Medical staff members attend a patient of COVID-19 in the new intensive care unit built in Milan, Italy. AP
Tentative signs of hope emerged Thursday that the coronavirus pandemic was peaking, as the European Union sealed a rescue package to help the hard-hit continent.
With the death toll passing 94,000, there remained plenty of grim news, with the IMF warning that the world was dipping into a new Great Depression and new data showing the United States has shed a massive 17 million jobs in a matter of weeks.
But hospitalizations dropped in several countries and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the highest profile of the 1.5 million people infected by the virus, exited three days of intensive care.
"The fire started by the pandemic is starting to come under control," said Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez of Spain, where fatalities inched down to 683 from 757 a day before, pushing the total above 15,000.
"Our priority now is not to turn back, especially not to return to our starting point, not to lower our guard," Sanchez told parliament.
France reported that 82 fewer people were in intensive care for COVID-19 -- the first fall since the pandemic broke out.
Anthony Fauci, the US government's top pandemic expert, said the United States was "going in the right direction" -- but urged people to continue to stay home.
The US recorded 1,783 deaths in the past 24 hours, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University as of 0030 GMT Friday, lower than the previous day's record toll of 1,973.
The US has seen 16,513 deaths, the second-highest tally in the world after Italy, and more than 460,000 confirmed cases.
In New York, the epicenter of the virus in the United States, only 200 more people entered hospitals, the lowest number since the pandemic struck, even though 799 people died over the last day, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
"We are flattening the curve by what we are doing," Cuomo said, adding, "We have to keep the curve flat."
But he declined to predict how New York would fare in the coming weeks, telling reporters bluntly: "I have no idea."Agence France-Presse
The ministers' video conference dragged on for over 15 hours from Tuesday into Wednesday, with Italy and Spain pleading for a solidarity fund that would be paid for by European partners jointly borrowing money on the financial markets.
Hopes have been rising that the worst of the global catastrophe, which has killed more than 270,000 people, has passed, and the United States on Friday approved a new at-home saliva test to speed up diagnosis for COVID-19.
The United Kingdom left the bloc at the end of January, but EU law still applies until the end of a post-Brexit transition period, and would normally restrict state subsidies.
Expatriates living in the UAE were elated as their family members, colleagues, friends stuck in other countries are now able to return as the UAE has lifted restriction on incoming flights from Monday onwards.
The Committee explained that the new guidelines take into account the exceptional situations of some categories of people including people of determination, children, and those with chronic respiratory conditions.
The UAE will today (Monday) start receiving residents with valid residence visas, who were stranded abroad due to coronavirus pandemic from various countries.