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Xi pushes back against Trump accusations and pledges $2 billion for the W.H.O.
As the World Health Organization’s decision-making body holds a virtual meeting starting on Monday with all 194 member states, a key question is whether the United States and others will call for the W.H.O. to investigate China’s response to the coronavirus.
“After making painstaking efforts and sacrifices, we have turned the tide on the virus and protected lives,” Mr. Xi said. “All along, we have acted with openness, transparency and responsibility.”
He also said that China had been quick to release the coronavirus’s genome sequence and had taken strong steps to support other countries in their responses to the pandemic. Mr. Xi said that China would support a W.H.O. review of the outbreak once the virus is under control, as opposed to an independent investigation that many are calling for.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the W.H.O., on Monday emphasized the need for unity in working to stop the pandemic. “The only way is together,” he wrote on Twitter.
In the meeting, which is the annual gathering of the organization’s World Health Assembly, he said the W.H.O. welcomed the calls for an “impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” that takes into account the “entirety of the response by all actors” responding to the pandemic.
Pressed for an inquiry into the virus’s origin, China floats its own theories.
Fighting foreign pressure to account for the initial spread of the coronavirus, the Chinese Communist Party deflected blame in one of its leading journals, saying in effect that the virus could have come from anywhere.
The article, published in the party’s magazine Qiushi over the weekend, is China’s latest effort to push back against demands on multiple fronts for a fuller accounting of where the virus came from and especially how it spread from Wuhan.
Last week, Xinhua, China’s main state-run news agency, issued a long question-and-answer article disputing that the virus had leaked from a lab in that city and that China had failed to act quickly to stop its spread.
Such calls are discomfiting for the Chinese government, which has been eager to set aside evidence that officials played down the outbreak and restricted reporting, delaying a response from the central government.
The Qiushi article argues that questions of the coronavirus’s origins are best left to scientists free of political interference. But it uses highly tendentious descriptions of the research to suggest that the coronavirus may not have first spread from China.
Rome’s famed trattorias reopen, but it’s not business as usual.
After nearly 10 weeks of a surreal quiet, the familiar refrain of honking cars, buzzing scooters and lumbering buses sounded in Rome’s city center on Monday as many stores, bars and restaurants opened for the first time following a coronavirus lockdown.
But even as restaurateurs measured the distance between tables and shop owners mopped their stoops, the fallout from months of inactivity was evident in shuttered stores and “For Rent” signs.
In Rome, on tables in Trattoria Settimio, Maria Teresa Luciani displayed two laminated sheets: not menus, but a certification that the storied eatery had used cleaning products approved to disinfect against the coronavirus.
Earlier in the day, her husband, the owner, had measured out the mandatory spacing between tables. They hadn’t put down tablecloths yet, because they had no idea how many lunchtime clients would come. “It’s the first day. We have to get used to this,” Ms. Luciani said. “It’s a bit confusing, but slowly, slowly it’ll all work out.”
The cozy seating that was once part of the charm of Ditirambo, another downtown restaurant, has become a drawback amid the pandemic. The owner, Dado Micozzi, has been scrambling for outdoor seating alternatives.
On Monday he was overseeing a long list of protocols — including installing a traffic light system over the bathroom door — before reopening to the public later this week.
Efforts to reopen for delivery and takeout in recent weeks were not hugely successful, and without his main tourist clientele on the immediate horizon, Mr. Micozzi wasn’t sure how things would go. But he said he was determined to stay open.
“Now, we are working not for ourselves,” he said, “but for all those people who have helped us over the years.”
German refugee center reports dozens of coronavirus cases.
Germany is facing the first major coronavirus outbreak in a refugee center near Cologne, where the authorities said that more than 70 residents had tested positive for the virus and been placed in isolation. Another 60 residents tested negative and were moved to a different center.
Hundreds of migrants who arrived in Germany in the months before its borders were closed in mid-March live in refugee centers that lack the space needed for effective social distancing and where they often share bathrooms and kitchens.
Rights groups and opposition politicians have long warned that the crowded centers posed a health risk and urged local health authorities to carry out regular tests to prevent an outbreak of the virus. Members of the opposition Greens have criticized the government for inaction.
The center where the outbreak arose was home to 489 people from dozens of countries. After one resident tested positive for the virus on Thursday, others were given protective masks and disinfectant as tests were carried out on everyone else at the facility.
Germany has recorded 174,697 coronavirus cases and 7,935 fatalities since the outbreak began. Several of the worst outbreaks have been in nursing homes, hospitals and among migrant workers in meatpacking facilities.
Belgian nurses turn their backs to the prime minister in protest.
When Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès of Belgium visited the Saint-Pierre hospital in Brussels this weekend, she was not met with praise. Instead, members of the hospital’s nursing staff lined the roadway and turned their backs on her approaching car in a silent protest over the government’s handling of the coronavirus.
The hospital has played a central role in Belgium’s response, taking in the most Covid-19 patients in the country, and it was Ms. Wilmès’s first visit to the hospital to thank the staff since the crisis began.
Arriving at the hospital grounds, Ms. Wilmès was greeted by a double row of nurses and other health workers with their backs turned to her, in what has been described as “guard of dishonor.”
“Nobody can ignore the distress of the nursing staff, which was already there before the crisis and was increased with the difficulties,” Ms Wilmès told RTBF, the public broadcaster, after visiting the hospital. “We need to reassess the nursing profession.”
The protesting workers were expressing disappointment with the government’s broader health care policy, which has involved budget cuts and staff shortages, and their actions during the pandemic, representatives said.
Belgium, with a population of 11.5 million, has had more than 55,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and over 9,000 deaths, making it one of the worst per capita death rates in Europe. Those figures include suspected cases and cases in care homes, which is not the case in some other countries.
“There is fatigue and a lot of anxiety,” Philippe Leroy, the hospital’s head, said of medical workers, though he said that the prime minister’s visit was appreciated. “I think they needed to express a lot of things.”
One way to to thin out public transit: pop-up parking lots.
Governments across the globe are in an unusual position of discouraging people from using public transit, an urban staple that has long been considered an essential tool in fighting congestion and climate change but is now a risk in the spread of the coronavirus.
Scenes of commuters packed elbow-to-elbow are now a major public health risk, as one cough or sneeze could expose dozens to infectious respiratory droplets. But governments have also acknowledged that many people, including medical workers, have no viable alternatives.
Officials have asked passengers to stay away if possible, leaving room for those who need it to safely practice social distancing, even if that means drying up some of the revenue that keeps the systems running.
In Australia, Sydney’s central business district will add bike lanes and pop-up parking lots to deal with an increase in automobile traffic. And in, London the subway’s capacity will be capped at around 13 to 15 percent so that passengers can stay six feet apart. Some may be asked to wait to enter a station until it empties out.
“If you can, please walk or cycle for all or part of your journey, including to complete your journey if traveling into central London,” Vernon Everitt, a managing director for the city’s transit network, said in an email to passengers on Sunday.
Japan’s economy is the largest to officially enter a recession.
The country — whose economy is the world’s third-largest after that of the United States and China — shrank by an annualized rate of 3.4 percent in the first three months of the year, Japan’s government said on Monday.
That makes it the largest economy to officially enter a recession, often defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. Other major economies around the world are set to follow as efforts to contain the outbreak ripple around the globe.
Businesses had already been staggering before the coronavirus hit.
Consumer spending dropped after the Japanese government in October increased a tax on consumption to 10 percent from 8 percent, a move that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration said would help pay down the national debt — the highest among developed nations — and fund the growing demand for social services as the country’s workers age.
On the health front, the efforts seem to have paid off. The total number of deaths attributed to the outbreak was 756 as of Monday, far lower than in other major developed nations. But each of those decisions has had a profound economic impact.
U.S. roundup: Governors wrestle with reopening.
“This is really the most crucial time, and the most dangerous time,” Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio, a Republican, said Sunday on the CNN program “State of the Union.”
Pressure is building for officials to revive commerce and chart a path for states to edge toward a semblance of normalcy, and some are discussing plans for starting school in the fall.
On Friday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, a Democrat, filed an emergency rule allowing for the owners of restaurants, bars and other establishments that open prematurely to be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a punishment of up to a year in jail and up to a $2,500 fine.
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, a Democrat, said on CNN that he understood the stress and anxiety that the pandemic and associated restrictions are causing. “The question is,” he added, “how do you toggle back and make meaningful modifications to the stay-at-home order?”
In New York, state and city officials are calling on many more residents to get tested to help the state reopen. To underscore this point, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York was tested during his live news briefing on Sunday. He also announced a new website that would help New Yorkers identify testing sites near where they live.
And President Trump continued to express eagerness to see a resumption of some activities. In phone comments during a golf broadcast on Sunday, he said he missed sports and wanted “big, big stadiums loaded with people.”
The coronavirus tests Mark Zuckerberg’s approach.
Mr. Zuckerberg has long been the face of the social network, which claims more than 2.6 billion average monthly users, or a third of the world’s population. But while he has been extraordinarily involved in some aspects of the business, his approach has been hands-off in others.
The beginning of the end of Mr. Zuckerberg’s distanced leadership came in November 2016 with the election of President Trump. From that moment, crises revolving around fake news, data sharing and political manipulation jolted Mr. Zuckerberg to tighten his grip.
In theory, the current crisis plays to some of Mr. Zuckerberg’s strengths. Through his personal philanthropy, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, he has long been interested in public health.
Or the pandemic could take all that is dangerous about Facebook and amplify it. And if Mr. Zuckerberg is fully in control of his company, responsibility for its response will reside entirely with him.
The frightening coronavirus-linked affliction in children.
When a sprinkling of a reddish rash appeared on Jack McMorrow’s hands in mid-April, his father figured that the 14-year-old was overusing hand sanitizer — not necessarily a bad thing during a pandemic.
But over the next 10 days, Jack, a ninth-grader in New York City, felt increasingly unwell. Then, one morning, he awoke unable to move.
He had a tennis-ball-size lymph node, raging fever, racing heartbeat and dangerously low blood pressure. Pain deluged his body in “a throbbing, stinging rush,” he said.
“You could feel it going through your veins,” he said, “and it was almost like someone injected you with straight-up fire.”
Appearing mostly in school-age children, the syndrome causes inflammation throughout the body and can cripple the heart. It often appears weeks after infection in children who did not experience first-phase coronavirus symptoms.
Sailors on a U.S. aircraft carrier docked in Guam test positive for a second time.
Thirteen sailors aboard the coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt have retested positive for Covid-19 after appearing to have recovered from the disease, Navy officials said on Sunday.
The infected sailors, who had all tested negative twice before reboarding the Roosevelt in recent days, have been removed from the warship to self-quarantine. The Roosevelt has been docked in Guam since March 27 as Navy officials wrestle with how to deal with sickened sailors, disinfect the vessel and prepare for it to resume operations in the Western Pacific.
About 2,900 of the 4,800 crew members are now back onboard. They are under strict orders to report any symptoms. In the past week or so, screening has even turned up a sailor who tested positive for tuberculosis. That set off a contact-tracing scramble that found no other cases onboard, Navy officials said.
Recent research in South Korea suggested that dozens of patients there who tested positive a second time after recovering from the illness appeared to be “false positives” caused by lingering — but probably not infectious — elements of the virus.
The results of the Navy’s latest investigation into events surrounding the Roosevelt are due by the end of this month.
Reporting was contributed by Pam Belluck, Christopher Buckley, Ben Dooley, Melissa Eddy, Sheera Frenkel, Sandra E. Garcia, Abby Goodnough, Javier C. Hernandez, Makiko Inoue, Mike Isaac, Cecilia Kang, Raphael Minder, Steven Lee Myers, Sharon Otterman, Elisabetta Povoledo, Monika Pronczuk, Eric Schmitt, Megan Specia, Daniel Victor and Neil Vigdor.
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