more than 80,000 lives out of nearly 1.4 million confirmed cases around the world.

While other major cities around the world remained locked down, thousands of people rushed to leave Wuhan after the Chinese authorities lifted a more than two-month ban on travel from the city in Hubei Province.

"Wuhan people have paid a big price," a 21-year-old man surnamed Yao said at the Wuchang train station.

"Now that the lockdown has been lifted, I think we're all pretty happy," said Yao, who was heading back to his restaurant job in Shanghai.

This photo shows nurses preparing to deliver yoghurt to patients in a sports stadium in Wuhan, China. File/AFP

Flights also resumed at Wuhan's international airport and roadblocks were removed around the city.

The National Health Commission said on Tuesday that no new deaths had been logged in the preceding 24 hours, the first fatality-free day since China began publishing figures in January.

China's official tally is some 81,000 overall infections and more than 3,300 deaths but there are suspicions Beijing has under-reported the real numbers.

'Eye of the storm'

Britain reported 786 new deaths and New York state saw 731 in 24 hours, after Spain, France and Italy all recorded new surges in fatalities.

New research showed Britain's toll on a steeper trajectory than other nations and predicted as many as 66,000 deaths by July, far more than in Italy, which has the highest fatalities to date — 17,127.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference in New York. File photo/AP

Paris on Tuesday banned daytime jogging to keep people from bending anti-coronavirus lockdown rules as France breached 10,000 deaths.

But there were glimmers of hope in the statistics.

Spain said its downward trend in new infections and deaths was continuing and increases in fatalities on Monday and Tuesday were the result of weekend deaths being tallied.

Eduardo Fernandez, a 39-year-old nurse at Madrid's Infanta Sofia Hospital, said there had been fewer admissions in recent days.

"But we remain much above our usual capacity," he cautioned.

"I don't know if my colleagues who are in the eye of the storm are able to see (the decrease) because the work pressure is very high."

Iran's parliament convened for the first time since late February as the country reported a drop in new infections for the seventh straight day.

China and other Asian nations have raised alarm over a possible second wave of infections, and Beijing only started gradually easing restrictions in Wuhan in recent weeks.

Agence France-Presse

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